‘Tis the Season

be the changeAs I’m nearing the end of my Voluntary Separation Package, I have completed each and every item on my bucket list.

With only about five weeks to go, here are things I plan to do for others. If you want to join me, just jump right in and maybe we can make a difference:

  • When purchasing your morning cup of coffee, pay for the person behind you
  • Cull your closet and donate any item you haven’t worn in the past six months
  • Then take a look at how many pairs of shoes you own, and do the same
  • Create (don’t purchase) a holiday gift for everyone in your circle of family & friends
  • Pick a cause – any cause – and contribute whatever you can (it doesn’t have to be $$$)
  • Look into each cashier’s eyes, REALLY look and then smile and say “hello!”
  • Offer help to anyone in the supermarket who isn’t able or isn’t tall enough to reach the top shelf
  • Consider adopting/rescuing an animal
  • For just one day, replace every negative thought about someone with a prayer to “help me see the good in (name)”
  • Be kind to yourself, in thoughts and deeds

All rather simple if you think about it, but powerful.

Join me!

Sex…… Anyone?

sex anyoneI literally am going to flip my lid the next time I see the prompt “Sex” on a questionnaire of any type. It’s not even that the word ‘gender’ is SO much  more applicable, but even then do we all fit into these two little boxes of male and female?

And why, exactly, does it make any difference?

While shopping on Halloween, we overheard a woman say to a little boy, “What?!?!?!  You want a Barbie Townhouse, what ARE you?  Are you a girl or a boy?”  The little guy looked shocked, so she continued, “Well,  what ARE you?  Girl or boy?”

We wanted to go over and give her a kind lesson in parenting, but thought it best not to lest the little guy get in even deeper.

What I can tell you, based on my experience never having a brother and raising three boys:

  • I had a rifle, pistol, gun belt and cowboy hat when I was a kid.  Oh, and a sheriff’s badge. (Yes, I am now a woman).
  • Kids will try on your ‘girl’ boots and parade around the house proud as can be
  • They may try on your dresses, underwear or in our family especially any pantyhose, although they’ll usually wait for Halloween or some other occasion to do that just in case
  • Some boys who shall remain nameless in this post might tuck in their private parts, then stand up in the bathtub to proudly proclaim, “Look!  I’m a girl!

And if you don’t shame them, don’t totally freak out, just have fun with them and love them and make sure THEY know you love them whoever they are they will grow to be who they were born to be.  That’s the only job that parents, and caretakers have, is to let children be who they are so please don’t muck it up!

You’ll Know it When you See It

available soonThat’s what people say about finding your soulmate, or in my case finding my life mission. Sounds so deep, but in truth it is so simple.

Having had eight months of uninterrupted time to spend with Mom, to try new things (hanging upside down during anti-gravity yoga was awesome!), and to think about my next career move, I have come to understand a few things:

It’s not about the platform.

We spend too much time talking about platforms and apps.  I recently did some pro bono work with a financial services company who wanted to start a Facebok page because ‘everyone has one.”   They are a bright, energetic, awesome group of people who fell victim to the ‘platform’ trap.

It is about the people.

Whether the people are employees, partners, customers or prospective partners, you need to be WHERE THEY ARE.  It’s not about bringing them to you; it’s about being present where they are already interacting.

Engagement is a buzzword.

But it’s the only word that makes sense to me.  Engaging people by showing yourself as a human being, who has thoughts and feelings beyond whatever marketing campaign is en vogue.  Having a company brand that evokes feelings and provokes dialogue. Getting people to talk about what they like about your products and services; what enhancements they would like to see while also being able to talk to each other about off-work topics.

What I’m good at

Feels weird to talk about what I’m good at versus all the things that I could use some work on, but I’m good at getting people to feel comfortable and safe expressing their opinions.  At getting people to understand that you can use ANY platform, but without the ability to reach the people you want to reach, it won’t make a difference.  At getting executives to say “You’re right, we’ll take another look at that” without feeling diminished.  At refocusing a negative conversation, on any platform, to a more productive one that recognizes and values every opinion.

So that’s where my next career move will be targeted.

Call it engagement, call it social media, call it marketing…..It’s only words (some of you may be singing along with the BeeGees; for the younger folks jus take it from me that this was a rather popular song).

I’m available for a full time or consulting role in January, 2016. It took me years to realize this, but even an interview is an engagement in that I also get an opportunity to determine if your role and your company aligns with my perspective.

It’s exciting and frightening to begin again. Sometimes it means going back, and sometimes it means moving in a different direction.

I’ll keep you posted!

Let’s Be the Change

While I’m still in my ‘pause’ from working for salary, came upon a great idea via social media.  We took that seed, and filled ten bags with essential products for homeless women.

IMG_1458Socks, tissues, feminine products, toothpaste, toothbrushes, anti-bacterial wipes, lip balm….just the basics packaged in a reusable tote bag.

For only a $10.00 (USD) contribution, you can help one woman and let her know that someone cares.

Our goal is to raise $5,000.00 dollars to help 500 women. 100% of proceeds go to product purchase; packaging and distribution on the streets done by a lovely group of woman calling themselves the Daytrippers.

Please consider donating; any amount welcome!


Changes and Managing Uncertainty

Lots of things have happened this week, around the world, but one announcement was particularly relevant to me:  Dell buys EMC.

every little thingHaving worked at EMC for fourteen years before accepting a Voluntary Separation Package (emphasis on Separation which I see as something completely different from a divorce) to spend more time with my Mom, I have kept in regular contact with my EMC peeps and have been anxious to return to the work that I love.

This announcement, while not precluding that, probably puts the brakes on as the companies finalize the deal and conduct resource planning.

So, looks like I have to take my own advice for managing change and uncertainty:

  • Remember that every new beginning is some other beginning’s end (Semisonic (sp?) lyrics, I believe)
  • Know that the universe will conspire to bring me where I need to be
  • Trust that every little thing…..is going to be all right (thanks Bob Marley!)
  • Take proactive steps to ‘up my engagements’ and open myself to the possibility of working somewhere else (a bit frightening with a tinge of excitement at this point)
  • Keep it real; it’s not the end of the world for any of us.  In fact, it may continue as is or may evolve into some new and exciting opportunities

We’re all doing the best we can, and I feel for all of my fellow #EMCers as they also enter this tumultuous time.  But I do know that they are a hardy and uniquely talented group of people who will continue to contribute in whatever way they can.

My best to all.

Hangin’ in there

The Truth about Monetary Performance/Sales Goals

SMART goalsWhether paid out monthly, quarterly, or annually monetary goals are a staple in many industries. The obvious intent is to incent employees to go above and beyond their ‘standard’ job roles and/or to achieve (or better yet) over-achieve sales or performance goals.

The monetary goal strategy suffers from a variety of issues, best told in stories.

Meaningless Goals

I once had an employee who transferred from another department.  During our first meeting, we had a nice conversation, during our second we reviewed his goals.  One of his goals, for which he would receive a $500.00 payout, was to “attend the bi-monthly (xyz subject) meeting.”  I must have looked stricken as I asked him exactly what his role was in this meeting.  “Role?” he asked, “I just attend so I know what’s happening.”

Nonsensical Goals

I once worked in a manufacturing setting that had salespeople who were intent, as most are, on meeting their goals.  One in particular thought himself savvy, and as the end of the year approached realized that he was going to miss the mark and hence the monetary bonus.  His solution?  Sell three years (THREE YEARS) worth of product to an overseas client. The problem was that there wasn’t enough time to ship that quantity, so management decided to simply ship from the warehouse to the waiting container in the parking lot.  End result?  Salesperson got his commission; salesperson left for another position, sales in the region slumped for three years.

Incomplete Goals

At a startup telecommunications company, the salesperson was goaled to “Convert (x number) of customers from other carriers to our carrier by (insert date).”  He proceeded to do everything possible to achieve that goal, and did so successfully.  The problem?  The folks he converted fell into these categories:

  • employees and their families
  • low income customers looking for an inexpensive alternative
  • customers who didn’t make any long distance calls and who had basic plans

The result?  The salesperson achieved his goal as written; the startup wound down within six months.

What makes a sensible goal?  The standard SMART model which I learned in the ’80s:

  1. Specific
  2. Measurable
  3. Attainable
  4. Relevant
  5. Timed

Want to have a great 1 hour workshop with your employees BEFORE the goal setting season begins?  Use these examples, or your own, and help your employees learn to write goals the SMART way.

How High are her Heels and other HR Nightmares

HR nightmareWith  gulp, over 25 years of management experience I think I’ve seen just about everything.  This  incident, which occurred in an office setting of a manufacturing plant, is one of my fave stories.

Against all objections, I hired a woman from the manufacturing floor into a customer care position in an office environment. She was so proud to have made that leap, and dressed like a movie star every day.  Full makeup, hair done up, blouses, skirts and heels.

So what’s the problem?  First, she had a drop dead gorgeous body that men could not tear their eyes away from.  Her clothing tended to be tight, and her heels high.

I get the dreaded call from Human Resources:  “Can you please speak with (Diane)?  When she walks down into manufacturing everyone stops to stare at her and it’s affecting production.” “Oh,” I say, “the men ogle her and somehow it’s HER fault?” I got the infamous HR sigh in return, asking if I’d seen her today.  “Yes,” I said, “she’s worn that outfit before.”

Getting nowhere, the HR rep tried a different approach.  He asked if I knew the dress code, particularly as it applied to high heels.  Why yes, I did.  I asked Diane to come into my office, explained there were safety concerns about her heels, and together we measured her heel height which, as you might guess, fell within the standard.

Told the HR rep that her heels fell within guidelines, and he was stumped.  He felt that her dress simply wasn’t appropriate even though it met all published guidelines, rules & standards.

I asked a thought-provoking question, “If I wore the same outfit that Diane is wearing, with the same heels, would that be a problem?”  “No,” he said, “it wouldn’t look the same on you.”

In addition to feeling somewhat disrespected while acknowledge that I’m not nearly as shapely, i retorted, “Well, it isn’t her clothes then, is it?  It’s her body you object to.”

Case closed.

It’s Not Magic – Being a Great Leader

leaderThere’s so much talk about leadership, research, books, classes, maybe even degree specializations in university.  The truth is, it’s not magic.

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes, all colors and races, all socioeconomic classes.  They aren’t defined by their appearance or station in life, but rather by their actions.  They may be ‘official leaders’ who are voted in or who take the spot via political coup, or ‘unofficial’ leaders who are simply recognized by others as having something new and interesting to say.

Marks of a great leader (to me):

  • Speaks the truth.  No matter how uncomfortable that truth is, manages to speak it without denigrating, hurting or offending others.
  • Offers constructive feedback in private.  Publicly supports whoever they consider their team, company or group.  Offers any constructive feedback to the group or an individual in private.
  • Energizes. Leaders inspire by projecting energy. I’ll not argue that the energy is always positive, but that’s the goal here.  They are not lazy, they are enthusiastically and unequivocally passionate.
  • Humble.  Many leaders have significant doubts and do not suffer from arrogance.  That’s what makes them open to listening and hearing others’ ideas.
  • Inclusive.  Not tolerant, but rather accepting of every other person and event with the inherent knowledge that everyone is doing the best they can in that particular moment.

SOEHT; not exactly the acronym of a marketing professional but hey, this isn’t about marketing is it?

What other traits or attributes would you add?

Those Uncomfortable Times When…..

uncomfortableWe all face them; uncomfortable situations.  Whether at work, home, shopping for groceries or clothes we come upon someone or something unfamiliar and we freeze.  We might stare, immediately drop or avert our eyes, or try to act like we’re cool by nodding our heads or smiling.

I’ve experienced the uncomfortable-ness when out with my mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.  At first, three years ago, no one noticed us at all.  We we just people out to lunch or out shopping.  As her disease progressed, it became more visibly apparent that ‘something was wrong’ with her; she didn’t exactly look like everyone else.  Her friends stopped visiting, even most of her relatives stopped visiting.

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Life Lessons from Zentangle

zentangle imaginationDrawing zentangles may at first seem a bit intimidating, but it’s nothing other than ‘pumping up the volume’ on your sketches.  To learn more, see Zentangle.com or see my fave getting started book.

On my drawing journey, I’ve had time to think about how the evolution of my drawing relates to my life….both my homelife and worklife. I hope these ponderings will resonate with you:

  1. It’s fearsome to face a blank page.  That first step to beginning is often the most difficult to take.  Putting ink to paper, scheduling the first meeting of a project, all of the ‘firsts’ in our lives must be overcome if we are to progress.
  2. We all need a little help from our friends.  In my case, those include resources like websites or books, but also the trusted opinions of those who are (sometimes painfully) honest.  None of us can do it alone.
  3. Less is more.  In zentangling and in life, it helps to leave white spaces.  Those are times when you are unscheduled, unplugged and quiet.
  4. To each his own.  Art is very subjective, but so is the work that we do.  One boss may love every single thing that you say, write or present while another may have no such appreciation.  We need to learn to accept that you can’t please everyone.
  5. The journey is worth far more than the destination.  Regardless of the outcome of your work, HOW you got there really is important.  Did you treat everyone fairly and with respect? Did you spread love?  Did you stand up for the ignored or maligned?

You might not think that drawing would evoke this thinking, but there is learning available in everything we do.  You just have to look for it.