With all the technology around us it is easy to imagine how life could look like in the (not so far!) future – but it’s way better to actually see it in a cool video rather than imagine it, right? Enjoy!

Work-Life Balance

While working over the last year I devoted quite a bit of time to thinking about work-life balance. I have seen people working very hard, till late hours (sometimes over the weekends) often without this really contributing to their career and only messing with their health and well-being. I have also seen people who would do their solid 8-9 hours of work per day and never complain about the stresses of the workplace. What kept bugging me was the question of why there are such huge differences. Obviously the simple answer is that people have different priorities in life, but I think there is more to that… Maybe some people don’t really want work-life balance? Working late hours, from my observations, seems to mean one of four things – you’re either passionate about your work, you care enough to offer to help with a tight deadline (or anything else), you’re really inefficient or you’re not able to say “no”. There’s probably more reasons… My observations were limited.

Recently this video (a TED Talk) has came to my attention and I wanted to share it with you:

The basic message of the video is that every person is responsible for their personal work-life balance. Not co-workers, not the employer, not your family, but yourself. If you don’t balance it, no one will do it for you. And “balancing” is a true skill, one can easily say that some are better at it, while others may fail miserably. Enjoy the video!

New chapter

After a year spent working in business consulting I have been employed at Google in its Dublin EU Headquarters. It’s been a long year and I have given a lot of thought to many issues – I hope to write about them in the upcoming weeks, along with my thoughts on the new job, new employer, new city, huh, new everything. Basically, it seems like I’m starting a new chapter in my life. It feels great!

There’s not much that I can write right now, except for the fact that I have already tried out the food at Google’s famous cantine and I can tell you that the opinions were not exaggerated – the food is fantastic and it’s all for free.

I hope to write more in the next few weeks. My plan is to share much more articles/videos/thoughts, both serious and fun, with a short comment from my side and write my own personal texts just once in a while. This way I’ll be able to deliver more content! I’m also planning to redesign the site so that it delivers more value to the end user. All comments are welcome!

We all heard about how business schools (and particularly Harvard Business School) enjoy a diverse pool of applicants and how this diversity positively affects the classes and the whole experience. Many people are surprised to hear how applicants with military background do well in business school – well, here’s why!

Below is an article that has been forwarded to me; the original source being an HBS blog. I hope you will find it interesting!

A Fighter Pilot’s Guide to Effective Communication (by Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman)

Two long minutes passed since we had changed radio frequencies and I hadn’t heard from my wingmen. We were approaching the Iraqi border and my flight lead still had not checked me in. I was getting nervous.
Read more… »

Solitude and Leadership

“If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts” – I present to you an amazing piece I’ve recently read. One of the most inspiring texts about leadership… Enjoy.

By William Deresiewicz

The lecture below was delivered to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in October of last year.

My title must seem like a contradiction. What can solitude have to do with leadership? Solitude means being alone, and leadership necessitates the presence of others—the people you’re leading. When we think about leadership in American history we are likely to think of Washington, at the head of an army, or Lincoln, at the head of a nation, or King, at the head of a movement—people with multitudes behind them, looking to them for direction. And when we think of solitude, we are apt to think of Thoreau, a man alone in the woods, keeping a journal and communing with nature in silence.
Leadership is what you are here to learn—the qualities of character and mind that will make you fit to command a platoon, and beyond that, perhaps, a company, a battalion, or, if you leave the military, a corporation, a foundation, a department of government. Solitude is what you have the least of here, especially as plebes. You don’t even have privacy, the opportunity simply to be physically alone, never mind solitude, the ability to be alone with your thoughts. And yet I submit to you that solitude is one of the most important necessities of true leadership. This lecture will be an attempt to explain why.

Read more… »

With the Academy Awards just a few hours from now, I’ll make some last-minute predictions. Having seen all movies nominated for the “Best Picture” award I have to say that 2009 brought some very good movies! Anyway, here’s my list (it’s a list of who I think will win, not whom I would vote for):

  • Best Picture: Avatar – I don’t think Avatar deserves the best pictures award, but it will most likely win it. Beating the long-time “Titanic” Box Office revenues (both domestically and internationally), investing huge money and unprecedented 3D effects are reasons for which I think it will win the Best Picture award. Unfortunately, with 9 other movies nominated in this category I don’t think Avatar deserves the Oscar, which, in my opinion, should go to “The Hurt Locker”
  • Actor: Jeremy Renner (“The Hurt Locker”) – he did a great job in the movie and George Clooney and Morgan Freeman already received the statue (Freeman for “Million Dollar Baby” and Clooney for “Syriana”).
  • Actress: Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”) – in my opinion this will be a political decision, but, as it rarely happens, a very decent one. Bullock did a fantastic job in “The Blind Side”. Why I’m saying it’s political is because Bullock was (well… is) America’s sweetheart but she never had the opportunity to play in a movie the Academy would consider worthy of the Award. This time she had her opportunity and most definitely did not blow it!
  • Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz (“Inglourious Basterds”) – I’m not so sure about this one, but, wow, didn’t he do a great job in this movie? I remember everyone being excited about Waltz’s performance and he might just get the Oscar for that.
  • Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique (“Precious”) – very good acting and the Academy actually likes to award first-time or second-time roles in the supporting actor / actress categories.
  • Director: Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) – why? Because Avatar is taking the Best Picture award. And because I really Avatar won’t take it.
  • Animated Feature: Up – nah, come on. That was easy.
  • Original Screenplay: Inglourious Basterds
  • Adapted Screenplay: Up in the Air
  • And most of the technical ones go to “Avatar”… Yeah, that was easy as well.

Now… Let’s wait a few hours and see how much I got right :) . Enjoy watching the Academy Awards!

KISS – Keep It Simple, Silly

Or “Keep It Simple Stupid”. Anyway, this quick thought I just had won’t be about abbreviations or any crazy TLAs (Three Letter Abbreviations – nice, huh?).

I always felt that there’s power in simplicity and there’s power in reminding people of “obvious things”. As one of my professors used to say the tricky thing about obvious statements is the fact that… they’re obvious. Because they’re so simple and so, uhm, obvious, people stop thinking about them. And that’s just horrible, because it’s obvious statements that are most powerful and most inspiring.

Anyway, my professor’s obvious insight (see what I did there? Just called his insight about obviousness obvious although he specifically reminded us not to do that… Oh, fun!) never really helped explain why we should be reminded of the obvious and why every once in a while we should think about it. And then I ran into this fantastic statement:

“I am sure that all of the above points are nothing new or something you have not heard of before [yeah, trust me - they were pretty "obvious" /Tom]. But it sometimes helps to reiterate the obvious since we most often, in our quest to impress, look for more complex solutions and overlook the basics.

Isn’t this insightful? It’s a great statement and an obvious explanation of why we forget about the obvious. Keep it simple, because that’s where the power lies! I could talk about many experiences I had with that and how complexity ruined various projects, while simplicity took them to a whole new level. But I’d rather leave the message as it is – simple.

The last few months

It’s been a while, again. Well, let me just update you on what I was doing over the last three months! Read more… »

Thesis

About a month ago, in September, I defended my thesis at Warsaw School of Economics. The title of my work is called “Servant Leadership as a Tool for Effective Business Management” and I finally managed to find the time to post it on my website. You can read the whole thesis over here or in the “On Leadership” section. Please feel free to comment! I hope the document will serve as an inspiration to anyone seeking knowledge about business leadership.

CEMS MIM is number one!

I am very, very happy to announce that CEMS Master’s in International Management (my program!) has been rated as the best pre-work experience master’s in management program in the world by the Financial Times. It was nice to see a swarm of Facebook statuses among by proud friends proclaiming the news to the world. I have to say I’m really proud as well as the program was quite demanding and I have so many great memories related to it.

As for the ranking. You can find it over here. The CEMS website is http://www.cems.org. Go CEMS!


 

Current Highlights

Beginning February 2011 I have started a new job at Google in its EU HQ in Dublin, Ireland. I will be responsible for AdWords-related issues for the UK / Ireland market.

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