Not So Indispensable

So I heard a story from a friend and colleague that I thought was important. 


It was about someone in their organization that was being fired. 


The person who was going to be let go went up the chain to complain and said “if I am fired then everything in my subject area is going to fall apart and it will be disastrous to the organization.


The person in charge responded and said, “Listen, even if I were fired, things wouldn’t fall apart; within 2 weeks no one would even remember that I worked here!”


Wow, that is a powerful lesson said that way. 


No one is so indispensable.


Everyone is replaceable.


Even the very top people!


The other important thing they said was:


“Don’t think all people are in it to advance the organization; many are in it to help themselves first! Everyone is talking about their salary!  Their stock options!  Their bonuses!”


I guess it’s not completely surprising right.  People do have to look after themselves and their families. But I suppose when you hear it so matter of factly, it sort of really makes you think about the functioning of our companies, agencies, and society.


How much are we getting from people for our organizations and missions vs. how much are people trying to “milk” the system for their benefit?


In the end, (almost) no one is irreplaceable on the job–except maybe a Steve Jobs-type–someone who is truly a one in a million leader. 


And if we see people aren’t contributing their fair share and are taking more than they are giving or they are real jerks and hurting others–then why the heck are they still in place? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Braving Trust and Credibility

So I thought this was really good from a colleague this week. 


How to build trust and credibility in the workplace:


Credibility is about being “convincing and believable” and results from “expertise and experience.”


Trust is believing strongly in the honesty, reliability, character, and effectiveness of a person.”


BRAVING


Boundaries – Have good boundaries–respecting yours and having my own; show others respect in words and deeds. 


Reliability – Be someone who is both reliable (can be counted on)  and is authentic.


Accountability – Hold others and yourself accountable; we all own our mistakes, apologize and make amends. 


Vault – Keep information in confidence.


Integrity – Hold courage over comfort; choose what’s right over what’s fun, easy or fast; practice and not just profess values. 


Non-judgmental – Believe the best in people even when they occasionally disappoint you. 


Generosity – Offer and ask for help from others, and give generously of yourself in time and effort. 


No offense to anyone…the last thing they said was a little spicy for the workplace (but I know it was meant well):  “Good conversation with others should be like a miniskirt–short enough to retain interest and long enough to cover the topic.” 😉


(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

Have a Heart: Leadership With Heart

So many of you already know my leadership mantra. 


It’s all about:

Leadership With Heart


That means understanding that workers are human beings. 


Yes, they should act as professionals.


But also, they are people with imperfections and problems.


Whether they are fighting addiction, debt, illness, mental health issues, family problems, abuse, or personal loss. 


Life happens.


And it’s not always pleasant. 


Unfortunately, it seems like we are tested all the time. 


Therefore, good leaders, real leaders…lead with heart. 


They focus on the mission, but also empower, develop, and have empathy for the people. 


Think of the people you know in leadership positions today. 


Are they leaders with heart or heartless sons of guns. 


Who do you want to follow into the future?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

It Rises To The Top

So one of my friends who is dealing with some bad people in his work told me about his situation using a very interesting descriptive phrase:

“Cream may float to the top, but other things float too!”


Ah yes, in many cases the best (“the cream”) climbs/rises to the top of the corporate ladder and extraordinary people are recognized with positions of leadership and influence to progress things. 


But in other cases, some really bad people (i.e. the sh*t) floats to the top based on lies and baloney promises and payback, malevolent power grabs, undermining of the competition, nepotism, or plain old corruption in the leadership suite. 


Yes, both the cream and the crap float to the top.


It is important to recognize who is who, and what is what. 


Not everyone who occupies the corner office belongs there. 


In some cases, they should never even be allowed in the building. 

In the end, you gotta believe that the stars shine, and the sh*t stinks and that’s how you know who is at the top when. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Anus Protectus

So I learned this new phrase today:

“Anus Protectus”


It’s what it sounds like.


It when you communicate (or do) something in order to “cover your a*s.”


Sometimes we communicate as an FYI.


Other times as a FYSA.


And then there is the CYA. 


All of these are what we call “Purposeful communications.”


The only real difference is their purposes. 


When you open your mouth or your email make sure you know your:


– Why (intent)

– Who (audience)

– How (persuasion techniques)


These are the secret sauce of good communication. 


More blogs to come on this important topic. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Technology and Human Capital–They Go Hand-In-Hand

So there are some mighty impressive places to work that really shine in terms of the technology they use and the constant desire to upgrade and improve their capabilities. 


Usually, these are also the places that value and respect their human capital because they view them as not just human pawns, but rather as strategic drivers of change. 


Then there are the places that are “so operationally focused” or just plain poorly run that they can’t be bothered to think about technology much at all or the people that make up the organization and its fiber. 


In many cases, the wheel may be turning, but the hamster is dead: 


There is no real enterprise architecture to speak of. 


There are no IT strategic or operational plans. 


There are no enterprise or common solutions or platforms. 


There is no IT governance or project/portfolio management. 


Even where there are some IT projects, they go nowhere–they are notions or discussion pieces, but nothing ever rolls off the IT “assembly line.”


How about buying an $800 software package to improve specific operations–that gets the thumbs down too. 


Many of these executives can’t even spell t-e-c-h-n-o-l-o-g-y!


It’s scary when technology is such an incredible enabler that some can’t see it for what it is. 


Rather to them, technology is a distraction, a threat, a burdensome cost, or something we don’t have time for.


Are they scared of technology?


Do they just not understand its criticality or capability?


Are they just plain stupid? 


Anyway, organizations need to look at their leadership and ask what are they doing not only operationally, but also in terms of technology improvement to advance the organization and its mission. 


Look to the organizations that lead technologically, as well as that treat their people well, and those are ones to ogle at and model after.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Project Manager – The DIRECT(or)

So I learned this cool acronym for the roles of a project manager:


DIRECT


The project manager directs the project (similar to a director who is the project manager of a movie).


Here is how the project manager DIRECTs the project:


Define – Identify the opportunity or issue that the project will address including, the vision, scope, resources, and measures of success. (i.e. the “Charter”).


Investigate – Explore options and pros/cons for each (i.e. an “Analysis of Alternatives”).


Resolve – Solve and resolve (i.e. commit to) the course of action that will be pursued (i.e. “Project Plan”).


Execute -Do the project and track/manage cost, schedule, scope, quality, risks, and actions items (i.e. “Scorecard”).


Change – Identify process and technology techniology changes, test these, fix outstanding items, and make the cutover (i.e. “User Acceptance Testing,” “Punch List,” and “Go Live Plan”).


Transition – Migrate people to the new solution, communicate the changes, overcome resistance, and conclude the project (i.e. “Communications Plan” and “Lessons Learned”).


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)