Thursday, May 28, 2015

David & Goliath

"David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword"
- 1 Samuel 17

The opposition to bullying has been given appropriate attention in the modern age. When I was a youth, bullying took the characterization of a larger person physically confronting a smaller person. Times have changed. 

Today, bullies take many shapes and forms: The boss who micro-manages his employees to the point of self-hatred, the HR lady who passive aggressively drives innocent employees out of organizations, the father who uses his children to fuel his empty ego, the straight A student who uses her intellect to dwarf the intelligence of others. 

The wonderful thing about those who use false pretense as a means of authority is that their power is baseless. 

I've never been the largest person on a team (usually the smallest), the smartest person in the room or the man with the most money. I take pride in that. I would venture to guess my namesake has given me the Underdog Mentality from the day I was born. I've learned through experience that the bully always ends up on the ground. 

If that which motivates you is fueled by anger, revenge and/or a need to fix something from your irreversible past; you are on the wrong track. Decisions fueled by negativity only make bad things worse. Your anger backs up on you if you fail to address it, it multiplies if you use it against others. Passive aggression is a form of bullying, using a title as a positioning tactic is a form of bullying, using your intelligence to embarrass others is also a bullying tactic. You can be the smallest person in the room and still be a bully. If all you have is your hatred, you need to check yourself!

Each day is a battle... a competition... a great strife. It takes courage to take on each day. You must ignore negativity. The bully will always catch you off guard, they may embarrass you, but soon enough you will stand over them.  

We often assess that which we are pursuing to understand if it is worth the effort. Indeed, it is meaningless to chase something that has no significant end-game. We do, however, need to investigate each day with the curiosity of a child and the willingness to learn from our mistakes. Otherwise, what are we fighting for...?

"There is Winning and There is Misery" - Pat Riley

What is your ambition? 

I'm not talking about your occupation or even your motivation. We all face the mirror each morning, we all lace up our shoes and find a way to make it work.

Beyond That....

If you work each day simply to avoid making mistakes, you are wasting your precious time. If you play the game simply for the relief of not losing, the pursuit is joyless.

What do you want to do with all of your heart and soul? How would you develop the courage to behead the bully?

The thing that separates bullies from those who slay them is strength of ambition. If you want it bad enough, are willing to put the work in and challenge yourself to think differently.... you can achieve anything! 

Bullies are always complacent. They gave up caring a long time ago and use each day as a temporary transition to get to their next altercation. Sooner or later, complacency gives way to complete and total demoralization and the giant is cast out into the forest alone, with no ability to recreate the temporary power he had but did not earn.

Your greatest courage comes from your genuine intent. Your ambition is driven by that which really matters to you. If you know what you are fighting for, you can slay any giant!

Slaying the giant is the easy part. Discovering your purpose....? That may take a lifetime. It's never too late!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, May 22, 2015


"My hands miss you, my arms miss you...the stars sing I've got their song in my head" - John Roderick 

This is a glorious time of year. Winter's slumber has awaken to sunshine, the kids are out in the field and some will have their last glimpse of innocence.

I remember the day I graduated High School. I was two towns over at my girl friend's house (the rough side of town) attending a keg party. My friend and I darted home to put on our caps and gowns. I stumbled through the door (high as a kite) into a room full of relatives, friends and neighbors... all there to celebrate my life's transition from boyhood to manhood. They applauded thunderously, aware of my altered state of mind and seemingly OK with it. I had both feet out the door.

I love hearing commencement speeches. The optimism people are able to impart upon those less experienced as they turn the page unto another chapter in their lives. What a privilege to advise others based on your experience (good or bad). Just for a moment, on that day in the sunshine on the football field, I felt an enormous pride in what I had achieved and I was excited about the boundless possibility ahead.

I spent the summer between college and high school working construction to ensure I had plenty of money for beer and weed. I attended concerts, kissed girls, enjoyed real-life conversations with my friends and said good bye to Mother Michigan. It was truly a wonderful time.

Before you flip your tassel consider this....

I can tell you that my best friends from grade school are still great friends. We talk seldom and pick up the conversation where we left off. You will meet people who require too much of your energy or who suck your resources without reciprocation. It's important to recognize the difference between real friends and passengers.

In this life you will experience one true love. If you haven't found it, wait until you do. You'll never forgive yourself for letting go of the person this world has created for you. You'll break a hundred hearts making up for it. Between then and now, you will experience love from a few others... it is fleeting and while you think your life may end without them... you will survive! Years from now, you may see their picture on Facebook and wonder why in the world you thought you loved them.

You will meet people who refuse not to be your friend. That person who sticks with you when are being an asshole, gets you home safe when you drink too much and who feed your narcissism to make you feel better. These, too, are true friends!

There is nothing more important in this world than great teachers and great bosses. You will know when you sit in a classroom with that teacher who makes you shake your head in wonderment of how they understand you so well. You'll count on one hand the bosses who make you feel safe, trusted and empowered simply by resting a hand on your shoulder.

The things that keep you up at night will fuel your success. These are also things that are not worth worrying about.

"To find someone you love, you've gotta be someone you love" - Nada Surf

If Jesus came back upon the earth today people would outcast him as a dirty hippy. If Steve Jobs sat next to you in a bar, you would move down a stool due to his odor. If Albert Einstein presented at your company conference you would laugh him off the stage.

If you have reservations about the judgement of others, you will achieve nothing. You will always be judged until you prove your worth... 90% of that battle is simply getting up the courage to get on stage.

Missing people is the sign of a good heart. Worrying about failure is an inability to accept it.

You can assure yourself that everything will be OK. And maybe everything won't be OK, but the sentiment is what matters.

Take advice with a grain of salt but accept nothing as an undeniable truth.

Be humble in victory and accountable in defeat.

If you notice a girl has a new hair style... compliment her, compliment her shoes too!

... and call your parents, friends, and siblings on their birthday... call them!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, May 18, 2015

The Now Unavoidable Sea Change

2015 has presented opposition to the phraseology: Employee Engagement. This in backlash to the conglomeration of "vendors" who have taken a well-intended concept and turned it into a transaction. Nothing is sacred, especially when you are an HR services provider.

For this reason, Dr. Brad Shuck and Rodd Wagner are on a mission. Their goal is to present in rational fashion the Behavioral Economics and Statistical Relevance of engaging employees. Call it what you want to... but call it what is specific to YOUR organization. 

Employee Engagement cannot be a commodity because it means something different to every organization. Without properly identifying the holistic purpose of your employees collective existence, you will Kill The Meaning of employee engagement. 

Here's what we do know:
  • People wish to be lead not managed.
  • Trust is the most important benefit you can afford any employee.
  • There is an unwritten social contract in every organization that favors the individual contributor.

People drink too much, eat too little, cheat on their spouses and disown their children due to stress at work. This is not an emotional ploy to upset you into being more engaged... it's a fact. When life sucks at work, you take it home with you. 

Your wife may not know you hate your job through the words you say, but you wear it on your liver. Every time we attempt to scare our employees into productivity, a baby puppy dies.... and we all stand aside and let it happen.

Not any more!

The rules of engagement are changing. People care less about money and more about work/life balance. We've seen our parents suffer unnecessary stress enough to make better lives for ourselves. We'd rather our children know their parents than to guilt them into a charade of perfection. Save the big houses, fancy suits and gas guzzling muscle cars. We'd prefer to unplug on a Tuesday afternoon so as not to miss a baseball game with our kids. 

The great Steve Jobs himself commented that he would not hire an employee to tell them what to do.... much to the contrary! 

The Jesuits, Harvard Professors and the boys from Pied Piper share a common goal:

Don't accept yesterday's standards, create tomorrow's possibility!

The boomerang of reciprocity has never swung with swifter intent. Personal brands are stronger than company logos and there ARE more job opportunities than qualified candidates. If you are not creating a career path within your organization for your employees they will create their own.

LinkedIn can be used to promote ones organization or to promote ones self... and they work in tandem (regardless of intent). Every Rock Star candidate that you interview checks Glassdoor before they sit with you. Employers are on trial: micro-management and inhumane recruitment practices only hurt company brands. People have more options than you think, and if you don't realize that, your internal talent pool probably sucks!

If you trust your employees to promote your brand they are a 24/7 advocacy firm. The best marketing campaign is word of mouth from employees who love working for you. 

The Great Obi-Won Kenobi taught that the force is most powerful when you submit yourself to it

Your employees are not YOUR employees. They are not property or head count or human capital. 

Companies are no longer in control of the employee life cycle. The one way street is now a 16 lane highway. 

Human Beings Are Not Widgets!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Climbing The Bracket

A thrilling episode of Silicon Valley revealed a very real workforce trend:

Internal Competition

An engineer grew insecure when presuming that a new hire made more money than he did. His assumption was only a matter of perception but it affected his performance.

Friendly competition has been driving results in organizations for as long as Game Mechanics have existed. But what happens when internal competition becomes unfriendly?

Are you competing with your co-workers for the betterment of the team?

Do personal differences affect the way you view others in the workplace?

Is your effort trumped by the perceptual value of more popular workplace personalities?

Is your sense of competition driven by jealously?

The Behavioral Economics behind Game Theory stipulate that competition should exist for the betterment of everyone playing the game. The basis of the competition should be to produce better results and evolve innovation.

Even the Bible states: "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" - Proverbs 27:17

The Behavioral Economy nor the Words of the Prophet take into account that we humans are egotistical.

- We say we don't want to be recognized for our effort, but we do!
- We pretend not to care when we are passed up for promotion, then we go home and revise our resume.
- We pretend the words of our superior officers are ineffective, but we have to play the game to get ahead.
- We want to blow off that which is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but the little things are what usually drive us away from companies.

You can be tweaked by the unfair nature of your workforce conundrum and still win every day!


1. Allow collaboration to drive your workforce strategy.
2. Use your competitive nature to build a safety net.

Give More Than You Take

What could be more simple than treating people with dignity? Yet, we allow our ego to cast us into desolation, unemployable and alone.

Does the heat of the moment get the best of you?
Are you incapable of controlling your emotions?
Are you focused on winning or do you just want to have it YOUR way?

Let go of the little battles. When it is time to put your sword in the ground be graceful.

Respect every opinion. Ask questions more than you instruct. Let logic lead.

People love coming to conclusions. They love it even more when they think they came up with the idea.

ALWAYS Have a Back Up Plan 
Loyalty is a lost art in today's workforce. You can differentiate yourself simply by following orders. Too much loyalty can also leave you without options.

The worst thing that could happen is that you lose your job. If you know exactly how long you can stand to be without a pay check, and build your back up plan according, you are invincible!

If your fear of unemployment was replaced with the knowledge that you can have 5 other jobs, you'll be less likely to curl up into a ball when your boss bullies you.

YOU are in control of whom you entrust to be part of your network. The Social Enterprise affords you the option to display your skills every day (and you can do it in promotion of your current company).

It's Your Time Now!

You are in control of your future. You should strive to protect it.... Every Day!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

What She Said

Those of us who have half a brain are often put off by the careless phrase turning that stupefies American popular culture these days. While I'm sure she hired a team of song writers to come up with such simplistic mind dribble, we cannot argue the words of Ta Ta Swift:

Few write blog posts because its easier to comment upon the words created by another. People seldom create because creation takes an ability to combat adversity. There are 5 people on the court and 30,000 in the stands. It's just easier to be negative! It's easier to complain about what you don't have instead of committing to earn what you want.

I am of the belief that everyone has something to contribute. We just seem to disguise our need to contribute in the voice of confrontation. Most who post negative comments usually revert to less offensive language when counter-punched with intelligence. We all want to be loved, some just mask it in anger's ugly cousin called sarcasm.

If You Could Of... You Would Of!
It is always disappointing to see people squash the enthusiasm of the those whom life has yet to defeat. "I tried it, it'll never work", are the words of someone who is incapable of re-engineering a solution to a problem.

What terrible dismay one must face when he/she no longer has anything to contribute to the world.

There's Room For Everyone!
There are those who find an untapped market and settle in nicely. When the market changes so must the players in the game. Those incapable of evolving with workforce trends probably just got lucky.

The world is full of passive networkers that pretend to be your advocates. It's easy to identify them... they have one hand out and the other behind their back.

I am a very competitive person. I also realize the art of competition is raising the level of everyone in the game to make the game better. Those who compete simply to watch others lose need to put their head on a couch in a cold room.

We all just want to be loved!

Let Go!
I've been faced with leaving a job I thought I loved. I put it off for a long time... then when I left I wondered what that hell I was doing wasting my precious time.

This happens with personal relationships and the companies for whom we work.

It becomes obvious who the real players are when the game changes. Those who pretend to be in control are often surprised when they are left behind. The insignificant are often too dumb to realize that their greatest power lies in those they entrust to carry the torch.

Is it better to burn out or to fade away?

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, May 1, 2015

3 Keys to Inspired Performance

The terminology Employee Engagement has been over-used to the point that the inspiration behind the phrase has become a commodity. All those stupid studies that say only 10% of the workforce are engaged are total bullshit!

Really.... 1 in 10 people enjoy their job?
Really.... 9 out of 10 people would rather work somewhere else?

Give me a break!

I've been a blogger (for better and for worse) in the Human space for 8 years. There are a lot of people I thoroughly respect as HR Bloggers because they ignore convention and reflect the reality of the work experience... for each of the aforementioned thought leaders there are a million hacks that pretend to be smart while simply trying to sell a product.

Here's how to become a HACK blogger in 3 simple steps:
1. Site a survey or study.
2. Correlate said study to the product you sell.
3. Provide a banner ad to your product at the entry's conclusion.


You Deserve Better!

In actuality, there are tons of people who love their jobs, these are the same people who complain about their jobs at happy hour. The thing surveys and focus groups do not take into account is contradiction. Across the scope of any given day all humans will love and hate their place of employment. Humans are predictably irrational.

But we want the data... we want to put you all in a bucket to confirm that the way we have always done it is still working. What we don't want to admit is that we are wrong and if we don't change soon, we'll be out of business.

So let's scrap the term Employee Engagement, talk about what inspires us and admit that we're cool with our current job!

Your Relationship With Your Manager!
The purpose of the Manager is to improve their employees chance for organizational advancement. If your Manager feels different, hang in there! He or She will be unemployed before you will.

~ Executives are looking past Managers into their workforce for trend development.
~ Social applications are denying incompetent Managers the ability to protect their talent.
~ There is far greater evaluation of Manager performance than there is Employee performance as I write this post.

The Value Of Your Work!
Less than rewards, opportunity for advancement or even money; we want to know that the work we are doing means something.

Here's What We Want to Hear:
1. I'm going to take a chance on you.... don't make me regret it!
2. I wish everyone cared as much as you do!
3. We've got another team that could really use you!
4. The new girl in sales thinks you're cute!

Here's What We Don't Want to Hear:
1, ...because that's the way we've always done it.
2. You need to stay in your lane and stop caring so much.
3. I'm concerned about your direction and mine is the only opinion that matters.
4. The new girl in sales thinks you're creepy!

Run On The Highway
You should be willing to interact with anyone, anywhere and your organization should support your motivation!

If your Manager tells you to stick to your core function, he/she is incompetent, not you!

If your Manager uses the word "I" more than "We", they are covering their irrelevant ass!

If you are discouraged to represent your brand, your company hates you, and you should part ways.

Don't Forget To Remember!