Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Fishing Rod Dilemma

I never liked the phrase Employee Recognition; it just seemed to affiliate pats on the back with showing up... a benefit more than a measure for compensation, a "nice to have" more than a critical measurement of success. It should also be noted that the concept of Employee Recognition was created by fulfillment houses and "off the shelf" technology activators.

Recognition evolved into Engagement when organizations sought to understand the return on their investment in a bunch of trophies. 

The question emerged: how can we replace trinkets with platforms for skill development?

We've also learned that incenting just revenue or individual product movement can inspire manipulation while ignoring opportunity for Behavior Change.

But, there is still hope for Employee Recognition.....

Look not at what you see in the open field. Turn to the forest to identify a pathway through the trees.

More than giving a logo-ed lamp for showing up, we need to focus on three key areas:
1. Individual Development
2. Visibility of Achievement
3. Flipping the Process

The Lone Wolf
After great research Adamson & Dixon identified 5 personality types in sales professionals that amplified (or deterred) success. They found the best contributors exhibited behaviors synonymous with informing the process and collaboration. They called out reps with a "Lone Wolf" mentality as determined but not fully formed.

What if self-determination is all you need?

Any honest Manager would tell you that they seek to recruit people who require as little attention as possible. Self-sufficient and confident are key traits of The Lone Wolf. People develop the Lone Wolf mentality when they have experience, self-confidence, an extended personal network and intense solution-based knowledge.

In truth, we've overlooked the fact that the Lone Wolf could indeed be our greatest asset!

Your best reps may not want to take a trip to Hawaii, they'd rather be DOING their job than talking about doing their job.

If we can give them the tools, trust them to execute and provide self-administered tools of Recognition... everyone will be happier, more productive and less distracted by the obligatory.

SCARF
Where Employee Recognition has evolved into Employee Engagement, Performance Management is the next wave in recognizing successful behavior traits.

The SCARF methodology was created to give Employees that ability to stack rank their individual preferences for advancement. These personality types range from those seeking public validation to those who simply want to be left to their own accord (there's the Lone Wolf again).

The S in SCARF stands for Status. Here, we're detecting a characteristic that directly rivals The Lone Wolf (a distinctly different, but eqaully effective, avenue for Recognition).

More than money, organizational purpose or flexibility; there are those who want to move up the ladder. Their thirst for recognition thrives in the publication of their achievement and the opportunity said publicity may create.

Commercial Insight
There was a time when sales people wore suits and attended seminars on "how to sell". Turns out, the best way to convince someone to do something is by showing them how it works and why it is important to them.

How do you know what's important to them?

Replace sales training with research!

You could reward your revenue producers with incentives on products or by revenue increase but recent case studies have revealed a danger in gaming less-than-fool-proof rule structures.

Its time to revisit Autonomy (see SCARF methodology).

When people are entrusted to develop expertise, they create a knowledge base that cannot boxed or sold:

  • This turns salespeople into consultants
  • Takes the commodity out of the equation
  • Creates irreplaceable value

... The concept of Commercial Insight is another from the pages of Adamson & Dixon that empowers employees to develop a path to their own Engagement.

Independence can indeed be more important than collective effort!

The challenges we set forth for ourselves can be more demanding (and therefore rewarding) than any cookie cutter corporate objective.

With Big Wins rooted in personal development, Employee Engagement becomes Employee Euphoria!

The Power of Reciprocity
If you are still struggling to understand if the intent of your effort will yield results....

Throw a Boomerang into the Wind!

Organizations have for so long been in the mindset of commanding that they may have failed to notice they get back what they give to their employees....

Good for Good & Bad for Bad!

Instead of forcing employees to buy into the mission why not let them create for themselves?

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

The Fishing Rod Dilemma

I never liked the phrase Employee Recognition; it just seemed to affiliate pats on the back with showing up... a benefit more than a measure for compensation, a "nice to have" more than a critical measurement of success. It should also be noted that the concept of Employee Recognition was created by fulfillment houses and "off the shelf" technology activators.

Recognition evolved into Engagement when organizations sought to understand the return on their investment in a bunch of trophies. 

The question emerged: how can we replace trinkets with platforms for skill development?

We've also learned that incenting just revenue or individual product movement can inspire manipulation while ignoring opportunity for Behavior Change.

But, there is still hope for Employee Recognition.....

Look not at what you see in the open field. Turn to the forest to identify a pathway through the trees.

More than giving a logo-ed lamp for showing up, we need to focus on three key areas:
1. Individual Development
2. Visibility of Achievement
3. Flipping the Process

The Lone Wolf
After great research Adamson & Dixon identified 5 personality types in sales professionals that amplified (or deterred) success. They found the best contributors exhibited behaviors synonymous with informing the process and collaboration. They called out reps with a "Lone Wolf" mentality as determined but not fully formed.

What if self-determination is all you need?

Any honest Manager would tell you that they seek to recruit people who require as little attention as possible. Self-sufficient and confident are key traits of The Lone Wolf. People develop the Lone Wolf mentality when they have experience, self-confidence, an extended personal network and intense solution-based knowledge.

In truth, we've overlooked the fact that the Lone Wolf could indeed be our greatest asset!

Your best reps may not want to take a trip to Hawaii, they'd rather be DOING their job than talking about doing their job.

If we can give them the tools, trust them to execute and provide self-administered tools of Recognition... everyone will be happier, more productive and less distracted by the obligatory.

SCARF
Where Employee Recognition has evolved into Employee Engagement, Performance Management is the next wave in recognizing successful behavior traits.

The SCARF methodology was created to give Employees that ability to stack rank their individual preferences for advancement. These personality types range from those seeking public validation to those who simply want to be left to their own accord (there's the Lone Wolf again).

The S in SCARF stands for Status. Here, we're detecting a characteristic that directly rivals The Lone Wolf (a distinctly different, but eqaully effective, avenue for Recognition).

More than money, organizational purpose or flexibility; there are those who want to move up the ladder. Their thirst for recognition thrives in the publication of their achievement and the opportunity said publicity may create.

Commercial Insight
There was a time when sales people wore suits and attended seminars on "how to sell". Turns out, the best way to convince someone to do something is by showing them how it works and why it is important to them.

How do you know what's important to them?

Replace sales training with research!

You could reward your revenue producers with incentives on products or by revenue increase but recent case studies have revealed a danger in game less-than-fool-proof rule structures.

Its time to revisit Autonomy (see SCARF methodology).

When people are entrusted to develop expertise, they create a knowledge base that cannot boxed or sold:

  • This turns salespeople into consultants
  • Takes the commodity out of the equation
  • Creates irreplaceable value

... The concept of Commercial Insight is another from the pages of Adamson & Dixon that empowers employees to develop a path to their own Engagement.

Independence can indeed be more important than collective effort!

The challenges we set forth for ourselves can be more demanding (and therefore rewarding) than any cookie cutter corporate objective.

With Big Wins rooted in personal development, Employee Engagement becomes Employee Euphoria!

The Power of Reciprocity
If you are still struggling to understand if the intent of your effort will yield results....

Throw a Boomerang into the Wind!

Organizations have for so long been in the mindset of commanding that they may have failed to notice they get back what they give to their employees....

Good for Good & Bad for Bad!

Instead of forcing employees to buy into the mission why not let them create for themselves?

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It Can Happen


It's been a strange year.......

  • The Presidential election has created bewilderment, dismay and frustration across our United States.  
  • Seems all of our heroes are dying.
  • People who influence ours lives probably shouldn't.
  • Everyone is now a cyber journalist.
So what can we do? 

Ignoring the world around us may calm our spirits temporarily but lack of information can stunt progression.  

We could consume said information with vigor and fight everyone who is less-informed.

Or.... Maybe..... 


Do you genuinely enjoy your job?
Do you surround yourself with people who make you a better human being?
What if you replaced your anger with uncompromising positivity?

It's Not "Just Work"
I remember being caught up in a mundane dispute at work to which my boss finally replied, "it's just a stupid sales job, who cares?"

I care! A Lot! ... and you should too. 

If your career lasts 40 years (which is entirely possible) you will spend 100,000 hours at work. Why spend it doing something you don't like? Or at a company with which you are not morally synchronized? Or working for a boss who does not respect you?

These are the BIG questions that we seldom ponder.... and then we die!

Yes Men (No Ma'am)!
I know people who acquaint themselves with a passive audience to validate the bravado that protects them from success. Those around them will only cheer their belligerence, they will only help fuel self-hatred and mask it as enlightenment. 


I love my wife because she reminds me that I am acting like an idiot when my better judgment takes a nap. A great boss will listen to your concerns but remind you of the task at hand. Even God will show you the err of your ways when you are ignoring life's challenges.



Never Give Up!
In life there are creative people and smart people and people who know how to command a situation. You should strive to master all these things... and commit to work your ass off! Hard work is the only human process that directly correlates to success. 

The people who have learned to work smart learned from the experience of working hard. No one ever went into anything half-ass-ed and created anything worth emulating.

Life is short and fragile and you get to a certain point where you determine what is worth fighting for. Spending your time on anything other than that which you would die for is really just meandering in the waiting room.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Employee Recognition: Picking Up The Pieces

As I enter my 10th year in the Human Capital Management space, I figured it would be beneficial to my readers to reflect on how our industry has (and has not) evolved over the last decade's time.

* The following scenarios are built on real life business engagements. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Case Study #1: A Story of Manipulation
Employee A (Let's call him Carl) had worked for Company X (let's call it Pied Piper) for a calendar year. After 3 failed endeavors at Bay Area start ups, Carl was looking for something more stable. He had a single motivating factor: MONEY!

Work at a Large Corporate Technology firm was different than the start up world: Bureaucracy was thick, rule structure was more intense and cashing out was trumped by climbing the ladder. So how could he climb the ladder?

Achieving sales results did not come as easily in an Enterprise role at a large company and Carl struggled in this first year. The results weren't there so he needed another tool to help get him promoted. Then it hit him like a lightening bolt..... his company had announced the end of the annual performance review process to be replaced with a high touch performance management system (even large corporations cannot refute common sense). The performance management process was positioned as a pro-active measure to build the internal talent pool.

Carl's bargaining chip? Employee Recognition would be leveraged as part of the Performance Management system. Carl's job was simple, he sent an email to roughly 100 colleagues asking them to participate in an experiment (he even went-so-far as to title his email "An Experiment In Human Compassion"). Carl asked each of his colleagues to send him a recognition through their peer to peer system. He offered to return the gesture. Carl was a fun guy at happy hour so getting his peers to buy-in was no problem. Within a week, Carl shot to the top of Recognition Leaderboard. This flagged him as an 'up and comer' in the system and garnered him an opportunity to apply for a Management position.

Carl was promoted to Management, 8 employees left under his reign and he was fired less than a year later.

The company lost great performers and the recognition program was tarnished.

What's worse? The company was sued by an employee who was passed over for promotion sighting leadership development as a popularity contest. (Carl's "Human Compassion" email was submitted into evidence).

Lesson Learned: Using Recognition as a Performance Lever is Dangerous Business!

Case Study #2: A Shattered Cookie Cutter
The message was simple, "we need to cut costs so any programs that are not mission-critical are to be discontinued". The CEO was very clear in her directives so the formal recognition program was removed. This program had operated with over 90% adoption for nearly 10 years (CRM adoption hovered at about 38%).

With the program removed a caveat was dangled. Keeping our employees engaged is job one so we are reconstructing programs that will streamline appreciation:

1. Employees would go to dinner with their supervisor if they qualified as a top quarterly achiever.
2. Employees who hit a tenure milestone would receive a letter from the CEO and a gift card.

When Employee A (let's call her Nancy) hit her 20 year anniversary with the company, she received a form letter from the CEO and a $250 gift card. She tested the signature on the letter but it did not smudge. Then she pulled out her i-phone to use the calculator.

$1.73 a month. That's what her contribution to the organization was worth.

She flipped over the form letter, wrote two words on the back, grabbed a picture of her kids from her desk and headed out the door.....

I QUIT          

Lesson Learned: No Recognition is Better Than Thoughtless Recognition!

Case Study #3: Leadership Jumps on the Manipulation Train 
The VP of HR sent out the annual employee survey at the tail end of the 7 paragraph diatribe. The message offered a proverbial laundry list of all of the "perks and benefits" of working at Company X. Benefits packages, non-guaranteed pay increases, company functions and education aid were all mentioned as the things that made Company X a "Great Place to Work". Mr. HR Guy included a mention of half day Fridays during the summer months if the company hit their revenue goal.

Filling out the survey was mandatory. Managers received bonuses for "5" rating across the board and were regulated for examination if any of their team dipped below last year's survey results.

The survey structure was based on the following:
1. Make the Great Place to Work list and Senior Managers receive a bonus.
2. Managers who average a "5" receive a bonus.
3. Managers who's average scores wavered were consulted by HR as to what to do to ensure employees "no longer seemed discontent".

The leader of the Human Engagement process allowed his greed to override a prime opportunity to receive feedback from the trenches. He did not receive his bonus.

Managers were subjected to adversarial relationships with employees: meeting with each of them to guess who used what comment to berate them while urging employees to keep their comments in-house.

The results of the survey were skewed. Employees who wished to stay in their managers good graces "marked 5 to survive". Those who saw through the hypocrisy of the exercise gave lower scores than they otherwise would have to mock Leadership's misunderstanding of workforce engagement!  

Lesson Learned: Surveys Are An Opportunity to Identify Areas of Improvement not a Meter for Compensation!

The Recognition industry was built by fulfillment houses who's strengths lie in purchasing & distribution. Times have caught up with them. It's 2016 and systems of feedback and leadership development are far more important to today's employee than a logo-ed lamp.

Surprises:
1. Companies are still investing heavy dollars in catalog-driven Service Anniversary programs (because employees still like them).
2. Performance Management has not replaced Employee Recognition.
3. Social Recognition has proven effective for a limited time if there is not a reward within the process of participating.
4. Results compensation programs are up to 100x more-invested than Recognition programs in the majority of companies.

Opportunity:
1. Diversify budgets to create more high touch, immediate recognition opportunity
- I've beat this horse to death since 2006 and I'm not giving up.
2. Make recognition initiatives performance based.
- It's incredibly simple to program technology to reward mission critical behaviors instead of off-the-shelf catch phrases.
3. Use Social Recognition to attract employees to a platform that offers a variety of performance-based programs.
- Consolidation enhances engagement and saves significant dollars.
4. Replace revenue improvement incentives with behavior-based development programs.
- Compensating the bottom line is easy to measure and easier to manipulate. Creating programs that promote responsible behavior geared toward relationship development will strengthen long-term organizational stability and improve revenue.

I believe the Human Capital Management industry (or whatever you want to call it) has the greatest opportunity for growth of any:

- Human Resource professionals need to continue a Change Management focus.
- Vendors should shift from reward fulfillment to active behavior change consulting.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Future of Work


For those of you who are unaware, the Society for Human Resource Management ( #SHRM ) holds a weekly chat on Twitter. Every Wednesday over lunch we hop into interactive idea sharing of what we can do to usher change into the Corporate World. It's called #NextChat and you are free to participate in (or just troll) the conversation. I do not know of a better place for HR Professionals, Advisers & Business Partners to gather such a candid glimpse into the profession.

For over a decade, we've been tackling the Generational Life Cycle that is exercising it's inertia in the Corporate World. We've pounded our heads into the theoretical wall strewn with post it notes marking the topics of succession planning, knowledge capture and leadership development.

When I first entered the workforce, I was elated to be chosen for a Mentorship Program our company was conducting. Top Performers were to engage with V Level business leaders to have their questions answered and to be given direction. I was paired with a VP to whom I did not report for the sake of ensuring transparency and reservation of judgment. The premise was simple, the opportunity was paramount.

It Was The Greatest Opportunity of my Young Career!

... then the program started!

I got on the conference call bridge to chat with my assigned mentor, after 30 minutes of dead air, I sent him an email asking if he needed to reschedule. He never replied. A member of our HR team responded to my inquiry a few days later assuring me this person would honor their commitment next mouth. My excitement was replaced with disappointment. A month later he was kind enough to email me from his blackberry, "I'm unavailable for our call today, I've heard great things". As my peers touted the incredible insight they had gained from the program, my disengagement continued to grow. When I voiced my disappointment to my unit Vice President, she explained to me that I had to respect the fact that those in her position seldom had time for programs that didn't benefit their bottom line (those were the words used). I was encouraged to hang in there....!

What could have been the company's greatest opportunity to vitalize their internal talent pool became an example (of many) HR positioned programs that were poo poo-ed by Senior Managers.... ultimately causing a mass exodus from the company.

I've heard HR Leaders profess that they offer training, but not too much, for fear that the participants would take their skills elsewhere.




In the same way I had been failed by my mentor, many extraordinarily busy people who had dedicated their time to our Mentoring program were burned. Mentees used the opportunity to bitch about the company vision, ask questions to prove they knew the answer and to challenge every word of advice the Mentor extended.

Several years later on the aforementioned #NextChat I was able to articulate the virtue (and potential draw backs) of Mentoring Programs.




When asked how Mentoring programs have changed we need only understand how the workforce has evolved. Mentors can now benefit from interactions with up-and-coming stars as much as said aspiring leaders can from those they look up to. The opportunity for Leadership to express humility may possibly be the key to Employee Engagement across the Global Spectrum.




Where I was let down by an assigned Mentor in the past, now people can seek out advice without having to wait for it.

How Cool... to find social alignment with people you admire without waiting for an introduction.



Business Leaders who seek to control based on tenure are soon to face a certain future: Early Retirement!

If you fail to realize that leadership is an act of servitude, you never were a leader!

To deter the leadership development of the next generation is no different than keeping your child from playing baseball for fear that they might be better than you were.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave    

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Single Most Important Lesson I've Learned


When I graduated college I was so incredibly pumped to get a "real job". Some of my friends struggled to find purpose, but I loved working! I was the first to show up to work and the last to leave. I volunteered for new assignments and always participated in team meetings. I had new ideas and I wanted them to be heard. I was intent upon moving up the ladder. I meant well but I was an enormous pain in the ass!

...Here's Why...

Despite ones intelligence or willingness to work hard, timing and respect are equally important. If you are the fastest player on the field but you don't know when to run, you will fail!

My early career could characterized by misunderstanding. I did not understand the process and my superior officers could not delineate my intention from my purpose. I wanted more than anything to succeed, not for the money, but to contribute to the world. It didn't come off that way.

Don't get me wrong, I was successful! I made a lot of money, my effort and ideas were recognized and people enjoyed working with me. I had far more positive advancements than missteps.

...But, there is one thing I could have done better.

The greatest lesson I've learned in 2 decades in Corporate America:

Do Your Fighting In The Ring!

Over time, I learned to use the word WE more than I (and to mean it). The most successful people I know always put others before themselves. Those who surround themselves with diverse skill sets and invest themselves in developing others are called leaders. I used to think promoting one's self was an act of Leadership....

Leadership is an Act of Servitude

It is so much more beneficial to your career to be a good listener as opposed to a big talker. People gravitate toward people who make them feel welcome. People want to work with people who they know they can trust.

Every great leader I know accepts their role with a certain measure of support; creating a path means walking it first.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Most people I know who talk a lot do so to mask their insecurity. They cannot stand silence because they fear uncertainty will creep into the mind of their audience. They fill every second with noise as if to validate their uncertain thoughts through verbal white boarding.

Each person who walks into a new occupation does so with the intent to prove their worth. NO ONE wants to receive an email, hear a question or take advice from someone who has achieved nothing.

Spiking The Bullshit Meter

I can tell within 10 minutes of meeting someone if they are working an angle. Most people with whom you interface will be overwhelmed if you verbally tackle them upon introduction. People like people who ease their way into conversation. Most people like people who wait until they have something to say before they open their mouth.

We are all insecure. We all sit up at night thinking about what needs to be done to validate our existence. We all just want to contribute.

So.... Why not just perform as well as you can and allow for your results to speak for you?

I can tell you from experience that producing before you promise will help you sleep easier.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Employee Engagement: Behind The Curtain

It started with a lamp... a logo-ed lamp....

The guys who used to sell class rings out of the trunks of their cars began imprinting corporate logos to belt buckles as a side business. If you performed well, you got a trophy, literally. People appreciated the recognition ! My Dad still has every logo-ed ash tray his company gave him.... even tough he never smoked a single cigarette his entire life.

Times have changed, not as rapidly as one would have expected, but times have changed.

The Starr Conspiracy recently release a comprehensive overview of the "now referred to as" HCM space. The report will serve as a necessary wake up call to some and an astounding "finally" to others. In all their perceptive excellence, SC has spelled out today's reality:

Employee Engagement exists in sub-categories!

The guys/gals who made lamps went on using their purchasing power to buy electronics and such. No one has ever poo poo-ed a pat on the back but a logo-ed lamp never Engaged an employee. Vendors in the space protective of their bread and butter have relentlessly banged the engagement drum without the strategic capital or systems to create it.

Like the Starr Conspiracy, Rodd Wagner entered the Employee Engagement debate with the objectivity of a news beat reporter.

Wagner's research has revealed the hidden truths of employee engagement that those in the warehousing business have failed to consider.

Get Inside Their Heads
The recognition industry circles the manager/employee drain by distributing gift cards as a pat on the back. Poor managers mask their incompetence through micro-management and provide "recognition" to keep their relationships manageable.

Employees don't leave companies they leave managers.

Make Them Fearless
Have you ever hated your job? Boss is reactionary. Strategy is fragmented. Organizational direction is uncertain.

Your stomach turns on Sunday evening dreading the week ahead. You dart to Happy Hour as soon as quitting time comes around. You attend industry events, not to promote your organization, but to look for an alternative.

Life is too short to hate your profession!

The best companies are not concerned with promoting their workplace culture, they allow for organic growth. Internal promotions and word of mouth referrals save companies millions. You don't need to be voted a great place to work... all you have to do is be a great place to work.

Uncertainty kills employee engagement.

Help Them Thrive
People will work for less money if you provide them the autonomy to manage their work schedule.

If we are being honest: results are all that matter.... not where you work or when you work.

TRUST is the #1 driver of Employee Engagement.

If you allow your employees to manage their work/life balance. They will be more productive, healthier and less stressed out.

Knock Down the Silos! Flatten the Hierarchy.

Be Boldly Transparent
What is the future of Employee Engagement?

Picture this:

An employee chooses his/her areas of emphasis: Production Goals, Soft Skill Development, Leadership Development and the ability to find projects that will challenge them to transcend their comfort zone.

Employee Engagement is not about a prize, a platform or a paycheck. There is not a single solution that will make all of your employees happy.

Organizations need to embrace a conglomeration of tools, programs and opportunities for advancement.

It comes down to an employee admitting one universal truth:

I Can Do More Here Than I Can Anywhere Else!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Thursday, May 19, 2016

In Commencement

To The Class of 2016 -
As the world changes you will see opportunity before you and come to understand that YOU can change the world.

There may be things in your mind that seem overwhelmingly important at the moment, they may not be. The minute you walk from the stage and flip your tassel, people will begin to tell you what is not possible, if you listen to them too intently, you will not achieve a thing.

More important than material success, you should hope to find love.

Hope?

Find?

Yes, love may be the one aspiration before you that you cannot will yourself into. It may happen over time or you may miss it because you pretended that someone else was good enough. Life is full of compromises, who you love should not be one of them.

You will put in 70 hour weeks which will create a greater appreciation for the afternoon you ditched work to go to the beach. Practice taking in the sunset for all its simple glory.

Know that people will give you advice because they genuinely care about you... and that others will give you advice to marginalize you... because they are envious of your youth.

If you find a job that you love, your life will be much easier to manage. If you find a job that you hate, you should quit before you get pulled into a life of doing what you dislike out of convenience. Convenience is the enemy!

The life events you have experienced in the last few years may seem trivial but you will look back on them fondly. Life is about to speed up with whiplash intensity. The good news is, you will find a way to slow life down when you learn how to manage your personal and professional priorities.

There are a few things that I've learned since I was your age that have resonated with me:

Just Because People Don't Say "Thank You" Doesn't Mean They Are Not Listening
We are always looking for validation, not necessarily a need for love, but the assurance that we are chasing the right rabbit. The certainty I have discovered is that supporters have a way of remaining silent. I encounter young people who thank me for a seminar I conducted three years ago, people mention blog posts without commenting on them and that guy who challenged me in a meeting may have left that meeting with a lifelong respect for me.

You cannot wait for validation from others to determine if your time is well spent. When you exhibit an unflappable belief in your purpose, your words will discover a life of their own.

What a divine opportunity... to influence others through a well-researched belief in yourself!

Be Humble in Victory and Accountable in Defeat
There are times I've been over-confident at the behest of others, such actions are shameful! There are times I've blamed my lack of results on the inefficiencies of others, equally unacceptable!

The most important lesson I have learned in life is that preparation and skill create victory. Win and celebrate peacefully when you do. There will be times when others let you down, they know they screwed up, don't rub it in!

Find Someone to Love
Your barometer for success should hinge on the hugs you receive. No one will remember the games you won, the deals you crushed or how much dough you made; they will remember the hug you gave them when their mother died.... and how much you meant it.

Find a way to care for people you do not know as much as you care for yourself.

Being in love is hard and each day has it's fair share of challenges. If you avoid the challenge, you might spend your life in the waiting room.

Life is too difficult to brave alone. The measure of your influence will determine to length of your legacy.


Hold the Door for People
Go An Entire Day Without Talking Shit About Another Person
Don't Get Too Big For Your Britches
Eat Healthy
Get Sufficient Rest
Exercise
Lay Off The Sauce
Treat Women With Respect
Allow Your Husband Some Alone Time
Listen More Than You Talk 
Never Let Anyone Put a Finger in Your Face

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Real Crux of Our Conversation

"One's greatest fear in professional life is to be in a position of having energy and ambition but no applicable skills" - Anonymous 




I have the good fortune of working with people of every age: I coach kids, counsel college men and interact professionally with people from 25 - 75 years old on a daily basis.

There is a wonderment in the youth that also exists in people who are 75 years old. There is a pessimism in recent graduates that mirrors the disgruntled man at the conclusion of a mistake-riddled life.

I am always surprised at how receptive children are to adjusting their skill set. I am always befuddled by the frustration I see in people who have their whole life in front of them. I've seldom engaged a corporate leader who didn't wish they had more time to spend on personal engagements.

I sat with a young man a few days back, his head buried in his hands. He was a star athlete throughout his youth, a student leader in college and a person who always had a job. Now, with a degree in hand, he was struggling to find employment. In a world where his effort and intelligence had directly produced results, he was now facing a strange uncertainty....

Could it be that life is unfair?

As the young man wrestled in his mind with how he would afford a nice car, a country club membership and a winter cabin in Lake Tahoe...

I offered one piece of advice:

Simplify your lifestyle expectations and your chances for a life of fulfillment will drastically increase.

Here are the reasons why people become unhappy:
  • They prioritize their profession over their personal life. 
  • They allow themselves to be expendable and are thus delegated meaningless tasks.
  • They give up on romance in life to afford for the more-manageable option.
  • They forget what they are good at because they spend too much time doing things they dislike.

When you embrace these truths... a funny thing happens....

You realize that in all the time you were worrying about stupid shit, all you really needed was for someone to tell you to put the nonsense aside.... and go get what you really love.... what you deserve!



Create an Affordable Lifestyle
When you create a financial plan that is beyond your means you will always be chasing money.

"Don't Chase The Paper, Chase The Dream" - Puff Daddy

How long has your ego provoked you to believe that the things you have define you?

Is it worth it to look sharp on a Saturday night if you are throwing up on Sunday uncertain of how you will pay for your glamour?

Happiness Is Defined By Achievement
There is a difference between happiness and fun. Work doesn't have to be fun but you should have a job that makes you happy.

If the opportunity to achieve is presented and you care enough about what you do....:

You Will Be Successful!

We don't need happy hours or trophy presentations. All we need are goals, new challenges and the ability to ascend!

Go To The Baseball Game
There is a man who makes $500k a year who has never seen his kids compete in youth sports. They don't dislike him but he will not have a chance to go back. 20 years of blood, sweat and tears for a few more stock options is not worth a mind empty of memories.

He/She who dies with the most toys (does not) win!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Will They Miss You When You're Gone?


Remember the scene from Jerry Maguire when he leaves his former employer with an inspired speech confronting the firms lack of integrity? ... and as soon as he walks out the door everyone gets right back to work.

"Everyone is Important, No One is Irreplaceable" - Anonymous Corporate Leader

In my 20 years in corporate America, I've never seen a company go out of business because of one employees departure. I've always cared a lot about the work I do, often too much. I've always jumped into each day with the desire to win. I seldom take Mondays off because I cannot relax if I don't feel I am contributing. I work on vacation (every day). 

It probably sounds pathetic, but I've always felt the need to earn my spot on the team, and to contribute (every day). I never possessed natural talent in any trade but I was always willing to work hard. 

Tempering the desire to win with humility can be a challenge. It is also what defines you as a professional.

Captain Mike Abrashoff once told a story of a ship full of soldiers cheering when their leader left the deck for the final time. His departure marked the end of a miserable time in their lives facing meaningless abuse without intent to progress.  

If you were to reflect on your career, or your life for that matter, there is one glaring question you might want to be bold enough to face:

Will They Miss You When You Leave?

Setting the death aside, let's focus of one's professional legacy....

My professional regrets exist not in failure to achieve goals, but the times I put myself before the team. 

I remember every person who has ever told me "no" in the selling cycle. I remember every time someone sighted a personality flaw to characterize my professional potential. I will never forget the times I have been bullied in the workplace. 

I feel sorry for the the Captain who left the ship to thunderous applause. I feel sorry for those who thought they had to use their undeserved place on the mantle as leverage to vomit their personal frustration. 

Will They Miss You When You Leave?

Jobs will come and go, your children will grow up and some day you will die. You will not be remembered for how many times you won but the integrity you displayed in the process. 

At some point in my life a quote came to me:

"Be Humble in Victory and Accountable in Defeat"

... I still fail to live this ideology. But, I'm working on softening the edges. 

Colonel Abrashoff spoke of leaving the same ship as their captain to complete silence... grown men and women whose lives he had protected... in tears. The ultimate sign of respect!

  • Will your retirement party be under-attended?
  • Will someone whom you had to dismiss from employment hire you years later?
  • Will your daughter forgive you for missing her dance recital?

You Have Plenty of Time to Make it Right!

Tell the people you love that you love them (even if in the moment you don't believe it). Hug your kids, they'll get too big to carry to bed soon enough. Drop what you are doing to advise a co-worker. Blow off your board meeting to watch your son's baseball game. Kiss your wife in a room full of people. Sit silently with your kids when they fail, pump them full of positive feedback when they succeed. Never under-estimate anyone. Never walk into a meeting unprepared. Be respectful of retail workers. Tip your bartender. Get a Dog (they will help soften the edges). If you are pissed off put your I-pod on shuffle (Steve Jobs is in heaven and he knows how to slide a forgotten jewel in there). Read a book (an actual book). Call an old friend. Don't take the actions of the past too seriously.... most people are more forgiving than you may remember. 

You will make mistakes! You will fail! The key is to be one who is surrounded by supporters when you do.        





Will They Miss You When You Leave?

The streets will shut down on the day you die.... 

Will They Be Cheering or Crying?

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave