Make Your Communication CUTE

Every day communication trips me up at work. People not understanding instructions because they weren't clear. Projects not getting done right because the requirements weren't detailed enough. Not getting responses to questions that are asked. These are all things that I control. Beyond that I'm also responsible for other team members, so I have to coach and help them without resorting to statements like, "Do as I say not as I do." There is always room to get better at communication.

I know I've written on the subject before, different days provide new insights to me. What I've come up with today is that communication needs to be CUTE:

Comprehensive - complete, every point is covered. Often you hear it is important to be concise. I agree, when fewer words are sufficient to get the point across. But you should never favor being concise if it isn't a complete picture.Understandable - don't use a bunch of jargon, if it is confusing them you are not co…

Why Are We So Stressed Out?

I don't remember being in school and feeling stressed. I cannot fathom having someone ask me how things were going and the response at any point being that I feel stressed out. Yet my kids have responded that way to me at different times in their life. Of course understanding what the real world is like I laugh at what they see as stress and then I worry if they are going to be able to handle it when real stress hits. I think our society has created a generation that is passing on to our children the need to be anxious about far too much in our lives.

It is easy to see why things seem so stressful. Our jobs continue to be more demanding in the always on, graying of the lines between work and home life world. Turn on any media outlet or your favorite social media destination and there is an onslaught of stories that can't help but make you sick to your stomach over what is going on in the world. We talk about stress and portray to our kids that it is normal to be stressed.

I re…

Three Steps To Changing Our World

I believe we are at an interesting time in our country and the history of our world. There are countless narratives going on now that are dividing our country. I don't want to get into a political debate, so if you are wondering what I'm talking about read any news stories that have a connection to race, religion, gender, political party, sexual orientation, nationality, class, etc. The list goes on and on when it comes to topics that people feel passionately about and argue endlessly.
As all of these things are swirling, the thought enters my mind about what I want to teach my children. As part of the next generation what will they believe and know about the discord in the world? 
Before they try to determine who is right and who is wrong, I would hope they remember these 3 things: Don't judge others - all of us are human and susceptible to our sinful nature. Even though we want to believe there are levels to how bad a sin is, there is no differentiation between any sin. …

When It Is Okay To Be Scared

A lot has been written lately about Uber's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi after he took over at the end of August. It is a fascinating look at a person coming into a role specifically to change the culture and philosophy of an organization. As I was reading, the most interesting part for me was when he announced to his former company Expedia, which he ran for over 12 years, that he was leaving to take this new role. He sent an email to his now former employees stating, "I have to tell you I am scared."

We operate in such a macho world where everyone has to put on an air of having all of the answers. Acting as if you have all of the answers even when you don't. Never to show any sign of weakness. For most people vulnerability is weakness.

Vulnerability is what is needed for teams to be successful though. To admit when you are scared, or don't have an answer shows that you trust the others on your team. If you as a leader can admit things that could be better and even a…

Garbage In - Garbage Out

Most people probably view themselves as a positive person, really the only way to know for sure is learning how others describe you. However, there is one test that you can do yourself that I feel is pretty accurate in determining how positive you are. Analyze what you consume. Is it more positive or more negative? It is so easy to get lost in social media, news, comments and forums all talking about how bad everything is. People arguing about any topic, trying to tell you how everything is broken. Take the time to analyze the things you read, keep a tally about things that are presented in a positive way versus negative. If you consume more positive than negative I'm willing to bet more people would describe you as a positive person. If you consume more negative, I'm willing to bet it is the opposite. It isn't hard to see that when you take garbage in you generally end up getting garbage out. Once you know your ratio, work on flipping it, keep the scales tipped in favor o…

Be Encouraging Every Day

If you looked up the numbers on how many positive comments a person needs to negative you will probably see numbers like 5 positive comments for every negative. I'm sure people are different and situations are different, but no matter which study you go with the fact remains that people need to hear more positive comments than we typically do. When we think about who is responsible for taking action on this we look to the managers and leaders where we work. I believe that managers have a responsibility in this area, but we would see more impact if everyone looked to how they could be more positive and encouraging to those they interact with, regardless of position or title.

I challenge everyone to get in the habit of giving 5 positive comments throughout each day to different people. This isn't about giving feedback and trying to give more positive comments than negative, this is about going out of your way to encourage someone. The only words that you speak in these emails or…

What You Want And What You Need

I came across an interesting article recently, one that I would never have sought out but it reminded me that you can find hidden gems of information and common ground if you take the time to look. The article was about amor fati, Latin for "love of fate", and apparently it is a common saying in Stoicism. The only thing I knew about Stoicism was there was some contention with the early Christian Church and Stoics of that age.

The article opens with a story about Thomas Edison losing everything in a massive fire, destroying his life's work at the age of 67. His reaction to his son as he watched the inferno, "Go get your mother and all her friends. They will never see a fire like this again." and "We got rid of a lot of rubbish." Edison didn't get angry, lament for days or cry uncontrollably in the fetal position in his home. He took the hand that he was dealt and made the best of it. By the end of the first year after the fire the company had gener…