I've been shacked up at the Rainbow Lodge Retreat with about twenty-something other MS managers this week attending one of the many management development courses available to us.  It's been very interesting so far and have definitely picked up a few insights along the way that may help in the future.  It's also been fun and competitive at times especially when we divided up into separate companies (groups of 4-5) and went through a 5 year cycle of the Tango business simulation.  We all seemed to enjoy that experience quite a bit. 

We also got to meet Rodrigo Costa who is the Corporate VP of the OEM division at MS.  We spent a couple of hours listening to his story and some of the insight he's gathered throughout his career, asking some questions as a group, and then some of us got a few minutes with him in smaller groups to ask some more questions.  He definitely has an interesting story and is really easy to talk to though it's clear he's also a no-nonsense sort of guy which seems to be a common quality shared by many of the VPs (and other upper level managers) I've encountered or heard about.  Over time, I've developed more and more respect for these folks and what they do. 

The session with Rodrigo was so far the highlight of the week for me so far with the Tango coming in a close second.  The days so far have been long (e.g. roughly 7:30am-8:00pm and then sometimes more meetings outside of the course's official agenda afterwards) and there have definitely been a few other interesting sessions but I've always favored non-class-like environments for management/business topics.  Hearing or reading about management topics directly from people who've lived it rather than from instructors, who are usually very knowledgeable as well and may have in fact lived it to a certain extent, has almost always left me having a harder time trying to fully visualize their teachings in the real world.  I guess the more abstract it gets, the less I get out of it, though so far this week, even the highly abstract sessions have been pretty good. 

We also had to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment where I ended up as an ISTJ with the IST part not being too clear but the J part definitely showing up pretty strong.  I'm sure I've taken this assessment before and I wouldn't be surprised to see I've ended up with different results before (probably mostly only on S or T).  But it was still useful to talk about the various types with the rest of the participants and realize how truly common some of these traits are in the various types.

Anyway, gotta get going as the 4th day is going to start soon and I wanted to get in a quick hike before breakfast.  We're staying at the Rainbow Lodge Retreat right next to Mt. Si and it's truly an amazing place.  So I want to get out there and enjoy some more of it before the rest of the work takes over again.