Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Implementing Servant Leadership review Part 1

This isn't going to be your typical book review, first because it may happen in a couple of posts and second because I want to share with you the messages I have gotten from this book.  Again these are about my personal journeys and this is way for me to share with whomever wants to read it but also away for me to look back and reflect on what I have learned.

Implementing Servant Leadership stories from the field is by Don. M. Frick and is a compilation book about how a variety of companies implement servant leadership as their leadership model.  He uses examples from hospitals, to large construction companies, to neighbourhood coffee shops and churches.   In each it started with one person speaking to a group of people wanting to make a change so that things would be better for the company, it wasn't the necessarily about the bottom line but when a company is floundering trying anything is better than not trying at all.  In every story the company that embraced servant leadership was struggling and they made the change because they wanted to do better for their employees. The increased bottom line was just an added bonus, at least that's how I interrupted their stories.

So let us begin with hospitals journey to Servant Leadership.  The hospital was struggling and they needed to make a change, so they began the Servant Leadership journey. They designed a program to put their employees through because they understood that EVERYONE can be a leader.  They learned and embraced the importance of allowing people to lead so they could tap into their untapped potential and do a better job even though they were given fewer resources.  It was also important to note that by taking on Servant Leadership the "better than" attitude needed to be dealt with.  And all employees were given the opportunity to go through their program.

I liked the lay out of their program, it must be the teacher in me, but what was very clear to me was that the program wasn't a "can" program, that I could send out a request for then just implement it at my organization.  It was a living breathing entity of the hospital culture, it worked for them because they developed it for them.  Some of the the ideas, the processes, would work but the how my organization were to approach this would have to have unique spin on it for us, otherwise it would just be another training tool that our staff slept thru not actively participating in.  I've seen it a time or two.

Kathleen Fasbender shared that "Processes are there to serve the people, while people serve the processes to enhance the whole"(6) which immediately made me think of circles.  My boss is always talking about closing the circles.  We have processes in place and they are set up to help our people but for some reason they aren't closed or coming full circle.  Which means when we look at certain problems that come up because our process hasn't been fully realized to serve the people, are people can't serve the process and we are left with questions.

For me personally developing a Leadership workshop for my organization using the teachings of Servant Leadership is the end goal, it's what I wan to see happen, of what I want to be a part.  I would love to be part of the group that implements the workshop that does yearly retreats for groups of employees so that all our employees can be Servant Leaders to help with improving the quality of life of the people in our care.

I guess first though I have to feel confident in my ability to be a servant leader of my own life, which is why I have started on this journey.

I'm also going to speak to the Cape Town Connection in this blog.  Cape Town is in South Africa, it is a very poor town, that has a history of violence.  It has divisions that are still evident between the Blacks, Coloured and Whites.  But even when there doesn't seem to be anything, Hope is there.  Just like in Pandora's box, Hope remains.  With Hope you see people who hope to make a difference and choose to do something about it. With Hope you see people who want to improve their situations and people who want to help them.  It truly is a great showing of the human spirit, and of all the good things that humans are capable of if they just choose to think outside themselves.

I found in this chapter the quotes from the people most helpful, there were many great quotes from Robert Greenleaf, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein and others.  Nelson Mandela was quoted as saying "it is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.  You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership."(73) It's important that when a celebration is occurring that all my coworkers, employees individuals get to participate in our celebration, get to know that where we are would never have occurred if not for their involvement, my part is a small part to play.  But when things get rough, I need to go out front and help my staff see how we can solve the problem, if their is a problem it is for me as the leader, to solve and to help educate my employees how they can solve future occurrences of a similar nature.  It's about empowering people to use their potential to improve the whole. Robert K. Greenleaf is quoted to say "Community [is] the lost knowledge of these times.  If it ain't fun it won't get done" (83) which is very true.  When we work together to create a real community, we create a culture, but if we don't honour those in our communities, when we create classes of citizens in our community we lessen the community and it's no fun to be there.  Community is at the heart of culture, no culture exists where a community did not.  You can dream up your culture but without people to believe in it, without people to live it the culture will not survive.

I will go more into what else I found interesting in this book in my next blog.
Thanks for reading

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Books that I have used to start my journey

For those of you that know me, you know that I am a big reader, like from way back!  I love books and even in fiction I can often find messages that I can apply to my own life.  If you aren't a huge reader, then maybe it will be hard for you to understand this, but maybe you use a different type of media to get messages to apply to your life, maybe it's music, maybe it's movies, television, reality television... everyone has something, books are my major venue for finding reasons and ideas to apply to my life.
So here is how my journey began....

It was during a committee meeting that Servant Leadership was first officially introduced to me, I had seen certificates for it at work but I didn't know where it came from or what it meant, so I let it be. Then the COO began speaking to Servant Leadership, and something sparked in me.  I wanted to learn more, I wanted to explore more and become versed in this new idea... a new idea, so I asked for some reading material, and this was the first book I read.  It was an easy read and after reading it, I wanted more and more...

Then after I had finished reading the first book we had to been given two more books to read.  Implementing Servant Leadership which has many stories from different agencies, businesses, groups that use Servant Leadership.  It was really interesting to read how the different organizations use it, and I will further record those fun tidbits in later blogs, but I felt that what they were doing is what I have always strived to do, I feel like Servant Leadership is a natural fit for me....

This is another short book I read in conjunction with the second book on this list.  This book is an analogy book, it's not on Servant Leadership exactly but it is a book about how to look at your life and how to change your way of thinking.... There are some definite key pointers to take from this book to help you deal with the different ups and downs one experience in life.

And the latest book that I am reading is this one.   I think it's popular enough in main stream culture that it needs little explanation, but it is definitely my spring board to making a whole life change.  I am reading this book, and working each chapter as I do it, which I will be blogging about to keep a chapter for me on my journey.

This is a journey I am taking, a journey I am happy to take, but it's not going to be easy, I'll probably have set backs, and epiphanies, but it will happen because it is what I plan to accomplish.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Crash and Burn.......

Does this ever happen to anyone else? You are go, go, go..... then all of a sudden, the motivation that was driving you to complete everything on your plate disappears.  Just vanishes, and try as you might you can't get back on track...

from quotes
It's like your body, or mind, telling you to it's time to take a break, so that motivation that was propelling you forward takes a time out, and until you realize that you need to take a moment to figure things out, that motivation won't come back.

So then it was time for me to take a break, from all things, and I did... I literally stopped posting blogs, photo uploads to my 52 week challenge, reading my books, even at work I was approaching things with a just get it done because there's a deadline, not because I wanted to complete them well.  I'm not super proud of this mental break, but it is what it is, and now it's time to put my thinking cap on and move forward.

Because I don't want to give up, even though it may be easy to crawl into bed and go to sleep and only move through the motions of the day, I have plans, dreams and the only way I can accomplish these dreams I have to work on them! Do THEM!
The biggest thing I have realized is that I have to be an agent of change, I read that phrase in Stephen Covey's The 7 habits of Highly Effective People and it rang true with me.  Over the past few months I have been researching a Servant Leadership, a style of leadership which is modelled after Jesus' form of Leadership.  It's not a soft Leadership style, but a style that is centered on principles and values that honour and respect people and their contributions. I started by reading one book, then I read another and another and I have been doing a lot of reflection and working to incorporate it into my own life, work, home, all aspects.  I think that's where the break came from, I needed to let the information processes in my head, let the ideas sink in before I could proceed further.

This blog has always been a place where I have put my modest ramblings, sometimes people read them, other times they don't, but it's also a place I can go back to and reflect on what I have written, so now it's going to be a place where I set out my journey, the changes I am implementing into my life. What's going to happen is I will document the books I'm reading and how I am taking those readings and suggestions and putting them to practice.  I don't think everyone should do this with me, but if you are so inclined, I hope my path will help you as well... or if not and you choose to read my posts that you garner some type of entertainment from it.

I will still post some of the fun things I do with the boys and my hubby, but I'm going to again refocus my blog.... but it is my journey..... to reaching my dreams!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Calgary Zoo

Calgary Zoo, twice in a week, my life is on an up swing.  I went the first time with the girls from work and it was fantastic, so I thought it would be a great trip to take with the boys.  Then I realized that I had been a neglectful mom and had never taken Lil Man to the zoo before, and I can't even understand how that happened.

So Sunday after the family reunion we headed to the zoo with our cousins, Graham, Carla and their two girls!!

There are so many sights to see at the Calgary Zoo, the newest exhibit is the Penguin exhibit.  Unfortunately, they closed down the Australia Exhibit (back in 2010) and that made me sad. I didn't exactly like the Australia exhibit, it was never my favorite but the kangaroos were neat and some of those night creatures were creepily intriguing.  Our first stop at the Zoo was the Penguins, it's right when you come in, so it makes it easy!!

Those lil penguins are so darn cute.  The little tuxedo wearing acrobats! The rock hoppers are my favourite!! One poor little penguin was moulting, and he was still in his winter feathers and they just didnt' seem to want to come off so he kept pacing around and around, not standing still like his brethren.

After the penguins we went to see the Tigers, Gorillas, Hippos, Lions, Giraffes and Monkeys.  These guys have been at the zoo for a long time, but they are still a lot of fun to watch.  My favourites are the Hippos, they are so ugly they are cute.

The zoo had posted that giraffes weren't around the day we went to visit, but I guess that was a mistake because we saw both giraffes in their area, I really do think they are very graceful looking creatures.

Lil Man was thrilled with the zoo! I think he liked the Elephants and Tigers the best, we definitely got the most reaction from him when we saw those animals.  It may have been because they were the most active, or Lil Man just really likes them.  He is a lot like Chandler in the animals he likes the best.

We finished off the zoo with a family trip through the prehistoric park, our cousins left early, so we spent the next thirty minutes wandering through the dinosaur display.  We took some pictures and then it was time to leave. Lil man was so good for his first trip to the zoo, and his brother was such a great big brother and so accommodating.  I am very proud of my two boys!!!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Family Reunion

The Schnell family is a very close family that enjoys holding family reunion events at least once a year if not twice a year, I am so blessed to have been brought into this family.  Just to be clear, this is my husbands maternal family and I really, and truly love them all.

After all my gallivanting around the world, ok North and Central America, I came home in time to celebrate birthday's for two uncles.  So we had a mini family reunion the first weekend in May. And I got to drive my new car down too!!!

For me family is so important, I love all my family and I cherish the time I get to spend with my family. It's not as frequent as I would like, but when we do it's always a good time.  So to all my family, new and old, blood and chosen, I am very grateful to have you in my life and I love you all!!!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Week 20 Bright

So since taking a picture of the sun would have been cliche, I decided to find the next best thing.  A light bulb, no joking, but I did find some great plants that had some great sunlight shining on them, so those were my submissions for Week 20!! Also Lil Man playing at Sylvan Lake and the treacherous stairs that inflamed my sciatic nerve.

Monday, 24 June 2013

New Car

Good bye Explorer
Remember back on Good Friday I told  you my car had been involved in a hit an run?  Maybe you do maybe you don't, anyways it was involved in a hit and run and then the insurance adjuster told me they were writing off my Explorer, there was just too much damage.

I had an idea of a car I was going to get, it was just going to be a car to get me through until we had some more of our bills paid off.  I had looked at the north end car dealerships and had found a Kia at the Kia dealership.  It was a Forte and it looked ok, nothing fancy, but it seemed to have the added features I was looking for, but it wasn't a car I loved.... not by a long shot, but it would have done the trick.

When we checked our mail upon our arrival home from Vegas there was a customer appreciation invitation for MGM for the following day.  The kicker was, if we bought a car that day we would get a free trip to Vegas!!! Now this may seem like a fantastic deal, and really it was but we had just gotten home from Vegas and we weren't excited to go back anytime soon.  But I thought I would go have a look to see what type of vehicles they had that I could maybe afford.

Now this was probably the best decision I ever made. I believe that things happen and that there is a reason behind everything that happens.  I am actually willing to try lot's of things and I have had a vision board up by my desktop for about a year now.  On this vision board I had things for Fifth Avenue Collection, Vegas trip, Disneyland, I phone 5, new Apple Mac Book Pro, and a Ford Focus 2012 titanium edition.  I had already earned my Fifth Avenue things, the Vegas trip had occurred and been paid for, I was eligible for an upgrade on my phone and with some of my insurance settlement money I was going to buy my new computer.  That left Disneyland and the Ford Focus........MGM is a ford dealership.

So Hubby and I got up the day after Vegas and headed over to MGM to see what they had on their lot. I was resigned to the fact that I would probably be getting the Kia but I had to check out what they had to offer. The first car I saw on the lot was a silver Ford Focus, they look so different now that I almost didn't recognize it as a Focus, but there it was, leather interior, sun roof, My Ford Sync and Touch system, yup it was the car on my Vision Board.  I explained my bottom line to the salesman and I was going to stick to it.  We went out for a test drive and I would have had a broken heart if they were not able to meet my demands and I wasn't able to get the car, but thankfully they were and I bought the car.

I am so happy with my new car, it's exactly what I wanted, like exactly what I had envisioned and I truly couldn't be happier about it.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Viva Las Vegas Heading Home

The day after the wedding, is always one of those anticlimactic type days.  All this anticipation for this big day has built up, the day comes it's wonderful and then it's over and now everyone involved in the wedding has to come up withs something else to look forward too. I suspect that's why after people get married they are bombarded with "So when you going to have a baby?" type questions.
Hubby and I just sorta of hung out, we went back to Ross I had to get a couple more items, and I was looking for something for Chandler.  We hung out by the pool, said good bye to Nellie and Rhi because they were leaving that night.  Hubby and I contemplated hoping the plane early but it didn't work out so we just sort of did a little walking tour of the south end of the strip together.
I really and truly enjoyed our trip together but I was so happy when we were boarding our plane to Calgary to head home!! I was done with vacations and I was ready to sleep in my own bed for a time.
You may recall I was in Mexico not even four days before leaving for Vegas, it sorta makes sense that I was homesick for home!!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Viva Las Vegas Round two WEDDING DAY

The first day where my body seems to want to sleep in I had to be up early, as I had to head over to the Bellagio to get my hair done and start prepping for the wedding with my beautiful sister.
All the bridesmaids met in Courtney's hotel room then we headed down to the salon so we could make our appointments.  Courtney got a manicure done and when she was finished we all had our hair styled.  Courtney looked absolutely stunning, she has the nicest ebony colour hair and it's long and they had a half up do done for her!! After the hair was all styled and pinned into place we headed up to Courtney's suite for the dress and make up portion of getting ready.

After ordering some room service the girls began the process of doing make up and getting into our dresses.  It was fun and Courtney's other bridesmaids were great to hang out with, I knew Pam from before but this was the first time I had met Courtney's friend and sister in law Trinity.  She was very nice and I could see why Courtney always spoke so highly of Trinity.
Finally, all the primping was done, photos were taken and it was time to find the chapel.  No talking Courtney out of the marriage was ready and raring to go!!  It was in a little chapel and they actually broadcasted it live over the internet so my grandma and Chandler were able to see it once we set them up with watching it!!
It was a wonderful ceremony, nice a short!!  Then it was time for pictures, pictures and more pictures.  My feet, which were in high heels, were aching.  I either need to give up high heels, or wear them more often, I am leaning towards giving them up, my feet can't take it any more.

After the ceremony we headed out to find supper at Trevi in Ceasar's Palace Shoppe Forums.  Once we had all arrived we had a great time.  Impromptu speeches were given, and supper was had, it was phenomenal!! After supper we headed over to the Flamingo to Carlos and Charlies where we were able to get a deal for 2 for 1 margaritas and 2 for 1 beer.
Now let me just explain a little something to those readers who have never gone drinking with me.... I don't drink margaritas because I don't drink tequila, and I am not a big beer drinker, so I knew I was either going to be nursing some drinks all night or I was going to become inebriated to the point of passing out on the really was a crap shoot.  I ordered two margaritas, because I figured that would be the safest thing to do, little did I know each margarita came with 3, yes 3 shots of tequila.  I was almost drunk off the first sip.
After awhile of visiting we began to get antsy and noticed the beer bazookas on the bar, we enquired and found out that for 100 ounces of beer we would spend $40.  We were discussing this at the table when the bartender came up and explained that beer bazookas were part of our deal and we could get two for one.  DONE!! We ordered two beer bazookas and began the epic challenge of flippy cup!!  Three or four more orders later, they were closing up and I was trying to talk the bartender and manager into looking the other way as the beer bazooka was carried out of the bar by myself or my hubby.  We ended up heading to another club area and I completely forget the name, but it was somewhere by Harrah's and across the street from the mirage!
After an hour I had decided I was exhausted and needed to go home, so I rounded up my hubby informed my brother and his fiancee and we all headed to catch a cab and head on back to the Excalibur.  By this time it was 3 am and almost time for me to get up on a normal day hahaha.  It was a great wedding and I am so happy for my sister!!!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Viva Las Vegas Round Two Saturday!!!

So after a full twenty four hours in Vegas you would think we would have become accustomed to the various differences in time and various need for sleep.  But no, even though I was in bed by midnight, almost three hours past my regular bedtime (I know lame), I was up at the crack of dawn.  That wasn't even bad my hubby had only arrived back to the hotel at 4 in the morning, complaining that he hates this town because he got lost, and he was up and wide awake at 8 am.  I had laid awake for an hour, trying to will myself back to sleep which became a useless task. So let's begin this day!!
Saturday wasn't as full as Friday was, catching the bus in Vegas is simple but it can be a little time consuming and they only allow 5 people in a cab, apparently that's a state law.  So Saturday morning we went shopping again, ok i went shopping and hubby begrudgingly followed me around.  We only walked a couple blocks down the strip to Ross so that I could buy some items I was searching for.
I was lucky again at Ross, I love Ross Dress for Less, <3 nbsp="">


Anyways after the shopping, we went back to the Excalibur, had a quick lunch and then headed for the pool!!  My brother and his finance were meeting us there as well.  It was a great relaxing afternoon, couple dips, flips on the sun chairs and we were toasty warm and getting out tan on.  I think I may have dozed off a bit, but it was just a nice atmosphere to just relax in!! Hubby may have relaxed too much as he got pretty burned on the front, good thing he wasn't going to be in any wedding pictures with his shirt off.

After the pool, my brother, his fiancee, my hubby and I all got ready to head out for supper.  My brother had managed to get a group on for a buffet at Paris for all you can eat and drink, so we definitely took advantage of that.  The line was crazy ridiculous, but the food was WELL WORTH THE WAIT!! It was so good!! And the crepe station was the piece de resistance!!!

Then back to the strip to walk back to the hotel and see some of the sites.  We had to stop so hubby could get a picture with BumbleBee,
we watched the Bellagio fountains,

then we wandered through Cosmopolitan and down to the south end of the strip.
Then it was back to bed because the next day was Courtney's wedding!!!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Viva Las Vegas Round two Day two

Sleep what's sleep?? This is especially true in Vegas!! I was so tired when I finally fell asleep the day we arrived in Vegas yet, I was up at 7 like normal, and wide awake.  So I got up and headed down to the gym and did a workout.
After that workout I met Adrian back in the room and we got ready to head out for the day.  First stop.... OUTLET shopping!!!  Where i bought almost nothing, seriously, I bought nothing!! My husband on the other hand bought tons and tons of stuff!! Ok maybe not tons and tons, but he did buy a significant amount of things.  Well ok he just spent more money than I did.
After wearing our shoes out at the outlet mall we headed off to the pool at the Wet Bar in MGM.  It was an experience, but it was a lot of fun!! There was music and a pool and table and lot of booze!!  I think it was a pretty expensive afternoon, but the boys from the wedding party were winning and spending their money as fast as they won it.  No wonder no one ever leaves Vegas richer!!
After the wet bar, the boys and girls separated.  Us girls were trying to go to Thunder from Down Under again, but they were sold out so we went to Dicks and did some gambling instead.  The boys went out to find trouble on the Vegas Strip!!  (and if their stories are to be believed, they failed hahahA) They ended up winning at a table game, bought a limo who took them to the strippers (after stopping at 7-11 for booze) and then they went back to a casino.  Hubby got lost, but eventually found my brother and then they staggered back to the hotel. To be fair, I am sure my brother staggered less on night two than he had on night one, as apparently he was passed out by 9 on their first night in town.  Something about drinking at a table game for 4 hours and not moving and not having anything to eat either.
The girls night was tamer, mostly because I'm old and well, I like to sleep so I was in the hotel room by midnight and out by 12:30.  I still had a good time, but there was lot's to do on Saturday and I wanted to be well rested!!!