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Does Being Busy Make You Valuable?

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/3619878820/

Live mindfully long enough and you can get an interesting perspective on lifestyle changes.

Some will please, some not; some you’ll question, some deplore, and some will cause you to shake your head in amazement.

The last is how I felt when I read new research from HBS.

In fact, some boast the lack of spare time as a status symbol—even an aspirational lifestyle.

“The new conspicuous consumption is about saying, I am the scarce resource, and therefore I am valuable.”

I’ve seen this first hand, not just in the startup community or twenty-somethings, but among Gen Xers, Boomers and even my own peers.

It used to be that overload came from always saying yes, instead of a carefully evaluated “no” — however, if you are known for saying ‘yes’ be prepared for the backlash if you change.

These days, the things that keep you busy also need to raise your profile/ reputation/Klout score/ increase your Likes/generate followers (preferably on multiple platforms)/social presence/etc.

A couple of year after I started MCS a reader asked why I bothered to do it when it generated so few comments.

My response was that I wasn’t writing to promote myself, but to provide information to those who wanted/needed it and that comments came when readers had questions or wanted to add to the dialogue.

While accurate, my response ignored the fact that because my blog is not high profile commenting on it has a very low ROI.

That said, I understand and don’t fault readers.

We live in a world where building your personal brand is a necessary part of building a career, so the time allotted to writing comments needs to provide a certain ROI and, of course, you are busy.

OK, I get all that.

But no matter how long I live I doubt I’ll ever understand the fragility of egos that need to prove their value so badly they are willing to give up their lives to do it.

Image credit: Sean MacEntee

If The Shoe Fits: Founder Love Is Blind

Friday, April 14th, 2017

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mIn 1405 Chaucer enlightened us that “love is blind” and it’s been proven through both scientific and anecdotal evidence ever since.

In past centuries this referred to romantic partners and kids, but, as with most things, that, too, has changed in the Twenty-first Century.

Now researchers at Finland’s Aalto University have gone a step further.

(From the abstract) Here we tested the hypothesis that entrepreneurs’ emotional experience and brain responses toward their own firm resemble those of parents toward their own children.

Surprise, surprise — the results show that they are the same.

Anyone who has been around entrepreneurs, especially young entrepreneurs, won’t be surprised.

In my experience the more life experience founders have the more open they are to hearing critism about their startup baby.

However, that statement comes with a caveat.

It’s not just age or experiences that makes the difference, but the kind of experience — specifically raising kids.

Travis Kalanick may be 40, but he hasn’t been responsible for the shaping of a successful human being.

Mark Zukerberg may be raising kids, but they aren’t old enough to know how they’ll turn out, let alone what they will do along the way.

Just as parents believe their kid wouldn’t bully/drink/drug/cheat/steal, founders notoriously won’t listen to criticism of their vision/business model/culture/management.

Some, not all — obviously — but the number seems to be growing

It will be interesting to see if young, data enamored entrepreneurs will embrace this research.

Those whose kids are in their teens or older don’t need data, they have, or are getting, experience.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Ducks in a Row: Cost Of A Comma

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/allenthepostman/2223927152/

Yesterday I promised to share how the lack of a common comma lost a lawsuit upon appeal.

A Maine court ruling in a case about overtime pay and dairy delivery didn’t come down to trucks, milk, or money. Instead, it hinged on one missing comma. (…) On March 13, a US court of appeals determined that certain clauses of Maine’s overtime laws are grammatically ambiguous. Because of that lack of clarity, the five drivers have won their lawsuit against Oakhurst, and are eligible for unpaid overtime.

And, as every company knows, overtime is costly.

The comma in question isn’t a true commoner, not with an Oxford University Press pedigree; it is a serial comma and one might even consider it a titled comma.

It was the relationship between the comma and lists that housed the seeds of lawsuit destruction. To clarify,

According to state law, the following types of activities are among those that don’t qualify for overtime pay:

The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.

There, in the comma-less space between the words “shipment” and “or,” the fate of Kevin O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy was argued.

(…) all the other exempted activities were listed as gerunds, words ending with “-ing”: Canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing. The word “distribution,” they argued, was therefore not intended to be one of the items in the list.

Unlike me, my ESL clients often err on the side of overuse, whereas for years I deleted commas after ‘and’ and ‘or’, but no longer.

Now I consider the actual content and context and, like the court, determine the meaning before using the delete key.

Image credit: allen watkin

If The Shoe Fits: Founders/Programmers vs. Users

Friday, April 7th, 2017

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.

It is said that one picture is worth a thousand words.

This image provides a simple, easy-to-understand explanation of why apps often fail.

http://www.par2.com/ComputerFunnies/computer_funnies.htm

Note to founder/programmers, etc.

Contrary to what you may have heard (or experienced on the receiving end), users are not a necessary evil.

They pay your salary, as well as other incidentals, such as rent, electricity, pizza and beer.

Cherish them.

Image credit: Computer Funnies

Ryan’s Journal: Interview With Amy Blankson

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Blankson, author of The Future of Happiness, 5 Modern Strategies for Balancing Productivity and Well-Being in the Digital Age.

Happiness may be the root of everything we seek out in life.

We want to be happy in our family, our job and any other aspect of our lives. In fact the US Declaration of Independence states that, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are unalienable rights when declaring independence from Great Britain.

Happiness probably means a lot of things to a lot of people — to me it means satisfaction. 

However rates of depression, divorce and suicide are all on the rise. I am sure we can all think of someone in our own life that takes antidepressants to help them cope with their days.

This is all happening in the backdrop of some of the highest rates of wealth, longer life spans and access to greater technology than any generation before. Why is this?

Amy Blankson seeks to answer this question and others in her new book.

A little backdrop on Amy; she is passionate, kind and curious. If you google her you will find that she has a well regarded Ted talk, is an alum of both Harvard and Yale, and runs a company with her brother studying the topics raised in this book.

I had the opportunity to interview her for this post and it was a real pleasure speaking with her. Our conversation ranged from what her influences are to parenting tips in the modern age. We share some things in common; she has three daughters as I will soon, she resides in Texas near my family, and she continues to ask ‘why’ everyday.

The book begins with three burning questions in the digital era, where are we heading? Would we be better without tech? What will happiness look like?

Now, before you think this book is something that advocates that you forsake all worldly goods and begin churning butter in the countryside, it’s not that at all.

Amy recognizes that for many of us we are the first generation to transcend two eras. The analog, with house phones and encyclopedias, to the digital age, where we have a phone in our pocket that can access every book ever written in the history of the world.

We are all different ages but we can all look at the moment when technology enabled us to have every answer at our fingertips, but also the ability to never truly break away.

Amy addresses the fact that work days seem to never end, with email always a buzz away. High school friends who you probably have nothing in common with are still keeping you up to date with the latest post.

But at the same time the person you share your bed with may be further away as you are both absorbed in your own screens.

These are scenarios that we all have to deal with on a daily basis and need to learn how to manage them.

This book is not another lifestyle book that promises to change your life in 30 days or your money back.

What Amy has accomplished is doing all the homework for you. She utilized hundreds of apps, used numerous wearables and tried all sorts of methods to figure out the best way to manage all the tech that we are surrounded with.

She provides very practical steps on how to declutter our lives in simple ways. For example, do you have a pile of old laptops and cords lying around somewhere in your house? Mine are about three feet away from me, the laptops will never be used but I have old pics that I want. My solution is to just store them and have them take up space. Amy’s solution is to take those laptops in, retrieve the data and purge the hardware. This is a simple process and it clears your life. 

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the technology that is surrounding you? In the spirit of transparency, I am in my early 30’s, I work for a technology company and I feel overwhelmed. I feel that I must read every day to keep up with what is new. This is not age specific, it affects all of us. Amy addresses this and clarifies how we can manage our time.

This book is more than a simple help, it’s like you are listening to your friend that you trust. Amy is kind, thoughtful and funny both in her writing and in person. On a personal note I learned a lot from my brief conversation with Amy. She is a mother of three daughters and it was great to glean some wisdom from her experiences raising them.

I walked into this book with no previous knowledge of Amy and was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. She does a great job of showcasing practical steps, analyzes the topics from the standpoint of a social scientist and maintains the curiosity of the eternally inquisitive. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has thought that there must be a better way to live this life. 

I asked Amy what her one takeaway would be from someone who reads her book.

She said it would be that our life is our own and we can make our choices. We are in control and we should not let technology dictate or overwhelm us.

This book is for the young professional, the parent or the student who would like to set a firm foundation moving forward.

Amy’s book will go on sale April 11th, you can pre-order or find it at your local retailer.

Image credit: Amazon

April Leadership Development Carnival

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Unbelievable. It’s already April and first quarter is over/done/gone/kaput.

That means it’s time to reconsider your 2017 to-do list in the light of reality and eliminate the ‘trys’ and hope to-s’ in favor of an honest evaluation of what you can really accomplish today, this week, this month, which, taken together, will add up to an excellent year.

And, to help you accomplish some of the work-focused things, here is this month’s carnival.

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided How Leaders Overcome Resistance – The Most Important Step. Anne writes, “While natural inclination is to choke the breath out of resistance, the real solution is counterintuitive and it’s the single most important thing you can do.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided How to Write a Meaningful Thank You Note. Beth recaps, “Thank you notes are a lost art, but an important part of business success. Here is a formula for maximizing the impact of your thank you notes.” Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: A Question of Character. In this post, Chris encourages leaders to remember that their character counts. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Cy Wakeman of Reality-Based Leadership provided Redefining Accountability in the Workplace. In this post, Cy explains why accountability is a mindset, not a skillset. Find Cy on Twitter at @cywakeman.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Were the Founding Fathers Great Leaders?. Dan recaps, “Were the Founding Fathers really the great leaders they are claimed to have been?  If so, What can we learn from them?” Gordon Leidner answers these questions in his guest post on Great Leadership!” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed a guest post by Jennifer V. Miller entitled The Business Case for Strategic Focus on Organizational Culture. Dana writes, “New research has identified that companies that build high-trust cultures experience stock market returns two to three times greater than the market average and turnover rates that are 50 percent lower than industry competitors.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus and Jennifer at @jennifervmiller.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared How Much Time Do You Spend Communicating?. David writes, “Leaders are always communicating—even when they don’t realize they are. It’s fair to say that 80% to 90% of the average leader’s week is spent communicating. Yet, how much time is spent on planning communications for effectiveness? Discover tips on how to effectively plan your communications and how to distinguish communication from information.” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Jennifer McClure of Unbridled Talent provided Can Regular People Like You and Me Change the World? (Yes, We Can). Jennifer recaps, “We don’t need to get intimidated by how big or complex it may be to change our community, our organization, or our leadership in order to change the world. We just need to focus on the impact that we can have in the life of one person.” Find Jennifer on Twitter at @jennifermcclure.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of the Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership submitted 15 Things Leaders Can Manage (and One They Can’t). Jesse recaps, “There are many things leaders can (and should) manage. But ironically, the one thing many leaders think is the MOST important thing they’re supposed to manage is NOT on this list.” Follow Jesse on Twitter at @jesselynstoner.

Jill Malleck of Epiphany at Work contributed Manage Challenging Behaviours: The Devil’s Advocate. Jill shares, “Instead of using assessments to codify diversity in teams, leaders can learn how to notice and manage challenging workplace behaviours.” Find Jill on Twitter at @epiphanyatwork.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided The Six Inner Leadership Selves. Jim shares, “Being a leader is not a one dimensional affair. There are many ways that each of us can practice leadership: at work, in our community, at home, or in an unexpected crisis situation. One thing’s clear: you don’t have to be in a management position to show leadership.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted The 5 Smartest Strategies to Build Influence in the Workplace. Joel recaps: “Being a successful influencer requires building and fostering strong relationships. Follow these 5 strategies to build your influence in the workplace. ” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog shared The Degree of Interdependence. John summarizes, “Business is more interdependent than an orchestra, yet we often ignore the interdependence and seek to optimize components individually. That idea is a useful reminder that if we are not thinking about the end result of the system taken as a whole we risk optimizing component to the detriment of the whole.” Find John on Twitter at @curiouscat_com.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference contributed Leadership Fails and Who Cares?. Jon summarizes, “What is it that isn’t working with our current leadership development strategies and why aren’t more people trying to figure out what is broken in our colleges, leadership programs, and culture? Here are a few things we can stop doing in hopes of developing better leaders.” Follow Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon VerBeck of JonVerbeck.com submitted Business Owner Mistakes: Not Keeping Company Books and Records Up-to-Date. In his post, Jon shares about the importance of keeping our financial records in order and up-to-date. Discover Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided Who Knows What Employees Really Want?. Julie recaps, “Depending upon the study, article or thought leader one consults, there are countless different possible motivators and priorities that people bring to the workplace. How can a leader figure out which resonate for his/her employees?  It’s easy.  ASK.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders contributed What the Best Managers Know About Disengaged Employees. In the post, Karin shares a story from her college experience that inspires the value of engaging your employees. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared Ethical Leadership: The “On Switch” For Adaptability Linda recaps: “Adaptability is a key challenge for leaders and organizations, and ethical leadership is a critical tool for ‘switching it on.’” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted How Not to Get a Handful of Mud. Lisa summarizes, “This post is about how to get out of your own way and move through your fears in order to be the best leader you can be.” Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided What Goes Wrong in Your Organizational Culture?. Marcella recaps, “Learning to ‘see’ culture; group dynamics, beliefs, and behaviors is helpful. When you become aware you can contribute to developing a positive culture. There are four culture archetypes but each can turn into its shadow side. Your culture can be a permanent happy hour, a competitive sweatshop, a bureaucratic mould or creative chaos.” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided The Counter-intuitive Mature of Slowing Down to Speed Up. Mary Jo recaps, “It sounds a little crazy that when a leader slows down, they can actually help things to speed up. Here are some things to consider as you do so.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Michael Lee Stallard of Connection Culture provided Beware the Brutally Honest Workplace. Michael recaps, “Honesty is an important element of healthy workplace cultures, but it must always be balanced with respect. This article explores the hidden dangers of ‘brutally honest’ workplaces and the type of communication that leaders should foster instead.” Find Michael on Twitter at @michaelstallard.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed Misogyny — Follow The Money. Miki writes, “There is a great deal of talk about the rampant misogyny in tech culture. Actually, it’s worse than in other fields, but it currently has a higher profile due to media coverage of complaints at Uber, Tesla, and several other high profile companies. 30 years ago tech was far more welcoming to women; what happened?” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Leading with Courage and Confidence. Neal recaps, “Today leaders need to have the courage and confidence to take action on ideas that will move business forward to the next level of success. Having courage and confidence primarily means that as a leader you take responsibility for the decisions you make.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided Lessons from the Rice Chefs of Morimoto Asia. Paula recaps, “Little did I know the foundation of my fantastic evening dining experience had been laid early that morning, by people I would never see. It was an important lesson about quality and passion.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 4 Steps to Avoid a Leadership Meltdown Like Uber’s Travis Kalanik. Randy writes, “The recent missteps of Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanik, is just the latest example of a highly visible leader experiencing a very public meltdown. We are all susceptible to having a leadership meltdown, and the way to prevent it is to develop our leadership from the inside-out. In this straight-forward article, Randy Conley outlines 4 steps leaders can take to develop their leadership philosophy and approach from the inside-out.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row submitted It’s Not Fair! Three Ways to Combat Unfairness. In her post, Shelley shares three important ways to combat unfairness in the workplace by explaining, challenging, listening and validating. Discover Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided What Is Your Leadership Style?. Susan explains, “As a leader, are you more of a Connector, Orchestrator, Trailblazer, Stategist, Team Champion – or a combination of several? My new quiz can help you discover your leadership strengths, and the report at the end provides a good overview of the five most common leadership styles.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer provided Forget Passion – What Employees Need Is Purpose-Led Work. Tanveer recaps, “Discover why it takes more than passion to inspire the very best in our employees and how the key is providing purpose-led work.” Find Tanveer on Twitter at @tanveernaseer.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Create a Great Working Environment for Your Team. Wally recaps, “If you’re the boss, your challenge is to create a great working environment for your team. Here’s what a great working environment looks like.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

Misogyny — Follow The Money

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Perhaps Susan Fowler’s post about the harassment she endured and Uber’s culture in general is more empowering than some thought it would be.

Especially regarding Silicon Valley’s “untouchables.”

I say that, because another woman, AJ Vandermeyden, just went public, although the lawsuit was filed last fall.

Only this time it’s Tesla and she still works there; not only works, but loves her company.

“Until somebody stands up, nothing is going to change,” she said in a recent interview, her first comments about a discrimination lawsuit she filed last year. “I’m an advocate of Tesla. I really do believe they are doing great things. That said, I can’t turn a blind eye if there’s something fundamentally wrong going on.”

Tesla’s response was hilarious, in as much as it parroted almost word-for-word the Valley mantra.

“As with any company with more than 30,000 employees, it is inevitable that there will be a small number of individuals who make claims against the company, but that does not mean those claims have merit”

Whoo hoo. Doesn’t that just give you a warm, fuzzy, confident feeling of trust?

Things were better for women 30-40 years ago. What happened?

For one thing, at least for tech, video games happened.

But that’s just one reinforcing piece.

The Atlantic took a more comprehensive look at the misogyny so prevalent in tech culture.

Investigators often say that the best way to trace anything is to “follow the money.”

Turns out that applies here, too.

When Silicon Valley was emerging, after World War II, software programming was considered rote and unglamorous, somewhat secretarial—and therefore suitable for women. The glittering future, it was thought, lay in hardware. But once software revealed its potential—and profitability—the guys flooded in and coding became a male realm.

Now look a bit further and think about the industries notorious for their bad treatment of women.

Wall Street/financial services. Law. Doctors. University-level teaching. Architecture. Chefs. Construction and journeyman crafts. I can keep going.

What do they have in common?

Follow the money.

White and blue collar = high pay.

Pink collar = low pay.

Money means freedom. Freedom to choose. Freedom to walk — from a job or from a relationship.

Put another way, money means control.

The more money you have the more control you have over your world — whether for good or for evil.

So maybe control is the real root cause.

Men (some, not all) need to control women, AKA, mom…

Poor, insecure, little guys.

Trying to change their past by taking revenge on the present and, in doing so, damaging the future.

Video credit: Business Insider

If The Shoe Fits: Growth At All Costs — Unsustainable AND Unethical

Friday, March 24th, 2017

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.

This is a short post, aside from the quotes, and I honestly don’t care if you skip my part and just read the  main links, especially the last on from DHH.

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mIt’s exactly two years since I saw a successful lifestyle business founder, Andrew Wilkinson of MetaLab and Flow, loudly and publicly say that he would rather be a horse than a unicorn.

Meaning, he would rather build his businesses organically and self-funded than take outside investment.

I wondered if his attitude was a harbinger of returning sanity.

Ha! Wilkinson’s attitude was an outlier, as opposed to a trend.

However, early as he was I see more successful founders following a similar path.

A few days ago I read a Medium post from Mara Zepeda, Co-founder and CEO of Switchboard, and Jennifer Brandel Co-founder and CEO of Hearken, coining a new term, zebra, to denote a sustainable approach to growth.

A year ago we wrote “Sex & Startups.” The premise was this: The current technology and venture capital structure is broken. It rewards quantity over quality, consumption over creation, quick exits over sustainable growth, and shareholder profit over shared prosperity. It chases after “unicorn” companies bent on “disruption” rather than supporting businesses that repair, cultivate, and connect. After publishing the essay, we heard from hundreds of founders, investors, and advocates who agreed: “We cannot win at this game.”

Adam Eskin, founder and CEO of expanding restaurant chain Dig Inn and a former private equity associate at Wexford Capital puts it this way,

“Having a background in private equity, we don’t just want to grow this business for growth’s sake, lose passion for what we do, or the reasons why we’re here. I think that’s what some folks can end up doing when they raise this kind of capital.”

As a tech person, who has been seduced into believing that valuation is everything, why should you listen to an outlier or non-tech founder, let alone a couple of women?

Perhaps you’ll be more inclined to listening to the guy whose tech generates raves and may even be the source code of your company.

DHH (David Heinemeier Hansson), creator of Ruby on Rails, Founder & CTO at Basecamp (formerly 37signals), writer of best-selling books and winning LeMans racecar driver.

There is no higher God in Silicon Valley than growth. No sacrifice too big for its craving altar. As long as you keep your curve exponential, all your sins will be forgotten at the exit. (…)  The solution isn’t simple, but we’re in dire need of a strong counter culture, some mass infusion of the 1960s spirit. To offer realistic, ethical alternatives to the exponential growth logic. Ones that’ll benefit not just a gilded few, but all of us. The future literally depends on it.

Image credit: HikingArtist

 

Ryan’s Journal: How To Measure Culture

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/beantin/8976529844/

I am in sales and as a result I have a ton of metrics that I must account for. How many calls did I do? What is my conversion rate? Are you having a prospecting or velocity issue with closing deals? Is your sales funnel robust enough? 

I think you get the idea. These and many other metrics are all important as they can lead to a greater success as you iterate.

By most accounts sales is easy to measure the successes and failures. It’s like sports, who has the most points at the end of the game?

Culture though can be a bit tougher to measure. It’s not a tangible good and as I consider the subject I wonder how can we best measure it?

It’s pretty easy to see the extremes of company cultures and see if they are positive or negative.

Uber had been in the news a lot lately, even their president stepped down after saying they did not align with his values.

On the other hand Google landed the top spot again by glassdoor.com with their annual best places to work.

With a little thought you can see one culture is more negative and the other is pretty positive.

Those are fairly easy examples, but what about all the thousands of other companies in small towns and cities? How do we know if they are indeed a positive place to be and what metrics should we use to measure?

I worked for one company that ranked as a top workplace in the local metro area. This was touted by its recruiters and quite frankly was a selling point for me when I came on board. I had had a terrible experience in a previous company and I was ready for a change!

However, after some time of working at my new place we were given the opportunity to participate in the annual survey that would measure top workplaces.

This poll was, in reality, mandatory and we had to provide so much demographic data that it was very easy to determine who had filled out what survey.

The result was we all wrote very positive reviews and then we were voted top workplace again. I believe the total is four years in a row at this point.

I bring this up as an example of how one metric, annual best workplace surveys, could be wildly skewed and may not be the best metric to utilize.

Where else should we turn to measure? Pay could be a factor of course. Tenure and turnover are factors too.

I had a teacher in college tell me to always ask my interviewer what the turnover for employees under two years was. He felt this was a good measure of the health of the company and the role I was pursuing.

I still ask that question and have found that when turnover is high, culture is low.

At this point I don’t have a silver bullet and will do more research to see if there is a magic quadrant we should be seeking.

I’ll update you next week on whether someone a whole lot smarter than me already did the tough work, or if I stumbled onto a way to start a company measuring culture that is the new hot thing in town.

Image credit: James Royal-Lawson

How To Become An Adult

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Sometimes people seem to forget that kids grow up and become adults.

Or they used to.

The responsibility for most of the problem can be laid at the feet of their parents and their helicopter approach to raising their offspring. Most ironically, they complain when job candidates sport the same attitudes as their own kids.

Other factors retarding adulthood include the escapism offered by today’s video games, especially for under-30 males, the lack of interpersonal skills driven by social media, along with social media’s unsubtle efforts to foster addiction in the name of profit.

And, of course, the largest factor being family and friends, whose emotional and financial support, enable a relatively comfortable living situation.

The difficulty today’s young adults are having in becoming actual adults was the impetus for (what else) a startup.

Rachel Weinstein, a psychotherapist, and Katie Brunelle, a former elementary school teacher and coach, responded by creating the Adulting School, a place for people to gain the skills they need to feel like an adult, from goal-setting and sheet-fitting to how to manage money or hang a picture.

Simon Senek, a British author and motivational speaker, also blames parents for the false expectations of so many Millennials, who never were given the chance to learn/live the process of achievement.

“Everything you want you can have instantaneously, except for job satisfaction and strength of relationships,” Senek argues. “There’s no app for that; they are slow, meandering, uncomfortable processes.”

Whatever you think about a school that teaches adults how to be adults the real question is: in what direction will the next generation go?

Image credit: the Adulting School

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