Sunday, April 27, 2008

Questions and Perceptions - Architect role

This article found at:

Optimistically Critical...

Architects must ask questions (a lot of questions) to gain an understanding of a system and its components..... .questions often lead to a perception of hostility, pessimism, and excessive criticality. No matter how much you try to show neutrality, empathy, and reason, some people inevitably will focus only on the negative aspects of being critiqued, and they take it personally..... come to learn that questioning with sensitivity and being optimistically critical are skills that are required to have an extended career as an architect.
Criticality is needed to perform the basic function of a technical leader; sensitivity is needed to help communicate critiques; optimism is needed to succeed and just remain sane. There are times when silence is prudent; but, in general, we as architects must communicate our views, both good and bad, or we add no value. We must communicate our views—sensitively, whenever possible; bluntly, when necessary; and harshly, never.
....They might be obvious, but find value in repeating them:
1. Being sensitive and kind doesn't move us forward, but it makes the journey more pleasant.
"I always prefer to believe the best of everybody; it saves so much trouble." –Rudyard Kipling
2. Being critical doesn't move us forward, but it does help guide our steps.
"Large skepticism leads to large understanding. Small skepticism leads to small understanding. No skepticism leads to no understanding." –Xi Zhi
3. Being optimistic doesn't move us forward, but it motivates us to take the first and subsequent steps.
"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." –Babe Ruth
4. It is the actions of people that move us.
"When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals; adjust the action steps." –Confucius
I ask you to take action and promote optimistic critical thinking in your organization.

This article was published in Skyscrapr, an online resource provided by Microsoft.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Spring Tennis - 4/08

After evening my spring record with Satish at 1-1 last week with an inspiring come from behind 7-5 win indoors, I dropped 2 sets 3-6, 2-6 at Glastonbury in 75+ heat. In the win I was able to get myself in good position to control points, hit a bunch of lines, strategized well(moved ball around at right times) and served fairly good for me. I was totally gassed after the set. Shows that I need to play 'A' game to even have a chance at eking out a win. In the latest 2 set loss, Satish's groundstrokes were deeper and well placed keeping me back and not allowing me to push forward. He had some nice passing shots when I came to the net and lower number of unforced errors. After 2 sets outside in the heat and elements, I was less tired then the one set victory last week. hmmmm...Neither of us served well it seemed (low 1st serve percentage). But Satish's second serve is better then my 1st so there you go. I have a few adjustments to make. One especially in the serve department where I will attempt to change the angle I bring the racket back (i.e. more like Sampras, low and perpindicular with body) as opposed to bringing it back more on a flat plane (i.e. Gimelstob). Maybe that will feel more fluid. So far looks like same dominance developing as last year's outdoor season for 'G' man. I would hope I can make a better showing this year. Better serve mechanics, conditioning maybe? Hasn't been easy for me at this state to make those improvements, especially in conditioning. I need to constantly push, and after a days work, I'm mostly drained and then rushed to get home. I rarely can get out of the office on time, then get stuck in traffic and by the time I get to the gym....anyway....I need to stop whining about it. I'm grateful to have a job and be able to do some things I enjoy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hockanum River Race - 2008

I took my kayak out for the 2008 Hockanum River Race. Results are posted here: I entered in 2004 with my brother-in-law in a 2 man canoe. Inexperience, low water and a metal canoe was not on our side. We had a horrendous race time but can now share many laughs from that race. This year was different for me as I wanted some redemption. My brother-in-law Glenn Chaisson also entered with his friend Dave Weiner and did very well in their 2 man kayak. I came in wanting to be under 1:40 and hoping more for 1:20 but with really no baseline to mark against as 2004 gave no indication of potential. It was extremely cold but the water was high. My buddy Dave got me some gloves which were key and got me a ride from the finish. Satish and his family showed up, which was nice to see them out. He took some cool video and made a dvd of me going through the rapids. That was much appreciated as my family couldn't make it out. Maybe we get him out next year but really doubt that. He's better on land with a racquet in his hand and in 90 degree heat. There were 30 boats in my class of plastic short kayaks. I almost dumped off the start as I scooted in off the hill but the helper guy caught me. That would have been the worst! The crowd gave me an anxious laugh/applause. I was a bit shaky starting off, trying to set my watch and get my feel for the rocking of the boat. As I approached the "rapids" I made a decision to stay right of the river and feel my way through. I pushed through and stayed mostly away from trouble. But I'm no expert at this stuff. Occasionally I would place my paddle to the wrong side or too deep into the water which will casuse a sudden hard pull. I was helped out later in the rapids when I got stuck against a rock. Then I felt temporary relief before I went up the side of a big rock and scooted off of it (kayak is at an advantage there) and then onto the pond where I kept a steady pace. At times I would remind myself to use more shoulder and drive. There were nice people along the way, cheering and giving advice. Anyway, I counted about 6 boats pass me in all. 1 early on, 2 on the pond and 3 on the lower river. I passed one guy who was going head to head with me. He was a better paddler but he dumped up against a tree and eskimo rolled out and had to beach. I got caught on the same tree but managed to luckily push out. I saw him later on and was glad to see he finished up well. Lots of curves and logs and rocks. I felt I made mostly good decisions. I ended up at 1 hour 30 minutes in 12th place. Good time with good people.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Spring tennis tune-up and Kayaking

Spring training continues before the Summer tour. It's hard to find courts as nets are either in bad shape or not up yet. We also contend on court time with the school teams. Satish and I played in cool but decent weather. After warming up a bit we started our set. I lost serve on first game and went into a funk from there for the next 3 going down 0-4. I was missing some easy forehand "put away" type of shots (at strike zone inside service line!) as I was not paying attention to form, flying out and trying to wail at the ball. My head needs to be still. Anyway... Satish played hard and consistent throughout. His strokes were on the mark and putting me mostly out of positon. I picked up my game a bit in the middle to at least challenge for a while but I was clearly over matched against a better player. 2-6 to G-man. My serve surprised me in spots. I was getting a decent percentage in on the first with some velocity, although that doesn't equate to too much. Placement was there on a few also. We started another abbreviated set. I broke his serve on first game and had new life. But Satish won the next 3 gritty games and sent me home packing wondering what happened to my forehand.

Hockanum river race is Sunday. A few of my buddies will be doing kayaks this year. I need to redeem from 2004 canoe debacle. This year it's "personal". I'd like under 1:40. A little anxious with the rocks/rapid part as I don't have a clear strategy. If I get through that, then I'll cross the pond, portage and hope to navigate the tight spots to the finish. A good spot to watch may be behind Beacon Light in Manchester-SW (Oakland Rd.) . There's a trail along the river. Also you can pick up the Hockanum trail off Burnside - I84 Exit 60.