Over the month since I've joined Oracle, many people has asked about the work I'm doing here. And, in all honesty, the work is so varied that I've had a difficult time describing it.
Yesterday, I was traveling from my home in Salt Lake to Oracle Corporate HQ in Redwood Shores. Having landed in San Francisco, I was in a rush to get my rental car, make the drive to HQ, and get some productivity out of what was left of my day.
In San Francisco, you take a light rail to get from the airline terminals to the rental car building. The rail lines run every 10 minutes. As I was approaching the platform to pick up the light rail, one of those every-10-minute trains was just pulling into the station. So I hefted my two carry-on bags and started a mad dash to the train. And about four steps into that mad dash, I tripped and fell...luggaging flying, me on the ground, cussing up a storm. Know why I tripped? For the classic reason...my shoe lace was untied.
I was in such a hurry that I failed to check my shoelaces anywhere between leaving the plane and my failed attempt at breaking the Earth's gravitational pull.
My favorite basketball coach of all time, John Wooden, has a coach principle of "be quick, but don't hurry". The idea was to have an efficient system and work with a sense of urgency within that system. That's being quick. When you step out of the boundaries to get something done as soon as possible, you're in a hurry...but at the risk of no longer being quick. Your shoelaces come untied, you trip, and the mistake causes you to miss the light rail altogether. You invest more time in waiting for the next opportunity...mission bjorked.
So one of the primary things I'm doing at Oracle? Working on enabling those around me to be quick while discouraging them from being in a hurry. That's a big chunk of what a good Center of Excellence does.