Monday, March 26, 2018

Happy Birthday Marley

Happy Birthday Marmalade -
I'm acutely aware that you are officially old enough to read this blog so I'll try not to embarrass you. I've been writing these letters to you before you could even read. I guess it's just my way of telling you how proud I am to know you while sharing a little bit of advice about how to navigate this wonderful merry-go-round called life.

10 years ago you were born on your Grandpa's 70th birthday. Because you are great at math you can ascertain that Grandpa is now super-old. He's also an amazing human being (there is no coincidence that you were born on the same day).

I am a macho dude so it is somewhat embarrassing that a 10 year old girl has achieved more in her young life than I ever will. Actually, I'm not macho at all and I couldn't be more proud of your achievements. You have earned every medal you have ever won and me being your coach may have made things seem more difficult from time to time. Sorry... I'm not sorry, I've never enjoyed anything in the world more than coaching you and your friends. You have a great group of friends!

In life there are people who receive things they do not deserve because they take short cuts. Fear not, the pretenders are always exposed and karma is a Motherfucker (don't tell your Mom I used that phrase).

There is nothing in life more fulfilling than earning success. The first time you cross over into the world of cheaters, you can never come back. Stay the course, keep working hard and I promise you that all your dreams will come true!

I met your mom in a bar, I haven't left her side since. Like you, she has the determination of a lion! I am so proud of her every day... she works hard to keep all the details organized all while being kind to everyone she meets (PS - when she yells at me, I deserve it).

Your brother came into this earth with a full head of hair. I was nervous before he was born but when I saw his beautiful face I knew exactly why the good lord put me on this earth. I know you don't recognize it now but your brother will always be your biggest fan, your protector and the person who is the closest link to your family.

As the years go by you will earn amazing achievements: championships, outstanding grades, promotions..... But, the best things in life come to us in the moments in-between. I'm so happy to have been able to spend the moments in-between with you.

I want to share a memory with you:

... There was a game we were losing, and you were frustrated, then kicked the ball the entire length of the field into the goal (right before the final whistle). Everyone around cheered!!! They were not aware who won the game, all they saw was your amazing athletic accomplishment!

You were so proud of yourself in that moment.

You should ALWAYS be proud of yourself!

You have a good heart. You genuinely care about people. You never give up. You are loyal to the people who love you. You are respectful. You know to listen before you talk. You make everyone who knows you proud to be your friend.

With all you know, I know my time of advising is coming to an end. Just remember one thing:

Respect Everyone But Don't Take Shit From Anyone!

I Love You So Much, Marley!

Welcome To The Double Digits!



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Hitch in the Hierarchy: Bridging Manager/Employee Relationships

Back in 2014, I conducted a training for the Northern California Human Resource Association entitled: Our Three Audiences

The goal was to workshop the avenues in which Human Resources is the one true conduit to all organizational functions: Employees, Managers & Executives.

We continue to use buzz words to evolve the HR profession, but our most important function still focuses on bridging workforce gaps.

The New Rules of Engagement were conceptualized 6 years ago yet they remain relevant. To paraphrase the first New Rule of Engagement:

People Don't Leave Companies, They Leave Managers

Just last week in a session I conducted at HR West, this topic resurfaced to guide an impassioned debate.

There are 3 pillars in the Manager/Employee relationship that still demand our attention:
1. Managers have to embrace team strategy & individual development separately
2. Silos have to be destroyed
3. HR has to be a safe space

A Cup of Coffee and a Napkin 
One to one strategy is as important as overall team strategy (which creates twice the amount of work for managers). We tend to blame managers for poor employee relationships while demanding 10x from them as we do their direct reports.

The problem is that one-to-one time between managers and employees is usually spent crunching numbers and discussing expectations; said meetings seldom end with a smile and a pat on the back.

We revisit the SCARF methodology. Employees are individually motivated in one of 5 ways:
Status - I want to climb the ladder
Certainty - If I'm succeeding, recognize me! If I'm failing, help!
Autonomy - Leave me alone
Relatedness - I want to party with my Co-Workers
Fairness - I need to be reassured that the playing field is level

SCARF has been dismissed as a buzz word. This is because organizations over-emphasize it's important to performance management.

All it takes is a 10 minutes meeting for a manager to have his/her employee stack rank the five motivational objectives above from most to least important. This will give a manager a guiding light as to how to motivate individual performance.

An Exit Interview as an Introduction
People don't leave managers... they leave micro-managers.... who prohibit people from reaching beyond their silo to seek holistic motivation.

A managers primary objective should be to get every one of their employees promoted!

3 things happen when managers embrace Servant Leadership:
1. Employees find people in the organization who possess leadership skills that their manager doesn't
2. The manager is not stressed to fill time adapting outside of their skill set
3. Everybody wins

Managers who seek to keep their employees under their thumb hinder everyones opportunity for success!


Do Something About It!
HR Professionals need to be dangerously honest when reflecting upon the past:

If an employee complains about a manager:
- Do you use this as a format for dialogue?
- .... A means to red flag an employee?
- .... An alert to protect said manager?

Two of the three above options defeat the purpose of being a Human Resource and have been the grounds workplace abuse for years.

At the very least, an employee should never feel that going to HR means the end of their tenure at your company.

Reality check: this stigma still exists!     

In simple terms: HR's commitment to organizational advancement (or at least survival) starts with:
  • Providing Managers a format for relationship building
  • Advocating open dialogue

All You Need Is Love:
~ Be Proactive 
~ Gain Trust
~ Bridge The Gap

Don't Forget to Remember!