Monday, August 31, 2020

I See Color

I see color.

I see the beautiful shades of humanity.


I see the differences between you and me.

I see the unique perspective that you have...

...and that I don't.


I see the insight you bring to the discussion.

I see the passion you feel.


I see the pain that is there below the surface...

...and is sometimes above.


I see the creative solutions you have to offer.

I see my blindness to those ideas...from time to time.



I see the need to rasie awareness with my words and actions...

...even if I feel stuck at times about how to do it best.


Most of all, I see you. All of you.

What do you see?


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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Listen. Learn. Do.

Black Lives Matter.
It is not a slogan or bandwagon issue. It is something we need to embrace, respect, and acknowledge as part of the momentum necessary to move our country forward on one of the most challenging topics: racism.
It saddens, frustrates and candidly angers us all because racial equality should not even be a topic for discussion, let alone one mired in senseless murders, violence, and bigotry. Yet, here we are in 2020.
George Floyd.
A victim of a senseless police murder. Mr. Floyd joins the ranks of many others who have befallen the same fate. How is this possible? Why is this still happening?
Black Lives Matter
Perhaps you have felt the same anger, frustration and hopelessness too? Watching the peaceful protests with a sense of pride, a hallmark of our nation’s history, and then sadly seeing some violence erupt from those protests suddenly makes us frustrated again.

Maybe you are wondering what you can do…what can your organization do…to make a positive impact in what feels like an impossible situation?
Three Steps
Today I would like to offer three steps that I believe will help us support each other, learn more about these complex issues, and offer a variety of actions each of us can take in our respective communities.
LISTENING – We need to start inside our organizations. We need to take the risk and open up with each other…share our feelings…even if we aren’t entirely sure what we are feeling right now. Perhaps now is the time for you to step up and lead the internal effort to create forums for discussion, sharing, and support for every employee?
LEARNING – Next we need to educate ourselves on what is happening. Invest some time and explore various websites dedicated to this issue. Talk with your colleagues, friends and clergy about resources in your community, and most importantly take the time to better understand the different perspectives apart from traditional news media.
www.blacklivesmatter.comthe flagship site for this movement
www.naacp.orgone of the longtime voices for the African American community
www.charitynavigator.orga premier charity tracking organization that will help you find well respected organizations for you to consider donating to or learning more about
DOING – Expressing our collective anger is simply not enough. As we listen and learn we are naturally more confident to take action. Doing something is what matters mostConsider supporting a peaceful protest, reaching out to local organizations in your community, or even getting involved on a broader scale.
How About You
I know it is not easy to speak up, learn about sensitive topics, or take action. We might not get it right every time; however, that doesn’t mean we shouldn't keep pushing ourselves forward.
As you consider your role, reach out and let me know what you're thinking. Communicating with each other is more important than ever.
I'd love to hear from you.
No Excuses.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Share Your WFH Hacks

Long before all the current WFH craze hit the world, my company was 100% virtual. Our transition to all of the suddenly trendy advice around workspaces, clutter removal, shower (or not) before work, etc, seemed a bit dated for us.

I'm not bragging here, just commenting that we had already gone through that phase years ago. Turns out, you actually figure out what works best for you, regardless of all the "expert" advice floating around the web.

So, what I would like to hear, from veterans and rookies alike to the work from home scene, is what works best for you?

There is no right way or wrong way to work outside of the traditional office setting. Candidly it comes down to getting our work done, right? 

Who cares if my workspace is messy or impeccable? Do I need perfect lighting and a fresh shave in order to crush that zoom call? 



Let's have a little fun in the world of massive speculation about...you know it's coming...the NEW NORMAL

Ouch! Let's drop that phrase as quickly as we can. Okay?

Drop me a note, RT a pic of your setup, or add a comment or two in whatever platform you're reading this in.

Stay safe friends! 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

A Greatness Undone

...faith and work and charity and healthy eating and being productive and working out and caring for everyone and reading and listening and learning and growing and mentoring and leading and pushing and resting and balancing and reaching out and always being there...

Do you sometimes feel as if you've lost your greatness? As I think about all of the things I tell myself that I'm supposed to be and do and think...I wonder if mine has slipped away?

You see, we all have our own kind of greatness. It's in there. Most of time it's on display and we don't even know it.

Lately, though. Well...you know. The world changed up its cadence pretty quickly, and now we have to adjust.


So.

Adjust.

No, we don't have any rules on how to adjust the right way. We don't need them. We don't have a playbook on what is proper and what isn't. We don't need one.

We just need to remember our greatness...

...and show it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Sunday, May 3, 2020

Checking On You

Okay, I think we've had just about enough of this whole stay-at-home lifestyle, right? Anyone else ready to go to a restaurant, attend a playoff game, or get to a concert? Holy cow...I am READY!

Except, for that whole deadly virus thing that seems to be hanging around. 

So, if you need to let off some steam, talk through anything, or simply brainstorm your latest idea of the century, let's set up some time to talk. 

As an extrovert, I have to admit that I love video chats. I need to see people!

Let's do it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, April 27, 2020

Quarantine Goals

When the safer at home orders started coming through I decided to set a few short term goals for myself. I'm very competitive, and with my gym closed and sessions with my trainer impossible, I thought I could turn those personal frustrations into a bit of a challenge.

Nutrition
For as much as I wish I could workout exclusively and get in shape, that is just now how it works. How I fuel my body is more important than hundreds and hundreds of reps. So, goal number one was to really go for it with healthy foods.

I know...a crazy goal while we're supposed to sit on the couch with our laptops every day. I took a couple of basic steps to help me. 

First, I only bought (reasonably) healthy food. I love snacking particularly at the end of the day. Keeping bad food options out have made a big difference. 

Second, as I've done for a long time, I continued to track every single thing that I eat and drink. Yes, everything. I use MyFitnessPal to set my macro goals and to log everything. It syncs with my iPhone so I have all of the bases covered.

Lastly, I've recently explored a form of intermittent fasting whereby I delay my first meal of the day until 10:00am. Considering a full night without any food, it has been a good first step to condition my body to the change.

Fitness
This one has turned into a combination of strategies for me. Without the gym, I've had to pivot and use my Bowflex adjustable dumbbells. Although not ideal, they are a heck of a lot better than nothing! I hit different body parts each day, and lift six days each week. 

I also invested in a cheap adjustable bench which has helped tremendously to vary my workouts, particularly on chest day. 

At the beginning of 2020 I set a total abs rep goal for the year, and I've been tracking that as well. 

So far, on pace to meet my goal!

Lastly, I love walking as a form of physical and mental health. My goal is of course ten thousand steps each day. Without traveling and limited family visiting time, I'm hitting around fourteen-thousand. 

How About You
Have you taken your health seriously during this strange time? If not, how come? Now is the perfect time to challenge yourself, stay healthy and strong for the ones you love, and to have renewed stamina for the unique demands of a stay at home world.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Rituals

There is comfort in rituals. At least for me it's true. To be clear, rituals are not habits or routines. They are much more powerful. I gain confidence from practicing rituals, and for others they can be sacred. Both situations apply in my case.

Listening
One of my newest rituals is to listen.

Quietly. 
Alone. 
Letting my thoughts wander and flow. 

I have a strong faith, and listening has become an extension of my prayer life. Surprisingly, it has opened my mind and level of awareness far more than I anticipated. 

I'm accustomed to controlling my thoughts, emotions and expressions of faith. However, practicing listening has introduced a level of freedom that is...well...powerful.

If I consider my mind to be my ally, then the wandering and random thoughts suddenly feel different. Are they messages to guide me? Are they unresolved issues I need to address? 

Maybe new ideas that have been pushed to the back of the line as I control my thoughts, finally have an opportunity to be heard?

Listening is good.

How About You
What is one of the rituals that you not only embrace, but have come to rely on to help you find your way?  What value does it bring? 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Now is the Time

As I prepare for whatever the world is going to look like in the future, I've realized there are many things happening around me that are quite inspiring. 

People are doing amazing things, supporting each other, thinking big about their businesses and what will be possible, and generally not slowing down at all.

Is that you?

What might be possible for you when we finish this historic pivot? How might your organization make a bold move now and be far ahead of the pack when life is new once more?

Are you thinking that big right now?

Who are the people you can tap into today and start building something your organization has never done before? The beauty of the rules changing is that all of our tired reasons for not thinking bigger have suddenly disappeared.

Did you notice that as well?

Start writing it down. Start talking to your people. Reach out to your network and ask them to push your thinking to the limit. Challenge every old assumption about your business and keep asking "what if we tried..."

Does that seem impossible right now?

I love thinking big. So if you're up for it, reach out and let's plan how we're going to take over the world.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Blinded By Me You Can't See A Thing

I'm finding it hard to write lately. So many conflicting thoughts. An endless stream of "news" that has become intolerable. New norms for work and community that aren't normal in any way. 

I've wondered if there are blind spots in all of this that are holding me back? Is there something bigger happening that I'm simply not noticing because of...well...everything?

What do you think? How are you finding your way through the new, temporary, but maybe beginning of a whole new way of life?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

I Know

I'm not sure where to start. 

It's been a couple of week since the world, literally, shut down. I've had so many emotions that I don't even know how to frame them...process them...or take charge of them.

At least, sometimes I don't.

I'm worried about loved ones, and colleagues, and friends, and...everybody. That feels like a lot.

At least, sometimes it does.

I started a new job a few months ago. Then the world changed. I was still trying to figure out my new normal. Now I'm figuring out a newer normal. It's odd. Swinging between big ideas and plans for taking over the world...to struggling with the reality of that invisible enemy can be overwhelming.

At least, sometimes it is.

Somewhere in this mess we can't lose sight of the people on the frontline..in hospitals, as first responders, the researchers, the delivery people, the store clerks, the clergy...and on and on. They are risking so much...and I feel like I'm not doing my part.

At least, sometimes I do.


I'm thinking about you all my friends.

I'm thinking about the opportunities we have to provide inspirational leadership.

I'm thinking that prioritizing people is probably the most important thing we can do...it might just be our historical legacy.

In fact, I know that is true.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, March 9, 2020

The Smoke of Many Fires

There are lots of warning signs of trouble ahead in the world of work. We can see them if we're willing to actually look. I mean, really look. 

I'm So Effective, Just Look at My Title
Sure, it's easy to point the finger at this person or that person and quickly deflect all accountability from ourselves or our leadership style. But quite honestly, I've always felt that the higher up the proverbial ladder I climbed, the greater the pressure I felt.

Think about it...when you're one of 100 it's fairly easy to blend into the crowd. When you're one of one...well, not so easy anymore. It's all on you.

Everyone is watching.
Everyone expects you to be perfect.
Every time.

Job titles do mean something at this stage. They mean pressure to perform each day.

Smartest Person in the Room
Another warning sign of trouble is the "smart guy" syndrome. You've seen these folks in action. 

They have the solution for every issue the organization is facing. Just going to be honest here...that drives me crazy. (it's even worse, when I fall into the trap of being Mr. Know-It-All)

And as before...everyone is watching. Evaluating. Judging.

How About You
So what are we to do when the smoke starts to rise? We intervene, that's what. We pull those people aside and give them the coaching they deserve. They are in those roles for a reason...they've just drifted a bit from your organization's values. 

Help them get back on track.
That's what we do as leaders, right?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Gratitude and Limits

There was a time when I was an up and comer. I was on the career fast track, and I knew it. I didn't take it for granted; in fact, quite the opposite was true. At times I couldn't believe my good fortune and was grateful for every moment. I tried to soak up every experience like a sponge...constantly learning was essential.

Fast forward to middle-aged me.

New Again
I'm now two months into a whole new phase of my career journey. A new role, with a fabulous company that I've been connected to for almost twenty years. I'm leveraging every part of my previous thirty years of experience and pouring it into my new world.

It's intense, and thrilling, and scary, and incredibly exciting.

Building new things isn't for everyone. For me, building new things from the foundations of greatness is just about the best job in the world. 

Trusting the Vision
The path isn't exactly clear. 
There isn't a published roadmap in place yet. 
There isn't even an "end of the story" written in advance (because we now see that we have no limits.)

But we're taking something really good, and we're turning it into something incredible. How many of us have that opportunity? 

I don't take my new life for granted either; and still can't believe that good fortune has continued to follow me.


How About You
What path are you on? Are you fired up each day, whether or not the day is mapped out perfectly? Or, are you more comfortable playing it safe. Safe is okay.

If you're into just being...okay.

I think you should get fired up instead.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, February 10, 2020

I Have Plans

They say that battle plans always look good until the battle starts. Then everything changes in an instant regardless of what was expected. I think the same can be true in business.

Strategic Plans, Business Plans, Marketing Plans
I like plans. I like investing the time to think through what should happen, what could happen, and how I might manage the unexpected things that probably will pop up. It's almost a competition for me. 

How can I beat the system and help my organization win?

I love to win.

However, what happens when all of that thinking and planning and communicating launches and...guess what...things don't go as planned? For real.

That is the real test, right? Table top exercises are helpful, but woefully inadequate compared to the real thing. When leaders find the courage to authorize new initiatives and put them into practice, that is when the heart rate goes up and the rush of the world of business kicks in.

At least it does for me.

I love the rush.

Fear of Failure = Leadership Failure
If plans can be so effective, even if we need to be nimble enough to adjust them on the fly, why don't more leaders invest the time to build them? Why do organizations play the "we're so busy we don't have time to build a strategy" card?

I don't get it.


Plans work. Excuses don't.



How About You
What is standing in your way to think through what needs to be done in your organization? Candidly, developing effective plans takes much longer than you think. But the results will also be better, right?

That's how planning works. 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Kindness, Grace...and Work?

"It's not personal, it's business."

I've said this a thousand times...and I'm quite sure I'll say it a thousand times more before I call it a career and delete my email accounts forever.

Faith and Leadership in the Workplace
I've been writing about faith for many years here. Faith is the horsepower behind the two words that I'm focusing on in 2020: kindness and grace.

Sometimes the three words in today's title seem incompatible. 

How exactly does one demonstrate grace while making difficult decisions and driving hard on what needs to be done in the workplace? 

How do we create that sense of urgency, that "good" pressure to keep things moving and to achieve results, all while being kind to those around us?

Overthinking It
I would offer that it may not be nearly as difficult as we might think. The old school leadership style of being mean or forceful as a way to earn respect is now an embarrassing moment for everyone...at the very least...and is candidly career-limiting in the world of work today.

The opportunity to integrate both kindness and grace comes through the delivery of our messages. Yes, accountability is critical to execution. But so is buy-in, respect for the team, and a willingness to hear other voices to ensure the best path is taken.

Consider when a leader has shown you kindness and grace in your career. I bet you already pictured them in your mind before you got to this sentence, right?

Be that leader.

How About You
What are your leadership priorities this year? I have a long list of business outcomes that must be achieved; however, I plan on achieving them in a way that perhaps I hadn't fully incorporated into my leadership style in the past.

Kindness.
Grace.
Work.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, January 20, 2020

What's Your Leadership Definition?

Your CEO steps onto the elevator with you, turns to greet you, and instead of saying hello, says..."tell me your leadership definition."

What's your answer? 

I'll wait...but I'm not sure you'll have time to wait in that elevator.

Leadership Is Everything
Imagine the impact in that moment when you deliver a clean, concise response. The look on your CEO's face...the insight she or he gets into who you are beyond your solid performance day in and day out.

Imagine how good that would feel.

Or...

You stumble. You don't have anything much of value to say, but you do a heck of a job dropping all of the most unoriginal jargon you can think of as you panic.

Imagine how bad that would feel.

How About You
Does it sound hokey to have a leadership definition? I bet it doesn't anymore. Think about it. Write it down. Share it.

Most importantly...live it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Your Last 10%

A number of years ago I was with a great friend at his workplace where he was speaking with a member of his team about a difficult topic. He sensed she was trying to be diplomatic and was not being completely forthright as she answered his questions.

Then he said, "what is your last 10%?"

I'm sure I had a puzzled look on my face as I watched this exchange, as I had absolutely no idea what his question meant.

His team member paused...flashed a bit of a nervous smile...and gave a completely honest answer to his previous series of questions.

Once this impromptu meeting ended, I asked my friend about the last 10%, and why it shifted her answers to the core of the issue.

He explained that he has a rule with his team. They are required - like most teams - to be honest and thoughtful about their communication. But in case something gets too complicated, politically sensitive or just a bit awkward, they can ask for the other person to give their "last 10% of what they're thinking."

I love that.

A culture whereby even the most challenging of topics have a clear path to be discussed without fear of retribution because you are given the freedom to share that final bit of information on your mind.

How About You
What culture have you created in your workplace? The real one. Does it have clear paths for your team members to be completely honest? 

Maybe the last 10% help?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Ready To Go

I'm ready to go.

It's Not About the New Year
Identifying goals, resolutions, or whatever you prefer to call the "beginning of the year lists" can be fun, inspiring, and confusing all at once.

Are we supposed to have lists? Yes we are!

Is there something special about the year flipping that should move us forward differently than the rest of the year? Not at all, but it is a wonderful reminder that we need to keep pushing...keep challenging ourselves...keep getting better.

It's Not About Being Completely Ready
One of the great misconceptions of personal and professional life is that we shouldn't jump into anything unless we are fully prepared.

That is crazy talk.

Getting started is important.

Making progress is important.

Taking risks, evaluating, and adjusting are all important.

Waiting around for the perfect moment is simply fear manifested for all to see.

How About You
What's on your list this year? What is holding you back from jumping in? If you need to talk it through, reach out. You can do it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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