"I guess I'll know when I get there. I'm learning to fly around the clouds."
- Tom Petty, Learning to Fly
I started a new learning experience last week - a hybrid course of online modules with group meetings and homework.
I've had some really vulnerable moments AND some really awesome "success moments" as I've begun to apply my learning.
It got me to musing about the journey people go through once they join an organization - well beyond onboarding.
You and I know it as the Employee Experience, which as you may know, is my area of passion as a Talent Management consultant and mentor.
From applying for the job
to the interview jitters
to the delight of receiving an offer letter
to the resignation letter at your current company
to the first day jitters
to being a student again as you ramp up and learn all the things
to getting into a rut for awhile
to having a conflict with a coworker or boss
to going on that game-changing course
to getting chosen for a key project...
Gertrude could see them looming in her peripheral vision.
They scared her.
She kept going - checking tasks off, attending meetings and more meetings.
Until suddenly they were too close to ignore!
What are they?
They are opportunities to make a REAL impact.
They are CRITICAL big-rock Strategic Initiatives.
Yet, too caught up in minutiae and meetings, she was never getting to them until it was too rushed to do them justice, or until they simply got pushed forward to next fiscal year.
Don’t be Gertrude.
Easy enough for me to say, right? In the end, we are all Gertrudes from time to time. I see this conundrum OFTEN in my work with Talent leaders, and sometimes even when I look in the mirror :)
Q: But how can you shift OUT of this Gertrude-like state where you are rarely/never getting to your big rocks??
A: Get yourself a THOUGHT PARTNER and some INTENTIONAL time to get your big-rock strategic Talent initiatives moving.
I had to ask for help with a heavy bag the other day. Arthritis in my hands sometimes makes it painful to pick up heavy things.
Then yesterday at my F45 gym workout, I needed to ask for help with modifying at least 3 different moves.
I don’t really like to ask for help - most of us don’t. We somehow think it’s a sign of weakness, or we don't want to imposition others.
I remember years ago when I was a teenager. One night at 11:30pm, the phone rang. I picked it up because, hey, I was a teenager and still up! My parents were long ago in bed.
It was my dad's best friend, asking that dad come and pick him up at the airport because he was stuck and there was a taxi strike or something going on.
I said to him, "well, he's asleep so he can't come to the phone or pick you up." Jack said, "it's ok, Lisa, your dad won't mind. He knows I'd do it for him."
Sure enough, I knocked on the bedroom door and told dad his friend was on the phone. He was on his way to the...
Have you ever held off on speaking up at an important meeting?
You know, the type of meeting when you might have held back or gone silent in the company of senior stakeholders who don’t appear to value what you bring to the table because you’re a cost centre not a revenue generator or because you are “just HR?”
Unfortunately, our fear of being judged not important enough can cause us to edit ourselves and to suppress our own voices.
The irony is that by holding back, we are buying into the perceived judgement that we ARE less important, irrelevant or not worthy of being heard.
What if those senior stakeholders simply don’t KNOW what current and compelling data and experience your opinions are based on?
Or maybe they have valid views and concerns that you COULD address successfully?
What if you gave them - and yourself - the benefit of the doubt?
How might you approach these same people and situations...
I’ve often thought or said: "I don’t like to ask for help."
Yet I remember being in Grade 11.
I was 16 and struggling with Physics. It just didn’t make obvious sense to my creative, language-loving brain.
So I did a surprising thing. I hired a tutor! All on my own power.
I went to the school office, asked for some names, and phoned around.
On a corded phone, natch!
Then I drove myself to that tutor’s house every week in my mom’s Pinto (!) to get help.
Something important was at stake.
Something = Good Results.
I was not prepared to fail simply because I hadn’t done everything I could.
What is important for your this year? What's at stake if you don't make progress with it?
Where do you need support? Who can you ask for help?
Set yourself for success and a new kind of momentum by...
A while back, a client told me she was feeling really STUCK. She felt restless yet unable to move forward.
She knew she needed to make some changes with her team at work, and while she kept making task lists to make the reorg happen, she never managed to check anything off.
What was going on?
Well, coupled with a truly heavy workload, she was stuck in FEAR!
She hadn’t given herself the space to figure out what exactly was worrying her. When she did, she recognized that she was petrified of the things that could go wrong.
So I asked her:
What are the reasons you decided you needed to restructure your team in the first place?
How would that change serve you and others?
It was like a flood gate opened. She immediately listed off all kinds of rational and compelling benefits.
She had been here before, staring at a list...
Ever realize at 7pm that you forgot to take the chicken out to thaw, you need to get your kid to Tae Kwon Do, and then you think “WOW did I even eat lunch today?”
Ever wish desperately for more hours in the day?
Ever hold off on washroom breaks because your meetings are ALL back to back?
But you don't need MORE time.
You need more INTENTIONAL time.
You need to let go of the excuses and commit to yourself.
This is the year to get the support, community and mentorship you need.
You deserve dedicated focus time.
You deserve white space on your calendar.
You deserve a community of thoughtful peers and mentors.
You deserve to be part of The Talent Trust, our 6-month program EXCLUSIVELY for Talent leaders who are ready for unparalleled and meaningful peer support, mentoring, inspiration and results.
Organizations move fast. It can be so easy to get swept up in what I call the VORTEX, the place where less than 20% of your time is...
I remember back when I was a senior leader in Corporate Canada. It was funny because although I spent so much time in meetings, meetings, meetings - surrounded by people all the time both online and in person - I didn’t always feel like I had an ally in the room.
Plus, as YOU well know, when you’re in HR or Talent or Learning, it can be rather wearisome at times to be told “we need you to do ALL this - meaning, work some talent performance and development magic - but with little to no money or time or resources. Always remember, you’re a cost centre, not a revenue generator. Sound good?”
Now, I’m exaggerating a bit. Sort of. I didn’t always feel that way, but there were enough times that I did - where I experienced that yucky feeling of being an island stuck somewhere between the bottom line and what employees and leaders need to truly thrive.
Back then, to counter this effect, I worked hard to...
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
This quote got me thinking about a couple of recent coaching clients.
Both were struggling with making some big decisions around career and work.
Decisions that seemed SCARY no matter which way they went.
They both wanted to choose the uncharted path, the snowy trail without footprints. And both were frozen with fear of the unknown.
One wanted to go work for a non-profit. One wanted to make the leap to entrepreneurship.
And both were plagued by self-doubt!
What if it doesn’t work out?
What if I don’t know what to do if it DOES work out?
I’ve been in this state several times over the course of my career. And each time, when I chose the path that scared me the most, it worked out for the absolute best. I tripped over some ruts for sure, even fell down a few times.
In the end, I GREW.
My clarity grew.
I took this photo of a rainbow on a road trip with my family awhile back.
It was (clearly!) pouring rain out, and the driving was stressful.
We could barely see out the windshield at times.
My mind was racing, worrying about being late, about getting in an accident - when suddenly this rainbow appeared, right in front of us!
It felt like a sign at the time - a sign to breathe and become present.
After all, disaster hadn't actually struck. The fear was just making for a really bad ride.
So I chose to step out of that worry and semi-panic, and focus on the rainbow, on the possibilities we would experience at our destination.
When was the last time you chose to reframe a situation?
It's common to feel anxious, worrying about the past or the future.
What would it mean for you to simply take a moment, breathe and check in with yourself? To look around for a rainbow? To reframe the situation so that it's no longer a problem you need to solve, but an opportunity for learning?
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