All the great advantages of being a leader

  • Build great career paths for employees
  • Provided training and development supporting career paths
  • Assist in removing barriers to successful employee performanceLaozi on leadership
  • Design meaningful and challenging work assignments
  • Sponsor laterals and promotions when employees are ready
  • Provide recognition for small and large accomplishments
  • Use of influence to place round pegs in round holes
  • Lead by example: values, integrity, work ethic
  • Show them that humor is important

Being a great leader – it is like the famous quote from the teacher turned astronaut, Christa McAuliffe who was killed in a space launch, “I touch the future, I teach”.

Great leaders are teachers! They do touch the future.

What greater contribution can you make to those who work for you than to help mold successful futures!

***** S&E *****

Humming Along    

This is a different kind of success, but a success nevertheless.  And some distance from the intent of this page, “Success”.  However, here it is…

I’m about as far from a “birder” as you can be, birder being one who studies birds.  But…

A Humming Bird (HB) flew into the garage.  It happens infrequently and not always HB’s.  Normally I use fishing net to capture the bird and release it outside.  The HB was too small so it always flew out of the holes in the netting.humming bird artr

This went on for hours, I was pissed and the HB exhausted.  It eventually landed on top of a container located near the garage ceiling, resting, or in torpor as it is called.  With the help of a ladder I was able to pick it off the container with my hand.

So, go to the web for instructions – put it in a small box (used a motorcycle battery box), let it rest, feed it sugar-water, and when it’s recovered turn it loose.  I fed it through a straw, from 8 to 11pm, on and off, it eventually did respond, enthusiastically drinking from the straw. Very cool!  I called it a night putting a bottle cap of sugar-water in the box, hoping it would be alive in the morning.  They can die in four hours if not fed due to their high rate of metabolism.

At 7 am it was very much awake, sitting on the edge of the bottle cap.  I placed the box in a hedge row out back, opened the lid fully and off it went.

Very interesting birds –When hummingbirds migrate to the United States in the springtime, they cover 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, flying for 20 hours without stopping.  In preparation for migration, a hummingbird will store half its body weight worth of fat.  Hummingbirds migrate alone and not in flocks.  Very commonly the males migrate first followed by the females.

***** S&E *****

Success in flood control in the Netherlands

CBS 60 Minutes, September 23, 2018.  If you missed it, the link to the full segment is below.  Here are some excerpts and of course a comment from me here and there.

Holland is about twice the size of New Jersey and is one of the world’s most densely populated countries. Much of it is below sea level, yet the Dutch don’t bother with flood insurance. They don’t need it. As the U.S. cleans up from Hurricane Florence, we were wondering, do the Dutch have a solution?

We met a Dutchman – Henk Ovink – who says it’s time to rewrite America’s disaster playbook entirely.

“The storms are perhaps man-caused and you can debate that, but the catastrophes because of the storms? Uh, those are man-made.” Hank Ovink.

Henk is the world’s only water ambassador, appointed by the Netherlands, says damage from hurricanes could be lessened with the help of Dutch-innovated storm water management

FEMA and many other federal, state and local agencies do a tremendous job in advanced warning and managing the aftermath…  Katrina, Harvey, Sandy, Florence.

But we spend billions on the aftermath …  the Netherlands spent billions on managing the storm water to eliminate the flooding.  It was not easy!

The Netherland gates took six years to build and cost $500 million.  Bill Whitaker: That’s a big investment for something that you’ve only had to use once or twice since it was built. Henk Ovink: $150 billion were lost in New Orleans. I don’t think I need to say more. How many people were killed? Sandy, another storm, $70 billion. We don’t have those damages.

Henk has been consulting with FEMA and other US government agencies for years… apparently we must be slow learners.

Why is it we can always find the money for wars, but not domestic priorities.

***** S&E *****

Responsible Companies – Telltales

Many successful companies are well-respected for a number of reasons – great values, fair employers, responsible in their communities… things you just can’t find on an Income Statement or Balance Sheet.  Fortune magazine’s annual issue, “100 Best Companies to Work For”, provides real insights to the internal makeup of responsible companies.

Fortune 100 2018And citizens will find responsible companies often publishing “Giving” reports that summarize actions that document their commitment to their communities.

In the case of environmental catastrophes, companies of all types use their vast resources to assist.  In the recent, devastating hurricane that slammed the east coast, some of the companies participating: Tide, Pepsi, Lyft, JetBlue, 3M, Eaton Corporation, Florida Power & Light, tesla, Anheuser-Busch, Chef, José Andrés.  That is far from an inclusive list.

And, you just have to respect the power companies as caravans of vehicles from many states travel great distances down the interstates in route to assist in the disaster.

In contrast…  and probably in the minority, there are companies who just don’t get it… like the cable company that billed its customers at the end of the month in which a hurricane caused the area’s residents to be without cable and power, for a minimum of 6 days, 20% of the month, some much, much longer.

It is not about the money, it is about the thoughtlessness.

Here’s to the many companies that are responsible!



Bringing the Group On board

(Mostly applicable to managers, supervisors, and leader’s assuming responsibility for a new department).

Here are some suggested talking points for the first meeting with employees; this should be an all hands meeting, open to questions at any time; discuss points to achieve understanding.

  1. I will not ask you to work harder than meLeadership
  2. Company values – expected to live within everyday work
  3. Our work directly affects others — quality, quantity, timeliness
  4. We are not a group of individuals doing work, we are a team
  5. The importance of objectives
  6. Performance reviews and pay for performance
  7. I will give you space to work and help you be successful
  8. It is my job to help you learn, advance you skills, provide development experiences
  9. It is my job to assist you with your career planning
  10. Work hard, be smart, be creative, be dependable, be responsible, and make a meaningful contribution.
  11. It is your job, you need to own it.
  12. When you are ready, I will assist with your promotion or lateral broadening experience
  13. If you are unsuccessful on the job, I will assist with your re-assignment
  14. When something goes wrong, 90% of the time it is usually poor communications
  15. My door will always be open

Some of the above will deserve separate meetings… luncheon meetings work well, particularly if the boss pays for the pizza.

***** S&E *****

Ready. Set. Jump !

There is no shortage of information out there regarding how hot the labor market is … possibly a good time to review what businesses might want to stress to candidates as early as possible in the recruiting process.  Consider sharing these, assuming they are “alive and well” within the company, with headhunters and on a website to get these key recruiting differentiators out there… they just might differentiate your business from the competition.

  • On boarding process (how long)
  • Development programs
  • Coaching and Mentoring
  • Career path counseling
  • High Potential process
  • International opportunity
  • Top Leader support for, and managers skilled in managing, these features of employment

“A” and “B” level leaders and managers skilled in the art of interviewing and passionately representing the company should be the picks for leading the recruiting charge. Timing is always an issue in a hot job market… Fortune, February 2018, the HR Leader for Intuit:  “We had to reinvent how we do recruiting, using a team of employees who have proved themselves sharp judges of talent…”

It is possible to get to a hiring decision and same day or next day offers with a good, pre-defined and vetted process.  Use a multi-functional team.  For example, same day:  Each team member interviews multiple candidates, the team meets at end of day (use a skilled facilitator) to discuss findings based on strengths, weaknesses, behavioral observations, skills, competencies (pre-defined factors which are aligned with the open position(s), and comes to hiring and offer decisions.  Properly planned, this process can manage as many 20 – 25 candidates in one day.

If the business is fortunate enough to have the budget for it, bring candidates in the night before interviews for an informal dinner and after dinner company update.  Seat one each of the next day interviewers at different dinner tables… interviewers will begin to form initial impressions. — all part of candidate assessment.

The whole process can be done at the same hotel.



Why a mentor?

Having the guidance, encouragement and support of a trusted and experienced mentor can provide a broad range of personal and professional benefits, which ultimately lead to improved performance in the workplace or in outside personal life. Mentors should not be direct supervisors.  Direct supervisors should be coaches!

What to look for in a mentor:

  • Ability and experience
  • Willingness to spend the time
  • Approachability
  • A good listener
  • Honesty
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Objectivity and fairness
  • Compassion and genuineness

Advantages for Mentees

  • Work on developing a skill or competency
  • Improve confidence and an ability to execute a task, objective or project
  • Help improve listening and communication skills
  • Practice in accepting feedback from a consistent source
  • Practice building and maintaining a professional relationship
  • Expands networks and contacts

Advantages for Mentors

  • Strengthens active listening skills
  • Give back to the organization and community
  • Touch the future
  • Build contacts
  • Added sense of purpose and responsibility for one’s career

When do you need a mentor?

Seek help before known issues in your work or personal life, become a major issue.  Major issues are more difficult to repair so some foresight in regard to using a mentor can pay large dividends.

You may not need a mentor if you have your career path will managed, know where you are going, you are a great listener, observer, and very good at absorbing information and knowledge from skilled, respected leaders and coworkers at work and outside of work as well.

***** S&E *****