Chief Critic

So we all know these type of people that love to criticize and bully.  


They are the critics in chief. 


You have to wonder what their own value-add is.


While other people are doing the work, the chief critic is saying everything is terrible, horrible, tragic, almost the end of the universe as we all know it. 


Yes, there is nothing wrong with well-intentioned and constructive criticism, especially by a supervisor or people sincerely trying to help.


But then there are just those who just look to find something–anything–to fault others, almost as if they are bigger if others are smaller!


This is no good. 


That is no good. 


I would do it this way. 


You need to do it that way. 


It’s almost like a hobby, but it comes with plenty of nastygrams and miserable monologues. 


If only you would do X!


How come you didn’t do Y?


Next time make sure you do Z!!!


OMG, yes we are not perfect angels, but most of us try to work smart, do good, contribute, and get positive results!


Even failure is acceptable if everyone gave it their best effort and it leads to learning and growth. 


Maybe the people on the sidelines who are yelling at the players need to get off the bench and actually worry about what they need to be doing, and doing it, instead of criticizing those in the trenches. 


Teamwork means we succeed or fail together!


Non-attribution is about not getting personal and blaming others, especially when they are working their butts off. 


Rather, roll up your sleeves everyone and get in the trenches and start pulling your own weight instead of putting down and making fun of the others. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Getting To Know You

So we recently took on a new function at work.


With that came a new group of employees.


Today, we had a wonderful breakfast as a meet and greet for everyone to get to know each other.


There was a tremendous spread of food laid out everything from bagels and smear, granola and yogurt, free fruit and vegetable salad, donut and muffins, and more.


There was enough food to feed a small army.


Aside from the group joining us, we had people come from other departments that support the process they are involved in–so folks from finance, legal, and even the front office.


The new lead assigned for the group that came over even gave out envelopes to thank their new team and 2 big boxes of gourmet coffee for them to share.


How nice this all was done and the investment that was made to bring the new team on board was really amazing to me.


I saw all the goodwill that was being built up from this event and the niceties put into it to recognize the people and make everyone comfortable together as a team.


I learned that an investment upfront like this in people and function can have tremendous benefits downstream in building a team and performing services that everyone can be proud of who is apart of this.


Invest not only in things, but also most importantly in people and relationships! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Helmet Head

So happy Friday funday. 


We work hard during the week, right.


Today in the office, we replaced some old metal clunker garbage cans with some new clean plastic ones. 


The old ones, every time you threw a bottle or anything hard out, it made a crazy loud banging noise disrupting everyone. 


I started to joke with my colleagues that the dirty, heavy old cans were more useful as a helmet in case of emergency evacuation of something. 


So today the old metal junk cans got a happy face helmet head and a prestigious place next to the office plants.


Everyone had a good hearty laugh!


Honestly, it’s wonderful to be incredibly productive and accomplish a lot for the people, the mission, and all the stakeholders, and at the same time know how to have some fun and make people happy. 


Good for morale and good for teamwork!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Teambuilding S-Cubed

Awesome day today with my team at work. 


We had a half-day team building. 


Started off with a Play-Doh exercise where we had to answer things like what we’d like to accomplish as a team in the new year. 


This was my representation with a S-cubed for the new program implementing process improvements and enterprise service management using:


– Strategy


– Structure


– (Customer) Service


We followed up with a great team luncheon and then a game of Monster Mini Golf.


We broke into two teams and one team came in “first place” and the other team were the “winners.”


I suppose whenever we genuinely come together as a team to appreciate each other and work collaboratively as a unified whole–greater than the sum of our parts–then we truly all come out as first place winners! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Fruitful Discussions

I liked this guidance from Dr. Britt Andreata on addressing conflict through managing difficult conversations


Here’s how the typical bad scenario unfolds:


1. Problems begin with another person (e.g. annoying or unwanted behaviors).  


2. People start building their cases – listing the wrongs done to them, collecting corroborating evidence, and seeking validation from others.


3. There is a tipping point in terms of frequency or intensity of the problems that lead to a confrontation where accusations are made and blame is attributed. 


4. Then the aftermath in terms of a animosity, loss of trust, and a damaged relationship.


Here’s a better way to deal:


1. Problems begin with another person.  


2. People spend some time reflecting on why the behavior is affecting you, getting clear on what you want to correct it, and trying to see from the other person’s perspective. 


3. The tipping point is sooner in terms of the frequency and intensity of the problems–so you nip it in the bud earlier–and you have a conversation with the other person where you have reframed the other person from an adversary to a partner (e.g. you’ve questioned the facts, assumptions, conclusions along with your emotions, beliefs, and actions–and you’ve looked at alternative narratives to these) and you take responsibility for your part, share your experience and goals to improve things, invite their perceptions, and “co-create solutions.”


4. Follow through with the other person to work together, implement the changes, and hold each other accountable to address the issues. 


The amazing thing about this approach to conflict management is that assuming the other person isn’t truly bad, evil, or gunning for you is that we can look at things from constructive perspective where we own our part, and they own theirs, and together we work together to make things better for everyone. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When People Fear You, You’re Not A Leader

As the fortune cookie I came across yesterday says:


“Leadership is action, not position.”


And actions demonstrate a good or evil heart.


When everyone hates a leader is that a “leader?”


– Fear is not leadership.


– Bullying is not leadership. 


– Corruption is not leadership. 


Leadership is:


– Showing others what is right and being a good influence. 


– Rolling up your sleeves and doing the hard work alongside everyone else. 


– Helping others to achieve their potential. 


– When others see you as a leader based on your integrity of purpose and actions. 


How we treat others is as true a test of leadership as of where we want to go and how we want to get there. 


G-d sees everything man (leader or not) does, and only He in Heaven is the Leader of Leaders and the King of Kings.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Culture Key To Organizational Success

As I continue to learn more about organizational success strategies, I am coming to understand that the underlying culture of the organization is so very fundamental to its success.


I believe this is especially the case in terms of three critical competency areas:


– Communication – needs to be timely, constructive, multi-directional, and with emotional intelligence.


– Trust – must be be based on honesty and integrity including consistently supporting the success of everyone professionally and as a organization. 


– Collaboration – must be be anchored in respecting, valuing, empowering, and rewarding each and every person for their views and the contributions, both individually and as team members, and in treating diversity and collaboration, as a true force-multiplier. 


If any of these elements are missing or broken then it does not seem to me that the organization will be able to be successful for the long term.


Organizational success is built on ingredients that strengthen the ties of leadership and individuals and that foster contribution as individuals and as team members. 


No amount of smart, innovative, and even hard work, in my mind, will make up for shortfalls in these critical organizational success factors. 

So when planning for organizational success, make sure to build these in from the get-go. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)