Archive for August, 2008

I’m going to get you LinkedIn, Old Man

August 30, 2008

LinkedInI knew it was coming. Having successfully turned me into a Facebook user, Laurie was pushing me out of the nest again. She was setting up on LinkedIn so I could connect with thousands of people.  Why do I need to link up with thousands of friends when I can’t keep up with the handful I currently have?  Of course, she’s in charge in this area, so I just do whatever she says.  I gave her my work and education history, everything I could think of from my past.  She talked excitedly of how many people this would immediately connect me with. When she linked in with her short history, she had 3,000 connections immediately.  With my 30-year work history, she couldn’t imagine how many I would have.  She assured me it was going to be big.  With anticipation, she finally entered the last detail and pushed link.  Her faced dropped. She couldn’t believe it, something must be wrong, I had only 3 connections!  Where were all my fifty-something friends?  Apparently not LinkedIn yet.  Come on y’all I need some friends. 

Join me on LinkedIn!  How has social networking impacted your current career?  How do you utilize online social networks?

Authored By: Rolfe Carawan



From ‘Facelift’ to ‘Facebook’

August 22, 2008

I need a face-what?!  When Laurie, my twenty-something National Accounts Manager, announced I needed a Facebook account the response was less than enthusiastic. She said I need friends.  I have friends, I need more? I need hundreds? I was picturing my kids huddling around a screen with their friends laughing at the pictures and posts. Spending hours ‘talking’ to kids from nearly everywhere.  It was MySpace in high school and Facebook in college, either way I wasn’t making the connection. We were talking about our marketing plan for the next year.  How is that going to help me get clients?  She assured me it was important in the big scheme of things and proceeded to set me up with an account. We’ll see what happens. 

Authored By: Rolfe Carawan


WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon shoots for her dream even if it means doing so for another country.

August 19, 2008


Becky Hammon

AP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel


In the August 4, 2008 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine, I read an article about Becky Hammon a WNBA All-Star who has decided to play for the Russian national team in the Beijing Olympics. The focus of the article is about how an American can forsake her own country and play for another. Many claim that this is unpatriotic, but Hammon explains that she wasn’t really given a chance to play for the Americans and simply wants to live out a dream of participating in the Olympics—even if the country she represents was once an enemy of her own.


Here is the intro of the article:

Snubbed by team USA, WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon is putting her all-American reputation at risk for a shot at a medal in Beijing—playing for Russia, a country she once dreaded.

What really caught my eye was the final paragraph of the article. Hammon makes an interesting statement about unity:

Becky HammonAP Photo/ Elizabeth Dalziel

The uproar that would be created if Hammon helps defeat Team USA would no doubt make the pre-Olympic controversy pale in comparison. But Hammon is undaunted. “I’m proud to be an American,” she says, “but I’m also proud that Russia would embrace and accept me. Medal or no, they’ve given me the opportunity to remind people what the original Olympic spirit is all about—unity.”

I find this “controversy” intriguing. On one hand, I understand Hammon’s desire to compete in the Olympics; on the other, I wonder if this really does represent “the original Olympic spirit”. And what about the idea of unity? Do her actions create unity or disunity?

So… what do you think? Is she right or is she wrong? But more importantly, why do you answer that question the way you do?

Authored by: Rolfe Carawan

The Lost Art of Building Unity

August 18, 2008

When did we turn the corner?  When did the emphasis on diversity and individualism overtake the commitment to unity?  How did we become a people unable to effectively build unity?


There is an art to building something that is aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound. If a building is not structurally sound it will crumble from within. If it is not pleasing to the eye, it will fall down from neglect. Unity is like that, it is a combination of a sound organizational structure, a compelling reason for being and appealing relationships. 


Today’s businesses, communities and families suffer because we have lost the art of building unity. One of the reasons is because we have lost our focus. More accurately we have been focusing on the wrong things! You empower what you focus on.  


In baseball, if the batter focuses on, “not striking out,” guess what happens? You got it, they strike out. In football, if a receiver focuses on the last pass he dropped he is more likely to do what? Drop the next one.


If you focus on your weaknesses, you remain weak; if you focus on your strengths you get stronger. If you focus on the behaviors of a friend or spouse, you empower those behaviors to annoy you and divide you. Conversely, if you focus on that person’s good qualities you empower those qualities to foster respect and even compassion for the areas of vulnerability.


For far too many years, we have been focusing on the wrong things when it comes to building the types of homes, communities and businesses that most of us long for. We desire homes where family members actually enjoy one another’s company and provide sanctuaries of rest and acceptance. We seek communities where neighbors support one another and rally round each other in times of crisis. We yearn to work in businesses that allow us to express our fullest potential in meaningful endeavors with people we actually enjoy being around.


But our focus has empowered a plague of discontent, dissent and discord. We focus on what we don’t have or our personal shortcomings, making us discontent with what we have or with who we are. Because we lose focus of our personal values, priorities and life mission, we commit to groups or organizations that operate contrary to our values and we end up chafing and stirring dissension.  We focus on our diversity and deify individualism rather than centering on the things that unite us, causing conflict to run rampant.


It does not have to be this way, we can build unity. We can choose to focus on finding agreement and common values. We can focus on becoming trustworthy and building strong, enduring relationships. We can choose to learn how to lead by valuing and respecting each unique person. When we do this we give people the opportunity to succeed, and we build unity, commitment and loyalty.


So…what’s your focus? 

Authored By: Rolfe Carawan