Hooray For Curious Minds

Hooray For Curious Minds! If you’re anything like me, you were glued to the Michael Cohen congressional hearing on Wednesday. It was fascinating and salacious. It was both the most interesting and worst of today’s politics. One thing really stood out to me and it was that there were stories and situations that Mr. Cohen offered to the committee that absolutely begged for follow up questions but those questions were never asked by most of the congressional representatives. This lack of curiosity is fascinating to me and it absolutely made me recollect a few experiences I have had surfacing or escalating questionable or outright diabolical people, behavior, and/or practices to various corporate bodies and it has – essentially – fallen on deaf, disinterestedRead More

Traits of Unique & Fabulous People

Traits of Unique & Fabulous People I have always been an advocate of inviting unique personalities into the workplace. I love rebels and legitimately creative [even disruptive] individuals. I love ambition, transparency, integrity, and humor [unfortunately, these are very unique traits in most workplaces]. I love people who are authentic and honest human beings with passion, enthusiasm, and honorable intentions. I love people that are a little quirky and who go out of their way not to be like everyone else. Most of these qualities are not something that the average organizations seeks to find in candidates. And when these traits present in a new person, the organizational culture usually tries to squash them and, instead, encourage conformity by talking about “fit”. ThereRead More

Professional Pedigree

Professional Pedigree A few months ago I had an interesting experience with an organization who’d reached out to me for a role that was extremely exciting. I was then eliminated because my professional pedigree was – apparently – too akin to that of the backwoods locals in the movie Deliverance to be a fit for their brand. I wish I could say I stoically digested that feedback and haven’t obsessed about why I was contacted and presented as a candidate if pedigree was the singular criteria that identified the “winner” of that job opportunity. So, as things usually do for me, this kooky obsession has led to some research and big questions as to why organizations still don’t truly understand exactly who theyRead More

How We Sabotage Our Top Performers

I have worked with many organizations in a variety of industries over the last few years and I always carve out time to really assess the reality of the culture when I am involved in a project. One of my favorite things to do is to take the top performer in the company and the bottom performer in the company, separately, out to lunch to get their perspective of the workplace culture. It’s always interesting – and almost without exception – that the high-performer feels a greater sense of accountability and expectation placed on them from their leadership team than the worst performer. They also feel less confident about their career stability and trajectory – in their current company – than their sub-parRead More

Genuinely Fabulous Leaders Are Humble Leaders

Genuinely Fabulous Leaders Are Humble Leaders A ProSocial & Collaborative Leadership Quality A few weeks ago I shared a story about an interaction with a VP of Strategic Planning that was so profoundly bizarre and unpleasant it has consistently popped into my mind as it relates to how toxic that person’s leadership style must be with their team and how damaging they are to the culture of their company. In my first and only meeting with this person they spent 18 of our 25 minutes together detailing how important and revered they are and have been in all of their roles. It was an introduction I have never heard the like of before – it was filled with hubris and a flagrant disinterestRead More

Use Common Sense & Be A Kind Person

Use Common Sense & Be A Kind Person It continues to be evident as I work with so many diverse and unique people/groups that far too many issues of miscommunication start with all the labels we assign and adopt for ourselves. We label what kind of leader we are. We label what kind of learner we are. We label what kind of parent we are. We label what kind of shopper we are. We have a harmful obsession with labeling ourselves with nicely packaged ideas of what and who we are. We assign labels for ourselves so that others can understand the fundamentals of our behavior. Why is it that in contemporary culture, we appear to have such a strong desire to dissectRead More

I Declined An Offer For My Dream Job. Here’s Why…

I Declined An Offer For My Dream Job. Here’s Why… In early Fall 2018 I was contacted by Dyson – a company that I – as a consumer – loved. The role they were seeking to fill was fabulous and I was really excited, energized, and flattered that they contacted me to discuss this opportunity. The role had been vacant for eight months and according to the executives in the organization, the field was struggling with selling and product knowledge – especially to consumers falling outside the economic description of a “deep-resource” customer. After speaking with nine people over the course of approximately five weeks, I knew I could help elevate engagement through learning & development, retention, and customer experience. However, there wereRead More

Supporting Creatives In The Workplace

Supporting Creatives In The Workplace The creative genius is “both more primitive and more cultured, more destructive and more constructive, occasionally crazier and yet adamantly saner, than the average person.” – Frank X. Barron As a Learning & Development leader, I am frequently asked how I am able to cater to the various learning styles of people. When I ask the person who surfaced the question to clarify – they usually mean the VARK system of learning. VARK stands for “Visual, Auditory, Reading, and Kinesthetic”. This system is thought to have had something to do with the self-esteem movement of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. So lots of people have clung to their original assignment that they are a certain type ofRead More

Teaching People How To Treat You

Teaching People How To Treat You About three months ago I was consulting with a retail organization and the VP of Stores asked me to visit with him. He wasn’t a person I was directly working with on that project so it was a little unusual but he explained to me that they’d recently promoted two people to District Manager level roles who were having a difficult time assimilating into their new position with their teams. He asked me if I could spend two days with these two new DM’s to identify the issue(s) they were having and give them some guidance. “Yay!”, I said. I missed being in the field, with customers and the hard working people who drive the business. SoRead More

If You Want To Be Successful – Don’t Do These Things

If You Want To Be Successful – Don’t Do These Things Most of us really enjoy reading articles that discuss the habits of successful people. They can be the catalyst for self-reporting and correcting behaviors that may not be helping us move forward. However, the problem with those types of articles is that they give you conditional promises. Sometimes you have to be in the center of a perfect set of circumstances in order to achieve what you want to but because the planets are not aligned – now is not the time for success – and you remain where you are. I am a big believer in perseverance so, I still believe that we need to work each day to give ourselvesRead More

When Verbal “Tee-Ups” Are Given – Beware!

When Verbal “Tee-Ups” Are Given – Beware! Recently I had very interesting interactions with two strangers. One person contacted me through LinkedIn and the other person contacted me through Twitter. I tend to get a lot of emails and direct messages and I make it a point, unless it clearly is someone who wants to sell me something, to respond to all messages. One person started with LinkedIn message and then started texting – no problem…my cell number is clearly listed on my LinkedIn headline. But they kept telling me how honest they were in the midst of their communication. “I am honest, “I will be honest”, “Just trying to be honest”. Oy vey…it was too much and my mind’s warning alarm wentRead More

The Significance Of Choice

The Significance Of Choice So many of the conversations I have with junior- and mid-level talent revolves around how idle they feel their career trajectory is. So, I ask them a lot of self-reporting questions around this: What projects have you taken on that are stretch-assignments for you? Did you ask for this assignment or was it given to you? What is your understanding as to why you were selected? Were you given meaning & purpose as to how this assignment fits in with the organizational or departmental strategy? How do you – typically – go above and beyond your job description? Tell me about the last time you did and what was the reaction by your peers and the person you reportRead More

Obstacles To Effective Learning & Development

Obstacles To Effective Learning & Development It still surprises me to learn about the number of companies that opt to deliver learning & development initiatives in either formal- or classroom | seminar-style training knowing that method of information transfer ultimately sabotages the content being shared. We consistently continue to undermine learning and promote forgetting through out-dated, musty models of knowledge sharing. Here are three [out of six] of the greatest impediments to effective programs today: We Need To Minimize Forgetting And Maximize Learning Research on the “forgetting curve” shows that within one hour of formal learning [classroom or seminar style training], people will have forgotten an average of 50% of the information presented. Within 24 hours, they have forgotten an average of 70%Read More

Prioritize Productivity

Prioritize Productivity Often times I will have a conversation with an executive and almost without exception they will bring up how they are working to make their team more efficient. How they seek to hire leaders who are scrum masters. They require Lean Six Sigma proficiency and certification of their senior and executive level candidates. These are amazing competencies and certifications to learn, have, and know but when it comes to strategy and strategic execution, nothing trumps productivity. Especially in today’s world, when so many organizations are hungry and clawing for growth, senior and executives leaders must bring a productivity mindset to the business, the people they lead, and place accountability around this value. . Company leadership is usually very eager to shareRead More

Do You Know How To Lead A Team & Work Within A Team?

Do You Know How To Lead A Team & Work Within A Team? One of the most obtuse questions I am frequently asked by recruiters or hiring managers that contact me is “Do you know how to lead a team?” [or a variation thereof]. Upon hearing this, I take a very deep breath and instantly know the person asking has only glanced at my résumé or my LinkedIn profile – if they have reviewed my background at all. Following a very dramatic mental eye roll, I launch into my description of how I have been designing and developing effective teams for over 20 years [14 of those years I didn’t have company resources or tools for Learning & Development – I had toRead More