Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#MeToo Is About Everyone

Anger is rampant. Accusations are rampant. Accountability is rampant. Men are running for cover, and women feel more empowered than ever before. 

It's embarrassing that in a country with as much potential as the United States, it's taken this long for these voices to be heard. It's also embarrassing that men continue to behave this way.

When we consider the racial and religious divide that has been reignited and supported over the last two years, it's a miracle that anyone dares speak out.

What Is Happening?
Has something fundamentally changed? Have centuries of abuse, harassment and a male dominated society finally started to crumble? Has the pendulum swung so far and so fast that no one is entirely sure what the 'new normal' looks like?

I don't have the answer.

But I do know one thing...


"We are not supposed to be afraid of each other."


I've heard that men are afraid to mentor women? 

What?

I've heard that men are not sure how to behave around women? 

What?

I've heard that women and men are being so cautious, that it is impacting how and when work actually gets done.

WHAT?!


The Missing Piece
Where is the leadership? Why isn't someone offering a balanced point of view? Why isn't someone demanding civil discourse on these complicated issues? Why are men running scared, when they should be standing up and making their voices heard in support of their colleagues, friends and family?

Where are the powerful male voices supporting #MeToo?

Mainstream media doesn't provide any leadership from the left or the right.

Political leaders who have the most influence are clearly falling short.

Many companies espouse "equality" and "value their employees" but I see precious little in writing, and even less 'action' from their leaders, taking a stand.

Who, then, is going to lead the way? Here's the answer...you and I are going to do it. 

We are going to have the difficult conversations. We are going to write in a calm, thought-provoking way to ensure opinions and ideas are heard. 

We are going to listen to each other. 

We are going to be role models for our children, our employees, and our leaders.

You and I are going to lead the way.

How About You
How do you feel about our world? Does your company's leadership team openly discuss these challenging issues? Is there a candid conversation occurring in your organization that sets an example for us all? What about you...how are you leading the way?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Standing In the Middle of a Time of Worry

Long title, I know. It's a line from a song that is pretty cool. But it speaks to something so pervasive in the workplace (and outside the workplace too.)

The weight of...everything.

So much to accomplish. 
So many projects. 
So many needs for the right talent doing the right things at the right time.

...and so much extra anxiety because we're always in CYA mode.

Friends, this is simply exhausting.

A New Way
I think a lot about pressure. The pressure that executive leadership brings. The pressure to deliver results for the companies that hire us. The pressure to grow my company. Oh, and also to stay on top of every facet of my personal life as well.

No big deal, right?

If we're constantly thinking about being the best we can be, and trying to follow the arcane school of thought that we should just "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and handle everything alone" we're way off-base.

Life is not an individual journey.

So, what options do we have?



Finding Center
For me, it's been a long process. Finding my way back to a set of values and beliefs that provides a completely new sense of who am I, the power I have to make a difference, and the support that is all around me has been nothing short of profound.

It's been a return to my core values, if you will. A renewed sense of something larger than me, all around me, that fills me with peace and strength...confidence and optimism.

When you find that "center" in your life, it means that you...
- trust it
- value it
- believe in it
- have faith in it

...and thrive.

How About You
Have you lost your "center?" It's easy to do. With our frenetic pace, it's no wonder we lose sight of it from time to time. Perhaps today is good day to pause, reflect, and reconnect with what is most important?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Culture of Weakness

I've been blessed to serve in leadership roles for more than twenty years. When I started out, I looked up to, and sometimes laughed at, the 'older' leaders in my organization and how they behaved. (old at that time = 50 or older...which is now...me.)

I See You
I looked at them through two lenses. 

The first was as an admirer...they had years of success under their belt, and wisdom and insight to share with me. I was a sponge, and wanted to learn as much as I possibly could.

The second however, was not so kind. I often considered them out of touch with contemporary strategies, unable to keep up with the rapid pace of change, and their incredibly frustrating risk-averse approach to just about everything.

Has Anything Changed?
Tough question to answer, right? There are still amazing leaders out there who continue to push themselves, and their organizations forward. 

This is often done at significant risk to the bold leader!

There is also a seemingly endless supply of leaders who just aren't courageous enough to take a stand. Why is that still so prevalent? 

I was listening to Laurie Ruettimann's new podcast Let's Fix Work where she interviewed Jason Lauritsen about his views on the workplace... 


One of the most powerful moments in the show was when Jason said what most of us want to say...we just don't want to follow leaders who aren't worth following. 

Preach, brother!

The challenge then, is for us to not be viewed as weak and ineffective, focused only on protecting our status as executives. 

But rather, to be high impact leaders who connect with the entire team in meaningful ways, and have the courage to take risks, make bold decisions, and inspire those around us to stay with the organization and help it flourish.

How About You
What is the leadership culture in your organization? How are you reinforcing, or hopefully, disrupting that culture? What will it take for you to move one step forward towards a new reality?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry

The pace. 

My pace...the hectic, busy, sometimes chaotic whirlwind of life can be a bit much at times. Easy to complain about, right? And also, easy to be thankful for in a world with so much pressure. 

Something More
Amidst the noise, deadlines, expectations and overloaded calendars is something else waiting for us. However, we often don't notice this opportunity because we're always "in a hurry."

When we find ourselves asking if all of this craziness is worth it, I wonder if we also ask how we might offer ourselves in a different way? 

That's right. I'm talking about exploring new ways to contribute.


Stop and Listen
Before we can understand how we might contribute beyond our "busy day full of responsibilities" we must first stop. Simply stop for a few moments, and listen. 

What is your heart calling you to do? 

Who has been whispering in your ear about making a change and adding value in ways you had not previously considered?

How will you eliminate the "hurry" in your life, so you can focus on the most important things? New things? Life-changing things?

How About You
Investing a few moments...or a few hours...to just stop and listen could have a profound effect on you, and those around you. 

Do you have the courage to even give it a try; or, will you quickly glance at your To Do List and hurry along to the next task?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Invisible Boundaries

Balance.
Crossing the line.
Setting expectations.
Role clarity.

Boundaries.

Work/Life Boundaries at Work
Okay, I need to say right away...I struggle with this. In my mind, I need to be available, on-call, and ready to jump into the action at any moment. That's what leaders do, right? 

We're available!

We've decided to forgo a large part of our personal life for the greater good of the organization!

We're role models of leadership effectiveness!

Well, I do love being all of those things...but I'm learning that I don't love being all of those things, all the time.


Boundaries at Home
Where is the balance point between committed leader, and committed person outside of work?

Where is that fine line that separates "dedicated" from hurtful intrusion? 

Is there a sign I should be looking for; or, perhaps that sign comes in the form of a tangled plan that is influenced by our work?

There is no easy answer. One of the thrills of leadership, for me, is the action and drama and sudden intensity that requires a savvy response as the "world" is getting all worked up. But when that world is always worked up it can begin to negatively impact our personal lives.


That's not good...for us as people, or as leaders.

How About You
How do you find the 'life balance' that integrates all of your responsibilities? Where do you draw the lines that ensure you don't give too much of yourself away?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Comfort Betrays

"I didn't see that coming."

"I'm not sure how that happened...everything was working so smoothly."

"What do you mean we're not on schedule?"

(Near) The Top of My Game
I have been unbelievably blessed in my career. I have grown as a professional, as a leader, and ultimately as an executive. Looking back it is clear the opportunities I've had, and the organizations I've worked for...and still do today...have been a #HealthcareHR guy's dream come true.

...and that is part of my struggle.

How many of us continue to push ourselves when things are going well as compared to when we are hungry for success? Is that even possible? Compare the boxing champion who is at the top of their sport with the #1 ranked challenger in the world who wants to take that title away so badly.

How does the champion keep the competitive fire burning?

What are the steps the champion builds into their routine to ensure sustained success?

You + Team
I don't believe there is a magic formula. There isn't a secret to success that is out of reach.

For me, it comes down to a simple plan:
- develop personal habits that drive success (document and repeat them each day)

- build an accountability team that isn't afraid to challenge you to improve

Software won't do it. The latest app won't do it. Listening to self-improvement "gurus" for hours and hours won't do it either.

You have to do it. Get focused. Develop the habits that work for you. Build the team you need. Get started.

...and sustain it.

How About You
Has success crept up on you, and now you have more at risk than ever before? 

This is not a crisis...this is a chance to maintain your competitive edge. This is how you're going to stay sharp, and effective, and continue to think bigger.

What's next for you?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Grind

What do you think of when you hear the phrase "the grind?" Is it how you feel about your job? Is it the burden of life in general? Is it a faux commitment to fitness? 

I'm guessing you didn't feel good about it.

The Grind Can Fuel
If I were to answer those questions honestly, I would admit that sometimes I fall into the negativity trap associated with the grind. I hate that.

What happens most of the time however, is that the grind becomes fuel for me. It moves from another lame excuse about "how busy I am" and "that life is so hectic" and moves me to look at things differently.

Without the pressure of "the grind" I wouldn't take risks.

Without the need to deliver I wouldn't try new things.

Without the constantly changing business world, I would just be another boring leader who thinks talking about work versus actually having to deliver as an executive is "the grind."

The Grind Can Drain
There is a dark side to the grind...one that can overwhelm, exhaust, and wear us out. The biggest risk of this grind is that we believe it is permanent.

Let me say that again...the biggest risk is that we believe the negative grind is permanent.

It's not. Ever.

Work can be frustrating, so what?
Life can be frustrating, so what?

How About You
Important things are supposed to be difficult some of the time. 

That stress can be turned into energy to do things you never thought possible. That pressure can be focused on new ideas, new ways of thinking, and new ways to take you, and your organization to a new level of performance.

How are you going to embrace the grind today and make a difference in your world?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

This Is Not the Edge of the World

The rollercoaster world of work is...

exhausting.
exhilarating.
maddening.
exciting.
frustrating.
rewarding.
the worst.
the best.

No matter what it is for you today, remember you're not living on the edge of your world. It's just the thrill of the ride. Hang on tight in good times and bad, and embrace every minute.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Developing Internal Blogging Teams

So, you've finally decided to execute on a robust employer brand strategy. Your career site is actually a real site, not just a job list, you're pushing content several times a week and distributing it across multiple dedicated HR social channels.

Well done!

But you're still missing out on a great recruitment, retention and recognition opportunity.

Our People...Our Most Important Asset
So many leaders talk about how important their people are, yet I rarely see those same "important" people writing about their experiences at work. 

We tell stories about them, that is a cornerstone of any good plan. However, when was the last time you saw the actual employees telling their own story?

It's not as risky as you might think

Plan...then Execute
There are several basic steps that will serve as the foundation of your internal blogging team structure.

1 - Identify several employees who have an interest in building their brand, supporting the organization, and aren't shy! Align the team members with your organizational needs (recruitment, expansion, growth.)

How do you find them? Ask!

2 - Meet with the employees and describe your goals, do's and don'ts, and reinforce that they are not uploading content, formatting, or publishing. HR handles all of those pieces. They simply need to send an email "post" to you each month.

How do I support them? Stay connected, meet for coffee, and talk through their challenges!

3 - Make sure your bloggers have up to date LinkedIn profiles, twitter accounts, and hopefully, Instagram accounts as well. If you're going to be a blogger...you need to be in the social media space!

How do I make sure this happens? Meet with them and get them set up on the spot!

How About You
I've had tremendous success using this strategy, and you can too! It doesn't matter if you're a blogger or not. The goal is to differentiate your organization from the competition. Additional benefits include helping you to create a culture that truly recognizes and showcases your employees! Now, what are you waiting for?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I Saw, Today

I saw commitment today.

I saw dedication to patients.

I saw a team completely focused on a goal.

I saw preparation.

I saw real-time accountability.
I saw transparency.
I saw energy.

I saw follow through.

I saw transparency.

I saw communication.

I saw passion.

I saw priorities.

I saw teamwork.

I saw action.

I saw results.

How About You
What did you see today?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Indefatigable

Persisting tirelessly.

I love the word indefatigable. I want to be that...every day...in everything I do. It is a word that needs to become part of who I am as a father, partner, friend, leader and person.

I want to, somehow, be everything. Is that even possible? My rational mind says absolutely not. But right now, I don't care. I want to think bigger than I ever have before. I want to believe that I can push myself...enjoy every step of the journey...

...and be everything



Foolish Path
The practical voice in my head says I'll wear myself out, or I'll get too stressed, or I'll not be able to keep up with my growing list of responsibilities.

But, since when has a "practical voice" ever led to a breakthrough life? I'll tell you when...

Never.

"Is wanting to explore a new awareness of my world...the whole world...a bad thing? Is this actually a foolish path to follow; or, is it the path that each of us wishes we had the courage to pursue?"

New Path
I'm not entirely sure what this looks like. I'm not even sure I can pull it off. But why shouldn't I try? Why shouldn't I challenge the ingrained societal messages about going too hard in life? Why shouldn't I say I'm going to make up my own set of rules, and the world can deal with it?

That feels like the path for me.

I don't want to be just another #HealthcareHR leader.
I don't want to be just another consultant.
I don't want to be just another good guy.

I want to spend my life kicking ass in every way possible. 

How About You
How hard do you push? How much is too much? When do you challenge yourself to take your entire life, not just your career, to a whole new level?

Maybe today is the day to answer those questions?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

I Walked Alone Into a Fight

Community - a unified body of individuals

Team - a group of people with a full set of complimentary skills

Network - an association of individuals with common interests providing mutual assistance

Friends - one attached to another by affection or esteem

Colleagues - a fellow worker or professional

Family - all the descendants of a common ancestor

So Much, But...
We have lots of words that represent the resources available to us in life, and these resources come in various forms. 

Ranging from close family relationships, to our loosely defined networks (think 3rd level on LinkedIn) it would appear that we have an endless amount of support just waiting to be tapped when times get tough.

Untrue.

While we do have extensive connections across many places, platforms and people; we fail to appreciate one of the most obvious facts of our journeys. 

We ultimately travel alone.

Not Bad News...
Now before you click out of this post and move on, consider the following...

...there is a reason communities, teams, networks, friends, colleagues and families are in our lives

...there is a reason, that despite feeling alone, we actually are not alone at all

Are you with me?

When you feel the pressure of your corporate life dragging you down.
When you feel like your career has stalled.
When you feel like the personal stress and strain are too much to bear.
When you fee like it is all just...too much.

Remember that although we technically travel alone, we have been provided with an amazing group of fellow travelers to share our journey.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses. 

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inspiration

Thursday, March 1, 2018

On the Brink of Lies

"I've had enough of her...get rid of her today."

"We're fallen behind schedule...someone is going to pay!"

"That's ridiculous...go writer her up now. Right now!"

"That's why I have you here...to keep me out of trouble when I have to take action."

"We've lost confidence in you..."

"You're no longer a good fit..."

HR Leadership is Hard
I don't know how many times my colleagues have told me the following..."I could never do your job." 

Wait, what? Is HR that horrible? Is it so pressure-packed that our friends and colleagues can't even imagine sitting in our chair?

Wow.

So, why then do we put ourselves through that pressure-cooker? Why do we put ourselves out there for all the world to see (and sometimes criticize) and frequently thank us for helping them through difficult issues or projects?

I used to have very HR-ish sounding answers, full of cliches and jargon, blah, blah, blah. I don't think I feel that way any longer. 

As I...ahem...grow more mature in my career...my answer feels different than all the HR-speak I've pumped out for years.

Something Bigger
HR leadership is not the only difficult role out there. And guess what? I've told my colleagues I would not want to do their jobs either. Have you caught yourself saying the same thing?

Be honest.

Leadership to me...HR or otherwise...done authentically, honestly, and frequently with a mouth full of humble pie has to be done deliberately. It has to matter to us as individuals. Of course we want to make our organizations better. Of course we want to create an environment where people want to work and feel as if their contribution to the world matters.

Leadership...for me...is about doing something that is bigger than me, and staying committed to that, even when times get tough once in a while.

I've never heard of any effective leaders that didn't face significant problems in their careers. I'm no different.

But when leadership means doing something bigger than yourself, you don't quit. You don't deflect responsibility or run for cover. You pick yourself up, get your game-face on, and you own every damn bit of the problem. Only then, can you make the course corrections necessary to be successful.


How About You
Which leaders do you look up to? Have their careers been perfect? Have they always made the right call? Or, do they mean so much to you because in spite of their missteps, they never quit? Ever.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Best Form of Self Interest

Now that's an odd title, don't you think? Of all things to be discussing on a human resources leadership blog...self interest?

Them, and Me
One of the challenges I face in my leadership practice is balancing my nonstop desire to push harder, faster, and better than my competition; and, understanding that the risks involved with my leadership personality can create casualties.

Casualties, on my team.

Understanding my role when mistakes are made, as well as the others involved, is more complicated than it sounds...at least for me. You see, I have this fairly large ego that continues to get in my way. My intentions are good, and often the results are rock solid, but it's the occasional collateral damage along the way that is unacceptable.

Is every miss my fault? Of course not. But every one of my reactions is completely on me. No one "forces me" to react too strongly. No one requires that I have a quick response that sometimes could be perceived as harsh. I am the only one who has the power over my responses.

Finding Forgiveness
When I find myself moving too quickly (which happens a lot) I need to build a new step into that frenetic pace. A step that allows me to ensure my words match the situation. And when I miss the mark, or realize that even though the "other person" made mistakes, I still need to lead the way.

I need to lead the way, every time.

If we think about forgiving those around us that make mistakes vs. running them over with our frustration and disappointment in their performance, a couple of interesting things happen.

First, forgiveness is not about the two people involved exclusively. Forgiveness is about resetting how the world is supposed to work, far beyond individual relationships.

Second, forgiveness, through that re-alignment, creates opportunities for individual forgiveness to be effective and long-lasting.


How About You
Is forgiveness a sign of weakness, or an attempt to simply 'forgive and forget?' We actually never forget; but when we focus on a more global reset, along with the individual healing that goes along with it, we demonstrate for our teams that forgiveness is actually a powerful leadership tool.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Blessings

I'm not sure if you've noticed or not, but there is a heck of a lot of negativity in the world today. Political leaders don't talk to each other anymore, they simply retreat to the safety of their extreme left, or extreme right news networks and gripe about each other.

Often the world of work is no different. I hear the cries to be different, to embrace innovation, and to be more progressive. Then all of the close-minded biases raise their ugly heads and the organization (and it's people) suffer.

Work Blessings
As I reflect on the polarized world we live in, it strikes me that I have an awful lot to be thankful for in spite of all the noise. It's too easy to fall into the trap that everything around us is "bad."

That's simply not true.

While I may be repulsed at the behavior of our political leaders, I certainly have other leaders in my life who are nothing short of world-class. I work with a team of people who are committed to doing their best work every day...and it shows...as the results of their work has allowed my company to grow at a dramatic rate.

Personal Blessings
I am blessed with three incredible children, an amazing family, and close relationships that I wouldn't trade for anything.

I am a bit of a fitness junkie, and have discovered a passion for healthy eating and daily workouts that not only help me keep pace with my busy life, but help me feel great too.

The church I joined is an open, welcoming community of faith the treats every person with respect, no matter what their background or experiences may be.

Lastly, I live in a part of the world that can only be described as paradise.

How About You
Today I'm going to let all the folks caught up in their miserable, negative existence stay right where they are. There's no room for them. I'm too busy focusing on the incredible blessings all around me.

What blessings have you overlooked?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.


Friday, February 16, 2018

The Inability to Respond

As Human Resources leaders, we care deeply about leadership competencies in two ways:

- The first, is putting forth the effort to identify, develop, and implement them. 

- The second, which is BY FAR the one we immediately forget, is to hold our leaders accountable to live up to those competencies.

Things Happen
Every day we're challenged as unexpected circumstances arise. These aren't necessarily 'bad things' but they do require attention. Our attention.

For example...new initiatives are planned and launched...milestones must not only be met, but a significant amount of effort must go into reaching those milestones on schedule...

But somehow, things aren't moving along as they should.

Another example...outdated policies and practices are identified that no longer make sense (think anything your organization has written relative to social media, employer brand strategies, or sharing content)...yet, somehow, no one ever gets around to being courageous enough to challenge the old-school thinking in the compliance department... 

So yet again, things aren't moving along as they should.

Not Unwilling...Just Unable
Back to leadership competencies. We write them. We agonize over the exact words that will represent what our organization values most in our leaders. We roll them out through training and communication plans, and ultimately integrate them into job descriptions.

Why then, after all of that effort, do we allow leaders to avoid living up to them? How is it that so much high quality work can be so quickly squandered when "leaders" appear to choose not to follow through and execute?

I submit that it is for one simple reason. It's not that they don't want to do the hard work. I am convinced more than ever, that many leaders simply can not do it

The over-inflated arrogance they carry with them consistently crashes and burns for all to see when projects do not move forward. 

They can not respond to the challenge, and when leaders are unable, they no longer deserve to serve in that role.

Harsh? Honestly friends, I don't think so.

How About You
Take a look at your leaders, and compare their behavior with the leadership competencies you've committed to as an organization. Who consistently misses the mark, despite intervention, support, and 'fresh starts?'

Something to think about.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Judge In Me

"We are all hypocrites. We cannot see ourselves or judge ourselves the way we see and judge others."
Jose Emilio Pacheco

clothes
words
associates
department
academic background
color of skin
gender
faith perspective
home address
car
tech
vacations
politics
friends
partners
music
hobbies
sexual orientation
savvy
business knowledge
experience

It's Automatic
I....er...I mean, "we" judge everyone...and everything, every minute of every day, forever.

Ouch.

Yes, that hurts to say out loud, doesn't it? Well...sometimes we need to say the uncomfortable things out loud. We need to hold ourselves accountable to what often becomes a job-title-blind-spot that afflicts many leaders.

"Once we achieve a certain status, we lose touch with reality. We start to believe that we are better than others on the team. We move toward a superiority mindset that quite candidly, is a disaster."
Constant Struggle
For those of us with a faith perspective, judging others is really, really frowned upon. For others, well-respected leadership voices constantly emphasize the need to listen as a core competency for success. Never is "judge the team quickly and carelessly" referenced as anything but a horrible leadership failure.

The internal battle I'm engaged with, despite my daily focus on this issue, is just that...a battle! It's striking how many times I jump to conclusions, or default to traditional stereotypes even though I know they are dangerous and counter-productive.

How About You
What is your approach to ensure you minimize the time you judge others? What is your secret? I am sure I'm not speaking alone when I say, please share! I want to know!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.