Happy New Year!!  Can you believe it’s 2012??  Time flew by in 2011—I wonder if it was because of all the vacations and fishing trips? 

We had a great Christmas holiday and I hope you did, too!  What made ours great is that the whole family was together—yes, all our 7 kids and our son-in-law.  The Christmas lights on the house and setting up the tree were my main jobs-both of which were completed on time, within budget and looking good!  I have been trying to push for an artificial tree for years—but the ‘boss’ likes the smell of a real tree.  I told her I could just get a couple of real branches and shove them in the middle of an artificial tree each year but she just gives me that look—which means stop asking.. I’ll ask again next month because that’s the best time to buy them!

We spent a week in Tamarak (ski resort within a couple of hours from us) at a cabin.  We ate and drank eggnog, went skiing, ate and drank eggnog, played games, ate and drank eggnog, watched bowl games, ate and drank eggnog, took naps, ate and drank eggnog, went ice skating, ate and drank eggnog, built our traditional snowman, ate and drank eggnog, had a snow ball fight, ate and drank eggnog, and took a family picture.  Oh, and did I say we ate and drank eggnog?  Basically I gained about 10 pounds during the holiday-no worries though, I’m back down 7 pounds.. 3 more to go!  And now, no more eggnog for another year! 

So our big move is scheduled for June/July to Tennessee.  We will miss Idaho-it's a beautiful place to live and terrific people.  And it is difficult commuting-being away from the family during the week and on some weekends.  But we can last for 6 months as it is much better to have the kids finish the school year.  Our oldest at home will graduate from high school and will be off to college.  And no, the house isn’t for sale until around April!  But, if you are interested, I’m willing to take early deposits!

We have been house hunting and we get a lot of interesting looks when we say we are looking for 5 bedrooms (have to have a guest room so when you come to visit!).  They always ask how many kids and we tell them we will be down to 3 at home after next summer—which seems to us like we are almost empty nesters!!  But then we get told that 3 is a lot.  Sharlene has made a couple of trips and we figure we will make a decision on housing soon.  Will keep you posted.

The new job is going great—well, at least for me.  I know I’m not contributing much as I’ve got so much to ramp up on.  But the people are great and the organization is as impressive as we all imagined FedEx to be!  There is an impressive complex for the IT group.  Let's just say I meet a lot of new people by asking directions to all my meetings! 

During the holidays I did get a number of emails with links to that video where the FedEx delivery guy threw a big screen over a fence.  Let’s just say that’s not the FedEx way and management jumped all over that and bought the customer a new one that day and appropriately disciplined the driver.  I love how customer service is taken so seriously in this environment.  You can ‘feel’ it everywhere you go and in every meeting.  My kind of environment!

I finished reading the book on Steve Jobs.  It was a great read and I highly recommend if you are interested in leadership.  I'm planning to write my summary up in my leadership blog-but briefly it opens you up to the human side of Steve as well as his leadership style.  I continue to feel that a servant/service based leadership style is best-you will learn that Steve had a different approach... more to come.  My next book... "Killing Lincoln" by Bill O'Reilly.

Since I went back to work in the Corporate world, my time is limited… So I’ll be updating my other blogs when I get a chance throughout the next week or so.  I’ll continue to do my status the first of the month and then the others throughout the month as time permits!

Have a great month… and yes, The Best is yet to come!!

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving Holiday!  We certainly did-in Florida with almost 80 degree weather!  For those of us who live in ‘4 season country’ going to the beach during Thanksgiving seems unreal.  However, we didn’t let the warm weather stop our ‘feasting’ and ‘eggnoging’-so much so that I think I gained 5 pounds in a week!  But let’s not go there...  When we flew back to Idaho from Florida we were in our sandals and arrived late at night in 30 degree weather-it was a ‘jolt’ to say the least. 

I also enjoyed celebrating my 50th birthday.  And for those who have already crossed this milestone:  I SAID, I ENJOYED MY 50th BIRTHDAY. J  Amazing how I don’t feel old but my kids were pretty blown away as they realized I just transitioned out of my 40s into a new decade!  One of my gifts was a T-Shirt that said “D.A.D.D” (Dad’s against Daughters Dating—my girls weren’t as excited as I was!)

And now it’s December!  Christmas is just a few weeks away!   So, Merry  Christmas!!  (And for those that don’t celebrate Christmas-I hope you enjoy the season!)  Our Christmas lights and tree are up!  It seems that most people are in a better mood during this time of year—I wonder if it’s because it’s the only time of the year that Eggnog is for sale (at least that does it for me!).  I’m also looking forward to our kids that are ‘all grown up’ coming to join us for a week at a cabin-our Idaho family tradition.

And as college football season comes to ‘bowl season’ it was rather frustrating to see Virginia Tech and Michigan leap frog so many teams to get put in a BCS bowl game!  I must say that I was rather disappointed as you listen to ESPN try and justify the decision making process.  Virginia Tech just got blown out on national TV in their conference title game—and they go to a BCS game?  Let’s just say Boise St, Kansas St and some others were more deserving.  Well, next year!

How do you teach your children that it is better to give than receive?  Check out my Family Blog for the month!

On my Leadership Blog, I drew from Colin Powell’s perspective on leadership.  Everyone has their own approach, but studying how others became successful is educational.  However, as you continue to learn from others, don’t lose your individual uniqueness! 

This month I wrote up another non-technical white paper on Retail IT:  How important is a phone?  Check it out on my  IT Management blog.  I’d love to hear your thoughts/feedback/input/criticism on the article!

As for consulting, it’s been another fun month as I finish up on Retail Telephony.  The best part of working with companies is getting to know the management team and what makes them successful.  Vertical Communications, Inc is a medium sized company and very responsive to their customers.  So that’s the trick for every big company, continue to grow-but don’t lose sight of your dedication to customer service!

So the summary of my ‘consulting’ learning’s from this past month—in order to ‘stay ahead’ you need a process to ‘try’ some new things or different things.  A process that is nimble, flexible and helps you quickly identify the value/benefit to whatever it is you are ‘trying’.  From an IT perspective, this is why business groups can get frustrated with IT-when they have an idea that appears to be of benefit to them, it takes too long to flush out the reality.  You need to design a way to validate the assumptions while not taking on the whole project.  Bite a piece off and if it tastes bad spit it out and move on.  But if it tastes good, then pour another glass of Eggnog and have another bite!

As for my consulting, I’m going to shift gears back into the corporate IT world.  If you recall, I shared with you that company where I ended up 2nd place.  And as it turns out, they called me back.  And during the past few weeks, my wife and I visited the area, they made me an offer, I accepted the offer, passed the drug test, and now we await board approval.  So, we are planning to finish the school year in Idaho and then June we are planning to move the family to Tennessee (yes, where the Titans play) as I go to work for FedEx.  The position is VP IT Operations.   I will share more about the role next month.

And yes, I was surprised to get the call back.  I was actually well down the road with a few other opportunities after working through the disappointment of getting 2nd place.   It just goes to show that life will always provide you opportunities.  The question for us is:  Are we prepared?  I’ll leave you with a favorite quote from Charles DuBois:  “The important thing is this:  To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”

Hope all is well with you!!  Enjoy Christmas and the Holiday Season!!

Have a great month… and yes, The Best is yet to come!!

Happy November!!  I hope you enjoyed Halloween!  It was the warmest Halloween I can remember in Idaho—however, I still wore my down jacket, my gloves and my cowboy hat.  It’s the best JR Ewing impression I have! (From ‘Dallas’- few people remember that show from way back-wore that same outfit 11 years now!).  And prior to Halloween, I was working on losing a few pounds to get in shape for Eggnog season—and then came trick-or-treating with all that candy!  So a few candy bars later (I like the chocolates) I’m back to my ‘cut back on the sweets’ routine... at least until tonight when I may have another bowl of ice cream!

The family is all doing fine and we are right in the middle of enjoying football season.  Pulling for the Boise State Broncos to finish out undefeated.  It’s all about expectations—interesting how when you get so used to ‘teams’ excelling your expectations are set very high.  One loss becomes a huge disappointment.  Yet, other teams you expect a few losses and it’s ok (Notre Dame, Minnesota Vikings, Titans, Bucs).   That can apply directly to ‘family’ and raising children.

So which is better when it comes to raising kids?  Establishing high expectations with their grades and then experiencing disappointment when they blow a test?  Or lowering the bar and then when they blow a test or a grade you smile and say ‘no big deal’?  Which is the better approach?  Curious as to your thoughts...   I wrote my thoughts on this topic on the Family Blog!

The biggest accomplishment this past month was writing up a non-technical white paper on Retail IT:  Store focused or Enterprise Focused?  Check it out on my IT Management blog.  It takes pieces from the book I’m writing on managing IT, but zeroes in on some concepts I used when I went to work for Albertsons and carried through my days at Supervalu.  I’d love to hear your thoughts/feedback/input/criticism on the article!

Social Networking... yes I continue to evaluate the use of Facebook, Twitter... very interesting ‘movement’.  There are many that say it will go away, get replaced by something else...  the point is that it is being used by ‘many’ for a means of communication.  For example, I’m an assistant scoutmaster for a scout troop and I’m maintaining a Facebook page for the scouts and their parents.  We share pictures from the activities, mention upcoming activities, things that need to be done during the coming week.  Another way of communicating... 

With Twitter, (@garybronson7 is my twitter name) I’m seeing a number of companies using it to provide better service and get a stronger relationship with customers.  Also, there are a lot of people interacting with friends and using less email.   Again, another ‘product’ that will evolve or get replaced, but the observation is the form of interaction continues to evolve.   

My current summary on the whole social networking movement:  With all this electronic interaction, people still need quality ‘real’ time and need to interact with real people and experience ‘outdoors’.  Virtual reality is anything but reality—a good friend of mine that sails all over the world shares his pictures and stories with me—but I’m not getting wet or experiencing the same feelings he gets just by hearing about them and seeing pictures and videos! 

My advice:  On a regular basis, take a deep breath and put down the cell phone, the ipad, the android and computer—then step outside and enjoy the birds chirping, the fish jumping, the mosquitoes biting, the snow falling, the kids skiing, the deer feeding, the eagles soaring, the horses trotting, the sun setting, the stars shining, the rivers rushing, the lakes luster, the mountains majesty, the broncos winning, the Vikings losing, the leaves falling and life’s meaning!

As for consulting, it’s been fun this past month—doing more learning as I deep dive in Retail IP Telephony.  I’ve been working with a company called Vertical Communications.  What’s interesting for me is an opportunity to re-track some of my steps and understand why I hadn’t looked closer at their solution before.  We had some of their older equipment deployed in a few stores but never let it ‘grow’.  They are focused on the specific ‘vertical’ of retail and have built some specific features that simplify telephony for store associates—will do a write up next month I what I learned.

I also touched base with a company that focuses on reporting, or more appropriately:  IT analytics.  Seems all of us (IT) seem to spend months and months maturing and evolving our reporting and metrics.  So this company has built 100s of reports that can simply be brought in and loaded.  As I learned about them, I contrasted them to the ‘big vendor’ (I won’t say their name) approach where they try to maximize revenue by offering years’ worth of strategy and consulting to get to the same place this little company would get you to in a few weeks.   Of course, you don’t get the hours and hours and hours of meetings and training sessions that seem to drag on for weeks and weeks and weeks—meanwhile, you aren’t learning anything about your business! 

So the summary of my ‘consulting’ learning’s from this past month—big companies have complex issues that are large and difficult—so the successful leaders simplify and bite it off in small chunks-base hits-singles avoiding the ‘swinging-for-the-fences-strikeouts’.  The even ‘more’ successful leaders use that same approach but prioritize and bite off the small chunks that are more visible and helpful to the business!

As I continue the book, I caught up with some former staff.  During those visits I’m always interested in what they remember or what they continue to hold to as learning’s’ and best practices.  This helps me validate, not what I think is important-but what had an impact on the lives of other people.  So thank you to all of you that provide me feedback.  If you have thoughts along those lines, I’m all ears!

And yes, it continues to get colder...  So, out came the sweaters, the gloves, the coats and turning on the pilot light for my gas fireplace!  I can’t wait for our Thanksgiving vacation—FLORIDA!!  Where it will be just a tad warmer!

Hope all is well with you!!  Get ready for the Holiday Season!!

Have a great month… and yes, The Best is yet to come!!

I had a number of thoughts for my monthly update but definitely the news of Steve Jobs passing has caused a lot of emotions and discussions.  So I thought I would share a few of my own thoughts on Steve Jobs—so I rolled that into my IT Leadership blog.  Thoughts welcomed!

One thing I will call out here as a reminder to us all to not jump to conclusions.  When Steve stepped down suddenly there seemed to be a number of writers that quickly assumed that he stepped down because he was trying to avoid the disappointment of the IPhone 5 not ready for release—and that he wanted to leave without that on his record.  I read those and thought how those assumptions were just wrong because that’s not how he did things.  And they were wrong as we now all know. (Those writers should quickly respond with apologies).  Again, don’t ever assume you know the reasons why someone does something.

Steve made some very good comments regarding priorities and life and that it is so short that you shouldn’t get hung up on what other people say or do-but follow your own dreams.  Nothing that we haven’t all heard, but whenever you have someone that has made such an impact on the business community, people that worked for him, family and is recognized globally-it is good to hear them talk about their true priorities and share their feelings on what is important in life. 

It made me think about how often people wrap their self-confidence/image around a role or a job or a status and then when things change they allow themselves to lose confidence.  Read the Family blog for more on this topic.  Bottom line is that you should seek out for joy in your life, cherish relationships and realize that joy and happiness comes from sharing your life with others.

My fly fishing update-I ventured out to the Owyhee River, just across the border on the Oregon side.  It was just a day trip but once again, I was able to catch a lot of fish-all brown trout.  2 of them were the biggest brown trout I had ever caught.  For those familiar with browns, one of them was so large (here’s where you ask “How large was it”) that I was able to put my entire hand into his mouth to release the fly that had caught on his tongue.  I was by myself and unable to get a picture of the big ones but I did get a picture of one of the smaller ones... still good size at 15 inches!  It’s not easy pulling out an IPhone and trying to take a good picture while you have a fish and fly rod in the other hand and standing in the middle of a river.  I highly recommend a day of fly fishing to plan out strategy and clear your head! 

Football season is well under way—can you believe those Lions?  I’m still a Titan fan and enjoying the Boise State Broncos!  Baseball playoffs-I have only been watching the highlights-but I’m sure there are still a few Yankee fans out there still hoping that somehow they will be able to win.  That’s a true fan-even though they lost they still hope they will get invited to the World Series!  It’s going to be interesting to see who comes out on top—here’s my prediction:  The team that wins the most games in each series will win!

On the job front, I ‘was’ chasing a specific role in a fortune 50 company these past 4 months.  Although it meant a move it was a great opportunity.  It was tough as other opportunities would come but I was holding out.  As an example, recently there was a local opportunity, but they wanted a long term commitment.  I told them that I’m a 3-4 weeks away from finding out about this other job and if it came through, I would have to take it.  I would have felt bad if I didn’t say anything, took it, and then quit in a month.  They went with another candidate and a few days later I found out that I was in the top 5 for the fortune 50 job.

So, I figured I went this far chasing this great opportunity that I might as well stick it out until the end.  (That’s when I fit in 2 fishing trips).  However, I ended up in 2nd place.  Although disappointed, it was a positive experience to get to know another company, new people and make some good connections.  The last two interviews were panels.  They brought 5 of us in and you met with 4 people.  Then they invited 2 of us back for a final round 2 weeks later. 

The final interview was in front of a panel of about 8-9 people.  3 of which were from the prior session-All Sr Executives.  Those interviews lasted about 2 hrs.  They have you start with your background and then come the variety of questions.  They were good to make you feel comfortable.  The feedback they gave me was that I interviewed well and they were confident I could do the job and gave me the edge on leadership, management strength and cultural fit.  However, they felt the other candidate’s current company was quite similar to their environment and that was also important to them.  They apologized for taking extra time to make the final decision and said it could have gone either way.  (I know that was supposed to make me feel better—but I was still disappointed and took my 8 hours to get over it)! 

And so, the best is yet to come!  So, it’s all about timing—within an hour of hearing that news, I was contacted by someone regarding a specific consulting arrangement.  So I’m just finalizing the details on this next engagement.  It has a retail focus and right in line with my background.  Although we are framing it into a short term deal there are some options for longer term.  I’m really enjoying getting to know new people.  In fact, the chairman of this particular company knew Pam Knous very well back in her Vons days, (the former CFO of Supervalu) small world!

The book writing continues...  I enjoy writing about teamwork.  The IT process and approach is also fun but that moved down in the priority-so I’m spending more time on the teamwork book.  I’ve been blessed to have worked with so many great people and have a number of great experiences.  Difficult to put all that in writing-but enjoying the process!

And yes, the weather has changed!  So we have booked our Thanksgiving vacation—FLORIDA!!  My folks and sister live there-so that’s really why we are going.  Not that it has anything to do with the cold weather during Thanksgiving!  And since we are going to be gone for Thanksgiving, we are heading down this weekend to Salt Lake City to meet with our college kids that are working and going to school and will not be with us in Florida.

Hope all is well with you!! 

Have a great month… and yes, The Best is yet to come!!

“Team” – Well summer is officially in the books at our house as the kids are back in school!  I can already fill the chill in the early morning reminding me that our pool time is quickly diminishing!  I can’t wait for winter... NOT!  Let’s hope fall lasts a long time!!

For our labor-day celebration we had family and friends spend the weekend with us as we enjoyed barbecues, swimming and college football!  Every room in the house was occupied!  We were only missing 1 of our daughters who had to work.  In the swimming pool, the ‘boys’ were working on their flips and crazy dives—I chose not to compete as I didn’t want to make them feel bad.  And how about those Boise St Broncos!!!  What a game!

My son Marcus earned his First Class rank in scouts while Parker is all finished with his Eagle and awaiting the board of review!  I'm working to make Eagle Scout a family tradition as I earned it as well as my oldest, Jeff.   

I had to get one more little excursion in so I took a trip to Eastern Idaho and did some fly fishing!   Idaho has some beautiful country.  The fishing was great—so was the wild life!  I saw a moose walking around in the river.  If you haven’t seen a moose they are not like Bullwinkle in the cartoon—they can be very mean and you don’t want to get close.  As for the fish, I caught a bunch of rainbows, browns and some white fish.  15-20 inches—the rainbows are fun to catch because they usually jump out of the water a few times...  and the large browns would take a while to bring in, too.  (All were safely returned to the water!)

Blog Updates on the web site (gbronson.com) and I did change some pictures.  I posted the most recent picture of the entire family with my son-in-law—it was at the wedding last year.  I also posted a picture from this week’s fishing trip!  :

The leadership blog—the focus was on measuring the success of a leader.   The thought came from a series of discussions lately and so I really spent some time trying to reflect on how do you measure the success of a leader and would that definition apply in every situation?  Would love your feedback.

IT Management--Introduction of a new service.  So often we talk about new technology and it seems we tend to approach each in a unique way.  I stepped back and used the example of the introduction of email (which really wasn’t that long ago) and extracted a process that you can use.  Let me know what you think!

Consulting – Focus here was on business value and how to communicate it.  I chose to use the retail example of a can of beans.  I made a single slide that says why you need to understand this principle as a first step to understand ITIL or ITSM.  You can use similar logic for any industry—but it is important to take the time to articulate this message in a single slide-let me know if you think this does the trick!

Family -- Someone asked me how I maintain a positive attitude.  So I wrote something using a metaphor that is near and dear to my heart:  "Life is a lot like fishing-- You are just not going to catch a fish with every cast... Always approach every cast with passion and excitement—because the fish might choose to strike and when they don't, it's ok!  There's always next time!"  Read the rest on the Family blog tab.   

On the job front, I’m in final stages with a few opportunities.  One in Idaho and the others would require a move out of the state.   There is one with a fortune 100 company – they were down to 5 candidates last week and now there are just 2 of us.  I have another trip next week to determine who gets that job.  I’m looking forward to getting back to work in the corporate IT environment.  I enjoy the prospects of consulting but I miss the connection with staff and others.  Again, we will see-stay tuned!

The book...  is now books...  I split off a second book that focuses on team building.  I found myself going that way anyway and it is much cleaner and keeps the IT management side more focused on the management of IT with structure, process, procedures, metrics, etc...  And the team building will focus more on the behind the scenes of how to get a group of people working as a team—from a coach’s perspective.  Thank you for your feedback as it was very helpful.  No dates---just on-going efforts, but they will be completed someday.

Hope all is well with you!! 

Have a great month…  The Best is yet to come!!
“Team”…  We are well into August and summer seems to be flying by!  Maybe it’s because we enjoy summer so much and love hanging out at the pool and doing fun things outside.  Well, needless to say, we are taking advantage of the great weather.  So here’s what I’ve been doing this past month:

We got together with some neighbors and had a neighborhood barbecue.  We kept it simple and had everyone bring their own meat and a dish/chips/drink to share.  We made up a flyer and I had my kids pass them around.  We probably had 10 families attend out of the 50+ flyers we passed around.  It was fun to actually visit with people that we normally just wave to and say hi-but often don’t even know their name.   Those that attended apparently enjoyed it—since it was scheduled from 6-8pm but most stayed until 10!

I spent a couple of days at scout camp with my 12 year old son.  I ‘volunteered’ to help with the fishing merit badge and took the boys up river a bit and showed them how to pick the spots on where to fish.  We were limited on time otherwise all of them would have been able to catch a fish.  And yes, my son caught the biggest fish—all by himself!  It was a blast watching him bring in the ‘cut-bow’ (mix of a cutthroat and rainbow).  Sleeping in a tent was also fun but an excellent reminder on why our family normally vacation at hotels and timeshares!

Well, right now we are finishing up a vacation in So Cal where we attended a wedding for a nephew and went to Disneyland and enjoyed the magical kingdom!  I think they call it magical because they do a great job helping you forget how expensive it is to take a family!!  We are also spending time back in Newport Beach at a Marriot Time share.  And just as expected, the warmth of the North Carolina beaches has made it tough to want to go into the ocean here.  It’s a lot colder!  So we find ourselves playing a lot of paddle ball on the beach, building sand castles and hanging out at the pool/Jacuzzi at the hotel!  We do enjoy the beach for a vacation!

As I continue to evaluate options, I’m doing some consulting.  I’ve found I enjoy consulting because it gives me an opportunity to meet people and help them improve their contributions to their company.   I’m targeting short term assignments where I can provide specific consulting on how to improve their organization’s service delivery & management.  The sessions I’ve designed brings out the realities of the work environment and helps show the participants the importance of focus, teamwork, process maturation and how to improve ‘their’ business. 

Specifically, I just completed an assignment at a local bank.  I received some great feedback and compliments as people seem to appreciate the ‘reality’ view I provide and making the training directly relevant to their particular situation. During the simulations they went from ‘chaos’ to a much more efficient group with improvements each round.  They came up with some good ideas and also got hooked into some trouble that most do when they fail to use process and collaboration.  The real success will be determined in the coming months as I see how well they improve their current situation based on the input given them.  Stay tuned!

I reviewed my approach and presentation with a consultant that does similar work in So Cal as well as another professional services company in town.  They were both complimentary and helped me realize that what I have is not a training tool—because handing it off the simulation tool I built to a professional trainer will not produce the same results.  The key to the sessions is the observations that I make prior to the session and how I work them into the training/discussions.  A trainer can’t do that-it comes with the 25+ years of experience of working in the trenches and working with people solving problems for companies.  Hmmm…

In another discussion with someone that runs a PMO for a company, the idea came to me to add a project manager role to the simulation.  This would integrate the functions of a PMO/PM and will also help other groups in IT realize the importance of that function.  So I’m designing that in now.  They will need to work with the business to flush out the benefits and then with the engineering team to get the upgrade in—and of course, the engineering team has their hands full with some service issues and trying to figure out the proper timing of the changes that are required prior to the application upgrade.  Great idea!

As for the Corp IT positions, I’m still looking into a few positions—most of them still require a relocation—I’m guessing they will finalize in the next 30 days or so.  But, I am still looking into one role in the Boise area that is a possibility. 

Even though I like the consulting, I feel as though the Corp IT position is what I need to be doing at this time in my life—so that is the preference.  But until I land that spot, I will continue to seek opportunities to consult regarding improving operations, process improvement, leadership and organizational development, offshoring/outsourcing and big projects that seem to be too big—focus on how to get trim the scope so it aligns to the key objectives.  Any ideas? 

And finally, the book continues… The past few weeks I wrote up the science and art behind the event review process.  It seems like such a simple thing at the surface but in actuality it provides the framework for continuous improvement in all your processes and really matures your problem management processes.   I’m continuing to keep the focus ‘real’ and trying to avoid the discussions on theory. 

Hope all is well with you!! 

Have a great month…  The Best is yet to come!!

“Team”…  Happy Friday!!  Summer is finally here (although we did get a thunderstorm that came through yesterday)!!

Vacation recommendation:  NORTH CAROLINA – Topsail Island!!  For all of us that grew up going to So Cal beaches, you get used to the chill that comes with entering the water.  After a while you get a little numb and get ‘used to it’.  Then you go up the coast and people in No Cal and Oregon seem to brag about the cold water.  Well, at the beach house in Topsail Island-it was warmer than my pool at home! 

The 4th of July… I hope you enjoyed the holiday!! (Growing up in the US, you just think everyone celebrates the 4th of July—but it’s just US and England.  The US celebrates liberty and freedom from England and England celebrates getting rid of the USJ)!!  We had our annual barbecue, swim party and fireworks.  Lots of people and I was so glad another swim party occurred without any injuries!!  (That’s how a homeowner thinks when you have 50 people running around and in the pool).  The whole neighborhood joined in the cul-de-sac for the fireworks.  We seemed to have more fireworks than the local city park!  

My daughter and her husband are spending the summer in N Carolina.  That’s why we were able to go to North Carolina—his parents invited us to spend a week with them at their beach house (Great people!)  I can actually quantify the happiness and joy of the vacation:  I gained 7 pounds during the week!  (I did lose it when I got home—but it took a few days!)  My new favorite breakfast place is the waffle house!!  And I love the shakes at a place called Camp Out.  We also went to the NASCAR track and got to ride around the track.  They stopped on one of the banked turns—I thought the van was going to tip over!  

Next trip… back to Newport Beach in So Cal and I hope I can stand the freezing cold water! J

As for job search, we are evaluating a couple of positions that will take me to the South.  Still early in the process, but they look very interesting.  I’m also looking into some consulting work that will keep me here in Boise.  I did promise my wife I’ll be working before the end of summer.  I still have so much to do!!  I keep trying to tell her that exercising, planning vacations & fishing trips, playing with the kids, swim parties and barbecues is a full time job--she quickly reminds me I don't get paid for that 'full-time job'.  :-) 

I agreed to do a Process training/Team Building session for a company in the Boise valley.  I really enjoy doing these and look forward to it.  For those who know me well, I love spreadsheets—and I’ve been ‘maturing’ my simulation tool.  It is doing some things that most don’t realize that excel is capable of doing!!  This thing now is world class!!  It will be fun using it in the simulation as it now has sounds, changes with dependencies on other changes, random outages, various times with revenue doubling, etc…!!

The book continues… started as a manual, but has quickly turned into a book.  I was very appreciative of some input and volunteers for on-going reviews.  I’ll continue to put excerpts out on the blog to get feedback and refinement!  It may take me longer, but I’m really enjoying documenting the approach I use when I come into a new company.  It’s been really fun reflecting on some of the experiences and all the great people I have had the privilege of associating with in my previous roles.

So, I need to also get some fly-fishing in soon!  The water has been very high still so it should drop soon and I can’t wait!!

Hope all is well with you and I’ll plan to give you another update next month! 

Have a great month…  The Best is yet to come!!
“Team”…  just letting you know I’m still out there and here’s an update on what I’ve been doing ‘post-Supervalu’ and some current plans…

During the past couple of months its been great spending time with the family, the environment (code word for fishing), updating my website (www.gbronson.com) and kicking off a couple of Blogs. My wife and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a week in Hawaii..   some time in San Diego…  a week in Arizona…  a week at Newport Beach (we took the kids to that one) and Lake Powell… oh wait, Lake Powell was a fishing trip with my buddy…  and we have two more trips planned (family) at a Beach House in North Carolina and another trip to Newport Beach.   all good…  J

Our oldest graduated from college (1 down and 6 to go!) and is working in Salt Lake City.  The next one will graduate in December!

As for a job (something my wife does remind me about occasionally), in between vacations I have connected up with some recruiters and looked at a few opportunities.  But nothing as of yet.  I’m looking at some consulting opportunities as I continue to evaluate whether to stay in the consulting field or go back into Corp IT.  As for location, we do like Boise, Idaho but not sure I’m going to find the right fit—still a few opportunities out there.  But, still looking and we are open to relocate.  Some wise counsel from a dear friend said not to limit my locations…  so we’ll have to expand beyond Hawaii and San Diego (winters that I can handle)!

As I have explored various opportunities, it is very interesting to learn about all the different efforts going on with other companies.

I did set up my twitter account (@garybronson7) and got an introductory lesson from my son…   he is using it almost more than email… very interesting how the transition of technology occurs.  There is a lot of information starting to flow through twitter.   It reminded me of training people on email when it was first becoming popular within a company.  This was before we even thought of the need to communicate outside of your own company..  and many back then would push back because they felt they could just call someone if they needed to talk to them…   wow, have times changed!

I’m also writing a manual that focuses on ‘Service’ from an IT perspective.  I figured I’d document, for myself at least, the steps I go through when I go into a new situation.  Building the org, stabilizing the environment, improving processes, daily, weekly, monthly routines, etc…  

I also got caught up on some of the functionality of Excel 2010..  wow..  simplified a number of things we used to have to build scripts/macros for..   that is about as technical as I’m going…  I must admit I was tempted to try out all the new programming tools… but I’ll leave that to all the developers.. I’m a manager/consultant/coach and truly have left my technical background behind…   so now, just an Office productivity guru who knows who to call to get something done!

I have been able to catch up with a few of you and my apologies if you’ve reached out and I haven’t connected up…  

Hope all is well with you and I’ll plan to give you another update next month! 

Have a great month…  The Best is yet to come!!