Home

Who Needs A Leader?

Leave a comment

How many of you have played the game “follow the leader” as a child?  We gathered as children and we designated just one as the leader and then everyone else was to follow the leader and trust their judgment to not only keep them safe but to also enjoy the game.

Imagine how difficult the game would have been if it had been called “follow each other”. Instead of a single file line behind one person making decisions for the team, you’d have a whole field of kids standing side by side and going in every direction.  It would not be long before the game would bore everyone and a new game would have to be played to keep the attention and excitement of the crowd.

At the time I am writing this article, one of the latest news reports in the United States is around Zappos.  The company has moved to a new organizational structure called Holacracy (www.holacracy.org), in which managers have been removed and the team is empowered to work together.  Zappos CEO, Tony Hseih is quoted as saying, “Think of every employee as a mini entrepreneur.  Which is not really for everybody; some people like to be told the 10 things to do”.  He’s absolutely right.  In fact, it was proven this week as 14% of the staff accepted a buy-out to leave the organization because they didn’t like the new structure.

I’m honestly surprised that it was only 14%, because I would think many of us want to have some direction and guidance.  In fact, even if you’re a CEO, you look for direction from your board members, customers, and supporters.

Why is this structure so difficult for some to deal with?  The reason is that it’s human nature to be led. When we are born, we immediately inherit parents who will guide us, protect us, and teach us how to deal with and survive in the world.

We then go to school, and experience teachers, counsellors, and coaches that provide guidance and direction for our education.  Imagine how we would have learned as children had we gone to school and was told “work together, but we are not going to tell you what to work on, nor are we going to give you homework or exercises to learn”.

As we grow up, we experience sports, and in part of that experience, we notice that there is a coach there to guide the team. I’ve heard the following quote many times through the years: “players win games, but coaches win championships”. We can all play well together.  It’s quite possible that we can even be productive and successful. But to experience true success beyond all opportunities takes having a coach and a leader there to drive toward the goals.

When I examine the holacracy practice, I begin to wonder why some people accept it and some people cannot. Here is what I’m thinking:

The Leaderless

Some people do not want to answer to authority. They feel independent and want to have control over their responsibilities and their outcomes.

The Leader Needers

Some people require that leadership, the push to keep them going. They seek guidance to send them in the right direction and drive them to success. Without it, they would simply sit and wait for the next suggestion or command.

If you’re a believer of the “Leaderless” theory, then you must find the best approach to work collaboratively with your team to ensure the responsibilities are met without someone in the front driving the direction. It is important that everyone understand the roles of the team.

For the “Leader Needers”, if you are the leader in front, you have a great responsibility which can not only affect your life, but the lives of others. I would assume that many people are starving for direction in their successes. If you are focused on winning with the team collaboratively (similar to the leaderless theory) while still driving the decisions and directions of the team, you can be part of something amazing.

For the reality check, It’s very likely that we live in a society where leaders are becoming soft. They are not accepting their position and driving the team aggressively with authority. I challenge the leaders who are not taking the responsibility and either do not want the role (maybe it was given to them against their wishes) or they are not dedicating themselves to being successful.  If you’re in this position, maybe it’s best for you to give someone else a chance to take the reigns of the team. If you’ve ever seen birds flying in a “V” formation, keep in mind that the front bird is hardly ever consistently the same. Sometimes they fall back and let another take the lead for a while. You will earn much more respect by recognizing that a change is needed than to just keep trying with no success.

Which best fits your idea of a high performing team? Could you operate in either? I would like to hear your inputs on which one you would feel most comfortable working within, and the reasons behind your decision.

What is your Legacy?

Leave a comment

PREFACE: I’ve had this blog on my mind all week.  It’s been a while since I have written and I was thinking of this very topic as my first after so long.  I had 90% of this writing complete and saved it as a draft this morning.  As I sat in church today, my pastor began speaking and I realized that his topic today was exactly in line with this very article.  He spoke of realizing  your purpose in life and leaving something to the world long after you are gone.  It’s times like these when I know that the work I do and the writings I share with the world are meant to occur.

Two Most Important DaysThis week I was watching “The Voice” and a song called “See you again” is being performed by Wiz Khalifa. The inspiring words are at the start:

It’s been a long day without you, my friend

And I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again

We’ve come a long way from where we began

Oh, I’ll tell you all about it when I see you again

When I see you again

So many thoughts came to mind as I listen to these words. The one core though that stayed in my mind was how that, so many times in life, the moment is gone before we even realize it was happening.  It reminded me of another phrase that I heard just yesterday once again:

“Life is what happens while we are making plans”

Why are we unable to cherish and enjoy those special times in life to the fullest?  Maybe it’s because the world is getting faster before our eyes. We’ve gone from having computers on our desk and laps to having them in our hands and wearing them on our wrists.  Everything is at a faster pace than ever before in history.

But as I thought about the great people I’ve gotten to spend my life with – especially my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and parents – I’m reminded of what things I remember when I reminisce about the days of the past.  And then I’m reminded of the legacy that was left to me; the lessons I’ve learned; the stories that I have been able to tell; and the experiences that have shaped my life to what it is today.

Then I’m reminded of one of my personal core values that I learned first from Stephen Covey: “To Live, To Love, To Leave a Legacy“.

It may sound crazy, but one of the many things I must ensure that I accomplish in life is to leave a legacy. To be remembered for something.  To stay in the minds of others long after I am gone.

What is your legacy?  What are you hoping to accomplish in this life that you want others to remember you by?  Is it a book? Is it a charity event or effort? Is it helping others in need? Is it a great invention? Is it to help grow your company or organization? Is it to start your own company? Is it to provide a memory to your children and grandchildren of core values and a purpose in life? Or is it something even more large that changes the world forever?

We all have the potential. And we all have the same amount of time every day. Zig Ziglar stated that “We all have 24 hours in a day“. What are you doing with your days to leave your legacy?

I’ve learned that as we grow older new things become more important than others. I’ve learned many of the basic core goals of my life in just the last few years.  I feel confident in telling you that when you realize what your goals, your aspirations, and your legacy encompasses, you will know it with clarity.

I would love to hear from you, reader, and what are your plans for leaving a legacy? Your life is important. Have you found your purpose?  What is your purpose?  How do you want to be remembered?

Check out my Facebook Page!

Leave a comment

Today, I felt it was time to separate my personal Facebook page from my future writing, speaking, and other adventures of life.

If you are a follower of me here on my blog, and you have Facebook, i invite you to check out my new Facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/mikelylesbusiness

Thank you for following my blog!  Without each and every one of you, I could not pursue my goals!

Keep Smiling!

New Year’s Resolution Time! 2015 is My Big Year!

6 Comments

It’s that time of year, when folks start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions.  I’ve laughed at how so many of us will make promises on January 1 that we soon fail to complete.  Many of our commitments are lost by the end of January.  it’s a known fact that gyms get the most applications for new membership in the first week of January.  And then people go for some time and eventually let it drop off of their schedule.  People will start a diet, and many will lose a few pounds, only to give up when they step out of the diet to eat something that is not good for them.  People set goals to accomplish their lifelong dreams, only to give up after just a few months of moving in that direction.

I can’t say too many negative things about this, because I, too, have been one of these people.  I have planned to grow faster, do more, accomplish more, set major goals for the year, only to find that I fall short.

But in 2015, this is about to change.  I know that my diet needs to change and I need to become more healthy.  That is a goal I will set on January 1 and i will be firm on making this happen.  But this is only a minor part of what 2015 has in store for me.  I plan to reach out to schools and other institutions to look for opportunities to speak on leadership, and to begin coaching people on the things that made me successful in my life, as well as lessons learned which I can share to help others avoid the same roadblocks and obstacles that I encountered through my life.

But 2015 brings something new for Mike Lyles —- I have aspired to write a book for so many years.  And I have kept notes, articles, thoughts, ideas, suggestions, and guidelines in a journal for more years than I can remember.  I am pulling all of the things together and in 2015, I will be planning to publish a book.  And I hope you, my followers, will be interested in reading my thoughts and being part of this journey with me.  I have read so many books as well as experienced so many things in my life that I feel the book will have something that everyone can relate to, regardless of whether they are a computer geek like me, or whether they like leadership and management coaching.  I want this book to be something that touches everyone in some way and gives them something to use practically in their lives.  Keep your eyes open.  2015 is the year of the Lyles Book!

There are so many other things I plan to do in 2015.  The list is too long to share in a single blog.  But I can assure you that as I check off the long list of goals for my 2015, that the world around me will be changed!  No time for procrastination anymore!

So what’s your plan for 2015?  Have you already started thinking about what you want to accomplish in 2015?  Have you procrastinated in 2014? 2013?  Years before?  We are not getting any younger, and life is not slowing down to give us more time to complete what we want to do.  Look around you and examine what you do each day.  Are you wasting your time doing things that have no value to your life, and your message to the world?  Make a list of things you want to accomplish in 2015.  Prioritize that list.  Look at the first two items on that list, and break those items down into tasks that you can do every day to move you in the direction of completing the goal.  You will be surprised what you can accomplish if you give even 10 minutes a day to your goals.  Tell those that are close to you about your goals.  Tell them when you plan to complete them.  And tell them to help you be disciplined.  Sometimes a word of encouragement will help you to stay on track.  It’s human nature to want to keep those people that are important to you happy.  So if you have someone watching your goals, you are less likely to procrastinate.  Make it a team event!

Always remember the words of Steve Jobs, who said:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.”

2015 should be the year of “Never, never, never give up!” (quote from Winston Churchill).  Make it year that you look back on and say that this was the year you turned your life around in the most positive direction!   One small goal that you complete today may result in an amazing impact to your life in 2015 and beyond.  Never underestimate how important what you do every day will do to move you closer to your goals in life.

And if you’re reading this and saying “I don’t have goals” – then today is the day you need to set at least TWO.  Get them on paper and get started on them.  What is your purpose in life?  What do you want to leave as your legacy?  It’s been said that the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.  Make the best of this life.  Set your goals.  Go after them.  And let’s celebrate 2015 a year from now!

Get ready for my book!  It’s coming my friends!

I’m now published in CIO Magazine!

2 Comments

It gives me great joy and pride to announce that my interview with Jeffrey Fox has been published with CIO Magazine.

I hope that you, my loyal followers and readers, will check out this article and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!!

You can see it here:

CIO Magazine Article!!!

 
20140710-144906-53346661.jpg

What the 80’s Taught Me About Software Testing – the Presentation!

1 Comment

Me in 1987!

Me in 1987!

Back in April 2014, I had the privilege of getting to present a keynote at STPCon in New Orleans, LA called “What the 80’s Taught Me About Software Testing”.  This was one of my most favorite presentations, and the research, the work involved in gathering all of the data to make this come to life was thrilling!  I had so much material that I could have talked for a whole day on the subject, but since it was a one hour presentation, I condensed it.

My question to you, readers, is this….if I were to put all of this into an e-book, would you consider buying it?  If so, please comment and let me know.  I think we could add at ton more material than even was in the presentation.

 

PacMan_GoodBut for now, I wanted to share with you the presentation, which, thanks to the Software Test Professionals team, is housed on their website for you to view the slides and listen to the audio file.  I hope you enjoy listening to it and following along as I did putting it together.  If you were actually THERE, there is still room to learn something new each time you listen to it!

Thanks for following and check out this link for the presentation:

http://www.softwaretestpro.com/Item/5929/Keynote-Address-What-the-80’s-Taught-Me-About-Testing/Testing-Trends

NOTE: You will need an account with STP to view the link.  However, there is a free version if you wanted to try it out first.

My Farewell Letter to Lowe’s

1 Comment

As many of you know, after 19 yrs 8 months, I have left Lowe’s on 5/02/14 to move into a QA Architect role with United Guaranty.

I wanted to leave my many friends and co-workers with a note that hopefully would last long after I was gone.  Below was my message to everyone as I left today.


I know…..another farewell email for your mailbox.  I apologize to anyone that doesn’t know me.  But I wanted to make sure I reached out to everyone in IT and that didn’t miss someone.  Even if you don’t know me, I might be able to give you something to remember about me today!

Being at Lowe’s for 19 yrs and 8 months has given me the privilege to meet so many wonderful people.  As you would imagine, I have witnessed so much change, watched our company grow from a small office in Wilkesboro (which is no longer even there) to the ‘mall’ location in Wilkes, up to the first offices in Mooresville, and then the IT offices later on.  I’ve watched us grow from a couple hundred stores to over 1700.  I’ve watched us stand up Lowes.com and watched it grow so fast.  I’ve lived through and witnessed several CIO’s and executive leadership changes, reorgs, “visions”, “roadmaps”, and many other changes.

I’ve had the privilege of working with some great mentors and leaders along the way.  Of course, I’ve also had some leaders that have taught me a long list of things leaders SHOULD NOT DO.  I’m equally grateful to both – because both have made me a better leader and employee.

I never expected that I would leave Lowe’s.  In my mind, I felt it would be the place from which I would retire.  But life doesn’t always let us assume the paths that we will take.  As Steve Jobs once said “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.  So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.  This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

I honestly don’t know where my future will take me, and to be even more honest, I’m not scared of it.  I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities in my career.  I’ve gotten to be part of the lives of so many employees and contractors, and I hope that I have been part of the change and growth of their futures.  I have been in IT for so long, but I know that my passion is to tell the world my story, to write, to teach, to mentor, to coach, and to give the world something that they have never seen before.  Everything I do from this point forward will be in line with that goal.  And I hope that you join me in that journey and that we stay in touch always.

I leave you with some of my favorite quotes and thoughts – along with my assessment and input with them.

  • One of my favorite books is called “How to Become CEO” by Jeffrey Fox.  What an awesome book with awesome advices.  If you haven’t read it, I strongly suggest you to.  Some of my favorite quotes from this book are:

o   “Be a Credit Maker, not a Credit Taker”

o   “The Concept Doesn’t have to be perfect, but the EXECUTION of it DOES”

o   “No matter what your job is, you can improve your company by teaching others what you do, why you do it, how you do it, and anything connected with your responsibility”

o   “Look for ways to make your boss look good and your boss’s boss look better.  Don’t’ let them make a mistake”

o   “when someone says ‘I think’ or ‘we believe’ or ‘its my opinion’, that means they don’t know”

  • “Never allow others to think you always have the best answers.  This will only make them dependent on you” – John C. Maxwell from Developing the Leader Within You
  • “Nothing Fails Like Success” – Stephen Covey from The 8th Habit — listen close to this advice.  What works today may not work tomorrow.  What keeps your head above the water today may not be enough to survive tomorrow.  Continue to grow, evolve, and stay relevant.
  • “The Drive-thru is NOT always faster” – Mike Lyles —- don’t think because it SEEMS easier or more efficient that it will be.  Sometimes when I’ve sat in the long lines at a drive through, I’ve found that it would have been faster to get out, go in the restaurant and get my food instead of wait in line.
  • “Be remembered for keeping calm” – Mike Lyles – this is hard advice…and I’ve not always followed it.  But people will respect you if you work toward the goal without taking it personal.
  • “Remember that you have 2 ears and 1 mouth” – and I think it’s by design — try to listen twice as much as you talk!
  • “People will forget what you SAID…People will forget what you DID…but they will never forget how you made them FEEL” – Maya Angelou.  Yes, that’s what SHE said.  Remember that long after the discussions or actions are gone, people will remember how you made them feel.  Be kind and respectful.

What is your five year plan?  Do you have one?  If not, you should.  And you need to ask yourself are you doing something every day that is getting you closer to that goal.  Don’t settle for being average.  You have the potential to be great… find out what it is you do best, and do it better than anyone else!

To everyone that I got to mentor and coach and lead – you must know that YOU taught ME more than I could ever teach YOU.

My only request is that you remember all the great things we did together.  We’ve learned, we’ve grown, and we still have “miles to go before we sleep”.  There are so many ways to follow me, connect with me, and reach me.  I hope and pray that you do!

Mike Lyles

Email:                        mikewlyles@gmail.com

All About Me:           http://about.me/mikelyles

My Website:             http://www.mikewlyles.com

Twitter:                     @mikelyles

LinkedIn:                  http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikewlyles

Facebook:               http://www.facebook.com/mikelyles

Older Entries

raji

My journey

Smita's Blog

Founder and Chief Test Consultant at QAZone. Part of the 3rd billion.

Milin Patel's Blog

Software Tester & Quality Assistance Engineer.

Martial Tester

A blog for a guy that 'fell' into software testing and hasn't found a way to climb out... It's good or bad depending on the happenings of the day.

The Lead IT

Build Skills, Lead IT

Benjamin Yaroch's Blog

Striving to be a better tester

A Developer's Best Friend

Developer and Tester Unite. Be great! But... build it like you got it wrong. You will soon think of a better way to build it, so prepare for that now

James Christie's Blog

thoughts of a software testing consultant from Scotland

Curiousity killed the cat

- but I'm still here!

Hello Test World

Aaron, Brian, David, Oliver and Richard on the art of testing

Testing Via Blogs (TVB)

Tester don't use will rather they use can.

Testing hermeneutics

hermeneutics and software testing and some other ideas

testerahead

My blog is what I feel for different things in life

Knowledge Tester

Software Tester equipped with Knowledge

TechnoTeamBlog

Weekly Tech News

The Testers Edge

My experiences, observations, and thoughts on Software Testing

Philip Lew

Software Quality, Cycling, Adventure, Food, and Life!

Prashant Chambakara

SEO Executive & Web Spam Engineer

SQA Knowledge

Software Testing and Quality Assurance

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 123 other followers