Friday, March 27, 2020

Moving Toward Certainty

We are 2 weeks into a 12 week (?) isolation. Times are uncertain but words like transparency and candor are becoming commonplace. It's been refreshing. When you dig into what is genuinely important, the difference between partnership and product transaction starts to emerge. When we stop pretending to be on opposite sides of the table, trust gets us closer to genuine human development.

In times when things are undetermined, leadership is of paramount importance. I don't mean this in terms of pulpit speeches from CEOs; Leadership right now comes from the trenches. The importance of transformation is being driven by those who do not have elevated titles.... these are the people who will save companies.

When bravado is no longer an option, learning becomes a priority. The question is whether we can adopt these practices into our long term strategy.

It is somewhat startling that it takes a tragedy to pull common sense into business relationships. Conversation over the last two weeks has been rooted in human compassion:

What are you using that you don't need?
What are we missing strategically that we may have overlooked in the past?
How can we help?

Seems simple to raise such questions, but we tend to forget what genuinely propels us forward. Strategy needs to be the sum of that which make people's jobs easier. We need to forget the concentration on line items to survey the larger picture.  

Technology has never been more important than it is in this very moment.....

We are pulling together virtually to measure critical project milestones. We are sharing information to help others get past hurdles that have held us up in the past. Our intranets are landing pads for everything that is essential to our organizational function at this moment in time.

THANK YOU are now the two most important words that can be texted, tweeted, emailed or shared in social technology. People everywhere are sharing stories of Human Success without being able to shake hands or hug those who have helped them triumph.  

This too shall pass.... we'll be able to talk through business challenges in a room together at some point in the future. Until then, there is a need for quick fixes that will keep production moving forward.

And it sucks....

We wish we could see our work families. We wish we could gather in conference halls. We wish we could catch a plane to a sunny island to celebrate our hard work. That time will come but until then we need to document, track, visualize, create, expand and reward ourselves in a place where avatars replace faces and high fives look more like badges.

Inventory every piece of technology available to your employees and find a way to maximize purpose. I'll bet the practical process of applied intelligence will outlast the pain of isolation.....

Don't Forget to Remember,


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Right Now Won't Last Forever

We are concluding day 3 of mandated social distancing here in Northern California but it seems like it's been 3 months. Its been made apparent that this new style of existence may last for 3 months.... thus feeling as though we've been in the bunker for 90 years (don't check my math on that).

Our staff in the incubator exists of a sixth grader and an eight grader (adapting to virtual learning), my wife, my dog, my mother-in-law and I.... so if you are alone and feeling lonely in this time, you might want to reconsider your good fortune.

With virtual work we're (almost forced) to consume a greater degree of Social Media and Television transmission. I'd suggest implementing some personal controls to limit interaction with the aforementioned channels of (mis)information.

It might be 3 weeks or 3 months (hopefully not longer than that) but we'll emerge from this with some new habits. I'd bet we'll appreciate our families more. We'll find a new appreciation for our ability to solve business problems without having to drive hours to crowded offices. We'll also miss going to offices and the hugs from co-workers that provide some levity between meetings about meetings to talk about meetings. We may get better about limiting unnecessary communication. There may come an ability to consider the circumstance of each decision we make and to prioritize our time accordingly. We might stop caring so much about things that are out of our control. Maybe we'll stop allowing hatred to guide our ego and give in to Love. But mostly, we'll miss the hugs.

I'd assume most reading this live in a capitalist society that allows you to control your own destiny should you be willing to put the work in. So naturally, frustration will wash over us multiple times a day while shut away in our bunkers. This might prompt one to go onto social media and condemn others for trying to make a living (albeit amid a lack of sensitivity for the moment at hand). We may want to curse politicians (in-office or awaiting election). We'll get into our cars and yell at other drivers. Maybe we'll find a bottle to release our frustration that will only fuel our anxiety. We might forget about our elderly parents while locked in debate with @bootyshaker2006. This too, I would advise against.

Indeed, our desire to control what we cannot may give way to a need to revisit that which we know to be universally true....     

In his remarkable 2013 South By Southwest keynote, Dave Grohl reflected on a time of sleeping on floors and on stages and on floors underneath stages. Recalling this venture through a slumdog existence with complete joy. He was dirty and uncomfortable and the future was uncertain but he was free.

Mr Bruce Springsteen recalled his family fleeing to the west coast leaving him a teenager alone in his home town. The page was completely blank, everything was uncertain, there was nothing but opportunity in front of him...... It was his to explore.

David Foster Wallace explained to Kenyon College's class of 1995 that the most important choice they had in-front of them was the choice of that which they chose to worship. Advice without entitlement left to ponder before he left the world.

The unlikely Icon, Rodney Mullen spent his life hell-bent in the pursuit of perfection (only to achieve it twice).

Coach Jim Valvano reminded us to laugh, think and cry.... every day.

Then there was the guy who climbed a 3,000 vertical surface without a rope.

We've heard world leaders make bold statements with promises of action in times like these that helped us pull up our boot straps. There are pre-game speeches from coaches leading their teams into what seemed certain defeat only to propel them to victory. There are scenes from movies that inspire our spirits to tears. There are songs that fill the air and set time into complete neutrality.

.... and you can access it all without having to leave the bunker.

Turn off the news. Shut down the lap top. Go find what really matters.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, March 16, 2020

Some Inspirational Educational Material

It's day one of social distancing and we're still getting used to tribal isolation. My children will be e-learning their curriculum over the next two weeks so to break up the monotony I advised my son to take a look at the video content below. You might like to check them out as well......... 

Greta Thunberg - TED talk -

Dave Grohl - SXSW Keynote -

David Foster Wallace - Commencement Speech -

Laird Hamilton - Greatest Ride Ever -

Inconoclasts - Sean Penn and John Krakaur -

Everybody's free to wear sunscreen -

Kate Tempest - Peoples Faces -

Until next time...
Don't Forget to Remember, 

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Virtual Culture

Paranoia, uncertainty, and maybe a bit of loneliness are all turns of phrase to characterize the current state of work. With the fear of disease front of mind, companies have been forced to separate their workforce. For one who espouses Employee Engagement and Cultural Development for a living, you would think this a dark time. As ever, we adapt and move forward. The Coronavirius-forced work-from-home mandate could serve as an interesting experiment to test mobile work. We are not encouraged to shake hands and company events are being put on-hold so there's never been a better time for virtual collaboration.

Social Recognition
Say 1,200 people have shut their desk drawers and will be working from home for a month. The experience of recapping a ballgame or the Bachelor with co-workers certainly has to be replaced. You'll find the inability to walk to someone's desk to ask for an update on the project timeline to be equally disenchanting. As we slog through the imperfect separation, we need a way to stay connected.

After a long day of emails, texts and conference calls why not jump over to your company's internal social space to thank a colleague or two? There is nothing like a Thank You to provide the end of day dopamine release and it serves as a healthy alternative to happy hour.

Beneficial Capabilities:
  • Badging (Project/Training completion)
  • Milestone Celebration (Birthdays, Service Anniversary)
  • Manager discretionary rewards
  • Peer to Peer interaction
... all-encompassed in the ability to comment, like and share as if applauding announcements of progress at a team meeting. 

You've been on conference calls since 6am, take a break to walk your dog. Try taking that e-learning course from your Peloton. Mixing a smoothie in your kitchen sure does taste better than cafeteria food.

If we can begin to observe healthy interludes from home, maybe we can carry them back to the workplace when the doors re-open.

Beneficial Capabilities: 
  • Renewed focus on clean work environments
  • Reminders to wash hands
  • Steps challenges
  • Mental health breaks
  • Calorie monitoring
  • Sleep monitoring

Collaboration Tools
Your conference rooms may be replaced by chat rooms temporarily but that should not stall progress. A good collaboration system will allow employees to share ideas, construct rule changes and like/share the input of others.

Suddenly the isolation has given way to a whole new connectivity afforded through the use of programs that have always been there for us but might not have been fully adopted.

Beneficial Capabilities:
  • Idea sharing (approved and adopted)
  • Article editing (sharing beneficial best practices)
  • Process improvement (documentation of issue resolution)
  • Social feed for morale boosting

We'll miss the hugs and water cooler chats but we cannot allow dormant workplaces to depress our sense of community.

Replace your cultural affirmation by engaging with others systematically. It might not be perfect but for now it's all we've got.

Don't Forget to Remember,


Friday, February 28, 2020

2020 - So Far

My post at the onset of 2020 looked out at the year to come with wide-eyed (if not intimidated) anticipation. I'd noted that the turn of the decade along with the over-abundance of new years resolutions seemed like a lot to tackle. But, if the first 8 weeks of this year are an accurate projection of whats ahead.... 2020 may just live up to expectations!

The greatest attribute we have is our ability to take action. Unfortunately, taking action (especially voluntary action) often comes with more criticism than praise. Developing the ability to act without fear of negative reaction is critically important in this age. When we've had experience in our trade and can share what we've learned, our personal journey is converted to shared success. Knowledge not shared is wasted.

I wanted to share a few resources contributed in the year so far. Follow the links below......

Top 10 - Workplace Culture Influencers

Of course it is an honor to be mentioned with Holly Branson and Francine Katsoudas,
what is more impressive is the strategic relevance culture building is gaining. No longer is culture affiliated only with corporate parties; Diversity, Ideation and Leadership Development are all becoming pillars of social participation.

HR Social Hour Podcast

If was a divine pleasure to talk Employee Engagement at the intersection of professional and personal inspiration with Jon Thurmond and Wendy Dailey. This podcast is really gaining popularity within the HR community and beyond. Jon and Wendy have the unique insight of workforce tenure that is layered in with a whole lot of personality and human compassion.... you have to give this a listen!

The Blunder Years Podcast

Ted Bauer has become a really interesting follow. He is transparent and vulnerable while pondering some of life's least comfortable dilemmas. Less workforce discussion and more focus on bigger picture ideologies that move us forward (and hold us back).

Silo Busting

I have to admit I have been astonished by the activity and debate this post has prompted. It seems the old adage of employees leaving bosses, not companies, has never been more prominent. I'm hoping the proposed intervention of HR Leaders and HR Tech hasn't been over-looked.  

Recommended Podcasts:
HR Social Hour
HR Famous
The Blunder Years
Let's Fix Work
Behavioral Grooves
Road Work
All Songs Considered

Recommended Publications:
Everyday People
The Tim Sackett Project

I think we are ineffective in our goal setting because we put too much emphasis on the end game:

- Lose 20 pounds
- Achieve x amount of revenue
- Attain certification

I've found it more realistic to take it day-by-day (10,000 steps, complete a few forms, tell your wife you love her).

With our New Year's Resolutions likely elapsed and the Catholic Lenten Season upon us, lets not put too much pressure on ourselves. Raise a toast if you need to. Take a nap in your car. Rock out. Dance. Don't forget to share it.....

Don't Forget to Remember,


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Silo Busting

"We've always done it this way" - anonymous

Micro-Management is the single greatest deterrent to organizational progress in today's workforce. We all know that people don't leave companies, they leave bad bosses. Yet, workplace bullying at the expense of employee mental health continues to be an issue. There are a few avenues that require some intuition but could ultimately fix that which has a choke hold on progress.

Employee Perspective 
As individuals we are motivated by the following intrinsic motivators:
Wouldn't it be refreshing if your Manager sat down with you and asked for you to stack rank the five above behavioral characteristics then agreed to help you navigate the organization accordingly? Some people want fair treatment, others would love the opportunity to learn every day. There are those who dedicate their lives to a career that elevates a higher purpose while others seek to climb the corporate ladder. Some people simply enjoy a workplace culture that expands their social experience.

As an employee of a company, you reserve the right to call on a Human Resources representative to mediate issues between you and your manager. It is likely, however, that once you ask for said intervention your time at your organization is limited. It seems Managers can silo your career advancement but as soon as you call their style of leadership into question you may as well sharpen your resume.

From the employee purview, if your manager seeks to motivate through control, success is questionable at best.

Manager Perspective
Ever notice that Employee Engagement seems to look at process and rewards for the undervalued contributor?

Isn't that backward?  

In fact, career advancement relies on the critical involvement of a manager that believes in you! This requires trust and the ability to understand that a manager's primary job is to promote their greatest players.

Middle-Managers do ten times the work of their direct reports (often for less money). It can be a thankless job. Yet and still, we blame middle-managers for lack of organizational success. Micro-Management is not an affect of a leaders inability to lead, it is a construct of over-worked employees time management forced to be defunct at the expense of their own human compassion.

Managers are required to turn off the emotional side of their relationships because they don't have time to drive financial advancement while considering the individual development of the people they are called upon to lead.

The Solution
If we can agree that employees need the ability to navigate their own advancement and that Manager's are simply over-programmed, there is only one course of constructive intervention:

Human Resources

We have the ability to implement systems and processes that will destroy organizational bullying, allow for multiple sources of coaching for employee advancement and create culture where once there were only closed doors.

There are two issues corrupting this evolution:

1. Managers are unaware of the advantage that opening their leadership lane will afford them.
2. HR seems unwilling to intervene.

It's pretty simple, when Managers realize how incredibly effective it is to allow others in the organization to help them manage performance, their desire to control will die, time will free-up and their employees will succeed at a rate unimaginable.

"If you love someone, set them free" - Richard Bach

Where is HR in the construct of assisting business units in building relationships? Do we still feel uninvited to impose solutions that seem to require a PhD in the understanding of what sales does?

Human Resources is aptly named. We are not called upon to pretend to know the excruciating pain of a saleswoman's quota attainment nor do we need to code in open-source to understand our technical engineers. Last I checked, we all have kids and hobbies and a whole lotta human interaction that forms the way we work.... the way we live and the inevitable importance of this cross-section.

Don't Forget to Remember,


Thursday, January 2, 2020

From Beneath The Ice

When he was deemed old enough, his father allowed him to tag along on an ice fishing adventure. They woke in the dead of night to navigate the cold wind that kissed the black ice. Through the dead silence he heard a noise that sounded like car skidding to a halt. The ice split and he fell in. Instantly, he felt the piercing of his skin unaware of which way was up, the slightest current capable of putting him further under the ice. In the same moment a similar force pulled him.... his fathers huge hand on the hood of his jacket rescuing him to the safety of the solid ice rim. His jacket was peeled off and replaced by his father's warm coat. Within minutes he would be back in a heated truck. No fish pulled out of the water, no life lessons shared in the shanty, very few words spoken. He never ice fished again.

Through all his life's adventures and accomplishments, this event stuck with him, like images from a silent movie.

As the years went by he used this terrifying experience to explain a few of life's grand lessons:
  • Be willing to take risk
  • Always have a life vest
  • Accept failure as a course correction
  • Prepare for the worst, expect the best

Wolves Don't Cry
The most outstanding athletic achievement of the last decade was Alex Honnold's scale of El Capitan without a rope. He was thought insane but his decade of preparation tells a different story.

We fear risk taking because of the unknown (if unforeseen) consequence. No one wants to dive into the abyss. Most risk takers are extraordinary planners. Ever hear the one about the guy who told his crew to drill for oil in a spot by tasting the dirt? He'd done extensive environmental testing in the weeks prior but the "dirt test" inspired a far more profound effort from his crew.

The Hand of the Father
Some of us are able to divine the strength of our father as an unsinkable life raft. There is no fear of the storm with dad at the wheel. But protection gives way to personal freedom and new resources have to be sought.

Whether a gaggle of great friends, a board of trusted advisers or a surrounding team of those who thrive in areas we don't; our confidence is fed through the knowledge that there is someone there to catch us if we fall.   

Fruitless Fear of Failure
Rodney Mullen won every contest he competed in with the exception of his last. Oscar De La Hoya was undefeated for most of his career (supposedly only winning his father's love when he finally lost). Brian Wilson spent his life feeding a bully with love unaccepted. They all flew too close the the sun.

Setting goals for perfection is a tough prophesy. Those who learn to fail and course correct tend to embrace adversity with better-intended consequences. 

We Can Be Heroes
Entering a new year/decade will cause us to fixate on goal setting. We tend to put a big number on the virtual scoreboard and seek to dream it into reality. While belief will always propel us toward our goal, simply wanting something isn't enough.

We avoid risk taking because it requires a cross-balance of aspiration paired with strategic planning. Some want the trophy without having to put the work in, others work and work without a measurable plan. Is it better to move into each day with unwavering positivity or should we be aware of pitfalls before we face them?

Failure is an affect of planning too big without considering the process. You'll always be disappointed if your goals are out of reach. Learning from failure requires an ability to course correct at each short coming.

We are all fully capable of achieving any big goals that the new decade calls for us to propagate. Every mountain top has a million small steps in it's shadow.

Don't Forget to Remember,


Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Top 5 - 2019

Do you ever feel like you are forced to like certain bands... that some music is just assumed cool and therefore called upon to celebrate? Have you noticed a merging of pop and indie music with commercial groups topping indie lists?

The list I'm publishing this year might not have any real surprises but I think it is important for individuals to enjoy the music that speaks to them. If you love metal you don't have to try to pretend to like country music. Maybe you liked Springsteen in the 70's but you don't any more. Maybe you think Sonic Youth is just noise. Maybe you don't accept Lizzo or Billie Eillish as pleasing to the ear. You might think having Elton John headline an independent music festival works directly against the concept.

Don't be afraid to like the music you like and ignore what you don't.

We live is an extraordinary time. As the years go on, the choices of music are amplified every day. There is so much to choose from and so much to ignore.

This year, Kate Tempest returned with a triumphant love story to humanity while Mary Lambert pulled back the band aid on so many women's health issues.

The Tallest Man of Earth, Damien Jurado and Will Johnson brought us acoustic plucked brilliance. Joe Pug and Joe Henry broke our collective hearts all over again. E.B The Younger reproduced the mid-seventies groove of Midlake. Hand Habits made some quiet, loud music. Big Thief made two records.

Fontaines D.C. and Sleaford Mods brought hooliganism to the fore. Jeff Tweedy remained prolific. Strand of Oaks returned with amplified melancholy. Sufjan Stevens wrote a ballet. Sturgill Simpson made a cartoon. Thom Yorke haunted us while Tyler the Creator confused us. Some emo bands collaborated on an acoustic album to show us that they are actually great songwriters.

The National released their greatest work and Dave Monks brought back the Tokyo Police Club sound.

We lost David Berman and Daniel Johnston.

...and the records spin and the amps buzz and people still pretend to like music that they don't. The leaves fall down and songs make us cry. We are reminded that in all the time between rain drops and the morning dew, a few minutes of sound through a car speaker can completely change the course of our lives.

Here's some stuff I love:

6. Phoenix by Pedro the Lion

"once church emptied out we lobbied hard to look at track homes"

The first time I heard Pedro the Lion  I was in equal parts struck by the sullen tone of the narrative and the simplicity of the music. It made me feel OK to be an independent musician without a master's degree in music theory. David Bazan has released 20 records since then, all perfectly nested in the initial formula. The only thing that changes in the lyrical narrative. Bazan's film is a life altering experience revealing the personal struggle behind the music. Some artist you simply assume will make great music, this is a year to celebrate Pedro the Lion. Phoenix takes us through Bazan's early life; innocent in reflection without ignoring warning signs. The trivial events of childhood foreshadowing all of the triumphs and disappointments at every mile marker.

5. Morbid Stuff by Pup

"you're like a bad trip or a sick habit, I should have left you alone"

I cannot ignore the tastiness of pop punk (or whatever you want to call it). Pup reward their audience with triumphant choruses led in by thought provoking articulation of the moment at hand. There's the boredom of youth and the chaotic inventiveness that turns suburban kids into artists without apology. The bass line bumps, the drums thump and guitars clang.... what more do we need?

4. I Need A New War by Craig Finn

"you with the shoulder bag, the coffee and office job, you with the bicycle and her with the blues"

Craig Finn remains one of our greatest songwriters in the least accessible way. Where the Hold Steady's guitar noise had drown Finn's story telling, his solo work brings a greater accessibility to the words that hang like chandeliers. I Need a New War is the third installment (Faith in the Future and We All Want the Same Things preceding) that concludes the journey of youth-fueled action without fear of consequence. Here, Finn keeps the narrative strong in the uncertain joy of living day-to-day. He always knows how to tap into the mind frame of people who push the chips in only for them to fall on the floor (and the climb to repentance). Another masterpiece that can be contemplated over and over again with different results.  

3. Better Oblivion Community Center (self titled)

"I was standing for the anthem, banners all around him, the confetti made it hard to see"

Conor Oberst has held the mantle of the Bob Dylan of the new millennium since he was 12. While the exhaustion of bubble gum fame has worn on him, he always finds a way to re-create himself. Whether an electro-pop or country album, he's always kept an undertone rooted in the prodigal son coming of age. His unanticipated collaboration with Phoebe Bridgers is as perfect as a peanut butter cup. Every note, lyric, and harmony on this album is perfect.

2. i, i by Bon Iver  

"I won't lead no lie, with our hearts the only matter why"

Like Connor and Craig, Justin Vernon continues to carry an unrequested torch of musical brilliance by hugging fame through allowing others to hop on his opportunity train. How is it that the guy who created his first record in a cabin in the woods has become the godfather of auto-tune? What started as minimalist now spans infinite soundscapes. Beautiful multi-part harmonies wilt together like a rose in the rain, lyrics pull at heart strings and somehow these anthems hold the listener in humble silence. Another triumph from someone who has proven an ability to ignore the hype of his popularity by staying in the cabin.

1. Father of the Bride by Vampire Weekend

"I don't wanna live like this.... but I don't wanna die"

Rostam was the conductor on the sonic highway through which Vampire Weekend traveled in each of their extraordinary preceding records. His contributions on this record overshadowed by Ezra's duets with Danielle Haim that would make Johnny and June Cash blush. The aforementioned duets that touch base in each of the three acts of this record are interwoven with top down summer anthems, campfire tunes and heel pounding square dance anthems... this is a country record that sounds nothing like country music. The lyrics pummel the listener with a love so unavoidable that our skeptic minds seem to dismiss it as novelty. To the contrary, Father of the Bride will endure as the pivotal achievement of one of the greatest bands of our time.

I love it when bands I love exceed expectations. There are vocalists whose voices will bring us back to everything we love; unmistakable in untrained tone. There are harmonies that will make every Monday morning feel like a Friday night (but we know better than to abuse the privilege). There are records that will bring us back to the smell of the carpet in the room we lived in 20 years ago. There is a microphone and a guitar in your garage, you should dust them off.

Thank You for Listening!


Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Opportunity Economy

2020 seems like an ominous number......

I'm sure there are movies of lore that have characterized the year forthcoming with jet packs and laser beams. Much has changed through technology and there are trends emerging that will have an impact on the way we work in 2020.

People's personal mantras are more important than ever. Whether you are passionate about fitness, mental health or the environment; your personal passions come with you to work. With the evolution of the home office and the gig economy, the line between work and life is becoming ever-blurred. Companies are taking notice and are celebrating individuality.

Where does this leave us in 2020?  How can employers be part of the motivation revolution?

Take Inventory
We've scrambled for several years to fix performance reviews. Bolstering manager/employee relationships means eliminating silos (this ideology can be difficult for mistrusting leaders to accept). A performance plan is a legal document anything beyond that is goal setting. Goals can be written on a napkin or programmed into a system and accountability is easier to accept when it is self-administered.

Each employee is unique. Help employees understand what they do well and let that drive. 
Self-Selected Goals
Whether you use the SCARF methodology or ask employees to stack rank the importance of the 5 Intrinsic Motivators, allowing people to define their own path to success is the most-sustainable structure.

So many weekly performance review meetings are based in Manager critique of employee activity. No one in the history of life has been motivated by someone telling them what they are doing wrong. Allowing employees to determine their ascendance path helps them attain their goals by amplifying their strongest functional abilities.

A recent survey revealed that the current generation of workers would get a second job to afford an opportunity for travel. This proving that physical things are becoming less-desirable than experiences. Pictures in frames are being replaced by selfies on desktops. Trophies on desks are being replaced by badges on email signatures. The opportunity to win a flat screen TV is proving less awarding than a week away in a warm climate.

Every organization celebrates their year-end achievement event. The problem is that said event tends to celebrate a very narrow % of the workforce. While your support staff look through snow covered windows, emails arrive of sales reps in Maui. It's hardly motivating.

Incentives for service well-done do not have to be defined as meritocracy. Customer service efficiency is improved through training, course-correction and collaboration... and you can reward these behaviors incrementally.

With points built up for behavioral enhancement, employees of all disciplines can find their way to the beach in the dead of winter.  

Meet your employees where they sit, allow them to select their path to success and give them some time away to celebrate their achievements.

Don't Forget to Remember,


Thursday, November 14, 2019

I'll Take The Stairs

Early in my career I was obsessed with moving up the corporate ladder. I wanted to lead and effect change and create new avenues for organizational development. It was important to me. While my intentions were genuine, my process was flawed. I created what would have been viewed as a "work self". I was inauthentic to my genuine personality while at work. I put on a certain face, asked questions to show I knew the answer, volunteered for projects only for the sake of personal recognition and reveled in internal competition. At some point, I realized my ambition was causing me to act out of character. I'd been inelegant in representing my motivation. Instead of being a person others looked up to, I was the person others avoided. I had become the annoying guy in the office. The only choice I had was to leave a job I loved for the sake of cleaning the slate.

I started over by putting genuine intention into my work. I wanted to be sure any minute spent on the job was done so for a higher purpose; for something I believed in. I made sure my heart and mind drove my motivation. I let my work speak for me. I listened more than I talked. I was humble in victory and accountable in defeat. I did everything I could to make others look good. I used the term "we" instead of "me".

Then, a strange thing happened. I realized that I did not need to ascend the corporate ladder to evolve professionally.

People ask me all the time how they can climb the ladder. Here are a few thoughts:

Transcend Practicality
We start our careers with an intent of mastery. We want to put our 10,000 hours into our core job function to master a trade. There is a race to leveling up.

The problem is that the core skill set of programming may have nothing to do with leading people. People are predictably irrational and thus our quest for understanding is often met with an inability to see the forest through the trees. If you are rooted in a grid that makes progress a step by step process, you might be missing the key ingredient to progress.

While you master your trade you need to practice counter-intuitive thinking to meet others where they sit. You don't need to know anything about accounting to recognize an accountant's self-defined path to progress.   

Leadership is an Act of Servitude
He tend to associate leadership with force. He look to those in positions of power to be assertive, decisive and confident. The perception of force driving influence is the very problem with qualification for promotion. Think about it.... I'd guess the worst bosses you've had possess the aforementioned characteristics while those who genuinely made an impact on your success were trusting and transparent.

Too many individuals alter their personalities to showcase what they believe the organization is seeking from leadership. One leaves their propensity for connection to prove they are not "too nice for the job".

Great leaders are willing to perform every task they ask of their employees. You'll find the best managers shelf micro-management for trusting relationships. When one realizes that their only job as a leader is to teach people the necessary skills and trust them to perform, engagement is inevitable

How Thank You Works...
I've had conversations with people who have thanked me for something I did for them 10 years ago. There is a divine truth in the world in which we work:

Just Because People Don't Say Thank You Doesn't Mean They're Not Thankful   

... it is, however, difficult to realize this in the moment.

The way to master the patience of navigating recognition is not to expect it. If your actions are driven by a need to hear thank you, you are mislead. The journey in assisting others has many formless by-ways. If you only act to impress others, you will never be genuinely happy. When you learn that giving is more important than receiving, you stop expecting credit for your every action.

Don't Forget to Remember,