Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mac or PC?

Liz Strauss held an open comment night on her blog on Tuesday that addressed the age old computer debate of “Mac or PC”. I’ve decided to use this debate as another one of my _ or _ posts that I do once in a while to mix things up a bit and learn more about my readers and fellow bloggers.

Below are the results as I see them from Tuesday night. I am interpreting some of these results based on the comments that were made, so make sure and correct me if I’m wrong. For those of you who would like to see some of the conversation around this, please make sure and visit the comments section of Liz's post.

Me (Eric Peterson) – PC
J. Erik Potter – Mac (at heart), but currently uses PC
Erica Ross-Krieger – Mac
April Groves – PC
Joe – PC
Trisha – PC, but doesn’t “dislike” Macs
Timothy Johnson – PC, (in fact, keep the Mac away)
Brooke – seems that either one works for Brooke
Scot Herrick – PC, but likes Macs as well
Rick Cockrum – PC
Char – Either works for Char
Angela Maiers – only knows PC, but willing to try Mac
Delaney Kirk – undecided on what to get
Karen Putz – PC in house currently, but likes Macs as well
Todd – Mac all the way!
Kelly – Mac
Aruni – Either works for Aruni
Amie Gillingham – Mac, but played around with PC’s some
Dave Olson – Mac
Rowan Manahan – Mac
Rodney Rumford – PC

What about the rest of you out there? Do you care to weigh in on the topic? Which is it for you? Mac or PC? Care to comment? Right now it looks as though the PC has a slight lead.

Other posts in the _or_ series:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Avoiding "M&M" Leadership

I feel it’s important for us to discuss what I call “M&M” leadership, and how we can avoid it. The content may have some overlap with my previous post on “Avoiding the MonoBLOGue,” but I wanted to apply that concept to leadership.

So, what is “M&M” leadership? Well, for me it is monotonistic leadership through monologue(“M&M”), and it is a skill set we, as leaders, need to avoid.

Leadership by Monologue:
Followers, coworkers, family members, and the like don’t want to be talked at! They want to be involved in conversations and dialogue. They desire to feel apart of the change that is taking place; the meeting that is being held; the processes that are being developed. They require inclusion, not exclusion. So, knowing this, we need to make sure that we include our followers in our discussions. In fact, if we take Bob Prosen’s advice on surrounding ourselves with people that are smarter than us, then we should seek the knowledge that these people can bring to the table.

Monotone Leadership:
Passion is contagious! For that matter, a lack of passion is contagious! Employees, followers and coworkers need to see our passion in order for them to be inspired and passionate as well. Therefore, we have to be conscious of our tone. We can’t be monotone leaders, always saying the same old thing in the same old way. It won’t inspire and it won’t motivate. Making a conscious effort to bring energy and excitement to our leadership will better help influence those around us, and that’s what leadership is all about!

So what are you doing to ensure that you are avoiding talking at people and avoiding being a monotone motivator? What tips do you have for bringing energy and passion to your leadership?
note: picture courtesy of

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Avoiding The MonoBLOGue

When I first started out on my blogging journey, I had a few goals in mind, which you will see listed below. What I'd like to do today, is discuss the second goal in that list and explain why it is so important, not only to me, but to many other bloggers out there.

My Blogging Goals:
1) To network and connect with others
2) To inspire conversation and discussion on various topics like leadership, motivation, positive reinforcement, and others
3) To enjoy the journey and relish in the places this blog could take me

When creating these goals, I found inspiration and support from many other bloggers:

- Liz Straus is the queen of conversation, and does an amazing job at inspiring discussion on her posts
- April Groves inspires with passion and thought provoking questions of her own
- Timothy Johnson, a.k.a. "The Professor of Tuesday Nights", always creates discussion with his real world application of office politics and accomplishment
- Phil Gerbyshak "makes it great" everyday with his conversation pieces
- Valeria Maltoni is the "Converstation Agent" (need I say more)
- Joanna Young creates conversation through her teaching on how to write effectively and passionately
- Robert Hruzek always inspires good discussions through his creative group writing projects
- Roger von Oech inspires conversation through his sheer creative genius

Again, the main point of this post, however, isn't to list out all the inspirational bloggers out there who have had an effect on my writing. Instead, it is to focus on Goal #2 from above. For this goal, I chose my words carefully when writing, because there are a couple key points that I really want to touch on:

1) "To Inspire..." - I feel it is my duty to create the conversation that I seek. What I don't want this blog to become (which I know there are some out there that have gone down this path), is a (what I'll call) "MonoBLOGue." That is, I don't want to create posts that are just talking at people, therefore becoming a monologue. What I really want is to develop interesting material, and ask thought provoking questions in order to "inspire" conversation and discussion from my readers.

2) "...Conversation and Discussion...." - This is what I strive for! This is the essence of my blogging. I want to take part in great discussion and great conversation. I want my readers and fellow bloggers to feel comfortable in visiting this site and knowing that it is a forum for conversation. Sure, we may disagree on some things, but we'll have a great discussion in doing so.

So, what do we do now? How can we achieve this? Well, I will vow to continue to try and post thought provoking and interesting material (knowing that I am bound to fail on this every once in a while). Hey, I'm only human, right? When readers and bloggers comment on my posts, I'll try my best to keep the conversation going by giving more than a "Thanks for stopping by" response.

But, I'll need your help as well. All I ask from you is to continue to stop by, and when so inspired, go ahead and leave a comment! Remember, I (as well as other commenters) don't get to know your thoughts unless you write them in the box for us! And, with that, I bid you "good day." I hope your week is filled with great conversation!

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Help Wanted: Adaptive Leadership

I’ve learned that as a leader, you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership. Those you are leading have different personalities, different motivations, different skill sets. Therefore, a leader must become adaptive. They must be able to recognize and appeal to those differences to effectively affect those around them.

I don’t think this is news to many. In fact, I’m sure everyone has heard this at some point. So, here’s where I need your input: How adaptive does one get? There obviously needs to be a foundation to your leadership style, but how do you tailor that style to those different followers? As leaders, do you hold onto “core” competencies, and then adapt from there? And, the real kicker: How do you adapt your style to different members of the same team, without being seen as “playing favorites?” Essentially, how do you ensure that you are treating everyone the same, while adapting how you motivate to the various personalities?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sympathy, Empathy, and Compassion: "There's A Difference?"

What a morning! I was pulled up out of my own pool of ignorance this morning at my weekly bible study. See, our group has just started studying Max Lucado’s Life Lessons Series on The Gospel of Mark, and today was Lesson 1: Compassion!

There’s a whole lot to talk about, but I’ll keep this to one point: Some people look for sympathy, and some people look for empathy. But, what most people need is compassion. Or in my case: I’m good at sympathizing, and I’m decent at empathizing. But, do I need some work at being compassionate. Here, let me explain the difference between these three using Max Lucado’s words:

“Compassion is one aspect of love. Compassion may grow from feelings, but true compassion represents a practical attention to someone’s needs. It doesn’t require us to feel: it requires us to act. Sympathy says, ‘I feel bad that you’re hungry.’ Empathy says, ‘I know something about how you feel; I was hungry once myself.’ But compassion says, ‘Friend, let’s go get something to eat.’ Sympathy and Empathy don’t require us to do anything; but compassion will cause us to touch, lift, feed, and help those in need as Jesus did for the leper.”

Wow! All along I have felt that I was a compassionate person. However, now I realize that I’ve been practicing the art of sympathy and empathy, and forgetting the act of compassion. To reiterate Lucado’s argument, true compassion is about action and not about what you say or feel.

So, what can leaders take away from this? What can you as leaders do to show compassion? Or, are you even worried about this compassion thing? Is compassion an important part of leadership?

I want your thoughts. I want to dig deep and start a conversation on this, but I need your comments! One final question for you that is bound to get you thinking: Where do you draw the line? Specifically, at what point can your compassion lead to “enabling” of unwanted behaviors from your followers?

note: picture courtesy of

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Finding Balance vs. Living in Chaos

I want to go back to this balance theme. You'll remember my previous post, "Tight Ropin," where many of us contributed to the discussion of defining balance and finding balance. As I've been browsing the blogosphere, Alexander Kjerulf, The Chief Happiness Officer, mentioned a post on work-life balance that was created by Kenny Moore. I found Kenny's post to be very intriguing and thought provoking, as he takes a different approach to "balance:"

"Work-Life balance is, at best, a fabrication. At worst, a cruel hoax........As adults, we well understand that it’s never been a question of balance. It’s always been a question of choice..........Stop trying to achieve balance and start learning to enjoy chaos."

Please realize that those quotes come in different sections of Kenny's post. What I'd like for you to do, is to read my post again. Then, I'd like for you to go and read April Grove's post on balance, and then J. Erik Potter's post on volunteering and balance. Finally, take an in depth look at Kenny's post on Work - Life Balance. Then, come back here and strike up the conversation. What do you think? Can you find true balance? And, is it worth pursuing balance? Or, should we just relish in our chaos like Kenny suggests? Or, what about this: Could living in chaos just actually be that person's balance?

Again, I have to come to the conclusion that balance is achievable. However, it really depends on how one defines balance, and what one values in life. In conclusion, I must say a big thank you to Kenny Moore, for writing such a great intriguing post that really got me thinking!!

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

How Much "Geek" Are You?

In a previous post on the importance of follow through by leaders, I mentioned that I was a big bowling geek, and could sit down with you and give a lecture on the finer points of bowling strategy. I also mentioned that I would save that lecture until another day! Well, today is still not that day. Instead, I thought I would pass along a couple of fun quizzes that help determine how "geeky" you are in various areas.

Troy Worman over at ProcessGeek pointed me to this site, Quizlee. There you will find a couple of fun questionaires that help determine if you are an "UberGeek," or a "Reality TV Geek." I was actually surprised a bit that I scored so low on these quizzes. I guess I'm not so geeky after all! Oh well, I guess that gives me something to strive for!

How about you? Are you an "UberGeek"? Check it out, and then come back, leave a comment, and let us know your scores! If you are having a stressful Thursday, this may just be what you need to steal a mental break and relax for a minute! Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tight Ropin'

I've recently run across a multitude of posts speaking of "balance," and it really inspired me to analyze my current situation. Am I balanced? Am I effectively balancing everything in my life, or has my focus on one or two areas taken away from what's really important to me? April Groves has a great post on balance, which struck up a frenzy of comments. She explains how we need to make sure that "the success of thing 1 doesn't result in the unintended failure of thing 2."

So, are you balanced? Or, have you done what many of us do and put all your focus on one aspect of your life? Maybe it's your work, or your health, or your hobbies. All of these are admirable things to focus on, as long as they don't take away from what's most important to you. Or, maybe you are like me and have run yourself so thin by taking on so many tasks, that you can't possibly be balanced. Stephen Covey really attacks this question of balance with great insight in his post "How to strike work and life balance." The following quote from Covey really puts some perspective on "balance:"

"There are no quick-fixes to achieving work/life balance. Your priorities may change as your circumstances change. Thus, I invite you to consider the things that you value most and allow those to serve as the foundation."

You've got to consider the things that you value most, in order to determine whether or not you are balanced! It's really up to you and how you define balance. So, here's to hoping each of you find equilibrium in your lives!

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Monday, January 07, 2008

Best Showers: Morning or Night?

You’ll remember that I am posting a ___ or ___ question every once in a while, just to mix things up a bit in an attempt to learn more about my readers and fellow bloggers. I’m hoping this will just be a fun little way to learn more about each other as we continue our wonderful journey through the blogosphere.

So, today I’m wanting to know: Do you prefer the wake-up-and-shower routine? Or, are you a shower-before-bedtime person? I know….this may seem a bit personal, but I thought it might be fun to start a discussion on the pros and cons of showering in the morning vs. evening. I’m not trying to delve into your personal lives, so please don’t mistake my motive. I just like to mix the discussion up a bit and see where it takes us. So, what’s your preference?

Me? Well I’m definitely a wake-up-and-shower kind of guy. I just need that refreshing morning wake up call that a shower gives me! Of course, if I’ve just had an exhausting workout late in the evening, I’ll go ahead and grab me a shower-before-bedtime. But, I’ll usually wake up in the morning wanting another shower to “wake me up” and help me get rid of that “bedhead”.

Oh, but here’s a twist! I’m also not afraid to go a day or two without a shower (usually on a weekend). I’m sure it’s hard for many to even think about, but it really does make that next one a “special” one!

So, what about the rest of you? Do you need that morning shower? Or, are you like a friend of mine who can’t even think about going to bed “dirty.” (This buddy literally showers every time before he gets into bed!). Bonus topic: What are the pros and cons (as you see them) to showering at night vs. showering in the morning?

Other Posts in This Series:

note: picture courtesy of

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The "I"-List: Sensational Iowa Bloggers

Mike Sansone, the mob boss of Central Iowa Bloggers, posted a list of all Iowa bloggers, which spawned Drew McLellan to come up with the "I-List": a collection of Iowa bloggers. I am honored that this blog can be a part of such an amazing list. Others, like Erik Potter, Sandy Renshaw and Brett Trout have posted this list to their sites, with their added additions. I would like to "pay it forward" and do the same. So, here is a great list of Iowa bloggers! Stop by each one and see if you can be inspired!

Adam Carroll
Andy Drish
Around Des Moines
Art Dinkin, CFP, CLU, ChFC
Association of Business & Industry
Association for Women in Communications DSM Alliance
Babich, Goldman, Cashatt & Renzo
Barry Pace
Beth Peck
Bill Grell
Blue Frog Arts
Bob Loch - Backyard Conversations
Brett Trout
Bridges Financial
Broom Wizards
C Wenger Group
Carpe Factum
Claire Celsi
Cloud Nine Diamonds
Compass Financial Services
Conference Calls Unlimited
Dave Dreeszen
Des Moines Families
Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen
Do You Q?
Dr U Fantasy Football
DSM Buzz
Employer Ease
Eric Peterson
Essential Estrogen
Focal Point Multimedia
George Davison
Gift Idea Help
Home Know-it-All
Insight Advertising & Marketing
Iowa Bed & Breakfast Association
Iowa Biz
J. Erik Potter
Jann Freed
Jennifer Jaskolka-Brown
Josh MoreKyle's Cove
Maiers Educational Services
McKee, Vorhees & Sease
McLellan Marketing Group
NCMIC Insurance
Purple Wren
Radio Iowa
REL Productions
Rental Metrics
Rita Perea Consulting
Roth & Company
RSM McGladrey
Ruby's Pub
Runners' Lounge
Rush Nigut
Ryan Rossinick
Snap! Creative Works
Studio 24 Design
Sullivan & Ward's Iowa Law Blog
Swing Station
The Brand Chef
The Members Group

The Mitchell Group
The Simple Dollar
The Yin Blog
This Ain't No Spin Class
Transition Capital Management
Troy Rutter
US Rodeo Supply
Victoria Herring
Wade Den Hartog
Wealth With Mortgage
When Words Matter
White Rabbit Group

Please forgive me if you were left off this list. I tried to get everyone on here that I knew of. Let me know, and I will add you to this list!

Happy Blogging in 2008!