Monday, November 18, 2019

Change Management: The Story Matters Most

Here's a shocking revelation for you...changing how we behave in the workplace is hard. 

Really, really hard. 

Yet as leaders we throw the phrase culture change around like we are passing out candy on Halloween.

The Long Haul Vision
Wanting to change your organization's culture, whether it's to pull out of an employee morale ditch; to address major changes underway; or to build the energy for an exciting new period of growth, requires a vision that is sustainable over a period of years.

Culture change does not happen quickly. Ever. At least in a positive direction.

So, who is responsible for this vision of the future? That's not as easy an answer as one might think. Of course the senior leadership team must articulate a global vision for the future. However, neglecting the input from the team is a treacherous path that should be avoided.

The combination of strategic vision and employee buy-in is powerful. 

Really, really powerful.

The Compelling Story
The hardest part is actually not the visioning process, or collecting input from the team. The hardest part is always execution. Sustaining the message over time, particularly when the inevitable challenges arise are exactly when the true skills of the leadership team become apparent.

How many of us have seen grand roll outs of "new and life-changing programs" at our organizations over the years, only to see them drift and die?

You've put in the time to build your vision.
You've put together a compelling story that touches each employee.
Stay the course. You've earned this opportunity to truly change your organization!

How About You
Are you considering real change in your company? If so, invest the time and resources to build your vision, create your story, and stay focused through the highs and lows. It will be worth it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, November 11, 2019

There's No Such Thing As Weak Leadership

Have you ever heard the comment..."oh, he's a weak leader." Maybe you've said it yourself. Candidly, I have too. Ouch.

Expectations
We all talk about...or should talk about...setting proper expectations with our leadership teams. 

What should they focus on? 
Where should they put their development time? 
How will their success be measured? 
What can they expect from us as their senior leaders?

Friends, I've heard these questions asked for years, literally. Yet somehow they keep coming up again and again. How is that possible? In some instances I've been exposed to sophisticated onboarding and leader pathway processes. In others, I hear the tired excuses of leaders who want to do well, but just don't know how to be effective. 

Accountability
I'm convinced the secret to weeding out the failing leaders is simply to hold them accountable. Be firm and fair. But, they must be held accountable. 

Here's the tricky part...most of these leaders believe they are doing a good job. They have convinced themselves they are above the fray and untouchable. Imagine their shock when they are provided coaching that does not continue to inflate their already overinflated egos?

Look out!

How About You
What is to be done when a leader is struggling? Do we...coach them....have an off-the-record pep talk with them...fire them...hmmm?

How about we step up and handle it directly? It's harder this way, but you can do it. Oh, and it's also the "leader" part of leadership.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Remote Leader Life

There is a lot of content out there about remote worker life. Lots of questions too...

...how do you stay connected to your employees?
...how do you ensure productivity remains high?
...how do you extend your on-site corporate culture to your distributed team?

The list could go on and on, right? 

Wait, What?
One of the groups that I rarely see mentioned, and to which I belong, is remote leadership. 

For more than twenty years I drove to a specific location for my "work." It was familiar, routine, comfortable, and was what I thought "work" was supposed to look like.

Until it didn't look that way any longer.

Suddenly I didn't have a place to go to; but instead, was 100% virtual. Whoa. What just happened here? 

Where are all of the conference rooms? 
Where are all of the wasted moments spent walking between meetings?
Where are all of the people interrupting me?

Hidden Opportunities
Staying connected to colleagues, team members, and clients is a real challenge. Keeping an open mind relative to video technology, for me, has been crucial. Seeing people...not just hearing them on a conference call...is so powerful. Get over your hang-ups and embrace it.

Consider the dramatic drop in interruptions as a gift to you from your coworkers. Take full advantage of the time you have and go for it. Attack your to do list, and feel how satisfying it can be when you own your day vs. your day owning you.

Lastly, use the flexibility you have in your schedule to stay connected to humanity. 

When I know I have a few hours where I won't need to be on the phone, I head for a local coffee shop. I'm still head down with my work, but I'm around other humans. That energizes me and helps me feel much less isolated.



How About You
Perhaps the lesson in all of this if finding the proper balance. Remote life isn't for everyone; nor should everyone be stuck commuting to and from an office that does not support a healthy work environment.

I feel incredibly blessed to have successfully made the transition from office only...to a healthy mix of virtual, corporate office, and the great big off-site world. Is remote work part of your world?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Everything You Can Imagine

What is it about how we see the world? Some see the negatives, live in fear, and move so cautiously they miss any realistic chance of making a difference.

Others move so rapidly that they don't pause for even a moment to consider the impact of their reckless decision-making style.

Still others are so full of confidence that they are sure their approach is the right one. Until it's not.

Finding Balance
As someone who has a...shall we say, healthy ego...finding the sweet spot between confidence and arrogance can be challenging at times. 

Maybe you struggle with that too. Since I've been around the block more times than I care to count, that elusive thing known as experience has suddenly become an ally. 

It guides me...protects me...and spurs me on when I see opportunities that others don't see.

Blind Spots
But where is that balance? How do we find it when we know, whether we would like to admit it or not, that we have blind spots...even with all of our 'experience?'

Having a team that you trust around you makes a big difference. When you trust your team, ideas can be shared, different perspectives can be examined, and the best plan can be executed.

In the absence of that culture, you are destined to fall prey to those blind spots. Right?

How About You
Lead the way and build the culture in your organization that allows for growth, camaraderie and trust. Just imagine what could be possible!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Bail and Pray

Sometimes work feels like...well...a lot. Not always bad of course, at times it's full of new projects, challenges, experiences and opportunities. These are exciting moments. Other times can feel like we are a ship that is taking on water and there aren't enough hands to do the bailing.

Stop for a Second
When the pressure is on do you sulk, throw up your arms or feel sorry for yourself? Maybe you feel like throwing in the towel altogether. Those are normal feelings. 

We want to do good work. 
We want to make a difference for our organizations.
We want to feel like we add value.

Don't let go of those feelings. They are the thread that keeps you connected to the real you, regardless of what is happening in your world.

Now, Go
Perhaps you decide to own the day the best way you can...it won't be perfect, but you can modify your expectations with a long-term view.Yeah, that's it. Think beyond these moments. Think farther ahead.

Having to bail and pray for a period of time is not a bad thing. In fact, it demonstrates patience, and an awareness of bigger pieces that are being pulled together but aren't in place quite yet. 


It shows restraint, and professionalism...it shows leadership. Your leadership.

That seems to be a much talked about but rarely seen thing in the world of work.

And then...suddenly the pieces come together. The team is in place. The plan comes together. The momentum picks up.


How About You
Time moves so quickly...why wallow in self-pity, when you can bail out the water and pray today...knowing that tomorrow is going to be fantastic? This is not failure...this is not managing...this is leading when it is needed most.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Friday, October 11, 2019

Where Did the Courage Go?

Leadership, teamwork, risk, collaboration, trust...and courage...important words that dramatically impact the life of an organization. Not only are they important at the team member level, they are essential at the senior levels of any organization if it is to thrive.

Easy to Say
Sure, the quick out here is that "leadership-speak" is simple and straightforward to say, but a very different thing to practice in real life.

I disagree.

It seems to me, after several decades in the leadership business, that the absence of courage is the key trait that derails leaders and their effectiveness.

Think about the members of your team:
- Who runs toward a problem, not away from it?

- Who is upfront and honest about what is happening vs. spinning things toward a self-interest point of view?

- Who is willing to hold others accountable vs. blindly following along?

Easy to Do
No, not easy to do. But, when your values are in proper alignment, it no longer becomes an issue of easy or hard. Instead, it is simply about having the courage to do the right thing.

So, how does it happen? What is the secret to trying to do the right thing each time? And how do you avoid falling into a political mess? Good questions, with only one answer...

Do the right thing regardless.

How About You
When was the last time you tapped into your reserve of courage? It's there...waiting for you to access it. I say, go for it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

There's Only Picture...the Big One

Here are some quick thoughts on the incredibly important, yet often completely missed, big picture.

1. Do not confuse busy and getting lots of things done with seeing the big picture. 

All too often tactical items become the work, when in fact, savvy leaders are not bothered with noise; and instead "see" what is happening on a much broader scale.

2. Remove self-interest as your primary focus.

Sure, we all want to win...but it is painfully clear to our business partners when we are playing the "it's all about me" card. Not only is it ineffective, it destroys your credibility.

3. Remain professional.

Sounds easy, but in big moments we have all seen leaders decompensate into an emotional train wreck. Professionalism always carries the day. Always.


How About You
What are the key areas you focus on when the heat is turned up and you need to get significant things done?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Finding A Way

All things considered, life is pretty easy, don't you think?

Of course it isn't. Sometimes it's hard as hell.

Pressure
I don't know about you, but I feel a tremendous amount of pressure in my life. Some is self-inflicted, some is based on the nature of the work I do, and some is just unnecessary. 

But it's there. Every day.

Am I doing a good enough job at my firm? Am I maintaining important clients? Am I bringing in enough new ones to take care of our team and hire new employees as we grow? Have I addressed every single issue that has been thrown my way?

Sometimes it feels like a bit too much. Often times it feels like...well...a bit too much.


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Pain
Then there's that other emotion...the one that surpasses pressure, whether it's in our professional lives or our personal ones. You know this one too...it's the disappointment when we stumble. It's the hurt when we make a mistake that is often huge in our minds, but isn't quite that big in reality. It's letting someone down when we really never intended to do so.

Resilience
Amongst all of these swirling feelings, we find something. It's hard to describe and nearly impossible to quantify. Yet, it's there. We can feel this one too. It's our ability to pull from somewhere deep inside and marshal onward. Often times with unexpected confidence.

Where did that come from? Why didn't it make an appearance at the beginning of this journey instead of at the perceived low point?

How About You
How do you 'handle' it all? Is it easy; or, do you find yourself in a dark place that does not have a clear path out.

Until it does.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Bigger Than Me

I recently had the privilege of going on a mission trip to Kenya. Specifically as part of a team that actively supports the Inua Partners in Hope program that helps orphaned young people gain vocational skills to...somehow, amongst the most devastating of circumstances and poverty...provide for themselves.

The whole experience was overwhelming...and hopeless...and incredible...and inspiring.

In short, it was bigger than me.

Perspective
As you might suspect, my view on the 'problems' in my life quickly melted away as I witnessed the power of the human spirit in such extreme circumstances. I returned to my work with colleagues and clients and prospects armed with a fresh perspective. 

Suddenly, the crisis of the moment, or complicated work relationship wasn't really all that complicated..let alone a crisis. 

Here's the rub...how sustainable will my 'new outlook' be? Is this the natural after-effect of something as powerful as my trip; or, have I opened the door to not only how I view my work going forward, but how I will invest my time and resources as well?

Hopefully, it sticks. I'm counting on it.



How About You
When was the last time you experienced a profound event in your life? Did it carry over to your professional life? Did those powerful emotions and newly found clear lens stay with you?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

No Trick Pony

The world of work, and leadership in particular, is an interesting place. So many experts, confident souls, and buried among them...real pros.

What I find most curious are those leaders who profess to be so good at everything they touch that they can do no wrong.

Ever.

Good at Something
To be fair, we're typically good at 'something'...whether or not that happens to align with our jobs is a totally different matter. For the most part however, everyone brings something to the game.

Where I run into trouble myself; and, see others struggle, is when the belief that we are the smartest people in the room becomes our reality. That is dangerous territory, filled with over inflated egos, arrogance, and a lack of credibility.

I've been there from time-to-time...and I hate it. It's quite embarrassing actually. Fortunately those moments are the exception not the rule. For others though...it is a way of life. 



How About You
What do you do about those leaders in your organization that are "just so darn smart" that they've alienated those around them? Do they realize they are not even a one-trick pony? How can we support them so they can be a legitimate member of the team going forward?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

No Bold Tactics

Let's be clear about something right away. Busy does not equal effective. Everyone is busy...or make themselves 'busy.' I see it all the time. Leaders who want to over share how hectic their days are...so full of things to do...and important executives to sit next to during meeting after meeting.

So...I hate to break it to those folks who thrive on this sort of thing...but you are failing.

Leadership is not only about going to meetings.
Leadership is not only about getting things done on your task list.
Leadership is not only talking about how busy you are.

Tactics and Excuses
Too many leaders get stuck in tactical decisions (even the most senior executives) and convince themselves that they are actually moving their organizations forward.

Not true.

Sure, it's easier to feel productive when you're doing things. I love the feeling of (digitally) checking items off my Wunderlist. But, those items are at the end of the process. At some point, I've had to invest significant time, energy and resources into effectively planning the bold moves my organization or my clients need to make.

There are no tactics in that work.


Strategy and Courage
The really difficult work of planning, executing, and completing strategic plans is, in my opinion, the most important work to be done. True plans...fresh ideas that become reality...launching new product lines...addressing major gaps in the organization and doing something about it...THAT is the work of real leaders.

The same old talk, talk, talk, without the plan is worthless. 

Why reference courage at this point? Easy...most leaders don't have the courage to build the plans necessary...to take the bold risks necessary...to literally move their organizations forward.

It is far easier to work to maintain the status quo and keep life in neutral, than it is to see what needs to be done and build and execute a plan that gets the organization to an entirely new place.

How About You
Look back over the last five years of your career. What risks have you taken? How have you literally changed your organization for the better? What tangible results can you share?

You have it in you to make it happen. You simply need to go for it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Outlive the Hand

"What's the most important contribution that you've made to your organization?"

Let that sink in for a minute.

Now take that question a step further. "What will your most important contribution to your organization be after you've left?"

Whoa.

Trains Running
As you start replaying the various initiatives you've been a part of let's clear something up right away. Keeping operations running smoothly is not the answer to either of my questions. While important, no one has a legacy that starts with "she always kept the trains running on time."

That is an expectation, not a legacy.

Courage
The most important, and candidly impactful, things I've accomplished in my career required a fair amount of risk and courage. Trying new approaches in very public ways (which means failure would also be very public); and, tackling unpopular issues were always at the top of my list. 

Was I a glutton for punishment? Of course not. Did I see opportunities to make a real difference in the life of my organizations? I sure did. The cold reality of pushing issues that are risky is that it is often a lonely path forward. The support often comes after breakthroughs and success. 

But that's not what legacies are built around. It's all about the difference we make. Not the slaps on the back, or praise in front of the masses. Not chasing glory to pump up our fragile ego. It is simply about knowing we did the right thing in a big way. 



How About You
What will your legacy be long after you've written the last verse? What about the other aspects of your life: family, faith, relationships or volunteering? True legacy means that what we've created outlives the hand that created it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Power of Community in Your Success

I've been thinking a lot about the role "community" plays in my life. It's a term that gets thrown around so much that I wonder if anyone has internalized a definition for themselves and embraced it?

The deeper I've gone into my own communities, the more I see the profound role they play in my life. In fact, I can quickly identify six distinct communities that I actively participate in on a daily basis. Whoa!

Professional
This seems obvious, yet my focus isn't that I have a cool job and am able to do interesting things. It's all about the relationships and trust I've built that makes the difference.

Social
All hail the power of social media. Yes, I'm serious. Some of my most important social relationships (and my Personal Board of Directors) were born out of my connections on various social media channels.

Faith
This is a huge part of my daily life, and I am absolutely grateful for it. Whether I'm leading small groups, or prepping for a big mission trip later this summer, my faith community has been tremendous.

Fitness
Staying healthy and reasonably fit has been an important part of my life for a long time. Investing in a professional trainer last Fall has helped me take my game to the next level. Now, a new facebook accountability group around fitness and motivation helps keep me on track as well.


Music
When my friend Michael Carty asked me to write about how I feel about "my" music, I was both humbled and a bit intimidated. But alas, my music is not only one of my greatest passions, it has also brought me to one of the most welcoming, nonjudgmental communities I have ever experienced. Here's the post if you're curious.

Family
Last here...but certainly not on my list of priorities, is my amazing family and those close personal relationships that make all the noise of the world seem insignificant. To say I feel blessed would be a massive understatement.

How About You
What are the communities that mean the most to you? How do they make a difference in your life?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What's Your Message?

We all send a message. Whether it's in the words we choose to say, the decisions we make, the risks we take, the way we choose to behave or the culture we promote in our organizations...we all send a message.

What message do you send? What would those around you say defines who you are as a leader? Those messages are real. Their impact on the team is real. 

Far too often leaders believe they can say one thing and do another. That is simply untrue. Our colleagues are bright, insightful people who are crystal clear on our impact. 


How is it then that leaders can convince themselves of their own reality and be so far removed from what actually is...well...real?

The saddest part is watching it all happen. So many lost opportunities to lead, when instead it's as if their internal cult of personality has to be fed.

What do you think about messaging? Is it as simple as "do the right thing" or, is there a deeper issue that needs to be explored?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Monday, July 1, 2019

Downshift

Hey friends...I'm back from an incredible week away with my sons. I'm blessed beyond words to be able to have fun as well as to experience wild moments with them (literally...think sharks!)

Time
As my children become adults, it is increasingly clear to me that the quality of the time we spend together far outweighs the quantity. Gone are the days of playing hide and seek and having "floor time" every evening after work.

Now, it's all about quality. To be honest with you, that transition is harder than I thought it would be. They don't need me every day like they used to, but they sure do need me now. 

We maximize our time together, as I do with my older daughter, to ensure our time is meaningful, not just an obligation to "get together."

Focus
I wonder if that same commitment to quality moments holds true in the workplace? Spending time with our team members is critically important to building the corporate cultures we all long for. Yet, it is not up to the employees to create the environment for that culture to flourish. 

That responsibility rests solely on us as leaders.

Additionally, our employees don't need us to watch over them every minute of the day. They are not children. They are the bright, creative, hard-working people that make our organizations successful.

Do they still need us? Of course they do. But they need quality, not overbearing quantity.


How About You
What is your time commitment to your team? Are you downshifting away from a focus on quantity and moving to maximizing the quality of your time with them? Or, is the old school bed check approach more your style?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I Grind Harder Than You

I've spent lots of time over the years pushing myself. 

that ridiculous "inbox zero" goal...

the perceived need to be the first one in the office and the last to leave...

the email sessions over the weekend to stay on top of every single thing in the universe...

and worst of all, the guilt that comes from actually giving myself some down time.

What is Wrong With Me
Maybe it comes with age...er...not being an up and comer anymore? Maybe it's a new lens that we are blessed with when we cross the halfway mark (yes, I'm over 50). Or, maybe it's just that I'm thinking about my whole self, and how taking care of my whole self actually makes me a better member of my organization?

How is this post any different than the ones that talk about work / life balance and taking care of yourself?

Well, it's not about everyone else like those other posts. This one is about me.

Slowly Figuring It Out
Over the last year or so, I've finally started to distance myself from "work guilt" and have completely moved away from the odd concept of "work / life balance."

First, the guilt. 

Understanding that my entire life is not defined by the work I do (although I am extremely proud of what we're doing at Kinetix); and, that the success we are having can not be the only thing that represents who I am.

My family, my faith, my friends and my health are also huge parts of who I am. Recognizing that those pieces also deserve my "time" has been an important and positive shift for me.

Now, that balance fallacy.

For a long time I've struggled to let go of trying to balance my work life and personal life. Not necessarily in the way you might think though. The realization that has finally come is to fully embrace that notion that my life includes both my work and personal lives throughout every day.

I may need to spend a night (or several) working on a proposal, catching up on work tasks or prepping for a busy day. The weekend might provide the only time I can focus on important follow up items.

I also may need to spend part of a day addressing other pressing issues in my life that are not work related...but they are "me" related.


My whole self. 

It comes down to balancing my whole life, not trying to compartmentalize the many facets of who I am into nice little buckets and time slots on my calendar.

Life balance.

How About You
Have you gotten caught up in the mindset of hyper-productivity is the only true productivity? I was there for many years. Now, I embrace all of the parts of my life and I feel stronger and more effective than ever. I wish it hadn't taken so long to get here.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

My Secret Ingredients to Interviewing

Over the years I've interviewed for a variety of jobs. In the early part of my career I was...well...not even close to qualified for some of them. But that didn't stop me from getting hired.

What was the secret combination of magical spells I put on the hiring managers to give me a shot?

Three Secrets
1. Preparation

This first step may sound obvious, but sadly, I've seen this noticeably absent over and over again. Candidates come to interviews (even at middle and senior management levels) ill-prepared to grill me and my colleagues about the opportunity.

Conversely, I have always wanted to be the most prepared person in the interview process...particularly when I was the candidate. That's right...I wanted to be far more prepared than those interviewing me.

Exhaustive reviews of company websites, Linkedin profiles, google searches of leaders, and detailed questions based on each person who would be interviewing me were mandatory. 

2. Confidence

Being timid is lame. Being soft is lame. Being meek inspires absolutely zero confidence. Sound hokey? I don't care. 

It's true. I'm never going to hire someone to join my company if they are not confident in their initial presentation to me. 

After all, I'm only asking them to talk about them self. If they can not do that, how are they going to thrive in any corporate culture? 

3. Energy

How does one exude confidence? With lots of energy, that's how. Work is more demanding than ever. The ability to keep up with the crazy pace we're all expected to maintain requires lots of energy. If that doesn't show in the interview, how in the world will a hiring leader have any confidence that it will mysteriously show up once you start the job?

How About You
What are your secrets to successful interviews? What would you add to my list? 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


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Monday, May 20, 2019

The Shortest Straw

Drawing the Shortest Straw: Chosen to do a task that nobody wants to do (read here --> leading Human Resources)

They Have No Idea
The unknown pressure of leading HR.

The toughest, most confrontational roles.

The most intense issues to address...investigations, harassment, discrimination.

Terminating others. It's not just getting rid of a 'problem'...you just stopped someone from earning money to provide for their family.

The pressure to 'fill the jobs' when we know the leaders bear just as much responsibility to create cultures where their team members feel valued and respected.

The demands to develop an effective team of leaders.

The responsibility to build a positive culture across the entire organization.

The necessity to not only understand HR, but to also fully understand the business, revenue streams, and expense management challenges.

The need to have a comprehensive and competitive compensation program.

The expectation that the organization will remain union-free.

Oh, yes, and make sure all of the parties are fun.



How About You
Did we pull the shortest leadership straw? 

Hell, no. 

We drew this straw because the others can not handle what we can handle.

Take pride in being a leader in HR. Take pride in being a leader in your organization.

Take pride every time you hear "I could never do your job." They're absolutely right. They never could.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Gotta Go

I've recently had the privilege to speak at several #DisruptHR events in Atlanta and Tampa. My talk focused on the potential for human resources leaders...and candidly, all leaders...to take risks, live their values, and lead with conviction.

That's what is most important, right?

HR Stuff Matters, But...
It's not that updating policy manuals, going to the Forms Committee meeting, and ensuring open enrollment goes smoothly aren't important. But, these things don't drive business results.

Living your values, and leading with conviction do.

When was the last time you led with your personal values first...and corporate double-talk last?

Take the Step
One of the things I found so encouraging during those DisruptHR events was the energy the attendees had to make changes. They are ready to move forward into new territory in their organizations. 

They are ready to go for it.

How About You
Are you ready to join them? What is on your list that seems impossible to execute, but with some support (from me!) and some courage (from you!) it can become a reality?

You gotta go for it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Hear the Silence So Loud

I'm taking a different look at leadership today...in a very personal way. I am grateful to have such a supportive community to share my perspectives. Thank you friends.

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I am a proud member of Hyde Park United Methodist Church (an open, loving community of faith that welcomes every person) and lifelong member of the larger United Methodist Church (UMC.) My father spent his career as a Pastor in the UMC serving high profile large churches that made an impact in their communities. He was deeply committed to his faith, and I am forever grateful that the passion he and my Mother shared for Jesus was instilled in my sister and me.

Earlier this year, as many of you are aware, the larger UMC held a special session of General Conference to decide if we as a denomination were going to be an inclusive faith community or not. 

Specifically, to decide whether or not we were going to fully embrace our LGBTQ brothers and sisters as full and equal members of our denomination. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, the vote to follow Jesus’ message of love and inclusion failed.

Friends, I am struggling with this outcome. I am struggling more than I ever have as a United Methodist.

Struggling almost sounds too meek…too soft to fully explain how embarrassed I am about our larger church. Consider the message to the outside world…we proclaim to have open hearts, minds and doors, and continue to push this message across multiple platforms. 

Yet, we’ve in effect slammed those same hearts, minds and doors shut in the face of people who simply want to worship God just like we do.

How is this possible in 2019?
I recognize that not everyone shares my beliefs; however, I cannot reconcile in my mind that people can proclaim to have the power to make decisions about ordination, love and inclusion as if they were equal to God. 

People do not have the authority to make such decisions, only our God can do that. Do these men and women believe they actually speak for God?

Such hubris!
"The inaction from General Conference…
...the silence… has become the loudest noise 
in the history of our denomination."

As I continue to struggle with the shame I feel that this vote has brought upon the larger UMC, I have considered several options…the most important of which is to remain a United Methodist and fight for the justice that I know one day will come.

I want to be part of the solution.
I want to be a voice that refuses to be silent.
I want to be a part of our UMC family when ALL people will know God’s love.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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