Tag Archive | work

My queue is filling up …


week1Well I have sailed through my first week on the new job. Tomorrow I go back to train my replacement on part of my old job so I’m calling week 1 complete. :-)

computer-frustrationWhew! It’s been a whirlwind kind of week! I’ve had access issues and problems with every single system I need to use. Was it the gremlins activating Murphy’s law? Yep, that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it. I even had trouble with my new phone line – so if you called me, I really wasn’t avoiding you, I just didn’t know. Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise so no-one could hear me threatening the computer to “make my day” because of the crazy access issues.

I’ve learned a few things this week beyond the basics of my tasks and responsibilities. First, that folks in this area are very data focused and decidedly NOT relationship/people focused. When I suggested we “join-up” as an introduction of ourselves and backgrounds to several individuals as I met with them for the first time I received some blank stares, flat out “no”, a declaration that they didn’t need new friends, and even some ignoring that I had asked the question. Geez people, I didn’t ask you to go shopping, donate a kidney, or play truth or dare. A brief, corporate-worthy, dry bio review or howdy-do would have been an acceptable minimum. I got it, I got it – this place is “different”. Better luck next week Barb – maybe. Now I know why we need some HR career folks to bring a little bit of the human back to the Human Resources over here. Lucky for them, I’m resilient as well as friendly. :-) Now, to be fair, most people in this area are actually IT or F&A career coded, or used to be, so I’ll grant them a bit of grace and slack.

But, most surprising, and I don’t know why, is that my completely different HR experience has already come in handy. My new boss is grateful that I have an understanding of the Company at large, the business practices in other areas, as well as basic HR facilitation skills. She’s complimented me on bringing not only fresh eyes, but some HR structure to the team. Putting a smile on the boss’s face the first week is a very good thing.  I am grateful that my new boss sees the value I can bring from my experience.

people_queueLuckily, real life is usually way, way less scary than our imaginations lead us to believe. I came trough unscathed. I’m glad I came. I can see a place for  me to learn, grow, collaborate, and teach here. I can see the queue of people I am supposed to meet in my life here starting to grow. I am blessed!

Any new adventures in your world? Do tell …. and be blessed!

Drinking from the Fire Hose


drink-out-of-a-hoseWow – I’ve been in training for my new role at work and have decided that I am now officially drinking from the fire hose. Wow!

I have worked for my Company since 1981 and held many roles there. This is only the 2nd time that I’m moving to a job that I have no background or knowledge in – and it’s a little scary! I wanted the change and look forward to shaking things up a bit. But, not gonna lie, I forgot what it feels like to be 100% new.

Lucky for me I have a friend who works on my new floor so I have moral support. And I have 3 employees and a boss who has worked in this area for virtually their entire career so I have technical support. Now I just need to keep putting that one foot in front of the other, or said another way, one question after the other. I think my brain is swimming right now.

waterwingsOnly 2 more training days – tomorrow and one day next week. After that I get to swim in the deep end. Wonder if I can get a set of water wings to keep me afloat.

What’s your best advice for an old dog trying to learn some new tricks?

Be blessed!

Magic of Diversity


Today I was talking to my boss about diversity and inclusion. It’s a popular topic in the workplace, especially in the HR crowd. But we weren’t having the normal conversation. We weren’t talking representation numbers or affinity groups or interventions. We were talking about magic.

You see, in my world diversity and inclusion doesn’t just mean race, gender, religion, etc. Yes, those are the outward, noticeable characteristics. But we were talking about diversity of thinking and inspiration. This falls right in line with my Myers-Briggs practice but we weren’t talking about that either.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were talking with someone with a totally different mindset, point of view, or lens on life. And in the conversation you strike a back and forth banter that moves your mind to new and different options. And out of those options comes the magic of innovation. You, together, create something so different that neither of you would have come up with it alone. It was a synergy of creative energy coming from different directions that collide in a spectacular wave of creation. That’s what we were talking about today. We’ve both seen it. We’ve both felt it. But we are at a bit of a loss in how to create it or enable it to happen in a more predictable way. If we could create a culture that not only enabled it but also was a catalyst for it we would crack the diversity secret code. We would transform our business and give a reason for diverse thinkers to crave our way of being.

Got any ideas? I’d love to hear it!

Create your magic and be blessed!

Speaking in Love Languages


We have an exercise we use at work called “The Valuing Exercise”. It’s simple, but quite effective. It is a good tool for managers when they want to recognize and reward employees in ways that the person will feel valued. It consists of a  pretty comprehensive list of potential ways people tend to want recognition. The employee indicates their top 3 and bottom 3 preferences. The range of options vary from monetary rewards to public recognition to exposure of the work to leadership and everything in between. People new to managing others are sometimes surprised by responses because, as always with humans, people get in the habit of giving praise or recognition in the way they want to receive it. When they find out their “tried and true” methods are on the bottom 3 preferences for some people, it throws them off. And, if they continue to do so, it can backfire and be demotivating for their people.

One of the reasons I like the exercise is that it is a business tool that teaches managers how to relate to people in work-related forms of their “love language”. That phrase comes from the book the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It’s a great book – actually one of the best relationship books I have ever read. There are now additional versions of the book for many types of relationships like kids, teens, and at work, etc.

As a certified Myers-Briggs facilitator, I appreciate that this concept allows for the expression of various personality types. I must admit, if I had known about and read this book when I was married it would have made a difference in that relationship. If the relationship had been salvageable, it would have made all the difference. I say that because I now recognize the signs that indicate we were decidedly NOT speaking each others love languages, even when we were trying to be loving. I’ve tried to learn and practice with my children, my family, and my friends. I have seen a difference and a strengthening in relationships in my own life because I decided to become fluent in other people’s love languages, and not just in my own. I’m not always perfect, but I am in a different world because of it.

Do you know your love languages? Do you know the love languages of the important people in your life? Do you practice the art of using them? I highly encourage you to put this book on the tippy top of your reading list if you haven’t already.

Love each other, and be blessed!

T.H.I.N.K.ing …


At work, and on my FB author page, I love to share quotes. I like to find snippets of wisdom from all corners of the world and spread them around in the hopes that on that day, it is meaningful to others in the same way that it touched me. The quote I chose at work today is:

“Before you speak … T.H.I.N.K.

T ~ is it True?

H ~ is it Helpful?

I ~ is it Inspiring?

N ~ is it Necessary?

K ~ is it Kind?”

I learned a long time ago that just because you want to offer feedback or say something doesn’t make it the right thing, even in the workplace (or is that especially in the workplace?). Even if you’re the boss. If feedback isn’t timely or actionable it’s probably more destructive than it is anything else.

Sometimes we have to say the difficult things because we want to be in service of another person – truly giving them some information that may be a blind spot or may be unknown to them that they need to know to be successful. But many times, we say what’s on our mind without editing it for value. Here’s a few I’ve heard recently that, frankly, left the receiver more self-conscious and bewildered about what to do about it (especially when they were followed up with a laugh or “just kidding” – everyone knows they weren’t kidding.) It was equally uncomfortable to watch:

> “Wow, your accent makes me laugh because I can’t understand you.”

> “When you’re nervous you have a strange tick you do with your fingers and it’s annoying.”

> “Gosh, did you notice everyone snicker when you shared that one piece of data in the meeting today?”

Those are just a few. In the moment, the awkwardness hung in the air like a noxious gas. And of course, the person speaking followed up with a lame statement to cover up the error. And the receiver graciously said, “ok, thanks.” But the damage was done.

I’ve done it. I’m familiar with that embarrassing moment when I realize I just spoke without T.H.I.N.K.ing.  And I’m sure, if I examine my life a little closer, I probably need more editing. I’m sure that’s why I noticed the quote today. In case it speaks to you as well … T.H.I.N.K. with me. And be blessed!

Legacies


Today I was watching a documentary about Abe Lincoln. I’ve never really been a history buff because in grade school it was all about the memorization of dates. That was of little interest or use to me. But the one element that I did enjoy was the telling of stories. When I could hear the stories of the characters of history, instead of or in addition to the dates, I suddenly had a different opinion. Likely this is because I live my life in the service of connection with other people, not just in the facts and figures of their lives.

One element of Abe’s story that was told today was about his ongoing battle with depression. The interesting thing about it was that he rose to fame and glory almost in spite of the depression. He allowed himself to feel what he felt but still went on the quest of a meaningful life. He stated at one point to a friend that he did not want to die without being remembered for something important, and for him it was the Emancipation Proclamation. That was indeed something worthy of being remembered.

This post isn’t really about Abe though, but rather, it’s about legacy.  I do believe that each of us has a legacy, or legacies, that we are called to leave behind. Some of them may be consciously created, like Lincoln’s, and others are simply alive in the memories of those we interact with but are not declared. As I look at those that I have lost in my family I can clearly see their legacies – joyful strength, strong work ethics, patience, love of family, and smiling faces.

As time creeps on and I get closer to retirement I have spent some time thinking of my own legacies. At work I’ve been blessed to hear from some people what they “remember” about me. One woman recently commented that I’m always smiling. That was one I wasn’t even conscious of but it delighted me to know. Several others have mentioned how they love the weekly inspirations I post on my board and how they deliberately walk by my office to see what I’ve shared. This pleases me so much because I want to consciously and deliberately touch the lives of others and inspire them to be their best selves. Still others have mentioned my passion for diversity and inclusion and they can see the mark I am leaving on the organization because of my work in this area. That is a good legacy and I’m motivated even more to continue with this. And as much as I never planned on it, I’ve been told that I am known for my skills and abilities in dealing with employee relations issues. As an HR professional, this is a very good skill and I’m glad to be known for it. I’m sure I have other legacies, some less noteworthy or positive, given that I’m a flawed human being. But for the most part, I am pleased that these are the things I’ll be remembered by.

From a personal standpoint I know that many people will remember me for my book, MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God. Not just the book and it’s content, but also the story of how the book was written. That is a legacy that I am more than delighted to leave behind. And, with more time, I intend to add more books to the list. God willing!

As a daughter, sister, friend and mother I am much less sure what my legacies would be. I guess that is the story left untold for now. I know that both my good points and bad points show themselves more frequently to those I love. I hope the good outweigh the bad. I hope what I believe in and stand for overshadow that which I failed at or stumbled through.

Do you know your legacies? I’d love to hear who you’ve been in the world – it does inspire me and others to hear your story.

Share your legacies and be blessed!

The whole enchilada


We have a concept in our company called “bringing your whole self to work”. With all the diversity and inclusion work that we do, that is our ideal goal. We do a lot to make our culture such that this is a reality and not just an empty slogan. The intent is that each person feels they can bring their individual passions, talents, skills, personality, and strengths to the workplace. And we are valued for who we are and how we see the world as a way to make our products better and our consumers more delighted. I love that concept and have been thinking about whether it is true for me. Here are the facets of myself that I do bring to work:

> Integrity/Moral Compass – I do not need to abandon what I believe in when I do my work and interact with people. This isn’t about religion but rather trust, honesty, respect, doing what’s right, etc.  This is so important – I would need to leave if this were not the truth for me.

> Passion for personality types – understanding what makes people “tick” and how they work together has been a long-standing passion and interest of mine. Being in HR and working with organization design and team dynamics is exactly what I need to be doing for this passion to come to work with me.

> Creativity – not just in problem solving, but also in creating a fun and energizing place to work definitely comes in with me. I especially love to bring this part of myself to “play” in my job. It’s much more about how I think and work rather than just what I’m working on.

> Compassion – is especially alive when I work with employee relations issues. I balance compassion for the person with doing the right thing for the Company. Being a principle-based company vs. rule-based makes this a lot easier for me to do.

> Spontaneity – while the workplace has much rigor in it, there are always opportunities for me to take initiative and be spontaneous within my own projects. For the most part, I’m the driver of my timing and schedule, which leaves room for my spontaneous side to thrive within the box.

> Leader – being in “middle management” brings opportunities to lead projects, as well as people. There’s a wealth of A-type personalities in my company so being a leader is important. I don’t just drive the strategies and priorities, but also influence the players. Leadership is an easy part of myself to bring and use at work.

> Humor – there’s nothing more fundamental to human beings than to smile and laugh. Luckily, I work with a group of folks who have just as much of a wacky sense of humor as I do. We get a big laugh quite frequently, which makes the hard work go down just a bit easier.

There are so many aspects of who I am and some do not translate into the workplace. That’s okay, because the ones that do relate all seem to be coming with me. I don’t feel like I’m abandoning “who I am” in order to do what I do. I know this makes me fortunate. I am grateful for the blessing.

What about you – do you bring your whole self to work? Are there some aspects of your personality, talents, or strengths that you leave at home because they are not valued? I challenge you to see if there is something you can do about that.

In the meantime, be whole, and be blessed!