Bring Me a Rock

My husband has a great analogy for ineffective communication that goes like this:  It’s like when they say, “Bring me a rock”. You go outside, grab the first rock you see, and take it to them. They say “No, we need a different rock.” You go back outside, grab a different rock, take it back, and they say “No, not that rock. It needs to be gray.” And so on and so forth until you eventually figure out that they wanted a big, round, gray rock from the bottom of the Mississippi River. How were you supposed to know that?

Are You (or Someone You Know) a Jerk at Work?

coworkers

We’re fortunate to work with hundreds of different people across industries and state lines, and we learn something new with each project and grow personally from every relationship. We also hear many, many stories about bad managers and toxic coworkers. Back in 2019, Lorrie addressed the question, Are Your Top Employees Also Your Most Toxic?.  When I’m facilitating leadership or communication training, I often get the feedback, “I think I can try these strategies and behaviors with most of my coworkers, but what do I do with someone who is just a jerk?”. If we have the opportunity for more

Negotiation Styles and Why They Matter

Later this month I’ll be speaking at HR Florida about Negotiation Skills. We are all negotiators, even if we don’t realize it. Think for a minute. What did you do when your alarm went off this morning? Did you immediately jump out of bed or did you negotiate with yourself to allow yourself just “five more minutes?” Did your kid talk you into letting them pack cookies in their school lunch instead of a granola bar? Or did you agree to allow Jim to take the lead on the new project at work because Ally has too much on her

How to Make Personality Differences Work to Your Advantage

Hanging pictures on the wall.  Proofing documents.  Formatting presentations. Checking to make sure calculations in a spreadsheet is correct. I really dislike doing all of these types of tasks.  They all require, quite honestly, a sense of detail and accuracy and, of course, patience that doesn’t come naturally to me.  It’s not how I’m wired. My husband, on the other hand, finds satisfaction in hanging pictures on the wall, taking care to make sure they are level and perfectly spaced and aligned.  He likes to measure, just like he did with the table. And it makes me happy that he finds

Women, Stay in the Room!

I was 24, interviewing for a job in economic development, of which I knew almost nothing about. Moving because of my husband’s job prompted me to start looking in my hometown, and an indirect connection had landed my résumé on the President’s desk. Through conversations with the President, I felt like this interview was just the last step before they would hire me. The board chair was there. I knew him, but not well. He was the mayor of our town when I was growing up. I never will forget what he said to me. “You know, economic development has always been a man’s job.”

The Art and Science of the Side Hustle: How to Pursue Your Passions and Get Paid

  Written by guest blogger: Ben Eubanks, upstartHR I couldn’t sleep. It was 4:17am and I had stared at the clock for half an hour. Might as well get up and get started. I rolled out of bed with a big smile. It was my first day as the new owner of Lighthouse Research, and I felt like it was what I had always been preparing for all throughout my career. This scene played out a few months ago when I officially took over an HR technology research and advisory services firm, but I’ve been an entrepreneur for quite some

3 Performance Management Lessons from Kindergarten

Our son started kindergarten last month. We are fortunate that he has a wonderful teacher at an outstanding school. However, his behavior in kindergarten started out a little rocky. The teacher took a few weeks to teach them about what behavior was expected in class before she started notifying us as parents about their behavior at the end of each day using the color-coded system you see in this picture. After two days of yellow and then a day of orange came home, you better believe the Ward household was not a happy place.  Consequences happened, but we’ve begun to see his behavior improve.

4 Tips for Succeeding as a Woman in Male Dominated Career Field

Today’s post comes from a guest blogger, Sara Beth Wilcox.  Sara Beth is Project Manager with a large construction company. With high aspirations to be an architect, I went to Auburn University and spent a year in the program before my professors told me what I already knew: I was not a good fit.  I switched to Building Science and found immediately that it had all the things that made me want to be an Architect and was a better fit for my interests and skills in organizing and scheduling activities in a sequence to reach a finished product. As

Count Your Problems and Be Thankful

An employee of yours is late for the third time this week; you know you are going to have to have a discussion with him. Your company has had a stellar year. Now you’re worried about what size check you are going to have stroke to Uncle Sam come April 15th. A customer calls mad because their name was spelled wrong on a letter you sent to them. You realized you sent a marketing piece to print containing incorrect numbers. To top it all, your computer crashed and, ouch, you don’t have your files backed up. Leaders deal with problems

APR’s Passion + Productivity = Give Back

Guest blogger, Travis Muszynski writes: I work for a company called APR in Opelika, Alabama. Although I’ve only been with the company for about three years, it all started with a few very smart people that wanted to make parts and software for their own cars.  The parts became products and before you know it, APR was born.  From that day on, APR has gotten to where we are through hard work, late nights, attending shows and simply doing what we love. We are known for high quality performance software and hardware for Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche.  The vehicles we modify