Monday, October 13, 2008

MS150--Southern California Event.

One of the causes I strongly support and try to "make a difference" in some small way is contributing to the fight against MS. I have a number of friends who have MS and have been active in a number of MS fundraisers and related activities.

This past weekend, I participated in the MS150 Orange County to San Diego ride. It's one of the most fun events I've every participated in ---- plus we raise a lot of money to fight MS. So far, we have raised close to $2 million.

On Saturday morning, our team, the Derailleurs, left Irvine, California at 7:30 in the morning---for a delightful ride down the California Coast with over 2000 others committed to fight this disease ---- Can anything be better? The first day, we rode 107 miles. Great weather, but strong headwinds made the last 30 miles a bit of a challenge. On Saturday evening, we had a great celebration event and barbecue.

Sunday morning, we resumed the ride in Carlsbad California and had an easy 45 mile ride down the coast to Mission Bay in San Diego, ending with a celebration lunch.

It was a great event! The fundraising continues until the end of November, 2008. We still have to do more fundraising to meet our goals!

I'd like to invite you to make a difference in the lives of everyone who suffers from MS, their families and friends. Please donate---help us meet our goal. Donation is easy, just follow this link and have a credit card handy:
I Want To Help In The Fight Against MS!

Thank you so much for your support!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Connecting Versus Relating --- The Disappearance Of Real Relationships

There is a great post in the Slow Leadership blog on "Connecting Versus Relating." It speaks to the breakdown of relationships, transforming them into transactions conducted through impersonal channels like email, messaging, Twitter, Blackberry's and cellphones. I would also add many of the social networking media.

While these "tools" have made all of us much more accessible and available--the emotional connection is lost. Relationships---at least meaningful relationships are built on trust and emotional connections. The new ways we "connect," while convenient, strips away that connection. It seems to me, the more we substitute these convenient ways to stay visible and "connected," the more the true nature of the relationship erodes. Ultimately, we lose the connection, probably without knowing it and we continue the transactions.

These tools also create a shield that enables us to do things that are unthinkable in a real relationship--we can start shading the truth--which gives way to outright lying. We can avoid addressing tough issues head on, or we can do it in terribly insensitive ways. Not having to look someone in the eye, talk to them voice to voice, to understand the reaction limits us terribly.

Research indicates that 70% of communication is non verbal---most of us interpret this as "body language," and other subtle clues we pick up in face to face communications. It would stand to reason the more we come to rely on maintaining relationships through non-direct ways, the more we lose in communications --- and the more we lose in relationships and our ability to trust.

Our worlds, whether business or personal, are increasingly complex. We are all time poor. The new social tools and means of "connecting" add some convenience and speed to communication, these tools are only a complement to building and maintaining meaningful relationships.

We all fall victim to this. It is so easy to send a quick email or SMS. I recently reconnected with a colleague, responding to her invitation over Facebook with an message "glad to reconnect." I got no response and started wondering why aren't we really connecting ---- and the answer is so simple ---- I should pick up the phone.

I am having some "challenges" with a client---who also happens to be a good friend. We seem to be waging electronic war, or at least I seem to be, to resolve a difficult business issue. The other day, he yelled "uncle" electronically ---- I got an email --- "Dave, a phone call would work.... "

We are actually both guilty. We both let the safety of hiding behind email help us avoid a difficult conversation -- but one that will quickly resolve the situation. Doing that has damaged our relationship --- but hopefully not irreparably. I need to give Bill a call!