Upcoming summer week

Father’s Day and the first day of summer! Seems like yesterday it was Christmas. This means the kids are out of school cramming themselves into the malls, that the freeways will have all the holiday warriors with their campers out in the fast lane of the freeway and everybody you try to phone in the next 2 months will be on holidays.

The big event at work starts tomorrow. We begin upgrading various software systems in preparation for the launch of MemberNote3 on Wednesday morning. There is a lot of clean up work and final testing to do. We have notified all the members via email or text messaging that service will be a bit unstable the next few days. By the end of the week we should be up and running which will be a huge benefit to everyone.

I am taking Friday off to volunteer for a national church convention at UBC. Having never been an usher before this should be interesting. Maybe tomorrow I’ll head over to WalMart and get some tips from the greeters.

Mindmapping – why it works

One of my ‘hidden’ weapons when planning or just trying to get my head around anything is mindmapping. I know Doug True is a big fan of this. It all started in the mid ’70s when I attended a course out at UBC and was introduced to some of Tony Buzan’s books. His viewpoints on how our mind works were intriguing. So began the journey into using mindmaps. I still have one of my first mindmaps that summarizes a meeting. I can’t remember the details but from that mindmap there is certainly the expression that it was a good and productive meeting. They say the ultimate in mindmapping is to create one without words.

Then the personal computer age began and with my first Macintosh (LC – colour) a program called Inspiration appeared. I used that program for years but it moved into the elementary and secondary school realm and became less of a tool for me. Mindet MindManager is what I use now and it is extremely powerful and quick. There are a number of others and it is more a personal choice than anything else.

The question is why does something like this work. We tend to think in linear terms. A + B + C = D. We really push our minds into a box and quickly get into a rut of frustration when we try to deal with problems. A mindmap lets me move out of that box. By brainstorming and creating simple patterns, lines and text and using colour you are able to explore much more that you originally anticipated. One thing I must emphasize here is using colour. Colour can add an element that words can’t and using it expands on what you are attempting to say and solve.

Here is an abbreviated mindmap for The Mount Lehman Show. Any one of the solid coloured boxes can be drilled down to a further level. If you have never tried this before it does take some getting used to because it is so different. But don’t let that stop you from trying.

The ML Show

The family tree

On Sunday I was googling this, that, and everything and came upon a site which was about German speaking Russians. My grandparents on my mother’s side were German speaking and were born in Russia which I could never figure out. Well this site and wikipedia entry gave me some great information. As I read further there was an entry with my mother’s maiden name (Kelln) and the village where my grandparents were from (Holstein). Some of the information was familiar so I sent off an email.

Today I received an email from Edith Bottsford which detailed some fascinating information. The family has roots back to a Hans Kolln from  Meimersdorf, Germany before immigrating to Holstein. Hans was a merchant in Germany. He was a widower and with his 4 sons arrived in Holstein May 26, 1765. He would have been born in 1718. There is a family chart that I need to get which will bring the family tree forward from that time.

What is also interesting is that my father’s family, which are English,  go back to a census in the 1750’s in London England where it is noted a Blishen lived. I looked this up when in London at the National Archives (also saw the original Doomsday Book there). The middle of the 1700’s is more than enough to find one’s roots.

As Canadians when we are asked where we are from the discussion usually leads to where your family is from. Up to now I was sure about the English side but not the German side. Now the answer can be I am a Canadian from English-German heritage or an English/German Canadian. It really doesn’t mean much as so many others can point much farther back. It just gives you an idea of where your roots are. Our youngest son lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. The circle eventually completes itself.

The Break-in

The night before last (early Monday morning) there was a break-in at the credit union. It has happened before and you know it will happen again but when it does happen it sort of freaks you out. The guy threw a large boulder through the front plate glass door, ran into the branch looking for computers and came away with an old HP scanner. There was a lot of glass and of course it happened at 3:00 a.m. so someone had to attend the branch with the police when the alarm went off.

The real freaky part is the video. You can usually begin to comprehend what has happened after an incident like this occurred but when you actually watch it, well I am not used to that. It is like reality TV where you work. I was thinking of downloading it to YouTube but just our luck this guy will have some rights and sue us. Today’s header shows the guy in action.

Wash day

I got the Beetle today so had a very nice drive to work. The thing really goes fast and it is a lot of fun to drive. It does seem in this hot weather that every tree imaginable drips some sappy substance. Maybe it is tree sweat. The problem is with all the trees at home and at work it is tough finding a place that you can park without being under some trees. That said it was time to wash the car and get it clean again. 

Besides being nice to drive it is nice to wash. It has half the surface area of the other vehicle and you don’t have to stand on the bumper to get the roof done. There isn’t a square corner of any sort, everything is round. Half the water, half the soap, half the time. Not a bad deal.

It got me to thinking about the various consumables we constantly use. Do we really need all that extra large, super size, jumbo, buy two get one free stuff? Most items didn’t exist 50 years ago or were with us in some other form and we seemed to get by. The General Motors incident seems to show that you should build a model on a sustainable level. Maybe we should rethink what we consume to something along the same lines. There seems to be limits to a lot of things we use and the sooner we realize that this is not a ‘bad’ thing maybe the better off we will all be.

We couldn’t wait so here it is…The Mount Lehman Show

At the staff meeting this morning it was decided to release our new SM (social media) site to the outside world. We have shared the URL with the staff, board, some families and friends but we wanted to make sure we were satisfied with the look and feel of the site before telling everyone.

The whole project started a few months ago with a half day session. All of the staff met with Nala and Tim from Currency to discuss and plan the future of our credit union. We were open to anything and came to the conclusion that if our credit union was going to have social media as part of its culture it had to be done by everyone. Everyone. If all the staff were the face and personality of the credit union then the only authentic method to show that to the Internet world was those exact faces and personalities. We also wanted this to be a community site. We have been part of this neighbourhood for 67 years and wanted everyone to be part of this.  This site is who we are and who the community is that we live in. 

We bought the cameras and software and everyone dove in. There wasn’t and still isn’t a lot of structure as everyone contributes in some fashion. Everyone has as part of their job description now the responsibility of spending 2 hours per week on communicating through the credit union’s social media channel. The key understanding is simple, use your common sense. This is the result – The Mount Lehman Show.

We don’t know where this will take us or how it will end up, but the the journey so far has been unbelievable. Never in years of managing a credit union have I seen such energy and concern for a project. This site shows us and it shows some of our community. We thought we would run out of ideas. Wrong. We have more ideas that we could imagine.

Why is it working? I think a number of reasons. We have had a culture of innovation here so there was little hesitation to take this leap of faith. Technology is not a stumbling block, every staff member has an iPhone which really helps and we are a Mac credit union. But most important is that we all see the value in trying something like this. It adds to what we are by extending our relationships to members and people in the community. It really creates meaning for each of us in what we do and this is just another extension of that. It adds that important human dimension that we all seem to want in some form or fashion.

It is like climbing the first hill of the roller coaster. The ride has started and it is a lot of fun. We are learning more about each other as co-workers and as part of one team. Please sign up and be a friend. We are giving away an iPod shuffle to one person from those that sign up in the month of June. (We will be giving away some more neat stuff as soon as I get the order in). We hope you too can be part of this journey with us.