Thursday, December 13, 2018

Find the will to win....

Las Vegas continues to evolve as a sport’s town: from Running Rebels of the NCAA to the Golden Knights of the NHL to the soon-to-arrive Raiders of the NFL. We love our teams, and that extends to the use of team metaphors at work.  But how do you sustain the team spirit that portends a group’s success – it’s raison d'ê·tre, that important reason or purpose for its existence. It’s not just the stamina, speed, strength and skill of the people playing … it’s their individual and collective spirit that drives them to be a cohesive and successful unit. This can be achieved thru the adoption and use of strategies related to effective communications, credible rewards and recognition efforts, and basic human character-building programs: in essence, making it achievable because people believe they can. And that ultimately calls for leaders to be good coaches, something that takes organizational focus and individual training.  Turn your leaders into effective coaches to discover and unleash the spirit of your team today.

Ken Doherty (b. 1969): Irish professional snooker player, commentator and radio presenter

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Positive thinking matters...

My daughter gave me a Fitbit 5 years ago and I started walking 10,000 steps a day: I believe I’m in fairly good condition. So I was surprised when my knee started hurting and the doctor advised me I had torn something in there: said it wasn’t uncommon “among men my age”.  The knee hurt, but that comment stung. Not that these things don’t happen to all kinds of people – young, old, fit or sedentary, but I didn’t want age-related thoughts to start living between my two ears.  The mind is a funny thing: once we start thinking one way there’s no telling where it might lead, because ultimately, we are what we feel and believe. That’s why I think it’s up to supervisors, mentors, coaches, family, friends, and even doctors, to tell people to think positively.  Thus, I was grateful when the Doctor suggested I follow up this impending surgery with yoga and stretching so my body remains limber enough to do the things I want to do. Put positive thoughts between your own two ears and encourage others to do the same today.

Laird Hamilton (b. 1964): American big-wave surfer, co-inventor of tow-in surfing, and an occasional fashion and action-sports model

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Dig deep to overcome challenges....

One of the questions I liked asking college recruits was which class did they find especially difficult and what was their final grade in it? I was always impressed with those students who told of having to work especially hard in the class they mentioned in order to get a passing or better grade. Life is full of challenges like that and the people that overcome them are those who won’t much flinch at the difficult times or duties found at work. For me, that class was Statistics: I wasn’t very good at math but the professor’s explanation of why the subject was important helped me to understand it better. You’ll most likely have employees who struggle with some things at work, but rather than giving up on them, double down on explaining why when teaching them how: that’s the best way to help them overcome a lack of natural talent and find the motivation to work especially hard to get things right today.

Derek Jeter (b. 1974): American former professional baseball player with the NY Yankees, businessman, and baseball executive 

Monday, December 10, 2018

Remember the good times....

Corporate Challenge is a large amateur sporting program sponsored annually by the City of Las Vegas: 18,000 employees from more than 125 companies compete in nearly 50 different events. It builds morale, camaraderie and community for employees of some of the major employers and small businesses in the Las Vegas valley.  Back in the day, my HR department organized our company’s efforts: we were highly competitive, spirited, and successful. I’m not sure I remember all the different medals we won over the years, but I vividly remember the people who competed and the fun we all had. One memory stands out: me, dressed in a clown costume, riding on the shoulders of our Safety Director at the opening ceremony in the late 80s – although it’s been years since then, he and I recall that memory every time we see each other. We competed in every one of the 20+ years I worked there, and while it was fun to bring home all those trophies, in the end we all realized that the real prizes were the memories that continue to last forever. Do stuff with the people you work with that will create memories today.

Mary Lou Retton (b. 1968): Retired American gymnast who won a gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics

Friday, December 7, 2018

Live your life completely....

Last night I attended the annual Cornell Chapter Holiday Party here in Las Vegas: it was a real treat to see so many folks from my alma mater. More than 30 years ago I came to Las Vegas and attended that year’s party: I think there were 5 or 6 in attendance – an engineer, two doctors, two lawyers, and me. I was so surprised: I figured with all the hotels here there would be more: but Cornell’s hotel school back then didn’t think gaming was a proper place for their graduates and the companies here weren’t much into college recruiting. So, I contacted the School’s career placement office and began speaking in classes and actively recruiting interns and their graduating seniors. Fast forward to last night: there were several dozen in attendance – most from the gaming industry; the Chapter now has hundreds of members and has been the fastest growing for more than a decade. The attendees ranged from old folks like me to young professionals (many of them) starting families to new arrivals – all making their lives here. If you have the chance, help others find and make the life of their dreams today.  

Paul Simon (b. 1941); American singer-songwriter and actor

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited....

Like many, I watched yesterday’s funeral for former President George Herbert Walker Bush: it was a fitting tribute for a great person, statesman and leader. The eulogies and sermon portrayed a man almost larger than life – while reminisces often do that, in this case it was truer than not. Adept at foreign affairs, committed and concerned about the national welfare, and kind and considerate to all were some of the many traits mentioned. The term “CAVU” was used several times, an aviator’s acronym meaning “Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited”: in the context of the day it portrayed an individual of unlimited vision, optimism, good intentions, and one who cast a big shadow at all times. One could not listen to what was said without seeing the parallels to the professional way we should act every day when carrying out our duties at work, at home, and in our communities. Someone once told me that leadership is best learned by observing how others conduct themselves: we would all do well by trying to emulate this wonderful man when conducting ourselves today.

Lin Yutang (1895 – 1976): Chinese writer, translator, linguist, philosopher and inventor

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Think about how this affects The War for Talent....

In yesterday’s headlines: China is facing a labor shortage, and low unemployment in the US is making it hard to fill open jobs - the war for talent is seemingly worldwide. Business leaders everywhere are debating what to do: in China they are debating whether to stop forcibly relocating workers; in the US we are debating whether to raise the minimum wage. Maybe governments should think about equalizing living wages everywhere to stop the flight of businesses in search of cheaper labor, and business leaders should think about how they treat their employees. This last point screams for more effective on-boarding and new-hire training programs, and more transparent management practices that create commitment and loyalty: together these have the potential to reduce the number of people looking to leave jobs in search of ones they hope might be more satisfactory. The buzz words throughout the world’s economies are productivity, equity, fairness, engagement, and employee satisfaction: if we truly want to improve those then professional managers everywhere need to create workplaces that attract recruits and promote retention. The bottom line: doing little or nothing for workers is leading to the undoing of businesses today.

Horace Mann (1796 - 1859): American educational reformer and politician dedicated to promoting public education