Monthly Archive: September 2010

Sep 19

Protecting Your Electronic Personal Data

Disaster RecoveryIt’s hard to believe but my first computer relied on a cassette tape drive to store programs and data. I considered it a luxury, when I upgraded to a floppy drive a few months later. Four years after that, I moved to a PC with a 10MB hard drive. The data storage requirements were minimal, so backing up data to floppy disks was more than sufficient. Over time, I used a variety of technologies for securing the data generated at home. I used the IOmega ZIP and Jazz drives for a time. Like others, eventually I found myself with a collection of cartridges but no drives to use them with as the technology fell victim to new backup technologies. I also used CD and DVD for backing data.

Today, our home computers serve as a storage platform for more critical data because we use our computers for home banking, completing taxes, managing investments accounts and the like. We also store family history like digital pictures and home movies. A couple of years ago, I purchased a single drive Western Digital 1TB MyBook World to store our family photos and movies. When I installed the device, I began to think about the risk of a single drive unit and about backups of backups. I looked at redundant drives, but at the time the cost was more than I wanted to invest. Well, a few days ago I noticed that my operating system was losing the mapping to the MyBook. Yesterday, I realized that the unit is failing when operating for a while and turning the unit off to cool would restore functionality when powered back on. So I began the process of moving data to another location temporarily while I considered my options.

After reading a few reviews and comments of others, I settled on the Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440. The device contains 4, 1TB drives and supports a variety of RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) configurations. RAID provides the ability to replicate data across multiple disks , therefore reducing the possibility of losing data due to the unlikelihood that two disks would fail at the same time. The BlackArmor supports hot swapping drives, so when a disk fails I can replace the drive without shutting down the unit. When the new disk is inserted, the RAID system rebuilds the data on the new drive using the replicated data from the other drives.

I have managed to avoid any loss of critical data during my computing experience spanning nearly 30 years, but I have heard horror stories from friends. As in the case with the MyBook, a simple flip of a coin may have resulted in non-recoverable loss of data and a horror story of my own. When the NAS arrives and gets installed, I’ll be able to rest a little easier knowing that the ever increasing amount data in our household is safe for a little while longer.

I would love to hear your story about how you manage computer data in your home and any horror stories you have to share because data was not backed up.

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Sep 07

15 – The Law of Victory

"Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win"

In John C. Maxwell’s book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (2007), John shares the law of buy-in.

Most people prefer to win rather than lose. For any given leadership situation, a multitude of variables teeter the balance that influences whether a team wins or loses. Leaders that win often tend not to accept defeat as an option so they find ways to win rather than lose. The litmus test for a leader is found in a crisis — when the pressure is on. When under pressure, great leaders find a way for the team to win.

Great leaders understand that they are responsible for leading the team to victory. Great leaders shoulder the blame when things go wrong and do not seek out others to blame. Great leaders leverage their passion for the objective and their unwillingness to accept defeat to foster creative thinking among their team to identify solutions that allow the team to win.

Attaining victory hinges on three major components. First, a unity of vision among the team members is vital. The leader is responsible for creating the team’s mental model. Without the common mental model, team members form their personal agendas and contribute from that perspective. Despite the exceptional talent and potential of individual contributors, a team without a common mental model or vision rarely wins. I have said many times in the past that I prefer a team of above average performers with a common vision and good attitude to a team of star performers without a common vision and poor attitudes.

Second, the team members exhibit a diversity of skills. Some team members contribute vital skills while others contribute less vital skills but in most cases a variety of skills are necessary for teams to be successful. A key leadership skill is to staff the team with a diversity of skills. Another leadership skill is to appreciate and value every contribution whether from a vital or non-vital skill. At this point, I am compelled to add that thought diversity also adds to the team’s success. Most people are comfortable with like-minded people. However, a leader must develop comfortable relationships with others that think differently. The combination of ideas from a variety of perspectives normally leads to much better solutions when compared to those created by teams that missed key perspectives during development.

Third, the team needs a leader dedicated to victory and willing to mentor and guide team members to their full potential. Developing a vision and creating a unity among team members to work towards the vision does not happen by accident. The leader is responsible for molding the vision and communicating in such a way to create the unity or common mental model. The leader motivates, empowers, and provides the direction for the team to win.

As a leader, your responsibility for success must be a personal commitment to the task at hand. The leader needs to display unquestioned passion and dedication to the team’s success. If unable to meet those leadership goals, one must seek answers to ask some critical questions. Am I pursuing the correct vision? Am I in the wrong organization? Am I the right leader for this team or organization?

Ask your team about their purpose and mission. If the members do not agree on the purpose and mission, as a leader you need to define and communicate the vision to create unity. Discover the personal goals of your team members and strive to align those personal goals with the team’s vision, mission, and overriding goals.

I wish you well on your personal growth journey. I appreciate your additional insight, so feel free to comment to share your thoughts and experiences.

Links to other posts in this discussion on the laws of leadership.
Mind map of the 21 laws of leadership.
Introduction to the leadership laws | 1 – The Law of the Lid | 2 – The Law of Influence | 3 – The Law of Process | 4 – The Law of Navigation | 5 – The Law of Addition | 6 – The Law of Solid Ground | 7 – The Law of Respect | 8 – The Law of Intuition | 9 – The Law of Magnetism | 10 – The Law of Connection | 11 – The Law of the Inner Circle | 12 – The Law of Empowerment | 13 – The Law of The Picture | 14 – The Law of Buy-in

Maxwell, John. (2007). The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership: Follow them and people will follow you. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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