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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inspiration

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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Failure Is Not A Competency

Proclaiming one's failures seems to be a trendy thing to do these last few years. It's an odd thing though, at least it is to me.

I get the whole "learn from your mistakes" angle...but, really...relishing in one's failures?

Lower the Bar
I'll be honest here. I don't want to fail. In fact, I get upset with myself when I stumble, let alone fail. I'm sure you do too.

Maybe, we have embraced failure as way to limit expectations of ourselves and our colleagues?

Maybe we have socialized failure so heavily, it is now more important to "own it" when we fail vs. being held accountable?

Maybe we need to stop making excuses about weakness, incompetence, and yes, failure?

How does that sound?

Harsh or Honest?
If you've written off today's post as a rant, think again.

How is failure treated in your organization? Do those leaders who struggle continue to stay in their roles, all while your senior leadership team preaches accountability and upholding corporate values?

You can't have it both ways.

Maybe what's happened to the corporate world is that we're all so fearful of employment litigation, that we've made it okay to hide behind excuses to be weak and indecisive? We see it a lot...so...it must be true.

Right?

How About You
How are you addressing failure and driving accountability into your organization? Is it working? What has made your approach successful?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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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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