Busy, Busy

Apologies for the long gap since the last posting. While I accepted the red envelope to exit “the Matrix,” there are still some tasks to complete for my current employer, and I am doing them. In addition to that, I’ve been doing some advance reading for my new employer, Zero Point Frontiers.

So far the list consists of:

StrengthsFinder 2.0

For the record, my top five self-tested strengths based on the SF 2.0 web-based test were: Strategic, Learner, Activator, Individualization, and Achiever. Why not “Communication?” Because I’m a writer and their communication questions focused on speaking. As my buddy Doc likes to say, half-seriously, “If I wanted to talk to people, I wouldn’t have become a writer.” Anyhow, after I submitted my responses to ZPF, they sent me a list of the other team members’ strengths. Enlightening!

Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

I’m about halfway finished with this one. It is a field-study-based analysis of organizational cultures, from the truly dysfunctional to the transformative. The authors provide real-world examples of how these various cultures function (or don’t) based on the language they use and how they can evolve or devolve from one level to the next. On one end of the scale, you’ve got street gangs, on the other you have medal-winning Olympic teams and high-functioning technology firms like Apple. Seriously worthwhile reading. It will be interesting to see how ZPF function in this context.

Rework

I read the introduction for this book, and it appears to be a business book written by (or for) non-organizational types looking to build a start-up. I could be wrong.

Delivering Happiness

According to Amazon.com, this one will hit my mailbox today, so I might update this entry once I get a chance to read the blurb on the back or the introduction. One thing at a time (he says while multitasking).

Steve Jobs: A Biography

Okay, I started reading a little bit of this, but will probably save it for last because it’s the longest. One thing you don’t hear a lot about in educational circles is the value of reading biographies of eminent, successful individuals as a way to encourage others to emulate their example. The Jobs biography seems to be cast in this mold, so that should be a fun read.

I haven’t read this many business books since I worked for Disney University. These are part of my education about how the ZPF culture is developing. This will be a new environment for me, to be certain. Most of my work experience to date has been with large or medium-size organizations while much of my non-profit experience is with small organizations. Small, nimble, innovation-minded technology firms are new to me. I missed participating in the dot-com boom, but many of the things that made companies successful during the ’90s are still out there and are now being codified in books and practices. I have an interesting learning curve ahead. The operations, dynamics, and accountability will be very different. All to the good.

Otherwise, I’ve been teaching English 300 (Business Writing) at UAH, which is proving to be more time-consuming than I’d expected, mostly because I’m making up my lectures and course materials as I go along (shhhhh! don’t tell my students!). I expect to write a lessons-learned blog at the end of the semester. Right now I’d say my teaching efforts are a work in progress.

And when I’m not doing teaching stuff, I’ve been keeping track of the events for the Science Cheerleaders. They were featured on the Today Show yesterday, so I expect an uptick in that business as well.

There are worse ways to live. I’m actually having fun, so I must be doing something right.

About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Directior, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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