Monday, November 21, 2011

How Do You Spend Black Friday?

For the past six or seven years my mom, my sister, my grandmother, and I help each other decorate for Christmas on Black Friday.  We started the tradition because we didn't like decorating the trees by ourselves (our husbands don't get into it). 

My husband's family picks out Christmas trees from a Christmas tree farm every year the day after Thanksgiving.  Thus, I alternate every other year so that I can spend time with each family.  Because of these traditions, I don't ever shop the day after Thanksgiving. 

Do you have any traditions for Black Friday? 

Whatever they are, I wish you health, happiness, and minimal craziness.  If by chance you are one of those people that turns into the crazy Target Lady - go get 'em!


Monday, November 14, 2011

Deprogram Your Autobot

Humans like routine. Profound insight on my part, I know. But we really do.

Think about your mornings… I’m guessing you do the same thing every morning in the same order, with the same breakfast, leaving for work or starting work at the same time every day. (Hopefully not with the same underwear. Just sayin’.)

There is comfort in routine, in the expected, in the same faces, day after day. Even those who swear routine bores them, in some way worship their own private routines and rituals.

A couple of years ago, I worked for a company where one of the Vice Presidents challenged the leaders to step out of their comfort zone every day. That stuck with me, so much so that I used the story when making a presentation to a group of people within my own region. The purpose of the presentation was to encourage them to step out of their routine and try selling a new product line.

One of them called me out on my challenge and wanted to know what I’d done that day to step out of my comfort zone (I had hired him, that’s why he had it out for me). I quipped that standing and talking in front of a group of people was stepping out of my comfort zone, which was a lie, because while I was a bit nervous, I actually like presenting in front of people when I know the topic. I turned serious and told him what I’d done earlier that day that made me a little uncomfortable.

Okay fast forward to now. The recommendation for people to step out of their comfort zones is meant to encourage people to keep learning, keep innovating, and keep getting better.

I had the privilege of listening to Daniel Pink speak at HR Southwest recently. For those of you that don’t know Daniel, he discusses behavioral science as it relates to motivation. (He’s got a cool presentation on YouTube – click here – good stuff). Mr. Pink changed my thoughts on stepping out of your comfort zone.

An example Pink gives is the company Intuit. The CEO declared that the company wanted to go mobile. Intuit allows employees to spend what they call ‘10% time’ on their bliss. Before the company could form a team or fund a project, on 10% time employees created seven mobile apps.

How cool is that?

Now. I challenge you to deprogram your autobot. Step out of your normal routine and follow your bliss. You heard me. Follow your passion for a little while each day and see where it leads. I bet your brilliance will surprise you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Need a Hero

Where have all good men (candidates) gone
And where are all the gods?
Where’s the street-wise Hercules (manager)
To fight the rising odds?
Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed?
Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight


I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero til the morning light
He’s gotta be sure
And it’s gotta be soon
And he’s gotta be larger than life
-Holding Out for a Hero, Bonnie Tyler
The Alpha Hero

As a romance writer, I’m a fan of the alpha hero. For those that don’t read romance, an alpha hero is self-confident, disciplined, dependable, strong, intelligent, caring, funny, handsome… You get the picture. Think Jack Bauer from 24 or Han Solo from Star Wars. Even an Alpha hero’s flaws are desirable. I love to read about them, or watch them in movies and television, and I love to write about them.

The Alpha Candidate

As a Human Resources professional, I’m often amused by job postings that advertise for alpha candidates. You’ve seen these descriptions. They are often 700 words long and read like a want ad for a person that has seen and done it all in their respective field and possesses expertise in every skill imaginable. This candidate can come in and single-handedly lead the charge to manage change, drive innovation, annihilate the competition, and fix the bottom line. Mere mortals need not apply.

Let’s be real. Even Steve Jobs – to some an innovative genius and for others Steve the Tyrant - was human.

Alpha ads make it difficult for applicants to discern what you really need and want for the position.  I suspect that alpha job descriptions are the result of harried hiring managers that don’t have the time to train someone, so they want it all – or – they aren’t clear on what would make someone successful in the posted position. They throw the posting out there and see what sticks.

When has that ever worked well?