Thursday - October 18, 2018
 

Ancora Imparo

June 1st, 2006

Ancora imparo, translated as “I am still learning” or “Still, I am learning,” is attributed to Michelangelo in his eighty-seventh year. The man who painted the Sistine Chapel and sculpted the Pieta and David, whose very name evokes mastery of his craft, exemplifies a lifelong learning philosophy. Contrast him with a fifty-two year old executive I read about in the Wall Street Journal touting in an interview that he had never written or sent an email, refused to read staff messages received in email, and was uninterested in learning how to access the internet. He was perfectly... Read More

The IT Factor

May 1st, 2006

American Idol judge, Simon Cowell, periodically remarks about the “it” factor when assessing contestants. It seems to be one of those nebulous, undefined and subjective attributes one either has or doesn\’t have. And it falls into the category of you-know-it-when-you-see-it. He\’s right. You do know it when you see it and that\’s true in the workplace, too. Some people call it passion. And while that\’s part of it, it goes beyond the intense driving focus associated with passion. When I think of the hundreds of people I\’ve hired in my career, there was... Read More

Lying on a Nail

April 1st, 2006

Once there was a young woman who didn\’t like her job. Everyday when she came home from work, she told her husband how terrible her day had been, how tiring the work and how unreasonable her boss. “Leave that job,” her husband told her. “Oh I will” she said. “But not yet. I have too many friends there for me to leave just yet.” And so she complained until the days became years and her family grew to five. “Leave that job,” her children told her. “Oh I will” she said. “But not yet. I have seniority and four weeks vacation I... Read More

The Most Important Commitment You Can Make

March 1st, 2006

Commitments. Commitments. Commitments. They fill our days, our heads and our lives. Most of us are in the commitment business. Of course, that\’s not what we call it. At work, we\’re making commitments to customers, suppliers, bosses, coworkers and staff. At home, we\’re making commitments to family, friends, neighbors, community and organizations. Not to mention commitments to pay taxes, credit card bills, mortgages and car loans. Commitments become our drivers. Like the proverbial hamster wheel, we can\’t stop the stress, or the time demands we obligate ourselves to, because... Read More

Staying in the Game

February 1st, 2006

The message came from Human Resources. There\’s nothing to worry about with the newly announced organizational changes and pending merger, it reassured. The changes will be good for the company and good for the people who work here it coached. I\’ve seen a couple dozen messages like this during my career. In fact, I\’ve even crafted a few. I\’ve been through mergers, acquisitions, downsizings, organizational changes, personal career set-backs and a myriad of new corporate initiatives. And the best lesson I learned from all of them? Stay a player. Granted my tactics for what... Read More

Shades of Grey

January 1st, 2006

A paperweight sits on my desk, etched in silver the message: Life isn\’t always black and white. It serves as a reminder there are few absolutes at work (or in life). Yet, it would be easier if there were; if good ideas from bad, trustworthy people from non-trustworthy, and right paths from the wrong ones could easily be discerned. I\’ve learned in twenty years in management that increasing one\’s perspective increases the grey, as words like always and never become obsolete for describing most situations and most people. But early in my career, I was convinced there were right... Read More

The Secret to Success

December 1st, 2005

Most people are looking for the secret to success; the secret to being a millionaire; the secret to winning at working. To help them find it, Amazon.com currently inventories 1,797 books promising success secrets, everything from “Mustang Sallies: Success Secrets of Women Who Refuse to Run With the Herd” to “The 21 Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires.” So, if you\’re one of those looking, I\’ll save you some time. The bottom line is this – there is no secret. There\’s no magical formula to follow; no short-cuts to take or lottery tickets you can purchase. People... Read More

Fact or Opinion?

November 1st, 2005

“You ain\’t going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin\’ a truck.” What if Elvis believed this Grand Ole Opry manager\’s critique after his l954 performance? Or the Beatles listened in 1962 when Decca Recording Company responded, “We don\’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on the way out.” What if Rudyard Kipling quit writing when the San Francisco Examiner told him, “I\’m sorry, but you just don\’t know how to use the English language.” Or as a struggling artist, Walt Disney took seriously the words of a prospective... Read More

Taking Your Words Seriously

October 1st, 2005

When we ordered the stained glass window as an accent piece for our home, the artist-proprietor told us he was a bit behind. “So,” he said, “to be on safe side, plan on six months.” That was two years ago. We still don\’t have the window. Each time we call or stop in, he has yet another plausible reason why our project isn\’t done, the appropriate apology and a new promise of a delivery date. What he doesn\’t have is credibility. Wishful promises don\’t cut it in small-town businesses or big-city corporations. It doesn\’t matter what role you\’re... Read More