Published March 27, 2014 by

Tourists, Children, You

 
I live in New York City, very close to the Museum of Natural History. You know this museum is the type packed with animals, dinosaurs, planets, and stars.
 
As I walk my little puppy each morning, I observe all the tourists happily taking their place in line. They are typically smiling. I also watch the long line of yellow school buses lining up to carefully disburse their passengers. Everyone in these buses is full of happy energy. I love seeing all the wide-eyed children with their faces glued to the windows. They spot the planetarium!
 
How fortunate am I to have this scene play out before me as I begin my day? I try everyday to be mindful of the happy, orderly theater of it all. I remind myself that I too had so many of those happy, focused moments AND that I have the power to make everyday now have that same feeling.
 
Look at life new each day and help others do the same. I guarantee it will help your children, students, teammates, employees, colleagues, and yourself. With all those mindful, satisfied people, surely it will translate into higher profits, winning more games , and better grades.
 
Son of a Postman

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Published March 25, 2014 by

Knowing When To Go, Leaving Behind, That Pope And Me!

This is the time of year that people change jobs.  People got their end of year bonuses, some happy and some not so much.  Younger people figure they better make the move now before the market gets flooded with even more bright young graduates.  I have received many calls over the last few week from people either asking for advice about moving on to something new or telling me they have already resigned their current positions.

And just now it happened to me!  My social media guru just resigned!!!  He got a full time position (great news!) somewhere in Texas!  Texas?  Really?

All of these calls, resignations, and people contemplating moves reminded me of one of my favorite blog posts.  I laugh whenever I think of it and I even featured it in my book.
Its worth repeating!  If you missed it the first time, you might find it entertaining.

THE POPE AND ME.   (February 14, 2013)

I have found the Pope’s resignation very interesting.  I am surprised that I relate so much to his decision.  Both of us made decisions to give up our day jobs and now we are both going through transitions.  I am somewhat younger than the Pope, so there was no health reason that factored into my decision to give up my long time career.  Could this be the only serious difference?

Both of us no longer have to sit through long meetings packed with too many people.  Perhaps he got tired of and impatient with big bureaucracy and multiple decision makers?

I donated all of my business suits to a good cause that will use them for less fortunate young people just
starting their careers.  You know that Benedict is not going to want to schlep around Rome or anywhere draped in all those layers.  Surely he will be happy to pass all that garb to others.  Can you imagine how
light he will feel once he removes all those schmattas?

Both of us had a desire to leave quietly.  I wanted no celebrations of my retirement and happily it didn’t happen.  I just read that the Pope wants to completely leave public life.  Even today as write this, I am hibernating in the woods and in total contemplation of this issue and others of great importance.  We know the Pope will spend endless hours also in quiet contemplation as he prays and meditates.  I wonder if I should suggest some gentle Yoga as well?

We both loved our chosen careers and we were both fairly successful.  Make no mistake, I realize that he achieved exponentially more than me.  He got much further up the institutional (corporate) ladder, but look at how long he had to wait!   Probably my proudest achievement and the only thing one could call “good,” was Mentoring the talent I encountered over my 32 years.   Nonetheless, we both had a great ride although I never had a ride in anything even remotely as cool as the “Popemobile!”   Well,  I
did fly on the Concorde once.

Most importantly, neither of chose to leave our posts because we were running away from something.  We both left happy and tankful.  I think we share the desire to both let all those talented younger colleagues have their time to shine.  In my last role, I was rich with people of such talent and there really was very little need for me.”

Son of a Postman

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Published March 24, 2014 by

Lacking Motivation, Not Wasting Time, Oxygen Burglars

Readers have asked why I am not writing a daily blog post like I did for several years.  The great news is that some miss my musings.  The other good news is that I am busy with so many new endeavors that my blog thinking brain seems to have lost its rhythm.  I don’t think this is a bad thing at all.

I contrast my current plethora of projects of interest to my former corporate life that had a plethora of projects but most were repetitive and had unreasonable deadlines.  Worse was the fact that few people seemed to appreciate when you did get things done on time.  Now, I am so grateful to get things done at a pace that allows for the end result to be the best I can do.  Most things I get accomplished are appreciated by people who care.  How can things be any better?

Would you really want me to write (or speak) just for the hell of it?  Write blog posts just for the sake of keeping my ideas at the top of your mind?  Why?  I try to have something helpful to say.  In the corporate world there are so many people who just speak for the sake of being heard.  Its annoying and you know that you know many of these people!  Oxygen Burglars……..and of course typically “Fluffers!!!”

Enough!

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Published March 19, 2014 by

What I Say, What Others Said, Keep Striving

I hope all of this makes sense and is helpful.  I have lots of discussions with people giving them advice and talking about how I got to a good place.  I also read lots of good things that people much wiser than I have said.

ME

“People should treat others with honesty and respect.  I am completely intolerant of those who are just mean.  Why?   Is it really necessary?  I hope that you have as many super happy days that I have now.  None of my days or thoughts are about what I left.  Its all about about what I am moving toward.”

SOMEONE ELSE

“Its no longer a conversation about overcoming deficiency.  Its a conversation about potential.”

This quote is just so great and very descriptive of what I personally went through a few years ago.   Lots of people kept telling me to be happy with what I had and not to bother striving for more.  Any aspiration to try new things was discouraged.  I was to do as I was told.  Keep doing what you had done before.  Thinking was not required.  Others had better ideas.  As did I!

Never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough or that your ideas are not important.

Just sayin!

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Published March 18, 2014 by
Work The Fields, It’s Simple, It’s Effective 
 

I’m no stranger to working at a large corporation, so I know that one of the biggest challenges working in this environment is communication. More people means less opportunity for direct communication and a greater reliance on technologies to communicate. This can make it harder to get things done, even when there are more people that can get to work.

 
I recently came across a blog by Seth Godin called “Entropy, Bureaucracy and the Fight for Great” which touches on this issue.
 
He writes, “More people requires more formal communication, simply instructions to ensure consistent execution. It gets more and more difficult to say, ‘use your best judgment’ and be able to count on the outcome…”
 
“Even really good people, really well-intentioned people, then, end up in organizations that plod toward mediocre, interrupted by random errors and dropped balls.”
 
He speaks of this as if it is a foregone conclusion of the environment of a big company, but I don’t think this to be the case. If anything, the challenges of working in a bureaucracy highlight the need to “work the fields,” as I call it. As managers we must take the time to talk face to face with the people who work for us, learn about them, and communicate with them in nuanced ways to better get work done. This way we can short circuit the formalities of bureaucracy and actually get to the task at hand.
 
Nothing radical needs to be done, just take the time to work on a personal level.
 
Son Of A Postman

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Published March 17, 2014 by

I Ask For Feedback, I Like Feedback, My Latest Employee Has It Down
                 

 

You’ve hear a lot from the man. You may have even read his book. But what is it like to work for Kevin Alger, the Son of the Postman himself?

 
Perhaps a little background is in order. I’ve been working for Kevin for about 8 months now, helping him with his social media profiles, his blog, and various other aspects of the online universe. He asked me to write about my experience working for him so far, and I can assure you, readers, that everything I say here is honest and true.
 
When I do well and things go smoothly: 
What I have noticed most about Kevin’s management style is the abundance of positive reinforcement.  A well-completed task is always met with a “good job” or “great work.” And you know what? This works. It’s most important not so much as a reward or something to make you feel good at work (though these are nice things too) as much as it is a guide for staying the course. It gives me a way to know how to navigate hectic waters, and, to stretch the nautical metaphor, how to get back on course when I go astray.
 
When I make mistakes and the road is bumpy: 
Mere human that I am, I have made mistakes and failed in certain tasks while working for Kevin. One thing I quickly realized (and also learned from this blog, in fact) was that it would be of no use to cover up these mistakes or try to talk my way out of it. Honesty is the best policy, because Kevin is going to be honest right back either way, no equivocating, no sugar-coating. Excuse the cliche, but Kevin really is “tough but fair.” He certainly won’t let you off the hook, but neither will he just chew you out. If mistakes are made, then solutions are in order. And he will definitely make sure those solutions are met!
 
Other thoughts:
Kevin always has multiple things going on at once, and you can expect at times to find yourself in this condition, as well. In my experience, this has led to peaks and troughs of busy-ness (or lack thereof). Some weeks are relatively dull, while others are quite hectic.
 
Communication, communication, communication. Calls, texts, emails, Kevin is always on top of keeping in touch and making sure we are always on the same page. This took some getting used to, but I can see the benefit in it. 
 
Overall, I’ve been very happy working for Kevin… honestly, truly, I mean it!

NOT FROM THE SON OF A POSTMAN!

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Published March 12, 2014 by

Avoid Running Away, Look Ahead, Sleep Better

A friend is leaving his current company after many years of working there.  He was reasonably happy with his career there but he was presented with a great new opportunity.  The great new role was sweetened with significantly higher compensation and a much more senior title.  Quite the step up!  Perhaps his current employer could have more frequently hugged him?  Maybe they could have better mapped out his future opportunities?

It is widely known that people typically don’t leave a long term employer solely for more money.  There are so many factors that go into satisfying and retaining  employees.   Perhaps this is a topic for another post.

 
I always tell people that it is preferable to run towards a great new opportunity rather than running from a bad situation. Making big transitions can be difficult and stressful, but opportunities like my friends don’t come very often and should be taken advantage of when they do.  I believe that my new life was about moving forward and not running away.  There were too many good things that I wanted to explore and too many other people I thought I could help.   I don’t even like to think about the past or what could have been.
 
When you have the attitude of simply running from a bad situation into anything else available, you can end up caught in a race from one bad thing to yet another, then perhaps another and another.

You may have to stick it out for a bit longer in the short term, but overall running “to” rather than “from” will keep you happier in the long term. Consider only opportunities where you believe you will be content and challenged.  Avoid looking back at the place where you were unhappy.

 
Of course, you may be perfectly happy to stay where you are. There’s no complaining about that!  But if you decide to move on……Ride Forward and Don’t Look Back!

Son of a Postman

Available now in paper on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com and in Kindle format!

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Published March 11, 2014 by

Party, Party, And A Little Chatter! 

 

Last month I celebrated the launch of my book Son of a Postman: Delivering Straight Talk on Managing, Fluffers, Bullies and the Rest of the Team with launch parties in London and New York. Thank you so much to everyone who came on both sides of the Atlantic! There will be several other launch parties in New York and there is one scheduled for April 23rd in Philadelphia.  They really are more about the party than they are about my book!

As a reminder the book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Here are what some readers have to say about it:
“The author delivers hard-won knowledge laced with his engaging personality and flair for storytelling. A must read.”
 

“Among many books on leadership “Son of a Postman” by Kevin Alger really stands out: its focus is not on how to become a great manager but on how to make one’s employees successful, this is what a real leader does.”

 
“Being a ‘junior’ in the workforce I found it useful in evaluating my own work ethics and how I can improve andy shortcomings… Not only does it include corporate stories about people, but Kevin makes this story more personal by adding insights from his childhood and family experiences. Kevin does not sugarcoat his stories but instead he tells it like he sees it.”
 
“For me, Postman is NOT a follow-the-dots, top-down primer on how to survive and significantly succeed in the management corps of a large, aggressive and rich organization — which it seems, Alger has already done — but a bottom up look at the personality types and interactive dynamics of one-to-one relationships at any worker or organization level… Its principal asset, however, is that the skills [Kevin] suggests we hone are perhaps more valuable and effective when transferred OUTSIDE the workplace, to me, more important than what goes on in the office cubicle, on the factory floor, or within the privileged sanctuary of the board room.”

 

“This book moves well beyond they typical clever manipulation tips so common in management books. Instead Kevin Alger shows you how to make your employees excel and succeed. With practical insights Kevin makes you a better manager and a better person along the way. Everyone who strives to manage and build a successful team should read it.”
 
Thank you all again for your continued support!  Just Sayin!!

Son of a Postman

Available now in paper on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com and in Kindle format!

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Published March 10, 2014 by

Most Popular “Type,”  Comes In Many Species, Don’t Get Bagged

I’ve talked a lot about the six “TYPES” of people that are featured in my book, but there is always more to say. I believe that these six Types cover most people that you will encounter as a colleague, teacher, coach, or leader.  Some types come in many varieties and definitely worth noting.

Today I want to get into a specific kind of “Fluffer,” the Fluffer as a “Bagger.” This variety of Fluffer uses their communication skills to sell a colleague something undesirable. They act the part of the used-car salesman trumping up what they know is sub-par. You can think about it as a double-cross or bait and switch.

 
I remember a time when a senior women colleague came to me to try to sell me on an underachiever. She painted a wonderful picture of this guy in an attempt to get me to take him as part of my team. Unfortunately for this Fluffer, what she didn’t know was that this underachiever had been a summer MBA intern of mine, and that I had, in fact, recommended that the firm not hire him (though somebody did so anyway).

After she had finished her endorsement and recommendation that I happily take this guy on
my team, I dropped my knowledge about the underachiever to her.  She turned all shades of red. It was definitely a “gotcha” moment.”

 
This particular variety of Fluffer is definitely someone to look out for. Be wary of someone trying to hard to sell you on someone or something, and remember that a Fluffer is good at talking about big generalities but struggles when it comes to details. Don’t be fooled by smooth talk!

I think I am proud to say that no one has ever accused my of being a bagger or a smooth talker!

Son of a Postman

Available now in paper on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com and in Kindle format!

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