Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Great Unsaid

"Oh, yes...he has always acted that way. It's just part of life here."

"She does that all the time...her team has learned to work around her."

"When he gets in one of his moods, look out!"

"She's always rude and interrupts..yet we hold everyone else accountable for that."

All Quiet on the Corporate Front
We've all experienced this bizarre phenomenon. Leaders are allowed to behave poorly, yet we're fast as lightning to hammer employees who act the same way.

What holds us back from speaking up? Do we actually believe our career path will be compromised by leading? Could we be ostracized from our peer group for addressing the very public skeleton in our shared corporate closet? 

"It is perhaps the greatest failure of leadership...that is... to passionately espouse the values of the organization, and fail so miserably to hold it's leaders to that standard."

Speak Up or Fail
Consider what happens to the front line employees when leaders are allowed to behave like fools:
- morale tumbles
- engagement evaporates
- turnover rises
- revenue dwindles

Why would we ever wish for these things to happen to our organizations? Yet, when we remain silent on leadership behavior, we are stating quite loudly that we WANT these terrible things to happen. 

There is no in-between stance...if you do not speak up and coach, counsel, or discipline poor leadership behavior, you are in fact endorsing a dark and painful course for your company.

How About You
I don't even have to ask...you already have the name of the person in your head that fits this post. So, what will you do the next time they 'do their thing?" Perhaps stare at your shoes and hope they stop talking; or, have a very direct, professional, and purposeful discussion with them?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Influencer

What comes to mind when you hear the term influencer? Is it a prolific blogger or motivational speaker? Perhaps it's a celebrity or someone 'larger than life?' Maybe it's someone with a ba-zillion followers on a social channel?

While those labels have merit, they are far from what I now believe a true influencer actually is.

You Are Bigger Than the Internet
I'm not even sure I was aware of the term 'influencer' before the age of the Internet and social media. But I had important influencers in my life ranging from family members and teachers, to college professors and leaders in the workplace.

They made a tremendous impact on my life, and no one had even heard of something called a tweet yet.

You Are More Than Your Job
As I moved into formal leadership roles and later senior management positions, the impact of my own influence started to become clear. Not only did I have 'automatic influence' simply because of my authority level, I found that I had the ability to make a difference personally with my colleagues and team members.

That is powerful!

When influence becomes a responsibility instead of a chase for followers, one's mindset begins to shift. 


How About You
Consider the individual moments in your life...with family, friends, colleagues and peers. Those little encounters, private coaching moments, shared insights and bold decisions are what really define being an 'influencer.'

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Rising

Some candid stuff today...and a quick 'cut to the chase.' 

I've been doing a lot of introspective work lately. As in a L O T.

Old Habits Don't Help
Turns out my world-class skill of compartmentalizing every facet of my life turned out to be a flawed strategy. Oddly enough, as I was writing this post an incredible thread blew up on twitter discussing...well...men struggling with being human vs. some sort of fake persona that is completely unrealistic and unhealthy. Whoa! That hit close to home!

So, my personal deep dive is in full swing. 

Doing the Work
It's hard work.
At times it's humiliating work.
In the end, I hope it will represent a meaningful change on many levels.

No, I'm not hitting the bottle or having a mid-life crisis. I am simply pushing to be my best self, so that I can be the best person possible for those around me.


How About You
What challenges are you facing (or perhaps hiding from?) Are you hoping to find the courage to push yourself to a whole new level..to a new quality of life? 

As for me so far...it's been totally worth it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Reunited and Returned

A question for you today...do you feel as if you've 'figured it all out?' I'm not being a smart you-know-what here. I'm actually curious if you feel that way. 

Honesty is the Best Policy
To be honest with you, I kinda feel like I had it all figured out for a while. That turned out to be a pretty self-centered viewpoint. Think about it...with all of the challenges of work, our personal "stuff" that we carry...or have carried around with us...plus a world that seems to be so bitterly divided, how in the world could anyone have it all figured out?

Lots to process. Lots to think about. Lots of people we interact with each day, and all of this internal noise blasting nonstop.

Or maybe it's just me?

Stepping Up
It's an odd thing...wanting to step up and be better. Who puts that pressure on us? Is it our coworkers or family? Is it clients or our network of peers? Perhaps it's our faith perspective, or simply our sense of justice, duty or doing the right thing that is the source?

What drives us to push ourselves so hard to improve? 

Yes, I'm going deeper today...it's good for me...and you too. When do we thoughtfully, intentionally, commit to 'being better people' and then execute on that plan?

I'm all in.

How About You
What drives you? Is it work, personal healing, an inner passion, or something else happening in the world? 

For me, it's as if I've been reunited with...well...myself. Returning to that person who saw everything as an exciting opportunity to make a difference.

I'd love to hear from you


No Excuses.

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inspiration

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Finding My Way

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but I've found myself in somewhat of an awkward place. 

Professionally, I have a terrific job with a company that is being recognized in the industry and growing fast. I love human resources work...it just matches everything that I believe is important about the life and success of an organization. 

That all sounds pretty good, right?

But...
Somehow, though, a cynical view has snuck up on me. 

I don't like that. 

I don't want to be someone who complains about the complainers. I don't want to sound like the angry guy who is just another know-it-all. I don't want to be someone who isn't living the way he truly wants to live.

So...I'm doing something about it. A huge part of my personality is based (often times as the brunt of jokes) on being overly positive. Sometimes even missing the reality of a situation because I refuse to see anything but the positive side!

That personality trait...that I have relied on to carry me through for so many years...has become a bit more elusive lately. 

I don't like that either.

Getting Focused
I'm going to dial-in more than ever to what used to be my default reaction, to an intentional, thoughtful response to the world around me. 

Staying positive has to be the starting place. 
Staying positive has to be my go-to style. 
Ending positively has to be the way.

Maybe this all sounds hokey. Probably true. But for me, taking a proactive approach to how I live my life versus my "life living me" is essential. I've taken big steps in my health, faith, nutrition and fitness. Now it's time to lock down the last and most challenging part...

...my mindset.



How About You
What has become elusive in your life? What behaviors have crept in that you want to lock down? Don't be afraid of confronting them...you can do it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

For Soon Is Yesterday

I've been thinking a lot lately about how I...well...think about things. I like to have a clear understanding of what's behind me, as well as a vision of what's ahead...develop a game plan...execute well...and get to where I just knew I would get to.

Sure.

Back
I easily fall into the trap of looking back at my life, both professionally and personally. What could I change? What might have happened if I took that other job? What about that big decision I made...what if I made a different one?

These back-facing questions are helpful for us to understand things, but aren't necessarily productive if we spend all of our time looking backwards.


Forward
Conversely, I L O V E spending time planning what's next! Big thinking! Big ideas! And best of all..acting on those plans! In my business life this is an area where I get the most satisfaction.

Personally, plans on a massive scale can shift and move resulting in us investing lots of energy on plans instead of embracing the incredible moments that we are blessed with each day.

Of course I want to plan in my private life...but not at the expense of my life.

Are you with me?



How About You
Looking back to learn, and looking ahead to dream are both important parts of our life experience. Those investments of time can help us understand, learn and prepare. But we must not lose sight of the incredible things that happen each day. Those small moments that make life special are so important.

I'm still going to think about everything...but savoring each day is going to take a little higher priority than in the past...what about you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

What is Your 'One Word?'

I'm not sure it's fair to ask you to reduce your entire life down to 'one word.' Our lives are full of all sorts of emotions, activities, responsibilities, aspirations, convictions, anxieties, and goals.

One word?

Why Just One
I think there's something to be said for being concise...for clarifying who and what we are in a direct, no nonsense sort of way. We've all heard the people who use lots and lots of words but never really say anything.

I also think it's an interesting challenge to try and put our whole self into just one word. 

So many options, right?
- love
- faith
- peace
- competitive
- driven
- human
- focused
- extrovert

...and the list goes on.

For Me Though
For some reason I've been thinking about my 'one word' lately. Then last weekend the issue came up during a service I attended, and I felt even stronger about 'my word.'

It's not a human resources, professional, or politically correct word in my opinion, although it gets used that way all time. 

"It comes down to what matters most to me 
about the world and my place in it." 

That is where I started to answer the question about 'my word.'

For me, the word represents something that transcends my biases, the divisions in our country and across the world, and speaks to what my parents taught me, what I've tried to teach my children, and most importantly, what my faith says to me.



How About You
My word is inclusion.

It's inclusion because every single person is important. Every person has value. 

No judgments.
No assumptions.
No predetermined notions about race or religion or nation or any other thing.

Everyone matters.

What's your word?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Bullets

The corporate kind.

We take them...at least I believe we're supposed to. We take them personally, for our colleagues, and for our organizations. We don't share the majority of them with anyone.

We just take them. Straight up.


Martyrdom or Leadership
Balancing between accountability and organizational advocacy is where the fine line is drawn between company martyr and staunch advocate for your organization. Sometimes it's impossible to see that line...at least it is for me.

Sharing every stumble or human mistake is hardly worth discussing. Ah, martyrdom. So lonely, yet so satisfying in an odd way.

Conversely, when a a stumble becomes a fall, sharing becomes mandatory. Ah, the risk of being the negative leader.

Finding the Line
I'll be honest...I can't find the line. Some days I can manage it, take the proverbial bullets, and move on. Other days, I'm not sharing enough to keep the team up to speed so they can 'do better 'next time.'

Hold back?

Share? (read here...pass along complaints?)

Sure, it's easy to say it should all be shared. Yet, somehow it doesn't feel right, particularly when there is precious little to share in the first place.

When to speak up?

When to take the heat?

How About You
How many bullets do you take? Are you a strong leader who isn't afraid to take too many; or, are you the one that shares everything as soon as it comes in so you can never be 'blamed' for anything?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I Tried to Look Too Far Ahead

There is an allure about achievement...at least there is for me. I consider myself to be fairly driven in just about everything I do. Career, relationships, family, music, fitness, faith...it's full speed all the time.

It feels like I'm always pushing to meet the next milestone or deadline or goal. The "next" thing is always the most important...

The Time Is Now
Recently I've taken on a new perspective on...well...just about everything. Reaching for the "next best thing" doesn't seem to work out very often. 

Sure, we need to be prepared, but being prepared at the expense of the people and world around us right now is a major miss.

Looking ahead...too far ahead...no longer makes sense. 

Do I have long-term goals? Of course I do! Do I want to maximize my time here while I still have that fire in my belly? You bet I do!

But, do I want to look so far down the trail that I miss most of the things that are important today?

Hell, no.

Priorities
Somewhere between planning everything so tightly that I end up closing my mind to what's really important; and, not paying attention to today is where I'm going to land. 

Showing empathy, appreciating the roller coaster ride that each day brings, and keeping those most important to me at the top of my priority list are really what matters most, right?

How About You
It's not really about balance...it's about focusing on your true priorities. Write them down, practice focusing on them, and deliver for those close to you, for your organization, and for yourself each day.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Inspiration
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Monday, August 27, 2018

Undisputed

I love the term face-plant. I should, I've recently become the undisputed master of face-planting. Sure, it's not the title I was hoping for...but, one must accept reality and deal with it.

Reality
That's where I have the most trouble...I don't do well with 'dealing with' face-plants, despite my apparent world-class ability to pull them off with unparalleled consistency. The unique skill that I have developed is that I only execute on said face-plants at the most inopportune times. 

Yes, I can tell you're envious.

How can he be so effective one moment, and yet have the steely nerve to fall completely flat on his face the next? I wish I could explain it friends.

I REALLY wish I could explain it.

But, alas...

Pity Party
Of the various strategies I've attempted to overcome this massively annoying trait, the proverbial pity party has been a go-to for some time now.

And it's been a failure each time...as in..

every.
single.
time.

Thus, I'm heading down a new path. One that I hope will allow me to, as all great champions should, pass the torch of 'undisputed' along to the next unsuspecting soul who has no idea what is about to hit them.

The path you ask?

Reflection.
Self-examination.
Prayer.

How About You
What is the secret to removing this awful title? How have you battled your missteps and mistakes and come through better than ever?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cold Sweat

You're asked a question in a big meeting and your mind goes blank.

You completely forgot to follow up on an issue and the information is due in 5 minutes.


You realize you are in over your head with an assignment and have no idea where to turn...paralysis sets in...and your credibility begins to evaporate.


Keep Breathing
Now before you do something rash like quit your job because you don't think you'll be popular anymore and won't have any 'friends' at work consider these points:

- you're not going to die because you've hit a rough patch

- you actually can do the work if you remove some of that self-talk clutter from your mind and start attacking the issue one little step at a time

- you can reach out to your colleagues for help...that's what real colleagues do...they help each other

Now Focus
Once the wave of anxiety has washed over you...and you've decided that your entire career is over and there is no hope for you professionally...

...get your head back on straight and start building your plan.

What needs to be addressed immediately? Write it down. Map out the deadlines and the resources you'll need to get there. 

Who can help you? Who also has a vested interest in this issue being executed successfully?

Find those people. Talk with them. Write everything down.

Breath Again
Think about how your mind has shifted. You have now documented a preliminary action plan, have connected with important internal resources to get the necessary results, and most importantly, are now back in charge.

This can not be overstated. Your mood will change. Your confidence level will change. And, by the way, the results will change dramatically from where you started.

Breath.
Focus.
Execute.

How About You
Is it going to be hard sometimes? Yes. Is it going to be embarrassing sometimes? Yes. Is it going to be worth it? Absolutely.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

I Have 99 Problems

...and I think I might be the biggest one.

Ouch.

Not Me
Sometimes I feel like I've mastered the art of identifying what is wrong with everybody else in the world. Corporate leaders, politicians, colleagues, companies, acquaintances, and on and on...

What the heck? Since when was I appointed King of the World?

Um, never.

So what is driving that occasional burst of energy that builds up inside and plays out as a rapid fire stream of negative self-talk? 

Do I truly see how others are struggling? 

Sometimes.

Do I also misinterpret what is happening because my lens is fixed so tightly? 

Sometimes.

Do I need to learn to pause, and understand "why" something is happening before I react?

All the time.

Definitely Me
Pushing ourselves to not only be more humble and patient is one thing. Challenging ourselves to literally be a better person is a far different story. How we move from 'today' to our improved 'tomorrow' feels like a long process. 

But there are steps we can take to get there. Focusing on a positive outlook (which I try hard to do); starting a journal to help us understand the 'why'; and...

...putting ourselves second. When it's always about ME...I can't focus on anyone else.

How About You
How do you ensure that 'you' don't get in the way of the people and circumstances you deal with each day? What works? What doesn't? It matters, right?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

You Think You Know

"Despite everything you think you know"

Yeah, we're all geniuses now that we have cool job titles, right? We always know the best path forward.

Sure we do.

"You're ruled by a ruinous pack of lies"

How is it going...blindly following along whatever you are told?

Why?

"You are born to serve"


You do remember that you have power, right? You make a difference. You're not a corporate slave.

You're a leader.



"A one use battery"

Despite the notion that everyone is expendable, it's not true. Actually there are leaders who have the other leaders running to them for help.

"This is all we are"

In fact, we are so much more.

"Nothing to become"

Too late...we're already something special. 

"Way past the point of no return"

Now is your time. Don't let the moment pass...don't let anyone stand in your way...go get it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Thank You, May I Have Another?

What was your first reaction when you read the title to this post?

"Thank you, may I have another?"

Did you "go negative" right away? Did you think I would be discussing HR leaders getting dumped on by their colleagues, the employees, and a long list of other ungrateful souls?

Wait Just A Second
How about we try this approach instead...

"Thank you, but I would prefer the high risk project"

"Thank you, however, I would like to take the lead on that new initiative"

"Thank you, but I would really like to be a part of that expansion project"

There is is huge difference between the "regular" HR folks who default to a "whoa-is-me" professional existence...and then there are those that...

...well, they go for it!

They don't fall into the trap of hubris, excuses and arrogance.
They don't chase glory and extra squares on their org chart.
They don't wait until every plan is so perfect, that it is actually too late to execute (if they know how to execute at all.)

Old HR is Dead...Welcome to the New World
I don't always get it right in my work. I also make mistakes...regularly. But I can honestly tell you this my friends...

I am not afraid to do what's right.
I am not afraid to stand up to the bullies.
I am not afraid of the nay-sayers who are living in their self-indulgent arrogant past.

It is 2018. It's time to be more than you ever thought possible!
It's time to go for it!



How About You
Who are the weak links in your world that are living in the past? Perhaps it's time to stop giving them any airtime, and simply push your organization to the next level? They wouldn't understand how to lead the way, so why waste precious company resources on old school slow-movers?

Go for it friends. 
Today!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It's Time to Suffer

"I'm not good enough."

"I'm not going to get that new job."

"I really messed up that relationship."

"It's my own fault...I just can't handle all this pressure."

"I'll never have an opportunity to get ahead here."

Our Mind: Friend or Foe?
The often discussed - and even more frequently "heard" - minds of ours can be so powerful that we sometimes get lost, literally, in them.

I try to use my self-talk machine to help me stay positive, fired up for each new day, and to keep moving forward. I'm obsessed with constant motion.

However, that does not mean that those voices in my head don't do their best to derail me and turn me into a quivering mass of jello.

Self-talk is powerful. 

No, We Aren't Supposed to Suffer
For some reason when we stumble, the thought comes into our heads that we must be punished. Why is that?

Guilt?

Sadness?
Resentment?
Disappointment?
Embarrassment?

It doesn't make any sense. Yet, I completely understand why someone might feel that way...because I have felt that way too.

What is it about "not being perfect every time" that makes us think we need to experience emotional pain or stress? 

Have we set such unrealistic expectations of ourselves that each mistake or wrong decision must be punished?

Whoa! That is a lot of pressure!


How About You
How do you handle setbacks or disappointments, particularly when you have contributed to them? 

Does your mind kick in to overdrive and begin the attack on...you; or, have you developed a way to sidestep that very human reaction, and follow a different path?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

The HR Clique

Whoa! Wait just a second...a clique for HR? Impossible...we love everybody, you know...the employees, people...and stuff. Right?

The Gig is Up
I may be venturing onto thin ice here, but it seems to me something has changed in the HR space as the world of social, blogging, and conference mania has hit full force. 

While some have passionately reached out to embrace other members of the HR community, particularly new professionals...something else has happened. 

A club, of sorts? A group of close friends? A public sub-culture that speaks to an elite group of HR pros?

I'm not sure...


Growing Pains of HR or Arrogance?
Some professions have to go through a period of discovery before they are fully accepted by the other, more traditional professions (law, medicine, finance, engineering, etc.)

Is that what HR is doing now? Perhaps all of our seat-at-the-table whining didn't pan out the way we hoped, so we've turned to something else?

Are we trying to be too hip? Too trendy? Too awesome for our own good?

I'm puzzled friends. What's even more puzzling is the role I've played in our "growing up" process.


How About You
What do you think about the current state of our profession? 

Is it one of inclusion for all of us; or, have we somehow created our own class of elites, that makes sure to remind the others of their proper place in the hierarchy?

I honestly don't know...but...


I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Absolutely Positive!

I write a lot about leaders striving to be better (including me!) Often those messages are embedded in real life examples of leadership failures (including me again!).

But here's the thing...so much of what happens around us...to us...and for us...is because of...

...us!

All In My Mind
I am often 'accused' of having such a positive outlook that I don't have a real grasp of reality. I LOVE THAT! So what it is that has made the Jay-Filter so effective despite problems, stress, mistakes, pressure, even bigger mistakes, and failure?

Every corporate setting I've been exposed to (large or small) comes with a dose of the aforementioned challenges. Dwelling on those problems, for some, is a competency they have perfected after years of practice.

I don't love that.

However, finding the opportunity in every problem that blows up in our face...seeing the potential...interpreting the chaos as a challenge to be world-class...is something that has made an enormous difference in my life, both personally and professionally.

Stop It
Have you practiced your negativity skill a bit too long? Is complaining about everything that is wrong with the world your comfort zone?

Why?


Does it make you feel better?
Does it improve the operations of your organization?
Does your team create amazing results because of the negative environment?


Um, no, no and no.


How About You
Life is full of negative things...that isn't going to change. What can change however is what you do about them. 

Get fired up!

Laugh off the madness, and charge ahead (even if you don't know what to do next)!

...and most of all...find the good each day! It's all around you!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rocking Chair Leadership

"I'm on it!"

"We're moving fast on this one!"

"The team is all over it!"

"Everyone is so busy working on this!"

I.
Don't.
Believe.
You.

Activity Does Not Equal Progress
How many leaders have you heard describing how 'busy' they are; or, their teams are? How many times did you hear those same updates week after week with no real progress to show for it?

That drives me crazy...

...particularly when I do it. 

Lots of Hustle (sort of)
Back when I coached youth hockey we had a player on the team who always looked like he was skating hard and trying to make an impact. He was really busy out there! 

However, he rarely made actual contact with an opposing player, never ventured into the corners, or God forbid, stood in front of the net to endure a cross-check or two.

I meet a lot of leaders like that player.

Their calendars are jam-packed. Their list of meetings is endless. Their Inbox is always full.

But nothing gets done. Ever.

How About You
Who on your team is that little hustling skater who never makes any big plays? 

They probably believe rocking back and forth all day in a rocking chair actually gets you somewhere!

Oh, and, why do we seem to continue to allow that lame leadership style to continue?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.
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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Rockstars Want to Work for Rockstars, So Build Your Personal Brand

Recently I had an opportunity to be a guest on Jeff Hyman's terrific podcast - Strong Suit! Jeff and I roared through the show so quickly I couldn't believe it ended so fast.

Here's the kickoff to the show...click the link below and give it a listen!

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STRONG SUIT - we only recruit rockstars

If you hope to have even a prayer of recruiting Rockstars, you'd better be one yourself. 

Because they simply won't consider working for someone they can't learn from, grow from, and one day replace (you, when you're promoted!)

So to do that, you need to communicate to candidates that they'll be working for a top performer...




...and as always...

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.