Professional Goals Management

Planning, tracking and time allocation decisions are the key to achieve your professional (and personal) goals. Here is my method for my professional goals, it does not mean it’s a best practice, it just works for me.

Planning and tracking

As an employee, I get yearly goals. I list them on a spreadsheet with the 12 months divided in two columns per months.

Yearly planning:

  • I set to achieve my goals at the nine month. I found out this gives a sense of urgency that you don’t have if you plan to have the full 12 months as things always get in the way in between.
  • I divide my goals in sub-goals to achieve each quarter and I use a rolling 3 months more detailed goals.

Monthly rolling planning and tracking

  • In the first quarter, I spread my first quarter goals across each month. Then I use a monthly rolling planning and tracking whereas at the end of each month I report my status and add the specific goal of the third rolling month and so on. I adjust priorities based on my status. Some projects may be behind, some ahead.

Weekly planning and tracking

  • Each Friday at 4pm I do my next week planning looking at my next two months specific goals and prioritize main tasks for the week. I use the “big rocks” first, or “Eat the frog” time management technics and don’t over engineer it. It should be simple and practical.
  • I print my weekly schedule and write the “big rocks” on the bottom of each week day as appropriate. This way I have a visible image of my weekly plan thus leveraging my visual memory.

Daily planning and tracking

  • Each evening, I print my next day daily schedule and hand write my daily to do based on my weekly goals.

Time allocation decisions

Connected technologies have forced us to manage our time from a work life balance to a work life integration.

One of the most recurring problem of my mentees is the stress and lack of coping mechanisms due to the explosion of electronic communications, private and professional emails and calls, social network feeds, IM, text messaging and online meetings.

I was fortunate to have gone through four decades and a dozen of main methods of electronics communication technologies. I say fortunate because electronic communications changes is the new normal and experience is something you don’t acquire in books…

These dozen main methods are: Land line phones, Telex, Fax, email, Cell phones, Forums, SMS, Collaboration tools (OneNote, SharePoint), IM, On-line meetings (video, Audio, document sharing), video calls and social microblogging/feeds of all sort such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer.

To put these changes in perspectives, when I was working at Motorola Europe in 1977, I used to dictate my letters to my first assistant Alice Graff. She who would use a type writer to provide me with the letter to sign, sometime have to redo it 2 or 3 times and use carbon to get a copy (that where CC comes from, Carbon Copy J). Then to bring that carbon copy letter to the Telex operator that would re-type it in order to be sent to the recipient(s). Sometime the recipient’s assistant would retype the Telex to a letter… It would take few days in average to get a reply and act on it. Planning was paramount in those day. I recall that for my customer presentations, I had to have my slides ready a minimum of 3 weeks in advance since we had a professional graphics team that would design the slides that would be then produced on 35mm diapositives.

35 years later, we can modify our PowerPoint slides just few minutes before the presentation and our electronics conversation are moving toward social with tools such as yammer. Social communication is about being open. Adam Pisoni, yammer co-founder and CTO told me one day, why do you want to write something that is not worth being shared?With the accelerated pace of change for everything the half life of knowledge is decreasing so fast that there is more utility in having more people in your company known something, thus can benefit of what you write. With social electronic communications, Adam believes that we need to move from the “need to know” to the “need to not know” type of sharing that will become the norm, not the exception.

Social electronic communications is just one of these cultural and tool changes that we need to master if we want to remain competitive in the enterprise.

Therefore, time allocation decisions are critical to achieve goals and more than ever, planning and prioritization are the keys. I already mentioned the planning part, so let’s talk about the prioritization.

To develop a reflex of time allocation decision, I use a simple method of 3 priority buckets, these are:

1. Commitments – Activities that must take priorities, non-negotiable.

2. Contributions – Activities that are desired to be a team player but can’t be at the expense of delivering on your commitments

3. Involvements – Activities that you should consider taking as your personal added professional contribution to your company or community. One professional involvements I recommend is membership of local, national and world-wide Communities of Practice.

By asking yourself in which of the 3 bucket your activity falls into, you will develop a sense of reflex in your time allocation decision. Unfortunately, this is not enough, you need to make regular check points to get a factual view. For this I use two approaches. One is the planning and tracking described above and the second is time reporting from my outlook calendar since I use categories for all my meetings. I use a free tool from Microsoft called Calendar Analytics that can be downloaded from here. This way, can get a reports that tells me where I spend my time.

Over the years, I have developed many practices for the various electronics communication tools I use and that would be the subject of subsequent blogs.


March 22nd, 2013

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Belgium endive au gratin – Gratin d’endives à la sauce tomate

I have been inspired by a French recipe called “endive au jambon”WP_000345 that uses a béchamel sauce. The Aromat condiment and Gruyere cheese comes from my father Swiss origin; the sun dried tomatoes and tomato sauce from my mother Italian roots.

J’ai été inspiré par une recette française appelée « endives au jambon » qui utilise une sauce béchamel. L’Aromat et le Gruyère vient de mon père d’origine suisse ; les tomates  séchées et la sauce tomate des racines italiennes de ma mère.

It takes 1h from start to eat.

Cette recette prend une heure du début jusque dans votre assiette.

For this recipe, count 2 Belgium endives per person, must be yellow! It’s a complete dish.

Pour cette recette, compter 2  endives par personne, C’est un plat complet.

Ingredients for one endive:

Ingredients pour chaque endive:

  • 1 slice of Gruyere cheese                          
  • 1 tranche fine de Gruyere
  • 2 sun dried tomatoes, remove excess of oil
  • 2 tomates séchées, enlever l’excedent d’huile
  • 1 slice of Parisian ham long enough to be rolled around the Belgium endive.
  • 1 tranche de jambon assez longue pour être enroulée autour de l’endive.
  • Tomato sauce to cover
  • Sauce tomate pour recouvrir le tout. 
  • Aromat, salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Aromat, sel, poivre et huile d’olive

Begin by cooking the Belgium endive in the microwave for 7-10 minutes depending on the imagequantity.

Commencer par cuire les endives au four à micro-ondes pendant 7-10 min en fonction de la quantité


Let rest for 15-20min so it cools off and then dry them using kitchen towel paper.image

Laisser les reposer 15-20 min pour qu’elles refroidissent puis séchez les en utilisant du papier ménage.


In a frying pan, spray olive oil and
WP_000340“Braise” the endives using the Aromat (Swiss condiment) for 2 min each side.


Dans une poêle, vaporiser d’huile d’olive et braiser les endives à l’aide de l’Aromat (condiment Suisse) pendant 2 minutes de chaque côté.


On a slice of ham, put the slice of WP_000337
cheese at 1/3 of the length,

Sur une tranche de jambon, mettre la tranche de fromage au tier de la longueur,


Put Endive on the top, recover endive with twoWP_000341
sun dried tomatoes, and roll starting from the long side.

Mettre l’endive dessus, recouvrir l’endive avec deux tomates séchées et rouler à partir du long côté.




Cut the end of the endive (stem)WP_000342

Couper la fin de l’endive coté racine.




Place in a gratin plate.WP_000343

Mettre les endives dans un plat a gratin




Recover with tomato sauceWP_000344

Recouvrir avec la sauce tomate




Add, salt, pepper and grated GruyereWP_000345

Ajoujer le sel, poivre et Gruyere rapé


Bake for 15 min at 400F

Cuire pendant 15min à 200 degrés.

Bon appétit !

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Microsoft and STEM

By 2018, government projections show that over 800,000 high-end computing jobs will be created in the economy, making it one of the fastest growing occupational fields.  However, of the 14.5 million students enrolled in American public high schools last year, only 18,146 (.12%) took the AP Computer Science test.  Where will we find the computer scientists of tomorrow?  Who will teach them?

Microsoft has been committed to encouraging students to pursue a career in STEM, especially computer science.  However, it wasn’t until a Microsoft employee decided to do something about it locally, that TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) was born.  The TEALS program recruits, mentors, and places high tech professionals who are passionate about technology literacy and CS education into local schools as part-time teachers. 

If you feel the passion and want to contribute click here to find more.

Change the world by starting  in your community…


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The Power of Persistency

My wife Janelle and I felt fortunate to have been invited to attend the 2011 IEEE Honors Ceremony by one its recipients, my mentor Pasquale Pistorio. Pasquale was honored with the Robert Noyce Medal for his exceptional contribution to the Microelectronics Industry along with a prestigious set of people.

The 2011 IEEE Honors Ceremony was held on Saturday the 20thof August in San Francisco and its theme was “The Power of Persistence”. Pasquale is a role model of persistence having lead STMicroelectronics, that was then SGS when he took it in 1980. This was a company being given up for dead, and he brought it to an industry leader, ranking number five of its industry and with ~9B$ in revenues, ~2B$ of cash in the bank and profitable when he retired from it in 2005.

I was fortunate to have been part of that journey that started when he offered me to lead a Business Unit in 1981 in Phoenix Arizona reporting to the SGS US President Daniel Queyssac.

Having spent 17 years with the company, I felt compelled to share some of my memories of how Pasquale led the transformation with his simple, but yet powerful 5 key principles:

1. Create the Vision pp jc jan medal

2. Build the Team

3. Install the Culture

4. Design the Roadmap

5. Drive the Execution

He applied these 5 key principles with persistency, constantly challenging us to improve and in an industry that is characterized by random cyclical market phases. I recall Pasquale’s persistency for driving innovation. In particular when he insisted that we keep investing in R&D despite the market downturns. That persistency for innovation is the essence of the strength of STMicroelectronics as proven by its solid patent portfolio but also by what many companies that relinquished their manufacturing are losing: that is the necessary engineering and scientific skills that make ST better in mastering the product chain and in continuously innovating and building what is one of the broadest product portfolio in the industry.

Another key trait of Pasquale’s persistency was the installation of a TQM culture that was his mantra. That culture was pervasive in all aspects, process and functions of the company. It created that common language that is now the distinct fabric of ST and which enables global synergy and knowledge sharing in the company. While TQM was the adoption of emerging concepts, Pasquale spearheaded ecology and sustainability in our industry like no-one else. My memory is that he was challenged by his children who were in their rebels years, read teenagers years, whose father company was building factories that were affecting the environment. Pasquale took his children’s feed-back very seriously and eventually initiated an environmental steering committee. In 1993, ST launched its environmental policy with the publication of the first Environmental Decalogue in 1995. ST led the industry with a set of environmental KPIs and committed to them in public – publishing the Environmental Decalogue as a booklet and distributing it widely to its employees, suppliers, customers and partners. The results were impressive when you consider that 10 years after that launch, ST had cut its energy consumption per unit produced by 44% and cut its CO2 emissions per unit produced by 50% in the same period.

Pasquale’s persistency and passion for excellence in execution has led ST to never deviate from his vision for sustainability and social responsibility whatever the economic context the company was facing and which is now recognized by all stakeholders and by this 2011 IEEE award.

In listening to Pasquale’s short speech when receiving his medal, he started by thanking IEEE and said:

It’s a prestigious award that honors me, my company STMicroelectronics and the thousands of colleagues who made the company successful working closely with me”.

Pasquale always made sure to emphasize the team effort and with him I learned the use of the “WE” instead of “I”. He ended his speech by highlighting the 3 key bases of that success story: 1) persistency in Innovation, 2) motivate and empower people; and 3) social responsibility as part of the company culture.

In fact, that last one, social responsibility in general and environmental responsibility in particular, is something that is much near to Pasquale’s heart and led him later to be involved in social responsibility after his retirement by creating the Pistorio Foundation.

I want to close these ST memories with a quote from Pasquale:

No advanced industrial society can exist without controlled access to an advanced electronics industry, which in turn cannot exist without controlled access to an advanced semiconductor industry”.

Thanks Pasquale for all what you’ve done for that industry, for your on-going involvement in social responsibility and for our world.

You are a role model of the power of persistency!

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Social Media Strategy for Enterprises.

A year and an half ago, together with Mack Reed, my speakTECH colleague at the time, we published a white paper on Social media strategy for the Enterprise.  speakTECH has since been acquired by Perficient and our publication got lost in the translation…

It contains some key principles I believe companies can still benefit from and it can be downloaded from my SkyDrive here.

Below is the table of contents.

Page Contents
4        Foreword
5        Why Social Technology Strategy Matters
7        Perspective – Keeping social technology “real”
7        Social Media Technology Perspective – SLATES
8        “Open Hand” – 5 best practices of social technology
11      Strategies for External Social Technology
11      Know the audience
11     Choose the right stance and voice
12     Know the territory
13     Key Strategy: Befriend the influencers, recruit the advocates
14     Key Strategy: Develop publishing streams, develop voice
16     Key Strategy: Be indispensable
17     Key Strategy: Crowdsource your R&D
18     Summary: Core Strategies for External Social Technology:
19     Strategies for Internal Social Technology
22     Best practices
24     Engage: Staff it, recruit process champions, build culture
24     Listen: They’re telling you more than you think
24     Adjust: Enable collaboration, but address valid issues
25     Refresh: Make things happen in that space regularly
25     Strategies:
26     Key Strategy: Remove the glass ceiling, knock down the cubicle walls
28     Key Strategy: Team workspaces
31     Key strategy : Crowdsourcing and ideation
33     Key strategy: Chat, microblogging and realtime interaction
35     Key strategy – Intranet social networks
37     Core Strategies for Successful Internal Social Technology

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STEM & Technology in education at the e4 youth summit

Our United States education system needs to re-invent itself and the e4 youth summit is an innovative local initiative led by Carl Settles that is one of the catalysts toward that re-invention. e4 are the four pillars Carl promotes to re-invent education with an holistic view, they are:

  • Engagement
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Entrepreneurship

We are in an education crisis with fewer than 15 percent of U.S. college undergraduates currently pursuing degrees in science or engineering—compared to more than 30 percent in India and more than 40 percent in China. (Source: IDC, Oct 5, 2009)

In Texas, nearly 40% of high schools students are not graduating and  40% of those that do need remedial reading in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines.

How low will it be before the USA sees the same type of riots we just witnessed in London this week?

For the last 2 months, my wife Janelle has been assisting Carl Settles Jr., Founder of the Media Communication Council & E4 Youth Initiative who organized this e4 youth Summit jointly with the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium founded by Dr. Richard Cherwitz.

Last week, Janelle asked me to participate to the panel on Technology in Education and having met Carl a few months ago, he had left me with so much of a sense of someone who is passionate about making a difference in his community that I felt compelled to join the summit.

And I’m glad that I did so, like always when you put yourself out there (my day at job at Microsoft is as a Chief Technology Strategist for the Manufacturing Industries not very close to challenges in schools…) I found it fascinating to see how technology could contribute to accelerate and enhance learning and how wide the gap still is between Enterprises and Schools.

Having graduated in Electronics and Nuclear Physics Engineering, I was particularly interested to understand why STEM in the USA is at such a deficit in terms of student interest.

The summit was organized by a series of panels  that made me get a better picture of the overall ecosystem made of parents, communities, schools, enterprises and also of the society beliefs, economics and values that do not provide the motivation necessary for young students to embrace STEM disciplines.

Dr. Andrea Gore who moderated the panel on “Cultivating Interest in STEM” was particularly enlightening when she shared her personal story of a girl that was encouraged by her parents to learn science which was not the norm back then. She asked the the panel, how do they see our methodology for feeding the STEM student pipeline? She got me thinking and I mentally extended the question to what is the end-to-end process of STEM education?

It starts with the choice you make to go or not go into STEM and ends with what you are doing to make a living.  But who are you when you have to make that decision? A teenager, greatly influenced by society values, friends and parents. The panel highlighted the identity crisis that STEM is. STEM is not “cool”, there is a perception that there is no role model, it does not align with the language that teenagers use today.

Julie Shannan of Girlstart who is one of the few community based organizations that provides informal education focused on STEM for girls, told us that how much her organization is able to change that conversation. We have plenty of role models but we do not associate them with STEM. STEM is about solving problems, but schools do not measure the “how”, only the “what” and that is another obstacle to STEM adoption. We need to tell teenagers that they need to continuously learn in their life time and learning how to learn is key.  Perhaps the success of an educational institution should be their success in teaching students how to solve real world problems.

Microsoft has a fantastic STEM program called the Imagine Cupand just announced a 3 million dollar grant for the next 3 years to help Imagine Cup teams solve the world’s toughest problems. 

The Imagine cup was created 10 years ago and last year more than 350,000 students from 183 countries and regions registered for the competition and developed incredible solutions. Their projects were aimed at solving the world’s toughest problems, including improving healthcare, education and environmental sustainability.

There were some very interesting ideas and comments that came from the “Technology in the Classroom” panel. The first came from the audience, Nick Harris of Dell who challenged us to think of education outside of the classroom and about the school/life balance. Nowadays, I think more in terms of the  school/life integration and information technology is a great tool to achieve this. It’s a way to engage with the students on their territory. Let’s face it, the young generation does not use email but IM, Tweet, Facebook chat and most of them have smart phone or PC’s at home.

An idea that I suggested is for teachers to look for ways to leverage the use of the Cloud to scale their education. Using the Cloud would allow students to have access to class work from anywhere and teachers could scale their competencies to other colleges and universities around the world.

A panel member, Humberto Perez of the Connally High School shared with us the video technologies he uses in his classroom.  I immediately thought of the movie Avatar that used Microsoft Windows Azure as Cloud storage for the movie as a way for him to lower the school costs and make his teaching accessible from home for the students.

While technology could be a key accelerator, Humberto highlighted the importance of teaching quality and being able to inspire kids to find their passion. He did this by offering to the kids a challenge that is bigger than themselves and that was to produce a film that would be projected at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. And they did it!!! Well done Humberto.

I attended two more interesting panels, one on Music/Entertainment and the other on Media/Film/Advertising.

Carl left us with these words: “We are in a pivotal time and if we know how to solve these education issues we’ll be better off down the road”

Thanks Carl, I certainly received more than I gave today! 


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Halloween and UFOs

Having been raised in Switzerland, I love the fantasy of Americans. I live in aIMG_1428 cool neighborhood and one morning while on the way to work, I founded that a UFO had landed in one of my neighbor’s yard.

Of course it was an Halloween treat and I’m grateful to my neighbor to have taken that extra step to entertain us for Halloween.


Well, a couple of day’s later, an alien showed up!


Happy Halloween,


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