Monthly Archives: March 2011

Imagine a culture where values are not imposed.

It is hard to believe that with all the talk about culture and conformance to values that there is an organization out there where people can be who they really are and not wear a “mask” at work.

That there are organizations that allow freedom of speech and expression of thought without others being affronted or offended and where compliance does not mean “corporate mind-think”.

Do we really get what we want when we impose “organizational values” onto a diverse group of human beings?

It is unimaginable that we would ever think of working for an organization where their  “HR” slogan was everyone who works here must leave their individuality at the front gate!

Yet I ask is this what we have come to expect – that when people come to work that they leave their self-identity at the doors of their enterprise?

Is this why we have so many folks disengaged at their workplace?

It is those organizations that value the differences that people naturally offer that really achieve something magical.

We all know there has to be something that provides organizational glue. Something better.

What are your experiences and thoughts, lets hear and share them.  How do we retain individuality in an organization?

Blog idea inspired by Guy Kawasaki’s book “Enchantment”

The life and times of putting generations into boxes

I just made it up. Please add to the cacophony of labels like X, Y, Z, Boomers, Millenniums’, Yuppies Alpha etc.

Yawn. I am going to write a book and do lots of presentations to support my new label – not!

Just came of a ‘phone call with @Kimberly_Roden, another HR Pro.  We both have grown kids (not together I hasten to add as mine have English accents!) who would typically be classified as being GenY.  Our conversation revolved around how people will write books based on labeling groups of people, putting those groups into stereotypical “boxes” and how we should treat or not treat them.

Is this what we do to make ourselves important?  Make up labels and theories based on those labels for the sake of making tons of money on presentations and consultancy, look good in front of the bosses?  Well I am just a straight shooting Business- HR guy and I am here to tell you if you do this to please quit it!  Humans have enough labels: engaged, disengaged,  etc. Business has enough issues. Let’s get down to basics and treat people like people, regardless of their dates of birth.

Last time we peeked at a CAT scan,  our brains looked the same. Our cognitive thinking remains intact and unchanged.  We learn that babies still put stuff in their mouths and that toys are, well toys!  The last time I looked at photos of kids born in the 1950’s they looked pretty much the same as one born today. Yup brain, head, arms and legs all intact.  Nothing different except the clothing.

I agree our “world has changed.” Why do I agree because we tell each other how different it all is and therefore we are different? Gadgets came and go, people remain.  So why do we make up a lot of stuff when we can get by with much that never changes?  When we have kids, we teach them to be good people and have a wonderful life. When they grow up they need to be great mothers, fathers, employees, friends, grandparents and so on.  Today’s kids still love the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, the classics.  Last I checked, teachers are still teaching the 3 “R”s at school and the difference between right and wrong.

So let’s stop putting generational labels on all of US!

There are grandparents out there who know more about iPad2 then many kids. There are Wii bowling leagues springing up all over the place in old folk’s homes.  Heck there are travelling leagues too!

So let’s get back to basics. Treat people as people. We all love to sit on Grandma and Grandpa’s knees and listen to what life is about. We always have and your next kid will be no different!  Compassion, love, attention while looking out for the best for them.

What shouldn’t change is how people take care of people. It’s simple and it makes sense.  Want a label for that? Use your heart for the best and people will give of their best and the rest is a win-win for all.

This salmon isn’t spawning this year!!

A great friend of mine Katherine Moody and I have been talking for while.

We both love to work with folks helping them get a job and we find that it’s hard for them because many of the organizations are not looking for salmons!

But the point is we help prepare people to get the jobs where their gifts will be not only valued but where their real difference will make a real difference to the results of their company!

It is not any job at any cost!

Ok here is my point. A salmon is a wondrous fish and every year they go to a place of their choice to spawn. It knows who it is and what it wants!

A Salmon is pretty careful and selective it simply does not lay its “next generation” just anywhere!

So what’s the comparison? The message is do not give your “young” to any business!

  1. Be who you are and know you have the right to decide what company you are going to give your valuable gifts of experience and knowledge and time.
  2. Many organizations still do not get the need for hiring  “linchpins” – Seth Gordin. Know that you are such and they will recognize that in you. It is their poor choice if they do not want such a valuable hire.
  3. Be choosey about the environment you want to spend time with. Do you want to be an artist, a creator of something that can be better or someone who simply lives in a box of conformance?
  4. Perhaps having a job at any cost is just so compelling because of the “need to fit and conform handcuffs” placed on job seekers today. Little wonder why there is so much disengagement in our workforces today.
  5. Like Salmon who go to a “safe” environment to lay their eggs. Your safe environment has to be one where it is safe for you to be who you are –an incredibly exciting and individual human being who encourages  “wild ideas and creativity” that takes people and the business to incredibly exciting and newer heights. Someone who has passion in your heart, a flame to succeed, and a desire to be the best you can ever be.
  6. Like salmon whose instinct is to swim upstream to a shallow place with gravel and rocks, you need to keep your natural instinct to know who you are and keep on your course and know where you will be most happy (yes happy) where you work.
  7. You see salmon are pretty clever they know where the best environment is for their future young un’s a place where they will have the environment to develop and grow and move to their own new world.

So we all have choices and we all need to have the courage to know where we want to be and it is not simply fit for purpose its fit for you!

The habits of a Salmon

I don’t want your baby I don’t trust you?

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”

It is a quaint expression. There are many such sayings all to do with change.

I guess resistance provides eloquent language opportunities!

Even in these “sucky economic” times when employers are being quoted, not to want to hire the unemployed “talent” and gas prices are moving to $4.00 there is still a determination not to look at what is possible rather than not. Much easier thinking negatively. Still too many “buts” in the room.

Being creative it seems is too much work and it is easier to be like “Jell-O” do lots of wobbling around but always staying on the same place on the plate. I know you can think of someone like this.

Then of course with change comes the dilemma of what do you get rid of, what are the “sacred cows.”

Sacred cow (idiom), something considered (perhaps unreasonably) immune from question or criticism.

Do we throw everything out or try to figure out what we keep or not keep. Decisions decisions!

It’s a bit like spring-cleaning. You make your “keeper and throw away piles” and then you get so fed up and tired that you say what the heck lets keep it all I might need it for that rainy day.

Work is very much like this…right! And it’s real and its not so funny!

Especially when you are handing your  “sick baby” to someone else. It’s called passing the buck and getting rid of your people problem onto someone else. I note that too many managers rather then get rid of the “baby” pass it on with supporting cooing to another manager short of staff.

That is why so many businesses keep their “internal terrorists” Those employees who are so disengaged they come to work and destroy your business.  Millions of dollars being spent and the solutions are in front of you.

Don’t be a manager of people if you cannot handle the tough decisions. It’s called ACCOUNTABILITY and gaining a reputation of TRUST.

These “babies” need to be thrown out! Go on hire some of those unemployed who will do an incredible job for you!!

What about the bath water I hear you ask.  Well if your “water” is a toxic environment then you need new water. Often we get confused as to what the problem is and what is contributing to what. Decisions decisions.

We all learn quickly who the real nurturers are and who really don’t take care of their “babies.”

We need people we can trust and who will take care of the business and us. That’s why Gallup put the “infamous” question in the their survey. Do you have a best friend at work? I think it is a great question. How would you answer it if you really thought about it?

I always say it is when times are good that you take the tough decisions’. It is always much easier to frame the tough calls when things are simply awful. The great leaders know that that is just an excuse!


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