I love it when i WIN

For Ace Milner…

I love it when i WIN. Let me explain some quick concepts and tell you a lovely story about the WIN Strategy, where I learned what WINing is, and the methods I use to keep WINing. It comforts me enormously to write. A blank page is my personal retreat to compartmentalize and truly think.

Where on Earth did I learn something as obscure as the WIN Strategy? It may sound like one of many corporate strategies that shift frequently. It’s not. Parker taught me how to make it a way of life. Similar to everything else Parker Hannifin and my peers under their employment taught me, it was repeated. Again. And again. And again… This kind of indoctrination is precisely what I needed. I suppose I craved structure even in my youth.

the following is what has been playing on repeat in my mind since 2002.”The foundation of the Win Strategy formalized the idea that encouraging employees to take action and ownership in their work will enable us to improve our performance and achieve our goals.

Remember when I said I own my disease? If you missed it, see above. My peers and I were equally committed to fostering a clean and standardized workplace. We had a common goal–increasing efficiency. Parker challenged me to achieve this by rewarding me for anything, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, to expedite our arrival at our destination. The ultimate goal is the bottom line, and this is what Parker owns. From their corporate governance to the thick of the shipping bureau, the customer service desk, or the manufacturing floor, all follow the same line of thinking—if I can make my job easier (make more money for the company), why not do it (increase product flow from assembly to end-use hands, which results in better everything. Your product comes from manufacturing with more speed. Wait times decrease. Cash flow becomes invariably more fluid. And what does this wonderfully innovative and well-oiled machine create? A renewable energy source (or idea source) which comes not from some consulting company, but from the guy who spends his days running the machine, or the Order Desk worker getting reamed out by a client because they have open orders which  haven’t yet shipped. These are the people Parker empowers to improve performance.

And so, it was (and hopefully still is.)Sheer brilliance—when did asking the person who manufactures something how to make the process better become novel? Parker taught me much. University showed me to focus on the task at hand. All you need to do is open your eyes—it’s as simple as that. In what is an almost Jobsian (I haven’t been keeping up-to-date with my pop-culture knowledge—did I just make up a new word that pins the efficiency and creativity of Apple (I’m still and likely always will be a hater) onto the shoulder of Steve Jobs?) Regardless,, the indelible lessons learned over the course of my career are now serving me well. When I successfully navigate my way through the piecemeal setup in my bathroom and get into the shower autonomously, well folks, that’s a WIN.  When I get 6 loads of laundry done in a day (granted, it should never get that way—that’s where ownership comes in,) that’s a WIN. The fact that I have been off all pharmaceuticals since May is a huge WIN.  So Parker’s corporate mantra has been somewhat modified:

The foundation of the Win Strategy formalized the idea that encouraging employees to  (I must) take action and ownership in their work (everything I do—trust me, it’s all work) (it) will enable us (me)  to improve our (my) performance and achieve our (my) goals.”

The transformation of the philosophy behind everything Parker has been a tremendously beneficial thing for me, far as things go. It was only made possible when I paired everything Parker with University–I began to notice that ‘I was able to take pause, orient my thoughts, and work through a problem.  I owe just as much to two entry level University English classes as I do to Parker—they taught me business, school gave me focus, often an ability to see what is so blatantly obvious that it flew right by me. Notwithstanding, I have an overabundance of time to think. I have an affinity for obscurity—some ideas are good, some bad. As long as I keep trying, I will WIN.



School First!

It’s not just a lame excuse – in the last four or five weeks of my eight week English course, I’ve learnt that, despite what you may think, I really don’t know how to write formally. I know! It came as a shock to me too! Who knew that formal English writing was so very different than this loosey-goosey, creative drivel that I post for other people to read. I’m still doing well. Of the four assignments I’ve turned in so far, I’ve got an A-, a B, and an A+, and one as of yet unknown. But if I had to guess, I’d say somewhere between a B and a B+. While it may not seem that bad, for me, it’s not good enough. I’m back in school to get As. Anything less is unsatisfactory, especially considering I’m taking one class at a time, I’m doing it from home, at my own pace, and am mostly unfettered by external pressures like work. I guess my work has turned into managing my disease. And in all honesty, it really does feel full-time job some days.

To the point…

I struggled with this one, I really did. How could I, in good conscience, ask people for more money, after the unbelievable outpouring of generosity that everyone was so very helpful with last year in getting me down to Costa Rica for the unproven, experimental CCSVI treatment/venoplasty. As the date for the walk grows closer, I was struck with the realization that, for now at least, MS is for life. And until more research is done, it will continue to be so. That research is funded, in majority, by the generosity of people like YOU. My friends, my family, even people I don’t know all too well, you’re all going to have to bear the burden of being asked for money. Once a year. Until there is a cure.

So, as in years past, I humbly ask for “your two cents” – literally. As always, any donations upwards of $20 will be met with a tax receipt to help shave a couple dollars off your 2011 tax return. We are doing something a bit different this year, and are not walking as “The Bad Puns”, and have instead joined forces with a friend of mine, rapidly becoming a good friend, who, like me, is doing her best in an effort to reach the upper echelons of “corporate whoredom”. She successfully solicited corporate sponsorship for our team this year from Reebok, her employer. Respect.

Our team site can be found by clicking the link below, typing my name, then click either “Pledge Me” or “Pledge My Team”. Either works… it all goes to the same place.

click here for our team site!

Since I’ve been “Andrew of the Missing Blog Posts” lately, I suppose that at the same time as asking for money, I should let you all know what’s been up, and how I’m doing.

Just this week, I had one of the best experiences I’ve had since diagnosis; a holistic nutrition company that specializes in working with people with neurological disorders/diseases/problems (Neurotrition) has helped put together a menu, a menu based on my disease, as well as all the medication that I am taking, with the hope that doing the simplest thing, changing the way I eat, will have some beneficial impact on the condition of my health. I’ve given it drugs, pills, injectables, and most recently, have altered my venous system. But all of it to little amelioration in my overall health. And so, I figure, why not do the simplest thing: radically alter my diet. And radical it is… I’m going vegetarian. I’m going organic as often as possible. I’m even leaning into veganism. Me, a guy that used to live in a place nicknamed “Cowtown”, where I ate steak three times a week, and when I wasn’t eating fatty red meats, I was eating horribly processed, packaged meals. At the time, I figured “other people are doing it”. What never came to mind, was that those other people likely did not have a genetic predisposition to a monster of a disease like MS, something which I did.

All I can do is kick myself about it now… and do what I can to change my ways. So, stick around folks, let’s see what altering my intake brings.

As always, here’s hoping…


I’m Studying What I Always Knew

When I read the words, a smile spread across my face.I knew someone must’ve come up with that idea well before me. I have a strong belief that ‘awareness’ should be brought to it for everyone reading my lame, geeky ‘lesson-of-the-day’ – because I believe it helps you get to know people around you. The crux is this: people deal with things within the scope of their own experience. That is to say that every decision you make is based, in-part, on every decision you’ve made.

I’m taking a Media in Canada class and it has me captivated. In its first section, we broke down an abstract of a typical communication model. I‘ve attached a picture. The idea is that there are two sides to every communication you undergo. That could be something of the 1-way variety (meaning you cannot communicate directly with it, like an ad or a commercial), others could be something as simple (or complex) as a discussion with a friend of yours – everything we do involves some form of communication.

The way that abstract breaks down part of the RECEPTION side of the communications process is at the very bottom of the decoding process. Once the message (the ad, the opinion a friend has vis-à-vis something you two are discussing, etc.) is received, it gets broken down into context of consumption, meaning essentially that you are exercising your right to choose. You choose which parts of the communication were most meaningful to you (which could quite possibly be the complete opposite of what the sender intended). The theory makes you realize that (arguably) our understanding of everything is based on the choices we make, which are based on the choices we’ve made.

There are different ways of saying it – ‘it’s all relative’, I called it ‘the scope’ of your experiences, the idea doesn’t change – we contextualize based on our world. Our world is shaped by everything that has happened to us. Everything that’s happened to us is broadly based on how we communicate.

Good to know I was on the right track…