Saturday, December 18, 2010


"...the most important aspect of women is desire.
The woman needs to think: When can I have it? Ohhhh, I want it so badly, I can't wait.
If you take that away from a woman, you take away a lot."

Christian Louboutin

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

EQ or Ego? It's Your Choice...

We have all met that person who loves to say, “This is who I am, take it or leave it” or “You’ll always know where you stand with me, I make my positions very clear” with the implication of World, Adjust To Me. Add some hierarchical title in there (if they are VP, EVP, or a C-something) look out because now they feel even more justified to ask the World to do the Adjusting. There is one thing about Ego and EQ – they are mutually exclusive. When I operate from a place of Ego, I make choices that are good for me, I do things that meet my needs, and I expect others to make me comfortable. When I operate from a place of EQ, I understand that it can’t be about me, and the burden is on me to read situations and people accurately in order to respond in most appropriate ways. And I get that it means that I have to be the one doing the adjusting, and that it won’t always be comfortable.

Take the following scenarios:

The executive who doesn’t attend the pre-sales meeting planning sessions, arrives the day before and wants the entire agenda changed. Ego over EQ.

The employee who receives a terse email from a co-worker and instead of writing an equal attack right back, makes the effort to speak to the co-worker in person and uncover the real issue. EQ over Ego.

The front-line employee who finds an interesting article on an innovative approach and leaves a copy of it for a senior leader with a note of suggestion. The executive chews out the front-line employee’s boss for not teaching her to follow chain-of-command. Ego over EQ.

The senior leader who, despite political consequences, publicly takes responsibility for a bad decision. EQ over Ego.

The business owner who sees that the office is overwhelmed with work and jumps in to help with administrative support. EQ over Ego.

Look over this list of characteristics:



Great listener

Great talker







Sense of humor

Judges others

Shows empathy




Takes responsibility

Passes blame



Shares authority



Plays politics

Who would you rather be?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Constant Crisis

Has anyone noticed that the news and government is addicted to calling everything a crisis?

The Financial Crisis
The Gulf Oil Spill Crisis
The Crisis in the Middle East
The Mortgage Crisis
The Unemployment Crisis
The Gas Crisis
The Auto Industry Crisis
The Health Care Crisis
The Global Warming Crisis
The Immigration Crisis

What's next? The Crisis Crisis?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let's Get Rid of Management

People don't want to be managed.
They want to be led.
Whoever heard of a world manager?
World leader, yes.
Educational leader.
Political leader.
Religious leader.
Scout leader.
Community leader.
Labor leader.
Business leader.
They lead.
They don't manage.
You can lead your horse to water,
but you can't manage him to drink.
If you want to manage somebody,
manage yourself.
Do that well, and you'll
be ready to stop managing,
and start leading.


Friday, September 10, 2010

The One Way Street

Bravo to Susan Stellin who nailed the airlines on their practices that always favor them and punish the passenger when changes need to be made to an itinerary. In short, if I need to make a change to a trip it costs me, but if they make a change to my trip, I get no recompense for the inconvenience. A contract is a contract right? So, if I breach the original contract by making a change, I incur a financial consequence. But if an airline breaches the original contract by making a change (not getting me where they agreed to, when they agreed to, the way they agreed to, with my baggage intact), they have no financial consequence. Huh??

Monday, August 30, 2010

Workplace Bullying

The story of Kevin Morrissey’s suicide is terribly tragic and raises some good questions about the fine line between firm management and a boss who is a bully. I know nothing of the details of the Morrissey situation, other than what the press has reported, which is that he made several reports to the University of Virginia’s Human Resources department about his boss and the pressure he was under, and that he suffered from clinical depression.

If this is true, does the HR department have a responsibility to separate the two employees until the situation is stabilized? If an investigation was conducted and was inconclusive, is that enough? Should someone have considered that this employee may have extenuating circumstances that might require a more definitive response to a claim of bullying than your typical scenario? Could the boss have just been tough and Morrissey overly sensitive?

There is a line between being a boss that is very firm, and holds people accountable and a boss that uses verbal intimidation, and favoritism to get what they want from employees. It’s time to have the conversation about it, and come to consensus within your organization about the differences between the two. Start talking.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Employee Effectiveness

Energizer has announced that they will pay employees traveling overseas to fly coach instead of business class:

I understand the cost savings can be substantial and (maybe) could be talked into the rationale that the company deserves 50% of the cut, but does it make business sense? Most travelers to Europe arrive in the early morning and likely have to head straight to an office or meeting from the airport. How effective is a sleep-deprived executive who has spent the night in a coach seat?

Friday, June 25, 2010

The "It" Competency

Wondering what is the most important competency to find in a new hire??

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Human Resources with a Side of Training

I have run into a real business challenge, and in discussing it with my colleagues, many of them are experiencing the same. The challenge is internal Human Resources. Senior executives with their own budgets and P & L responsibility want to hire me (an outside consultant) to help them with development planning for their team or as an executive coach and as soon as their internal HR gets wind of it, they put a stop to it. First of all, I don’t think that internal HR can tell someone with their own discretionary budget that they cannot spend the money, but they put up such an internal tantrum that is causes the business leader to pause. Why?

If you are an internal HR executive, please tell me why you are threatened by a business leader who wants to seek help from a specialist? I understand that jobs are scarce and everyone is trying to protect their own positions. The official line is usually “we have those resources internally, you don’t need to spend the money”. I have not seen an organization yet that has enough internal resources for learning and development solutions (workshops, eLearning, performance coaching, IDP’s, conflict mediation, etc.) to meet all the needs of the organization. Most of the time, budget cuts hit learning and development first and left is a Human Resources department that has primary responsibility for compensation, benefits, compliance, workers comp, recruiting and employee relations, who is also asked to do Talent Management on the side.

Internal and external consulting are two different animals. As hard as it is to hear, it needs to be said that an internal employee relations specialist, training specialist, or even talent management guru will not have the same impact that an external specialist will. That is just the cold reality. I have been both an internal and external consultant. I have been that frustrated internal consultant that resented external consultants who always got more credibility, more visibility, and (frankly) better results than we could internally. I suffered from the egotistical attitude “if it’s not invented here it could never be as good” and “our company and culture is so unique, effective performance solutions can only come from within”. Both of those statements are false and a mantra that internal TM professionals use to try and convince their organization of the same.

After being an external for 11 years now, I understand why the results are different. As an external, I bring best practices from multiple companies and multiple industries that I have experienced hands-on. As an internal can you say that? As an external, my client can share confidential information about their real performance challenges that often involve supervisors and peers without risk of repercussion or exposure. As an internal can you say that? As an external, my livelihood depends on my responsiveness devoting undivided attention to my client’s needs. As an internal can you say that?

As an external I often work with internal HR and like having a strong partnership between us. But it is important for HR to see when it is in the organization’s best interest to use outside professional services and please work with us, instead of against us.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Employee Engagement

Recently, I was on a Southwest flight and was chatting with the flight attendant. She said that the night before, the crew had an overnight stay and the (female) Captain took them all out for a lobster dinner. She said, “I felt like I was on vacation, not working. It was amazing.” Wow. How many of your employees would say that after spending an evening with you?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Detached Attachment

On my last two flights from IAD-MHT my checked suitcase on United did not make my flight. In both cases, they delivered it to me the next day. Aside from the pure annoyance and inconvenience, this is part of travel is so unnerving. We are forced to choose our most prized possessions to take with us. I can’t bring 10 outfits and make a choice based on mood, local weather, or feel of the environment so I must pick before I leave. And so I pick the best ones, often favorite things. I bring items that symbolize comfort and confidence - my form of consolation – to help me forget the things I miss back home. But then, every time I check a bag, board a plane, or pack and unpack in a hotel, I must be willing to lose those treasures and never see them again. It is such a cruel game of detached attachment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Message In a Bottle

Have you ever sent a message in a bottle? There is something exciting about the idea of sending a piece of yourself off into the world, without any idea of where it may end up. It could find its way to another continent or it may end up in a trash heap. It might be held in the hands of someone who treats it as treasure, or it may be lost in a storm forever and sitting on the bottom of the ocean. It is a mysterious, romantic, soulful practice to write down secrets and send them away. I think some of the senders hope their messages are never found, and others are enchanted with the idea of being connected to a random finder via serendipity. My mind will periodically drift to the secrets I have sent off in bottles and I wonder where they are, what journey they have taken and if they were ever found.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

2009 Travel Summary

I track every flight I am on, and if it is on-time or late and the reason. Here is my 2009 travel summary:

112,008 miles, 8 airlines, 34 airports.

Total delays: 14.60 hours (includes credits for early arrivals)

Percent of all flights with a delay: 26.47% (52% of those were delayed more than 15 mins)

Average delay (all flights): 47 minutes

Percent of delays not weather related: 59.26%

2 of the delays caused missed connections for the night and having to stay in a different city than planned.

Percent of flights with a delay by airline:

United 18.75% (100% of those were delayed more than 15 mins)

Southwest 14.89% (57% of those were delayed more than 15 mins)

Continental 33.33% (67% of those were delayed more than 15 mins)

Jet Blue 40% (100% of those were delayed more than 15 mins)

Average delay by airline:

United: 42 minutes

Southwest: 42 minutes, plus one delayed bag

Continental: 66 minutes

Jet Blue: 82 minutes

I have heard many times that if I don't like a particular airline, I just need to vote with my wallet and fly someone else. That is a naive comment. In some cases, I have to fly into an airport that few airlines service but despite that, I have tried many times to use different carriers in an attempt to find the one that is most reliable. I have been tracking since 2006, and it can be seen year-over-year that no one is significantly better than another.

This points to another key point - all airlines are working within the same bad system. Individual differences will be minor until our FAA technology system is upgraded. As part of we have been fighting as hard for the FAA Reauthorization funding as we have for the passenger's bill of rights.