Friday, October 19, 2018

Believe in your dreams....

After 50 Years on 'Sesame Street', the voice of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch is retiring. Caroll Spinney was in his early 30s when Jim Henson asked him to join the Muppets. Most of us think and act in plain sight – Spinney’s work - his thoughts and words, hopes and dreams, and efforts and successes - were through the gestures and voices he gave to his puppets. Imagine how hard it was for him to make the kind of impact he’s had on children and society over the past 50 years; now think how hard you work to do what you do, live and in person. In reality, dreaming about what could be and making it happen occurs in our hearts and then takes shape in our minds: how it all comes out is almost secondary. Whether you’re a puppeteer, or the puppet, remember that innovation can happen anywhere, at any time. Believe in your dreams and make them happen today.

Caroll Spinney (b. 1933): American puppeteer and cartoonist

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Look over the horizon....

In the early 1990s I visited computer companies and told them I wanted to find a way to use computers to capture, store, track and retrieve   job applications: I wanted to be done with all those paper forms. Nobody had ever suggested something like that and they said it couldn’t be done. One of those tech guys called me back and said maybe it could: that became the first applicant tracking system.  And when I asked our PeopleSoft reps in 2003 for ways to use their software to create a paperless HR office they said it couldn’t be done: I hired two of their programmers and they made it happen.  I’m certainly not the smartest guy in any room but I thought I could see the future and went and created it with the help of people who really were smart. Opportunities to be creative are everywhere, in every aspect of where we live and work: the next time somebody tells you they have a good idea, listen and be supportive. That’s how the future starts to get created today

Alan Kay (b. 1940): American computer scientist

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Keep a steady hand on the wheel....

Many of my clients talk in terms of wanting roadmaps – a metaphor they use for a logical plan that will guide them from point A to point B. I advise them that before they can have one of those they need to first imagine where they want to go…  to have a vision that allows their employees to all gaze at the same spot on the horizon. These plans need to be well thought out: make sure the process is engaging and inclusive… get opinions and perspectives from all your stakeholders. Make sure everyone is aligned: they all need to be heading in the same direction towards the same goals. And execute your plan flawlessly, with a cool head and steady hand on the wheel.  Leadership is about direction and having people follow you willingly and excitedly. Take the time to understand what’s best for you, your company, your employees, your customers, and your community, and then plan accordingly. Provide inspired, imaginative and effective leadership like that today.

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955): German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity, one of the two pillars of modern physics

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Keep trying....

Think about who puts things together: chefs when they mix ingredients, composers who mix media, coaches who draft players in search of the right combinations, and business people who put two companies or ideas together to enhance value, among others.  While many take the easy road and just use the one thing or way that’s readily available, others are more courageous and seek out the people, ideas and things that really do go better together than alone. The key to any combination is to figure out how to make 1 + 1 equal more than 2: that’s where and when the real value of innovation is to be found.  While change is hard, innovation demands we resist the urge to continue to do things because they’ve always been done that way and commit to the harder but more valuable practice of continuous improvement.  Have the courage to look for the possibilities that exist in your world and then try putting the right things together in new ways. You may be successful or not: in either case celebrate what you accomplish and learn. And no matter what, keep trying to find innovative combinations today.

Thomas E. Freston (b. 1945): American entertainment industry executive

Monday, October 15, 2018

You gotta believe....

Acompany I know was faced with the need to change in order to achieve its goals. Sound familiar? Change is everywhere and constant: while some fear it, this company looked for opportunities to make change work for them. They studied the causes and effects of the pending changes, planned the implementation carefully and kept the lines of communication open as the changes were occurring.  The best part: the positive results were almost immediately apparent and helped reduce the resistance that occurs with any changes. The particulars in this case aren’t as important as the fact that the opportunities were realized because the leaders believed in them: their confidence could be felt by those affected by the changes and inspired everyone to give those changes a chance to succeed.  Nobody likes change but, when faced with it, remember to plan it well, talk about it openly, and celebrate its success. Believing in something is the best way to make it happen today.

Barbara Ann Corcoran (b. 1949) is an American businesswoman, investor, speaker, consultant, syndicated columnist, author, and television personality

Friday, October 12, 2018

Be yourself....

Most people are wrapped up in and primarily identified by the work they do. After all, HR people like me work hard to develop workplace branding that fosters ‘employer of choice’ environments with which to attract and retain talent. But since leaving the corporate world and becoming a consultant, I’ve developed a clearer perspective on the importance of balance in people’s lives: time off is good, recharging batteries is important, and time away with family and friends can help renew a sense of purpose when returning to work. If that’s true, maybe we should focus more on this time off and recharging concept as a way to better balance the work people do and the people they are. Most attendance policies focus on the importance of being at work: maybe they should also start to reflect the benefits of time off from work. Workplace cultures, and their policies and practices, should be focused on helping employees be their best... that’s how and when they and their companies do great work. That’s how to really be yourself today.

Toni Morrison (b. 1931): American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher, and professor emeritus at Princeton University

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Work hard and smart to reach your goals....

One of the other people on the panel of my G2E presentation this week was the Director of Casino Operations at a mid-sized regional casino: throughout his career he’s worked hard to be better than the competition. He has a will to win: thinking outside the box to make his workplace fun; a desire to succeed: looking for ways to make his employees feel appreciated and loyal; and an urge to reach his full potential: he’s had a succession of progressively more responsible positions and made sure he made the most of learning from those around him. I’d never met him before and didn’t know what to expect, but I was thrilled to hear him talk about doing the things I did during my career and now write about in these daily messages. Life is full of opportunities: make the most of them on your way towards achieving personal excellence today.

Confucius (551–479 BC): Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history