Category2015

2015 Best of the Buzz

I didn’t write much on this site in 2015. I let the stuff of life zap my time and creativity so much that I missed the mark on many of my goals. That’s a bummer for me … But 2015 is over now. There’s nothing to be gained from continuing to beat myself up. So I move forward and commit to do better in 2016.

Unfortunately, not writing much didn’t leave me with many posts to choose from for the Best of Buzz 2015 countdown. Another bummer.

However, I continued to write monthly with the Performance I Create team even when I wasn’t posting here … If you don’t know, PIC is a multi-contributor blog where professionals share knowledge and information about improving performance and productivity through human performance improvement, training/learning and development, process improvement, instructional design, human resources, communication, social media, leadership, or productivity. Our contributors are an awesome group of HR professionals, managers, professors, researchers and entrepreneurs.

In addition to writing at PIC, I worked with the team to create, launch and host a monthly Podcast. Each episode features a roundtable discussion with the PIC team and other professionals in the social HR space discussing headlines and hot topics from a human resource management perspective. Check out our first 4 episodes on BlogTalkRadio and iTunes!

As for writing, here are my Top 15 Posts combined from The Buzz on HR and from PIC in 2015:

 

15. Don’t Get It Twisted — Busyness Does NOT Equal Productivity

 

14. You Know It’s Time to Make a Job Change If …

 

13. How to Ensure Mediocre Performance

 

12. Stop Whining and Start Winning at Work

 

11. Finding the Flow at Work

 

10. Nothing Left to Ponder

 

9. HR is Headed for Self Destruction

 

8. The 5 Phrases that are Hurting Your Reputation

 

7. You Know It’s Time To Contact HR If …

 

6. 2016 HR Trends to Watch

 

5. The NFL Got It Wrong — and Leaders Should Pay Attention (Deflate-Gate)

 

4. How I Would #MakeHRBetter

 

3. No, You Cannot Define Culture

 

2. The Art of Conflict Maintenance

 

1. HR and Sorority Sisters

 

Thank you for your support of me and this blog. Happy New Year!

 

 

 

The 5 Phrases That Are Hurting Your Reputation

On average, we deal with over 100 email messages in our inbox every day. More and more, we rely on our emails to document and track communication between us and the people we work with and for. Knowing this, sometimes, we go too far or not far enough in choosing our words.

Here are the 5 phrases you’re using that’s hurting your reputation:

  1. “As You Know” … If I know, it comes across snide and condescending. If I don’t know, it comes across judgmental and rude.
  2. “Thanks, but” … This phrase is usually followed by something that negates any gratitude. If you really were thankful, it doesn’t look like it.
  3. “… and so on and so forth” … No one knows what this really means. It always comes across presumptive and dismissive. Arguably inarticulate and lazy.
  4. “If you would be so kind as to” … This paints me into a no-win corner where either I have to do what, when and how you ask or be a jerkface. It’s polite bullying.
  5. “If I don’t hear back from you, I will assume” … This is demanding and slightly menacing.

Everyone sets out to be seen as a supportive, helpful professional at work. At times, we fall short of this at times in moments of frustration, stress or weakness. No one is perfect; it is understandable.

This should be the exception in your communication, though, not the rule. If you’re regularly using these kinds of phrases, it’s time to make a change. Skip the passive-aggressive lead-ins and lead-ons — and just get to the point of what you want to say candidly, directly and tactfully.

  • Instead of saying “As you know”, try “I am writing about the issue with X” instead. This approach is direct and unassuming. If you’re really not sure if the person knows about it, give a brief synopsis of the issue before moving into your questions or requests.
  • Instead of “Thanks, but”, try “Thank you!” followed by a brand new sentence or paragraph about whatever additional thing is needed. This will not overshadow or erase your gratitude … Unless you’re really not thankful. If you’re not, don’t say “thanks” at all. No one like gratuitous gratitude.
  • Instead of “and so on and so forth”, try a brief explanation of what the so on and so forth is. Never assume the reader has all the same knowledge that you have. Use your message share information.
  • Instead of “if you would be so kind”, just state what you need. And why.
  • Instead of “if I don’t hear from you, I will assume”, just state the deadline for a response. And why. If the deadline is a short one, you may even want to pick up that old 19th century device called a telephone to let the person know that you sent an urgent email.

Because we send email to communicate, discuss, resolve and document the things that occur in our workplaces. If the communication isn’t clear, it will lead to unnecessary complications and confusion — and, if it comes down to it, will not withstand legal scrutiny.

Clear. Concise. Candid. Always in all ways.

Are there more passive-aggressive email phrases you’d like to see on this list? Tell me about it!

Finding the “Flow” at Work

A couple weeks ago, I downloaded the game app “Flow” onto my phone and tablet. It’s a game where you connect matching colors to fill the board space. The colors cannot cross or overlap; they cannot go outside the game board. You win by successfully matching the colors and then you move onto the next board in the series, then to a new difficulty level or time trial.

One night, I was playing to try to clear my mind after a rough day — and the game inspired my approach to resolve a lingering work issue! So I decided to share some of what I learned here.

Your flow should not block the flow of others.

flow1

There really is enough space and resources for everyone.

flow3

Sometimes the best way is the shortest, easiest and most obvious.

flow4

Sometimes you have to take the long way around to benefit others.

flow2

When everyone is in their flow, it’s really beautiful.

flow5

 

Being in the flow at work requires clear, consistent communication. Being in the flow at work requires willingness to share space and resources. Being in the flow at work requires falling back at some times and stepping up at others. Being in the flow at work requires willingness to share responsibility for the good and the bad.

Being in the flow at work isn’t easy. It will take time and effort to find the right flow. It will take time and effort to maintain it … And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, it will be time to move to another level and establish a new flow.

Finding the flow never gets easier. Finding the flow never stops being necessary. The only options are to find the flow or quit altogether.

Because finding the flow is the point of the game. Keep playing and don’t give up.

 

From PIC — “HR is Headed for Self-Destruction”

One of my favorite old skool hip-hop songs is “Self Destruction.” After 20 years, I still know over 90% of the lyrics. It is one of a few old skool jams that causes me to stop whatever I’m doing and lose myself in words and nostalgia for a few minutes whenever I hear it.

It isn’t lost on me that the lyrics are still very much relevant and applicable today — but I don’t want to talk about that stuff here. This isn’t the place for it. This is a blog about HR leading organizations to high levels of performance. And although pop culture and politics trickle into the conversation, we always have to bring it back to the practical application of business theory and operations. Otherwise, we’re just more rhetoric and a symptom of the problem.

I digress.

The song popped into my head recently as I was planning an exercise with my HR team about the connectedness of our functions. This is the first time I’ve worked somewhere with departments within the HR department, where everyone had a specialty and there were no generalists. And the in-fighting between the groups is something to behold! I thought only practitioners and consultants had ‘beef’ (see Notorious B.I.G for definition). Now I’m learning HR specialties fight with each other over who is the most important, who deserves the most accolades, attention and budget resources.

I found myself looking to these lyrics for explanation and inspiration …

Read the rest of this post over at Performance I Create ….

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