Thursday, September 25, 2014

You Gotta Be

Success.  Love that word.  Fraught with meaning.  Many a dream has been realized or demolished against the measure of success.  It’s what everyone CEO wants to deliver to his/her board of directors.  It’s what every publicly traded company wants to deliver to its stockholders.  Success.

We spend millions trying to find it or create it.  We reinvent wheels.  We look to find secrets  that will help to shorten the time it takes to achieve it.  We look for quick results.  We want to have an impact that will generate revenue. 

Having been able to sit with many CEO’s over my years, I have heard variations on the pursuit of success, but all of it basically boiling down to these points.  And what I have often considered is that success is like dieting or getting into shape.

We buy the latest series for weight loss.  We join gyms.  We get up before the crack of dawn to do boot camp in the park.  We bike, hike, take pills and drink shakes.  We’ve worn leg warmers with Jane Fonda, sweat to the oldies with Richard Simmons, Tae Bo’d with Billy Blanks, Pilate’d, P90X’d, Insanity’d.  We cleanse, eat organic, say no to carbs, say no to fats, say no to dairy, say no to red meat.  The exercise, fitness and diet industries are multi-billion dollar industries. 

And yet, in the US, we are the most obese population ever.  Curious.

Success seems to be the same.  We commit to so much to make our companies excel.  We hire consultants, fire consultants, post new mission statements, develop incentive-based compensation plans.  I am not saying this is all for naught.  I will be the first one to tout the values of knowing where you want to get to and leading that team with conviction.

What we ought not to do is join the fitness program at Exhale Spa, buy a new outfit from LuluLemon, workout for a week or two, get tired of it, make excuses, grow fat, be disappointed in our efforts (or lack thereof) and then look for the next quick fix.  Success is built on the pain of consistency and failure. 

Our capabilities are real.  We should encourage the greatness that lies within each of us; the full effect of that will be realized within an organization.  These are not mere words, but rather a call to action.  As leaders we must engage a concept of success that is realistic.  Set the foundation with mission and vision, lay framework with expectations and accountability, add components of structure with trial, collaboration, skills and communication.  These components are refined over time.

Success is rarely overnight.  Success is not a destination but a journey.  Once success is “achieved,” you have to start at it again tomorrow.  Every day, you gotta be ready for what the call to success asks for – consistency, excellence, commitment and sweat!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Time After Time

For a brief stint, I worked as a middle school teacher.  Teaching is a wonderful gift and I was delighted to do so.  I found that the most time spent, however, was directed towards items and issues that were not germane to the work I was asked to do.  Over and over again, forms had to be completed, state requirements proven and validated, interviewing with academia, etc.  Please understand that I believe in compliance and in accountability…definitely.  What I struggled with was the amount of time it took and how much time it took away from the students.

In human resources, I have experienced and witnessed a similar phenomenon.  While the distractions may differ, the results are the same.  For example, think about how much time you spend at your desk.  Can’t do it?  How about for the next 7 days, you keep a log (seriously!) as to how much time you are sitting at your desk.  Now, while sitting at your desk is not the enemy, per se, it may show you how much less you’re actually amongst the people you serve. 

And it isn’t just about paperwork either.  I bet it would be amazing for you to log how long you actually spend with a particular person or two each week.  Perhaps it’s all good stuff, but likely, you may have your time taxed by someone that should not have as much time as he/she has been allowed to have.  Think about that employee who “just needs 5 minutes” each day.  We know that 5 becomes 20 in seconds.  If it’s every day, what could you do with an extra hour and 40 minutes each week? 

There are still those time-suckers who want to review something again, complain about something again, have software explained to them again…it’s the same stuff time after time.  Am I insane?  Do I expect a different outcome?  Why do I allow this distraction to take me away from serving the larger population?  Stop the madness…you cannot get that time back.  Make decisions about the wasting of time.  If someone cannot handle the work they’ve been given, then get them out of that role.  If the same process isn’t getting the results needed, then put the effort in to change the process so you can be free from the hamster wheel.  Make the change.

I am not making light of responsibilities.  I know that form completion matters.  I know that one-on-one chats have to happen.  I know that your CEO will walk into your office and eat an hour of time.  I know.  Is that every day?  Is it keeping you from the objectives you’ve set?

Time will keep moving on.  Those goals you have for 2014 have a smaller window for completion.  We’re about 9.5 months into the year.  Can you accomplish those goals you set for the people of your organization in these last couple of months?  If so, maybe those goals weren’t so stretching after all?

Are you allowing busyness and distraction to keep you from what you’re to do?  My words are easy to type.  The action of leaving your office for a time and closing the door behind you might be a discipline that you have to employ.  Be with the people.  Learn processes.  Watch cultural interaction.  Those components will make you a better HR person, a better business partner, a better worker.  You will be energized, enlightened…more alive!  Take back your time.