Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Force is Stong in You, Young BizWalker

For those of you who know me, I'm a pretty fine coach and consultant, who's gotten to write some of the guiding literature for the coaching profession and created and lead coursework in coaching psychology for such illustrious venues as New York University.

I'm all that. (Ask me sometime how long it took for me to be able to say that and know it for the unabashed, unapologetic truth that it is.)

That doesn't mean that stuff is necessarily any easier at Camp Lita. I love those coaches who say that they coach themselves. Ever see a dentist pull her own teeth or a doctor remove his own appendix. Didn't think so. Coaching's power comes from the interactions between an actor and an observer, and not from the perfection of a coach's life (that's called a Messiah, kidlets).

So, when I get messages out of the clear blue like this one from the hubster, I'm inclined to listen carefully. In addition to watching me work my business and live my life, he's been watching as I work to finish graduate school (Masters in HR with honors later this summer--then off to dive into a doctorate...I can sleep when I'm dead...I can sleep when I'm dead...I can sleep when....).

Being the stress kitten that I am (ain't gonna change it, either....just learning more and more how to make that way of being work for me rather than work me over), he's just got a different sense of how I work.

Something from Star Wars comes to mind. “Luke, trust the force”. Your innate ability and sense of excellence is one manifestation of your “force”. Learning to trust it will reduce your stress and worry many fold. I know, cause I’m there too.

Online Videos by Veoh.com

God, I love this stuff.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Morning Melodies

I love this guy. Before KT Tunsdall hit the scene with her ubiquitous hit "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," there was Owen Pallett, his violin and a loop machine.

Fantasy (a cover of the Mariah Carey song)

This Modern Love (a cover a hit from British group, Bloc Party--also a fave)

This Modern Love (Not stuttering. Here's Bloc Party with the original. Very excellent!)

Peach, Plum, Pear (covering Joanna Newson's work)

Going to be an excellent week, people!

Friday, April 18, 2008

LNB #051: The Dip (Thanks, Seth)

Marketing guru, Seth Godin's book, The Dip, forms the basis for this podcast (and several more to come). Seth describes three key conditions when we get stopped:

  • The dip: where the break in your action is so deep and wide that you can't move out of it with the resources you're expending. Kind of like the straight-A highschooler who never really had to expend herself...until she got a snootful of Calculus 115.
  • The cul de sac (or dead-end): staying here will keep you from doing something that will work for you and it will never, ever change. His suggestion? Get out as quickly as possible. Remember, the analogy of the kid on the Big Wheel? It was cute the first few times around, and then it never seemed to stop.
  • The cliff: you can keep this going for quite a while, but it runs out of gas and leaves you on the side of the road with no options. Kind of like smoking, that doesn't seem to really hurt anything--that is, until the doc gives you That Look, you know the one.

Be sure to grab a copy of this little book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). I'll be chatting about it for a few more 'casts.

Listen Now: 20:23

MP3 File

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm Too Sexy for this Work!

I saw this on Seth Godin's blog:

You can't hire that guy because he's not as good looking as George (Clooney). And you can't believe that speaker because he doesn't present as well as George. And that guy? He's short. Short? Well, shorter than George. And you can't trust him to make good decisions because his skin is much darker than George's.

You can't date her because she's not as good looking as Jennifer (whichever Jennifer you want to set as the standard). And her? Well, she stutters, and Jennifer doesn't. And Jennifer herself, of course, is not nearly as smart as George.

Jennifer and George may be extraordinarily good looking movie stars, but you don't get to work with them. By buying into a standard of expectation for what's normal (or great or very good or trustworthy) we shortchange ourselves every single day. (Read the rest)

Seth's right. Back in my HR days, I remember reps clearly making decisions on which resume to put on the top of the pile based in such (illegal) banalities as "He's cute" or "Her name sounds nice." That, by the way, is when my hair really started turning prematurely white. Seeking to draft an AA/EEO program to help "deal with this," I went to work gathering research on looks and expectations, the positive and negative Pygmalion Effects, and such.

Here's where I found myself scratching my noggin: Studies showed that CEO's were between 45 and 55, were traditionally good looking, worked out regularly, were heterosexually married to a pretty wife. More than their education or past experience, the researchers found that their presumed attractiveness was more of a constant. Their ability to succeed was, in part, predicated on the expectation that pretty people did well. Around that same time, where was a rash of CEO flameouts where they fell to earth like comets. Their good looks bought them all kinds of space, but didn't change gravity then they became less than lighter-than-air.

Remember the horribly ubiquitous Right Said Fred song, "I'm Too Sexy?" a novelty hit that was so successful, that they re-released it in 2007 (could Mac Daddy, Macarena II be far behind?). That, it seems, is quite a bit of what can be seen at networking events, as people, oddly, preen and stut their looks rather than their other...um, wares.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Monday Morning Melodies

Getting the week started. Thought I'd send out a little love to Rachelle Ferrell, who can do some stunning things with her voice.

Autumn Leaves

I Can Explain

Bye, Bye Blackbird (with unrelated montage)

Have a great week--taxes and all--ya'll!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Boil Those Start-up Grunts

Reading Fastcompany.com, I found a discussion thread, which began with this quote from Michael Arrington, the Editor of TechCrunch: “Startups should hire people who work 24 hours a day because there is nothing else they’d rather do. ”

Silly rabbit, that Michael Arrington! The notion that start-up grunts will work for slave hours AND slave wages indefinitely is, um, (choosing words carefully) dunderheaded.

Start-ups should hire people who will be with them--not only in those first heady days--but will stay for the long haul. The corporate memory that's lost when good people leave (especially those who were there in the greenfield days) is tremendous and irreplaceable. We don't even have a good calculator for Loss of Talent-Intelligence, but we do have a calculation for cost of turnover. Trust me: it's high and only those start-up managers who are tone-deaf to their HR gurus (or, not wanting to be bothered by those pesky strategic staffing types, just blew off having someone in that role in the first place) will ignore the impact of their expectations of staff both during and after start-up.

Besides, those who thrive on the crisis-driven thrash and crash cycle of your start-up won't be there long...and if they are, they won't be worth a steaming puddle of spit (a technical term from us HR and leadership development types). I don't know a lot of people from back in my college days who produced excellent results from cramming (and if they pulled it out, they were useless in short order).

Think it through, plan it well, treat your people like gods and rock on! If you can't do that, turn your business plan over to people much smarter than you and get out of the way.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Morning Melodies

Heading out to the gym. Weight's beginning to really melt (15 pounds), but I'm being an ingrate. I just want a bagel and a big cup o' joe. At this point, I am reminded that the nice Korean doctor-- (Dr. Young ki Park) the one who was smiling gently at me when he told me I could no longer have wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, rice, mint, caffeine, milk and heavily spiced foods--as an acupuncturist was also standing in front of a rack of needles as long as my cat. His message was clear to me: mess this up and it won't go well with escalating treatments and more disabling pain.

Well, I haven't messed up, though this took quite a number of foods of the list and made business lunches a real pain (I opted for breakfast--more easy options).

So, here's some tunes from the fabulous Gap Band, Zapp and Roger to get your day started.

You Dropped the Bomb on Me (a college staple from the Gap Band)

Burn Rubber on Me (by the Gap Band)

More Bounce to the Ounce (by Zapp and Roger)

OK, now with more bounce to my ounce, I'm done whining and heading to the door.

Peace and chicken grease, people!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

It Continues to be the Economy, Stupid

The airlines are clearly struggling. House members are trying to figure out how Southwest Airlines could have for so long violated safety rules and how the FAA, the agency responsible for oversight, could have missed these safety violations. Planes have been flying with cracked fusilages (one of which cracked open in the 1980's, sucking a flight attendant out of the plane to her death), inspectors being told to "hush up" missed inspections of fusilages and rudder systems...


Now ATA, like many other low cost airlines like Aloha which pulled up stakes, are shutting their doors. As fuel prices keep going up and discretionary travel is drying up, the smaller players are going to continue to disappear, either filing bankruptcy or being absorbed by other businesses. Even the bigger players are feeling the pinch, particularly with domestic flights (they make more money from international flights). Fewer flights, more crowding and higher fares. What an unholy mix.

Planes on the Chicago tarmac, by Frank Polich of Reuters

This from MSNBC on ATA's collapse:

ATA Airlines shut down operations and stranded thousands of travelers Thursday when an unexpected loss of key charter flights and soaring fuel costs forced the carrier into bankruptcy.

Once the nation’s 10th-largest air carrier, ATA entered bankruptcy for the second time in just over three years. The company had more than 2,200 employees, and “virtually all” were told that their jobs were gone, company spokesman Michael Freitag said.

Many passengers learned of the collapse at ticket counters, where advisories were posted in the handful of cities ATA still served. About 10,000 passengers flew ATA each day before operations were shut down, according to the airline.

Oh, and while I was tapping out this post, I read a report on NPR which extolled the failures of the newly revamped Heathrow Airport in London in doing the little things--say, like keeping track of baggage. Turns out they're having to send the mountain of misplaced luggage to Italy to be sorted and processed.


"The doctor will see you now. Be sure your webcam is turned on."

Interesting article on NPR:

Doctor-Patient 'Web Visits' Spur Privacy Concerns - As more doctors go online to communicate with patients, two of the country's biggest health insurers have started reimbursing patients for the Internet visits. But critics say the online advising could lead to errors, and patient privacy could be compromised.

I think this is an excellent idea and, with the rise of Minute Clinics which are springing up at grocery stores and pharmacies, doctors need to consider the growing need for speed in getting treatment. Most doctors seem to be taking Scheduling 101 from beauticians, for example, who routinely overbook leading to long waits. Their clients--I'm loath to use the word "patients" because it fails to capture the market relationship between the provider and his/her customer--are expressing their frustration by seeking other forms of doctor-client contact.

Before one recent doctor visit, I found myself waiting mid-morning for over an hour. I was scheduled for a follow-up visit which turned out to be no more than "How are you feeling? I think we should continue the treatment as is. Come back in two months." No internet connection (which even my auto dealer has figured out to offer), no tea and the water cooler was empty. With travel and wait time, that took an hour and forth minutes out of my day.

This could also be a boon to communities where there aren't enough doctors to go around--that is, once, they suss out how they'll manage internet connections in these, sometimes, technologically depressed areas of the country.

Before, there was nowhere else for "patients" to go if they were displeased with customer service issues. All the doctors were doing the same thing. A different level of competition has now arisen in medicine--both the retail sectors and the internet will certainly change what has been a "given" in medicine--you'll get your treatment when and in the manner in which I want to dish it out.