Monday, December 19, 2016

Best of the season!

Would you agree that at least the holidays are a place where we should not worry about change?

Home and Hopeful for the Holidays

Dear Ho-Ho-Ho
Wishful thinking!  I assume you aren’t talking about the spare change to drop in the charity bucket or the need to rethink using tinsel once the cat shows you a sparkly tail?

Ho Ho Ho, change will happen; it’s the scale of change that may fluctuate. We probably won’t get a brand new assignment or see projects go “red” over the last two weeks of December. We will change our socks, cut back on working hours, and make some extra phone calls to family. Our days will be structured around different priorities even if our celebrations differ. Change is “relative” – especially over the holidays…

Take some joy in unexpected pleasures between now and New Year’s.  Re-evaluate routines to bring into 2017. Add some extra quiet time; take away some stress. Help others to do some of the same. Sometimes change is simply a different routine for a short while.

Best until 2017

Monday, December 5, 2016

Humourous A-Z of types of mentors

Exploring the different kinds of mentors there are... We either do these things for others or we seek them for ourselves.

Augment-or:                  Helps you be you in all facets
Bewilderment-or:           Helps the lost find a path
Cement-or:                    Part of the foundation of your community, keeping it together
Discouragement-or:       Teaches how to handle feedback
Embodiment-or:             A role model
Fulfillment-or:               Uncovers desires and dreams
Gedankenexperiment-or:Theories of mentoring and networking brought to life
Harassment-or:             When you need someone to help you find a way out
Impalement-or:              Lets you get away with nothing
Judgment-or:                 We’re all good at this to differing degrees.
Knackerment-or:           (thx Karin!) They know how to do a really good debrief
Lament-or:                   When the world just seems too much, they hold your hand
Movement-or:               Helps you frame your vision
Nourishment-or:            Feeds your passion
Ordainment-or:             Helps you find your calling
Pavement-or:                Builds a road with you to wherever you're going
Quiet Enjoyment-or:      (thx Anne!)  Can sit in silence and relax while you both think
Readjustment-or:          Support during the first stages of change
Sediment-or:                 Asks you to dig right to the bottom
Testament-or:               Also an active sponsor as well as mentor
-or:          Serves as a foundation while you make plans
Varmint-or:                   Offers new perspective on those who drive you crazy
Wonderment-or:            Uncovers new passions in you
Xenograft-or:                Mentoring at its most basic
Yield-or:                       Invests time and expertise into helping others grow
Zest-or:                        Creates excitement and interest within you

To see the complete lists:
X, Y & Z – Nov. 7/16

Monday, November 21, 2016

Personal brands & sharing them

How you are perceived is both a reflection of your brand and the brands of those with whom you surround yourself.

Hmmm... sounds like advice our moms gave us years ago, doesn't it?

The difference is in the intent. Ages ago the subtext was "only surround yourself with successful people." With a broader definition of success and joy in a diverse network, today the reminder is to "be mindful of how you share your brand and be respectful of how your association reflects on others." Less about surface and more about character.

My arts and not-for-profit background is positions my technical associates as forward thinkers as much as it showcases my own ability to apply knowledge across industries. We are greater than the sum of our parts - which is why networks and communities can do much more in the aggregate. Another positive check mark for having networks.

More than how my personal network (with me at the centre) is built, is honouring the trust given when someone else shares their network and their brand. Simple manners like 'ask before assuming it's ok to provide an introduction' or 'offer a heads up when information may impact someone' can go a long way to building further trust.

Your brand is more than your job - your network should reach beyond your own skills. Share across industries. Collaborate in many communities. Growing your connections with an authentic approach around who you are and what you offer can see everyone's perception of the participants deepen.

Success isn't skin deep - it's a whole community's reflection of us all.

Monday, November 14, 2016

What unites us as women?

It is definitely not a shared view of the main issue nor a single action plan. Our ideas, concerns and focus spans our contexts through the lenses of:

  • mothers
  • partners (or not or divorced)
  • parents
  • single parents
  • sexual orientation
  • work and work hierarchies
  • self-employment vs. employee
  • intrapreneurs & entrepreneurs
  • perception of self worth
  • past experiences with poverty, abuse and violence

...and so much more.

We are as diverse in our experiences and thinking as we are in our geographical locations and vocabularies.

What unites often is how we cheer each on while still maintaining our own unique areas of passion. We share in each others successes even if we don't fight the same fight. Thanks to Madonna for showing bra straps & roots. Bless our daughters and nieces for tattoos and denim as fashion. Wade vs. Roe. Ms. Steinem. My grama.

The elephant in the room is made of many problems. Grab the piece that appeals to you and know we're each doing our part and it all counts. We are united by our passion and our contributions.

Image result for helping hands

Monday, November 7, 2016

The “X, Y, Z” list

Exploring the different kinds of mentors there are... We either do these things for others or we seek them for ourselves.

Finishing with "X, Y & Z":

Xenograft-or:             mentoring at its most basic

Yammer-or:                Repeats an idea until you understand it
Yarn-or:                      Turns the improbable into a possible thread to follow
Yield-or:                     Invests time and expertise into helping others grow

Zag-or:                       Assists in a change of course
Zapper-or:                  Defeats negativity with you
Zest-or:                       Creates excitement and interest within you

Zipper-or:                   Neatly helps you find a solution, job or idea

This has been a fun list to develop over the years. Soon I'll publish the A-Z best - send me your favourites from the posts!

Monday, October 31, 2016

It's Halloween - time to network with your neighbours!

Image result for halloween

What better time to make a few connections? Even us introverts can reach out more comfortably on a night when strange children run up to your door asking for candy while their parents stand by in a shadow. 

A few tricks with the treats:
  • Have some disposable cups and some hot coffee in a thermos to offer the parents
  • Introduce yourself to the neighbours you recognize that you may not have done more than waved to before
  • Offer to pool candy bowls and share porches or door duty for an hour so time passes more quickly
  • Crack open a bottle of wine and bring a glass to the neighbours around you before the foot traffic starts
  • Prep a little special bag for the children you may know in your 'hood with an extra treat
  • Offer to take photos of neighbours and their children when they come by and then trade email addresses

These little kindnesses (and any others you can add) are often remembered and a great way to break the ice. Knowing our neighbours makes our community better for all.

Happy Hallow's Eve!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Tech is not ruining your ability to connect with others

A tool is not a solution; a tool is an accelerator for a solution. Conversely, a tool is not the the single point of failure for something not going well but we do use this kind of thinking as an excuse.

Technology isn't getting in the way of people connecting any more than credit cards force people to go into debt. They are tools and, like any tool, can serve a different purpose than originally intended if the user is determined.

Even 100 Years Ago People Were Worried about Technology Ruining Relationships points out that our desire to connect circumvents obstacles and uses new methods as available to engage.

Yes, it is silly to hold a family dinner with everyone on a smart phone. If in person, be in person. Sit in the moment: watch the movie; listen at the meeting; converse at coffee.

I love knowing I can reach my son in Vancouver via text in the middle of the day. My dad sends me 2am emails for my morning laugh. Dinner dates are arranged while I'm on the commute to work. I also meet folks from around the work via social media - relationship that have moved on to Skype, FaceTime and sometimes trips on cool jets that take me around the globe in less time than it often took me to pack for the trip.

Do you find the issue is more that we're too connected to each other via technology and therefore the only way to gain solitude is to unplug and turn off devices?

Technology is a tool. Community building and networking is a necessity. Use whatever tools we can get!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Anxiety, vulnerability & courage

Mentoring  and networking often evoke three emotions/attributes: anxiety; vulnerability; and courage. I believe emotions are a strength especially when they deepen our self-awareness.

Anxiety can take many forms: insecurity; worry; feeling pressured; or simply jitters while facing a stranger (or a room full of them). It's a natural response. The idea is not to suppress anxiety but understand why it's happening. We are not defined by what we are feeling but how we choose to act on those feelings. I am anxious about a lot of things but I do not let it determine if I do /do not participate.

(Recently, there has been a lot of articles on social media around anxiety as a mental disorder. This post is not about those of us who suffer from long-term or deep anxiety - this is about the normal flutters and worries everyone has.)

Vulnerability is a necessary state for growth. By opening ourselves to others, we invite trust. Yes, it can seem counter-intuitive to attempt remaining open within a professional context. Consider that we are always told to model the behaviours we wish to see around us in our teams and communities. As mentors, or those seeking to make connection, sometimes the best way to invite others is to be inviting. Sharing experiences and ideas is not a new concept ...  nor will it ever be old.

Being vulnerable does not mean a lack of boundaries. It should never mean allowing abuse or disrespect. Vulnerability does include honesty, emotional responses and putting status aside to talk with someone as a peer and a valued contributor.

Choosing to act when anxious or remain open when uncomfortable takes courage. With a willingness to genuinely and authentically interact with others comes fears and previous experiences that cause us to hesitate. I sometimes liken my actions in building community to the ridiculous:  climbing to the top of a building, yelling "Catch me!" as I leap off and sometimes am not caught by the folks below. So I scrape myself back together and eventually go back up the elevator. Occasionally, I pick a shorter building.

Why do it? Why take the risks? Why experience it? That's the key word: "experience." Experiences are our stories that make us who we are. Understanding, feeling and not avoiding our emotions help us process these experiences and allow us to connect more profoundly with the world around us.

We can't avoid anxiety or vulnerability; let's put these emotions to good use - call it being courageous and share with the folks around us.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Sympathy & advice - PB&J?

I had a few personal and professional hiccups last month. Nothing life or career threatening, but certainly upsetting / inconvenient / uncomfortable.

Going to my own mentorees and asking for their advice was like hearing a chorus of validation and anger or concern on my behalf. I felt appreciated but still had little perspective on what to do. The gang just assumed I was strong enough and smart enough to find my own way through with little but a cheering section.

Going to my mentors was a different surprise. The advice was so varied and so vague; I was not sure what was being said. One of my favourite questions to ask when mentoring is "What advice would you give me if the situation was reversed and you were me?" This time, I asked this of my mentors as well. That's where their emotions came into play "I'd tell him to stuff it!," said one.

This taught me a few things:
1 - I obviously don't ask for help a lot and it confuses people when I do.
2 - Having someone genuinely care and be angry on your behalf may not be productive but it feels good - creates a safe place from which planning can be done (and the cheerleader, having established a position of being onside, can then safely challenge plans)
3 - Telling me to not make "an emotional decision" drives me more crazy that the issue itself. Just because I'm showing emotion does Not mean my brains fell out my butt.

I'm now resolved to be a better ear for others in this regard:
  • Listen to the problem
  • Express outrage/incredulity/etc. at any unfairness
  • Question for facts within the anecdote
  • Challenge the solution to be fact-based while not requiring emotion to leave the room
  • Ensure to close the discussion with a good note, even if there is no solution at that time (sometimes folks just need to talk)
Then start over with wine and probably not get past the second bullet....


Monday, October 3, 2016

The V & W list

Exploring the different kinds of mentors there are... We either do these things for others or we seek them for ourselves.

Continuing with "V & W":

Varmint-or:                Offers new perspective on those who drive you crazy
Vehement-or:             Moves anger to passion
Vestment-or:              Ensures formal recognition of your success
Vouchsafement-or:    Finds you answers from the top of the house

Weldment-or:             Creates lateral thinking
-or:          Adds to your confusion
Wonderment-or:         Uncovers new passions in you
Worriment-or:             Helps to unravel the sticky problems

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Acceptable work emotions

Overheard in the elevator:
"Seriously.. they were waaaay too cheerful. Got to tone it down in the office."
"Someone around here was pleased?"
"Yeah. Really broke my concentration."

I'm not sure if the problem is that there are fewer acceptable emotions to show in a professional setting or that the voltage meter for any emotion is expected to stay in the middle. I'm not even sure when this crept in - possibly with political correctness?  By not truly expressing ourselves with what we're thinking, and naturally extending that to what we're feeling, work has become a grey zone of muted expression.

While I'm not advocating for Snoopy dancing in the hallways or screams of anguish over new assignments, we are human. It's a well-known stress contributor that swallowing emotion (of any kind) contributes to illness and unhappiness. Women especially are coached to 'tone it down.' For those of us who get teary when frustrated (an uncontrollable response), this can be intensely embarrassing and create more anxiety and frustration for us.

It's just as hard for men. I was out with a bunch of guys the other night who pointed out they were never really given a vocabulary for when sad. As one man put it "I have a the ability to express that I am pleased, horny or angry so by default I use one of those."  Another contributed "I punch things when I'm sad because I *think I feel angry about it, get embarrassed when I'm really happy and that makes me angry so I punch something. At work I just pretend I'm above it all."

There's probably no easy answer to relaxing the unspoken taboo about expressing ourselves more honestly. Perhaps the place to start is allowing ourselves to laugh - a good belly laugh when something is funny - since laughter is infectious. Thoughts?

Image result for emotional meter

Monday, September 19, 2016

Enabling or controlling?

There are lots of rules and guidelines out there. Every day we each contribute a few more.. at home, at work, for ourselves and our communities. Beyond examining if our choice is being driven from fear or passion, the next step is to ask if the outcome is best served by something that enables or controls...

We can't have both. We've all been on projects with governance that was not clearly one or the other and folks often were confused as to how to make a decision and what the change really looked like.

So what's the difference?

Control: Be home by 11 pm.
Enable: Default is to be home by 11 pm unless there is prior agreement by both parties on a different time.

First one is finite and sets a clear boundary. Sometimes we need that. Sometimes we hate being treated like children and will push the boundary or ignore it.
Second one allows both parties (parent & child) to enable discussion, negotiation for earlier or later if the default will not work in a given circumstance.

Control: Thou shalt not kill.
Enable: Thou shall love, respect and protect each other.

Again, first one sets a boundary we all feel happier having. But it only eliminates one specific behaviour, leaving loopholes that many have exploited over the centuries. Which created more controls. Which had loopholes....  And it doesn't enable new behaviours in place of the one behaviour denied.

Control: Don't push that red button.
Enable: The following circumstances will require pushing the red button.

Control: Fill out this form on X.
Enable: Ensure X is fully documented.

Control:  I will not eat sugar.
Enable: I will make healthy food choices.

There is a place for controls. (Stop at the stop sign...) And one for enablers. However, their very nature means you must select which tone you need to set for your project, family, self, etc.

I prefer enabling governance (unless I'm Audit...) because people being people would prefer to feel like their judgment matters. Plus, there will always be a loophole; I'd rather it be a discussion than a rebellion.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

two mentoring questions

How will you know, by the end of the week, that you took a step towards something to which you are striving?

How will you acknowledge the step?


Monday, August 29, 2016

Proof point for progress

I was driving with my son and his girlfriend ... a beautiful day and we were all joking around. They're both 25 and filled with the possible, including a view that the world can change (which it can).

She:  "Can you bake some brownies tonight?"

Son:  "Sure."

She: "I love your brownies."

Son: "I know... you just think that's all I'm good for." <grin>

Me:  "Naw. She just likes you barefoot and in the kitchen. hahaha"

Silence from them...

Me:  "You know... barefoot... in the kitchen... I'm being funny..."


Son:  "I don't think we know the joke, Mom."

Me:  "Uh, it's an expression that your feminist mom was playing with... You know... It used to be ok to say women should be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen."

She:  "Who says that???"

Me:  "You've never heard it?"

Son:  "Obviously not."

Me:  "Ever???"

She:  "Never. And if I did I would speak up about it. That's just not right."

Me:  "Well, I'm sure some of your friends have."

Sounds of them busy on social media

Son:  "Nope."

She:  "No."

Me:  "You just made my day."

Monday, August 15, 2016

Tiresome & patronizing

The headline read "How Women Leaders Can Unlock their Potential." Wow. Does that imply a woman is leader because of her gender and now here's how she really needs to execute the role? Or that women leaders are only doing a half-@ssed job?

Have we not already unlocked our potential? Is it less that we are supposed to learn to perform better and more that we're seeking recognition for the efforts and further opportunities?

Why not comment on how we should dress down our sexuality and keep our legs crossed at all times?

Would there ever be a title "How Men Leaders Can Unlock their Potential?" Or "Asian Leaders..." ?Geez.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The “U” list

Exploring the different kinds of mentors there are... We either do these things for others or we seek them for ourselves.

Continuing with "U":

uncement-or:                 Forces you to rethink plans
underdevelopment-or:     Adds the mentoring you were missing
underemployment-or:      Becomes the sponsor you need
-or:           Serves as a foundation while you plan
-or:        Has you focus on yourself for once
-or:         A mentor with a dry sense of humour
Unravelment-or:             Untangles the snags in thinking

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Guidelines vs rules

A rule is prescriptive. You follow it or you break it. It's an absolute. Non-compliance has consequences. It allows for no discussion.

A guideline is suggestive. It frames appropriate judgment. It's a variable. Non-compliance might have consequences if the rationale for straying outside the lines is not sound. It allows for discussion.

Some rules are necessary: stop at a red light; don't kill; don't steal; wear a hard hat...

Some guidelines are necessary: wash your hands after going to the bathroom; don't pet the strange dog; eat a good breakfast...

So ... the next time you make a pronouncement, is it a rule or a guideline?

Image result for rulesImage result for guidelines

Monday, July 18, 2016

The “T” list

I realized I had never finished this series (you may not have noticed but I enjoyed writing this). We last left off at "S" so continuing on…

Exploring the different kinds of mentors there are... We either do these things for others or we seek them for ourselves.

Continuing with "T":

tanglement-or:           Makes things more complicated just to see how you'll handle it
-or:        Brings things back to how folks feel
-or:              Also an active sponsor as well as mentor
-or:           Someone who urges you to get out there and try!
-or:       A great networker and knowledge transfer-er

Monday, July 11, 2016

Examining career choices

How do you know when it's time to re-examine career choices?

There is a lot of research that talks about a need for a catalyst to create change; we don't naturally seek it ourselves. This means that most of us wait until either we are dissatisfied with the current situation or a big event comes along that changes our perspective.

If that's the norm, why ask the question? There are two reasons why it's worth getting ahead of ourselves:

  1. By the time we're dissatisfied or pushed to find an alternative, we're often feeling pressed for time or at a disadvantage. Either scenario doesn't allow for planning and reflection; it mostly calls for immediate action.
  2. It should be the norm to reflect on our career, to ensure we're still engaged with our weekly tasks, to see if we are making progress against our definition of success. Otherwise, we're drifting with the current and not necessarily engaged in the moment.

Re-examining your choices doesn't mean the choices will be any different. Maybe it confirms them. Perhaps it allows for a tweak vs. an overhaul.

Choices should be active and periodically renewed. We renew our choices to stay in relationships, houses, activities, etc. and we should do the same with the items that take the most of our day - our careers & jobs.

It's always time to re-examine. It's not being unfaithful or uncertain; it's confirmation and assurance.

Which leads me to ask if resumes are up to date....

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Who should I talk with next?

It's a simple action: after every encounter (beverage, meeting, hallway conversation), ask: Who should I talk with next?

I think the only time it might not apply is on a first date that is going well...

It works for job seeking, information gathering, network building, friend making, babysitter hunting, and customer service when they can't seem to figure out what you want.

It takes the onus off you to have to personally know or seek out everyone in the world and allows you to be passed along with a smile instead.

Folks don't always think to offer up the next contact but they're happy to share when asked.

It can be as wonderful as discovering a really great book is actually a series or a tv pilot has 12 more episodes.

Ask for the next connection. Be the hot potato!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Be outspoken

Here's the story. At work, I ran into some folks I quite like. I was glib and irreverent at the expense of my current project. You know… the usual. It was then I noticed a new face sitting quietly and listening. Someone who did not know that my foot rests often in my mouth and that I sometimes put it there deliberately.

Immediately, I thought: "Rats. Now they think I don't know what I'm doing and that I'm a pain. Maybe they're deciding not to like me. Will I have to work with them? Did I say anything I don't stand behind?" …and on and on chased the squirrels in my brain.

 Stop, I thought. You have become an outspoken, opinionated person… and that's alright. Speak your mind. Use humour if appropriate. Ask questions. Worry less about being liked and more about liking yourself. Do the right thing instead of worrying about what the right thing might be. Be considerate without being quiet.

It was like my own Canada Day. Independence from my own nagging voice. Not that having that voice chime in is a bad thing all the time; everyone needs to check the controls once in a while to make sure you're on course. It's just now I trust my regular voice more often. I am the mouthy broad my mother always hoped I'd never be and I'm enjoying it! (I think…)

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Are we losing our sense of community in this century?

In a wonderful article/interview with Zygmunt Bauman "Social Media are a Trap," he states: "We are in a period of interregnum, between a time when we had certainties and another when the old ways of doing things no longer work. We don’t know what is going to replace this."

Mr. Bauman stresses that growing tension between our identities as a community and our personal identities. While he references social frameworks such as political and geographical, he mentions how uncertainty is hitting many people - from where they will work to the desire for freedom in a world demanding security (which curtails individual freedom for the 'greater good'). He points out that while 'community' is out of our control, networks are something we can choose deliberately. "The difference between a community and a network is that you belong to a community, but a network belongs to you. You feel in control. You can add friends if you wish, you can delete them if you wish. You are in control of the important people to whom you relate. People feel a little better as a result, because loneliness, abandonment, is the great fear in our individualist age. But it’s so easy to add or remove friends on the internet that people fail to learn the real social skills, which you need when you go to the street, when you go to your workplace, where you find lots of people who you need to enter into sensible interaction with."

He limits the concept of network to a social media framework and goes on to say that  "But most people use social media not to unite, not to open their horizons wider, but on the contrary, to cut themselves a comfort zone where the only sounds they hear are the echoes of their own voice, where the only things they see are the reflections of their own face. Social media are very useful, they provide pleasure, but they are a trap." 

It is true. We don't often talk with folks with whom we may disagree. We don't seek out dissenting opinions often because we want to hear critical feedback in a safe environment. Networks should include those with whom we can have those difficult conversations: mentors; friends; family.

In his book, In Moral Blindness, he warns about the loss of community in our individualistic world. What I believe is harder for his studies to see or mention are the numerous 'kitchen tables' being built by those who understand the power of community and networks in their truest sense: survival.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Delegation - Level 4

Delegation Level 4: You do it with input from me. 
It's your final decision but I will attempt to shape the outcome as I'm giving up the ownership to you but not letting go all the way...

Whether this is a coaching or mentoring conversation, this is the toughest kind of delegation. Like letting a teen set their own curfew, it's a balance of trust, boundaries and communication.

If you're the person letting go of ownership, be clear:

  • Which decisions do /do not remain with you
  • How often you would like updates and in what format
  • What you will both do if you (the person letting go) do not feel comfortable with a decision for which you relinquished ownership
  • What you expect if you (the person letting go) are perceived to be moving back to Level 2 type oversight
  • How you will evaluate the process once the job is complete

Delegation is both a compliment to another's abilities and a test of their own leadership. It is hard for someone to be judged by how well their team or partner does while letting go of directly managing the activities. Positive results are a compliment to both parties. Negative results can be a test of real leadership - not in retaking of the reins but in providing "air cover," a second chance and an acceptance of risk.

Absolute control is rarely the best answer. It's sometimes the only answer a person knows; that's why delegation is a learned skill.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The art of saying "no"

Try to go a whole day without starting a sentence with "No..." It's really hard.

Along with the ever popular phrase "no, but..." (and the occasional need to swear), "no" is often a reaction as much as an answer.

"No" is as ubiquitous as "um.." We use the word to buy time, create space and consider options. While I am a firm believer in  using "no" when necessary or true, it does not help me in the kazillion situations at work where I want to say it but feeling awkward about it.

Here's I say no at work:
"Flattered that you think you need my help! What exactly do you believe I can contribute? Or does this just need an immediate warm body?"  (I didn't say no, I just made it harder for them to dump and run. Unless they can answer the question and then I know I'm genuinely needed)

"That sounds like something I don't know how to do. Will you be sitting with me while I do it?" (Same as above and I'm ok with looking out of my depth some times)

"Excellent. I can do that in about 3 weeks. If you need it faster, you might have to find someone else?" (Either I'm the right person to do it or they just need a warm body...)

"Sure, I can do that. X and X will go on hold till I'm done. Let me know if we have sign off to delay before I start?" (Seriously, this works)

"No. I appreciate your need, I really do. I am not the right person/ timing is poor / etc." (Some days one just says "no"... without a but...)

Any other good ideas out there?

PS> For a great perspective on how to use the word "no" effectively, start with Barbara Coloroso and her take on parenting with the word "no."

Monday, May 16, 2016

Success includes failure

We all seek success – however we define it.

Consider:  Success is not measured by how many hours you put in or how many projects went in under your watch. It is measured by the legacy you leave and the value you provided along the way through both your influence and achievements.

So success includes failures because we're not defined by the failure but in how we recover from it.

As I mess up on an hourly basis on my current assignment, it's easy for me to lose sight of progress - never mind any successes. Today, someone leaned over my shoulder and said 'Hey, we're having better conversations now. Good job.'

I had been fussing about how much there was to do still. He focused on the value he was seeing. 

It's a nice way to start the week....

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


I wish I knew who first brought this to my attention; I am eternally grateful. I would credit the author if I knew who it was - they're very smart. This is a great mentoring conversation to have.

Delegation is something done badly just about everywhere. It's hard to delegate among family and friends; it's expected at work and expected to not go well. Part of bad delegation is not clearly understanding the level of responsibility being handed off. Managers forget to say; people forget to ask.

Delegation is not about letting go of the final sign off. I can completely delegate getting the car cleaned (where, when, by whom, how) and yet still pay for it. My manager can delegate a project to me but I still will need his signature even if all the decisions are mine.

Level 1: I do it myself.  No help. No input. My brain and strength alone. 

Level 2: I do it but some folks need to give me input. I may not take the input at the end but I will listen because I asked for it. Maybe I will even  hand off a small part for someone else to do. I'm busy browning the chicken so can you chop the onions for the meal I'm making (that your input - chicken or shrimp - has already influenced).

Level 3: We do it together. ha! in what universe does that work? The decision must be made and if we all keep debating the choices I'm never going to pick a solution. Someone always owns the final word.

Level 4: You do it with input from me. My personal favourite... backseat driving :-) Which is not, of course, true delegation so ignore that example. Really, it's your final decision but I will attempt to shape the outcome as I'm giving up the ownership to you but not letting go all the way... (I should write a whole post on level 4: Learning to pry the "delegater's" fingers further off the project. Post a comment if you agree...)

Level 5: You do it. Enough said

Do you know your level of authority across your projects?

hmmm.... do I?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Do this now and be successful!

It's everywhere and it's driving me nuts. Superlatives. Extra exclamations!! Promises of shortcuts and quick solutions. The cliche or quote to unlock the one 'aha!' moment that was holding you back (!!!!).

There is no silver bullet, no magic one-size-fits-all formula for success (however you define it).

The next time you see The Top Ten List to <perfection /success> or A Few Easy Steps to <perfection/success> or The <perfect> Way to Attain <success>.... or Be <better / perfect> with these Hacks! .... Pause.  Laugh. Enjoy the author's perspective. Keep yours.

Remember that:

  • There is no shortcut for showing up and putting effort into a project or idea. 
  • Mistakes are necessary. If we only needed the conclusions, there would be no new ideas or experiments.
  • Your definition of success and your plan to get there has as much merit as anyone else's.
  • Some days we don't need to be better... we just need to be.

Wandering through LinkedIn has its merits... I saw this quote on LI which articulated a piece of my frustration this week. Of course it was a quote; I'm not immune just tired of it.