Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Don't Lend Your Hand



In the midst of these fatiguing times, the above excerpt from a song written in 1974 entered my mind, the prose somehow timely.

When does the state of things wear upon us to the point of submission?

What would be the appropriate reaction:

To take action?

To drop out?

We need a clean slate, an avenue for thought that isn't lined by riflemen on both sides of the street.

 

Are Your Fists Up?
.... or are you raising your hands in forfeit?

What is worth fighting for and what is easier to ignore?


I know more than a few people who are bullies. They force their opinions upon others and dismiss counter-thought with a snide chuckle. They sit in the social media waiting room ready to attack those who haven't prepared to argue.

A strong-willed woman I know (and genuinely had come to dislike) engaged me in conversation the other day. She came home from another business trip ready to complain to her husband only to discover that he was gone.... for good. She explained a long note left on the table through which it was explained that her husband had grown tired of apologizing for her behavior. The house remained empty for a week. When her husband finally resurfaced, she wanted an explanation. His refrain ended with the divine truth that everything she put energy toward was in criticism of the effort of others. A tear came to her eye for a second before she darted to the coffee counter to yell at the Barista for fucking up her order.

Those fists in front of you are merely a shield.

The Head & The Heart
A young man who I've been coaching for half his life came up to me with his usual zeal. He's a good player who has already figured out that this silly game we are playing is not nearly as important as we pretend for it to be.

When the aforementioned young fella mentioned to be that he was nervous to face a pitcher from the other team, I had a recommendation for him:

This game is played from here (I pointed to his heart) not here (I pointed to his head).

He looked at me dissatisfied with the lack of defensive logic in my response but he accepted the sentiment.

It all comes down to what genuinely matters and how much time you spend pursuing it!

If you dislike your job, you are probably not a ton of fun to be around.

If you hate your boss, you probably spend your post-work time complaining.

Have you forgotten that the majority of your time should be spent doing things you enjoy?

You may not jump out of bed every day. There may be parts of your day that suck. You may even have entire days that don't go as planned. But, the majority of your time should be spent doing things you enjoy.

What do you believe in....? Pursue It!

Who do you love....? Spend More Time with Them!

Live where you want to live. Love who you want to love. Work where you want to work.

..... And Revel In The Moments In-Between!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave 

Monday, October 23, 2017

10 Years After


Today marks my 10th year in the human capital management industry. I was prepared to write a post about all the things done well and the opportunities missed, but you've read 500 such posts on this blog.

What does it really mean for a man nearing his mid 40's to have 2 decades of work experience?

I've never taken anything for granted. I've always appreciated my employer's willingness to write me a check every other week. I've also earned every penny I've ever made!

People are successful because: 
1. They work hard
2. They are creative
3. They understand how to design solutions to ever-evolving business problems

....I'd like to think I possess a combination of all these skills.

I've made hundreds of friends in the business world. To do right by the people who have helped me succeed is important to me. Results come and go, but the friendships you make are an awesome reminder of a skill that cannot be tracked or quantified:

The ability (in the midst of an ever-stressful workplace) to be a Good Person!

I never want to get to a point in my life where I no longer have something meaningful to contribute to my employer. When I finally hit the wall, I hope I'm not too proud to realize it. I've seen amazing young people leave great companies because no one helped them channel their youthful exuberance into professional excellence. I've seen heartless people produce results because they were willing to minimize the efforts of others to protect their own success.

I've seen people's career's ruined by their own selfishness. I believe in the long run nice guys/girls finish first. Integrity may not increase your commission check but it may be the VERY thing that gets you into heaven. He/she who dies with the most toys does not win.

I've always thought myself smart enough to talk business with any CEO. Most every CEO I've talked to just wanted to know about my kids and how I've been spending my free time (because they never have time for the little things). I hope I always have time for the little things!

I've been really fortunate to have worked for 4 great companies in 20 years. I've never felt as though I didn't have an opportunity to be successful.

I've had 3 bosses who I have disliked. Not because they were bad bosses but because they were bad people.

I've had 7 bosses who I have absolutely loved. They appreciated my hard work, helped me fix the things I sucked at, and always reminded me to celebrate my success.

Some people choose to manage instead of lead because they feel trusting relinquishes control.

I've had co-workers lose loved ones, get divorced or struggle to find true happiness. It is in these times that I'd like to think my employment has been valued more than ever.

If I was to tell my children what mattered most in business, it would probably be a combination of these things:

1. Nothing is more important than hard work.
2. Creativity is an irreplaceable skill set that is uncommon in business.
3. The same people you see on the way up, you will see on the way down.
4. Be Likeable!
5. Do your fighting in the ring.

Never Give Up!

Celebrate Everything!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave   

Monday, October 2, 2017

All The Little Pieces

The winter of our discontent is seemingly upon us. The news is bad, tragedy seems all around us, our country is in unrest.... people are divided.

It is in these times that people who do not pray, turn to prayer. When things get rough, people look for answers. When bad things are happening all around, some people hide out and others tie their boots on.

Beyond the broadcast, we deal with personal finance, professional challenges and the responsibility of family. The crippling world challenges are replicated in microcosm in our neighborhoods. There are good days and bad days. Each day brings it's fair share of challenges and a few subtle joys.

SO... WHAT SHALL WE DO?

 


I think myself a smart man. I'm not always brave or perfectly saintly, but I'd like to think that when people really need help, I can be someone to turn to. So, we take all the bad news and life challenges and we recall one undeniable truth....

AS LONG AS WE'RE STILL BREATHING, WE MIGHT AS WELL LIVE!

Time goes quickly, the future is uncertain and there are things that are beyond our control.

What we can control are the moments in-between.

There will be the grandiose life events: weddings, births, funerals, celebrations, sporting events, concerts and trips across the world.

The real living gets done in the park on a Tuesday. A simple evening walking to ice cream with your daughter. A meal with an old friend. That song you haven't heard since high school. A beer. A Burger. A kiss from your dog. A phone call from an old pal. An apology. Hearing, "I Love You". The glory of victory. The lessons learned through defeat. The smirk that comes upon your face when you are right. The embarrassment that washes over when you are wrong. A walk in the woods. A walk on the beach. Holding your sweet heart's hand. Holding your sweet heart's foot. A laugh. A Cry.

Before the impact of all the bad news was something you were unaware of, you probably spent a lot of time in the moments in-between.



Quit beating up on yourself. Don't blame others for your failures. Find somebody to love (and Love them well). Listen to The Grateful Dead (trust me on that one). Talk Less, Listen More. Take a drive for no reason. Leave your cell phone at home when you take a walk. Take a walk. Call your mom. Call your daughter. Write someone a note. Do a cross word puzzle. Forgive.... Forget.... Live!

There is no harm in thinking about God.

Kids are as smart as adults and far better conversationalist. Young people are not naive because they believe in a better place. Old people who have lives filled with hatred and regret can still be saved.

People who give parenting advice are usually not very good parents. People who are consumed by politics have nothing interesting to contribute so they memorize facts to help them win arguments. Sinners are more fun than false prophets.

I'd like to choose to believe there is a lot of time left to do a lot of great things. I'll choose to live as tough my time is limited.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave  

Friday, September 22, 2017

Dream Different

Before our less-than-imaginative media made dreaming a commodity, the concept meant more than just a right to work. It seems even in addressing the most important Human Rights, we look for labels and fence-sides. This way, everything is black and white.

To dream means to innovate... to disrupt.... to challenge the norm.... to put a dent in the universe!

Being bold enough to dream can be met with disdain; the result of an envy prompted by one's own lack of ambition. Once an unproven concept produces success, the doubters become adopters.

...because that's what most people do.....

Laugh at those bold enough to try until following them takes no courage.

There is a difference between being risk-adverse and bold. If you are going to live an inspired life, you are going to have to stop relying on statistics to make decisions for you.


Your mom probably thought your dad was annoying before he worked up the courage to exemplify his true being. That time you and your friends from the neighborhood beat the first place team would have never happened if you let the bullies intimidate you. So many great songs are written in response to somebody who positioned our humble narrator as lesser. There is a romance in being the underdog.... when you lose the underdog mentality, you become just like everyone else.

Plain

Safe

Boring.......

What's the use of strapping on your shoes if you aren't going to use them to kick some ass?

I hate the macho mentality and the hate it breeds. Parents who play placate gossip usually raise their kids to be assholes. If you've never stuck up for yourself, dared to dream, challenged authority or risked being unpopular; you have not lived a day.

You have the rest of your life to change your life, why not start now?

Here's The Thing.....

From the first time you compromise your personal integrity to be part of something you do not believe in, you begin the war of looking yourself in the mirror.

Would your son be proud to know that you spent every day of your life prostrate to people who are less intelligent than you?      

Would your wife love you more if you had done the safe thing? (or would she see in your action that you hate your job)

Every time you say it's just a job and do what you gotta do..... the younger you gets his ass kicked on the playground.

The Exception is Becoming an Expectation.....

And then that guy who tried 55 times and failed, became a millionaire. He donated every cent he made to charity because proving that the underdog had a fighting chance was the only thing that was keeping him alive.

And then the guy who had everything lost everything. He stood on the shoulders of those greater than he and manipulated those lesser, until it caught up with him.

Far worse is the person who never tried anything and died without ever knowing the extreme romance of walking the tight rope without a net underneath him/her.

If you didn't know what would happen tomorrow, would you be stressed out or enthralled?

Quit Pretending

Your suit will not make you more intelligent. You will seldom find interesting people in a room of assigned seats. If you think you are smarter than your boss, you probably are... do something about it!

Anyone can play in a cover band.

Anyone can plagiarize.

The only thing worth giving up on is that which you do not believe in. You (and everyone around you) will be dramatically surprised how freeing it can be to drop the anchor.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Fruits Of Our Labor


I don't know who makes the schedule but I must commend him/her on their placement of Labor Day!

Labor Day comes at a perfect time: The weather is changing, the kids are getting back to school, the tarp is pulled over the pool and beach chairs are put away. With the distractions of summer put aside, it's time to buckle down and get laser focused on professional success!

In my 20 years of professional existence, I've found that our success can suffer unnecessary diversions. The key is to allow oneself enough space to breath while keeping your eye on the prize.

When you sucked down the final poolside Corona, what questions came to mind:
1. Do You Like Your Job?
2. How Are You Spending Your Free Time?
3. Are You A Person of Value?
4. If You Could Do Anything, What Would That Be?

 

Would The Younger You Like You?
What did you want to be when you were in 4th grade: A Fireman? A Professional Athlete? An Astronaut? I bet the aforementioned prospects didn't come with any trepidation. You most likely looked at any profession with a sense of ambition and creative desire.

We all have points in our young lives when we learn tough life lessons; those times when infinite possibility is met with probability and statistical reality.

If a fourth grader asked you if she could become President of the United States what would you tell her?

Are you a person who fuels ambition or who uses probability to deter dreams. 

When Did You Give Up on Your Dream?
Do you remember the first time you compromised? Maybe it was a class you elected not to take.... or a sport you stopped playing.... or the girl you thought not to talk to for fear that she might be out of your league.

The inertia of motivation swings like a boomerang.

When you experience victory, you yearn for more.

When you give up, you forever open yourself up to that option.

  
What Would It Take to Change Everything? 
Are you completely fulfilling your potential? Do you work as hard as you can? Are you challenged to think differently every day? Do you listen to people who are less-experienced than you? Does your life have a direction beyond the work you do?

Don't wait until 2018 to make a resolution. Resolve every day to:
a. Work Harder
b. Be Creative
c. Try New Things
d. Find Alternative Resources

Wake up an hour earlier, exercise, take on new projects, look up available jobs in your field, ask about open positions in your organization, get to the office a little earlier, leave early to find a place to do your work in a different head space.

Create something every day.... even if it doesn't apply directly to your workload.

Strike up a conversation with a stranger, dump your deadbeat boyfriend, find a new hobby, buy a new book, listen to some new music, start exercising, get up from your desk, ask the girl at the coffee shop about her life (but only if there is not a line behind you).

The way companies control effort is by convincing you that you have no other options then use consequence to keep you in line.

Have options.

Find alternatives to help you consider whether or not you are willing to be controlled.

Life is profoundly easier when you don't have all your eggs in one basket. Decisions are easier to make when you don't have to compromise. Your possibilities are limitless when you don't put limits on yourself.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave     

Friday, August 25, 2017

Shelter from the Storm


Times are uncertain. The corporate world gets more competitive every day, our personal lives are never simple and the world at large isn't hurling any compliments our way.

You ever feel like the harder you fight, the further you grow away from contentment?

Maybe you should consider what you are fighting for?

People are angry in the midst of the American political climate. Social Media is drowning in negativity. There are those who have strong opinions that they refuse to change and others who have decided to stick up for themselves.

Then, there are those who live by an ethos:

You're Not Going to Tell Me What to Do!!!!!!

If you wake up every day searching for information to help you win an argument... your day is going to suck!

If you are still mad about something that happened a year ago... you won't be happy until you let it go.

We all want to stand up for what we believe in. But, we have to consider our opponent and their degree of willingness to accept information from alternative angles.

Sometimes you have to give up on people.

Start Something That Matters
Blake Mycoskie (founder of TOMS) had a vision. Give away half of his profit. Well, not exactly, but for every pair of shoes he sold, a child in need was given a pair. People thought he was crazy!

Blake lived on a boat and sold shoes from his small warehouse. Over time, the movement caught on. His shoes are now distributed worldwide. With each shipment to a privileged poolside, another pair goes to a child who has never owned shoes.

The shoes aren't great...... but Blake's commitment, passion, hard work and unflappable mission made the company a cultural phenomenon.

When you care for something deeply, you'll do anything to make it work.

If you hate your job, you probably wouldn't be willing to give away half of your paycheck.
  
The Thing Worth More Than Money
I've never been driven by money because I always had some. Not an elegant statement but it is the truth. I always felt like I had a back up plan so I was always willing to try new things. I was no stranger to risk and pursuing new things was always a thrill.

I came to discover the willingness to try was half the battle.

When I was young, I was driven to succeed by reasons that were disingenuous. I wanted to succeed to move up the ladder, acquire a title, prove my worth, have something to brag about, have more to complain about, to be in the spot light.

I didn't know what I was fighting for.

I was swinging at ghosts.

As I've progressed through this life I have come to understand that there is something far more valuable than money:

Time

I talk to Executives who care not to chat about their business. They want to know about my kids, my life, the things that consume the time of a person in their forties.

If we live 80 years, we'll have 29,200 days on this earth. Might seem like a lot of time at first blush, but it rips past you.

You'll create lives, your friends will die and you'll come to understand that the subtle joy the sun on your face on a Tuesday Afternoon is about as good as it gets.

If you lost your job, you wouldn't make money and that would suck.... but, you'd figure out a new thing.

We Always Do..........


Time to Start Listening  
A lightening storm landed in the hills of Northern California with such rage that rugby practice was discontinued. I saw it coming so I showed up to find my son and his friends under a tree with their coaches.

"Dad.... Thank God" - that's what he said when he saw me. The little guy was scared and the only person who made him feel safe was me.... That's Pretty Fucking Awesome!

The thing that is on your mind right now that is bending you from your true motivation is likely curable and certainly less-important than giving your child shelter from the storm.

The loud mouths come and go. They boast and take up space and then you never see them again. They are not missed.

What if you vowed to become a person who people would miss when you are not around?

The privilege of people depending upon you is the greatest testament to a life well-lead.

There is still plenty of time.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Better (For Now)


Each summer, I have the opportunity to teach a class to college students. After coaching baseball among 10 years old boys and days spent with professionals of various generations, being on campus is a pleasant change of pace.

Being a teacher, a coach and a consultant have their distinct challenges. All of the aforementioned encompass a certainty:

With each day you'll feel in equal parts empowered and helpless

 

It's difficult stepping out onto the ledge with the intention of helping others (which is why most don't dare try). Those who are leaders may make it look natural but they prepare, practice and learn from their mistakes.

Every day brings it's fair share of frustrations and subtle advancements. It takes a steady demeanor to deal with life's peaks and valleys. The older you get the more you grow to navigate disappointment while recognizing the small advancements that result from bold effort.

Politics, social media and the entitlement of the arrogant have a way of distracting us from our true mission:

To understand that the moments in-between are those that are ear-folded in life's memory book

 

So, you try to keep 10 year old boys from thinking about video games. You do your best to plant seeds in the minds of the college-aged. You deal with people of all ages, every day, who sometimes need help getting out of their own way.

With every valley a climb to another peak.

With every failure an experience from which to learn.

With every victory a chance to remember (for a fleeting moment) that everything is going to be OK.

 

Everything Is Going To Be OK


There is a brilliance in frustration that is driven by one's inability to tolerate incompetence. Successful people use frustration to format their action plan for change. Those who replicate failure do so on the lips of their complaints.      

There are days when you feel as though your volunteer effort is all for not. Then a subtle reminder lays down your burden.


.... and in these fleeting moments, you remember life's purpose


Don't Forget to Remember,


Dave

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

At The Risk of Sounding Unpopular

I've been suffering social media fatigue of late. Taking a little time off has allowed for some personal introspection:
  • The amount of content made available to us can be overwhelming.
  • Is there a way to find only the information that we deem meaningful?
  • Is it healthy to avoid the opinions of those with whom you may disagree?
  • If you miss out on breaking news how much are you really missing?

The Tripping Point
When do bad people become bad? Do they wake up one day and decide to break the rules? Does the disappointment of trying and failing cause them to look for short cuts? Do they simply live a life free of value?

Life has it's points of frustration and there are times when we feel the need to rally against the system. At some point, we grow to accept the standards through which we need to succeed and do what needs to be done. The aforementioned, does not necessarily involve the compromise of one's individuality for the sake of a grander cause. When we achieve all we need to for ourselves, we seek methods of sharing our recipe for success.

You'll struggle to find answers and grind away, then at some point, you win. You appreciate the treasure of your effort until you get to the point that you've had enough for yourself.

Then You Seek to Share....



Lay Back in the Cut
Back when Americans would collude in smoky basements to play out the musical experiment know as Jazz, the greats would show up late while the new performers worked through their skill. When one of the youngsters earned their place on the main stage they would join the OG's (late, late at night). Most of them (in an effort to prove their brilliance) would jump on their first opportunity to take a lead.... One of the OG's would follow with a pummeling solo that would crush the youngsters confidence.

There were a few youngsters during this time in American Music who understood their purpose.

To make others look good.

To pass instead of shoot.

To fill up space enough to be part of the overall movement.... without regard for their personal advancement.

Therein lies to all-encompassing formula for success.

Servant Leadership
There are a variety of things that I do in my life for free. If I find something I believe in, the experience of participating is worth more than the payment for my labor.

What would you do for free?

- Teach Children
- Teach Adults
- Play A Sport for Recreation
- Learn to Play Guitar

There has seldom been a person who did what everyone else did and ended up making a difference in the world.

Anyone can learn a system and do it well enough to make some dough. While on paper that may seem boring, it's the moments in between that matter most.

Those who take chances live a life of peril. There are towering peaks and low, low valleys.

More people go into finance than sales because the tumult of instability requires a personality that one must be mentally imbalanced to embrace.

If you are going to put a dent in the universe, you're going to have to risk being categorized as imbalanced.

The amount of people who mutually agree upon something do not make that thing a certainty.

When you are on your maker's doorstep, I doubt you will recall with any degree of pride the things you did with safety and certainty. You'll likely look back on the times you surprised yourself by displaying your true potential.....

.... and you'll wish you had done that more often!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave    

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Workforce Report - 2017

Moments after stepping off the plane from New Orleans I headed into San Francisco to present at the Northern California Human Resources Association's Compensation Conference.

After a week of interacting with 10's of thousands of HR Professionals, a few questions remained:
1. Why aren't things changing at a more expedient rate?
2. What is something new we can do that will actually work?

I left SHRM17 with a mission to help organization find their Utopian Employee Experience.

... The concept was immediately applied at NCHRA's Compensation Conference. 

What is Your Employee Value Proposition?
We asked attendees to answer this question... answered varied.

In essence, your Employee Value Proposition addresses a single and all-important question:
Why would I want to work at your company more than anywhere else?
  • Do you have a better compensation package?
    • Is optimal pay enough to create an irreplaceable Employee Experience?
  • Is there a clearly defined opportunity for advancement?
  • How is working at your company like no other professional experience?

How Do You Know?
After reviewing an extensive research project, I heard a couple of attendees express their distaste with surveys.

Nobody cares about having a best friend at work, but it is a far better experience working with people who you like.

People will not answer questions honestly if they know their answers will be analyzed and held against them.

If a survey comes from HR, one will not express candor if it will only get them in hot water.

Why are you asking the same questions over and over and only on an annual basis?

You can gather employee insight through:
  • Idea sharing portals (or even a suggestion box)
  • Light touch, frequently administered, pulse surveys
  • Conversation.... (this is the ability to leave your office and engage Employees in face-to-face communication :()

What Are You Gonna Do About It?
Anyone can ask questions and/or gather opinion. Action Planning is a strategic necessity that commonly remains unmet.

A company I worked for once decided to alter their performance management process by having employees evaluate their managers. HR gave the results to said manager and asked that person to take action to improve their approach. Several managers embraced the concept and used the feedback to fuel their development. A few, however, tried to find out who said what about them.... their ego and tenured entitlement fueling their mission to keep their incompetence private (which was the intent of the process restructuring in the first place).
  • Managers who failed to comply scared all their employees from submitting candid feedback going forward.
  • HR did not follow up with employees to understand the managers method for benefiting from workforce feedback.
  • Many quit.... except the managers in denial who continue to drive great talent away to this day.
This is a prime example of a good idea having an adverse effect:

~ You can spend a million dollars on tie tacks, but if nobody wears ties this "reward" will do more harm than good.

~ If you ask for opinion but do not take action, employees will fail to trust.

~ Without HR Intervention in workforce planning, incompetent middle managers will continue to drive away the leaders of tomorrow. 

Opportunity Missed
I was emailed an annual survey by our VP of HR accompanied by a diatribe of all the great programs our company offered. Authenticity was impossible, results would not be a cause for action planning and a workforce conduit positioned himself as a shill for upper management's lack of workforce understanding.

Collection of information should present a GAP analysis to understand areas of improvement.

If you are only asking for employee opinion to put a "best place to work" trophy on your receptionists desk, you are missing an opportunity to evolve.

Micro-Management has given way to Purpose-Driven Leadership!

For planning purposes, the opinion from the trenches matters more than those of the C-Suite.

Innovation is a human practice with a defined, strategic path.

Employees would rather have opportunity for advancement than pats on the back.

It is imperative that we are crystal clear in reforming our company purpose, that we validate through feedback and action plan for the future with transparency at the forefront.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Friday, June 23, 2017

SHRM17 Take Aways

The Society for Human Resource Management have concluded our 69th Annual Conference. Ideas were shared, people spoke and exhibitors exhibited while HR Pros braved the rain and well-functioning air conditioning.

This having been my 10th SHRM Annual Conference, finding new and intriguing information was a bit of a challenge.

Points of Intrigue:
Vivek Patel's Guide to Vendor Selection
Laszlo Bock's Theory of Compensation: Pay Unfairly
The awe inspiring Ryan Estis, Steve Browne & Jason Lauritsen
Nextgen People's Exploration of Performance Management
Zen Workplace's exploration of Mindfulness in the workplace

Question:
What's the difference between attending SHRM17 & going All In?

This, we are called upon to explore.

Converting Employee Engagement into Employee Experience

We've been beating the Employee Engagement horse for a decade. She has taken us places we never thought possible, but it's time to put her our to pasture.

Where Employee Engagement was the employee's obligation to recognize and utilize organizational resources, Employee Experience focuses on the moments in-between.

What is your organization's Employee Value Proposition? In essence, what do you have to offer to ensure someone would rather work at your organization more than anywhere else?

More specifically, how can you ensure your employee's would be willing to pour their discretionary effort back into your organization?

If I've completed my tasks for the day with an hour remaining on the clock, what will I do with that time?

Snap My Chat?
Binge watch Silicon Valley on my lap top?

... or ....

Might I get more work done?
Help someone else complete their project?
Ask for a new project?

Herein lie the elements that accentuate the Employee Experience.

What am I ALL IN for?

My mission is to help organizations and individuals find their Utopian Employee Experience.

... So Here We Go ....

See you in Chicago for #SHRM18 !

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave