Thursday, August 27, 2009

Restroom Iconography XIV: Half Moon Bay, CA

Welcome to the Jungle!

We had lunch at the Flying Fish Grill in Half Moon Bay a few weeks ago. It's a small restaurant with decent, if overhyped food.
They have a single restroom that is in the building, but to quote my New England friends, "You can't get there, from here".

If you want to wash your hands or - ahem - do something else, you must walk out of the front door, turn left through the patio, turn left and walk the length of the building past the take-out window, turn left and go around the back of the building, turn left into the back door, look up at the sign above, walk past the company bulletin board and pantry, turn left into the kitchen, say 'Ola' to the cook staff, turn left into the back room where tacos are being made, turn left once more, open the door, and enter the restroom.

You have walked about 400 feet to reach a toilet that is 25 feet from where you were dining.

Strange, but at least they have fun with it.
There are at least three of these 'Restroom Safari' signs to help you find your way.

This is one case where it is truly about the journey, not the destination.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Little Things...

Is it a cliche? Yep.

Does that diminish its truth? Nope.

Little things are big. Very big.
But only if you notice them.

This photo is a closeup of a ladybug in Half Moon Bay. Easy to overlook, but very cool to watch over the course of 5 minutes.

Tonight, Angie and I walked to La Paloma, our friendly neighborhood Mexican Restaurant. When we got there, we saw a yucca in bloom. Beautiful. Fortunately, we noticed it. It stood about 4 feet above our heads. If we had taken our car, we would have never seen it.

On the way home, I was plucking fruits and flowers for Angie. I grabbed a persimmon. I pulled some small flowers and tossed them to her. Finally, in our complex, I got a handful of little purple flowers and presented them to her. "Do you know what those are?", she asked.

I looked at them and realized I was holding lavender. Really? I took a deep breath.

Very cool. Lavender is growing in our complex.
I love lavender - in my top five scents, with sandalwood, frangipani, and pizza.
I'm sure there's another, but I'll save one spot for the unexpected...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I love it when a plan comes together...

Brent Bloom and Nancy Duarte allow me to join them
Yeah, that quote gives away my age, but who cares?
I've been working with Nancy Duarte - author of "slide:ology" - since last September, building "slide:ology@kt".

"slide:ology@kt" is a day-long workshop, based on her excellent book, that is customized to our environment at KLA-Tencor. Nancy and her whole team at Duarte have been amazing to collaborate with. They are smart, fun, and very, very cool.

All of our work came to fruition this past week, as Brent and I delivered the workshop to thought influencers and leaders in KT. One senior executive who was holding an all-hands meeting the next day put these principles into immediate practice. He told us the difference was clear and powerful!
How great is that?

It's interesting, though... I've never been a long-haul kind of guy.
I'm a 'high I' in DiSC profiling: creative, energetic, with the focus of a butterfly: cruising from flower to flower, drawn by whatever grabs my attention.
This is one of the longer projects I've ever stuck with. It wasn't hard to stick with, because the project has been endlessly interesting. I've learned so much from Nancy's content and approach.

On one hand, the process has been energizing and rewarding. On the other hand, as soon as we finished Thursday's session, I crashed. I've been flat-out exhausted for the past 48 hours.

That's why I had to tweet, "I'm tired... but it's a good kind of tired."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Restroom Iconography XIII: Mountain View, CA

A couple weeks ago, Angie and I had an excellent lunch at Cascal, in Mountain View, California. We'd been there before, but I'd never used their restroom. I know, I know - too much information, but stick with me...

On this occasion, I did use the restroom. On my way in, the tile door icons immediately caught my eye. I reached into my pocket for my camera and found it wasn't there.

Damn... I've been posting interesting restroom icons on this blog for the past year and was bummed to miss these.
I immediately started planning my next visit to Cascal - with a camera. I'm sure this says something about me, but I'm not sure what exactly it says. And I'm not sure I want to know...

Anyway, I made it back to Cascal this past week, with my buddy Ed Muzio. We had an excellent meal - ceviche, queso fundido, paella, and a Cuban wrap.

At the end, I excused myself to 'take photos of the bathroom icons'. I thought I'd mentioned this little hobby of mine to Ed, but his expression indicated that I hadn't.
I explained, and then shot these.

I love gesture drawings. Rodin's sketches of Cambodian dancers are some of my favorite images. So, you can imagine how pleased I was to add these to my icon collection.

I'm not sure which I like more - the toreador or the flamenco dancer. So, I offer both.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Our "Dress Rehearsal"

Ed Muzio (2nd from left) and the KT Gang

On Wednesday, our longtime friend Ed Muzio spent the day at KT, introducing us to a very cool simulation.

Ed is author of Four Secrets to Liking Your Work, a book I highly recommend to anyone who wants to find more joy in their work. The excellent companion website contains case studies and examples from the book.

On Wednesday, Ed took our team through an exercise called "Dress Rehearsal". It's a complex game that simulates matrixed organizations, played by 9 - 13 players. It tests time management skills, teamwork, critical thinking, resource management, role definition, negotiating skills, and a lot more. It's fast-paced and fun (in a stressful sort of way).

We did well, beating the median scores in every round.
I can't say I'm surprised. We have a well-rounded team with a great attitude. Results always come before ego with this group.
We took away a lot of learnings from the exercise. I'd share them, but I hate to give away the game.

You can find more information about "Dress Rehearsal" from Ed's company, Group Harmonics.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

slide:ology @ KT

The incomparable Nancy Duarte at KT

Today was a very cool day.

Brent and I delivered the slide:ology workshop to a select audience of executives and influencers at KT. The turnout was great and the buzz was amazing.

Slide:ology author Nancy Duarte was in the house.
Duarte Senior Designer Eric "The MacGuyver of PowerPoint " Albertson was in the house.
A bunch of my favorite colleagues and internal clients were in the house.
Pizza... was in the house. What could be better?

Have you ever seen a lightbulb go off over someone's head?
Well, I saw 40 of them go off today. It was awesome.
We shared the principles of slide design. We looked at the results of an internal team that saw an 1800% improvement in slide design (yes... 1800%!!!).
We practiced a new way to create slides. We saw a change.

So, get off your butt. Buy slide:ology. Take the class.
Change your slides. Change the world.
Now (if not sooner).

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Six Disciplines of slide:ology

Wow... it's a busy time.

I've got three major programs going on at work.
I'm just finishing the 10th class in my Masters program (out of 13).
I'm proofreading a buddy's book.
I'm co-writing a series on Mentoring with another buddy.
And I'm finishing my first book proposal.

I'd consider saying no to one or two of these projects, except that every thing I'm working on informs every other thing I'm working on. Does that make sense?

An example:
I've been working on a project to introduce slide:ology into our company. I want (no... need...) to change our corporate culture around presentation skills.
So, we've worked with the amazing team at Duarte Design to build a slide:ology program that completely kicks butt.

I've also been working with my colleagues on strengthening the learning process in our company. We want to see learners practice and reinforce the skills they acquire in our classrooms. A few months ago, we brought in Cal Wick from Fort Hill to lead us through the Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning. It was a great day, and coincidentally occurred one week before the first slide:ology workshop.

I put the 6D's into action. We had slide:ology attendees send us 5 slides as pre-work for the workshop. I then graded the slides on the slide:ology criteria.
We used those slides as the content for the workshop and guided the attendees through exercises to improve their slide design.
Then, we opened up a 6-week window to support and reinforce the learning. Each attendee could send me 5 new slides. We coached them through this entire process.

The result? How about an 1800% improvement against the criteria? How about raves from executive review? Pretty cool, huh?

Slide:ology is awesome. The 6D's are amazing.
Mixed? Two great tastes that taste great together!
Like Long Island Iced Tea and and Filet Mignon...