Friday, December 28, 2012

Best of 2012

I have a few friends who dislike 'best of' lists. That's ridiculous. I have been an avid music fan my entire life so each year I search for the best new music. With the help of Bob Boilen, Magnet, Under the Radar and a few informed friends; I have a gateway to musical awesomeness.

Long before Nick Hornby's "High Fidelity" was interpreted by John Cusack I was making mixed tapes. The process of sharing a year's events through music has always been a necessary outlet for me. We'll get back to the corporate world next week, this weekend I recommend spending a little time with your favorite records. Here are my Top 5 records of 2012 in ascending order:

5. Gossamer by Passion Pit
Every year a collection of harmless pop songs emerge to help us enjoy life in the midst of our tragic existence. Much like Mates of States' "Re-Arrange Us", this record makes me smile every time I put it on. 12 songs, all under 5 minutes. Party music for the sun, moon and stars. If you missed playing this record poolside this summer, I recommend you pump it on New Year's eve and find someone to make out with.

4. The Carpenter by The Avett Brothers
If you have seen thoughtful words scrolled on a bar room table, they are probably Avett Brothers lyrics. A little bit of banjo and words of cosmic introspection go a long way. Here, you have a collection of barn burners co-mingled with summer ending anthems. My guess is that young men who have headed off to college away from their sweethearts are still writing excepts from "Life" in love letters.

"You and I know all too well about the hell and paradise right here on earth"

3. The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
I went to High School in the early 90's, we pumped NWA on unpaved roads pretending to be ghetto. If 'The Heist' emerged at that time, I would image I might have had to listen to it in my car in the manner I did my tapes by The Cure. This is Hip Hop with a conscious: amazingly introspective regarding the topics of human rights, recovery, the industry, and God. Same Love is undeniably the song of the year. A massively aware effort!

"If you preach hate at the service those words aren't anointed, the holy water that you soak in has been poisoned"

2. No Leaving Now by The Tallest Man on Earth
Kristian Matsson's stature is not representative of his moniker but his voice and guitar sound justify the name. In a day and age when electronics and computer production are layering songs like sonic nachos, all Matsson needs is his guitar. His voice is towering, his guitar playing is orchestral, and his words speak gracefully. A reminder that 3 chords and the truth stretch further than anything a machine can create.

1. A Shut-In's Prayer by Advance Base
I first saw Owen Ashworth (formally known as Casiotone for the Painfully Alone) at the Stork Club in Oakland before the millennium turned. He was slightly portly, had thick rimmed glasses (before they were cool), and a case of constant hay-fever. He took the stage with several toy keyboards and plugged them in at various points in a song's loop. His words spoken through his nose over toy band beats. The lyrics he spoke were as innocent as his zip up sweat shirt. Over the years, Owen's production has evolved from four track to soundboard and his piano playing has advanced, but the story telling and electronic accompaniment remain perfectly humble.

Another great year behind us. Our professional lives always evolving. Fortunately, there is a song for every mood. Our great escape is always in the palm of our hand. Take a walk, listen to a tune or two, and reflect on the year in the rear view.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

After The Storm

I woke this morning and to my astonishment the world had not given way to the Mayan predicted catastrophic what?

I guess we will go on living...

It is my hope, however, that our pondering of the end of the world may have given us some pause. If nothing else, hopefully we can live with greater purpose by means of acknowledging what is important and disregarding what is not!

Things We Should Do Less
Be less egotistic. Stop believing in things you do not believe in. Stop hurting people. Don't be afraid to stick up for yourself. Stop smoking. Stop discouraging children. Stop listening to people who do not listen to you. Ignore negativity. Stop wasting time. Turn off your cell phone. Stop watching TV. Stop being a loud mouth. "unfriend" unfriendly people. Stop working at the job you hate. Stop ignoring your dreams. Despite your passion, Religion and Politics are polarizing - don't force people to dislike you!  

Things We Should Do More
Identify what you genuinely believe in...and let that lead. Set goals at the beginning of each week. Recap your goals at the end of each week. Ask the girl in accounting to go out with you (even if she has a boyfriend). Exercise. Eat better. Spend more time with your children. Call an old friend. Tell a teacher thank you. Thank a cop for their service. Put your hands on the cheeks of your wife, look into her eyes, and tell her you love her. Help young people to avoid making the mistakes you have made. Donate your time. Teach someone something. Wake up early. Read. Start a conversation with a stranger. Dance. Ask your Dad about his glory days. Find a trail to hike. Listen to more records. Love more!

We dedicate far too much time to people we do not respect; try not to allow that anymore. Don't be distracted by things out of your control. Be acutely aware that you can always do more, work harder, and be a kinder person....

Hug someone! Seek to understand instead of dismissing that with which you do not agree.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, December 14, 2012

At The End of the World

Dear Loyal Readers -
As you are all aware 12.21.12 will mark the end of the world as we know it. I must say it has been a joyous ride! I have enjoyed every minute in this beautiful place. With one week left in our existence it is only fitting to thank the readers of DFTR for many years of companionship.

It goes without saying that I Love my Family....I will save our thank you for our final trot into the sunset.

I want to thank the extraordinary Laurie Ruettimann for inspiring me to write with candor, intelligence, and a sense of humor. I want to thank Steve Browne for being the most generous person in social media.

There are people who read this blog religiously, I thank you for taking time away from your life to escape into my mind: Kevin Costello, Brian Garvey, Steve Trompeter, Brett Butz, Peter Shaffer, Tara Collins, Steve Fanelli, Ned Fitzpatrick, Luke Benfield, Duke Fightmaster, Reid Retherford, Mary Sanderson, Dan Whitely, and the additional 750,000 people who have read my posts over the years.

What Have We Learned?
I hope I may have inspired a few people to work with greater purpose while taking life's lessons with a grain of salt. I hope I may have inspired a few people to beat themselves up a little less and to take their energy in a more beneficial direction. I hope you may have derived great self-confidence from this blog and have learned that you are your own judge and jury. I hope you never allow anyone to put a finger in your face. I hope you have hugged those you love (and a few people you don't)....and maybe you told a few people to Fuck Off along the way. You might want to apologize to them before the world ends. The line at the pearly gates will be long, best to hedge your bets.

Over The Next Week...
7 days...a few fleeting moments to say and do everything you ever wanted. Tell those you love that you love them. Call an old friend. Try a new food. Enjoy a drink. Stick up for yourself. Mend a fence. Tell the girl in HR that you have been in love with her since 2004. Let your boss know that she is appreciated; and that she doesn't have to try so hard to please everyone. Stop to say hello to a stranger. Thank the kid at the coffee shop. Tip your bartender an extra buck. Forgive your neighbor for letting his dog crap on your lawn. Call your favorite teacher and thank him/her. Write a manifesto for the end of the world to express how you might have lived life differently......and in the rare event the world doesn't actually end.....follow that manifesto. This life is yours to live! There is nothing keeping you from being exactly who you want to be! Be disruptive with loving intentions to make the world a better place. The miracle of your existence is far too precious to spend on anything less than making the impossible a distinct reality.

Thank you for 39 years of awesomeness! I hope we will all meet again in a place equally wonderful!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Intent of Our Complaints

In work, as in life, there are 2 types of people:
1. Those who know they can
2. Those who pretend they can't

...these groups are one-in-the-same. The two groups are separated however by a few simple human characteristics. We tend to be dramatically complex about our professional existence: we want grandiose applause when we succeed and will go to great depths to explain what is wrong with everyone else when we fail.

There is so much made about the four generations in the workplace at present. We are over-hauling organizational development to accommodate the new kids and strategically measuring the knowledge share of the old guard. There are, however, great similarities in all generations:
- We all complain (with good intentions)
- We all care...a lot
- We are all in this together

Don't Make a Good Thing...Bad
I don't know anyone who is good at failing. No one likes to lose. When things change in the workplace we tend to freak out and that may provoke us to verbalize our uncertainty. When we verbalize our uncertainty it sounds a heck of a lot like complaining.

Stop Complaining!

I have found that those who complain actually care a lot about their job. They may have been a top performer at some point (and they will remind you of that). They probably put in long hours and they are most certainly misunderstood.

Our every accomplishment will not be recognized. There will be days when nothing goes right. Your hard work and supreme intelligence may go unnoticed. Your single-handed victory of a 10 million dollar acquisition may be promoted as a "team effort".

As unfair as the aforementioned occurrences may be to your tender ego, they produce one great certainty:

Complaining only makes it worse!
I remember being the hardest worker in a 20,000 employee organization. I was in the office early, left late, was the first to adopt new initiatives, always took on extra work, and consistently produced what's the problem?

Beneath it all, my effort was directed by my personal career path. I acted like I cared for the greater good of the organization, but I really only cared about myself. My need for recognition of my effort revealed my real intentions and people saw through me.

...Not Good...

Over the years, I have accepted that if you do quality work, people will notice.

Collective Unconsciousness
My daughter was born on my Dad's 70th Birthday. They are separated by 4 generations and I love them both! When you were born is not important to me. Your effort and intentions are what matter.

You may think you are speaking for the group when you complain to the boss, but they are laughing at you behind your back.

You may think you have great ideas to share, but sign your employee handbook before you take over the organization.

We all have the ability to be a pain in the ass. It takes great effort! That effort is fueled by good intentions. Yes, your complaints are really based in your desire to make things better....this is an act of kindness.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, December 3, 2012

The Greatest

Kanye West proclaimed that he wanted to be the greatest artist of all time. When hearing the quote, I thought it ridiculous. That seems to be a general reaction. When a person says they want to do something extraordinary, we tend to roll our eyes and denounce their motivation. It may be certain that Kanye will not be the greatest artist of all time (I'm not even sure what he meant by the statement ~ and he may not be either). But we cannot denounce the man for having lofty goals!

2013 is upon us. It's time to plan for the future. So, here is a challenge.....

Set Ridiculous Goals
On January 1, our company continues a journey to nearly double our annual revenue! We will get there, because we can! If you are bold in your planning and you believe in your ability; greatness is inevitable!

As you map out 2013, don't plan to hit your quota, plan to double it. Don't plan to hire 20 new people, plan to hire 100. Don't plan to improve project efficiency by 10%, plan to crush it by 50%. Because You Can!

Be Inventive
Don't email me the same content once a week (for an entire year). If I don't need what you are selling repeating the same process will not convince me otherwise. Mix in a phone call, write a compelling blog entry, send me links to things that matter to me via social media, mail me a letter. There are a thousand ways to engage your audience these days. If you can't catch me on one street, try another....and be creative for goodness sake! If you are working hard doing uninformative work, you are wasting your time.

Never Give Up!
I was discussing the holiday lull with a friend of mine. We talked about certain decision makers being unavailable during certain stretches of the year. We then concluded that we were kidding ourselves. We can always make excuses for our lack of productivity.

You are in charge of your professional destiny! If you cannot achieve something the way it has worked in the past, try 10 different ways to get it done. If you don't have enough time in the day, wake up and hour earlier...stay up an hour later. If you don't have the tools to succeed, invent them. If someone does not want to talk to you, create a value proposition that they cannot ignore. Stop making excuses and make it work!

So, write down your goals for 2013...and then double them. If you only achieve 75% of your goal, that is a 25% increase in what you thought was possible.

Be  bold, set seemingly unattainable goals, redefine the standard.....become the greatest of all time! Because You Can!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bouncing Out of Bed

Don't tell me that alarm didn't sting your brain this morning. It's cold, dark and desolate out there. You need more than just a job on a day like this...On days like this we have to examine the intent of our higher purpose. The intense chill rises through your chest in the morning shower and asks you a simple question: What The Hell Am I Doing?

I had the answers today, did you?

I Have the Ability to Create
The marketplace is highly competitive, there are applications that can solve any business problem, and anyone can provide "personal attention". Companies that differentiate themselves possess the strong force of Creativity.

Creativity helps embrace change, it motivates people to find doors where others see dead ends, it allows people to synchronize their personal passion and their work!

Call it innovation, enhancement, or development ~ The Art of Business is Creativity!

If your company is still functioning by the measures that formalized the industrial revolution, your creativity has been stifled. Good luck getting it back!

I Am Allowed to Choose
My son is 7, at times he needs to be directed. If a 40 year old man finds himself in the same position, odds are he hit that snooze button 3 or 4 times this morning.

It is amazing to me that companies still think micro-management works. It is amazing that more employees do not stand up and ask for a greater deal of respect. If you knowingly threaten your employees with a clear conscious your business is doomed to fail. If that is the way it has worked for 50 years, you will not last another 50. It is time to grow up!

I Give More than I Take
If you give me the ability to create and the power to choose, I will slay dragons for you on a daily basis. I will achieve things I never thought possible, and having done so, I will achieve even more tomorrow.

All you need to do is empower and trust! It costs nothing and makes your job easier.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Thanksgiving is upon us so naturally posts and tweets are pouring in by people expressing their gratitude. During the holidays we tend to get sentimental. This year, instead of expressing my gratitude, I am going to issue a challenge:

Before we say Thank You, let's reflect....

Do You Really Love Your Job?
Our profession is our livelihood, so we tend to be apprehensive to make drastic changes. No company is perfect, people make mistakes, and systems fail. Life is imperfect and this allows for opportunity. But, do you really love your job?

Do a deep dive assessment of your current job:
~ Are you being challenged or are you settling?
~ Are the people around you invested in your progress?
~ Do the Leaders in your organization understand your challenges?
~ Do your products/services solve business issues?

Before you stuff your face with turkey, take a moment to deeply reflect on the questions above. Are you really thankful or are you pretending that everything is fine? Are you OK with everything being fine, or do you want more?

Just Do!
Time to flip the script. Any job can be great or terrible based on your perception and attitude. If you spend your days complaining about your job, QUIT! If you don't have any other options maybe its because you complain all the time.

Actions speak louder than words. If you are not achieving all you had planned to...take action. Wake up earlier, seek advice from others, learn more about the marketplace, challenge directives.

Complaining will only make your job worse. Get busy living or get busy dying!

Stop Pretending!
Are you complimentary of your superiors simply because you want to be on the "good list". If so, your lack of authenticity probably makes you look like a phony. It is disingenuous to smile at the very people you challenge from a bar stool.

~ If you do not respect your boss, manage up....there is an elegant way to expose inefficiencies.
~ If the top producer does not have sound advice for you...emulate someone else.
~ If that BIG customer you have been chasing treats you like a commodity...find another customer to chase.

Pretending to be someone you are not takes an extraordinary amount of effort and seldom produces meaningful results. Be yourself!

Stop Stealing!
Those who are truly passionate about their work are creative and authentic. They are consistently developing new ideas and are challenging those around them to be part of the solution.

If you emulate the ideas of your competitors, your existence is fraudulent!

The way to winning is to come up with a solution that is different. Stealing your competitors ideas and putting a cheaper price tag on them never works. Commodities are replaceable, you have to believe with all your being in what you are doing.

Do you believe in what you are doing?

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, November 19, 2012

Solving The Motivation Crisis

The great Maurice TT Rodriguez gave supportive advice to a friend who was experiencing a fashion crisis...."wear what you dig"! At the time, the reinforcement was what his friend needed. Questioning oneself is a necessary means to progress...but, we tend to wear ourselves out if we concentrate too heavily on what we cannot do.

Early in my career I was experiencing a motivation crisis:
* I sought to impress others
* I continually focused on my weaknesses
* My negativity overwhelmed my intentions's how I solved my motivation crisis....

Grains of Salt
People are always willing to give advice. Too often words are taken with deep literal significance. Asking for advice may assist in considering other angles, but your path has to be your own. You cannot pretend to be someone you are not, you shouldn't read a book you don't believe in, you should not incorporate techniques that feel unnatural, and you can't pretend to trust people you don't admire!

We cannot be genuine to what we believe in if we allow others to predicate our every move. If you are consistently trying to impress others, you will never be happy. It is comparable to driving another man's car but never owning your own. Deeply analyze what resonates with you...and let that drive!

Doubters Never Prosper
Similar to following the path set by another, if you only focus on what you cannot will not do! The only result of consistently concentrating on what you have not done is misery.

There is nothing worse than trying your hardest only to be chastised for your lack of execution. A key fault in leadership is the ignorance of unseen effort. Like it or not, Leaders assume.... If I have been in business for 40 years, I have seen it all. So, I assume a person fails based on a scenario I have seen a thousand times before. This commoditized human capital management style can permanently ruin a person's motivation.

There are things you can do well and others that will take greater effort while producing fewer results. Focus on that which you do well...and let that lead! Your effort will never be analyzed if you are consistently producing results. The doubters only doubt if you give them a reason to.

The Making of a Pariah
We all hit a flat spot in our career. That point where you feel you have given all you can and luck just hasn't pushed the puck your way. Make no mistake about it, there is luck in success.

Our perception and attitude fuel our success. If we meet every challenge with the past in mind, we may drown ourselves in doubt. If we doubt enough, it will get to the point that no one wants to be around us. It is much harder to navigate failure alone!

At the lowest point in my career, I had terribly mismanaged the aforementioned flat point. In every step of my life I had seen challenges as opportunities. When I lost sight of that I compounded my failures. Instead of solving problems, I made excuses....and made my problems worse. I listened far too much to those who said I could not do something, I made excuses instead of programming action items, and I continually felt sorry for myself.

Perseverance is one of the greatest characteristics anyone can possess. The greatest of all time have failed consistently...their brilliance lies in their uncompromising ability to overcome. They know they are capable and lack of luck in any given moment does not trump their genuine skill. You are the driver...take the wheel and put the pedal to the floor!!!!!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Left to Learn

Having just attended the E2Innovate conference, I am full of fresh and meaningful ideas! I found myself most intrigued by a conversation facilitated by IT Directors from Facebook, Mozilla, and PayPal. Taking into account the company names and presenter titles the last topic you would think they would tackle is...recruiting. Fortunately, companies are embracing the concept that every employee is part of the organizational development process.

The aforementioned session was facilitated by Gerald Chertavian of Year Up. Year Up is an organization founded on the principle of delivering quality education to people of all economic backgrounds. Year Up gives young people with high school degrees or GED's an opportunity to take a year of highly intensive technical courses while providing a pipeline to IT professionals in the Silicon Valley.

I am consistently reminded of two unfair workforce stereotypes:
1. Young people are entitled.
2. Senior staff members are threatened by the rise of technology in the workplace.

In reality, people care about their companies far more than we might assume. In a day and age when people spend 80% to 90% of their waking hours at work, one cannot help but assume a sense of pride in what they do. As such, the investment in a new generation of workers is met with hope for the future and an openness to the innovative ideas new people bring into the working world. We are all part of the recruiting effort and we can all learn from each other.

How to Make Your Company Obsolete
There was a time when the hiring process was a series of grueling interviews. Those days are over. Face it, you need young talent more than they need you. People coming out of college (or high school)  have far more options nowadays. The stereotype of young people being entitled in holey false. A new generation of workers is looking for fewer benefits and has learned to work lean. Entrepreneurship has never been more accessible and the expectation of signing bonuses has been replaced with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. You should use the hiring process as an opportunity to learn...I'm talking to you Hiring Manager.

Admit You Care
I love to see senior staff members who have a sense of youthful exuberance. The days of dictatorship are gone and those unadaptive to change are finding an express lane to early retirement. The best leaders serve as teachers who are willing to learn from their pupils.

It is wise of any organization to develop a culture of learning. The emphasis on titles is being dispelled and we are all interested in sharing. A true trait of leadership is to pass along the knowledge you have gained in the workplace to help your co-workers grow with you. We have learned that internal competition only serves to muddy the workplace waters. Collaboration for the collective good is the best way to propel the organization forward.

Be a team player, be a coach, be a teacher. Look over your shoulder, pick someone up, and help them get to where they want to be.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Truth About Sales

My professional life exists in contradiction:
1. I am a business development professional.
2. I am a leadership advisor to HR professionals.

When I started in sales, I believed that my "gift of gab" would help me win the day....some how it worked. Then I grew up and I realized I was doing it all wrong!

The Truth About Sales
It takes incredible confidence to be a sales professional. One must be uncompromising in the drive to succeed and be unflappable in their ability to handle rejection. The extreme swings in sales take a special type of level-headed demeanor. There are always sales jobs available because very few people can handle the daily uncertainty of the trade. A sales job is never "safe".

With uncertainty comes insecurity and confidence competes with a need for validation. Sales people may want you to think they are invincible but the path to winning has to be complimented with daily pats on the back. Show me a supremely confident sales professional and I will show you a person who is deeply insecure.

Don't worry, we won't tell anyone! 

Take a Breath.......  
As we grow in the trade we come to understand that sales is not a game of confidence but a game of empathy. Salespeople do not have to prove their confidence but rather that they genuinely understand their buyers motives. The name of the game is building trust....and it requires:
a. Endless research.
b. The ability to listen more than you talk.

Many young salespeople rush into a room with a well-prepared presentation and tell the prospective customer how great their product is. Wrong move! You have to diagnose before you prescribe. You have to analyze those in the pew before you preach to them. In fact, save the preaching altogether.

Don't Be Cocky
Most people hate salespeople because their disingenuous demeanor reveals their personal goals as a priority over collective success. Many salespeople also have short tempers because their work in the trenches is often misunderstood by their office counterparts. Salespeople are driven (and measured) by their individual they often have issues with authority.

So, Let's Dispel the Myth
1. Don't be fooled, Salespeople are among the hardest working in your organization.
2. Salespeople possess a skill that most others don't: the ability to confront uncertainty, every day!
3. When ego drives effort it creates a bad perception (a common foe paw).
4. Salespeople's effort exist in the Marketplace, not in the office.
5. Salespeople are not as confident as you think:
- We stay up at night fearing what tomorrow will bring, and pretend to be brave enough to handle it.

The day of the barrel-chested bully pushing you into a purchase are over. The charmer without substance now loses more than she wins. Buyers are more aware, administrators are more strategic, and the sale is often trial by committee.

The process of inviting partnership is a consultation not a transaction: quick talk is transparent and insulting.

Note to Salespeople:
1. Know the extended purpose of your products and services and how they apply to your buyer's business issue.
2. Build trust.
3. Spend more time in the library and less time in the bar!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Employee Engagement - 2012

Throughout this year I have presented "Cultivating Employee Engagement" to HR professionals across Northern California. 500+ local HR Pros attended these seminars. The great attendance and positive feedback were a result of 2 things:
1. An energetic approach to presenting
2. A collaborative forum for idea sharing

It is always interesting when a salesperson presents to HR. The initial reactions are furrowed brows and raised eye brows. Attendees are there to receive re-certification credits.....they will do what they must to digest the material. Attendee apprehension is understood because most presenters do not conduct sessions with enough conviction (or they use the opportunity to sell something). You cannot establish influence without teaching skills that will contribute to the success of your audience. It's not all about us!

Here are 8 things learned in 10 seminars, countless miles on the road, and a whole lot of open and honest conversation:

Seize the Leadership Opportunity - HR has been categorized as an administrative stop gap in an organization. More and more, HR is becoming a key strategic function to organizational progress. The door is open, but you must be armed with numbers and a correlating strategy to back up your mission for organizational engagement. We can no longer be cautious, we cannot share without enforcement, employees will not be engaged by passive strategy. HR cannot be a strategic partner if we allow ourselves to be cast aside as administrators.

Demolish the Silos - Organizational progress cannot be made strictly through the manager to peer channel. Performance reviews may be a legal necessity, but they do nothing to motivate. Employee goals should be acknowledged and broadcast for the entire organization to witness. Progress should be encouraged by everyone, not regimented by a superior. Career advancement should be a result of a transparent, personal commitment to progress, not closed door office politics.

Poll the Audience - The incoming workforce is full of ideas for organizational development. That should be celebrated not ignored. Every organization needs a strategy for gathering organizational feedback to ensure Executive action.

Make it Cool - Core Values written 100 years ago need to be redefined in terms relevant to today's workforce. Wearing lapel pins is not an organizational strategy, it is a way to further commoditize an out-of-touch brand. Everyone should have an equal opportunity to excel based on well-rounded behavioral competencies.

Prioritize - HR is the key to organizational engagement. You can reduce turnover, drive results, and create a company culture that is totally unique. It takes creativity, a knowledge of your employee pedigree, and the ability to quantify effort. It is not turnkey, it is not easily defined, and it will take a lot of time. If you want to make a difference you have to believe with uncompromised conviction. Get busy doing the things that will change lives for the better, save the spreadsheets for the weekend.

Be a Business Partner - HR opposes the sales pitch. This because, if you are selling more than a widget, a pitch doesn't work. To promote an effective program you have to have: a mission unique to your organization, internal branding that empowers adoption, cool rewards, and metrics that measure program effectiveness. In order to gain adoption you have to have the aforementioned elements of program success in mind.....and then you have to sell it your Executives and Employees!

Communicate - A Marketers goal is to expose the brand, HR's goal is to protect the brand. Creativity is the key to effective program adoption. You know your workforce better than anyone. Get creative! Market your program! This is the best way to gain program adoption and to help your program grow!

Debunk the Myth - The best way to prove you are not a paper pusher or the employee police is to prove it. Organizational development is converting from a top down to a bottoms up game. You can be the change agent in communicating the employee voice.

Don't Kid Yourself.....HR is Cool!

If you stepped out of your comfort zone in my 2012 seminars, just wait until next year when the "HR as a Business Partner" series puts you in the organizational drivers seat!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

4 Ways to Attract Outstanding Talent

Having just made a well-educated and difficult career transition, I had a chance to experience the job seekers world in 2012. I met corporate recruiters who asked qualifying questions irrelevant to my skill set, was thrown large cash bonus offers, and received the "why our company is the best" speech from CEOs. None of it mattered!

In the HR blogosphere, job seekers are advised how to market themselves. Companies are aflood with resumes. The inundation of potential hires has created space for under-qualified gatekeepers to ask stupid questions that scare away talent. The strategy for attracting talent is a major focus for every company, many of them are doing it wrong, and that is why their turnover is higher than their hire rate.

The best talent are those who have options, may be satisfied with their current employment, and have a history of business results that speak volumes.

Advice: if you are hiring someone for a six figure salary don't make the first point of contact a college intern. Hiring is a two way street and first impressions are important on both sides of the street.

There are 4 things that attract outstanding talent:
1. Leadership
2. Company Culture
3. Go-to-Market Strategy
4. Products and Services

This is Not a Test
I sat down with a CEO who rushed into a high rise building, drilled me with challenging questions, and proceeded to tell me that I was too tame. Leaders at the highest level should not assume that they have the right to dictate what job seekers want. Arrogance is the least form of leadership.

People want leaders who are accessible. We want to see an uncompromising vision, a passion for their company, and the consistent adaptation to change (which means you may have to admit your company is not perfect).

Leaders have to walk the walk! The vision laid out from the stage at the international company meeting will be exposed as executive bravado if you are faking it. If you exist in an ivory tower the folks in the trenches will know it. Don't ask for bottoms up feedback if you are not planning to take action on employee feedback.

How Does It Feel
I remember sitting in an orientation at a company I had joined when one employee told another that their idea for program improvement was stupid. I knew at that moment that I was in a bad environment. Great companies will expose you to a variety of employees in the hiring process. Of course, no company is perfect and some employees are more candid than others. Wouldn't you rather know in advance how people treat one another than to sign a contract and then find out the real story.

Progress is made through collaborative, progressive thought leadership. Titles are not protected in great companies. Internal competition is merely a way for individuals to get over on one another. It serves no relevance to organizational progress.

Newsflash: it is OK to be nice!

Sales People Must Be Lead By Sales People
If I am working as a sales executive leading a team in a 7 figure deal, I need to be assured that the leadership in my organization understands every element of getting that done. This means the VP of Sales better have carried a bag longer than I have been alive. You cannot pretend to know the roller coaster of sales if you have never sold. Operational and Administrative mind frames are budget aware, Sales is a strategic revenue producing game! You cannot be a dog if you are a cat - stop pretending!

"You can fool some people, some time, but you can't fool all the people all the time" - Bob Marley

Bottom Line Capabilities
I hearken back to Simon Sinek and the golden circle: people don't buy what you do they buy why you do it. With this in mind, products cannot be the driving force in your go-to-market strategy. There are, however, minimum qualifications. If your product doesn't work, I cannot sell it. If you tell me your product can do something it cannot, I will not buy it.

Innovate or Perish!
The adaptation to change speaks to all of the aforementioned characteristics of what makes a company great! Every day is a new opportunity to experience something new, there is no finish line, and highly engaged people appreciate a challenge. Those who wish to stand still will be run over.

If you are an outstanding company you live every day with the motivation of what can be done not what has been done.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Getting to Know You

I remember a VP once told me not to get too close to my team. This way, it would be easier to discipline those who were not achieving. Just yesterday, my son asked me if I ever had to fire anyone. I told him I do not believe in firing people. As he persisted, I told him that when people seek direction it is the leaders job to help them. If you give up on those who most desire your expertise, you are not a leader.

So the story goes...great leaders are willing to dispel formality in the interest of genuinely engaging their employees. Performance reviews may be a legal necessity, but no one ever gained a thing from discussing their inabilities. You can heap gift cards on any employee but it will not effect their ability to achieve. Days off are nice for some, but if you love your work, time off can actually be a motivational detractor. People want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to wake up every day and dive into something that they believe in. Employees want to be assured that their ideas matter and that their effort is making a difference. People want to work in a place where they feel comfortable expressing themselves. Money is less important to people who are genuinely fulfilled on the job.

If we allow access to the control room, we build trust. With trust in place employees realize their worth instead of asking for validation. If you are an accessible leader unforeseen problems do not exist and everything is fixable. If your organization is transparent people are not forced to guess their value.

It takes courage to get to know your employees. Managing by the numbers is an act of cowardice.

Empower Change
We are in an interesting time of organizational development. The ivory tower is being replaced by bottoms up collaboration. People are the differentiator of any great organization: give them enough freedom to produce, show you care about their intentions, and your organizational will flourish.

Ask & Listen
How do you check the pulse of your organization? Survey, focus group, enterprise application suggestion box...?

There are 3 simple ways to understand what is going on in the trenches:
1. Ask Often
2. Make the results metric
3. Take action

The easiest way to discourage engagement in your organizational culture is to ask for input but take no action.

Encourage the Bold
In some organizations participation is suggested but not encouraged. A forum for idea sharing is set up but those who speak up are put on the "people to fire" list.

The door to the board room must be open: transparency builds trust.

The cause that you represent as an organization is far more important than numbers or graphs. The people who perform the work are not assets or capital...they are human beings who choose to make your company better. Respect for sweat equity should be a pillar of any leadership style!

The formula is simple:
- Listen and take action!
- Let culture lead!   
- Show you care by empowering those willing to help!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Less Simple Path

The legend of Zappos continues. Barbara Walters recently did a 20/20 piece on Tony Hsieh and his roving band of costume wearing customer service advocates. Astonishment crosses the face of the corporate accountant who tours the Zappos facility to find young people doing aerobics to start their work day. While Tony Hsieh seems to have mastered the ability to build culture, his real strength lies in his ability to convince us that the job is all fun....

Zappos (like every other company) has inter-personal disputes and customer service issues. The difference is that problems are much easier to dispel when collaborative culture leads. By Tony's own admission, if you are passionate about your purpose; the profits come naturally. Which leads us to Simon Sinek....

In his book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek mirrors Tony Hsieh's sentiment by letting culture lead. His contention is that "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it".

Both leaders have allowed transparency as a guiding light in their organizational strategy:
- People have been conditioned to believe that their "work self" is not their true self.
- The things we hide are easy to discover.
- Open and Honest are cross streets on the road to progress.

You are the only YOU...
I am convinced that self-empowerment is the single most important element of success. Unfortunately, most people would rather listen to others than to trust themselves.

- There is too much information to disprove any motivation you may have to try something new!
- There are too many people who will tell you that you cannot do that thing you may wish to!
- Facts and figures couldn't be wrong, could they?

There is a jumbled grab bag of excuses at your disposal. It is extraordinarily easy to not do something, no one will fault you for playing it safe, and when you don't try you can always pretend to possess a certain ability.

You CAN pretend to be who you are not!
I would agree that one should concentrate on what they are good at and let it drive. But, I would not rule out someone who wanted to step out of their comfort zone. Too often, I hear leaders tell employees that they are not a fit for a certain role. This is a simple way for a person to manage talent instead of challenging people to expand their skill set.

Make it harder!
Don't play it safe. Don't accept the norm. Don't pretend you are happy if you are not. Don't listen to people that wish not to inspire you. Don't allow people to tell you that you are not talented.

Set your own rules. Push yourself. Create opportunity. Stop listening to criticism and put on your i-pod.

There are no set rules. There are no limits. Only you can determine how this story will end.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, October 8, 2012

A Call to Action

I am a person who has never been afraid to put myself out there. When it came time to volunteer, I was there! Volunteering takes courage, a willingness to fail, and the ability to laugh at yourself. Today, we are talking about volunteering to support a cause - the cause of YOU!

"If not me, then who?" - Jesse Ventura

I am a sales professional, a keynote speaker, and a youth soccer coach. The similarity in these occupations is the subjection to criticism. Sales people are forced live a life of aggressive uncertainty. The highs are joyous and short-lived, the lows are lonely and seemingly eternal. There is nothing glamorous about being in sales.

Such is our plight......

You will discover that only those who walk the tight rope know the joy of reaching the platform. There are those who are content to sit arms folded while the world takes shape around them...I am not one of those people.

Be Bold!

It is difficult to get in front of a group of people to present an unproven idea. To stand up for that which you believe in seems simple; it is not! In retrospect, there are billions of people who dare not try and are the first to judge.....this is why there are 100,000 people in the stands and 22 on the field.

Fear Nothing.....
In his book, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living", the great Dale Carnegie urges us to start with the end in mind. The aforementioned practice depletes worry by dispelling consequences. Think about it...of everything you have stressed over, what evil undoing actually resulted? None to the extent your worry might intend....!

Some of us got tired of waiting for things to happen and took action. We couldn't sit around and watch the conclusion unfold without having a say in it. We got up, fell down, and put effort into that thing in which we believed in....because we didn't believe the assumptions. We saw that which had been achieved and honored our obligation to make it better. 'Tis better to give than to take!

Numbers lie, people protect what they cannot replicate, and the easiest thing in life is to proclaim how would things would be if you were in charge. If you wanted to be in charge, you would be!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, October 5, 2012

The Unbreakable Spirit

I had heard an educator say that discipline was necessary, but that she did not want to break her pupils spirit. As is often the case, the things we teach our children are directly applicable to those who dare to teach.

Our economic climate has been 'questionable at best' for the past several years. The uncertainty of business challenges can often evoke reactionary tones. In reality there is no challenge too great and only greater opportunity. Those bold enough to fight back almost always find a way to win.

You can walk out of your door today and find a thousand people that will give you a thousand excuses for what cannot be done. This is why we are so surprised when someone actually empowers us to do things assumed out of our reach.

This is the part of the movie, where I look you in the eye and tell you that you can do anything...because you can.

Your spirit is's why:

The future is not determined!
Possibility bases assumptions in the past. Those who have "been there and done that" believe that they hold the flame. It has been proven, however, that those who tout former achievements only do so because they cannot repeat them. Progress cannot be protected.

Negativity is a virus..positivity is infectious!
In the world of Employee Engagement we talk about the ripple effect. How the spirit of recognizing achievement is contagious. When we allow one another to celebrate, we focus on winning

To the contrary, if you let little things derail you they seem to ruin your entire day. Bad days are often an affect of a few annoying incidents that snowball. If you think today will suck, it will!

Dare them to knock you down..and watch them run when you get up!
No matter what you do there are 2 traits that will guarantee success: hard work & perseverance.

If you don't have enough time in your day, wake up earlier and/or stay up later. If you lose a deal and you have 20 others pending, the loss hurts less. Accountability is only a bad word if you did not recognize your commitment. Hindsight is a mofo!

Losing is difficult to accept. No matter what you do in life, losing is inevitable. To learn from one's mistakes and grow is the only option.

Be Humble is Victory and Accountability in Defeat!

Don't Forget to Remember,


Monday, October 1, 2012

Positive Change

For a the last few years we have been inundated with information about the changing generations in the workplace. Countless technologies are emerging. With every day, new techniques for engaging the workforce are being presented as "game changers". Change is inevitable, but there will always be those apprehensive to strap on the jet pack and fly into the future.

Throughout this year, I have had conversations with HR Professionals in an effort to empower strategic relevance within their organizations. Often, I hear that the Executives in many companies are those most reluctant to change...?

We fear change because we feel threatened. With the right strategy in place, a threat becomes an opportunity!

Open Spaces
The process of change is less about organizational overhaul and more often a call to influence behavior. Employee Engagement is the process of transparent culture creating avenues for mutually beneficial goal setting. The process of opening doors once closed leaves nothing to hide. Middle managers can no longer minimize the motivation of their more ambitious talent, nor can employees highlight only their wins. Everyone sees everything....and that's a good thing.

Risk management is an unavoidable HR characteristic. But, covering up mistakes is a reaction not a strategy. We cannot pretend to be good at what we are not. We cannot be afraid to share our secrets of success.

We should applaud our willingness to expose our weaknesses in an effort to fix them. We should encourage the employee who is willing to take risks to evolve the company. Innovation is the result of challenging one another...but you have to be willing to ask for help once in a while.

Performance Without a Minimum
I remember the first day of wrestling practice in high school. I was in the weight room working my tail off. An upperclassman told me to slow down....I knew instantly that I would be taking his position on the starting squad. The practice of minimizing talent to harmonize culture happens everywhere. We don't want to rock the boat so we step back and blend into the wall paper. That is nonsense!

We should meet the new guy/girl with open arms; ready to accept the new ideas that they bring into our organization. We should not protect the company shield by accepting mediocrity as a guiding principle. When someone tells you "how things are done around here", that person should be the last person who you turn to for advice.

Everyone is a change agent. Anyone who seeks to corral talent is holding back the entire organization.

Hope as a Strategy
Change is not about minimizing budget it is about improving revenue. Numbers are driven by people and people need a reason to change. Improving production in a struggling economy is not an effect of reducing spend or headcount...production is guided by a series of business critical behaviors. You must discover the path to the basket before you can score. The numbers do not tell the whole story...perfecting small strides along the way is what makes up long term success.

That which we fear is what will make us better. We cannot pretend to be good at everything. We cannot hide our recipe for success. We must improve and evolve....every single day!

It (is not) what it is: If you have come to accept mediocrity, you have given up! Our time here is far too precious to pretend our human existence is a commodity!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012


First there was Maslow who created an avenue to employee benefits, then Employee Rewards, and more recently Employee Engagement. Today, Culture seems to be the buzz word.

We are consistently evolving employee rights into human improvement strategy. The fluff is gone and even kindness has an ROI metric:
~ Does a rewards strategy cheapen the process of recognition?
~ If we build metrics of profitability to drive our Employee Rewards strategy, have we turned the
process of saying thank you into a commoditized system?

Human effort cannot be commoditized, nor can we simply hug someone and expect to retain them as an employee.

Creating an engaged company culture is extremely difficult because it takes thought, the formulation of relevant initiatives, and an ability to drive results through employee adoption.

When the aforementioned are aligned - 3 things happen:
  • Organizational transparency creates engaged company culture
  • One's participation in building an engaged culture creates personal empowerment
  • Organizational engagement permeates beyond the four walls of any company
The Key to Organizational Engagement
I have conducted a forum on Cultivating Employee Engagement throughout 2012. While the preferred methods for cultivating employee engagement vary, we have all agreed that creating transparency is necessary:
~ Enterprise applications are replacing performance reviews.
~ Executives are polling employees for thought leadership from the trenches.
~ Core Values and departmental objectives are aligned to create mutually beneficial success.

The silos are being removed, the executives are listening, and programs once viewed as fluff are driving revenue production.

How Does It Feel?
All corporations have a commitment to community service because we all come to realize that it is better to give than receive. Perks that were used as recruitment bargaining tools are being replaced with a need for purpose. We are discovering what Tony Hsieh knew long ago: when you put purpose and passion together, the profits come naturally. It's about people not numbers!

HR is no longer an administrative department. Employee performance evaluations are being replaced by people empowerment initiatives. Leaders in HR are taking bold strides to
change organizational cultures through programs that challenge convention. We are disrupting the accepted norm for the sake of open and honest company goals!

I'm Out of Here!
~ How does it effect your company culture when an employee leaves?
~ Does leadership shun the departed individual as a "bad egg"?
~ Are customer's upset by losing a valued partner?
~ Do you pretend your former comrade no longer exists?

Your internal culture feeds everything. The way you treat your employees is transparent to your customers and competitors. If an employee has no faith in your company culture, she will be afraid to wear your logo at the local coffee shop. If an employee doesn't believe in your products and services, he will have trouble selling them. If leaders treat us like numbers on a spreadsheet, we will commoditize ourselves into obscurity.

This is the ripple effect of company culture. The things we discuss when the door is shut reveal themselves despite our intention to mask them. Our employees wear their joy (or discontent) on their faces. If we dislike our sucks....if we love what we do, we share it with the world.

It is time to tear down the silos, open the door, acknowledge our strengths (as well as our faults), and to strive every day to do things the right way!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, September 17, 2012

More Lessons From The Avett Brothers

I have always been a salesman (though I dislike that title). 5 years ago, I began selling solutions to HR Professionals. I was told I had to be "very cautious" in how I approached people in HR because they were intolerant of non-sense. Bummer...!

As I searched the social enterprise for HR knowledge I stumbled upon Punk Rock HR. The site's proprietor at the time was a young lady known as Laurie Ruettimann. Mrs. R was a former HR pro who got fed up with the formality of it all and used her blog to voice her real opinions. She was (and still is) a breath of fresh air in the reserved business world.

I identified with Punk Rock HR and I wanted to be part of it. So, I asked Laurie if I could write a guest post for her blog. She actually wrote me back asking what I was interested in writing about. I told her, Human Relations Lessons from The Avett Brothers. She promptly replied that she would publish it the next day!

Three years have gone by since my first post on Punk Rock HR, a few things remain stable in this ever-changing world: I can always count on Laurie Ruettimann for great content, the blogosphere (for lack of a better term) remains a safe haven for kindred spirits, and HR is continually growing fonder of candor (albeit, in its most polite form). On September 11th, The Avett Brothers released their new album The Carpenter. I thought it only fitting to revisit the band and their continued lessons in human relations:

"If I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die"
Before leaving for a recent business trip I told my son that he needed to be the man of the house when I was gone. My daughter (4 years old) over-heard the conversation and in terror asked me if I was going to die. While the end of the road is never expected, it is inevitable (let's keep that from the aforementioned 4 year old for now). In awareness of our fleeting time on earth, I am continually reminding myself of two things:
"You and I know all too well about the hell and paradise right here on earth"
In the movie "down by law" a man learning English through random human experiences shares the term, "its a sad and beautiful world"...that one always stuck with me. We live in contradictions. Each day is met with wins and losses. Managing the ups and downs is the art of our existence. I had also heard it said that things are never as good or bad as they originally seem. While the Avett Brothers songs are filled with emotion, the workplace is not an opera hall in North Carolina....I know you try hard and take pride in your work, but try not to get emotional in the workplace!

"I have some better words now but its too late to say them to you"
One of life's great misfortunes is losing people in our journey through time. Friends do things to you that cannot be fixed, a boss may have to fire you, and people die. We always envision our final conversation but it seldom plays out in reality as it did in our mind...such is life!

Our professional existence is run amok with goodbyes: we lose a deal, a workplace friend moves on to another job, and sometimes a co-worker dies. When an employee quits on you the initial reaction is denial...eventually we come to understand their reason for departure. People don't leave jobs, they leave bosses, and often two very compatible people are held apart by an inability to communicate.

The blogosphere has been a safe haven for me. I don't need anyone to tell me I am an author. All I need is for a friend to call me and say my writing made their day.

So I will conclude by saying Thank the Avett Brothers, my friend Laurie Ruettimann, and those who gain something from my need to share what's on my mind.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Character is not a Cartoon

I am honored to have received the Faculty MVP award at the 2012 Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute! My vision going into the event was to give back to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Admittedly, I had not participated in fraternity activity for a long while. Knowing only the benefit that fraternity life has had on my career, I left Silicon Valley and ventured to Ohio. Instead of talking to HR Professionals about employee engagement, I would be talking to college men about the benefits on their fraternal experience. I dove in and am humbled to understand that my effort was appreciated!

With every day I become more a parent than a participant. I find myself helping young people channel their energy for good. Beautifully boring, perfectly present!

Fraternities were drinking clubs in 1992 when I joined...things have changed. Character building through philanthropy and education have become the name of the game. The fraternity is now a moral foundation instead of a risk-riddled social club. Within a few hours of being in Oxford Ohio, I knew I would be learning as much as I taught.

I have always been an independent spirit. With every instruction, a question. With every conveyed virtue, an eyebrow raised. Yet, in all I have done my intent was never to hurt anyone (least of all myself). As we grow, we reflect. In our limited time we have less tolerance for tom foolery and more direct focus on producing meaningful effort.

Character is essential in finding true meaning!
There are no short cuts
The world is full of liars and cheaters...and many of them have large bank accounts. Money is just paper! I work very hard and take pride in my professional achievement but I know better than to let my career engulf me. At the moment I see disappointment in my son's face, I know it is time to shut down the lap top and give him attention. No one ever wishes they spent more time at work when on their death bed.

They are laughing at you...
I have a storied past of being a show off. I was loud and ever-active. Always willing to participate, often over-opinionated. People were always willing to cheer me on from the side lines...they were applauding my willingness to try more than the results that my effort produced. While it is honorable to be known as a person who always tried hard, I would rather do good things for the right reasons.

What will your gravestone say?
The days are long but the year's go by quickly...

We spend certain afternoons stressing over deadlines. We toss and turn at night debating our ability to put bread on the table...and none of it really matters!

All the money in the world will not replace a walk in the park with your child's tiny hand in yours. There has never been a meeting that has produced better dialog than the after-school commute. We all have a job to do, but the content matters less than the intent of your professional mission.

Are you doing the right things with the right people?
Are you honest in your approach to success?
Would your son be honored to sit at your desk?

Understand what is genuinely important and allow that intent to guide your every decision. To achieve something of true meaning is difficult! Pursue the difficult!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Motivation Inventory

Everyone loves a comeback story. The person who has been beaten down, persevered, and has overcome adversity. Some have great expectations put upon them and fail to instantly exercise their full potential, others are simply written off from the get-go.

Lebron James recently won an NBA championship. He had received great criticism for exuding too much confidence in his ability without producing the requisite results. Tony Romo won the first NFL game of the season, a man who has been labeled as under-confident. We often do not choose the labels put upon us or the expectations they manifest.
Ultimately, Lebron James stopped watching TV and played basketball. Tony Romo ignored an off-season full of talk radio doubters and went out and played football. Actions speak louder than words, expectations are often deflections, and when the work call sounds we have to get the job done.

Others will always find a way to doubt you. They perceive a weakness and use a single instance to assault your character. As an individual, you can allow others to commoditize your human character or you can prove them wrong through your ability. Indeed, your future has no greater compass than your birthright to take the wheel and drive.

Your degree of success can be measured by asking yourself 3 questions at day's end:
1. Have I done everything I was supposed to do today?
2. Am I motivated by facts or opinions?
3. What do I really want out of life?

No one is with you every minute of every day. Only you know how hard you have tried or if you chose to do less than you are capable of. Be realistic with yourself. If you have done everything in your power to succeed you know you are a success. If you have pulled back your effort you cannot deny that you could have done more.

Degree of Influence
There are people who you fly across the country to have dinner with and those who you ignore at the local market. The people who inspire us are those we should try to emulate. The best employees have the best bosses. Great bosses inspire greatness instead of demanding results. Take inventory of the people with whom you interact on a daily basis. Give the greatest degree of attention to those who show you the most respect. Achievement is the result of doing things for the right reason with the right people.

Get Busy Livin'
If you dislike your job it is nobodies fault but your own. You have the power to navigate your motivation, alter your perception, and change your attitude. On any given day you can make a commitment to change your life. All you have to do is question the things that are consuming your motivation and assess if they are worth your time.

Do you do things because you want to or because you have to...?

You should be doing the things you want to be doing!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Have You Forgotten...?

As we kiss the summer sun goodbye, we tighten the reigns on the horse called motivation. There are goals to be met, quotas to be attained, and people to be directed. The sun deck gives way to snow plows, the short sleeves are traded for sweaters, and we immerse ourselves in the back stretch of another successful year. For some, it is a time to make up for the work they missed during the summer months, others keep grinding....and there are those who ponder their professional existence.

Do you love your job? is not only possible to love your job, it is mandatory. I am not talking about satisfaction, I am talking about living your professional mission. You spend most of your waking hours at work, if you don't love what you do, you are cheating yourself.

Have you become apathetic?

...are you the person on the team that thinks everything is played out? Do you tell others, "it's just a job". Eliminating emotion from work is essential, but apathy is nothing more than a form of cowardice.

You know you don't want to be that person!

...The practice of pretending you are "too cool for school" is a result of the fact that you tried and failed. Instead of getting back on your horse, you stayed on the porch and rolled your eyes at those who were part of the charge.

It's Time to Get Your Groove Back!

Your Company Doesn't Matter
At any given point you can look at your company directives and call them detached from reality. No matter where you go, there will be people who you see through. Products will fail, you will lose based on things that are out of your control, and you may be passed over for a promotion because the boss' son graduated from college.

It's very easy to concentrate on what is not working....and to let the world defeat you!

You can say you tried being a team player and all is it got you was more work and distraction from your personal development. Life works that way! You will not fail if you never try nor will you grow if you do not accept the challenge that the world is bigger than yourself.

Celebrate People
I was once told by my Vice President not to get too close to my team....worst advice ever!

People are complex. Our thought process tends to take us away from our physical presence...and then we do stupid things. So if you are "in the moment", you are going to be annoyed if I didn't have my $5 bill in hand before I ordered. Deal with it!

I get it: you are smart, you are prepared, and you try hard. Therefore, you reserve the right to expect everyone to live up to your standard of excellence.

Ask yourself this: has your standard of excellence done any GOOD for anyone else?

...or is your preparation driven by your personal right of entitlement?

The easy thing is to surround yourself with people who validate your sense of entitlement. It is more difficult to step out and be challenged. Are you sitting on the porch because you know more than everyone or have you learned all you feel you are capable of and care not to reveal your vulnerability?

"...Have You Forgotten How to Love Yourself..." - Mark Kozelek

Don't Forget to Remember!