Showing posts from November, 2019

Challenging Societies Stereotypes

Stereotypes bug me. As a society we tend to be lazy when it comes to understanding people as individuals. We put labels on people based on age, generation, race, sex, class, or political stance. Sure it is easier to think in generalizations, but do we even know where these generalizations come from? Simple, they are taught to us. They are handed down, spoken from person-to-person. Often as whispers, but too often they are shouts in propaganda from media disguised as news or from anonymous social media posts. Stereotypes are not naturally occurring, they are a man-made problem we need to teach our children about. We need to come up with new stereotypes. Rather than the way society causes us to often group people, lets come up with our own new stereotypes. Lets start labeling people as hard working, creative, problem solvers or free thinkers. I guarantee that you can find people that are hard workers regardless of their age, race, or gender. You can find examples of every combination

Having The Hard Conversations

Too often I see managers, or people in a leadership position, avoid having a hard conversation. I get it, it is hard to be the person to tell someone they aren't performing or behaving in way they should be. When you finally do address the problem, did you do it in a way that was clear to the person? Do they really understand what they need to be doing differently? If you feel like you've had the conversation with someone multiple times and it seems like they still aren't getting it, the problem isn't with them, it is with you. You might think you've had the conversation, but you aren't clearly communicating it. The longer you let things go the more difficult the conversation becomes. If there is a problem, deal with it. If you have a water leak in your house, the earlier you address it the less damage you actually have to deal with. You can mop up the excess water, run a de-humidifier and maybe not have to spend a dime. But ignore it, hope it goes away or h

What I've Learned Working Remotely

For years I've known about the concept of working remotely and had even managed people who worked remote in the early 2000's. I thought it was a great option, but not anything I would enjoy. I felt like I knew myself, I liked being in an office environment and the social aspect that comes with it. Turns out I was wrong. Five months ago, exactly, I accepted a new position working remote. It hasn't been near the obstacle to overcome as I thought it would be. Sure there are things I miss about being in the office, but there are some benefits as well. What I've learned five months in: I was prepared for it because I have spent the better part of my career working with people not in the same building as me. Even when I worked in an office I spent as much time on the phone or in chats as I do now. Just because you are not in the office doesn't mean you can't feel like any other member of the team. Technology today is amazing. The tools allow you to interact with

Robots And Artificial Intelligence - They Can't Replace Everything

A story you are starting to hear more about is the rise of robotics and artificial intelligence or AI. This isn't about Skynet or the Matrix, but some people see it as catastrophic of a change. The narrative in the media makes it feel like this is the end of civilization as we know it. There is a fear it is going to destroy a lot of jobs out there. It is true, it will destroy a lot of jobs. But you don't often hear about all of the facts that are a part of it. It will end up creating more jobs than it will eliminate. All of the technology and manufacturing that is needed will end up creating more jobs than it eliminates. Our country and society has a history of destroying and creating jobs. Look at farming, around 1800 farmers comprised 85% of the workforce. Today that number is 2.6%. All of those jobs were destroyed and replaced by something else. Every month jobs are destroyed but new jobs, between 10-20% more than those that are destroyed are created. Not everything can

Learning Curves, New Jobs, And Knowing When It Will Make Sense

One concept I have discovered in my career are plateaus of effectiveness when you start a new job. I have started enough new roles in my career as well as hiring and working with new people enough that I've seen these natural leaps people make in taking on something new. At 30 days, 90 days and 1 year any person will have a deeper understanding of what the job entails and take what feels like a monumental leap forward. When you analyze it there is an amazing feeling that happens where you legitimately feel things start to click in a way they hadn't before. I've been thinking about this because I'm a little over 4 months into my new role. When I think about how much more I can get done right now in comparison to where I was just a couple of months ago it is pretty crazy. I think just knowing there are these plateaus and breakthroughs that occur is helpful. It is okay the first couple of weeks it feels like you are drinking from a fire hose, you know it only lasts a m

You Are Who You Associate With

Who you are as a person is primarily a product of the people you choose to associate with. If you spend most of your time with high character people, they are going to have a positive affect on you. Just like in the reverse when you choose people of questionable character it can lead you down the wrong path. We've all known people who have made bad choices and we say, "They just fell in with the wrong crowd." I'm sure there is some parenting guide somewhere that says we are supposed to let our kids make their own mistakes, and we can't tell them who they should be friends with. I obviously have never read it because I have no problem sharing my opinion with them. I've never had to tell them they have to stop being friends with someone, but we talk and I openly share with them who I think are good friends and who I'm okay with them not spending time with because I don't think they are a very nice person. Can we do that with ourselves or with our fri