Monday, November 30, 2015

Sustainability: Environmental & More!

Sustainability is important on many levels, including, but not limited to environmental responsibility. I will write about the other ways in which EMC strives to be sustainable later. The focus for this post is mainly environmental.

Rendering of our new building in Draper Vista Station
Our new building in Draper Vista Station will be LEED certified. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.

Draper Vista Station is considered a transit-oriented development, with proximity to I-15, Bangerter Highway, and most notably, the UTA Frontrunner commuter train line. Our new building is immediately south of the train stop. Our employees won't even have to cross the street to get to it.

Speaking of UTA, our relationship with them is that of both customer and supplier. We are a customer of their transportation services and a supplier of their information technology. We participate in UTA's EcoPass program which provides all-inclusive transit for our employees, and which we subsidize by 80%.

Our new building will only increase the our relationship as customers of UTA. Following are some statistics for our UTA usage year-to-date. I'll be interested in comparing them a year from now.
  • Express bus trips: 200+
  • Regular bus trips: 12,600+
  • TRAX trips: 1,900+
  • Frontrunner trips: 14,000+
We're proud that our environmental sustainability efforts have been recognized with the Utah Green Business Award for 2015. We're also proud of the international recognition for EMC overall.

My acceptance speech for our Utah Green Business Award

Monday, November 23, 2015

2016 Tour de Cure

I rode in the 2015 Tour de Cure and I'm riding again in 2016. Do you know what "cure" I'm riding for? The cure for diabetes! Please visit my personal ADA Tour de Cure site for more information, including how you can help.

There are many people on my mind as I look forward to this event, . . . My cousin Nate, by neighbor Babo, my colleague John's son, my brother in-law Chris, my sister in-law Megan, etc. Allow me to say a bit about Chris. We share some of the same passions for adventure and the outdoors. I'll never forget the time we did a fast day hike of Kings Peak via Henry's Fork. You would never guess Chris is diabetic based on his athletic performance. Here's what he says about his situation:
"Self-management for me means having an understanding and the ability to make decisions around insulin sensitivity, insulin absorption, and food digestion and absorption. The only thing predictable about diabetes is that it always unpredictable. Diabetes never takes a holiday and neither can a person with diabetes . . . always testing, always adjusting, always picking yourself up."
Chris with bloodied head and broken hand at the end of a trail run
Chris with friends at elevation
Chris with his late dog Mack

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Law of Excellent People

The Law of Excellent People is simply that . . .

"A players hire and attract A players"

Unfortunately, the opposing law is not quite as simple. B players do not hire and attract B players. B players hire and attract C players! This is also known as the Law of Not-So-Excellent (Crappy) People. I first heard this term from Marc Andreessen in the Netscape days. It is helpful to understand this law so we can understand the one we actually want to obey. Said another way, the opposing law is that for any title level in a large organization, the talent on that level will eventually descend to the least effective person with that title. A related concept was coined by Laurence Peter & Raymond Hull in their book, The Peter Principle. They believe that in a hierarchy, members are promoted so long as they work competently. Sooner or later they are promoted to a position at which they are no longer competent (their "level of incompetence"), and there they remain being unable to earn further promotions. As Andy Grove points out in his book High Output Management, the Peter Principle is unavoidable, because there is no way to know at what level in the hierarchy a manager will become incompetent.

So what is required to obey the Law of Excellent People? Here's my list:
  • Rigorous hiring - Strong systems and internal partnerships between HR, recruiting, finance and the hiring management team. Strong external partnerships with universities, the local community and professional associations.
  • Thoughtful, frequent 1:1 conversations - Rewards and recognition for those at the top, clear guidelines for those in the middle, and appropriate interventions/consequences for those at the bottom. I like what Marcus Buckingham has to say about the ineffectiveness of traditional, annual performance reviews. 
  • Open, honest team communication - In addition to reviews by the leadership team, all levels of the organization should be willing and able to communicate across all directions in the organization (up, down & sideways). 
  • Supporting systems - As stated above, this is important and the lack thereof certainly dims whatever team excellence you may possess. See Marcus Buckingham in action at Deloitte for an example of a world-class system.  

Excellent people in Finance & Technical Support
Excellent people in Core Technologies Division
Excellent people in Program Management Office
Excellent people in Professional Services

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day in Utah

My Air Force Grandfather
My grandfather flew U.S Air Force cargo planes over the Burmese jungle during World War II. He had many amazing experiences, as you might imagine. My favorite was his encounter with a tiger one night in their jungle camp. He emerged unscathed, at least physically.

My brother's graduating class
One of my brothers is also in the Air Force. Another one is in the Navy. They both support our troops from a medical perspective. They enjoy what they do because it provides for their families AND because it provides for our general welfare and security as a nation. I am grateful for them.

I am surrounded by a lot of other military and related personnel because of my job. You might wonder how that's possible, but our government and our military depend heavily on Information Technology. As a result, we have a large contingent of people in our Dell EMC Utah office who support our U.S. Federal operations. They have security clearances and supporting infrastructure to help the people that keep our nation running smoothly and safely. Many of these people are civilians, like me. But many others are veterans or reserve forces. As mentioned in my blog post about Employee Resource Groups, our Dell EMC Veterans group in Utah is the largest in the nation. The reason is because we are a patriotic community, but it is also a result of the large U.S. military and federal government footprint in Utah:
  • Hill Air Force Base
  • Tooele Army Depot
  • National Guard at Camp Williams
  • Dugway Proving Grounds
  • NSA data center & language processing 
  • IRS service center
Me with my Air Force brother and my wife
My Navy brother
Today the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is coming to our office to meet with our employees. While they're here I will sign the ESGR Statement of Support on behalf of Dell EMC Utah. ESGR has given two of our managers the Patriot Award in the past and recognizes all that Dell EMC does to support our veterans. Not only do we support veterans by hiring them, we have the employee circle and many other veteran-specific programs.

Thank you to veterans, reserve forces, active duty forces and all of their families everywhere, but a special thanks the employee-veterans of Dell EMC Utah . . . and my brothers!

Dell EMC Utah VeTS with Senator Hatch

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Snow in the Silicon Slopes!

All that glitters is not gold . . . at least not in Utah. At this time of year it is the white snow falling slowly, but surely in the mountains. I went for a mountain bike ride in Corner Canyon early this morning. Here's why I love mountain biking in the Silicon Slopes during the early winter season:
  • There is no mud . . . it is frozen
  • There are fewer people & bikes out on the trails 
  • I don't sweat as much and I don't have to drink as much water
  • You know that snow skiing is just around the corner . . . literally & figuratively!
Almost time to bring out my Specialized Fat Boy
Definitely time for my Specialized Defroster shoes
Utah is a huge travel and tourism destination in all seasons, but I think winter might be the biggest. Outdoor Recreation contributes almost $6 billion to the local economy every year. Governor Herbert created this as an areas of focus for his Office of Economic Development and hired my friend Brad Petersen to run it. 

PS - As of today, nearby Snowbird ski resort already has a 15" base and is making "gunpowder." They open for the winter season in just two weeks!

Monday, November 2, 2015

EMC Employee Circles in Utah

EMC promotes diversity, inclusion, employee engagement and community involvement in a variety of ways, but my favorite way is something we call our Employee Circles. We have formal groups of employees who share a common trait or interest that come together to help each other and those around them, both inside and outside the company. They don't just promote their particular area of interest, they make good things happen. We depend on them heavily to sponsor and organize activities for our employees, whether they're in the circles or not. In Utah there are four circles that have been formed:
  • ELLIT - EMC Latin Leadership Interest Team
  • ELGBTA - EMC Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Advocates
  • WLF - Women's Leadership Forum
  • VeTS - Veterans and Their Supporters
The VeTS circle is the biggest in the country. While our ELGBTA circle is still small, I'm encouraged by the fact that a similar group at nearby eBay is even bigger than the same eBay group in California. Our WLF circle is the biggest one of the four for us locally, and comprised of more than women. The ELLIT circle is the one that formed first. They are a fun and vibrant group that includes many Latin natives as well as wanna-be's like me.

As an example of the good things they do, . . . this year all four circles are combining to do an "EMC Gives Back" community event that gathers food, clothing and hygiene kit supplies to benefit multiple local charities:

In the middle of the charitable push they're also organizing a Santa Saturday for our employees and their children. One of our employees is a real Kris Kringle doppelganger!