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Project: Gratitude

Thanksgiving_prayerHappy Thanksgiving from Carpe Factum!

Looking back over my life, I'm reminded of many blessings, things that have shaped me, challenged me, and defined me. Sure, there are the obvious ones: My home, my family, my career.

There are more subtle points - events, opportunities, people - which played a role in my life. I may not have realized it at the time (and generally didn't), but looking back, they served a key role. Here are just a few:

Paper Route - from ages 11 through 15, I carried the Des Moines Tribune (the now defunct afternoon sister paper to the Des Moines Register). I had an average of 40 customers who expected their papers promptly, placed exactly where they wanted it. By the time I was a teenager, I had the basics of customer service and customer facing down. I learned self-discipline and responsibility. I learned to appreciate what was going on in the world (watching headlines change throughout the entire Iran Hostage crisis).

Family on the Farm - both of my mom's siblings (and their families) farmed. From birth, I was exposed to livestock and crops, to dirt and creekbeds. I listened to family discussions about market prices and government programs. I was able to experience sights and sounds and smells to instill an appreciation for nature. It's served me well in seeing the systems in the world around me and exactly how much everyting is connected.

Healthy Drama - I was a bit of a theater geek in high school and college. I got to learn from some awesome coaches and teachers about acting, creating a character, setting a mood, and appreciating really amazing writing. These opportunities shaped me as a teacher, an author, a creative, an office politics consultant, a project manager, and a dad. Always let your imagination come out to play.

Sunday School - I have pretty fond memories of my childhood church and what it represented back then. Learning Bible stories from different teachers, framing my values system, singing songs... it broke down the mysteries of religion and provided me with a framework for how I view the world. As I grew, I was able to add on to those building blocks, to interpret scripture in light of its original context and how its timelessness applies to an ever-changing world today. I'll be forever grateful to those faithful ladies and gentlemen who took the time to teach Bible stories to us kids.

Dogs - What can I say about Sam, Casey, Zorro, and now Fergus? Their love, their humor, and their needs taught me the basics and the complexities of taking care of other living beings. I observed their ability to listen. I saw them communicate without words. I viewed what excited them, what scared them, and what motivated them. Seeing the world through a dog's eyes is inspirational and honest.

So this Thanksgiving, I'll enjoy the trappings and trimmings of family and food. But I will have an eye on the past and its many blessings. Enjoy the holiday!

SOBCon 2013

Sobcon2013I remember my very first SOBCon in Chicago. I went back at looked at my post from the day after. The magic is still there six years later (including sentiments from Steve Farber). Those who have gone most or all of the years in Chicago are all a little older... a little wiser... and a little more worn. We've all had personal and professional challenges to deal with since that first SOBCon. There were many fresh faces this year as well. New promise. New hope. New business needs. New friends.

Maybe I should back up a little for the less-informed among us. Yes, there's a little irreverent wordplay involved with SOB. It originated when Liz Strauss, the world's greatest community-building maven, began designating Successful Outstanding Bloggers. From there, it's evolved to Successful Online Business. When Liz and Terry promise an event where you will be surrounded by people who won't let you fail, they really mean it.

This time, I'm not going to be verbose and list every single speaker and every single sub-event. But here are a few of the main take-aways from the event:

  • Google is king. Get over it. If you're going to be an online business, you'd better get comfortable with things like Google Analytics and Google+. Yes, tools and search engines will come and go. There will always be new shiny toys. But for now, if you want people to find your business, you'd better bow to the Google throne.
  • Business is about service. Service to others. To customers. To employees. To suppliers. If you're not serving, you're not leading. In an era of attention-seeking antics, it's really not about you. Your ego doesn't mean jack squat to the person next to you.
  • Authenticity is the greatest form of value. Once you peal back all the layers of branding, the customer better find something real. If it's an act, they'll buy once and probably move on.

These seem so obvious, don't they? Well, so is a lot of business. Have we really created anything truly new in business principles in the past 30 years? We know how to do this stuff. But sometimes it's comforting to be surrounded by people who are really practicing it and who want to share the "how" of their success.

Liz and Terry, thank you from the bottom of my heart for another great event. I know this year, of all years, took a lot out of you both emotionally and physically. I'm so grateful for all of the friends I've made from SOBCons over the years. But for you two and your vision and leadership, I'm most grateful and indebted.

One more thing. Messages you're supposed to hear are funny sometimes... they tend to find you again and again whether you want them to or not. A message may take multiple forms before it penetrates your heart and your head. After hearing about authenticity and service all weekend, what would appear in my scripture reading this morning, but this:

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV)

I See Posers

As a consultant, it's not hard to find posers in the workplace.

"What's a poser?" you ask. Fair question. The term itself can be ambiguous.

At it's core, a poser is an individual who doesn't walk the talk. He wears the title of leader but doesn't actually lead. She holds a lot of meetings but never accomplishes much. He has the expensive Italian suit on the outside but inside is barely out of diapers. She uses a lot of buzzwords, but her voice drowns out her message.

You know who I'm talking about. We call them fakes, frauds, charlatans, imposters, quacks, pretenders, cheaters.

The next logical question is how do we combat the posers when we uncover them? It takes leadership. True leadership. Extreme leadership.

Radical_Leap_ReenergizedI've talked about Extreme Leadership before. Steve Farber, who coined the term, is the undisputed master Extreme Leadership. I've blogged about his books before. Over the years, I've had the privilege of getting to know him fairly well. And he's the real deal.

So what makes Extreme Leadership different from generic, run-of-the-mill leadership? Well, technically nothing. Except that we've watered down the term leadership so it has all the strength of non-brand Kool-Aid. Think about it. How many people do you know who claim to be leaders, but their view of leadership is scaring their "followers" into compliance?

And that's the core difference between posers and leaders: fear vs. love. Farber's Extreme Leader Mantra is "Do what you love in the service of those who love what you do." That one phrase completely reshaped my view of who I am and what I do. As a project manager, I'm no longer afraid to turn down client work for certain organizations in town. Why? Because they are so entrenched in fear, there's no room to love what they do, let alone what other people do.

Also, the Extreme Leader

  • Cultivates Love
  • Generates Energy
  • Inspires Audacity
  • Provides Proof

Each of these would take multiple blog posts to explain, but in many respects, they don't need explanation (or at least they shouldn't).

I want you to try some exercises for me over the next couple of days:

  1. Read the headlines of the newspaper, cover to cover. Look for stories where posers are generating news out of fear. Think about how an Extreme Leader could turn the situation around.
  2. Read the emails in your own inbox. How many of those emails are being driven by love vs. fear? How would an Extreme Leader respond to those emails?
  3. Think about YOUR daily interactions with friends, colleagues, and family. How often do YOU operate out of a base of fear instead of love? Are YOU the poser? (Wow, that's a tough one. The WORST poser is the one we see in the mirror.)

If the way things currently operate fatigue you, maybe it's time to take up Extreme Leadership. I'm leading a full-day workshop at Drake University next Friday. Space is very limited, but there are still spots left. Click here for more information and registration.

Hope to see you there!

The Summit of Its Parts

IMG_0676I was sitting at my desk this morning, and the first thought to hit me as I logged in was, "Well, now what?"

No, it had nothing to do with the emails from Finance or from IT wondering about this deliverable or that project issue. Those were comparatively easy questions to answer. This one went deeper.

I returned from the Extreme Leadership Summit yesterday morning. Steve Farber puts on an [extreme adjective] conference... er... UN-conference. See? A verbose guy can't even generate an adequate descriptor.

So what happened to make this so special? Hmmm... let's see if I can sum it up.

We heard Simon Billsberry talk about his career path at Kineticom and his love for the company he started and the risks he viewed worthy of taking in the name of that love. (For the record, he told us he's been involved in lawsuits consistently since he's been 24... that kind of commitment takes love.) We heard Sally Hogshead talk about the dynamics of fascination and how we fascinate others (and how we ourselves are fascinated by others). For the record, Sally's profile pegged me as a "maverick" whose primary triggers on how I attract others is through a combination game-changing and take-charge approaches.

We heard Brian Mayne and Tommy Spaulding speak. These guys are the one-two punch of can-do. Both experienced severe dyslexia as children. Brian didn't read until he was 30, and now, two decades later is the leading goal-setting consultant/trainer in the UK. Tommy's story of his educational battles was no less inspiring in his journey to become the CEO of "Up With People," and he just released a New York Times best seller. Brian's background screams of excuses to fail, yet he's the epitome of successful accomplishment. Tommy's background would provide most with reasons for resentment, yet I've met very few people in my entire life who exude and embody unconditional love.

IMG_0691One does not merely meet or listen to John "Jay Jay" French of Twisted Sister (yes, the rock band); one must EXPERIENCE Jay Jay. His story of perseverence in following his dream for the band through the many peaks and valleys of the daunting music world could easily have been titled, "But Then Something Happened."

Liz Strauss shared how she builds communities through the online universe the same way her dad built community through his saloon. I've known Liz for a few years now, but her story continues to inspire. Her physical voice falters, yet her voice of experience is amplified for all to hear.

And here's the kick in the gut: What were you doing when you were 17? Keynoting a major conference or making college decisions and surviving high school? Jessica Steinberg started her global not-for-profit, Givable Giggles, when she was 14 years old. Talk about convicting. Being a parent myself, I had the pleasure of talking to Jessica's parents. They are extremely positive, supporting and caring (and exceptionally proud of both of their children)... yet seemingly "normal" suburban folks. That's the cool thing about heroes, though: they're the ones who master the art of turning ordinary into extraordinary.

IMG_0699We had breakout sessions with our Mastermind groups, and I was lucky enough to meet with some great guys over the weekend. When we toasted our "graduation" at the end of the weekend, it was a bittersweet moment. I'm not even going to start on the musical jam session of Saturday night. Some things really are without description.

Presiding over the whole thing were Steve Farber himself and the ever-bubbly and fun Dianne Kenny, emceeing. I've turned a lot of people on to Steve's books over the years. Imagine what's possible if he put on a conference... um... summit. I've already saved the date for next year (and no date has been set).

But this morning in my cubicle, the questions of pursuing the OS!M swirled through my somewhat hazy and sleep-deprived brain. Where to start? What to do? How to tackle? I guess the answer will be to embrace like Jessica, pursue like Simon, laugh like Dianne, gather like Liz, love like Tommy, persevere like Jay Jay, accomplish like Brian, fascinate like Sally... and Steve? Well, that's obvious: just keep changing the world in the most extreme way possible.


Extreme-Leadership-Poster_Web-435x1024I am so excited for this week. One of my favorite all-time business authors, Steve Farber, is hosting his Extreme Leadership Summit next weekend. There are some amazing speakers lined up: including Farber, there will be extreme leaders such as Tommy Spaulding, Liz Strauss, Jay Jay French, Simon Billsberry, Sally Hogshead, Loren Slocum, and Brian Mayne (to name a few).

So what makes an extreme leader (as opposed to the generic, run-of-the-mill leader)? Well, anyone who's ever read Farber knows what it takes: love, energy, audacity, and proof, for starters. They know it's someone who is tuned in to his or her frequency and has cranked up the volume. It's somebody who embraces the risks of the wipe-out to follow their calling. It's one who "does what they loved in the service of those who love what they do." An extreme leader is not afraid to develop others to the point they are greater than himself/herself.

But at their core, it comes down to this: an extreme leader is one who is called to change the world.

Tall order? Definitely. Impossible? Only if we let it be. In case you haven't noticed, our world (big 'W' or little 'w' - your choice) has a lot of issues. And it needs to be changed for the better. And it needs committed individuals in business, education, religion, environment, and family... individuals who feel called to change the world.

More than the amazing speakers, I'm excited to meet the dozens of other people who felt compelled to head to San Diego for a weekend... if for no other reason, they want to change the world.

One Week Down; Fifty-One To Go

Sobcon-logoIt's been a week since I returned from SOBCon (Successful Online Business Conference). I've take a few years off from the conference since my last appearance in 2008. They say "absence makes the heart grow fonder," and it couldn't be more true.

Liz Strauss and Terry "Starbucker" St. Marie create a magical environment in downtown Chicago one weekend each year. They collect some wickedly smart people to share with the rest of us. I got to hear Tim Sanders (former Yahoo big-wig and author), entrepreneur Tim Storm, producer Gary Goldstein, and the incomparable Steve Farber. And that's just the start of the list. If I named everyone who had an impact on me last weekend, this would be a thousand-word post.

I met all kinds of awesome people. I heard all kinds of awesome messages. Messages about balance, and purpose, and community. Messages about changing the world and being flexible in uncertain environments. And it made me think about my own business. I'm still processing all of it.

Sorry I'm not being more specific about the things I learned, but some are of the revelations were very personal.

The greatest reminder was that in the midst of doing a lot of things for other people the past few years, it's OK for me to recharge my own batteries occasionally.

I'm already counting down for next year.

Dying To Tell

It's been a year already.

One year ago today, my mom passed away following a battle with cancer.

It's been a year of reflection. A year of tears. A year of memory-induced smiles. A year of frustrations. And a year of love.

In the past year, I was reminded of true friendship. In the past year, I was able to crystalize my priorities. In the past year, I was able to refocus and realign and repair.

And in the past year, I was able to heal and prepare to give back.

Adversity can bring people together in really unexpected ways. Months before Mom's passing, I learned that friend and fellow-blogger, Karen Putz, was going through a similar journey with her dad. Through many tweets, Facebook posts and text messages of encouragement, we shared a lot to help each other make it through those final months.

What came out of those messages was a lot of wisdom and insight. Right before our parents died (her dad passed away the morning of Mom's funeral), I asked Karen what she thought of sharing our journey with others. This is a project we've been tackling at our own speed over the past year. We've now created a book, tentatively titled: "Dying To Tell - A Guide for End-of-Life caregivers." Our goal was to provide others with practical advice through five different phases:

  1. Diagnosis
  2. Treatment
  3. Nearing the end
  4. Death and funeral
  5. Aftermath

Through short anecdotes and succinct bullet lists, we've written our best thoughts, advice, how-to's, and memories to help others. Little time savers, dealing with well-meaning but difficult bystanders, making early preparations, handling the funeral home, etc. - all were noteworthy in our world. We're still making some final tweaks as well as shopping for a publisher, but we believe we've crafted an easy-to-digest guide to help others through their end-of-life journey.

We'll keep you posted as we get closer to completion and release.

Our parents will continue to live on in our memories. Their legacy, even in death, will continue to help others. Our plan is to donate profits from the book to hospice organizations.

To all my friends and family who have had a positive role in helping me through the grieving process this past year, I thank you deeply and sincerely. You took my hand to get me through an incredible year.

A is for Accelerator

Bobprosen My friend, Bob Prosen, is at it again. He's devised a great small business leadership program which will accelerate your small business into the stratosphere!  How do I know?  Well, I've been friends with Bob for years, read his book, talked with him numerous times, and used several of his concepts myself.

Now he's created a training program that is sure to help you.  So if your small business has stalled out, and you're looking to turn things around now that the economy appears to be picking back up, Bob is the teacher I'd recommend. He will show you things like prospecting intelligently for new clients, measuring the RIGHT things for results, handling difficult employees (and other people), and about any other challenge you can throw at him.

I'm excited he's doing this.  Bob is full of passion to help business leaders succeed.  I think you'll be equally amazed at the things you can learn.  Things like how to rapidly increase performance and profit in your business... things like exact strategies that it takes to grow your sales, improve your leadership effectiveness and accountability, decrease employee turnover and increase your profits regardless of economic conditions.

Well, Bob is going to show you exactly how you can do this through some amazing actionable advice and training that you can implement into your small business immediately. 

I got permission from Bob to invite a the readers of my blog to view this special training series (He usually charges $10,000 for this type of thing, but he wants some feedback on the program.) 

To get access to this training just visit this page: 


You won't believe the step-by-step detail Bob put into this video -- as well as 3 others in this series.

I think he's giving away way too much for nothing, but he told me he just wants you to be able to go out and implement these strategies in your own business immediately.

In this free webinar Bob will personally teach you:

1 -- To set the “right” objectives for the three most important parts of your business

2 -- The most important business metrics that will enable you to achieve your objectives

3 -- How to evaluate your personal leadership effectiveness – Do you have what it takes to lead your organization to achieve extraordinary profitability

Again, just visit this page to view the video training (you can even download it to watch later): 


After watching the training make sure you get on Bob's priority list to be notified when his breakthrough Small Business Accelerator program becomes available.

That's it, hope you enjoy the training!

(P.S. You guys know I never go all sales-y on you unless I truly believe in something... just like I never do a book review unless I really believe in the book. This guy is for real and so is the opportunity to add some real business value in 2011!)

Gratitude Without Handcuffs or Flashbangs

Life_is_good I made a decision many months ago that when my book launched, I wanted to say thanks to the Suburban Emergency Reponse Team (SERT) for allowing me to tag along to all of their training sessions over the past three years, for allowing me to pester them with seemingly trivial questions about SWAT work, for taking me on patrol ride-alongs, for letting me be an occasional role player so I can hone all of my bad-guy tendancies in a safe environment, and for asking me to be their training photographer.

Hence, my official book signing launch event is coming up this Saturday afternoon at Jake's Journey in the West Glen Shopping Center.  I'll be there from about 1:30-4:30 signing copies of SWAT - Seize the Accomplishment (and will probably have some copies of GUST and Race Through The Forest as well).  For every copy of SWAT purchased, ten dollars will be donated back to the SERT for them to purchase equipment or safety supplies or training needs.  I hope to sell a whole lot of books because (and I can't speak for you) I want my SWAT team as well equipped as possible to handle whatever our uncertain world throws their way.

And why Jake's Journey and not a traditional book store?  Well, after working on this project for five years, after putting in countless hours wrestling with characters and plot lines, after agonizing over the best chart/graph/picture for conveying the principles, after editing (and re-editing ad infinitum), after being cuffed, flash-banged, and tackled by camo-clad testosterone, after sorting through 15,000 photos to find the right one for the cover, after seeing systems and inputs and outputs in my sleep, after sending out numerous copies to bloggers and other media outlets, I can honestly say, LIFE IS GOOD!

See you Saturday!

Remarkable for an Hour

Remarkable I get to be remarkable for an hour... 60 minutes... that's it.

Why "remarkable for an hour"?  Because I get to spend 60 minutes in the virtual presence of Mr. Remarkable himself... Kevin Eikenberry.

Kevin is one of my favorite people, and ever since I reviewed his book, Remarkable Leadership, I knew Kevin was... well... remarkable.

I'm looking forward to just shooting the breeze with Kevin... and who knows?  Maybe he'll let me stay remarkable after the call.

By the way, you have to register to listen in on our conversation.  You can do so by following the link here.

So tune in... call in... and be remarkable with us.

Local Boy Speaks

Looking forward to a couple of local speaking engagements:

On Thursday, December 11, I will be addressing a room full of auditors (no cracks from my marketing friends) at the annual ISACA/IIA combined meeting.

On Friday, December 12, I will be addressing an event sponsored by the Urbandale Chamber of Commerce.

For both events, I will be talking about office politics.  Should be a great time.  Hope to see some of my local buds there.  Always fun to talk to the home-town crowd.

Carpe Factum Goes Aloha

LavaconI'll be out of pocket for a few days.  I'm going to speak at LavaCon '08 in Honolulu.  It's a tough sacrifice, but I'm willing to "take one for the team."  I've heard they're predicting snow in Iowa by the end of the week.  The forecast is pretty consistent on Waikiki Beach for the next several days.  (I think I'm more excited that I'll be on a plane all day tomorrow and won't have the opportunity to listen to the talking heads dissecting Election Day coverage.)

Now where did I leave my Hawaiian floral print shirts???

Open Mic Night Revisited: Fables and Stories

Tim_readingJust an FYI:  I'll be co-hosting "Open Mic Night" over at Liz Strauss' Successful Blog this evening.  This is the second time Liz has turned over the keys to her blog to me, and who knows what could happen?  Last time, we were stampeded by a blogospheric cow.

The topic tonight is "stories and fables."  After all, we all have stories to tell, stories that have impacted us, stories we share to make a point, and stories we like to hear.  And most of us have read at least one business fable, from Who Moved My Cheese to Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  As one who is writing his third, I love to talk about and hear about the topics of stories and story-telling.

So come and join us tonight at 7:00 (CDT).  It's always lively conversation.

Speaking of Which...

It was very enjoyable this morning to talk to Trellis Usher-Mays of the T.R. Ellis Group about office politics on Blog-Talk Radio.  She told me the podcast is available for download on iTunes.  Trellis and I found each other when I answered a question she had posted on LinkedIn.

In addition to the excitement from the interview, it's a great honor to unveil the new promotional video for a sampling of my speaking engagements.  Chris Punke of Focal Point Multimedia worked very hard on creating a great end product:

Mind Your Iowabiz

BriabizheaderIt would appear I spoke too soon.  Iowabiz is again alive and well, thanks to new sponsorship by The Business Record.

My "first" post appeared over the weekend, sharing some ideas about publicizing your project recovery.

Happy reading!

Welcome back, Iowabiz.com!

Reminder: Iowabiz Breakfast Tomorrow

Just thought I'd send out a quick reminder for the Iowabiz breakfast tomorrow morning.  I'll be sharing my talk on project communications, entitled:  What your project team ISN'T telling you.  The event starts at 7:30 AM and runs until 8:30.  You can call 515.313.4646 to RSVP (cost is free).  There will be a drawing for door prizes as well.

It's located at 14001 University Avenue in Clive, IA.

Hope to see you there!

SOBCon08: Final Photo Mash-Up

Here are the final pictures from the conference this weekend.  Say what you want about blogging, it all boils down to people.


Dawud Miracle is one of the nicest guys on the blogosphere... and was born into a super-cool name that just destined him for greatness.

JoannaJoanna Young came all the way from Scotland... it was definitely "worth the trip" for all of us to meet her in person.

Stephen_tom_timStephen Smith AND Thomas Clifford in one picture!  Solar Powered Blogging Machines!!!  (Too bad we couldn't get Adam Kayce and Sim Margolis in the photo, also.)

Tammie_chrisTammy Lenski and Chris Brown are two very bright and extremely pleasant ladies.  It's been an honor to get to know them over the past several months.  Time spent on their blogs is time well spent.  (And Tammy had a black-and-white Shih-Tzu also!)

Tim_starbuckerStarbucker!  DUDE!

Wendy_timWendy Piersall gives the best hugs of anybody.  I have about 362 days of withdrawal.

SlideSummarizes what we bloggers are really all about.  Why we do what we do.  Why we come together to encourage each other and learn from each other.

Thanks, everybody, for an awe-inspiring weekend!!

SOBCon08: Saturday Recap

Sobcon_attendeesGreat sessions yesterday.  One thing about social media that I value is that there's always something new to learn.  I appreciate that there are some amazing people who are willing to share their insights and expertise with us.

After Anita's great kickoff, we learned from Brian Clark about the importance of the three phases of blogging:  attention, authority, and acceleration.  Awesome!

Liz1Another valuable session was Chris Brogan, who is a phenomenal speaker (I'll be posting a LinkedIn recommendation for him in the near future).  His speech about pirates and passion was real and heart-felt.  After all, in the blogosphere, it really does boil down to people.

We ended the day with excellent talks from Liz Strauss herself as well as Wendy Piersall, whose story can penetrate the heart of even the crustiest blogger.

Last night was perfect for a gathering of bloggers at the Emerald Loop.  Now it's Sunday morning, and we'll be wrapping up.  More to come.

SOBCon08: Anita Bruzesse

Dsc_0076Great kick off for a Saturday morning!  The very talented Anita Bruzesse, nationally syndicated columnist for Gannet News Service and USA Today, presented a powerful reminder for managing online reputation.  Her points were spot-on:

  1. What sources do you use for your information?  Can you guarantee that it's correct?
  2. Who is the source of your information and why are they sharing it?
  3. Is the information credible?  How do you know?
  4. Are you being fair?
  5. How will you respond when you make a mistake?
  6. What will be your response when someone criticizes or attacks you?
  7. What comments will you ban and how will you encourage worthwhile comments?
  8. How will you have an ongoing evaluation of your reputation?
  9. What is your line in the sand?
  10. Will you stand the test of time?  How

All wonderful reminders, Anita!  Thanks for sharing them with us.  We bloggers need to be held to the same standards as other journalists.  (P.S.  Read her book:  45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy)

SOBCon08: Separated at Mirth

Dscn0087I often joke that I've been so busy that I meet myself coming and going.  In that same vein, some kind of cosmic kismet (which is just fun to say) has occurred here at SOBCon08.  I've met my twin.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  We bald guys with goatees all look the same to you follicled people.  But this is just weird (in a good way).  I met Stephen Smith yesterday.  OK, we're actually a couple of years apart in age.  In addition to the similar appearance (and height, and body build), we use the exact same phone, use the same brand of camera, and have the same frightening sense of humor.

Someone once told me, "When they made you, Tim, they broke the mould.  And then they beat up the mould-maker and banished him from society."  (It was meant as a compliment, I'm sure.)  Well, the mould maker returned with a vengeance.

SOBCon08: First Night Recap

SOBCon08 does not disappoint.

Dscn0086Of course, what would any blogging event be without Phil?

Dscn0095_2 Christine Kane kicked off our river cruise with some songs... wow, she's great!

Dscn0104_2Director Tom Clifford, Colleen Wainwright, and Dawud Miracle hang out on the top deck, enjoying the view of the Chicago skyline and and the great company.

Dscn0105Chris Cree prepares to hand out Klondike bars (private joke of those who attend open mic night).

More to come as the weekend progresses.

Chicago Bound

Sobcon08_logo189x60Final packing - check.  Laptop in bag - check.  Extra copies of GUST tucked away (just in case) - check.  Picking up Pete and Erik - check.  Planning on having the best time of my blogospheric life - CHECK, MATE!

I'm headed to SOBCon!

(Expect some "live blogging posts from the event.)

UPDATE:  Made it safely.  Lots of rain storms on the way (or, as Erik calls them, "pockets of joy").  Pete is still trying to figure out what the heck "telegrouting" is.

98 Bloggers In Gear On The Ball

98 bloggers in gear

Take one down, pass him around...

Oops sorry... I got a little carried away... catchy tune, isn't it?

Well, there are 98 bloggers who are "in gear" and "on the ball" and they'll be at SOBCon this weekend.  I can't wait to see them in person!

See you in Chicago


Chicago_downtown_2Hey everybody, looks like things are well underway with planning the Successful and Outstanding Blogger (S.O.B.) conference in Chicago in May.

I attended the event last year, and I had an amazingly surreal time getting to meet some of the best business blogging minds that exist.  Energetic?  Yes.  Surreal?  A bit.  Worthwhile?  Absolutely!

You may be thinking some of the following:

  • But I'm not really a blogger... this wouldn't be for me.  My response?  Do you have to communicate with others in your job?  Then whether you blog or not, this conference will help you carry on a higher quality dialogue with your customers and your colleagues.
  • I don't have time.  My response?  Nobody has time in this era of busy-ness.  We make time to invest in what's really important.  Relationships and communication are really important and will pay off dividends later.
  • Another conference?  Ugh.  My response?  This is not just another conference.  This is a family reunion.  The relationships you will build here can catapult your business, but more than that, they will catapult your life.

So hop on the website, and give up a weekend in May to change how you see the world around you.  I promise that you will have an amazing time.

It's Up To You, New York, New York!

IlovenewyorkCarpe Factum meets the Big Apple this week.

Wednesday morning, I will be presenting to the New York City chapter of PMI, and that evening I will be making the same presentation to the Hudson Valley PMI Chapter.  Both events should be equally enjoyable (hopefully for them and for me).

Don't have a lot of time here in NYC, but enough to catch a few of the sights... and a Broadway show tonight - will see David Hyde Pierce perform in Curtains.  That should curtail my craving for the theatre for a while.  After all, since I'm staying on Broadway, it would be criminal not to take in a show.  We'll see what other sightseeing is in my future while I'm here.  As a Midwesterner on my first visit here, I'm trying not to gawk too much; that's really difficult for a chronic people watcher to do.

One of these days I'll figure out how to get a speaking engagement in Southern California or Florida or Hawaii during the winter months.  But so far, New York is pretty cool.

What Would You Rather Do?

FarberLet me ask you this:  Would you rather attend a business conference or a reunion (family or school, you decide)?

What if you could have both?

No, I'm not talking about a mafia conference with "da family" - I'm talking about SOBCon08.  SOB is short for Successful and Outstanding Bloggers, an honor conferred by the Grand Dame of Blogging, Liz Strauss.  They are spread across the globe.  Last year, Liz teamed up with Terry (Starbucker) and launched SOBCon.

Book_signingI wasn't really sure what to expect when I drove to Chicago last May, other than the ability to get to meet numerous bloggers with whom I had been communicating via blog, email, and phone.  As I wrote  last May, it was a surreal experience.  A hug was the standard greeting... we all knew each other already.  The face-to-face meeting was a mere formality since the relationships were set.

But it wasn't just about hearing speakers share with us how to make our blogs better.  It wasn't just about an open exchange of ideas across industries.  It wasn't just about learning the art of marketing.  It wasn't just about the hugs and the talks.  This conference... this reunion... was about something much bigger.  At the risk of sounding a little soft, this meeting of the minds was about making magic.  That's really the best way I can put it.

This year's conference has been set for May 2-4 in Chicago.  Terry and Liz are already promising bigger and better than last year.  Check out the SOBCon08 site for continued news about registration and other details.  And I hope to see you in Chicago.  This will be an investment you will value for a lifetime.

Open Mic Night @ Successful-Blog

I'm really excited about tonight.  I will be hosting "open mic" night at Successful Blog while Liz Strauss is out of the country on business.  For those of you not familiar with open mic night, imagine a 4-way intersection with four vehicles approaching the intersection at top speed.  Vehicle 1 is driven by a strong desire for conversation and interaction.  Vehicle 2 is driven by blogospheric technology.  Vehicle 3 is driven by stream of consciousness.  Vehicle 4 is driven by Attention Deficit Disorder.  These four vehicles collide every Tuesday night starting at 7:00 PM CST.  Getting to host is a big honor.  I feel like the high schooler whose mom has just left him the keys to her favorite sports car ("don't worry, Mom, I'll drive VERY carefully" - wink, wink, nudge, snicker).

Santas_spyTonight's topic will be fun (not that we have ever really stayed on topic).  Tonight we are discussing "Naughty or Nice:  Pranks and Good Deeds to get on one of Santa's lists."  And yes, that's me in the photo.  I was told to come up with a picture to go along with the theme.  They really should know better than to give me free rein on creativity by now.  Regardless, Santa does have his spies out and about, so we'll see what kind of "dirt" they can dig up.

If you're not doing anything tonight, feel free to swing by, participate in the conversation, or just observe some of the wackiest conversation you'll ever see.

And In Local News...

November has been a lot more relaxed than May through October were.  While I love speaking to different groups and meeting lots of new people, it has been wonderful to be home.  I've been spending my day today getting ready for the big day on Thursday... just doing some picking up and miscellaneous errand-running... and fantasizing about snitching as much stuffing as I can when my wife's back is turned (but don't tell her... after 13 years of marriage, I don't think she's on to me yet... I tell her it's just "natural evaporation").

Still, there are a couple of events this month.  Last week, I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Moose in the Morning on Lazer 103.3 about the appropriate use of social media.  There was a recent story about a bank intern named Kevin Colvin who emailed his boss that he would be gone for a couple of days due to a family emergency.  What he didn't anticipate was that one of his co-workers would check out the latest pictures of his Halloween costume on his Facebook page.  Yeah, he may have been dressed as a fairy (too many possible directions I could take that), but wings and wand didn't create much magic for him.  We had a very pleasant discussion about what to do and what not to do with social media to keep yourself out of trouble.

Later this week, I will be at Border's Books in West Des Moines for a book signing on Saturday, November 24, from noon until 4.  If you're local and not already shopped out, I would love to meet you in person.

Enjoy your holiday week!

October Sky

Plane_takeoffThe speaking engagements for this month are starting to take off again.  I thought I would highlight some of my upcoming activities for this month, and if you are in the neighborhood, I would love to meet you in person.

October 16 - Northeast Wisconsin Chapter of the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) - lunch keynote on Office Politics

October 26 - Central Iowa Chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI) - emceeing the lunch segment of the Professional Development Day event.  The lunch is a celebration of the chapter's 15th anniversary

October 28-30 - Greater New Orleans Chapter of the Project Management Institute - delivering two workshops, one on Project Communication and the other on Office Politics.

Also of note... East Village Books will be opening soon on the corner of East 6th and Locust in Des Moines.  Teri has put together an amazing shop that is sure to be a smashing success.  Stop by and check it out.

Don't forget... tomorrow is Boss's Day.  A great gift for your boss might be a book on project management or office politics (hint, hint).

Home Again, Home Again

Tim_in_nc_1What a rewarding week!  After my speaking engagement in Green Bay, it was wonderful to go down to the campus of North Carolina State University for the annual NC Chapter PMI Professional Development Day.  Despite the fire alarm going off in the middle of my workshop, it was a fun morning of sharing.  I was able to meet some of the other speakers (OUTSTANDING people with whom fast friendships were formed).

Tim_in_nc_2I have some other professional association speaking engagements coming up, including the Legal Support Professionals of Iowa (LSPI) and the International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) chapter of NE Wisconsin.

I've attached a few pictures from the workshop this past Thursday.  Now it's time to refocus on central Iowa activities, client needs, Drake classes, and family activity.  Have a great week!

Speaking Candidly

August and September are shaping up to be some very busy months for me, yet still very exciting at the same time.

First there are three speaking engagaements this month, in case you would like to attend.  If your schedule allows, I'd love to meet you in person:

The response for the new Carpe Factum Workshops has been very favorable.  There are still openings for the September workshops.  I had previously neglected to mention that there is a cap on the number of attendees for each workshop to better enhance the learning and communication environment.  This information is being updated today.  If you don't get in for September, there are openings in October through December, and the 2008 schedule will be released in October.

A special call-out is due to Valeria Maltoni for her great review on GUST - The "Tale" Wind of Office Politics.  I'm always fascinated by the personal nuggets that other people glean from reading this book.  It seems that each reader comes away with one specific message that fits him or her personally.  I think that is awesome, as the book was never intended as a "one size fits all."  Each of the reviews has personalized the book in some way, and since office politics are very personal, that's rewarding to see that the book is adding value across a diverse cross-section of professionals.

Finally, because my new blog buddy, April Groves, has shared her news about returning to school as a full-time student (way to go, April!), I thought I'd share a little education-related news of my own.  Because of Delaney Kirk's decision that Florida hurricanes were preferred over Iowa winters, her departure from Drake University (sniff, sniff) left a huge gaping hole in the department (in many ways).  One of those ways was a teaching position.  Earlier this summer, Drake offered and I accepted a one-year full-time visiting professorship in the College of Business and Public Administration.  In addition to all of the other current courses I'm teaching, I'll be developing and delivering a new MBA course in Leadership and Human Capital Development.  I'm very excited about the opportunity and thrilled to get to know my colleagues better.  Because the classes are all evening and weekend in format, I do not anticipate this interfering with my day-to-day consulting activities.

That's about it for a Monday morning.  Have an amazing week, and I hope you all are able to Carpe Factum!

Seizing the Lawpportunity

I hope you've all had fun playing Verbotomy this week.  I've had a blast reading everybody's entries into the game.

LawpportunitiesJust a quick note to remind all of you to register for the upcoming Lawpportunities Seminar on July 20.  Rush Nigut and Brett Trout are hosting a full-day seminar entitled, "Secrets of Successful Professionals Revealed."  I'm humbled to be included with an amazing group of presenters talking about a wide variety of topics:

Kevin O’Keefe
Drew McLellan
Mike Sansone
Adam Steen
Jim Goodman
Shirley Poertner
Tre Critelli
Victoria Herring
Mitch Matthews

So get your registration in today.  You'll be glad you did!

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