Innovating Relocations

You know you’re doing something right when the VP of Canada Sales & Relationship Management a relocating company, Prudential,  tells you: “you know that you made us change and look at the way we have been doing things. You are light years ahead of the game.” Darn it, this may have been one of my favorable moments in 2010.

Relocating employees has been around since companies have gone global. Moving people seems pretty simple right? WRONG! I learned from first hand experience that relocating people is time-consuming, complex, and like multiple project plans with different deliverable dates. Partnering with the right company makes a difference. Just like the employees in the organization, the relocating company you choose you need to trust. They need to be part of your team and need to want to be a part of your team.

I have been fortunate to work with Prudential, where they have listened and scratched their head a couple of times on some of my views, but were always listening. I blogged about their forum earlier and how it was fun, but what I realized now is that they are big and still learning. Many larger (or gigantic organizations) that I have seen don’t keep on evolving.  From an outsider view, they got a good group of people in the management level, and that has trickled down.

Now when  I see the rock, I am proud of the people I work with. There is still room for improvement, like any vendor relationship, but we have open and candid conversations that are solution focused.

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All I want for Christmas is another… Meeting Request?

So the holidays are approaching, as is the New Year. Does that mean that all year people have slacked on their goals and tasks that they increase the number of meetings in December by 100%? Why the sudden rush.

Let us take a page out of a yoga practice and BREATHE. So the next time your about to send out a meeting request, ask yourself – “Am I doing this because I didn’t plan this out?” or “Can I just pick up the phone and ask?”

Just some holiday love from me.

When is it time to say good-bye?

It’s always interesting to observe the fall out of a bad pairing of a manager & employee. It is a little bit like watching gossip girl and being able to know where the plot will go in the first 3 minutes of the show. What amuses me each time is how few times people can face the music and start making the correct decisions to better themselves & the company. Rather, many people believe that fight actually beats flight.

My view is that sometimes flight is being less of a coward. If you are unhappy in your role, the work you do, and the manager you have, its time to move on. People don’t change, only you can change, and if you are not willing to do so, the inevitable will happen. So when is it time to say good-bye? I assume more people wouldn’t say “at the first sign of trouble” yet, some may. It’s a tricky spot as an employee, since looking for a job is hard work, time consuming, and a humbling experience.

To all the many people I have seen move roles, jobs, and companies and become successful, I urge you to remember that it’s not always you. It’s sometimes a bunch of circumstances that don’t play to your strengths. Just remember to always be yourself. You will land in the right seat on the bus eventually.

Workday – turning HR from 1.0 to 4.0

I would like to preface this whole blog with saying this is truly just my opinion. One that has taken me 5 months to pull together. I am currently implementing a new HCM (Human Capital Management) system (formally known as HRIS) called Workday. They are based in Pleasanton CA and darn it, they just get it.

You make a change, and its effective NOW, you chance your mind, you can undo and have a sandbox for ever and ever. You can buy their content for not so much, and have the piece of mind that an update will take you 1-2 weeks. My favorite piece, customer vote for new functionality (how freaking cool is that) and you get 2-3 updates every calendar year.

Does this remind you of anything? Facebook perhaps? Companies that just are with the times, can move quick, and listen their customers. It’s fortunate we have at least one solution in HR right now that is so innovative. Lets keep on progressing to a place where HR isn’t the policy police, but the business & employee growth & development place (my future heaven).

Inspiration & business. Oxymoron?

Inspiration & business. Oxymoron?

I have recently acquired the knowledge of something important.  I will share this shortly, but look back to your favourite boss, manager, trainer, and team captain and ask yourself “why were they great?”.  I am sure we can list many attributes that make or made them great. I believe that Richard’s 500 interviews is due for a concise list.

In my opinion, INSPIRATION is something that has made our great leaders epic. Inspiration can come in different sizes and shapes –  Gandhi versus Martin Luther King, for example.

 

One day I will be a manager and be a part of change, big game-changing change, even though right now I feel that I am not inspirational (that I know of).  I went to a beloved pick me up website www.ted.com  and looked for some videos tagged inspiration to inspire me.  This one by Richard St. John on 8 secrets of success just blows my mind every time.

Once you watch the video and see the 8 secrets of success, you think “yes, yes, you’re right, Richard.”  But I know there are people in the world that have been following the 8 secrets of success, but aren’t.

 

I won’t get into name calling but just think politicians, actors, athletes, executives that buried their businesses and someone will come to mind.  But the ones that are successful I think have that extra quality of INSPIRATION.

Inspirations moves people, your focus (one of the secrets) won’t move others, your passion may, but inspiration is what gets your troops moving and makes things happen.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” – African proverb. It also takes more than one person to make an idea, company, initiative, organization, school or association successful. Inspiration forms the bond and ability to make change happen.

Today, ask yourself, who do you inspire?

How do ideas mate?

Buddy systems are simply two people doing the same thing.  We have had buddy systems in kindergarten when you had to go somewhere were the teacher couldn’t go with you; you had them in high school when running outside school grounds for the Terry Fox Run.  Did you realize there are buddy systems all over the place?  Police, ambulance, doctors, work out groups, run clubs, and even powered golf carts.  They work because more people (buddies) means more ideas and as ideas get shared, they improve.  Then why is the thought of having a buddy system at work is so scary for many people?  Is it the fear of being perceived as inferior, or is it a form of creating job security?

I am fortunate to be a part of multiple teams on multiple projects, all of which are high performing.  If it wasn’t for buddy systems, sharing knowledge and releasing ownership of work, real innovation wouldn’t be a possibility.  This is the era when HR stops being the police and participates in “idea sex” (see the video!).

In my own personal opinion, buddy systems have worked in the past and continue to work.  There is no shame in not having all the best ideas.  Allow yourself and the people you work with be part of amazing possibilities.

Idea Sex – from TED.com

Learning’s from another industry, who would have thought

I was fortunate to attend the Prudential Forum 2010 in Phoenix Arizona (August 30-31, 2010) and the opening speaker, Dan Coughlin, had spoke about 5 accelerator Actions. Although I usually come to conferences in a place of scepticism about what I will learn, I was pleasantly surprised. The conference theme was “innovate, accelerate, generate.” The only observation (to date) is that the conference is very specific to affiliates, employees and suppliers versus clients (us).

Midtown Phoenix skyline, looking north up Cent...

Image via Wikipedia

 

Mr. Coughlin spoke about “practical ways to achieve sustainable success.” I will rattle off all the accelerator actions at the end of the article, but the one that made me happy was number 2: “Maintain daily enthusiasm.” This accelerator is only a two step process:

a)      “Clarify the purpose for my work. (Why do I do the work that I do?)”

b)      “Every day focus on fulfilling my purpose.”

  • “Remember that passion flows from purpose, not the other way around.”

I feel that I do have the passion or enthusiasm in my work. In fact, thinking back about how I feel about my work, my manager, the company I work for. I am just as happy (if not more) about what I do everyday than when I started on day one. I get excited Sunday nights and am eager to come to work. I realize from this speaker that I do work everyday towards my purpose:

My purpose is to develop, and attribute to business development, growth and future sustainable growth for the company. Everything I do daily attributes to this purpose (in the form of tasks completed the same day or work that will attribute to a large project that will support these objectives).

Although I do find bliss at work and I will take some accountability for my ability to see what I am shooting for, I do want to acknowledge how important it is for the business to communicate to its employees on what they should be focusing on. Not a once a year communication, but an ongoing non-stop conversation to ensure all initiatives are pointing in the correct direction. In my opinion, this will drive to cohesive strategic decisions throughout the organization.

Here are the 5 accelerator actions:

  1. Schedule thinking & non-thinking time
  2. Maintain daily enthusiasm
  3. Innovate to sustain success
  4. Sacrifice to accelerate
  5. Collaborate to accelerate

I plan on blogging about the other accelerators upon my return back from Vancouver.

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Email Anxiety

I won’t pose this as a question, but rather a fact. All of us have at least once experience email anxiety. Email anxiety usually comes in the form fearing what the email will say from the email sender, usually the main cause of the anxiety. To further expand on this, imagine a co-worker or manager who keeps on emailing you with things to do that don’t make sense, or someone who keeps on changing their mind on what they want, or lastly, someone who wants to world and believes you’re the one to deliver it.

Dealing with email anxiety is weird, because talking things out isn’t really an option. I however do not consider ‘ignoring’ a form of approach, that’s just being inappropriate. I have experience email anxiety twice in the last 4 years of my HR career. It can be debilitating to performance and personal morale.

My first case of email anxiety was resolved by leaving my employer. Drastic, maybe. Necessary, certainly. My most recent case of email anxiety has been manageable and I have a game plan. Firstly, I openly talk to my closes peers (in HR of course) and manager about the situation in whole, focusing on fact, and openly share the email culprits. I respond to all emails with facts only and removing any empathic, apologetic, and wording that may have the recipient consider a weakness. I learned how to write strategic emails from a professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Bob Basil, about 3 years ago and it has changed my email communication for the better. From there, I build up my professional reputation by managing multiple time consuming situations via emails and before you know it, “BAM!” like Chef Emeril, the emails stop.

The good news. I know how to deal with email anxiety. The bad news, its not quick and simple.  Email anxiety will exist, you now have to choose the deal with it and win. Good luck.

Business trip etiquette: just some thoughts

I am going on a trip to a conference as well for training to two separate companies.  I am interested to know what people believe is the correct dress code.  As many may know, I work for a yoga apparel company where I wear stretchy pants, tank tops, flips flops, runners, and so on all day long.  If I worked at a bank or another corporate type of environment this really wouldn’t be an issue.  Now if I am going as the guest to a conference, does that mean I need to go shopping and wear clothes I wouldn’t otherwise?

I figure since I am the “customer” in both situations that I should be allowed to wear and do as I would at my normal job.  But the question does arise – am I pushing the boundaries, does dress code really matter to the other company, and would they find it offensive or refreshing?

To make things more interesting, when we have consultants or vendors come to our office, we ask that they wear comfortable clothing (even if it isn’t stretchy pants) and have people come in wearing 3 piece suits, sweat pants, short shorts, dresses, and jeans.  Never have I seen anyone receive it as offensive if the person didn’t wear athletic wear.  What should I do?

I cried at work, and it’s OK

I am very passionate about what I do. Everything in life is either full on or just off. When I make mistakes, I am very accountable to fixing them. When someone gives me feedback I take it as a gift and not a personal attack. I am committed to my work, just like everything else I do in life.

My fear in life isn’t dying, getting ill, never falling in love, growing old alone, not being successful, but disappointing those who I respect (or love). So when I make a mistake at work that disappoints my boss/bosses that I trust and respect I get upset, when I feel upset I cry.

So why does even Martha say “women in business don’t cry” when clearly I did? I read multiple articles after crying at work and there is a lot of tactics and strategies on how to deal with a crier or if you are the crier, but when it boils right down to it, aren’t we all just human? Why can’t we behave at work the way we would outside of work? Why do we need to be robots at work and emotional wrecks at home?

My incident has made me more open, better understood, and more – of what drives my performance, motivates me, and what I am truly passionate about. Today, I am taking a stand for all the criers out there and say its okay to cry (sometimes).