Published May 23, 2014 by

Anger Management, The Enemy Is You, Learn How To React

I have spent much of my life actively dealing with anger issues. It gets activated when I don’t like how I am being treated or if I feel the need to defend others.
The good news is that I recognize my reactions and I am working to pause
consciously and breathe before flipping out.   I have worked so much on “self-regulation” and I know it is working.  My relationships with others is so much better now.

I just finished reading a book titled “Love Your Enemies” written by Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman.  I hope you are not surprised to hear that the only real enemy you have is yourself.  Others that you believe are your enemies are only that way because you let them have that affect on you.   Simple!  

“There is a story about the Buddha that points to such wisdom.  One day the Buddha was walking across a plot of land when a man came up and angrily started shaking his fist in the Buddha’s face, saying he has no right to be walking there.  The Buddha looked at the man a said, “Tell me, if you prepared a lovely gift for someone, and you reached out to give it to them but they refused to accept it, to who, would the gift belong?”  “To me, of course,” the man replied.  “Just so,” the Buddha said.  “I’m not accepting your gift of your anger.  Therefore, it remains with you.”  (from “Love Your Enemies”)

If you expect to parent, teach, coach, or manage others and get the most out of them, using anger as a motivational tool will not be effective. It has always amazed me that so many people don’t get this at all!

Anger-based
responses never work, are counterproductive and alienate people.
Reactions based on anger also degrade a manager’s or leader’s
effectiveness and credibility. 
Plus, you just feel real bad after you do it.

Son of a Postman

Best Practices Conflict

Published May 22, 2014 by

John Travolta, Remembering Names, Go With The Flow

Surely you heard about how John Travolta screwed up that name of the singer Idina Menzel at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony?  It got so much attention.  It is the best thing that ever happened to this woman’s career.  She has been on every talk show, news program, radio show and in every newspaper, magazine and social media outlet.  Good for her!

This brings me to the topic of remembering names.  So many people struggle with this especially when in business or social situations where you are introduced to several people all at once.  Why is it that some people are really good at this?  Are they really good at it or do they have techniques for going back an asking a second time?  Do they have someone over their shoulder helping them like the character Meryl Streep played in “The Devil Wears Prada?”  Those who are truly good at this are truly blessed.  I don’t know one of these people.

I believe you give it your best and then find a time to go back and ask the person for their name a second time.  I think the “I’m sorry, I’ve already forgotten your name” is a great and endearing way to get to know someone just a little better.  They will appreciate your humility and honesty.  This technique should help you then really remember their name.  Even if this doesn’t work, don’t sweat it.  You get many points for trying.

You can take courses, scan the internet, and read books to help you get better at this but I think you should worry about more important issues.  Just breathe, remain calm, and smile.  All is OK.  It is more important that you talk to people, show an interest in them, and be present in the conversation.

For those of you who would like the “John Travolta” translation of your
name there are many places to get that.  My favorite is the “Adele Dazeem Name Generator” where you can “Travoltify Your Name.”    My name is Kayden Allorn!   You try it!

Son of a Postman  (Shawn Orteez!)

 

 

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Published May 21, 2014 by

Giving, Receiving, Sleeping

Recently I have been traveling around having “events” for my
book.  I do a short talk, make people laugh, and then donate the proceeds from the book sales to a charity.  I have a friend who refers to these events as “salons.”  That does sound fancy but the reality is that they are just great parties with a little bit of me and my book thrown in.  I get to see so many people from my past and present all mixed together in one room. 

I have given this “talk” six times.  Last week, I reached out to several people asking for honest feedback.  I want to improve, I am insecure, I know others no better so it is completely natural for me to make this request.  I even got some feedback from people who had only met me the night they heard me speak.  It is great.  I got the good and the bad.  I now have a revised and better talk.  People pointed out patterns in my story telling and important things about the book that I neglected to highlight.

Doesn’t Everyone do this?  I don’t think it happens as much as it should.  People are afraid if they challenge authority it will negatively impact their future.  I know people who live in constant fear of their leaders.  People are reluctant to ask for feedback because they are not sure they can handle the response.  Some are reluctant to offer colleagues feedback for fear of stepping over some boundary.

If it involves honest feedback up, over, or down, many people would rather be miserable and treated unfairly.  The times in my career when I was most unhappy was when there was an absence of feedback.  I would suddenly find out that things had changed or promises were to be broken.  Often, I would then learn that I wasn’t doing as expected or what I was doing was no longer important.  It was all decided before it was delivered.  It sucked.  There was never an opportunity to improve.

A friend asked me what advice he could give to a group of your people in his company.  I told him that the most important thing they can do is insist on getting feedback.  Don’t wait around for some date on the calendar.  Make it happen in real time.  Don’t be afraid to give your feedback to others including your boss. How else can you expect to be noticed?  At a minimum, knowing where you stand will help you sleep better and a rested person is always more productive.

One quick story!  I was coaching a high school student on how to talk about herself for interviews.  I prepared a script based on what she had told me during a previous meeting.  I had her read aloud but she abruptly stopped.  She told me that one of my sentences was poorly constructed and awkward to speak aloud.  SNAP!!!  I could not have been more pleased.  She was totally correct.  Somehow I have created an environment where these kids know they can push back.

Son of a Postman
Available now in paper on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com and in Kindle format

 

Feedback

Published May 15, 2014 by

Leveraging Others, Leave It Outside, I Am Getting Better

As you know, when I read the thoughts of others, I share especially when they are so effectively expressed clearly and with few words.   I often share the ideas of Seth Godin and a recent post of his is great.

EMOTIONAL HANDWASHING

“Emotions are far more contagious than any disease. A smile or a
panic will spread through a group of people far faster than any virus
ever could.
When you walk into the office or a negotiation, then, wash your bad
mood away before you see us. Don’t cough on us, don’t sneeze on us,
sure, but don’t bring your grouchiness, your skepticism or your fear in
here either. It might spread.”
I have been so guilty of schlepping my negative baggage to places where I should I checked it at the door or with some gate agent.  The understanding and practice of Mindfulness has been a huge help in my development.  Just recognizing that you do it will set you free.
Mindfulness is all over the press, corporations are hiring Mindfulness teachers to increase productivity.  (MINDFULNESS AT WORK)

I just find it makes me a more pleasant person.

Son of a Postman

 

 

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Published May 8, 2014 by

Take The Test, Learn The Lingo, Learn About Yourself

You can talk until you are blue in the face, but if people have to struggle to understand half the words you are saying or the expressions you keep using, you shouldn’t be surprised that they are not getting your point.
                                          

This is a big issue to me.  A mantra of mine (among a few others) is: “Speak clearly and use terms that people can understand. Avoid special lingo and acronyms.”  It is
especially true if you work in a global organization or at a place where the people (or students) may speak more than one language (like schools).  


I often tell people that they need to communicate as if they were speaking on the evening news.  You want people to hear your message, so it is wise to use words that people understand readily.   If you think using code words, acronyms, or technical terms makes you look more credible, you are mistaken.

As for “text-ese,” I understand that it developed so you could write a quick message without the need to type every entire word into your palm-sized gadget.  The concern I have is that texting has become the only way many adults and children communicate in writing. I wonder, how many children will never fully develop their verbal and written skills and how many adults will lose theirs?

A good friend send me a clever questionnaire from “The Atlantic”  Magazine.  It is pretty clever and it can give you some insight about your use of language and the type of person that you are!

Quiz: What Kind of Office Speak Dominates Your Brain? – Atlantic Mobile

Its a fun midweek this to do!

Son of a Postman

 

 

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Published May 6, 2014 by

Happy, Pharrell Williams, Your Mantra

Since I wrote about “mean” yesterday, it is appropriate that today I focus on “happy.”

You may be practically deaf or a recluse if you have not heard the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.  I find both Pharrell and the song very inspiring.  Pharrell Williams is a long time producer who has an impressive and heartwarming attitude about success, talent, luck, and supporting others.  The song has all kinds of uplifting lyrics about simply being happy.  My favorite line is “Clap Along If You Feel Like a Room Without A Roof.”

I haven’t always felt like my life has been a “room without a roof” but I definitely feel like that now.  Life is now full of endless possibilities.  I have found ways to make people laugh, get inspired, get new jobs, while I explore all sorts of new things.  I do all of this without the constraints of corporate chains or endless meetings.  I am free to do this with whomever, whenever, and however I chose.   I am very grateful for this luxury.

What is particularly great is the immediate feedback from those who consume whatever it is I have on offer.   Those I help, make laugh, connect, or those I try to help better themselves are very direct with their feedback.   They let me know if they appreciate my advice, like what I have written, or appreciate the opportunities I present for them to consider.  I no longer have to wait for some august committee or entitled boss to validate my contribution.  Immediate gratification (or ridicule) and direct feedback are wonderful things.   It all makes me Happy!

The place I get the most immediate and honest feedback is from the NYC High School kids that I am coaching to perfect their interviewing skills.  They tell me about themselves and I filter their honesty so that what they say to others might increase their chances of getting a job or getting into a desired school.  At the end of our work together, each student gets a list of finely tailored talking points that are answers to typical interview questions.

What I love about this work is hearing each student read aloud my written translation of what they have told me about themselves. For them it is like reading their own biography for the first time. The kids smile, some get chocked up, and some shed a few tears. They all seem to think it is pretty cool. Many say, “you really make me sound great.” How can this not make anyone HAPPY?

Last week a young woman came to see me for the first time.  I mentioned to her that she must be a happy person because I had just finished working with her two very happy best girlfriends.  Her response, ” Happy?  No reason not to be!”

As Pharrell would say “Clap Along If You Know What Happiness Is To You”

Son of a Postman

 

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Published May 5, 2014 by

Losing My Rhythm, Commitments, Why Be Mean?


It has been a few weeks since I have posted to this blog.  It has tortured me most days.  I had this sense of performance anxiety.  I feel a strong allegiance to my readers.  This feeling is not dissimilar to the commitment and responsibility that I felt towards those I managed for so many years.  It is a commitment I continue to have to helping so many who call me for advice.

Call me crazy or idealistic or just plain stupid, but being loyal and supportive has always felt right to me.  If you read my book or know anything about me, you know that I believe that your best leadership triumphs and your most profitable business successes come from managing from the bottom up, being available, and nurturing those who work for you.

Lately, I have also heard lots of stories about leaders and managers just being mean.  What is that about?  What does that accomplish?  Mean may get you some short term results but is it worth it to make people feel bad?  Is the mean and nasty leader truly happy?  I saw this often and I never understood it.   The best is when these meanies are perfectly pleasant to those above them?   PAUSE!

I actually thought about discontinuing this blog but I see now that perhaps I have lots more to say!  I am already feeling better just writing this short post.  It has energized me to tell more stories, share others great insights, and get back on my bike (or pedestal) and tell you what I think might help you be a better teacher, parent, coach, or manager.

I am just back from a Yoga retreat and breathing deeply. Namaste.

Son of a Postman

 

 

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Published April 20, 2014 by

Being Appreciated, Being Heard, And Getting Paid!

 

The above cartoon was in a recent issue of “The New Yorker” magazine and I found it both amusing and very important.  The caption reads “I’m working harder than I ever have, but all I get our of it is larger and larger paychecks.”   Amen!   I have been saying things like this for years.  Others have been saying it as well but most people roll their eyes and don’t pay attention………until they lose their most productive team members for issues other than what they get paid. 

I have often discussed how important it is “pay” careful attention to your best performers.   Reality is that regardless of what you pay them, if  they don’t feel the love or clearly understand their future potential, they will show up one day and say goodbye.   So many times I was told by superiors that I should tell an unhappy employee to refrain from complaining because “surely they will get paid.”

My friend “TED” had a good talk on this topic as well.  The title is  “What makes us feel good about our work.”  by Dan Ariely.   “Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn’t just money. But it’s not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose.”

Read, Watch, Listen, Learn

Son of a Person

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Published April 13, 2014 by

Obamacare Succession, Your Fungible Skills, Where To Get Them!

                               

In the US this week, there was new person named to run the part of the US Government that is responsible for the much maligned healthcare plan known as “Obamacare.”  I won’t get int any of the details but I wanted to note one thing I kept hearing about the woman who assumed the leadership role.

Some stories mentioned that the new leader had little health care experience. Of course opposing political types wanted to use this change of management as another opportunity to bash the whole plan.  Every story I read, and every story I heard mentioned that the new leader had very strong and proven management skills.  People cited how she (Sylvia Matthews Burwell) was a great leader and problem solver.

This got me thinking to how I have thought I have always been pretty good an fixing things and managing people.  When I decided to explore new work and career options after many years in a single industry, many told me that my skills would be easily transferable to whatever work I might choose.  So far, I think they were correct.

There are many many people that are super super good at doing one thing.  Its probably a good idea to diversify your expertise when you can so as to prevent limiting future opportunities.

I think you know what my recommendation would be and where I would suggest you would get such useful advice!

Son of a Postman

 

 

 

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Published April 8, 2014 by

Odd Expression, Says Lots, More Leaning In Needed

Last week a friend told me that he had to “babysit his kids.”  I had heard this same expression several years ago from a male colleague.  It didn’t sit well with me then, and it doesnt feel right to me now.  The first time I heard this it was spoken by someone from “the South” so I sort of dismissed it as leftover backwater southern stupidity.  This time I heard it from a male with global sensibilities, well traveled, well read, and a wife that equals him in her career achievements.

Isn’t babysitting something that you hire someone to do?  You ask your mother or your in-laws to help out occasionally?  Aren’t both parents responsible for the care, feeding, and mentoring of their children?  Is the mother who is the default child minder while the father is a stand in when the mother is busy elsewhere?   Really?

It just not right!  Didn’t Sheryl Sandberg tell us that in order for women to succeed in workplace there needs to be an equal partnership with shared responsibilities for everything?  If men still think that “babysitting” their own kids is something out of their expected purview, perhaps women need to “Lean In” a little harder.

Son Of A Postman

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