December 29, 2016

Hurry Up!

A large cheeseburger with condiments is approximately 600 calories. An hour of high impact aerobics for a 200lb man will burn about 600 calories. A slice of pumpkin pie is about 350 calories. An hour of ice skating for the same man will burn about 340 calories. We know we need to eat better, work out more and take better care of ourselves but (on average) we don’t do that. We eat the cheeseburgers and the pie then get acquainted with the couch.

After a two decades in corporate life and a bunch of years consulting on my own, earlier this year I was recruited by a recruitment firm to become an executive recruiter. It's fun work. It's frustrating work. It's highs and lows and grinding and disappointments and victories. Oh wait, it's like every job!

We Want it Now!

Often companies will look at the success of a certain campaign or promotion to get a sense of customer reaction or appetite. This kind of strategy is both flawed and short-lived. Patience is a virtue but rarely a business plan.

Unless you won the lottery, mom and dad left you money, or you're independently wealthy, you need new business all the time. It’s admirable to see some who have as many customers as they will ever need but the rest of us need to constantly build our business. Not for a week, not once in a while, every day.

The Downside of Now

We want the customers now but can have trouble seeing the long term benefits of a sustained effort throughout the year. We wonder how these available channels can help us without realizing our contribution is critical to the equation. We want the quick wins to sustain our revenue line forever. You and I have the collective patience of a three year old.

We are not built for strategy or long-term thinking. If things are bad, we want them to be good, immediately. If money is tight, we want money, right now. If someone promises that this campaign will help us get us out of this slide, we are happy to listen, right now. We want the burger and pie without waistline.

Maybe we need to start the new year with a salad.

December 26, 2016

2016 – Year in Review

Most of us get reflective this time of year as humans have probably gotten since the advent of our calendar. We compartmentalize our time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. We probably should look closer at moments than the traditional increments of time but the year is ending and we look back at 12 months' of our lives and take stock.

In entertainment, 2016 began with the passing of one of my favorite artists, David Bowie. We ended with the deaths of far too many musicians, actors, writers, producers, artists, leaders, and perhaps that's the same every year, but this year seemed to be more.

Count the Votes

Brexit marked Great Britain's separation from the European Union and the US elected a new President amid a mountain of controversy. Personally, I launched into a new line of work that was the culmination of my entire career and as I was leaving the team Holiday dinner last week, I felt the tug of pride to be a part of a great team again.

We lost people, gained experience, suffered losses, realized dreams, and all the while, hopefully ensured what was truly important received more of our time and attention. For me, it's people and always will be people. I am so fortunate to have wonderful people in my life that make all the struggles and downturns worth it. Someone is always a phone call or hug away. And I hope the same for you.


December 25, 2016

Happy Christmas

Tezze Iliniz. Yahsi Olsun. Vesele Vanoce. Tchestita Koleda. Gladelig Jul. Roomsaid Joulu Puhi. Mitho Makosi. Sretan Bozic. Feliz Navidad. Mo'adim Lesimkha. Chena tova. Bada Din Mubarak Ho. Joyeux Noel. Merry Keshmish. Mele Kalikimaka. Merry Christmas. Hyvaa joulua. Buon Natale. Wesolych Swiat. Bozego Narodzenia. Feliz Natal. Craciun Fericit. Krismasi Njema. Froehliche Weihnachten. Srozhdestvom Kristovym.


December 20, 2016

Time and Spirit

Since 2001, Google has published our collective online behavior entitled Zeitgeist which means the spirit of our time. Here's this year's installment.

2015 to 2001



December 17, 2016


We live busy lives often being busy doing busy things with others getting busy on busy tasks. But how often do we take time for think time or better yet, do nothing?

Andy Puddicombe is the co-founder of Headspace, a project that aims to demystify meditation and make it applicable to everyday life. He is a Clinical Meditation Consultant and former Buddhist monk.

For more than a decade, Andy’s meditation training took him all over the world. He became a fully ordained monk at a Tibetan Monastery in the Indian Himalayas. In his TEDTalk, Puddicombe explains the importance of making time to do nothing.


December 13, 2016

Great Culture in Seven Steps

As much as it’s funky to have exposed brick, a foosball table in the lunch room, and lattes at 3pm, those won’t ensure your company has engaged employees who will do passionate work. Culture is much deeper. It’s a feeling and an instinct that can’t be forced or faked. And it takes work to upkeep. Every day. From everyone.

Here are seven areas to consider to make your company a great place to work.

Give – No matter the survey, compensation always makes it into one of the top reasons people stay or leave a company. But if money is the number one concern of employees, you have a serious issue. Pay people properly.

Define – What makes people want to bring their best every day and feel appreciated? If you can’t explain it in a sentence or two, dig deeper.

Value – What does your company stand for and what won’t it do? Two significant questions that seem easy enough to answer yet most struggle with them. We want to be a part of something that aligns with our values.

Open – Not all decisions can be made by committee. In fact most people want leadership to guide the way, but keep communication open enough for people to feel you genuinely want their input and ideas.

Stretch – Departments are created for a reason. Sales focuses on revenue while product design improves the offering. But don’t box people in so they can’t offer input to areas where they might not be subject matter experts. Some of the best ideas may come from the most unexpected places.

Lead – From small companies with a handful of employees to the Fortune 50, the relationship people have with their direct report and the people closest to them in their day-to-day work experience, will be the single biggest reason they stay or leave. Model the behavior you want from others.

Together – Teamwork and collaboration are a core elements to great culture. We want to belong and contribute so afford everyone the chance to do both.

Like trust, respect is earned not mandated by an org chart. So if you want great company culture, create an atmosphere of respect and trust and watch what happens.

Or you could order the latte machine and hope for the best. 

December 10, 2016

Let's Raise a Glass!

Whether you celebrate it or not, it’s impossible to miss the annual onslaught that is the Christmas season. The stores are filled with brightly colored signs and packages, the websites are littered with Holiday specials, and seasonal music is everywhere.

This is the season of parties and get-togethers and – to some – the dreaded company gathering. The mood can be a bit lighter. You may be getting together with clients and customers for a celebratory lunch or beverage. And things may slow down just a bit.

Take a moment...

While you are lifting that cup of cheer, remember one important element which is the people you work and collaborate with because without them, none of this would be possible. That’s not just an overused cliché, it’s the truth.

For many I know, this has been a roller coaster year. Perhaps for you too. Take that well-deserved breath and thank the people in your life, on your team, at your workplace, and yourself for a job well done. And let's remember this in a few months when busy gets in the way of the important stuff.

And please celebrate responsibly!

December 6, 2016

How Dare You Talk to You Like That!

We all experience them. Those moments when we beat ourselves up. The presentation wasn't perfect, you didn't get the promotion, the relationship didn't work out, the list goes on. Here's something to try; the next time you are talking crap about yourself to yourself, remove your name and add a friend's name and see how comfortable that feels.

There is no way in a hundred lifetimes you would speak to others in the same negative way you speak to yourself. I'm an Olympic gold medalist in beating myself up and let me assure you, it solves nothing.

Try this...

Every time you feel the urge to put yourself down, stop, then force yourself to think of something you are grateful for in your life. It may sound Pollyanna, too bad. You won't do it well the first few times, keep trying.

Or you could try the strategy of talking to others the way you talk to yourself. That's if your plan is to lose friends and people you care about.

Your call.

December 2, 2016

Marshallows Save The Day

If you have worked a day in your life, it is fairly safe to say you have worked alongside others. In some cases, those experiences have been enjoyable while others have not. You may have had to endure an arrogant selfish boss while other situations have been filled with giving collaborative coworkers.

We seem to enjoy looking at things “on paper” but they get all wobbly when we add the human element and often it’s because we are unclear about the mandate. Often there is a struggle among conflicting agendas or someone comes in and plays the “I’m the boss” card. None of these scenarios are effective, productive, or long lasting business success models. However, sadly they are far too common.

But what happens when you take a group of people and ask them to build a structure out of spaghetti, string and a marshmallow?

Tom Wujec explains.

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