Monday, June 12th, 2017
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.
Golden Oldies are a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
Attitude. That illusive quality with the giant impact. It’s the ‘A’ in MAP — mindset, attitude, philosophy — and a large part of the reason you land the job or ‘the one’.
Read other Golden Oldies here.
Have you ever wondered what the perfect attitude is? Not just a top dog or the person out front, but for any entrepreneur who aspires to succeed and, for that matter, every person who lives and breathes.
I recognize it when I see it, know when I’m doing it, and can explain it when I’m coaching, but I’ve never seen it so perfectly boiled down to ten short words—all self-explanatory, nothing to look-up or study or requiring training.
I found those words in a friend’s description of how his daughter lives.
Like 3 year olds, be passionate, humble, impatient, grateful…daily.
Do it and change your life—and your world—guaranteed!
Image credit: LizMarie on flickr
Wednesday, May 24th, 2017
I’ve worked with and spoken to thousands of hiring managers over the course of my career.
They all want to hire the best people available and will go to great lengths to do it.
Sure, some work harder at hiring than others, but they all want a hire that succeeds.
Some look hardest at skills.
Some at accomplishments.
But the most successful managers focus on three character traits, before anything else.
Attitude, aptitude and initiative.
Attitude: Skills can grow and tech can be learned, but energy expended on changing someone’s attitude has the lowest ROI.
Aptitude: Things change. Not just tech, but rules, bosses, buildings, colleagues, and anything else you can think of; an aptitude for change can mean the difference between success and frustration.
Initiative: Going beyond the job description; doing more than expected; not for a reward or the glory, but because that’s who you are.
That’s how you build an organization that succeeds and makes you look great.
Attitude. Aptitude. Initiative.
Image credit: Mauro Parra-Miranda
Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
What was your work history before you became a founder?
Many founders don’t have senior management experience, let alone CEO/President or COO experience.
Some are young; others were non-executive managers, team members or individual contributors.
Which is OK, if they recognize that having the title and filling the shoes are two different things.
That’s not just my comment; it’s what award winning journalist Soledad O’Brien, founder and CEO of Starfish Media Group, said about herself.
Another challenge was that I was successful in my previous role because I really worked hard and took a lot of responsibility for making things good. But that’s not actually a great skill for being a boss. The job of the boss is to help other people reach their goals and their dreams.
At what point will I actually grow into this job, because I have the title? At what point will I actually be making decisions like someone who is the C.E.O. of the company? I would say it took a solid year before I felt good about it.
And I’m willing to bet, based on her own words, that she has little interest in hiring “stars,” who are usually full of attitude and ego.
You hire for character and teach people skills. And environment is very important to me. It’s important to me that people aren’t unpleasant and that they treat each other respectfully. It’s hard to be creative when there’s someone or something that’s really irking you.
So are you a person of integrity who makes the environment a really nice space? I will watch how they treat the person at the front desk versus me.
Whatever kind of startup you have, take a few minutes to read the O’Brien interview.
Then look in the mirror and accept that no matter what your background is you probably have a steep learning curve before you become your title.
Flickr image credit: Starfish Media Group
Monday, May 2nd, 2016
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over nearly a Decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
How often do you find yourself reacting angrily to another’s actions? Saying/thinking stuff that would turn the air blue or gesturing to voice your feelings? We’ve all been there, so this post is as true today as it was when I wrote it nine years ago. Read other Golden Oldies here
I write a lot about the actions fostered by good MAP, how to evaluate your own MAP and how to modify/change it if you’re so inclined—but this only applies to output, what about input?
Now and then we all find ourselves dealing with %#@$&, better known as jerks or, to be truly polite, difficult people.
The Talmud says, “We do not see the world as it is. We see the world as we are.” Further, it’s often as we are that particular day, or even minute, and even as we change, minute to minute, so do others.
There’s lots of good information on identifying and dealing with jerks in the article; also, here are four of my favorite MAP attitudes that have helped myself and others over the years.
- Life happens, people react and act out, but that doesn’t mean you have to let their act in.
- Consider the source of the comment before considering the comment, then let its effect on you be in direct proportion to your respect for that source.
- Use mental imagery to defuse someone’s effect on you. This is especially useful against intimidation. Do it by having your mental image of the person be one that strips power symbols and adds amusement. (Give me a call if you want my favorite, it’s a bit too rude for a business blog, but has worked well for many people.)
And, finally, the one I hold uppermost in my mind
At least some of “them” consider me a jerk — and at times they are probably correct.
Monday, September 28th, 2015
There is nothing like the various advice columns to keep you abreast of societies attitudes.
One I enjoy is called Social Qs; I like the insight it gives into people’s attitudes and questions of how to respond to everyday happenings.
Now and then the attitude behind a question will leave me speechless.
Like this one.
I took my sweet little dog for a walk. He got agitated by a cat sitting on a porch, pulled free of me and raced toward the house, knocking over (and breaking) a large ceramic urn. I acknowledge that I am partly responsible for the damage. But don’t the homeowners have some responsibility, too, letting their cat sit out in the open? —ANONYMOUS
Not surprising that it’s anonymous; few people would have the courage to admit to that level of self-absorption.
The Social Q response was perfect (as one would expect).
You break it; you bought it. “And your little dog, too,” growled the Wicked Witch of the West. The cat is free to sit on its porch with regal impunity.
No kidding. It wasn’t even roaming around, just sitting quietly, minding it’s business and watching the world go by.
Yet it’s the owners who are somehow responsible.
And that’s today’s attitude in a nutshell.
Flickr image credit: Stefano Mortellaro
Thursday, September 10th, 2015
When hiring ask yourself what’s more important?
Who they are or what they know?
Education or experience?
In my eyes, personality always wins over book smarts. Company knowledge and job-specific skills can be learned, but you can’t train a personality.
Expert qualifications or skilled generalist?
Time and time again I’ve seen people with a background of broad-ranging employment and skills hired for a job where they don’t necessarily tick the specialist criteria boxes, but become incredibly successful by offering a new level of understanding to the role.
Do you hire what you know or what you don’t.
Spanx’s CEO Sara Blakely once said to me: “The smartest thing I ever did in the early days was to hire my weaknesses.” I couldn’t agree more. I can attribute a lot of my success in business to hiring people who had the skills I lacked.
Is their passion/purpose focused on your vision or to learn enough to focus on their own?
Purpose is no longer a buzzword. It’s a must-have. Passion and purpose will keep people focused on the job at hand, and ultimately separate the successful from the unsuccessful.
Do you grab available talent or hold out for the right person?
While it may seem like a desperate rush to get somebody through the door to help carry the load, it is worth being patient to find the right person, rather than unbalancing the team.
So the next time you find yourself salivating over a programmer who can crush Ruby, but thinks he is a god, think like Richard Branson, before doing “whatever it takes” to hire him.
Flickr image credit: Get Everwise
Thursday, March 19th, 2015
Today is the first day of Spring; happy news for all of us.
I’m going to work in my garden, which is getting active—especially the weeds.
So I thought I’d provide some food for thought in the form of two images that need absolutely no further commentary from me.
Have a wonderful day; I plan to!!
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015
Is your boss rigid? Or maybe it’s your colleagues — or even you?
Rigid in action, thought or imagination?
Rigidity is a mental habit and, although often grounded in ego, often has as much to do with the corporate culture as with the individuals involved.
Openness is based on trust and if the people or the culture don’t foster trust then you should expect them to be ultra turf conscious, not interested in sharing, and prone to spending large amounts of energy fighting every new thing that comes along.
Twenty-somethings often regard rigidity as synonymous with age, but that’s a wildly inaccurate assumption and not born out by the facts.
While the age thing may play on the surface, it should be recognized that rigidity is present in all ages.
There are a lot of pretty rigid twenty- and thirty-somethings and no one in their right mind ever called a teenager flexible
If you have any doubts about this, try getting your twenty-something co-workers to approach a subject from any position other than the one they advocate.
Rigidity is not so much about doing it differently as it is about doing it ‘my/our way’ and that attitude has substantially worsened.
It seems that everybody has a group and while their group is OK, other groups, i.e., any that don’t agree with theirs, are rigid, inflexible and standing in the way of progress.
In many ways rigidity is a form myopia.
The cure is simple to state, but difficult to implement, because it requires truly honest self-appraisal, which is not something with which most people are comfortable.
The thing to remember is that there’s value to be found in most approaches and when that value is tweaked and/or merged with other methods the result is usually worth far more than the original.
For additional input and insights to being a boss, be sure to check out the March Leadership Development Carnival.
Flickr image credit: trombone65
Friday, January 2nd, 2015
2400 year old advice that still holds true today.
No additional comments necessary.
Image credit: BK
Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Steve Jobs is an icon and a beacon to entrepreneurs around the globe, although not as a management role model.
Many have weighed in on what made Jobs so great, but in a recent talk Malcolm Gladwell focused on a trait that anyone, in any field and any position can cultivate and become great at.
It’s not a trait that’s inborn nor does it require any special abilities.
It’s what Jobs had in abundance; it’s what drove him.
It’s what you can have, too.
What is this magical trait?
“Urgency,” Gladwell declared, characterizes Jobs and other immortal entrepreneurs. (…) “The difference isn’t resources,” Gladwell said. “It’s attitude.”
Flickr image credit: Pati Morris
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