I used to hang pictures

I recently moved into a newly constructed office at my firm and it’s barren. My colleagues have been ragging on me to get some pictures on the wall. Being a card-carrying procrastinator (somewhere in Chicago my spouse is nodding her head in violent agreement), and, okay, being a guy, it took me a while to start decorating. I took my first step today by bringing in two pictures to hang on the wall.

I was sharing this story with a friend from my corporate days. She remembered a time, as I do, when you would ‘move’ into your new office. You would bring a box, or boxes, of trinkets and artifacts that highlighted your career. Awards, mementos, more paperweights than I care to remember and, most importantly, pictures would be unpacked and ceremoniously placed in just the right space in your office of cubicle. This was your new home, a place to call your own until the next assignment.

I was at a client’s office a few weeks ago and I noticed how stark it was. A few books adorned the book case and a Wisconsin flag was taped to the wall. But there were no pictures on the wall. No warmth. Just an office, with a sobering appearance that reminded one that this was a place of transition for the individual until the next job. Or until someone tapped him on the shoulder.

I think it was better we used to hang pictures.


How The Twig Is Bent

One of the consistent themes of my ‘Best Boss’ project is that our greatest boss experiences often happen during the early stages of our careers. A couple of my colleagues at Vantage Leadership Consulting, Rich McGourty and Catherine Savage, recently wrote an interesting post on our company blog. It’s entitled ‘How The Twig Is Bent’ and discusses the importance of great leadership during the formative years of our careers. I encourage you to check it out. http://bit.ly/15WXUCA

Great Leadership Builds Great Culture Leads To Success

This NY Times highlights an example from Quicken Loans that displays the connection between a great top leader who builds a great culture that drives business success. I have a friend who works at Quicken Loans and say its a great place to work. Not surprisingly, they invest heavily in leadership development.

I like this quote from the article: “What Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Emerson have done is create a set of expectations as well as a sense of community and mission. Employees at Quicken Loans have it hammered into them: care about the customer, sweat every detail, improvise when you need to, always deliver”.

Cool stuff. Check out the article: http://nyti.ms/13zMKUe

It’s Okay To Live With Your Employer, Just Don’t Marry Them

Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune writes a great column entitled “I Just Work Here’, where he humorously reflects, shares stories and information about the intersection of work, careers and corporate life. His latest column (April 29 Chicago Tribune – http://shar.es/l9QCH) posed the question of returning to work for a company that had previously let you go. Hmmm. Good question. Later Rex gives us more to think about when he points out that much our work life is similar to dating. And, as dating has changed over the past several years so has our relationship with our employers. From this, I recommend that you “move in” with your employer but think very seriously before deciding to marry them.

Organizational Change and Executive Communication

Most organizations these days are in the throes of change which means their leaders are charged with driving it. Successful change leadership starts with the ability of senior leaders to broadly communicate with clarity, conciseness and compassion. It’s this last component, compassion, that too often falls short in executive communication about change. And when I refer to compassion, I am talking about a balanced message that doesn’t just focus on the needs of the organization but equally takes into account the impact on the individual employee. Many leaders can artfully communicate the change requirement from the company point of view. Too often these leaders miss the opportunity to make this message personal to the receiver of the information. When they do this, a great opportunity to make a connection that will drive change missed.

A friend just sent me a memo from his company’s new CEO. (This is the actual memo with some changes made to keep things anonymous). It was the CEO’s first opportunity to address the global employee workforce. His ability to create a ‘personal needs’ connection could well be the difference between success and failure, both for him, the company and its employees.

On a scale of 1-10, how well do you think he did in addressing change in relation to the company’s needs? Conversely, how well did he do in addressing change and the impact on the employee needs? Continue reading