Those that know me on a deep, personal level, know that I get very excited about my work and about creating value. I haven’t always been this way and I’ve had to learn how to seek out uncomfortable situations in order to grow and gain confidence in my work. Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Ms. Ebony Offord, Lease Accountant at Dow Inc. Now I initially saw Ms. Offord on a Dow webcast as she facilitated Dow’s Global African Affinity Network 20th Anniversary Celebration as we celebrated 20 years of enriching the contributions of our workforce, building a strong talent pipeline and promoting advocacy & inclusion for all employees at Dow.
Ms. Offord recently shared her thoughts on “Public Speaking” and many of us work every day to improve on our ability to communicate across large audiences. Here is her testimony:
I’ve been doing some research on FEAR and what more appropriate day to share my thoughts than on Halloween. What I’ve read and heard is contrary to what I’ve experienced as a father. The research tell us that our fear comes naturally as a part of our mental construct. Fear comes from our ability to survive. Fear keeps us focused on the people, places or things that challenges our existence on earth and if we control those elements then we control our destiny.
I once had a professor, Dr. Shaban, that at some point during every class, asked his students, "So you want to be an Engineer"? He would then look at us with this piercing stare as if he could see our future and every obstacle that we would encounter in our careers. We use to make jokes at this rhetorical question, but it did not take me long to understand why he asked us this. Fast forward to my first engineering job post graduation....
I had to go deep into the archives for this story but in my first engineering job at an air conditioning plant I had a situation in where several "Pilot" units were failing the quality control test. The superintendent came down from the management office upstairs and requested that I adjust the parameters to get the units to pass the test. Even though I was a young engineer, the engineering ethics I learned from Dr. Shaban would not allow me not be dishonest in changing my calculated specifications. He said he’d give me 15 mins “to get my damn run test machines working”. I wasn’t upset at the time because I was more focused on the problem and not his ignorance. I also knew the criticality of the situation because the units that were failing were new pilot units and if we didn't get the test parameters correct, then that could cause warranty issues later on in the life cycle of the product.
My family recently had breakfast at Cracker Barrel and I couldn’t help but notice that the front entrance of the restaurant is setup in an old country style front porch. This made me think about all of the time that I spent with family members from the country that are no longer with us.
Faith Fights Facts represents my strength, my struggle, my past and my future.
Every year on this day, October 13th I'm reminded of how great our God is and I promised to continue to share my testimony which propelled me into my destiny. I was faced with one of the most challenging times of my life; laid off during the aftermath of the 2008/09 financial crisis. I had stepped away from my corporate job to use my education and experience for a higher calling. Many people thought I had gone into the ministry to preach but I actually volunteered to lead a $6.5 million community center project for a faith based organization while also joining their staff to serve as their Facilities and Security Director for three locations. Some of my colleagues told me that I was crazy for leaving it all behind, but I stood on my faith and I knew that it was my calling.
Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded!
One of my managers use to volunteer his team for all of the crappiest projects in the plant. These were the projects that no one wanted to do either because of complexity or perceived low return on investment or they were just down right filthy.
My first presentation at Dow Chemical was for an AUDIENCE OF ONE, the Site Maintenance Director.
I had been at Dow for 8 months and had some decent progress on some of my goals and projects. One Friday afternoon my manager comes into my office, sits down and starts with his routine, daily chat. About 10 minutes into the conversation he mentions that on Monday the Site Maintenance Director will be coming to the building to perform his one on one goal meeting and that he’d like me to spend some time with him...a kind of a meet and greet session. He asked me to be prepared to discuss everything that I had done so far that creates value. His request totally blindsided me! I was not prepared to talk about my projects yet alone share the value that they would create!
Make no mistake about it, I have had rough experiences throughout my career but God has kept me as I’ve gone through each one of them. This is one of those times....
A lack of collaboration hurts your bottom-line, so why don't we collaborate more?
Relationships are the currency of leadership, without people, an organization would lose its purpose and value. So why wouldn’t we want to increase our value by engaging in more positive relationships? I think it’s not up for debate, everyone would absolutely love to create more value through the relationships they form because poor collaboration reduces quality, productivity, and profits.
There’s been plenty of hype surrounding collaboration in industry sectors but does it actually have an impact as much as we think it does?
I recently sat in a Diversity and Inclusion town hall meeting and the key takeaways from one of the company's Vice Presidents were: