One Small Step . . .

This weekend one of my heroes passed away – Neil Armstrong.  Maybe because he was a farm boy from Northwest Ohio, or because he was proud to be “nerdy,” or because he was humble and genuine.

I vividly remember being in my Grandfather’s house in tiny Luckey, Ohio with my aunts, uncles and cousins crowded around the TV as Walter Cronkite reported the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon.  When Armstrong actually came out onto the ladder and began moving toward the surface of the moon, there was awe and silence in the house.  After he uttered his immortal words and stepped onto the moon, my Grandfather – the epitome of the hard working farmer – just kept saying, ” I’ll be damned.  I’ll be damned.”  The general disbelief of what we all just saw was burnt into our lives forever.

If you’ve ever seen interviews with Armstrong after this life- changing event, he remained unassuming, thoughtful and curious.  He wanted to see people continue to stretch boundaries, just as he had.  The Armstrongs live about 30 minutes from my current house just outside Cincinnati.  So, this legend, was living a regular life and that is a great example !!

When he said “One small step,” he inspired a nation.  It makes you think.  What could I do if I took one small step?  So often, in our lives, and especially at work, we think that change has to occur in giant chunks, or earth-shattering movements.  In reality, it only takes those small, incremental steps.

What are some steps you could take in HR to be this type of “explorer”?  Could you make sure to say “Hi” to ALL of your employees (and not just the ones you’re comfortable with)?  Could you challenge something that needs to be corrected, but no one will step forward?  Would you join a local HR chapter, go to a regional or State Conference to meet other HR folks?

The questions and efforts are all within our reach.  This week, find your Neil Armstrong moment and take one small step forward in some area of your life.  Who knows – it might end up being something that is a “giant leap for all mankind” !!

Image courtesy of NASA

Savor Every Moment !!

I am digging that the Olympics are on !!  I’ve loved watching both the Summer and Winter Games since 1972.  The thing that is unfortunate, to me, this year is that people on Social Media are raking NBC over the coals because our “instant society” has results before the athlete even completes an event.

On top of that, people are scathing about how the network is slower than we can post, blog or tweet.  In doing this, I think they take away the performance of the athletes, the compelling human drama and the visual appeal of watching the event unfold.  I never look for the results, and if I happen to see one, I still watch the event with anticipation.

You may say this is naive or old fashioned, but I think it calls to mind an imbalance in life that social media has afforded us.  Let me share two quick stories . . .

On Friday, I went to the retirement dinner of my 70 year old Dad.  He had worked for the Mid-Ohio Energy Cooperative as the Accountant. His career for the last 22 years was for a small company in a rural town in Ohio.  It was spectacular !!  They told stories about my Dad and his “Donisms” which brought the room to tears with laughter.  When my Dad spoke, he got a bit choked up thanking the company for the ability to earn a good wage with benefits.  He pointed to his family and said, “Look how much you have provided for me so that I am blessed to have provided for my family.”  Amazing !!

Tonight we had a cookout with four close girls basketball families and their Coach (w/ family) one last time before the girls head to college.  We laughed, reminisced and enjoyed our company one last time as a tight knit group.  We vowed to meet every Christmas break and summer to make sure we stayed in touch as a group.  Phenomenal !!

When it comes to HR, we are tending to be more like the instant world of Social Media versus the picture above called “Holding a Piece of Time.”  We rush to immediate action and/or judgement without taking in all aspects of what is involved.  We think the “stories” that surround us honestly get in the way of our real jobs.

This week try something new !!  Savor the moments around you.  Take in everything and see that, more often than not, great things are happening.  You can still take in all of the events, enjoy the movement and come to great decisions.  In fact, your results will be spectacular.  Don’t rush . . . savor !!

 

Knowing Others . . . On Purpose !!

I’m about to disconnect for the next week as I head with my son and Troop 941 to Summer Camp.  It’s one of the best things I do each year !!  It allows me to take in nature, be around great kids/adults and meet others that I never would have known before !!

It made me think of something that has been happening more and more often.  I LOVE networking with folks !!  I have this huge capacity to try to connect with as many people as humanly possible.  That’s just how God wired me.

I do this a bit differently than I’ve seen others lately doing somethings I’d love to see change.  I wanted to encourage each of you who are kind enough to read this blog to try something when it comes to this “networking” thing . . . be intentional !!

I get a ton of Linked In requests each week.  It’s cool because, like I said, I love connecting with people.  However, most of the requests I get use the standard line from the platform.  It says that we’re “friends” even though we’ve never met, and there’s no reason given why someone wants to connect.  I find this intriguing !!

I always send a note giving a reason for someone to consider if they want to accept, if they want to connect, or why we should try to do this !!  I do this on purpose because if you’re willing to be a connection, then you need to know that you just entered into a relationship that will be fully intentional.

Valuing people and what they bring to relationships is missing these days.  Some people spend time “collecting” others to beef up their social media numbers thinking that volume gives them more credibility or a voice.  Odd.

Now, I’m connected to literally 1,000’s of people.  Here’s what’s different.  I do my best to reach out to folks and drop them a line, give them a surprise call, note what’s happening to them through Facebook, Twitter, Linked In etc.  These platforms can be used to truly connect people, but they are just a gateway.  The next step is up to you !!

So, I plan to keep connecting and meeting folks everywhere I can.  I hope that they want to reciprocate and be intentional as well.  When that happens, then you can see amazing things occur.  It also allows you to be sincere in making your connections link with others.

This week . . . let’s make “different” the norm.  Be intentional !!  You’ll love it !!

The Inner Sanctum !!

One observation I’ve had about HR professionals is that they have historically been very isolated both professionally and personally.  This has to be either by choice or by design within organizations.  This observation continues to be affirmed when I attend conferences of any size.  HR people seem astonished that others would intentionally like to be connected to them.

Something I’ve been trying at my work, and toying with in general is this philosophy – Model the behavior you expect in others.

To that end, I’d like to talk to you about the Inner Sanctum !! (cue scary theme music)  What I mean by this is that I have a tight knit group of HR professionals who make up my personal inner sanctum.   This isn’t a “Personal Board of Directors” as you may have seen in other blogs.  There is something more substantial to this group.   They have some incredible shared characteristics that I think are essential for this to work.  They are:

  • They all challenge me in some way !! – These are boundary stretching folks and I need that in order to not remain stagnate myself.
  • They are willing to be candid !! – They speak their minds openly both positively or critically. They aren’t afraid to address my blind spots.
  • They are consistent !! – Each of them is incredibly consistent while remaining creative and unpredictable. They each have strengths that I learn from.
  • They are all genuine !! – Something I cherish in others is to be “who you are.” These folks don’t have pretense and don’t support it in others.
  • They are all my friends !! – I mean that. We talk about all things in our lives. Families, work, faith, ups, downs, etc. All subjects are regularly discussed.

Without this group of people to gird me in what I do in HR and business, I would be less effective. It’s just a fact.  I think that having folks you can count on is a professional differentiator.  This isn’t networking or being in a clique.  It’s intentional, fascinating and exhilarating !!

This week step out.  Start looking at who would make up your Inner Sanctum and then pursue it.  If you choose to do this, you’ll see a marked difference in how HR looks, feels and acts !!  I hope you do it and let me know if you do !!