Are you willing to wobble?

What am I willing to do to get the people I serve to buy in?

Whether you’re serving an external customer or citizen, or you serve internal clients, ask yourself this question.

Case in point:

Part of my job is to provide leadership and management training to government employees. It’s a fun job, but requires tons of thinking on your feet and preparation to make it count.  Long hours are spent balancing designing and building curriculum that meets objectives along with making it engaging, innovative, and memorable.

Ultimately, we’re teaching people all the things you wish your boss knew – treating people with respect, accountability, effective change management, etc.

In my classes, one way I engage people is through music.  My tastes and playlists are a bit…eclectic… some might say weird. Often, at breaks (and sometimes in the middle of a session) I’ll break out the iPod and play some music to catch people off guard. I also like to get people back from the breaks on time by making them dance if they’re late.

Enter The Wobble.

Whatever the dance craze is, there is always a group of folks who have no idea that it exists.  There are even more who are shocked to hear the song in a class.  Heck, I might even break into my own really sad version of the dance if that’s what it takes to make a connection.

The question, then, is what are you willing to do to make a connection?  Are you willing to make a complete fool of yourself?  Are you willing to wow someone with something they didn’t expect?

I’m not saying you have to drop your coat and tie to do the latest dance craze, but then again, what would it hurt?  Is that what the audience needs from you?

Remember the saying, “All things being equal, people will do business with a friend.” Connecting is about more than good content.

My question to you: What’s your wobble?  I’d love to know.  I might use it!

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Just a chance…it’s FREE!!!

Things are tight right? I mean, if the economy is in the proverbial toilet and we’re cutting costs everywhere, you can’t possibly think you’re getting a raise, can you? Of course not! It wouldn’t be fiscally responsible.

office space“By the way, we’ve got your mid-year evaluations due by the end of the month so make sure you’re working with your managers to complete these. They are an important tool for our company and your professional development…but we aren’t giving merit increases/bonuses this year.”
Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it.  Where’s the incentive for stellar performance? Why should your star employees live up to their potential?  How can they remain innovative and keep giving all they have to their jobs?
I’ll tell you: they will remain innovative, live up to their potential, and give all they have to their jobs…somewhere else.  Certainly it’s a tough market.  The star performers, however, know when you’re giving lip-service to people development and when you’re actually practicing it.

Let’s roleplay.  Suppose you, as a manager, were told that your career was very important to your company and that your manager was going to help you get to the next level.  Then, nothing.  Nada. Nil.  Nothing happens because things get tight… and the phone rings.
On the other end of the line is a former coworker telling you how theyobamaarelooking for someone who does exactly what you’re doing for your company now.  It’s not an advancement, but there’s a chance it might lead to it.  Your old company has all but promised for you to be stuck in this dead end job until the next President makes 1,000 promises of changing the economy so why wait it out here?  At least there, there’s a chance.
LloydThat’s all I’m saying.  Blanket policies about advancement, hiring freezes, raises, performance evaluations, etc., just don’t work.  All an employee wants to know is that there’s a chance.  As Lloyd says, “SO YOUR SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE!!!
It doesn’t have to be spending thousands on lavish trips, training seminars, and huge bonuses; however, for those who are top performers, reward them.  Unfortunately, it seems some managers would rather not reward a top performer and have a blanket policy, than to have to deal with those who are not top performers.
Keep evaluating, keep moving, KEEP THINKING!

We can’t afford to hire right now…

Really?  Times are tough.  Budgets have been slashed.  You’re just lucky to have a job right now anywhere right?  We’re just waiting to see how the economy pans out before we make a move.

Really?  Well you know, things aren’t as fluid as they were a couple of years ago.  It’s important to cut costs in times like these.  We can’t justify adding anyone in a non-revenue producing department right now.

ENOUGH!!!  Sorry about that.  Is it just me or has Eeyore taken over the reins of the business world?  Hearing things like that make me wonder how we ever developed the greatest economic superpower the world has ever seen.Eeyore Fortunately, there are a few of us out there who haven’t drank the KoolAid that things are horrible.

Life is tough for those who have lost a job.  It can’t be easy as an HR pro to look into their eyes and tell them that their services are no longer needed, but GOOD NEWS: Companies still need innovation.  Companies still need people…NEW people.

One of the greatest things about diversity is that it gives you a fresh, innovative thought.  Business has seen time and time again that diversity helps a company be innovative.

The challenge?  Push ahead.  Good companies come out of recessions stronger than they went into them.  Good companies relish the opportunity to add talent that will help them gain a competitive edge.  Talent that will help them beat their competition.  Talent that might even come from the competition.

In this month’s DiversityInc magazine, companies were ranked on their diversity efforts and it’s no surprise that those with a higher priority on diversity (you know, the ones who are doing more than looking for skin color) are some of the most innovative companies in the world.

images (1)Anthony Carter, the VP & Chief Diversity Officer for Johnson & Johnson was quoted “Different ways of thinking drive innovation.  We have to create an environment that fosters mutual accountability.”

What a concept!!! Rather than having the same people in the same departments thinking and acting the same way that got you into this mess, let’s come up with another way to get some accountability.  Maybe, just maybe that’s looking for a fresh perspective.

You can’t afford to hire right now?  WRONG!  You can’t afford NOT to hire right now.

Keep pushing.  Keep trying.  Keep innovating.  Keep Thinking!