Monday, September 25, 2023

Be You

Fairly early on in my career I realized I didn’t want to fit it. Sure, I wanted to be respected for what I brought to the organizations I worked for; however, the thought of being a clone with respect to my look, speech, behavior, and perhaps most importantly, how much of ‘the real me’ that I shared, needed to be different.

As I reflect on that decision, one that I have continued to stay true to, I now recognize how great the risks have been. Risks that persist even today.

A quick example, I have a very high energy personality and approach to life in general. I get excited about things, and everyone around me can tell. It’s not something I try to do…it is just a trait that is baked into my DNA as a leader and person.

Showing that over-the-top enthusiasm however can occasionally be seen as unprofessional or an attempt at being humorous. The reality is when there is a good idea, a good result, or a great meeting that brings people together, I get pretty excited!

Beyond being super enthusiastic, I am a big proponent of sharing a lot of information with the team that works with me. After all, they are the ones that allow us in leadership to have the time to stay out of the weeds and focus on the biggest ideas we can possibly imagine (and then push ourselves to think even bigger.)

I’m also committed to being the same person at work that I am in my personal life. I love the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey club, Formula 1 racing, loud heavy music and tattoos. I’m also deeply committed to my church and sit on the board of The Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

Do you get fired up about things in your work? Would anyone notice? How much of the real you do you share? 

Thanks for being here.



Monday, September 18, 2023

The Right Throat to Choke

Accountability is a tricky concept. Leaders often use it to describe how they’re going to drive execution of various strategies to achieve a specific goal…hit a budget…launch a new idea…or simply maintain connections with key stakeholders or clients. It is often focused too heavily on team members exclusively.

So easy to describe in a sentence or two. Much more difficult to implement effectively.

The full name of this blog is NoExcusesHR - holding ourselves accountable. That last part isn’t mentioned very often, yet it is intended to be a central component of the messages I share. 

Why? Simply put, leaders hold all the power in organizations. They hire, fire, set strategy, approve budgets, establish communication norms, etc. 

Leaders decide everything.

So then, where does the real accountability lay? Surely our team members need to have clarity about their roles, responsibilities and work. However, pushing the focus on accountability nearly exclusively to those who work on our teams is, in my view, misdirected.

Real accountability starts and ends with leadership. Juggling an ever-growing list of priorities can be extremely challenging, at least it is for me, particularly when the pressure continues to grow.

Yet, that pressure creates an opportunity to expand the roles our team members play in support of that never ending list of priorities. Bonus here…in doing so we are trusting our colleagues as we give them greater responsibility and allow them to actually grow and develop versus the standard lip service many leaders give but never deliver on.

Letting go is difficult. It’s also worth it. After all, the one who really needs to be held accountable stares back at us in the mirror each day.

Thanks for being here.


Monday, September 11, 2023

Hurt, Heal, Repeat

Question for you: what is your first reaction when a leader shares they are hurting, or struggling to overcome anxiety, pressure, stress or some other challenge related to their mental health?

Do you trust they can lead effectively?

Does their credibility erode because they showed a level of vulnerability not normally discussed in the workplace?

Are you confident they’ll be strong in the difficult periods that every organization goes through?

Gut-check time. What were your answers? 

The reality for all of us is that we go through dark times. I’ve never met anyone who is always up, everything is perfect, and they live without a care in the world. Despite what ends up on our social channels (including mine), life doesn’t work that way.

Why then, would we put such unrealistic pressure on our leaders to be perfect and improving at all times when we know that is impossible?

The cycle of battling that inner voice that overwhelms…then subsides…then begins again…is a reality for me. It has been for years, yet I’ve been reticent to share any of those struggles for fear of being judged, losing opportunities to move ahead professionally, or compromising the respect of my colleagues.

At times it feels like a never ending cycle…and candidly…it is. The real triumph is when we accelerate out of the hurt phase and into some sort of healing. We find that the road ahead doesn’t always have to be a traffic jam…it can be wide open full of possibilities.

Thanks for being here.