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.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018


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.


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

academic background
color of skin
faith perspective
home address
sexual orientation
business knowledge

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


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.

Monday, February 5, 2018

There Aren't Any "HR Problems"

I can clearly remember the moments when the senior team was sitting around a conference room table, the tension was palpable, and the pressing issues were shared with the group.

"It's an Operations issue."

My gut reaction: thank God it's not HR.

So Wrong In So Many Ways
As I look back on that moment (of which there have been many over the years) I am...well...I am embarrassed.

How is it that I could be grateful that whatever challenge was facing my organization, was somehow made better for me simply because it wasn't based on my direct scope of responsibility?

Did I, in that moment, consider how my colleagues felt? Might they have appreciated a kind word, an offer to help, or even me stepping up to lead a team to help them solve their problem?

I didn't do any of those things. I stayed quiet, and went on with my day doing my "HR things."

One Company, No Departments
Over a period of time my view of "whose problem is it" changed quite dramatically. I engaged with my senior leader colleagues in a more deliberate way. 

I did offer to help, and not just empty-talk, but real roll-up-your-sleeves type of help.

It's far too easy to look down on someone who is struggling and be grateful that it's "not you" that time. 

Until it's you.

How About You
The change for me happened in my head. I decided that I had responsibility (to a greater or lesser degree) for the entire organization.

Every. Single. Part.

When everything matters, there are no more HR problems, or Operations problems, or Supply Chain problems. There are only "our" problems, right?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.