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Archive for November, 2010

Ducks in a Row: Engagement isn’t Rocket Science

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Every boss at every level yearns to unlock the key to engaging their employees in ways that boost productivity, juice creativity and innovation, improve retention and have positive impact on the bottom line.

To that end they hire consultants and coaches, attend seminars, read books and discuss it with their peers.

They speak of those who are successful with reverence and pay large sums to hear them speak.

And they hear the same thing over and over from every source.

It’s as simple as 1-2-3

  1. Be happy.
  2. Take care of your employees.
  3. Create a culture in which they grow and thrive.

Consider some of the 1-2-3 giants, Zappos, Southwest, Virgin; watch Inc’s slide show on creating great culture.

Look at any successful company, department or team, large or small, and you’ll find the same 1-2-3 ideas being put into action.

The rocket science all bosses seek is the same—engagement is a function of them, not you—which is exactly why so many of them have a hard time with it.

To paraphrase an ex President, it’s the people, stupid.

Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zedbee/103147140/

Option Sanity™ Video Tour

Monday, November 29th, 2010

It’s funny, most bloggers release products, immediately write about them on their blogs and then all of their blogger friends write about them. It’s logical to do so, even reasonable.

So why haven’t I done it? Actually, I announced it in August, but there was no reaction or comments you, my readers, or any of the bloggers I contacted (but more on them in another post).

Going forward, I thought it would be fun to share some of the challenges, problems and results of our marketing effort, since it turns on subjects about which I frequently write.

In case you don’t remember, Option Sanity is a totally new, values-based way to allocate stock options, with a focus on fairness. It levels the playing field and even makes investors happy.

To give you a much better understanding of how it works, here is the video tour. There is additional information on the website and for those who are really curious, you can play with the full app demo and post your thoughts, opinions or questions here or on the review page.

YouTube image credit: RampUp Solutions

mY generation: Just Add Water Part 2

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

See all mY generation posts here.

(In case you missed Part 1…)


Quotable Quotes: Pithy Proverbs 1

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

proverbDo you like proverbs? I do, not the religious kind, but what the Encyclopedia Britannica describes as “succinct and pithy sayings that are in general use and express commonly held ideas and beliefs.” So I thought I’d share some of the lesser known ones every now and then.

It is said that a drop of ink may make a million think, but these days it sometimes feels as if the drops that stimulate are on the wane. Or maybe it’s just that so much that is written fits what a friend calls ‘institutionalized inanity’.

A person who can smile when things go wrong has found someone to blame it on is one thing that hasn’t changed and can frequently be seen in news casts, the workplace, and most other settings.

Speaking of work, here are two descriptions of the kind of boss who is guaranteed to spend a great deal of time hiring. To wit, a man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds and a man that breaks his word bids other be false to him.

Whereas a boss who cares know that a handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains and will spend far more time mentoring people than replacing them.

Then there are those folks that we all put up with; you know, the ones that know nothing, but talk constantly. This proverb describes them perfectly, a fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. And just in case this shoe occasionally fits you, try and avoid putting it on very often.

Finally, considering the effect bankers have had on our poor world, I couldn’t resist including this definition, a banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain. Oh, so true.

Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/carbonnyc/1617833195/

Expand Your Mind: More People Stories

Saturday, November 27th, 2010


Before I get to today’s lineup I need to respond to an email question from a reader. “Joan” first assured me that she didn’t mind, but was wondering why so many of my posts played off articles in the NY Times and Business Week when there were so many sources available.

Simply, there is only so much I can read in the time I have available; I’ve read BW for decades and although I don’t like it as much now as I did in years long past, it still offers varied overviews on a large variety of subjects. As to the NYT, I like newspapers and these days it offers as much veracity and breath as I’m going to find. Enough, in fact, that I plan to keep it when it goes to paid subscriptions next year. (I also get my local paper, but it’s highly focused locally and on the region.)

As I’ve said in the past, I like stories about people, especially when they do the unexpected or the unexpected does them; today we have both.

First up, two with a horticultural bent. One tells the story of twins who have been traveling the East Coast sleeping in trees, while the other gives you a look at a book store in Humboldt County, CA, a place known for Giant Sequoias and pot, whose address was hijacked by pot growers as a return when mailing their product. (Hat tip to Gen, owner of North Coast Gardening, for sending me the link.)

You know all those articles you keep seeing about how Americans new frugality is a sea change and not a temporary reaction to past layoffs and current insecurity? Don’t bet on it as this story about Wall Street spending shows.

This next article highlights the importance of dying on your own terms. It resonates with me, because it focuses on dying at home (which I plan to do). You may not appreciate the subject, but death is something with which we all end up dealing—usually multiple times during our lives. It’s one of those things that is best thought about long before it’s necessary.

Finally, have you looked in your attic lately? I never had one, which may be one reason I can’t pass up a garage sale. An English couple clearing out their parents’ attic found an old Chinese vase; it just sold at auction for 69.5 million dollars (plus the 20% VAT). That’s enough inspiration to make you want to clean out your elderly relatives’ attics.

Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pedroelcarvalho/2812091311/

Miki’s Rules to Live by: How to Tweet

Friday, November 26th, 2010

twitterAs most of you know, I’m a digital dinosaur by design, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have rules about stuff like Twitter.

To wit…

If you fritter when you Twitter
be a sweetie and skip the tweety.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/myklroventine/2537309848/

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

No post today, just all my best wishes for a wonderful holiday.

Drive carefully, travel safely, love everyone.

Eat, drink, be merry and don’t drive if you do them in excess.

Finally, save the image, print it and let the kids color it. It should be good for at least ten minutes of peace.


And in case no one has sent you the Thanksgiving Internet rhyme, here is it…

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey be plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!

Image credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/943263

Happy Thanksgiving!

No post today, just all my best wishes for a wonderful holiday.

Drive carefully, travel safely, love everyone.

Eat, drink, be merry and don’t drive if you do them in excess.

Finally, save the image, print it and let the kids color it. It should be good for at least ten minutes of peace.

And in case no one has sent you the Thanksgiving Internet rhyme, here is it…

May your stuffing be tasty

May your turkey be plump,

May your potatoes and gravy

Have never a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner

Stay off your thighs!

Image credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/943263

A Thanksgiving Recommendation

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010


Ducks in a Row: Give Thanks

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010


Thanksgiving is about excess. Excessive food, excessive drink and excessive appreciation.

We give loud and exuberant thanks for all sorts of things at work and at home—people, actions, happenings, things, stuff—a lot of which we take for granted the rest of the year.

Why not take a different path this year and give your loud and exuberant thanks every day starting Thursday (or today if you are ready).

Offer thanks for the little things as well as those that loom large and make sure the thanks are sincere.

Appreciate the good stuff and the not so good, since our best personal growth often springs from how we handle the negatives.

Reach out, instead of waiting to be approached.

Give the people in your world the benefit of the doubt as well as the benefit of your experience.

Give others the spotlight and be thankful when they rise to the occasion—even if it takes some prodding.

Put away your thoughts of quid pro quo and what’s in it for me.

Do it for the next 365 days and I guarantee that your 2011 Thanksgiving will be the most amazing one of your life.

Flickr image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zedbee/103147140/

Bullying as a Business

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

bully-freeBullying has gone high profile over the last few years; it’s not that bullying is new, but in the wired world its results are magnified and the effects include death.

The problem of bullying in the workplace isn’t new, either, and is finally being acknowledged, although still often swept under the rug or rationalized.

Bullying is serious; it saps moral, drains productivity, kills creativity and innovation and because the bully is often the manager it gooses turnover to new heights.

While bullying is a disaster for companies, it is a boon to entrepreneurs and is becoming big business.

In a classic chicken-and-egg twist, the purported rise of the office bully has turned anti-bullying experts into well-paid gurus. Valerie Cade, an anti- bullying coach in Ontario, gives 40 speeches a year for up to $7,500 apiece.

Gary and Ruth Namie are two of the biggest start in the new anti-bullying firmament.

…their book, The Bully at Work, which has since sold 80,000 copies and remains the magnum opus of the genre. In 2003 they renamed their group the more important-sounding Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, later boiled settling on the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), which still sounds pretty important. In 2008, they took the bold step of establishing WBI University, the first college of its kind, in Bellingham. The university’s three-day seminars cost $4,600 for individuals and $6,000 for corporate representatives. Next semester is already sold out.

Don’t get me wrong. There is a need and the Namies actually have strong creds for what they do, but I have ten bucks that creds will dilute quickly as the money from books, tapes, online classes and speaking opportunities increases and every therapist and coach on the planet jumps into the fray.

Seems like dealing with bullies is all grown up.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pointshoot/2500644518/

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