A Nudge

Someone gently reminded me that it’s been awhile. I don’t know how I blogged when I technically am working less now!

I still get to hold a session now and then, and meet up with people to talk about careers and how they are navigating their way through the organizations. So what can I share?

  1. You are who you are. I am always going to be impatient, have a sense of urgency, want to move quickly….it doesn’t matter whether I am full time employee or a part time consultant…who you are and how you work doesn’t really change.
  2. The same people who bug you before will bug you now. I might have more insight into their character (e.g. being a debbie downer is an example of a person’s insecurity) but it’s still super annoying. And very visible to evveryone else.
  3. People still don’t say thank you enough. I don’t really understand it…I don’t know if it’s habit, or culture, or what…but saying thank you still has as much power no matter where I go.
  4. People size you up pretty quickly. You might come with a reputation, but people will still come to their own conclusion about you.
  5. You reap what you sow. It’s amazing to me how many people cross my path from years ago, working at different companies. I had someone recognize me in the elevator based off a Lessons Learned session she had attended!

What I can tell you is this, at the risk of sounding corny. You will get to a point in your career where more money doesn’t materially change your life.  You have what you need. The best thing to motivate you is what authentically pushes you, excites you, wakes you up in the middle of the night, or is the brilliant idea in the shower. You can’t fake it, but once you find it, it’s hard to ignore. Our journey is finding that thing. Having the presence of mind and the instincts to recognize it. To have the courage to take a leap and do it. To know in your heart of hearts that it’s the right thing for you.  And that right thing has nothing to do with money or personal prestige, though both may come with it. It has to do with what you want your contribution in life to be.

The Power of the Narrative

People remember stories. One of the best ways for people to relate to you is to tell a story. My favorite stories tend to be of situations where everything goes wrong, but it all comes out right in the end because of the team. Yes, business is about facts and figures, but people get bored with presentations of data and information. But what does bring them together is the narrative. [Read more…]

Managing Someone Difficult

I got a question as to how to handle the following situation: you will now start managing a former peer that you haven’t been impressed with.  Managing difficult people is the hardest job there is, bar none. As a manager, you want to be respected, effective, and liked. But sometimes you get a person who is either 1) threatened by you, 2) wanting to sabotage you, or 3) just plain doesn’t like you. What to do?

[Read more…]

Being the Deputy

There is an interesting article in the WSJ called “How to be the Best Deputy – When Second is Best”. Having been a chief of staff, chief operating officer many times in my career, being number two is something I’ve really enjoyed.  In the article, they talk about the do’s and don’ts: “take satisfaction in behind the scene wins”, “protect the boss from unnecessary surprises” as dos….don’ts include competing with the boss, expecting glory.  What have I learned?

[Read more…]

Lesson Learned Number 1

It’s been interesting reading about the Wells Fargo situation…which made me think about my lesson learned: Be maniacal about doing the right thing.   So obvious right? But clearly, very smart, very dedicated people still take a wrong turn. How does it happen? My observations…. [Read more…]

What You Tell Yourself

I once went to this amazing leadership course where we did this one exercise where we were told to shout negative things to a person standing with their arms out: “You’re dumb!”, “You can’t do anything right!”, “You can’t win!”  The instructor went over to him and pushed his arms down easily.

We then shouted positive things to the person: “You’re great!”, “You’re the best!”, “You can do anything!”, and when the instructor tried to push his arms down, he couldn’t. The person was able to resist. Seriously.

So here are some things to say to yourself depending on the circumstance: [Read more…]

Warning Signs

When people are in the process of vetting a new role, sometimes it gets worse, not better as the process goes on. Yes, it’s great when you only get more and more excited about the new job. But sometimes, you start getting warning signals….which conflict with the appeal of a higher salary, promises, and the “new shiny” thing high. Here are some warning signs you should pay attention to: [Read more…]