Wow! It’s been a minute since I posted something here on Rivers of Thought!

My last post was a Christmas wish and now it is St. Patrick’s Day! To say the first 10 weeks of the year have been a blur is an understatement. While it may seem from the perspective of this blog that I have not been doing much. Nothing could be further from the truth! Let me catch you up on a few of the goings-on!

 

JANUS Program

In January I had the honor to deliver a two-day workshop based on my book Amplify Your Job Search to a group of America’s finest! I spent two days at Camp Mackall in North Carolina with 30 Green Beret. These were soldiers who were within 18 months of their transition date out of the military and into civilian life. The JANUS Program provides transition assistance to our heroes to ensure a smooth entry into life outside the military. Job search skills training is an integral part of that transition.

This was only the second live event I had participated in since the COVID lockdowns in 2019. I was a little hesitant to fly given the pandemic and some of the wacky things going on at our Nation’s capital in January, so I rented a behemoth SUV and drive to North Carolina. The drive was mostly uneventful, other than the six inches of snow that fell as I crossed the mountains one way and the dense fog I encountered coming back the other way.

 

Institute for Digital Transformation

Late in 2020, I was welcomed back as a Fellow of the Institute for Digital Transformation after a several-year hiatus. The Institute’s mission is to help prepare leaders and organizations for transformation. The Journal is the Institute’s blog. My first article since returning appeared in March 2021. “Is it time to disrupt the IT service desk” takes are hard look at the state of the IT service desk, the impacts of the pandemic on the service desk professionals, and offers up some thought about transforming the service desk through people, process and technology.

The Institute has also been hard at work on the creation of the Digital Transformation Manifesto.  With so many conflicting ideas about digital transformation, we thought it was time to release a manifesto in the same ilk as the Agile Manifesto. The manifesto will provide a definition of what digital transformation is…and what it is not! Be on the lookout for it coming soon!

 

Status Go

In January, we celebrated our 100th episode since launching Status Go in 2018. That is 100 episodes of great, actionable content from nearly 100 guests on topics ranging from technical, strategy, and leadership, to gender and racial diversity, and everything in between.

So far this year, we’ve released (or dropped in the vernacular of the podcast biz) twelve episodes, including:

Forbes Technology Council

I continue to write several times a year through the Forbes Technology Council. This is one of the many councils Forbes has developed. These councils provide a community of thought leaders across several disciplines such as human resources, finance, and, of course, technology. One of the benefits is the access to write content to appear on Forbes.com. In 2021, I have had two posts appear.

In February, I published the third installment of my Race in Tech Series, The Funnel. This post blows up the myth that there are not enough minority candidates in the job pool and challenges business leaders to “open the aperture” by reviewing their job qualifications. The Funnel looks at several organizations that are working diligently to expose unseen candidates to organizations across the country.

Part one in the series is Race in Tech, Part I: Inside the Numbers, a look at research results into the current state of employment in the tech sector.

Part two in the series is Race in Tech, Part II: Being ‘The Only’ provides a glimpse into what it feels like to be the only underrepresented minority at work or at an event. I go on to highlight some organizations whose mission is to support “the onlys”.

 

People Development Magazine

In March, I wrote a piece for People Development  Magazine, published out of the UK, Gender Equality in Tech – It got worse…and it may be your fault is a hard-hitting piece that reveals the adverse impact the pandemic has had on gender diversity. If you are in a leadership position in the tech sector, the reason for this regression may rest on your shoulders. For this article, I asked eight women around the world what actions men who want to be allies for women in tech can do immediately to start to tilt the scale.

#AmplifyYourLeadership #BlackLivesMatterLast week’s Leadership Thought “I Have No Words” sparked a lot of email, texts and comments. Many of you, like me, are struggling to find the words, to know how to react to the unrest around us, and to know what actions to take. Many of the messages contained an explicit or implicit question: But, what about the violence and the looting? 

Let me respond, first by saying, I am a self-proclaimed pacifist. I abhor violence and destruction of any kind. I wish we all could just get along (you know, hold hands and sing “Kumbaya”). I wish that for the neighbors in a dispute, our political parties, the countries of the world, and certainly the races of the world. Like John Lennon I “Imagine all the people living life in peace”. 

However, I am also a realist. There are wars (and, yes, I wholeheartedly support our troops, I come from a long line of those who have served our country), there is conflict, and yes, there are riots, violence and looting. History is filled with examples of rioting and looting going back thousands of years. 

Don’t believe me? Google “riots throughout history”. There are so many of them, they had to divide them up by century. There were riots in Rome when Julius Caesar was assassinated.There were riots in Canada after a loss in the Stanley Cup. There were riots in the U.S. over a tax on…whiskey. 

The Boston Massacre occurred because colonists were frustrated with the presence of British Soldiers in their neighborhoods and threw snowballs at Soldiers. The soldiers responded and killed five colonists. 

The Boston Tea Party was a result of growing resentment between the colonies and British taxation. 342 chests of tea were dumped into Boston Harbor. It started a revolution. 

As my wife and I watched Ken Burns’ Civil War this week, I was reminded of the riots that took place in the North in response to the draft of Union soldiers. 

As I researched this post, I learned of “Red Summer”, a series of riots and looting in over three dozen cities that took place 100 years ago at the end of World War I. Whites were fearful the black soldiers returning from the war would take their already scarce jobs. (Interesting that was at the same time in history as the Spanish Flu pandemic…history repeats?) 

Riots and looting have occurred because of political differences, because of hatred of another people, because of team affiliations (football, soccer, basketball, hockey), and yes, because of race. Sometimes, the oppressed have rioted, and sometimes the aggressors have rioted. 

I have to ask the question, what would have happened if the armed protesters who protested in state houses recently against “stay-at-home” orders were met with aggression instead of silence? 

Would I ever feel anger or hopelessness, or feel passionately enough about a cause to resort to violence? I’d like to say “no”, but what I can say is “never say never”. 

I, for one, have felt anger. However, I can’t imagine what it feels like to be oppressed. Oppressed for hundreds or even thousands of years. I have felt hopelessness. However, I can’t imagine the hopelessness of generation after generation who are suffering and yet, are unheard. 

What I can do is listen with empathy and compassion to the voices of generations.