Simply Grateful…

by Onyeka Nchege on November 25, 2015


“When you practice gratefulness, there is a sense of respect toward others” ~ Dalai Lama

 During this time of year we are encouraged most to think of others and reflect on all that we are thankful for. In both of those regards I can honestly say that I am thankful most for those that surround me. In my personal life, I have the honor of being: a husband to my beautiful wife, a father to wonderful children, a son to loving parents, a brother to remarkable siblings and a friend to many outstanding people. In my professional life, I am privileged to lead an organization of talented individuals into greatness.

Throughout most of our careers it is ingrained in us to focus on our individual experiences and achievements, and that is understandable since it is our responsibility to drive ourselves forward. However, just as there is a need to take stock of ourselves as individuals, it is equally important to pay homage to those who paved the paths we travel, work diligently alongside us and support us in our efforts. We all need to recognize that our individual achievements are often essential parts of a greater collective.

Having been, and currently residing as the leader of an IT organization, I am grateful for the system architects that ensure we build solutions that align to with our strategic outlook, the help desk specialists that work through issues in a timely manner with our end users, the network and telecommunications specialists that ensure our entire company and external customers have connectivity to us and our systems, the analysts who ensure we deliver high-quality solutions to our end users based on their needs and specifications, the PC technicians that ensure our entire company of users have the hardware and devices they need to perform their daily tasks. These, and many more, are all essential parts of the greater collective that my position is dependent on, and I am grateful to support them as they support me. 

Take Action: My ask to everyone reading this is to not only take the time during this season to reflect on all that you are thankful for, but to also tell those who surround you why you are grateful to them. As individuals we are each strong, and as a collective we are absolutely substantial. 

I am grateful to YOU.  Thanks for reading and sharing and commenting on the Leadership on the GO….. It’s O.N blog posts.   


Mastering Those Martian Moments

by Onyeka Nchege on November 14, 2015

Astronaut Spaceman Mars Planet

    “Mastering Those Martian Moments: Surviving as a Leader When You Feel Stranded on Mars”

Those of you who know me are aware that I love going to the movies. It’s my chill thing and it’s one of my “relax and revive” stress busters. A couple of weeks ago, we had a family outing and we went to see The Martian. As I typically do with sci-fi movies, I went in with no expectations. I wanted the story, not my presumptions, to lead me. Since I purposely had not paid any attention to the movies’ reviews and spoiler alerts, I made the decision to rate this one myself.

The basic premise of the story is about an astronaut, Mark Watney, who was presumed dead by his crewmates and consequently left behind on Mars with limited food, oxygen and other supplies. He makes contact with NASA after his crew leaves and must learn how to survive on an unfamiliar planet until he is rescued.

About 30 minutes into the movie, I was hooked. I started seeing leadership comparisons to what happens when you are new and leading transformational change. The recent changes at my organization have shifted some leaders into new, and very different, roles from the ones that they had grown up in, very different from their familiar. As I considered the changes accompanying our IT transformation, I pictured some of our leaders facing a situation like Watney and wondered, What would they do and how would they do it if they were stranded on Mars? How would they survive a Martian Moment?

I noticed 5 leadership traits that act as survival skills in what I’m going to call Martian Moments, those times when, as leaders, we’re faced with sustaining ourselves in the unfamiliar:

    1. Acknowledge the moment and its reality.
    The unfamiliar is scary and it is imperative to come to terms with that fear. Recognition and acceptance of fear allows us to process how to combat it. We are then in a position to associate the unfamiliar with things that are more familiar to us.

    2. Revive your confidence in who you are and what you know.
    Though unfamiliar to us at first, we arrive at every moment armed with our own experience and knowledge. Again, the association of the unknown, to things that we know, assists in elevating our confidence putting us on our path to success. Be prepared to ride the momentum of confidence. It will take you a long way.

    3. Expect the unexpected.
    It is important to remember that though we are armed with experience and knowledge to help us succeed, the unfamiliar will still come with unexpected circumstances. Our best laid plans are just that, plans. Plans are only beneficial if they are pliable to unexpected realities.

    4. Believe in your teammates.
    Though we feel alone in this area of unfamiliarity, we are never alone. Each of us has the direct and indirect support of our teammates. Even when our team seems to leave us stranded, as Watley’s crew did in the movie, there is always an explanation. We can choose to trust our team’s good will. Do that, and you could illuminate the whys behind their action and new information you never considered before.

    5. Think outside the box.
    The unfamiliar compels you to apply your experience and knowledge, and it allows you to be creative. The creativity of out-of-the-box thinking is exactly what produces the breakthrough moments required for greatness.

My most impactful takeaway from the movie was realizing that we have all been The Martian at some point in our lives. We have all been moved to a place of unfamiliarity, and we have all had to create a plan for survival.

Take Action: No matter what it looks like or what you believe you see, decide today to reset your reality and “Martian” your way forward. That’s how you capture your Martian Moment.

Leadership on the GO…..It’s ON


Looking Between The Trees

October 20, 2015

Many of us have heard the old adage, “Can’t see the forest for the trees”; meaning one doesn’t realize the vastness of what they are exploring, because they are focused only on the immediate things in front of them. As I ponder this saying, I think about my own personal and career journeys that I […]

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Patience is NOT Overrated!

September 17, 2015

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. – Thomas Edison It is the unfortunate circumstance that we are […]

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Knowing When to Learn

September 7, 2015

As many of you know, I am a huge proponent of life-long learning. It is my belief that the catalyst of our individual growth is when we are challenged to learn more. Some of our challenges to learn more include: Lack of internal motivations and curiosities, Mistakes we have made, External factors – careers, family […]

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