Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Almost Honest

What would happen, if...

- we honestly spoke about our successes
- we honestly discussed the issues we were struggling with
- we honestly shared when we lack self-confidence
- we honestly described our frustrations about the world of work
- we honestly told our colleagues how we feel about them
- we honestly shared how it is impossible to be all things to all people all the time
- we honestly let someone know how important they are to us
- we honestly did something we’ve always dreamed of doing
- we honestly lived the life we want to live
- we honestly told the ourselves

I wonder what that organization would look like?

I’d love to hear form you.

No Excuses.

Monday, July 27, 2015

You're Not Prepared

"Humility is the only true wisdom by which we prepare our minds for all the possible changes of life."
George Arliss

How are you preparing for the changes ahead in your world? Have you chosen a humble path? 

Or, have you decided to fight change at every turn?

Guess which option will serve you best?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Weed Out The Weak

I want you to think about the person on your team who is the most problematic. You know the one...they have loads of potential but somehow can never quite get the traction necessary to keep up. That sense of urgency memo that is the new normal in the world of work never quite made it to their desk.

Now let me ask you...why do they still work for you?

You Don't Have the Guts

This may sound a bit harsh, but let's be've known for a long time that person should move on to another organization. 

But you haven't stepped up yet.

This may sound cruel, but candidly they are not getting any satisfaction out of their current situation either.

But you haven't stepped up yet.

This may not be politically correct, but I'd rather be honest. Plus, being 'pc' has nothing to do with effective leadership when someone needs to go.

But you haven't stepped up yet.

I told you that you didn't have the guts.

How About You
There is nothing left to say...except this last observation. 

While you're complaining about that employee who needs to go instead of doing something about it, all of your other employees as well as your colleagues are watching you.

Hmmm, I wonder how that looks?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Walk With Me In Hell

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about leadership. I read about it, watch others practice it, and sadly see many struggle with it (including me.) Once in a while however, a leader moves from the pack of nameless faces and rises above the masses.

It is rare...

...and for that brave soul, it can be a very lonely place.

Think about the leaders in your organization. Many are mired in an endless task list, administrative duties that have nothing to do with either the company's values or strategic plans, or have very little time to actually support the talent on their teams.

Talent, after all, is the only thing that matters in today's world. No profit. Nothing.

So which leader in your world has moved out of "the way things are done here" and has taken a bold step forward? I'm not talking about the ones who say they're bold...I want you to identify a leader who has taken action that demonstrates the courage to truly be bold.

Do you still have anyone on your list?

Bold Can Be Hell
I think we can all recognize when "things need to change" in our organizations, right? The metrics are bad, decisions are not being made in a timely manner (or at all), and important deadlines are missed.

Someone needs to take action. But...

"My calendar is really tight this week, so I'll get that on my To-Do list and convene a task force at some point to fully examine all of the issues involved, and make sure I don't step on any executive's over-inflated ego...I mean toes."

Bold leaders simply do not accept the same old duck and run approach that so many faux-leaders rely on to survive.

Bold leaders do something. They break through bottlenecks. They force their way through the blockers in the company. They execute plans in a way that others are simply afraid to do.

Yes, I said it. Many leaders are simply scared to lead. It is much easier to focus on one's survival than it is to put the organization ahead of yourself.

What are the consequences of taking real action? Criticism. Colleagues turning on you. A scramble to justify their own ineffectiveness. 

Candidly, the bold ones are put through hell. That is until the results prove the bold leader was correct all along...and then they are suddenly considered a genius.

There is a reason no one ever talks about bold teams. It's only the individual that gets the coveted label of being bold.

How About You
Who are the bold leaders in your organization? Have you fired up the blow torch and joined the dinosaur naysayers on the attack; or, are you willing to walk with the brave ones and provide the support they deserve?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Communication Breakdown

Leader A - "I have the notes right here...this is what we agreed to at the last meeting."

Leader B - "No it's not. We needed these pieces to be ready today."

Leader A - "Look, let me read through my notes. I have everything documented from last time."

Leader B - "That's not what I understood the plan to be. Let me read my notes...see, they're very different."

Organized Does Not Equal Accurate
The scenario above sounds silly, right? How in the world could two high performing professionals in the same meeting, taking the same notes, come away with such different expectations?


…except I’m Leader A… I did take great notes. I thought I had interpreted the details properly. But the messages could have been interpreted exactly the way Leader B understood them. We were both right…sort of…but because I didn’t ensure we both had the clarity necessary I ended up being wrong.

For the record, I really do not like being wrong.

Leading Means Learning Too
The obvious takeaway here is to make sure everyone is “clear” about what should happen next. That’s not my point. The real issue for me in this life lesson is to pace myself. 

I’ve discovered that I push myself hard in many areas. Trying to be the super-leader is difficult to sustain, and next to impossible to achieve long-term.

So the balance point has to be based on an open mind and a willingness to learn when I stumble.

Yes, I could have reconciled my notes better, but the root cause of me missing the deliverables in that meeting were more about my mindset than they were about the the task of checking everyone’s to do list.

How About You
What pace do you keep? Are you trying to constantly over achieve like me (not good 24/7!); or, have you found that sweet spot that allows for high tempo work that has a slower pace built in? If you have, you need to share your secret.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

This Team Is Designing the Future of HR

This is the second in a series of posts about SHRM's Global Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Summit that was held in conjunction with the national conference. It was an amazing collection of senior human resources executives from around the world who gathered for an in-depth and inspiring meeting in Las Vegas.


Imagine the future of human resources. The words are different…the roles are different…the value HR adds to the organization is viewed in a radical new way. 


At the recent Global Forum for Chief Human Resources Officers this was the exact issue discussed. CHROs from around the world wrestled…sort of…with what that future state will be for HR.

Top Thinkers
The session was led by John Boudreau who has been deeply engaged with a world-class team of human resources executives from some of the top companies in the world. His research, and the focused output the team is generating is a fantastic start.

The group he assembled shares a level of frustration with the state of HR today, in that it is difficult to describe what our role is in a rapidly changing world.

Here’s my spin...
- couldn’t we outsource benefits support to a call center and manage the spend through the Finance department?

- couldn’t we fold employee relations into the legal department now that our society (at least in the United States) is ridiculously focused on litigation or extreme views from various government agencies.

- couldn’t an education department that reports through Operations build a team of trainers/change management professionals to ensure we had complete alignment with what the front-line needs of the leaders are?

The short-sighted answer to these questions is yes. It’s also the wrong one. What’s missing here is the role that human resources plays when addressing talent, culture, and living the values of an organization.

I’m sorry, but Finance, Legal, and Operations do not have stellar track records for driving change, responding to the workforce, or meeting the challenges of growth in a radically different world than just a few years ago.

Only HR can deliver on that…and this is where John’s team might miss the mark, but not for the reason you might think.

Future of the Workforce
The powerhouse team I mentioned that is planning the future of HR is missing one very important member...

…the people who are going to be the future of HR. Hear me out...

"If millennials are going to dominate the workforce in just a few years, it seems odd to exclude them from the planning process.”

Teams of executives have the power and influence to make change. But at what cost? If the entire group that is planning the future of HR is retired in fifteen years, have they done a disservice by excluding those they are trying to help?

I submit yes! 

The courageous leaders on this team should not only invite non-executive leaders into the group, but must insist on it. 

While I stand and applaud the desire to make things different, it is clear the group is not current. (I could barely find twitter accounts for half the group, yet they are designing the new world of HR?)

How About You
What are you doing in your world to make a difference for your profession? Are you adapting to new ways to work? Or, are you simply moving the same old concepts around into a new format and claiming that you’ve made a breakthrough? 

John’s team is taking a bold step forward and I will support them in every way I can. Let’s hope they don’t miss the most important piece of the puzzle.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Born to Serve

"Despite everything you think you know,
You're ruled by a ruinous pack of lies.
You mean nothing in the grand scheme of things,
You're nothing in this vacuum hole of time."

Wait, what?

Who Are You Listening To?
There are lots (and I mean lots) of voices in our heads every day. Our colleagues, employees, peers, leaders, and perhaps the most challenging of them all...


Often the political pressure of corporate life creates an alternative reality that when uncovered, seems to fall apart just as quickly as it whipped itself into a frenzy. But those voices...and their ability to impact our lives...are still powerful.

Our job is to not only manage those voices...but quite honestly to drown them out and lead the way!

One Voice Wins
Where does one start when the world seems to be pushing in from all sides? 

For me, it's about sorting through the noise...the self-serving agendas...and the power plays that seem to drive so much of, human...behavior. 

Once all of the variables are clear, the path we must take becomes clear. Your path...the one your honest, sincere voice has been telling you about is the one to choose. 

Stop listening to the critics.
Stop listening to the power-hungry phonies.
Stop listening to the leaders caught up in the fake world of corporate "fit" and "opinions."

...and stop listening to that inner self-doubt voice. It's wrong.

How About You
Whose voices are in your head? Are they distracting you...confusing you...trapping you in a downward spiral that serves others and not yourself?

It's time to go for it...for yourself...and make a real difference!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, July 2, 2015


I've had an amazing week. Now before you think this post is about rainbows and joy just slow down for a minute. Yes, my week had some really high points...but life isn't only about the good stuff. Right?

It turns out my eventful week had much more in store for me than I expected.

Live Fast
I attended two important events in nuclear-blast-hot Las Vegas this week: SHRM's Global CHRO Summit, and the SHRM National Conference. It was my second year at both events, and this year I had the privilege to be a member of the #shrm15blogger team.

I've been moving at a pretty fast pace for the last six months. My kick ass new job keeps me running. Hard.

Add to that pace my weekly travel schedule which sometimes has me trying to juggle a few too many things at once. That hit full force as I arrived in the desert.

Short story: lots of issues going on in my a long flight...and no hotel room when I finally (and I mean finally) got to the hotel.

In that moment I was ready to accept that I was getting a sign from above. I must be pushing too hard...moving too fast...trying to be everything for everyone all the time...and I probably needed to do a re-set.

Except I'm so competitive the thought of slowing down made me angry. So I strategized with the incredibly gracious team at the Encore Hotel...took a few deep breaths...figured it out...and got my game-face back on.

On High
The twenty-four hour CHRO session was terrific, capped off with a tour of the Zappos campus. Candidly, I'm not quite sure what to think about them....they have developed something very special at their company. I'll leave it at that for now.

Joining the big conference was also great. I attended some fantastic presentations (and live tweeted like a champ throughout). Here's the part that blew me away this week. Many of my friends were there and genuinely had an interest in how I was doing since I've made a series of big changes in my life.

I'm not talking about the casual 'hey, how's it going' banter. I mean a 'deep-I-care-about-you-as-my-friend' type of discussion.

And it happened again, and again, and again.

I'm not sure I even responded appropriately in those moments. The amount of support I felt...and continue to nothing short of incredible.

How About You
Coming in to this week I had a very short list of people I could share my 'stuff' with in an open and trusting way. They are absolutely amazing and know who they are.

Now, instead of feeling like I have done something wrong or tried to do too much; I know I have an all-star team beside me as I focus on taking my "live fast, on high" mindset to a whole new level.

Saying thank you seems to fall so far short of how I feel. But, thank you friends.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

CHROs, Talent, and...Pro Sports?

This is the first in a series of posts about SHRM's Global Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) Summit that was held in conjunction with the national conference. It was an amazing collection of senior human resources executives from around the world who gathered for an in-depth and inspiring meeting in Las Vegas.


So how does the infamous war for talent, Gen Y, succession planning and...the National Football League (NFL) make it into a CHRO session? Louis Montgomery Jr. from Korn Ferry presented a unique perspective on the interplay between the challenges of the world of work and professional sports.

Crazy idea? Not as crazy as you might think.

Organizations Are Not As Smart As They Believe 
As we continue to discuss how the world is getting smaller and the talent supply is shrinking, the case study of the NFL is an interesting one. The league has 32 teams...yet only 8 have won the Super Bowl three times or more.

How is it that "corporate" success possible for some, when the talent supply is available to every organization? How is that the selection process that is so scrutinized and researched, including extensive interviews and assessments with potential new "hires" still results in failure for so many organizations? In fact, a number of these teams have never won a championship.


Start Inside First
The parallels between the challenges of sports and our varied organizations raised a couple of interesting questions:

1 - What internal support do you have in place to develop future leaders (or players in sports)?

2 - Have you critically examined your current talent to understand who is a diamond and who might be a blocker of your company's success?

3 - Once you've identified your top talent, are you building specific plans to move them to their ultimate potential?

Keep this in mind...your CEO twenty years from now may be an individual contributor today. Do you see their potential? What are you doing about it?

How About You
The challenge of an incredibly small talent pool in professional sports far exceeds the challenges we face in traditional corporate settings. 

Now that you know that, it's time to first take a look at your current team, and make the investment necessary to turn then into long-term stars.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.