Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Top 5 - 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We lost David Berman and Daniel Johnston.

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

Here's some stuff I love:


6. Phoenix by Pedro the Lion

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

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



5. Morbid Stuff by Pup

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

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




4. I Need A New War by Craig Finn

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

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




3. Better Oblivion Community Center (self titled)

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

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


    
2. i, i by Bon Iver  

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

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




1. Father of the Bride by Vampire Weekend

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

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

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

Thank You for Listening!

Dave     

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Opportunity Economy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave  

Thursday, November 14, 2019

I'll Take The Stairs


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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don't Forget to Remember, 

Dave 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Controlling Candidate Experience


Coming out of the HRTech Conference, there seem to be a thousand emerging technologies to improve the hiring process. Machines can organize data bases, create better user experience and track end-to-end process. Once we've conquered those things it's up to the humans to refine the courting process.

It's that time of year when people are job hunting: Q4 numbers not where they should be, tenure has not created opportunity for advancement and graduation is moving interns into professionals. All reasons to dip thy toe in new waters. It is exciting and incredibly uncertain.

Determining where to spend your life based in a few conversations is a daunting task. The company brings their most-engaged employees forward and the candidate makes sure to get a fresh haircut. While there is nothing more exciting than starting a new career, nothing is worse than realizing you made the wrong choice a month into the job.

Here are a few things I've found divinely important in making the right career choice.

Transparency
People don't leave companies, they leave bosses. More so, people leave companies that silo their development to their direct manager. We hear endless stories of outstanding talent leaving companies because their boss is abusive. The great shame in it all is the shock the company feels when future superstars leave. People seldom blow the whistle on their under-qualified leader.

Performance reviews need to be opened to more than just a person's manager. Employees should have confidence in their ability to rate their bosses performance. Closed door one-to-one meetings should be eliminated.

Hiring managers need to be genuine when describing their leadership style during the interviewing process. Employees should feel comfortable asking their peers (including HR) about your future boss' leadership style. If he/she asks you why you asked others about them, their insecurity has already been revealed and you should not work for them.

Ignoring Reviews
I am of the opinion that crowd-sourced review sites are places where disgruntled former employees go to vent. Satisfaction surveys in general seem to be populated by those who either had a really good or a really bad experience.... neither of those benchmarks create action planning.

Go to Happy Hour with the team during the interviewing process. If people complain the minute their butts hit the stool it's probably a sign of misery to come.... or it could mean you are going to ascend quickly among the bad actors with whom you've been cast.

Significance
Great leaders can help you find a true life mission in picking up trash. In the absence of such vision, you'll need to find a company with SOMETHING that you would be proud to tell your children about.

Ask yourself a few simple questions:
In describing what you do for a living will people reply, "That's Interesting"?
Will the work you are doing on a daily basis make someones day better?

Leadership  
Find a person in the interviewing process for whom you would jump over a wall. If that person doesn't exist, finding long term inspiration might be difficult. There are CEO's who inspire from the pulpit, organizational leaders who prove their commitment by practicing what they preach and those without a leadership designation who simply make everyone around them better. Any of the aforementioned people can be the difference in making your career a meaningful journey. Find them and give them the power of your attention.

Every job has it's pros and cons. At a certain point, it is incumbent upon the employee to take ownership of their Employee Experience. Things will never be perfect, but if you can check the majority of qualifications we explored above, an engaged career is likely.

As virtual work becomes the new normal, virtual culture is driving inclusion. Creating a path to development is as much an employee practice as it is a management expectation. Acquiring talent based on fit is the only way to create mutual success. If you are chasing a candidate that is over-qualified, their ability to thrive may be diminished. If you pretend a company is a great place to work, you'll probably be spending your time trying to find a way out.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave   

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Motivational Mapping


The art of establishing Employee Engagement has been a Slow Train Coming.....

We've adopted buzzwords and put others to bed. We've seen technology impact frequency and pats on the back are now covered with a strategic glove. Things don't change with rapid pace but the more we investigate the more we tend to find one common denominator to organizational excellence:

COMMON SENSE

Today, we will examine your employees personality types and design an all-encompassing engagement strategy. It may just be the last blog post on #EmployeeEngagement that you will ever have to read.

The Behavioral Science of Intrinsic Motivation will tell you that your employees inhabit one of the following Professional Personas:
  1. The Controller - one who seeks the autonomy to control their own success (without political interference).
  2.  The Test Taker - one who wishes to measure personal development through certification and/or training.
  3. The Difference Maker - one who seeks a greater purpose in their work.
  4. The Achiever - one who wishes to elevate through results.
  5. The Socialite - one who seeks a social connection at work.
Historically, an organization would cast an employee to fit one of the above behavioral characteristics through job description. But, things are not longer that simple. Many employees now view competition in tandem with collaboration. Climbing the ladder no longer happens at the expense of another. Everyone seeks knowledge for the sake of making the organization better, but reciprocity is a reality.

Providing a scale for talent development means you take a path to success and cut it in 5. Now, one's ability to accelerate within your organization takes on a multi-perspective landscape where there was once only a straight line.

The Questions Surface:
  • How can we measure cultural impact?
  • Does certification ensure development?
  • Does community development improve loyalty?
  • Is compensation more important than benefits?
  • Does socializing with co-workers actually improve workplace engagement?

Ask a priest to prove to you that there is a god and you'll likely hear:

When You Believe There Is No Need For Proof

Such a response does not satisfy the non-believer. In a similar vein, there are those who do not believe that rewarding someone for "doing their job" should be an extended benefit. Fortunately, we've arrived in a time where almost everything can be measured.

Be A Coffee Bean

Life is a boiling pot of water. Employees can be:
- a carrot
- an egg
- a coffee bean

The carrot gets soft when over-exposed to boiling water.

The egg hardens

But, the coffee bean resonates within the water and turns a bland liquid into a life-altering beverage.

Any person has the ability to completely transform their environment. Most, however, react to the very human workplace by allowing it to squash them or by rendering themselves indifferent to any and all opportunities for development.

A Learning Experience

"When you are willing to say you don't know the answer the only path is to learning"
- Laird Hamilton

Organizations tend to view training as a necessary means to disseminate content for the sake of appeasing a requirement. For this reason, many organizations archive content in learning management systems without a path for advancement or a higher purpose in the learning process. You can develop a thousand courses but if employees cannot access them or do not understand why they matter..... your archives will gather dust.

Have Your Cake.... and eat it too

Most organizations have a regimented Total Rewards model that informs an employee of the benefits of their job and how to maximize their income. Again, we create a checklist where there should be a graphic novel.

Insurance and a paycheck are an expectation, not a motivator.

Every one of your employees wants a path to engagement....

through controlling their own destiny with the opportunity to learn every day in a place where their efforts might just change the world.           

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave

Monday, September 9, 2019

Intrepreneurship

As one who has dedicated the better part of his life to finding the Holy Grail of Employee Engagement, I am consistently in the trenches trying to find what works and what needs to change. This requires 4am conference calls with other regions of the world, speaking at and attending conferences of various disciplines and driving technical deployments that are massively complex in scale. Every day presents new challenges, every organization wants something different and no concept seems impossible to bring to reality.

The studies that promote global employee dissatisfaction are flawed. The method for research is outdated and the means by which information is collected/benchmarked are disingenuous.

Those of us who have conversations with corporate business leaders and those who serve them every day have developed solutions for gaps in performance, but it all remains based in the Human condition:

People want to work for a cause they believe in
People want to believe that their effort makes a difference
People are no longer willing to be bullied into keeping a job

With the above in mind, I proposed a road map for building an organization's Employee Value Proposition to a group of Human Resource professionals earlier this week. To my shock, one workshop attendee stood up and said:

We are willing to train our employees but only to the extent of their job requirement. If they learn anything more, they will leave.

... This is an extremely misguided construct that (unfortunately) was not unanimously disputed.     

We live in a time when individual employee brands are stronger than those of the organizations for which they work. In the gig economy, employees of all ages are finding comfort in short term employment and are willing to adjust their lifestyles accordingly. Respect for tradition is rampant, obedience to authoritarianism will not be tolerated.

Seeing a member of a major technology company's sales enablement team emphasize the concept of Intrepreneurship to our workforce last week made all the sense in the world. She focused on the following as a means for employee development:
  1. Co-Creation
  2. Mastery
  3. Leadership
  4. Competition
This format for employee development hits the scale of intrinsic motivators. Is it disappointing that this came from a Sales Enablement Leader and not from HR?

The alpha-male constructed rules for advancement are dead. Micro-management is over. Competition has taken a backseat to collaboration. Idea generation is now social and no longer confined to silos.

In short, people who do great work, climb! Politics are no longer an excuse for promotion...and we have all-accessible data to validate the climb!

As organizations, we are called upon to provide learning and advancement opportunities for employees at all levels. Advancement applicable to core-job-function, and beyond that, soft skill enhancements for the sake of Culture Building and Leadership Development.

Employees now have the opportunity to:

  • Contribute to organizational development (regardless of their pecking order).
  • Master the core-function of their given position at their own pace.
  • The ability to develop as a professional beyond the control of their manager.
  • To be promoted by the pure virtue of their effort, creativity and degree of collaboration.

It's here. The time is now. Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave   
      

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Lucky Ones


"The difference between a good poet and a bad one is luck" - Charles Bukowski

The climb to success has peaks and valleys. There are points when we over-exert ourselves only to run into walls, other times things just seem to fall into place. There are times when our faith is tested prompting us to take action as a means to control our fate. Some times we push too hard. Some times we lose sight of what is important.

I've been writing a personal motivation blog for over a decade, but I don't consider myself to have an insight specific to others. I've also been very lucky. Some of us are born with opportunities, others have to earn them.

Having faith is often a blind turn. Don't be afraid to allow room for luck. Faith is a process of submission and there are those who do not like to relinquish control. Somewhere between mastery and failure, a little bit of luck never hurts.

In each day our willingness to fail can be built as much by our ability to heal as it is our pure skill. Self-confidence is as much an affect of experiencing the worst as it is achieving our personal best.

We can train and prepare and anticipate and adjust. The ever-slight bounce in our direction should be cherished. If we acknowledge that there is luck in everything, it makes our failures more digestible. There will be days when someone is just better than you, but you will catch up to them. It might take 10 days or 10 years but the playing field always levels.

The greatest hits are a centimeter away from a strike. Some people barley catch passes and others nearly miss them. There is the big throw that was an inch too high and the shot that bounced twice and missed. Luck has it's place in everything.

You'll win some and lose some. There will be moments after you made the winning play when you find a corner to breath a sigh of relief. There will be times when you believe you have let everyone down, when in fact, you have lifted them up. Some times those who show heart win a thousand little wars without winning the battle. Some times the loser gains ground on the winner. If winning only brings you relief you may be playing the game for the wrong reasons.

Chasing luck is a fools game. Seizing the opportunity given you turns the lucky into the superior skilled.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave    

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Monday Funday


For years I've questioned research that reflects 3 of 4 people dislike their job. From the trenches in Silicon Valley, I'd say the majority of the people with whom I work enjoy what they do. Sure, we'd all prefer to be on the beach but sand between your toes gets annoying too. Most people when asked aren't going to jump for joy at the prospect of explaining "what they do (for a living)". Still, we all get up, get out and make it work.

I'd say disengagement doesn't necessarily spell complete disdain. I am of the opinion that human beings are reasonable enough to accept their working contract and make the most of it.

Call it Engagement or Happiness or Purpose: there are a few very simple steps in the ladder to finding a way to Love Mondays.......

Believe In The Buzz
I remember my first International Sales Meeting at my first real job. I was mesmerized! I held those up on stage presenting in the same light I did Iggy Pop or Jerry Garcia. They were Rock Stars with a mission they believed in and a whole lot of verbal confetti to go along with it. I recall being at the bar talking to a few of the more seasoned salesfolk who politely kept from rolling their eyes as I re-read my notes.

With experience tends to come apathy. But the more you allow yourself to believe the corporate speak, the closer you'll get to achieving your goals. At the very least, let the kids believe in it!  

Love Your Boss
I've had 3 bosses for whom I knew I couldn't work. They replaced people who hired me with all the grace of an alcoholic step-dad. Not only did these individuals not support my career path, they genuinely disliked me. People don't leave companies they leave managers who have replaced the managers who used to like them.

If you and your boss have a common mission, success is certain. If your boss hates you, QUIT!

There is nothing worse than going into a job you hate. If your boss was brought on to deter your success, enjoying your job will be difficult!

Don't Be Annoying
The aforementioned boss hatred was likely deserved. I used to be the guy in the room who opposed every point for the sake of doing so (turning a 30 minute meeting into a 2 hour meeting).

We all want to make an immediate impact on any organization we join. Here's how to do that:
  1. Hit your revenue goal
  2. Follow leadership direction
  3. Be a good teammate
  4. Shut your butt with a coconut
 In contrast, here are the ways to drive yourself directly to the doghouse:
  1. "Replay All" to emails with "ideas"
  2. Consistently share information that doesn't apply to the tactical line to production
  3. Ask a ton of questions or comment at length in team meetings
  4. Make your Manager's job harder   
Focus on You   
If you are failing at your job it is the direct responsibility of one individual:

YOU

Keep your head down and do work that benefits goal attainment. Don't gossip. Don't listen to workforce veterans about "the way things are done around here". Don't feel that you have to share to contribute. Do not compare yourself to others. If you are going to question the current state of things, you better have data and action planning to support your suggested re-direction. Separate yourself from negative people. Don't pretend to be smarter than you are. If you are wrong, own it. Get better every day.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Fast Lane to Failure


I have the rare privilege to observe organizational culture from the periphery. In essence, I am trusted to visit historical constructs and identify areas of concern.

It gets easier every day.

Whether it is my work with college students or global corporations, there are a few very certain red flags that assure broken culture:
  • The loudest voice is the negative voice
  • Any iteration of change is viewed as enemy
  • Tenure is automatically associated with influence
  • Excuses are given greater attention than performance

I had a ton of success very early in my career. I wasn't great at my job, I was simply unwilling to fail. Sooner or later, reality caught up with raw motivation and I had to learn to adapt. I struggled with the intensity of a baby having his toy taken away. I abused my social clout to shade my inability to perform. I don't lack sympathy for those in a rut, I've been there and it sucks. One usually works their way into a rut when they lose focus. 

As I abused my social influence to gain validation from my peers, one unspoken truth hung over every conversation like a chandelier:

I knew I wasn't evolving and I was unwilling to take action.  

Organizations with entitled cultures always fail. For some, the fall is more-gradual, but those who empower inadequacy only deter those willing to try.

There a million different ways to accomplish your goals. If there was a silver bullet to success, everyone would be successful. There is, however, a laser-tight way to fail....

If you allow negativity any audience, your odds for success grow less-certain.     
We can be guided by our lack of willingness to give in to the things that distract us.

I've never met anyone with a bad attitude who has been successful. The great news is that negativity is fixable.

People who present themselves as negative may just be having trouble framing their intensity. Their intentions may be good, they may just be allowing their drive to look like a car wreck.

You might choose to surround yourself with people who validate your negativity. But. here's a newsflash:

They are not laughing with you, they are laughing at you. 

The more your negativity fills the room, the easier it is to ignore. 

If every day you wake up with the intent of replacing challenges with action planning, you will win the day.

If you enter the day under the impression that the day is going to suck.... it will!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave  

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tracking Employee Lifecycle


We who study Employee Engagement are consistently looking for trends in hiring and the direct effect on retention. The Human Resource landscape is slippery, no other profession is tasked with such a diverse cycle of management skills. The ability to find great talent, train, engage and promote are an unenviable set of tasks. Recruiters mirror sales people, Total Rewards professionals have to have an acumen for numbers and the disparate technologies that represent the progression from hiring through promotion can make one's head spin.

So, we stare down the inevitable:

How do we create an synchronized strategy from recruitment to retirement.... ????

Let's start with the job market....
As a new generation of talent enter the workforce are expectations changing? 

Are those escalated in age better equipped with irreplaceable experience?

Is a recession coming?

Do elite talents have any interest in job hopping?

Those who are great at what they do are probably not interested in switching jobs and there are others who simply do not have the proper qualifications. So, staffing professionals are tasked with finding people who are qualified, able to engage and humble in their entry level financial expectations. 

Prospective employees have a few simple expectations:
Sounds simple enough but the ability to pull together these traits under a common mission is difficult. Companies are often great at producing quality products but lacking in employee development. Again, our staffers are called upon to sell the good qualities of the company while side-stepping what isn't working.     


Sustaining Engagement....
Getting them in the door is one thing. Delivering on promises is another.

Once employees are trained they need to develop the confidence to acclimate to the culture. Our extended HR team has to sustain the attraction of the hiring process with technology that is accessible and intuitive. HR is then called upon to make sure there is a vessel for strong manager/employee communication while keeping leadership abreast of the action in the trenches.

Take inventory:
  • Does training scale to specific functional traits while enhancing soft skills?
  • Is your Human Capital Management technology integrated and engaging?
  • If employees and managers aren't on the same page, how will you know?
  • Does your CEO recognize general employee goals?
Train, Reward, Challenge and Eliminate Silos!
     
Seeing departures before they happen.....  
If exit interviews are part of your engagement strategy, you are a step behind. The popular counter is to have HR integrate "stay interviews". If you need to administer a survey for employees to validate your existence, your workplace relationships might be fractured. 

Managers should have an accountability plan for their employees that is more parts celebration of achievement than calling out deficiencies.

Recognize in public, discipline is private.

If in every day you leave people with a firm understanding of what is working and where they need development, there is no guess work. People know when they haven't performed to their fullest potential, calling them out twice a year doesn't work.

Ask yourself: do our hiring enticements continue through our day-to-day engagement propsition?    

We all just want to represent something we believe in among people we respect and an ever-evolving challenge cycle complete with rewards at every step of progression.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave  

Saturday, August 3, 2019

We Are Not Giving Up


With all the difference that surrounds us at the moment it is getting difficult to avoid disengagement.

The political climate is crippling us. Everyone has a published opinion. Negativity seems to have won. We are seemingly further from one another than we've ever been.

What happened to us? What happened to love? Where do we go from here?

My life moves in uncommon contributions to humanity (some more inspiring than others):
The aforementioned assumptions would mean that the work to which I've dedicated my life is a huge waste of time. Good thing I believe none of it!

The wonderment in everything we do remains firmly planted in a simple ideology:

The easiest thing in life is to disbelieve and join the negativity

But, not us, we're not going to let that happen!

In spite of all the practice we've had, it's time to relinquish arms in an effort to get a little closer.

There are people who will advise that life comes down to a few crucial moments. I think life comes down to a few songs.

Let's explore the leadership ideology of Kate Tempest in a time when leadership is defined by those bold enough to stand up for their belief that humanity is at our best when we are not divided

I felt it clawing at my clothes like a grieving friend

Getting old sucks: You think you've learned all you can, your body breaks down and your worries are kept silent in your bedroom at 3am. We hide from expressing our vulnerability for the sake of keeping up defenses, choose a side and use our emotion to fuel aggression. Maybe we could acknowledge that we are all dealing with the same frustration. Are we pretending to be too busy to admit we could use a little help?

The other part about getting old is that your friends begin to die. Last week, I lost another friend.

There is no way to tell a person that their hang ups in the moment are not worth their agony. Indeed, we tend to power through the difficult human struggles to get past them. We look at the faults and failures of others as something that didn't happen to us then count our blessings. What we don't realize is that our friends failures are distinctly our own.

We just don't care enough. Embracing the short comings of others would only serve to bum us out.

What The Fuck?

More empathy, less greed, more respect 
... you heard it from yourself when you were lying in your bed (and couldn't sleep), thinking:

Couldn't We Be Doing This Differently? 

It's hard helping people who need a friend. We tend toward celebration more than picking a friend up off the floor. People keep their heads down and their hackles up.

The worst advice I ever received was: you have to look out for yourself

That's backwards. Those who put their personal privilege last so as to engage others always win. There is little competition in doing the hard stuff. 

Think of the last time you talked to a friend who genuinely cared about your struggle. I'd venture to guess at the times when you really needed someone to listen, all they could do was talk.
  
Regrets lie in words unsaid, time diverted and the priority of self. Self-confidence is an affect of helping others.



Don't let the millions of unauthorized authors destroy you with their inability to embrace collectivism.

Don't allow the voices of the negative to be the loudest.

Don't give up hope!

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave   

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Summer Slump


We workforce engagement types seem to have been advocates for flex work for many years.... mostly because it's about the most sensible form of Employee Engagement. The fear in offering flexible work from a Human Resources perspective rests firmly in the line between necessary down time vs. abuse of flex time. It is a conundrum that has found no silver bullet.

We don't need to reference a workforce study to conclude that people who sit a desk 10 hours a day are less-healthy than those who work on their feet. Allowing employees unlimited work from home hours makes tracking efficiency equally difficult. There are employees who spend 7 of their 8 hours in the office on facebook. While those who work from home might log on at 5am and log off 10pm.

When Are We Ready to Work from Home?
When I graduated college I went directly to work for one of the world's largest companies. I was given a phone book and told to place vending machines anywhere anyone would need one. I was hung up upon 97 out of 100 times a day leaving me with 15 new accounts a week and a $1,000 weekly bonus. These statistics may seem miserable but I was one of the top producers in the company.

87% of people who attempt a career in sales quit after 3 months because the 97% "no" rate is too crushing to their ego. When I was 24 years old my tenacity to accept failure was far more resilient than it is in my 45th year on earth. I was either too dumb to care or too cocky to give up. Either way, it worked.

I did not receive corporate training, there was no real expectation for my performance... hell, the Internet barely existed when I started my career. It was, however, expected that I would show up to the office and make 100 calls a day. Some days it took me 4 hours, some days it took me 8.... the days that were extended on the phone created far more sales.

In simple terms, if I had been faced with navigating the aforementioned career challenge from my apartment in San Francisco, my odds for success would have been far less dependable.

After 10 years of working the phones from an office I accepted a job that allowed me to work from home. The same discipline I put into waking up, getting to the office, preparing for calls and progressing the sales cycle at age 22; I still practice at age 45. I've elevated myself from an inside sales rep to an Enterprise Sales Executive, but the process never changed. The discipline I learned early in my career has guided my approach to turning activity into results.

There are a thousand sales trainers out there that have a "bullet proof" plan for producing results who are the worst mentors one could care to follow.

Success comes down to 1 thing: 
  • Resilience     
You can get a degree from Harvard, read 10,000 books or attend 100 sales seminars. What they don't teach you in the classroom is the pain of falling on your face and the often unrewarding slog of getting back up.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

3 Vessels to Cultural Engagement

It was a lively Pre-SHRM19 NextChat last week as we addressed the topic of Organizational Culture. We've been tackling culture within organizations since the turn of the century when the pendulum began to swing from Micro-Management to Employee Empowerment. Companies like Zappos and Google put their brand on the map by offering corporate campuses that resembled summer camps. Suddenly HR was being heard as creators of Employee Experience as opposed to the employee police. As Benefits budgets swelled, compensation and medical support became qualifiers. As we entered 2010, recruitment was driven by office tours by way of scooter.

At some point, Culture started to become an enigma....

How do we measure the ROI of beer pong?

Does everybody want to meet in bean bags chairs?

Let's explore what we've learned and how to improve culture.

Leadership Endorsement
Our CEO's have jobs that encompass legal debate over ticket items beyond the average pay grade. Most Executive discipline exists behind the scenes. Your CEO has larger concerns than keeping every employee happy.... it's simply an occupational hazard.

.... So Then .....

We expect only one thing from our Chief Executives:

The ability to articulate Vision with undeniable confidence to a crowd of millions!

Culture starts with aforementioned articulation of vision, then it's the responsibility of unit Managers to take the Mission into the trenches and tactically apply it.

Technology
There are four distinct corners of culture, all of which require technical application:

Events on campus can be a blast, but these experiences need to connect to organizational directives. It does not need to be forced, there simply needs to be a connection from the message to the strategy of implementing it.

Employee training should be direct and limited to 5 to 10 minutes a day. This way, employees get snacks to chew upon in succession that elevate them at their own pace.

Badges, Missions, Leaderboards and virtual competitions work because individuals have an Intrinsic need to compete. Internal competition driven by ego kills culture! Designed on a level playing field, game dynamics can propel every employee to over-exceed their potential. Those who say they care not for competition think differently when they win.

Don't want to put your employees in the octagon against each other? No problem, you can use gamification to reward contribution in community format. This can be in the form of a blog post, use case sharing or contributions to role assigned skill sets.

I've been in the rewards and recognition space for 12 years.... one certain rings true:

Cash is an expectation, rewards that incentivize behavioral development create advancement.


 

Killing Entitlement
Want to test organizational culture? Ask to sit in on a team meeting before you take a job. If the loudest voice comes from the guy in the back of the room who has consistently been in the bottom 50% of performance throughout his 10 year tenure... run for the exits.

No CEO in the world can control the reverberation of negativity in the trenches. It is up to everyone on the team to negate the influence of employees who assume themselves culture regulators.

Managers need to stop allowing interface with negative employees to their new hires. It is further important to limit the interaction in team meetings that drive vision to blindness. If managers allow their worst employees to be the voice of the organization, raising stars will quit and you'll be left with mediocrity.

When those who cannot control their impulse to criticize are given the conch you create a Culture of Can't.... the only result is failure!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave       

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The State of Human Capital Management

A recent study by HR.Com showed increased focus on the replacement of HRIS, Payroll and/or Performance Management systems. The intent to overhaul points to three specific trends:
  1. System Consolidation is afoot
  2. Rule Structures are changing 
  3. Systems that remain unchanged will be complimented by others
Consolidation
Installing Human Capital Management technology can be a journey: the qualification process is lengthy and once the system is adopted we care not to steer employees in other directions.

Which is why we tend to put up with aging technology.

As legacy systems remain the backbone of hierarchy holding, you'll see a move toward system consolidation to improve program access and create ease in the user experience.

The emphasis on system consolidation through integration and middleware programming can improve the user experience across all platforms without overhauling entire systems.

Strategy & Scale
Too often, technology is deployed with half baked initiatives through an off-the-shelf solution. Piloting programs can yield actionable data but turning baby steps into a marathon can tarnish long-term engagement.

Technology needs to allow for self-administration, the ability to add/delete function with relative ease and a path to development to ensure users are incented for continual participation.

Steady as She Goes
The aforementioned study showed Employee Recognition programs remaining unchanged throughout most organizations.

Is this because programs are allowing for scale?

As employee recognition becomes an integral spoke in the larger Employee Engagement cycle, we are seeing these programs evolve through functional integration and gamification. You'll also find goal setting and real time feedback to start moving their way onto ER platforms.
  
Technical integrations can enhance the look and feel of an employee site while increasing adoption through communication and challenge architecture. Before you attempt to re-write history, you might want to explore how you can give your existing deployments a face lift.

Your learning at #SHRM19 is complimented by a wide-reaching solution set displayed in the Exhibitor Hall. Inventory your HCM systems before arriving in Las Vegas. You may find there are ways to improve upon your current solution set without spending $1 million or re-tooling your entire HRIS technology stack.

Learn, Apply and Improve!

Dave 

Friday, May 17, 2019

In Commencement

To The Class of 2019 -
You sit now in a place where possibilities are limitless, your ambition is boundless and there is not a single barricade before you.... why should there be?

When tomorrow's sunshine hits your hung over head, the reality of the life before you will really sink in... There will be more foggy mornings, and as sure as they come and go, the roller coaster of life's achievements and failures will dip and turn.

You'll find a job and lose one. You'll secure a major partnership, close a huge deal, rectify an accounting mishap, develop a patent, found a company, save a life, or develop a new technology that improves human engagement..... and through it all there will be songs that make you smile and movies that make you cry and books that bring you back to this very moment... when the world opened it's arms to you.

There was a man who stood before a class like yours on a day like this and told them that they were not special....

WHAT AN ASSHOLE!!!!

As you sit in your cap and gown today, you had better believe that you are special!!!! There are people born addicted to drugs. There are those who were born into lifestyles where college was simply not an option. The opportunity you have is not just about you, it is about those who have not (and will never) have the privilege that you have.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

You'll sit in your car 10 minutes early for work wishing you were back here with these wonderful people who gave birth to your ambition. Then, you'll shut off the engine and walk into what will be another of the 7,500 days of work that absorb the greater part of your life.

7,500 days. That's 30 years of work with 2 weeks vacation.

With that statistic in mind, you might want to take a moment, right now, to ask yourself one very important question:

Are You Prepared to Love What You Are Going to Do for the Rest of Your Life?

The most miserable people I know dedicated 100 hours a week to their first job and lost their family in the process. They then started another job (and another family) and lost them too.

If the standards for your happiness relate to financial gain at any cost, you will never succeed!

One of 3 things I can tell you today is that:

Those who put money first, fail!

You might fall in love with the girl in accounting or the boy from the warehouse. Don't ever allow a person's position on the occupational hierarchy to dissuade you from loving them. Judgment of one's trade has no contribution to the collective (and highly unprofessional) human agreement called love.

What got you here today?

Do you remember the little league championship you won or the first boy you kissed. Each are equally important.

Which brings me to my second recommendation:

The respect you extend your waiter is far more important than folding your hands in-front of your CEO.

You may feel as though you are at the top of your social hierarchy at the moment.... please believe.... you will fail miserably, lose friends, find yourself less-attractive in the mirror and struggle to put your perfect resume in the right hands.

The same people you see on the way up, you will see on the way down!

Long before your beautiful heads emerged from your mother's bodies, there was a man called John Lennon. He had a smack problem and was a bad drunk, so don't let your Dad tell you he was the second coming of God. But  before we talk about him, let's reflect on that fact that each of you emerged from the body of the woman.

Gentlemen - take one second to thank the woman nearest you.....

They are the reason we are here, the reason we will strive to achieve greatness, and the people who will bail us out if all the dreams that fill our heads today fail to reveal themselves.

Be willing to take any job offered you and to elevate yourself through the hierarchy.

Be OK with the next decade of your life mirroring a flight tasting..... try a few different things and see what sticks, where you find intrigue, and how you find your individual gift contributing to the greater good. NOW is the time to experiment. You'll likely not have that luxury when you are my age.

The degree that is soon to hit your hands is massively important.... you carry the hopes of those who were not fortunate enough to earn one.... experience is important.... try, fail and try again... creativity is important... try to see that other side of everything.

You will succeed!

You will fail!

... and in the moment when you least expect it, when life's frustrations seem to have derailed you, your eyes will lock with those of a person across the room and all the worries you've ever had will turn into the motivation of serving a higher purpose.

Beyond professional advice or the validation of the journey that brought you here, I leave you with the words of the aforementioned forgotten hero, John Lennon:

"ALL YOU NEED... is LOVE"!

Congratulations on your remarkable achievement! Remember that you ARE special! Go now and find what you love!

- Dave             

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Workforce Synchronicity


As we head into #SHRM19 , attendees are called to many tasks: keynotes, general sessions, the exhibitor hall, networking opportunities and a little bit of well-deserved YOU time.Your SHRM Annual Conference Experience can benefit from making the connection between that which is said in sessions and how it relates to that which is showcased in the Exhibitor Hall.

Technology may serve as the backbone of your workforce programs. YOUR ADVOCACY is the difference between financial drain and occupational necessity.

So, as you hear HR Professionals call for workforce change, do something about it!

1. Examine the gaps in your organization's Human Strategy
2. Crowdsource ideas from your peers
3. Find the appropriate solution

Here are a few technical applications that require Human Connection.....

Gamification
Are we still talking about gamification as a Human Resource trend? 

No, we've come to realize that The G Word is a necessity to workforce motivation.

We start by examining intrinsic motivators, structure game dynamics and then infuse game mechanics.

If you think your organization is avoiding Gamification, think again. Any behavioral modeling that asks an employee to complete a path to a goal, then provides validation of goal attainment, is Gamification in practice.

Kick the G Word trend to the curb if you must,  but realize the strategic necessity of Behavioral Modeling.

Surveys
Are we still buying that 75% of the workforce is disengaged?


Do we still believe candor can be present when employees receive an "ask for input" from the "people police"?

We've been asking for an alternative to the annual employee survey since 2007.

Find a way to engage workforce input from a place of trust, transparency and human interaction.

HR Technology 
You've deployed 12 different technical solutions to assist your workforce: an LMS and a CRM and a Recognition System and a Collaboration Tool and an internal social network and a pulse survey and a performance management system........ and each of them have 20% adoption while being difficult to locate with expiring passwords that turn employees away after 30 seconds of trying.

Your employees need a centralized access point to every technical suite offered:

One page.... one point of contact.... one pass word.

Once you've streamlined adoption, revolutionize engagement by setting up a comprehensive points program that inter-relates activity on all employee platforms.

Sound too good to be true? It's much easier than you think.

Think about it: would you enroll in every consumer loyalty program offered you if you knew your points from your hotel loyalty program combined with your airline rewards... and your on-line product purchases... and your retail credit card spend?

Wouldn't it be glorious if your every action served a centralized rewards model?

You can create this for your employees..... what are you waiting for?  

See You at #SHRM19 !

Dave

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

You'll Have to Risk Frustration


It was a sleepless night after the little league team I coach along with the local basketball and hockey teams all suffered losses. One who does not understand sports would think my mental anguish in such a predicament to be senseless.... it may just be, but let me try to explain.

I have always been a person who takes on commitments with the focus of 1,000 lions. I prepare by considering every possible outcome, am always early to appointments, accept extra responsibility, vocalize when things are off track and do my best to give others credit when things go well. I simply do not possess the human characteristic that allows others not to care. At times this is a curse.... the failures are not cured by the relief of victory.

The unfortunate part of trying is that frustration is eminent!!!!

That's why most people stop trying.... It's not worth the miles of anguish required to reach those few beautiful views on the way up the mountain.

I'd guess risking frustration is the very essence of what keeps us evolving. I guess when I get to the point of sitting on the sidelines while others influence, the future would seem debilitating. So as long as I am able, I'm going to be part of the game!

There will be more sleepless nights in the pursuit of finding a way to help others discover and exercise their true potential.

It's hard being critical of others, but we are not always speaking to those who have under-performed from a place of criticism. Some times, seeing people fall short of their potential is simply heart breaking. There are those who are infinitely capable who never find success because no one ever came along to help them find it.

It takes a lot to fill one's heart. It only drips slightly.

What is the true intent of your daily energy?

To succeed?

To conquer impossible?

Or is your drive simply to be left alone?

How long ago did you give up on your dreams?

Dear Friends - we'll have to put our personal comfort aside if we wish to help others and it may take them a while to learn what we have to teach.

Are you willing to keep what you have to teach in your pocket?

Is your fear driven by the all-too-real presumption that those to whom you give your love will abuse it?

Do you think that your time would be better spent with your hands in your pockets, on the sideline, watching others try?

All we can do is dive in and help those we seek to influence get better.

I'm sure you'll miss the game when you decide to stop having an influence on the outcome.

There will come a time when you will be incapable of trying... until then......

Don't Forget to Remember........... !

Dave     

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Self-Awareness Teeter Totter


Each day you wake up with one thing on your mind:

What Do I Need To Do Better?

The concept of that which keeps us up at night is an ongoing call to find solutions for the things we seem incapable of fixing. When we find a way to enter into slumber, the light of day is met with optimism. Lacing up the cleats is much more empowering than staring at the ceiling.

Micro-Management is the world's least effective workforce tactic because it is a reactive approach based in analyzing inefficiencies as they happen.

Think about it.....

When an 8 year old kid drops a fly ball and you yell at them in front of a crowd full of people, what do you think they're reaction might be.... Embarrassment?

Even an 8 year old knows when they fucked up.... your ability to point it out makes you a bully, not a leader. While we would assume a workforce of adults more adept at handling criticism, the motivational premise remains in tact.

Your employees know when they have under-performed. Emphasizing their failures reduces them to 8 year olds.

After we awake and take action the other side of the Teeter Totter gains weight.

Ask your network for help and 2 or 3 people will come calling. Ask your network what you are doing wrong and the internet will crash with activity.



At some point people stopped helping one another and stared competing. What was an effort to elevate all participant skills was replaced by minimizing one's competitors.

People love to gossip because it is a deflection method:

Stop analyzing your faults and deflect on others. 

This is the part of the movie when the underdog becomes a hero by sticking up for herself!!!!


When you give power to those who seek to replace your effort with their words, you deny yourself the opportunity to try.

Bullies are a funny bunch. They put their hands forward to ensure you do not get too close to them. They speak and speak without listening... and when you call their bluff, they crumble.

With the awakening of each day the question of what we can do better has to be accompanied by the process of counting our blessings.

Last I checked, we are all still here, ready to fight the good fight!

Back a Man in the corner long enough and he's gonna come out swinging......

Push back and balance the Teeter Totter!

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave  

Friday, April 26, 2019

On Being 46


Today concludes my 45th year on earth, so it seems a natural time for reflection.

My life has a few distinct categories: Domestic Bliss, Professional Advancement, Art and Coaching. I'm an extremely privileged human being. Likely passed middle age, let's explore that which desires focus in years to come.....

The Intention of Sport
I have the joy of coaching boys and girls under the age of 12. The kids are great, their parents often mislead. Sports are to be participated in as a means for conveying life lessons to improve motivation. Unfortunately, many parents have an inability to control their emotions when their offspring are at play. Often, Moms and Dads compete with one another, their children vessels for status claiming. I am as guilty as any of being over-competitive at the expense of development. Over time, the edges get softer. In the long run, wins and losses are insignificant. The joy of sport is created when the least-likely to succeed make a big play at a time when the team most needs it.

The Social Media Myth
At the onset of this Catholic Lenten Season, I stopped participating in Facebook. It was a very beneficial way to ease my mind and save on self-imposed grief. The one thing we don't get back is time. As we age, time becomes ultimately more valuable. Yet, we tend to waste our time in the Great American practice of arguing with cyberspace. Arguments in the social space have ended friendships. Opinions are now validated by less-than-credible resources. We've replaced our need to be part of a fellowship with the need for individual validation through proving our point. Collectivism has been destroyed by the individual need to improve clout in a made up world of influence.


Preparation
The highlight of the past year was witnessing the film Free Solo. Alex Honnold's solo climb of El Capitan without a rope is the greatest athletic achievement ever performed. The fringe observer would think a man who climbed a 3,200ft rock slab to be a mad man, watching the film reveals another story. It turns out that Alex methodically mapped his climbing strategy for 8 years, exploring every inch of the climb down to thumb and toe placement. His extraordinary commitment turned a death wish into a perfectly predictable process.

What a revelation.

I've been a sales professional for 20 years. Early in my career I thought my "gift of gab" would get me by (and it did). But advancing to the top of any trade requires mastery. Mastery is an affect of perfect preparation, laser-focused commitment and hard work.

Think about how simple life would be if you devoted perfect preparation to everything you did. It's called success and it is ever-evasive because perfect preparation requires more effort than most are willing to put forward.
 
Self-Awareness       
I have been a member of the Phi Delta Theta Education Committee for 10 years. We build comprehensive programming and conduct training for college men that ranges from leadership development to the importance of by-stander intervention.

My colleagues and I have formulated a multi-phased educational track that takes our membership from their first day of pledgeship through their entrance into the chapter grand.

The culmination of the undergraduate experience is: Self-Awareness.

In anything we do we contribute to learning our trade by sharing what we know with our peers then utilize the experience for the long term impact it has on our human process.


The Most-Important Test
In my 46 years on earth I have come to understand a divine truth:

How a person treats "the help" is the most important revelation of their character.

I recall a time when the company President visited an office I was working in. Several members of our staff folded their hands in their lap and conveyed their pleasantries. What a bunch of phonies.

On a daily basis I see people treat restaurant servers, baristas and laborers as if they are non-existent. This involuntary flaw that individuals possess will remain unchanged and forever categorize them as less-than. Those who seek to categorize will forever be categorized.

Thank You!
I've been writing my silly life stories on these pages for 10 years. I want to thank all 177,484 people who have taken time out of their day to read my thoughts. I hope I might have helped you in some way.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave          

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Final Four


It's that time of year when High Schoolers move along to College and College Kids turn into pros and those who have earned their stripes move on to their second job while newly unemployed 55 year olds try to figure out how to re-create themselves.

Many of us who consult on workforce strategy have been appalled by the Generational Stereotyping that has unfairly categorized Millennials for the last ten years. As Generation Z enter the spotlight hopefully their moms and dads won't try to put them into buckets so as to preserve their own influence.

What A Mess!

My heart hurts when I talk to young people who are motivated but aren't sure where to put their energy. It is equally heart-breaking talking to AARP members who are faced with writing a resume for the first time in their lives.

The process is simple..... whether you are a High School grad looking for work or a former CEO who has come down to earth, you need only know (or remember) 4 things:

Be Willing To Start at The Bottom
I am astonished by people making career moves who are unwilling to get their foot in the door before they are granted the throne. If an organization doesn't have a management position open but are willing to give you a job, there are two options:


1. Stay unemployed
2. Dive In, Figure It Out, Do The Work & Prove Your Qualification


Be The First to Arrive and the Last to Leave
In the HR world we bicker over the relevance of work from home opportunity. Simply stated, people who are great at what they do, do not need a coach.

Trusting a recent college grad to excel under formless leadership is probably unrealistic. Asking a 20 year workforce veteran to report to an office every day is equally mislead. 

Master Your Knowledge
Nothing is more impressive than people who know what their product does, how it solves problems and why that matters... especially those who don't have to.

When I started my career in sales, I thought having the gift of gab was the most important thing..... I now know it is the least important thing.

Celebrate Vulunerability
I know many 70 year olds who know everything.... or so they think. I've also helped 100's of 20 somethings to form their life roadmap.

You can give advice from a position of power but how much of that advice is rooted in making sure your competition doesn't catch up to you?

There is nothing more rewarding in this world than helping grasshoppers become ninjas.

If you think tenure drives status, you've never achieved status. There is certainty in nothing. Every day is a new challenge. Every day is your first day on the job.

Don't Forget to Remember,

Dave