Beware… Le Saboteur!

Saboteur

Your company may be getting sabotaged… Think of it this way: your company is like a house. Whether big or small, it’s your dream house. You know it will be amazing and you believe, believe so strongly with all the passion in the world, that this will be something great. Whether it’s a service or a product, the world will benefit greatly and you can’t wait to get it built, maybe even add-on or sell it one day to the highest bidder.

You set out to build the house and slowly start to bring others along, but unknowingly you may be sabotaging the dream. Something doesn’t feel right. You don’t feel like you’re spending the right time in the right place and the people you’ve hired? They’re not happy either. You feel more pressure than ever because you’ve already told the world that this amazing house is being built. In fact, you’ve been working on it for five years and from the outside, everything looks perfect.

There are cracks in the foundation.

You may start to realize you need to make a change and fix what’s being built on the inside, but the question is… what do I need to do and is it too late? And to whom can I possibly confess this?

The greatest saboteur is an undefined culture.

Let’s stop there for a second… culture. Who has time for that? Isn’t that an HR program or something? Or as I heard one executive recently say, “that’s just a buzz word that companies are saying they are working on to gain attention from the street.”

Call it culture, call it whatever you like, but would you be interested in having

  • Revenues increase 4 times faster
  • Job creation rates grow 7 times higher
  • Stock prices increase12 times faster
  • Profits climb 750% higher
  • Net income grow 700%
  • Customer satisfaction-Double

Source: Professor John Kotter, Harvard and Coauther James Heskett

There are four cornerstones to every company that form the cultural blueprint… they will always be there, whether you define them or not.

So the question is… do you want to leave these critical pieces, the pieces which determine whether you are structurally sound and sustainable, up to happenchance?

THE FOUR CORNERSTONES:

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VISION:  This is your aspirational statement that informs everyone where you are dreaming and daring to go… people want to get behind something bigger than them. A paycheck is only a piece behind why people join and stay with companies.

VALUES:  This is all about behaviors. What do you value most and what will help you achieve the vision? It’s it fortitude? Integrity? Optimism? It starts with the leader. You must define your values, so that you can hire people aligned with them and fire them when they aren’t. It’s that simple.

YOU:  Hey, it’s your dream. You were the one audacious to dream this pig could fly! It’s of utmost importance that you lead with a great deal of self-awareness… where do you play best? Where are your core strengths and what skills do you need to compliment you? Where do you have blind spots or behaviors that may be limiting your ability to lead and inspire others towards the vision.

YOUR PEOPLE:  It’s critical to really determine, based on you, the vision, values and purpose… who do you need and want to join you in building your dream?  Don’t take this lightly… identify the skills, ask questions to determine values fit and organize your company so that you can be most productive.

At the center of it all? Your purpose.. Your “WHY”… if you haven’t seen this video already by Simon Sinek, I highly encourage you to watch it: http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html

At their annual meeting this week, Starbucks executives discussed the company’s $1.4 billion profit for the fiscal year ending last September. When I started with them in 1997, there were over 1400 stores and over 25,000 employees… now there are over 20,000 stores and over 200,000 employees. My last role there was to lead a team to figure out how to hire 8 people an hour and get them to stick. I can tell you it wasn’t because they all knew how to make coffee or foam milk. But, they all resonate with the vision, they live the values, they believe in the why, they are suited for the jobs and the leaders get out of their way. It’s not the buzz of caffeine. It’s the buzz of culture.

Oh, and that company with the executive who thought culture is a “buzz word”… they just reported a 96% drop in profits. Think I’d sign up for the buzz over the saboteur…

Need that confidante to help you with one of your cornerstones or know someone that does? Please email me at Linda@GlassTalent.com for a free consultation.


Pass the Tums… I’m HAVING IT ALL!

tums

You bet you can. Have it all.

Belly on up to the All You Can Eat, YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL Bar.

Go on. I’ll be there. Waiting for you with Tums in hand.

What does that mean ANYWAY? “Having it all?”

And before you think this just a “women’s” issue… please read on… yes, we may be discussing it more, but as my husband likes to say “If mamma ain’t happy… ain’t nobody happy.” This impacts us all. Everyone deserves to define it, no matter your gender.

There is a lot of recent buzz around the discussion of women regarding whether we really can “have it all.” From Sheryl Sandberg’s new book, Lean In to Anne Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic Why Women Still Can’t Have It All, the debate has flared again and the conversation is hot.

And as I was reminded after watching The Makers on PBS this week, throughout our history there has always been a group or a person trying to represent what it should look like for women in work. BTW… if you haven’t watched this… it was amazingly well done and reminded me that it wasn’t that long ago that women didn’t have a ton of choice when it came to work. Watch here.

I think the best article in response to the debate was this one by Sarah Lacy, founder of PandoDaily:

In this corner there’s Sheryl Sandberg. In this corner there’s Anne-Marie Slaughter. And then there’s reality

The line that resonated with me most is this:

Everyone’s definition of “having it all” varies.

Damn straight, yet how often do we take someone else’s image and definition and think it must be our own?

It’s a bit like this…

I see the model for “Having it All!” She has it all figured out and man does she look satisfied. She has the house, the kids, the career, the dog, the laundry done, a planned vacation, great sex… (pan to Enjoli commercial).

Society has told me that in order to “have it all” I should follow her, do exactly as she does and wear her shoes. And if I can’t or don’t, I have FAILED.

Here is the reality… Her shoes look great. Really great. There are some aspects I think will work for me, like the supportive ankle strap or the forgiving wedge. Only problem, she’s a size 9… I’m a 7… 6 ½ on a good day with no swelling.

HER EXACT SHOES WILL NEVER BE MY PERFECT FIT. NEVER.

Wearing her shoes would make me feel:

  • Inadequate
  • Uncomfortable
  • Inauthentic
  • Unhappy
  • Sore
  • Not to mention, late to everything

I’m tired of the judgment. I’m tired of the victim voice. I’m tired of the one-size fits all when it comes to this debate.

We all have a choice and a responsibility to determine what is right for each of us. We each have our own family dynamics, financial responsibilities, and deepest desires when it comes to living our lives to the fullest and “having it all.”

For me, “having it all” means…

I get to live a peaceful life that includes laughter, love and tons of challenging thinking everyday with people that matter the most to me.

How I do that and what shoes I choose do accomplish this life in… whether I choose to have a “job” while raising children or no children or dedicate to raising children… well that’s up to me. No one else, but me.

If you haven’t sat down and given a long hard thought to what your definition of “having it all” is… stop what you are doing and do it now. Right now. This is your sacred touchstone that will always anchor you when someone tries to force his or her “having it all” shoes on you.

Once defined, put on those damn shoes. Wear them proudly and gloriously with every step you take and enjoy the perfect fit.

I’m curious, if you’re willing to share… how do you define your “having it all?”

ShoeHunting-26116-full~Linda


Manamana…. do, do, do, do, do…. Manamana… do, do, do, do…

Kermit4

It was not just your regular rainbow and unicorn morning.

This morning I went to a performance at the kids’ school. Truth be told, my son was dreading it and I can sort of get why… two repeat performances of mouthing his handmade puppet to Muppet oldies isn’t really his gig. He muscled through it.

I, on the other hand, immediately started to think what my puppet would have looked like, how I would have arranged the first piece differently to infuse more energy, and wondered if each puppet somehow psychology represented the state of this tween gathering. My poor kid.

The line up:

First…  puppets mouthing “Manamama… do, do, do, do…” to a recording

Second… Well, escapes my memory already, just an hour later

Third… all children singing THE RAINBOW CONNECTION (feel free to pause and watch the original)

As soon as the first notes to The Rainbow Connection began, I started to well up. Seriously?!? Well up? You’re at your kid’s performance… a kid who doesn’t even want to be there btw.

What gives? Was it the nostalgia of it all? Remembering when I was a kid? It was a Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979, when I was just 10 (go ahead, do the math). I was in that special tween time too.

I felt a rush of crazy talk inside my head… what’s wrong with you Linda? Get a grip before one of the normal parents sees you and wonders if you took your meds today.

To divert my emotion, I turned to really listening to the lyrics. I’m not sure I had really paid attention to the lyrics before, besides the chorus…

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
and what’s on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we’ve been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they’re wrong, wait and see.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard
and answered when wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that and someone believed it.
Look what it’s done so far.
What’s so amazing that keeps us stargazing
and what do we think we might see?
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

All of us under its spell. We know that it’s probably magic.

Have you been half asleep and have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that called the young sailors.
The voice might be one and the same.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.
It’s something that I’m supposed to be.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

My gift for the morning was embedded in the lyrics.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my business is going through a time of transformation. I realized this morning that it’s really ME that’s going through the transformation.

It’s time to listen to the voice of what I’m truly meant to be and stop listening to the voice of what everyone else thinks I should be. I’VE HEARD IT TOO MANY TIMES TO IGNORE IT. IT’S SOMETHING I’M SUPPOSED TO BE.

It won’t be a huge departure. No, you won’t see me on Project Runway or fulfilling my life long dream of being a professional gymnast.

It will be authentically me. My voice. My contribution.

Until I’m ready to reveal… you can find me with the lovers and dreamers.

FUN FACTOID: Did you know that the Rainbow Connection received a nomination for the 52nd Academy Awards? However, the song lost the Oscar to “It Goes Like It Goes” from Norma Rae, a win that some critics decried. I kinda like the visual… a little Kermit mixed with Norma Rae… suits my style just fine.

 


This is How I spell LOVE…

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Laughing ‘til it hurts. (Twelve years married and I laughed all the way through our Valentine’s Breakfast. Man, that guy’s funny.)

Only caring about the time you spend today with the most important people in your life. (Picking up fabulous new designer Stephanie Fisher from the airport in a few!)

Voraciously pursuing your passion. (Well, I did a little of all my passions today… work that I love, reading, creating. Oh yeah, and I did iron your sheets Stephanie.)

Embracing whatever comes… (to be continued!).

However you spell it, spell it out loud every day. Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!


Are you coaching a Smart Ass or a Genius? Or both?

I love me some good problem solving.

Throw me at it. How do we do this? What’s the best solution? How creative can we be? Let’s do this!

This morning, I was stumped. Yeah, stumped. Impressed, yet mildly disturbed.

I found this next to the coffee machine left for me by my 11-year-old. Yes, there is water in those glasses turned upside down.

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What happened? He used to be such a sweet, charming little boy. Actually, if I’m honest with myself, he’s always been a bit clever, a bit conniving, and a bit out to get me. And I love him dearly.

So, not able to immediately draw a conclusion, I pasted to the world of Facebook for a solution. I could have stared at it for a while, but why when I know there is a dearth of talent in the people with whom I keep company?

Here are some of the comments:

  1. Surround with sponges and lift
  2. Make him clean it up when he gets home and if he spills any, ground him, or make him write a poem about water.
  3. Drag the glasses to the edge of the counter, put a pan next to the counter and slide glasses off quickly.
  4. Drag them over plastic wrap!!!
  5. He created it. He can clean it up and maybe even lose an evening’s privilege or have to clean out the cat box. Some sort of consequence.
  6. Love it.
  7. I would write “funny” on the same paper and leave it for him to clean up
  8. Clever boy.

I gotta say, this kid has a lot of consequences for things that are real issues… like beating the life out of his brother. Should I really punish the kid or applaud his ingenuity?

I mean, what if I really did give birth to a genius? And what it the next ingenious thing he puts on the counter is a solution to world hunger, albeit it in a mocking “I got you” sort of way?

Would the way I handle this impact his future contributions?

Is it possible to separate out the feedback on being a smartass with positive feedback on his cleverness?

People we live with or work with do things all the time that might irritate us. We REACT and don’t step back. Are we throwing out the next best idea or great work because of the irritating delivery? Can we applaud one while coaching on the other? What do you think?

I think I’ll work with him on the solution and save the feedback for the next issue. And be thankful I’m not the kid of some of my FB friends… I’d be in perpetual time out!

Ultimately, though, I have to agree with my FB friend #6… I kinda love it.


Leading with Laughter! Ha!

Mom Jungle Gym

Having recently moved, I ran across this picture. This is my mom, Alice. On top of my jungle gym. Behind the family truck and farmhouse. My mom. The monkey.

Several emotions have come to mind when I have seen this picture in the past. One is of sheer embarrassment. This very picture was in our Christmas letter one year for Pete’s sake. How could she do that to a 7-year-old? What would my public think?

But this time, I had one emotion only… Hell Yeah Mom! My mom was silly. She loved to laugh. Her humor was exceptional.  And now I realize how critical that was to her as a mother and how critical it is to me as both a mother and a business owner.

I’m embarking on a new chapter for my business as I hit my 5-year anniversary. Call it Glass Talent 2.0. I’ll continue to work with my great clients as their supportive and challenging Executive Business Coach. And I’ll be looking at ways to evolve my practice as a Talent Strategist.

In imagining what is next, I’ve put together a vision board to collect my ideas and thoughts of what I want my working journey to look and feel like. It must involve CONNECTING. COLLABORATION. CREATIVITY. LEARNING. WRITING. COACHING. SERVING.

In seeing this picture again, I am reminded that I am missing a very important word from my board… HUMOR.

Humor brings me bliss, joy, relief and solace. Humor helps me keep things in perspective and keeps me humble. Humor helps me manage through the valleys and the peaks. Humor makes me happy.

So, here’s to adding a big fat piece of HUMOR to the heart of my Vision Board and leading with laughter.

Vision Board

I wish I had the picture of my mom playing the role of “the man at the bar” from the Santa Fe Melodrama. I don’t. You’ll just have to imagine it and laugh along with me.

If you’re not laughing, you’re not learning… Email me at Linda@GlassTalent.com to learn more about my coaching (or at least send a good joke!)


One of these things is not like the other…

BoysPhoto

Stay calm. Stay still. Stay calm. Stay still. Do as I’m asked. Quietly enjoy the moment. 

Check it out! Check me out! Wow look at that! Go! Go! Go!

Click on the photo above to view a clip from a recent vacation, which encapsulates these two personalities to a tee. Two children. Same family. So different in so many ways.

As a parent I’m always amazed at how different two kids can be. I recognized it in my own family growing up. Four sisters. Same family. So different in so many ways.

It’s confusing. What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. And even when something does work for a while, life changes and the parenting approach stops working. I have to lead in a different way. Different child, different day, new challenge.

It’s the same with any type of leadership. It’s not a one size fits all world, yet we hope and pray everyday that we can tackle the challenges of leading others with one good solution and approach.

There are so many books out there to help us with our leadership…

” 3 Surefire Ways to Motivate Employees”

“Make ‘em Happy in 5 Steps or Less!”

“Just do this!”

We read through them frantically for the silver bullet… the secret to how to motivate Bob, Jane, Jim and Sally all at the same time using the exact same approach and steps. These books may provide some great frameworks, but it’s what you do for each individual within that framework that makes the greatest impact.

But seriously, we have so much on our plates as it is as leaders. The strategic plan, the investors, the final report… do we really have time to cater to every individual? It takes so much time.

Yes, yes it does. And yes, it is the most valuable and highest return investment you can make in your business.

Sorry, Bob, Jane, Jim and Sally are four different people. Same Company. So different in so many ways. Get to know your people as individuals. Get to know them as people. Stay close to them as they ebb and flow through life’s challenges.  Individualize your leadership approach and enjoy the returns.

For more discussion with Linda about the best approach for your leadership, contact her at Linda@GlassTalent.com.