Overachievers and Why We Hate Them

I work very hard at what I do with every client, presentation, and article I write.  Some may call me an overachiever.  I work long hours, solve complex problems and do it all with a passion and smile most days.  I love what I d0, but not everyone loves me back.

Hate is a very strong word.  It’s an emotion, a feeling.  Tied very closely to love and lust.  So why do organizations, leaders, and co-workers hate overachievers?

Over the weekend I watched one of my favorite movies from the 90′s with John Travolta in Phenomenon....


Harmony is Overrated

As a loud and proud advocate for diversity and inclusion, I am supposed to be all about harmony right? Well, I am not. Harmony scares me.

At the core of the definition of harmony is:

a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity

It is hard to have real order or a “pleasing arrangement of parts” when there are awake and alive human beings involved. The fact is, if we are being authentic and honest with each other, we are all different.  And difference brings tension into relationships and groups. Clearly we need to be able...


Avoiding the Boomer Drain

Like most developed countries, the U.S. faces a major demographic challenge. This year, the oldest of nearly 80 million baby boomers turn 65. According to the Pew Research Center, about 10,000 Americans reach that milestone every day.

Most organizations can’t afford to suddenly lose such a reservoir of work experience and seasoned judgment. And that maturity and judgment is of particular value in forging collaborative teams within a workforce that now includes four and soon five generations.

To keep those experts on board as long as possible, human resource professionals are pursuing innovative strategies like flexible work...


Four Generations of Workers in the 21st Century (Part 1)

Note: This series is based on the paper My Generation.

Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.  - George Orwell

For perhaps the first time in recorded history, labor markets in the 21st century are comprised of members of four generations. This situation presents very real challenges – and opportunities - to organizations and how they address issues of talent engagement, leadership development and people management.

As society continues to adapt to the prevalence of a multi-generational workforce, it...


Leaders and Accountability in the Wake of the Penn State Scandal

“When you are the top person in your profession, even if you do everything right, you can have a bad day that brings it all down,” said Dr. Jack Stark, a psychologist who has counseled professional athletes and worked with Fortune 500 company leaders.

Joe Paterno, 84, was the longest-serving and winningest coach in NCAA Division I football until his career came to a screeching halt Nov. 9, 2011, when he was fired by the Penn State board of trustees in connection with the scandal involving former coach Jerry Sandusky, who has been accused of sexually abusing young...


Just The Facts About Workplace Social Media

I’m captivated by infographics.  They, in my mind are the preferred alternative to boring reports and bullet-filled craptastic powerpoint presentations.  For me an infographic is a great way to explain a point of view or organize a group of interesting facts and data points designed to please the eye.  Kind of like how social media is the new alternative to email.

I’m pretty passionate about social media in the workplace. Last week I flew to New York City to speak at Jeff Pulver’s BrandsConf and this week I’m traveling to San Diego where I’m speaking and training a group...


The Essence of Strategy (Part 2)

Last week’s blog post bemoaned the lack of strategic discipline in today’s world of business. I posed three simple strategic questions that on the surface appear easy to answer.

  1. What business are you in?
  2. What will you sell?
  3. To whom will you sell?

You’d think executives from the same organization would offer the same responses. More often than not, their answers can be as different as night and day. Why? Because people struggle with specificity; they hate strategic...


You Don't Need a Title (or permission)

I have shared these ideas before.  They are worth repeating.

You don’t need a title to lead.  Titles don’t earn followers.  You earn followership based on your own ability to contribute value to the process, people and performance.

You don’t need permission to influence.  You impact others and initiate change through action.

We all have the power to make a difference.  Especially among the people that matter the most to us. 

We all have the power to create change.  One conversation.  One connection.  One meaningful moment that inspires action.

Leadership isn’t about...


Sisyphus Had It Easy

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down.  No matter what he did, Sisyphus could not get to the top of the hill.

We can all feel Sisyphus’ pain as HR and other executives.  We are constantly rolling up against regulatory boulders, plaintiffs’ lawyers and labor unions marketed by the NLRB.

But Sisyphus had it easy in one respect.  He did not have to worry about the FLSA.

We are in the middle of a wage and hour...


7 Ideas for Generating Buy-In by Leveraging Human Influences

Whole Foods Employees Vote for New Hires

Every new hire at a Whole Foods store is subject to a peer-based selection process. The newbie is provisionally assigned to a team, for example in bakery or produce, pending a 4-week trial and a team vote. After the trial period, that team votes on the newbie’s suitability and ultimately his or her fate. A two-thirds majority vote is needed to achieve a full-time slot on the team.

Pret a Manger Employees Vote Too

Similarly, to secure a job at Pret a Manger, a British fast-food chain with...