Monthly Archives: June 2010

Are you having a great day?

I have been in the States now for some 8 years and I guess I am used to that pretty much standard -phrase. So much so that I sometimes play a game when asked.

How are you, are you having a GREAT DAY

I say….

“Not Really!”

What do you think happens?

You are right the other person usually says “That’s good!” and goes on sublimely onto some next catchy phrase with no meaning or intent! So much for authentic customer service.

Anyway it got me thinking and so….

Isn’t every day we are alive a great day?

I mean we are a long time dead and I know, I know, some people really have a crappy life and a terrible time!

We all have those moments and yet why do some move on and others get stuck?

So I went to do my research with a few folks over cocktails, isn’t that where all the world’s woes are resolved and our sorrows drowned?

So here are the results!

We all need to feel we are having a great day! When

We connect with a loved one

We live for the moment and then have faith in our future

We can help someone else who is feeling worse then we do

We can reflect and move on to the next chapter in our life with desire

We have our freedom

We can dream our dreams

I guess it’s all about two things.

Our Relationships and our Connections with the world we live and love in.


And you know what? These choices belong to each one of us. We own these choices

So a daily list to help us make every Day a Great day is:

  • Think who we want to be known for while we live
  • Think of where we came from and where our dreams are taking us too
  • Always dream the dream- they provide flames to our soul
  • Think of those we most often speak and listen to
  • When we reach out and connect with those we have not spoken to for a long time because…
  • We do things because they are the right things to do

All of our lives are made up of days. It is up to each of us to make it one that inspires others.

For those who say “No way Hosay”  think of a life that is wasted. Now that is a crappy life let alone day!


Leaders don’t need job descriptions- Lets get down to Business!

How often do you hear? Not in my pay grade, not my job, not in my job description!!

Too much!! Get real do you want to make a difference or keep your job!!

Fire those guys who don’t. We do not want or need them!

In today’s world we simply don’t need those folks around us. Work life and business is hard enough. Dislocated people need to get off the bus now! We want energy!!How much time is wasted in creating, changing, aligning and then doing performance reviews against the words of job descriptions which in any event are part of the old business world of command and control!

They are out of date folks, business has moved on a long way since then. Who does not get that one?

Anyway for those who still wish to cling to job descriptions, they are out of date as soon as you write them. Do we not realize that business changes every day!

Lets get with it!!  Gen Y, Millenniums and Gen Z need to be inspired not put to sleep reading crafted words, which “do not compute” and are from a distant era. Heck we all want to be inspired says this Gen X’er.

So lets stop the stifling and start the energy of creativity and excitement!

Highly engaged people don’t need to be restricted they need to be refreshed and refueled!

What purpose do job descriptions serve? The get out of jail card? The protection against the disinterested the dislocated employee?? Well that’s ripe.

Anyway most managers don’t use them effectively because. You know those answers!

So I hear you say we need to know the essential duties of the job!!! – That’s simple “Get the job done within your abilities! – Safely, legally and respectfully!! How can I help?”

I don’t hear much discussion when we speak about the success of our leadership, I certainly don’t see a rush for a job description to find out whether our leaders have been successful.

So what do we need for a successful business and the ability to attract people who want to work for us?

  1. Relevancy and currency in what we do and how we practice our business.
  2. Produce Mission statements for people roles – which clearly identify  – context and accountability. – Your purpose here is to seek opportunities to improve…
  3. Promote self-managed teams who get the job done – people have brains and they want to use it- and by the way this method works! There are very businesses where people work alone.
  4. Make it a core recruitment requirement that the purpose of any new recruit is to come to work to build a business and as key contributors– we want their energy, hearts and minds, brain and personality, relationship skills and the “can do” mindset. Otherwise no bus rides for them!
  5. Figure out and fast how to get the dislocated of the bus and sort out crappy recruitment practices that let the wrong employees on the bus
  6. Define the opportunities not the constraints’ of what we want from people and what we expect of them. Then let them figure it out!
  7. Get rid of bureaucracy  – fastest way to dislocate people from what they do

As leaders lets develop the talent that develops the business

Focus on the mission of the job role and let the people and the team figure out what needs to be done with freedom, energy, connectivity and passion

As Leaders our job is to define the vision and mission and then

Create the environment that people can succeed

Communicate the real issues

Connect with everyone within the organization

Collaborate to inspire inclusion

Coach to develop yourself and others

Do all these things and let’s see how much we really need all that paperwork Lets talk about competency and free people from the boxes and the chains of job descriptions.

(Pic- Anton Tang)

What would we have learned if we had interviewed Mark Twain?

Would he have been offered the job?

I am writing this blog, for it seems that being different is not what it is made out to be!

Why would I say that? Some recent conversations with folk make me think this is so.

Yes, business owners say they want someone with that “special X factor” for their business, but do they really? Or is there simply too much risk attached. Mind you friends can be like that too!

Twain was a literary giant. Of that there is no doubt. “ The American” as he liked to call himself who brought American language to life! Where would that boast have landed him at an interview?

So while there is no comparison with the literary genius he was I wonder how he, like many who “dare to be different” would have faired in today’s round of interviews with all the technology of Skype, telephone conferencing, personality testing, group interviews and character references etc.

Somehow those early character references would not have been helpful to our Mr. Twain.

He was a man of layers and contradictions but then, is that not the life we all lead and do we all not have some layers?

We always seem to focus on what we do, the metrics, the outcomes and perhaps not often enough about who we are. Yet is it not the case that what we do or achieve is because of who we are?

So how would the interview with Mr. Twain have gone? Had we asked question about the man behind the words? The being behind the human.

  1. He would have bestowed “TRUST” because the stories he told were similar to ours and they were like ours and as such we knew them.
  2. We would have RELATED to him because he knew people and he had been where we had been, he had seen the good and the bad times. He UNDERSOOD
  3. He was aiming to do something useful HE WANTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE given the talents he had, we all want to be useful to someone.
  4. He was COMPASSIONATE just read the story of Huckleberry Finn to see the torment that Huck was going through because of his friendship with Jim.
  5. He KNEW PEOPLE not for their color but for their heart and voice, he lived among people and he was the people’s writer.
  6. He had COURAGE when he wrote Huckleberry Finn it was not popular he was a loan voice and many libraries did not carry his book
  7. He was INCLUSIVE he knew the torment and issues around people of different color and cultural backgrounds, he was immensely angry at the way Chinese were being treated.
  8. He STOOD UP FOR WHAT HE BELIEVED – He knew that it may not be popular and in that famous line from Huck Finn- “alright then I’ll go to hell” He knew his beliefs and not what the establishment was telling him.
  9. He was PREPARED FOR THE DIFFICULT CONVERSATION and the adverse outcomes on him personally, when he spoke truth when it was not welcomed.
  10. He was a natural born STORY TELLER, we seek and long for those who can give us the vision and who we can believe in so that we can follow. In his stories he recanted the stories of humanity. And there was BELIEVABILITY.
  11. He was a LEADER he took American literature to a place it had not been before and to a level previously not thought possible, and he created followers everywhere.
  12. He was DIFFERENT yet different is just as bad as change to many people, its simply not a routine that people get used to.
  13. He was INSPIRATIONAL in his work and his worked CONNECTED.
  14. He UNDERSTOOD PEOPLE he knew them as fellow human beings .He understood differences in people and color was not a voice he understood.

Would Mr. Twain, who’s very name, gave people some concern, and who lived on the margin of “ Safe or dangerous waters” be the risk – reward employee that you would choose to hire?

What is likely is that he would have told us like it is, not something many will. He may even have been too honest for our liking as he once said:


“I think we never become really and genuinely our entire and honest selves until we are dead–and not then until we have been dead years and years. People ought to start dead, and they would be honest so much earlier.”


Now how would that have come across? Would he have said what you wanted to hear or what you really should hear?

Or would you have said.

This is what different means and when we as a business mean we want to be different and differentiate ourselves from all the rest then we need to hire those that differentiae themselves and who will take us there.


Oh by the way, it’s not just about recruitment please think about those friends of yours who live on the edge and are different,

To be different is to be human!


Does your job give you Joy? Here is a way to find out and measure it!

I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine recently over cocktails. The best conversations start when having cocktails with friends don’t you think?

She said that she had been asked  whether she had joy in the work she did by one of her bosses. That started an interesting conversation.

Its not often we are asked that. More likely it’s: Is the job going well?  The job all that you thought it was?  Are you happy at what you do? and so on!

It started my mind thinking what is the meaning of joy and is it the same as being happy and how do we measure it?

So I did some research, asked some people and it seemed that most interchanged the words automatically and then I came across a great blog by@briancromer, which gave me the answer to my questions and at the same time offered a practical way to measure Joy.


Brian made the observation that “Frequently these two words,  joy/happiness, are used as one and the same.  While they do share some characteristics, they are actually different.”

He states that happiness is an emotion usually directly related to circumstances that are currently happening.  So when the circumstances are good and going our way, we feel happy.  On the other hand, when we do not get what we want, or when things do not go our way, we feel sad and are not happy. “

All these are temporary and bring temporary emotional happiness, or a state of unhappiness.

On the other hand Brain says that ”Joy is something entirely different from happiness.  Joy is attitude of the heart.”  I Like that!

Joy is something that lasts; happiness is something that is temporary. When happiness fades away, joy remains.

Joy is a state of mind. It comes from within, and cannot come from anywhere else. So we can control it and is a key part to the shadow we cast as a leader.

It seems therefore that to feel the emotion of Joy you must be in the present and the power comes from within. Not concerned or thinking about the past or the future.

When conducting my coaching and mentoring work I have to prepare to be “ fully in the moment and in the present-zone”,  in other words be there for the person without distraction and give fully of  myself.

I get it! but how do we harness this source of engagement, and how do we measure it? Then I read a comment from Sean White one of Brian’s followers who said that

“Happiness is like a thermometer that changes based  on the environment around it. Joy is a thermostat that we can learn to set and will effect the environment around it. “ ( and is the foundation of who we want to be)

So there we have it the measure!

Lets use

“The temp-thermo tool!” as our personal Joy and Health Check.

This is something that we can all use to measure our Joy whether in our place of work or worship or with our  friends and all relationships – after all when we get mad at something our temp goes up to red!!!

Not so good for clear thinking or our emotional health.

Check whether we are truly where we want to be in our heart, or giving of our best, and being the leader we want to be.

So next time we feel our temp rising lets check it against that thermostat! Lets stop and check it against the temp-thermo tool!




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