Author: Brooks Rynders

“You only get what you give”- Lessons from pop culture that can improve your daily work

“You only get what you give”- Lessons from pop culture that can improve your daily work

Ever reflect on a path not taken… i.e., if you had taken a different path from a fork in the road, where you would be now?

What about those risks on the path you’ve never taken?

For those that are Gen X’ers – remember the New Radicals song “You get what you give” – came out in 1998? (For everyone else – it’s a good song. Look it up).

The song is about taking a chance, a risk. Maybe you have just graduated from high school and are looking for the “first big move” – be it college or to work. Maybe you’re leaving college, and you’re living in the real world (and work) “Ain’t it fun” – and realizing things are not as they seemed.

Maybe you are in your 30’s and 40’s and learning what’s really important – and finding out what’s important now wasn’t on your radar 10 years ago – and you can’t imagine a life WITHOUT these important things. I went to my reunion this past weekend and found so many amazing people that were in this category… some doing a 180 degree turn from their graduation plans (myself included!).

Maybe you’ve started to believe that the ship has sailed for you – and you should just deal with what you’ve got at this point in your life.

To each group – to where you are right now – I want to tell you this. “You only get what you give”.

–       If you “give” small – if your risk is small, your reward will more than likely be small. Just like Vegas, the chances of you having a large return from taking a small risk tends to be very small.

–       If you “give” nothing – because you feel you just don’t have what it takes – jealous of someone 10 years younger for having a job you should have – looking at a friend wondering why he has the life, and you’ve been the one working harder, the chances of you having a large return is virtually zero

–       If you “give” yourself a minute – an honest one – consider this. What do you do better? Where are your skills, your talents – at work, in your department, in your organization? Where are your limits? Double down in those areas at work – spend more time being AMAZING in those areas.

So…. What do you do about it?

Go for broke. Every once in a while, challenge yourself out of the box – make yourself do it. Take your team out of their comfort zone in a way that flips the status quo upside down. Take an assumption about a weekly or monthly task or requirement and challenge the assumption itself.

Go for broke… but keep the car. It may mean taking a new job, moving to a new place, finding a new department. Don’t forget what’s important though – and know your priorities. Your priorities are yours alone – not others. Don’t covet others’ priorities for your own – because they also have baggage you probably don’t see.

Bottom line – “Don’t let go… You only get what you give”

Take a risk – make an impact – focus on your priorities in doing so. Start today. You’ll never be as young as you are now (Neil Pasricha).

Silos are for Sissies: “Job Blending” and the Work Trend your ‘experienced’ leaders hopes doesn’t catch on

Silos are for Sissies: “Job Blending” and the Work Trend your ‘experienced’ leaders hopes doesn’t catch on

How many of you have looked at a job description in the last 6 months? Hmmm… may not want to answer that if your boss is around

What are the job titles you see? Operations Analyst. HR Generalist. Marketing Coordinator. Merchandise Planner. Civil Engineer. Nurse Anesthetist. Each one has a unique job description which can include a list of job requirements, strengths, needs, KSA’s (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities) that are required to get the job done.

What DON’T the job titles tell you?

If I were to ask you to think back to a previous position – what have you done before that you wish you could do now – what tasks or goals might you say? Perhaps you enjoyed working with the customer and would like to do more of it. Or dig into the numbers and be the first one with the answers? Or simply not sitting in so many meetings? How can you do those things you enjoyed now… and would you appreciate your current job more because of it? Chances are you would.

This is called Talent EngagementGoing beyond the job description. 

Anyone can do it. I once was in operations when I learned I loved to teach (my job at the time had NOTHING to do with teaching, and very little directly involving developing others). I worked with my manager to find something he needed for his team – and found he wanted leadership development training. I created it, delivered it, got results – and became more engaged in the parts of my job I hadn’t been before.

So what is job blending?

Job blending is going between the job descriptions – NOT letting a title limit you to what you can contribute to your organization. Adding marketing to an HR job. Adding Operations to an IT job. Adding Sales to an Engineering job – atypical partners in a typical job.

The larger an organization is, in general, the more focused a title becomes, the more specific the job functions. A person that holds an accounting role for a 20,000-person company will have a very specific task list. He or she will be responsible for certain accounts, due dates, and checklists.

What if you had a little more freedom?

Ok… To be clear, I’m still saying you MUST get your job done. (It’s the #2 rule on my leadership rules). I’m saying BLEND your job. You are an accountant with an eye for organization. Why can’t you also hold a role with the operations team when they bring on a new project? You’re an IT manager but also have an eye for fashion? Blend your job so that you’re part of a contributing team on set up displays for branding in the stores.

Companies are already doing this. Small and mid-size companies can thrive because of job blending – people wearing many hats (sometimes because they want to – and sometimes not!). However, after a time, job blending gives way to structure and order. It doesn’t have to be that way – you can still have the structure and “blend” the order of your work.

Any benefits? Yes. The more you blend – the more you’re cross-pollinating a siloed workforce (on purpose or not). You’re creating diversity in ways you’ve never tried – and oh, by the way – by letting people do more of what they want – you’re going to increase Engagement and Productivity (if, of course, any of those things interest you). Also, the more you reach out with an array of projects- the more skills you develop, the more respect you’ll gain in the workplace, and when asking for that next big raise you’ll have more persuasive power. J

Google “job blending” and you’ll find very little. Job blending is scary for most “experienced” managers – those that are comfortable with status quo, do not like to think out of the box, like control and having expectations.

In the next month – I challenge you. Can you find a way to “job blend” in your workplace? What about the people on your team – have you asked them what they’d like to do – to give more to the team, and the company – but you’ve never asked?

Job Blending works. Join the trend that is out of the box – but within your reach.

#DisruptHR – What do dogs, kids & employees have in common that can help you become a better leader in 5 minutes? Find out.

Got Culture? Share your piece (of information) and receive access to exclusive info!

Got Culture? Share your piece (of information) and receive access to exclusive info!

Have you ever wondered how work cultures differ in a similar or even different industry? Does the grass seem greener on the other side? Is employee engagement more or less in a larger organization? We want to answer these questions!

We want to learn about employee engagement by focusing on work culture, asking the hard-hitting questions of what works and what doesn’t. Help us by participating in our research survey here. The survey will ask you questions about your current organizational processes and areas of improvement.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will feed into a larger response pool. Your results will remain anonymous, and those that submit and request will be the first to review the results! Participate in this survey and learn about how you can take your organization to the next level by fostering employee engagement levels and improving productivity!

See the survey for more information here.

Clean yourself up: Take the quiz – How dirty ARE you… at work?

Clean yourself up: Take the quiz – How dirty ARE you… at work?

Ok already. Get your head out of the gutter.

Or… maybe stay there. That actually may help you in this case. Have you ever thought about the dirty work you do? Last month we talked about the Employee Supply Chain: the operational processes of what YOU as an employee do every day.

But what about the crappy, dirty work that you do – every day?

What is a dirty job? If you’re a Discovery Channel binge watcher, you may say it’s like jobs that host Mike Rowe does. He goes from job to job, literally getting dirty in areas of work that many of us can only imagine – and most of the “dirty” is not simple dirt.

What would be a dirty job at your workplace? Is it the task you simply hate to do because it’s no fun or boring? It’s said that Mr. Rowe tackles the “difficult, strange, disgusting or messy” duties of the job. Is it possible that some of your own job duties in the office, or elsewhere, qualify as a “dirty job”?

Let’s take a look…. Take the “Dirty Work on the Job” © Quiz and find your score.. or check out the highlights here…

Do you have a task that is difficult?

  • It takes a long time or it requires many signatures or signoffs of people that never seem to be at their desk (or anywhere to be found, really)?

Do you have a task that is strange?

  • You’re really not 100% sure why you’re doing it or you’ve got a good hunch that you’re only doing it so someone else can ‘check off a box’ that a task is done… only for the information to sit in a drawer or an email folder, never to be seen (or used) again?

Do you have a task that is disgusting?

  • You find it annoying in some way (for example – you must work with that realllly annoying guy from the 3rd floor that has pickle breath and always turns his work in 1 hour late) or something that was not in your job description – and you’re not fully trained to do it?

Do you have a task that is messy?

  • It’s a task that you can do – but you dread doing it every time or you know there must be a better way to do this task?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you have dirty work in your job… and you are not working at your best – at your max capacity as an employee. You are being held back by the mud and gunk in YOUR Employee Supply Chain.

Now try this. Go back and take the “Dirty Work on the Job” © Quiz again – for the people that work for you. Find any dirty work there?

Chances are – you answered YES to both paragraphs above. There’s a solution.

Dirty work is a form of waste. Operations typically define waste as “something that adds no value” – it’s something that you’re doing in 15 steps when you could do them in 5 or something your customer does not get value out of you doing.

The goal is to find the ways to eliminate this waste. By doing so – you can give yourself up to 10-15% (on average) of your week BACK. Meaning – you could have almost an hour a day to do something else.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Click here to see how.

How I didn’t make it as a manager: Being the star of your own movie means you have to hit a fork in the road. Or several of them.

How I didn’t make it as a manager: Being the star of your own movie means you have to hit a fork in the road. Or several of them.

A while ago, I started training new and front line managers through a series called “How not to Suck as a manager”. Some people liked it, some thought it was inappropriate, some made me change the title so it could fit within their stated goals and objective.

I didn’t just do it for the catchy title. It’s because I was there. I have sucked as a manager. And I have learned – through people, research, breaking things, fixing them, and breaking them again – How NOT to suck as a manager.

And yet… so many people still suck at being a manager, don’t they?

Why is that?

A few years ago, I was promoted to lead a large department – over 150 people – as well as a few managers, assistants and support. The group I was in, however, was failing… for months. We couldn’t get it right, no matter how hard we worked, no matter how many hours we put in. It just wasn’t working. Complaining that our numbers were too aggressive and unrealistic wasn’t an option. We had to make due and persevere despite our misgivings.

To be truly honest, it was a dark time for me. I had started my job with VIGOROUS energy – within a few months, it was all gone. It was replaced by a bottomless abyss in my brain that made me play, “Hold On,” by KT Tunstall on my way to work – over and over – just to tell myself I could get through the day!

I hated my job. I hated failing. Over and over. I hated being yelled at. Over and over. I hated never getting it right.

So, I consolidated my precious resources and let go of the one thing that I had actually done well – taking care of my people. I focused my efforts on overcoming being yelled at – and stopped paying attention to the 150 people that depended on me for guidance, direction and motivation. I stopped caring about their needs and basically focused only on mine.

It went from bad to worse for me. Although I’ve been in a number of challenging places, including the military, deployed on the other side of the world, I hit manager, job, and leadership rock bottom.

I officially sucked as a manager.

It happens to everyone, at some point, every time. You WILL struggle at a level to get through to someone (even if you’re the best manager there is), to get a point across, to get a goal accomplished.

In times like these, I call on Mr. Thomas Edison for support: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

You can get the prize at the end –  you just have to try one more time to get it – to get past that fork in the proverbial road. Mr. Edison continues, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”

I did finally wake up and realize that I had to focus on my 10% – what I could impact? What could I influence? I went back to supporting my people and clearing the way for them to get the job done.

And you know what? They did. We were trapped in the “jungle” and found our way out. We ended up significantly stronger – as individuals and as a group – than when we started. Within 6 months, our team was out of the hole, and in less than a year, were one of the strongest departments in the country in our line of work. Several of my people were promoted out of the department (aka – stolen from us because they were so good!) and I continued on into other roles.

I never forgot that time, and the one strategy I will never carry out again. Although I had to suck as a manager to understand it, I learned and I found strength myself.

What about you? How do you “make” it as a manager? How do you not suck as a manager? Share your story and what you’ve learned here. One winner will get a $25 Amazon gift card. He hEE