Archive for May, 2011

Part time job in the family business

Oh what a wonderful tradition!  I worked part-time in the family business as a student and recently employed my kids in my business as students.

I personally found it to be a great way to really “experience” my family’s business values and personality.  It was an experience I can remember as if it were yesterday. 

I hope the experience was similar for my children and I think it was.  They get to see dad in action, how he interacts, works, treats people and carries himself as a professional.  I think getting to interact with your parents in a professional setting really allows for children to get to know their parents from a different perspective and lens.  And I guess the same is true for parent and child. 

Most recently my son graduated from film school and presented an idea on how I could take my traditional business and expand it dramatically through combining traditional training with filmmaking and entertainment and the explosion of video on the web.  What an exciting opportunity to be creative, collaborative and capitalize on the unique opportunity for both of us. 

Like everything, there are pros and cons to this arrangement.  Here are a few:

Pros:

  • more time with your kids and perhaps more importantly in a different setting
  • getting needed work done by cheap (sometimes) lovable labor
  • giving the office staff a chance to get to know your family more
  • creates exposure to family’s profession so that children have more information to choose their own profession 

Cons:

  • getting the office staff to get to know your family more
  • potentially seeing work habits that are not up to the family standard
  • being a potentially difficult position of having to fire your children
  • potentially causing more conflict in already tumultuous teenager/parent relationships

Overall, if both parties want it to work and make a commitment not to let it negatively affect their relationship – give it a try!  It will be a good learning experience for everyone involved!

Coaching is a universal language

Today I had the unique and enjoyable experience of observing our Turkish coaching students to see how they were progressing during this week’s class. The new part was that they were coaching in their Turkish language. While I don’t speak Turkish, I saw many wonderful things. I saw coaches making connections with their clients through their eyes, their expressions and the client’s own reactions. I saw insights happening with wide open eyes. I saw enthusiasm and passion for helping people move forward with new action and commitments. Best of all I saw a special partnership.

Tomorrow I will ask them to coach in English so I can hear more dimensions of their work. But for today I could see coaching was producing the desired outcomes. Coaching is universal and special.

 

Just when you thought we were different

Albert Long Hall
South Campus

My visit to Turkey has illuminated many cultural differences for sure. At the same time it has reinforced the notion that we are more similar than we are different. Coaching leaders here sounds the same as coaching executives in the United States. All of us are looking for ways to find more effectiveness, meaning and ultimately personal satisfaction in our lives.

The coaching process gives us a chance to take pause, be reflective and explore the patterns of thinking and acting that hold us back from living our most powerful and rewarding life. Coaching is about being willing to be challenged and stretching ourselves to reach for new heights. When we declare new possibilities with clear intentions it’s amazing how we set ourselves on a new course.

  • Awareness (of where we are), choice (about where we want to go) and trust in ourselves and the process of getting there.

Thank you to the Turkish participants for allowing me to be on the journey with them.

Going Uptown

Today I ventured out for the 25 minute walk to the funicular. The funicular is basically like a light rail pulled by a cable. The funicular took me up the hill to Taksim Square and the Istiklal Avenue shopping district. Its like two worlds combined. Small shopkeepers alongside the biggest names in retail. The long wide street is closed to traffic except a vintage cable car that transports shoppers.  At every corner there is a little side street with other shops and cafes.

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I was tempted for some familiarity when I saw the Starbucks, but I don’t even frequent it much at home, why start now. Like shopping anywhere, I lost interest pretty quickly and made my way back toward my hotel. I hit a sidewalk cafe for a sandwich and coke and called it an afternoon. It always amazes me how I walk miles in distant places, yet rarely do it at home. I need to get more pedestrian back home. I promise I will walk to work at least once before the hot weather is upon us.

Off to the university tomorrow to begin teaching the coaching class. Really looking forward to connecting with the Turkish leaders. Connecting with leaders from another culture is going to be an enriching experience. I’ll keep you posted.

Observations from Istanbul

The first thing you can’t help but notice is the sheer number of people in this ancient city. Fourteen to seventeen million depend on who you ask.  Istanbul has seen a lot over the course of its history and is still strong, vibrant and proud. The city is amazingly clean, modern and well maintained for its age.

It’s a marvel to see how efficiently the public transportation system moves everyone around between light rail, train and big and little buses. When you take one look at the car traffic you’ll readily jump on a light rail.  In my 45 minute cab ride from the airport (20 miles) we were moving quickly about 5 minutes and creeping along for the rest of the time. My cabby made every effort to switch routes, squeeze in where he shouldn’t and give a few drivers a piece of his mind, but in the end it was annoyingly slow for both of us.

 See full size imageThe highlight of the first day was a trip to the spice market, one of the oldest continuously run markets in the world. As a lifelong entrepreneur is was entertaining to see the free market system in full swing. Merchants  giving their   lively spiel to each prospective customer, haggling for the best deal and seemingly enjoy the whole experience all the while. It might have been 300 years ago for that matter, raw goods displayed on crates, a scale for weighing and an almost overwhelming amount of foot traffic and enthusiasm. Spices, cheese, herbs, even chickens, and of course the market staple – leeches. I can’t remember when I’ve seen a better bargain on a good old leech.

In the end I was struck by the simplicity, warmth and good spirit if it all. The Turkish people seem very comfortable in who they are and enjoy the traditions of their great city. They welcomed me with a warm smile, a huge selection of bargains and good deal on a rack of spices. Tomorrow I’m off to the more upscale district by Taksim Square.