Are you going to be a manager now? Start here.

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Congratulations! You now have more responsibility and “other duties as assigned.” You likely will have a team reporting to you. Are you looking to make an impact? What is your motivation? If you don’t understand this, now is the time!

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Are you stuck on those questions?

I was very fortunate to work for some great leaders and great managers, as well as some terrible ones. Take some time to write down all the good and bad experiences you have had as an employee. Just a simple brainstorm can help; jot them down. This is an essential step.

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Based on those notes, create a set of principles based on the stories. Take time to think about them, convert them from the stories to a do’s and don’ts list. These are simple rules you are creating for yourself. Now take it a step further and flip the don’ts to things you should do. These are principles that you need to have with you as you move through your first days in your new role. Read them every day and revise them when necessary.

Why do this? It would be best to internalize them until you are the person you want to be in your new role. You will need these as a compass for being an ethical leader in your organization. From my experience, principled leaders are respected and admired in an organization; those with no true north flounder are ineffective leaders.

Develop muscle memory for your responses to ethically questionable situations. According to Brooke Deterline, it is possible to change the response, similar to muscle memory in sports.

Vision and Mission Statements

Take time to learn the vision and mission statements for your company. Chances are, many do not take the time to understand them. Keep in mind that the people who wrote them are often the executive leaders of the organization. If these statements matter to them, they should matter to the whole company and your department. When in doubt, fall back to those statements as a guide to making your decision.

Rely on Your Team

Your team likely wants the company to succeed, so let them. Top-down hierarchies have their place, but that mindset is dwindling and doesn’t work. The United States military, a bastion of the hierarchical model, has even seen changes in this area, promoting innovation. If you want to get an MBA condensed down to a word, communicate! Top-down is only half of the equation; feedback needs to flow up to them. How many times have you heard a co-worker say, “the President of the company just does things without our feedback”? If this is the case, either those that report to the President or CEO are not honest, the President doesn’t value input, or the culture has a problem.

Hint: most of the time, this involves active listening.

Keep open communication channels with your team. Be as honest with your team, but also be mindful of the impact of your words. It’s not just that you say it; it’s also how you say it.

Your communication with your group is essential, but value other’s input as well. Build a better work environment by listening to your team. They will have good ideas; let them experiment. Before just letting them run with it, I would recommend having them come up with four alternatives. At least three of these solutions should be serious contenders. It forces them to think about the problem and stretch to know the problem they are trying to solve entirely.

Efficiency Vs. Effectiveness

Eisenhower was very accurate with his statement; while management and leadership are often thought of as the same thing, they are two very different things. Think about those questions now, are you a manager, or are you a leader? To know this focus on the difference between these two words. Efficiency is accomplishing something with as few resources as necessary (time, people, materials, etc.). Effectiveness is doing the right thing. Managers are efficient, but leaders are effective. It doesn’t matter how efficiently your team is; if they aren’t doing the right thing then why even do the work?

Keep this in mind when taking on new projects, is the project right for the department? Is it right for the company?


  1. Develop a solid ethical base, from which all of your actions will come from.
  2. Learn the vision and mission of the company, know them, and let them guide your decisions.
  3. Your team is critical to your success, communicate openly and wisely with them. Even more important, listen to your team.
  4. Remember, being efficient is not being effective. If you are going to do something, make sure it is congruent with the vision and mission of the company.


I would love to get a dialog started on this, do you have any suggestions or comments? Please post them and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

I’m writing again! Where have I been?

For those of you following my blog, I have not written in some time.  This is because, like many things, time has significantly changed my priorities. I find it fitting that this blog is titled RefactoringSelf, because I have been heavily involved in changing my career and my goals. I recently finished my MBA and got a Business Architecture certification. My family has also expanded to four children, which provide me with much joy.

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I am still a die-hard fan and participant in software development and programming, but I also am starting to focus on the wider needs of the industry and focusing more on the business end of things.

What does this mean for RefactoringSelf?

I am still committed to providing good content that can help developers, but I will expand my topics to other areas that can improve your role where you work as I delve into different concepts that will round out you as a software developer. After all, you might be the most technically brilliant person in the room, but what good is it if you can’t relate to or understand the problems the business is facing?

New content you say?

Yes, it is my intention to provide content on new subjects such as:

  • business topics
  • soft skills (writing, communication, team building, strategy)
  • enterprise architecture
  • business architecture

I am continuously having experiences and challenges. My hope is that I can provide you with new interesting content that will save you a few steps (or a few missteps).

I am looking forward to continuing to share my journey and with you and hopefully get some great interactions with you in the future.

Black Screen Installing CentOS 7 on VirtualBox

I noticed something that was irritating me this morning.  The screen would go black after I chose to install CentOS 7 on VirtualBox.  What you can do is choose Troubleshooting in the startup of the installer. Then choose Basic graphical install, this seems to get around the problem.

Hope this helps somebody!

Being Grateful

I have not posted on my blog in a while but given that this is fitting is oddly fitting.  As I am writing this my grandfather is moments away from passing.  He has been very influential in my life; he was the one who first introduced me to fixing computers in the early 1990’s.  He started my spark of curiosity of technology.  For those of you who know me well, know I am obsessed with learning and using technology.

He also was always excited about fixing things and tinkering.  He was an avid craftsman, and built many pieces of furniture.  By trade he programmed/ran/maintained CNC mills and he was the best in his company at it.

I’ve had a missed opportunity, so many times I could have thanked him for all the inspiration and knowledge he imparted on me.

He is too far gone for me to say my final farewell, his breathing very faint and sporadic. So this post has to suffice.  A parting note, please take a moment and thank the people in your life who have inspired you.  They are few and far in between.

SQL Server – Deleting Duplicate Rows

Oh what a tangled web we weave when we don’t use unique constraints or primary keys…

Using some clever rules about deleting from a view (also applies to a common table expression).  You can delete from a view if the view only references one table.

WITH    cte(b, r)
AS (SELECT    Field1,
FROM      dbo.Table1
WHERE     Field1 IN (SELECT   Field1
FROM     dbo.Table1

Part of the trick is to use Row_Number to make a distinction between the rows.  You can then delete anything that has a row number greater than 1 (a dupe)

Great Primer for Threading Basics in .Net

I stumbled across this article from one of my LinkedIn friends,  Threads in C#

It answered one of my questions about thread pooling in a very concise, easy to understand fashion.  It is a short article, but he then goes into the Task Parallel Library, something that I really enjoy.

If you are asking why should I care about this, I use the magic of Async/Await.  These are the fundamental technologies and techniques that they are built upon.

Keep in mind that not many people are experts in highly concurrent systems, I am not one of them either.  But hopefully by reading this article we will all be a little better in how we implement parallelism/concurrency.


SQL Server Performance Tuning For Developers

Chances are if you are reading this, you are a software developer.  Relax, I am one too, as well as a database administrator.  I spend a lot of time helping people to write code that is efficient or get the right results.  I want to share this post on SQL Database Tuning by Rodrigo Koch. It provides some really good advice, especially for beginners in the area.

Really hits the nail on the head though, keep it minimalistic. Only return what you need, it takes more time on the server and then the data has to go over the network.  He goes into some detail of how to troubleshoot slow queries and when to create indexes


Mocking in Python

An Introduction to Mocking in Python by Naftuli Tzvi Kay

This article is very insightful for covering mocking in Python.  In case you don’t know mocking is a technique for testing where you don’t want to use a particular object or set of objects.  For example, you might want to simulate database functionality while you are writing your test cases.

Hope you all find this useful, have a great day!


A ClickOnce gotcha – FIPS algorithms

If you are using FIPS, your ClickOnce applications might not work. I ran into this bug running BookSmarts, an application I wrote. Turned FIPS on and started receiving errors.

The issue is that enabling FIPS makes the mechanism that verifies the validity of ClickOnce applications fail every time.

The article, a very long one, can be found here:

Just keep this in mind if you are trying to support someone who is the odd ball out.

Note: Enabling/Disabling FIPS in Windows is done through the registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa\FipsAlgorithmPolicy\Enabled (DWORD)

1 is on, 0 is off

When changing this setting, it’s necessary to reboot the computer.

Cool tips and tricks for Google Chrome…

This is a decent post I put out there about Chrome on my businesses website but I figured all you WordPressers out there would enjoy skimming it too. I am going to make a series of these since people like them! More to come. great speed from Chrome-and-news/google-chrome-productivity-tips-tricks