Blog Posts

10 Questions Managers Should Ask In One-On-One Meetings With Their Employees.

Over the last year, I asked and surveyed several thousand managers what questions were most meaningful to ask in one-on-one meetings with their direct reports.  Here are the results . . .     1. Is there anything new we should start doing as a team? This question is a great way to open a dialogue on what your employees want to start doing, but also will lead to learning what you should stop and start doing as their manager.  Using “as a team” depersonalizes the question and makes it more likely that the employee will share their personal preferences.   ...

Everyone Has Gone Back To The Office. Except You.

What if you are one of the few employees who have chosen to stay remote?  How do you stay relevant, engaged, and productive?   As offices around the world reopen, myriad organizations are planning for a hybrid workplace.  Some employees will head back to the office, while others will work remotely, and still others will combine the two.   For those who are fortunate enough to choose, it could be a very sweet arrangement.  You get a work/life balance that compliments your personal life, rather than having work dominate your time and family life.  With that ...

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

Team Members cannot be expected to excel in their roles and responsibilities without proper guidance and knowledge. It has been said the strongest relationships are built on a foundation of communication.  As such, it should come as no surprise that myriad Research Institutes, including one of the three companies I founded, have found a strong positive correlation between communication and employee engagement. When managers establish a culture of open and honest dialogue among their team members, the percentage of Actively Engaged individuals rises.  Since engagement is overwhelmingly linked to positive business outcomes, it is important to utilize the ...

Oh, The Joys Of Getting Older!

About 2 ½ months ago, well ahead of No-Shave November, I decided to put away my razor.  I wasn’t really going out that much, so I wasn’t really being seen or noticed by others. I was completely unaware of what my first beard would look like, and as such, was a bit surprised when most of the beard came in grey. I was fine with that until two nights ago when I went out to a local restaurant for dinner.  About halfway through my meal, a Mother and her five-year-old daughter sat down at a table nearby.  ...

What is “Quiet Quitting?” – Understanding The New Viral Term.

First, there was the “great resignation.”  But now, there is a new workplace trend rapidly spreading across the country:  quiet quitting.  In fact, the term is going viral on social media, particularly on Tik Tok, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Quiet quitting isn’t necessarily about resigning from your job altogether.  Instead, it is simply about just doing the bare minimum amount of work in your job.  Other related definitions of quiet quitting include: Just doing enough to get by and placing a pause on the idea of going above and beyond.  Managers are recognizing that employees are ...

The 12 Toughest Interview Questions (And How To Best Answer Them)

Acing a job interview often depends on great preparation for all types of questions, especially awkward or inappropriate ones about your family, personal lifestyle, current salary, and other off-color subjects.   Despite the great effort by most employers to promote Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), inclusiveness, and bias elimination, some inappropriate queries can arise during recruitment.  As such, I thought it would be helpful to you, your managers, and your team members to have an outline of some of the worst or toughest interview questions, as well as how best to answer them.   Question #1.  What is your ...

How To Attract & Keep Readers

The global pandemic changed how companies must function. Today, more than ever, the best companies are guided by leaders who promise and deliver an outstanding experience for their entire team. They put their employees first and understand that customers and revenue will follow. And so it is with the best books. The best books are those created by authors who focus on delivering a great reading experience trusting the revenues, word of mouth marketing, and the next book deal will follow. I've learned a great deal in my professional career, much of it during my time leading HR Solutions International, ...

The 7 Benefits Of Practicing Optimism

There is insurmountable evidence that being optimistic about life has many benefits, not just for your mental health, but also for your physical well-being.  Countless research studies have demonstrated that if one becomes more optimistic, one’s life will improve in myriad ways.  These same studies have shown that you are even more likely to live longer if you are more hopeful and positive. Among these benefits of being optimistic are:   1. Optimists Are Happier. It may seem painfully obvious that an optimist would be happier than a pessimist, but it is still worth mentioning.  Optimists are ...

A Guide For Coaching First-Time Managers

Managing a first-time manager requires a different approach than leading experienced managers.  Their management role is entirely new to them, and naturally, they are excited but also a little nervous.  After all, managing a team is a great opportunity, but one that comes with considerable responsibilities.   First off, if you are managing first-time managers, it is imperative that you realize the impact their role has on the employees they manage, as well as other non-direct report employees.  Fully 76% of employees believe their manager is the one that impacts the culture most at work.1  At ...

Promoting Connection

Promoting connection is likely not part of your organization’s mission statement, but much research has proven that your organization would benefit if connection was an integral part of your culture.  According to a recent study by Blueboard, 95% of HR Leaders agreed that human connection in the workplace is critical for talent attraction and talent retention.  Furthermore, employees wholeheartedly agreed, with 77% stating that they want to work for an organization where they feel connected to both the organization’s purpose and people. Fundamentally, humans are social creatures, and as such, are fulfilled by connection with others.  And ...

11 Common Stereotypes About Human Resources Versus Reality.

There are many stereotypes about Human Resources that give HR departments a bad rap within their organizations.  These unfair allegations often prevent people from wanting to build a career in Human Resources.   Here are some of the most common myths about Human Resources, where they might originate, and the ultimate reality or truth:   1. HR Lacks Business And Data Knowledge    The stereotype:  Numerous people claim that HR does not understand how their organization makes money, let alone know how to make data-driven decisions.  This gross misconception originates from people having a limited understanding of what ...

How To Give A Great Speech

Are you nervous before you speak in public? Sweating, shaking, panic-stricken, and fervently wishing you were anywhere else in the world but here? You are not alone.  Countless people all over the world share this same fear.  I even know extremely talented people who avoid public speaking opportunities simply because they do not want to experience the sheer anxiety leading up to the event. The official name of this fear is glossophobia.  I call it “throw-up nervous,” because so many people do just that because of that aforementioned fear, misery, and anxiety.  In fact, 77% of ...

Need A Little Motivation? 10 Great Career Quotes To Inspire You.

Sometimes you reach a point in your career where you need a little extra motivation.  You might feel stuck in a rut, nervous about completing new job tasks, concerned about your job security, or just feeling a little lost. To provide inspiration for when you need it most, here are 10 quotes from entrepreneurs, athletes, intellectuals, artists, and visionaries to motivate you – no matter where you are in your career.   1. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you have not found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle....

11 Japanese Idioms And Proverbs That Illuminate Truths.

Every culture has its own unique idioms and proverbs and many can be taken to heart about that culture’s customs, beliefs, and ways of being.  An idiom is a turn of a phrase that utilizes a figure of speech to make an exact point (e.g.  “They really rubbed me the wrong way”), while a proverb is a brief and pithy saying that points to a rudimentary piece of advice (e.g.  “Don’t cry over spilled milk”). The Japanese culture contains some very colorful idioms thought to be conveyed by deities through oracles.  It also has ...

Here is a Celtic blessing to wish you and your loved ones a great day.

May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.   Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!   Sláinte!!! ...

The Ultimate Irony: Putin’s Grand Underestimation Of Ukraine And Its People.

Putin had the arrogant feeling that he could snuff out the character of Ukraine and its people.  The palpable irony is that Putin’s cowardly invasion of Ukraine has had the opposite effect, illuminating the resilience, strength, and pride of the Ukrainian people.  Moreover, Putin assumed his massive army would quickly roll over the Ukrainian forces.  Again, Putin was grossly mistaken and now finds himself and his military stuck, facing a fierce and wonderfully stubborn Ukrainian defense. I’ve always believed that, in the end, bullies eventually get what they deserve.  Putin has and will. The great ...

What to do to prevent being hacked or after your computer has been hacked.

Last week was not only interesting, but probably one of the worst weeks of my life. My computer was on at my desk while I was eating lunch and watching the news on TV.  Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that the cursor on my computer began moving around the computer screen, despite the fact that I was nowhere near the keyboard.  I immediately knew that somehow, I had been hacked, not initially knowing how sophisticated this hacker was.  Lesson one:  should you experience anything like this, immediately shut your computer off, which ...

Lather Up! This Week Is National Handwashing Week.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), handwashing is one of the most effective means of preventing deadly infectious diseases.  Simply put, handwashing saves lives.  As such, let’s celebrate the importance of handwashing this week. It has been repeatedly proven that correct handwashing not only reduces the spread of flu, colds, and infectious diarrhea, but also eliminates the spread of antibiotic-resistant germs and very serious potentially life-threatening diseases like hepatitis, tuberculosis, and respiratory infections.  The reason is that most germs are transmitted through hand-to-hand contact.  Sadly, here is how it works: A sick person sneezes, ...

We’ll See Beauty All Around Us, Only If We Look For It

Stop and smell the flowers.  Take the time to appreciate the wonderful and diverse wildlife.  Doing these things will help you live life to the fullest. I live on a lagoon here in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.  The circumference of the lagoon is exactly ½ mile long which makes it easy to know how far I walk each day.  Yesterday I walked a total of 8 miles while taking in the awesome flora and fauna. The cormorant in the first photo gave me a flashback to one of my greatest overseas travel memories.  I was ...

Let’s Ban Bias And Prejudice

Several weeks ago, I had the honor of delivering a Keynote Speech at a Human Resources conference in Huntsville, Alabama, somewhere I had never been.   Prior to the event, I interacted with several of the other speakers for the event.  Sadly, two of them began making fun of us going to rural Alabama, claiming that we would be meeting and presenting to “a bunch of rednecks and hillbillies.”  I found this prejudgment incredibly unfair and unjust.  The rest of this story is both highly ironic and full of Karma. Upon arriving in Huntsville, banner signs ...

Illinois Meets Florida: Discovering A New Hobson’s Choice

Definition of Hobson's choice 1: an apparently free choice when there is no real alternative 2: the necessity of accepting one of two or more equally objectionable alternatives   Since moving to Florida, I quickly learned that parking your car under a tree helps prevent unbearable heat in the car since the tree provides natural shade.  Unfortunately, most of these Florida trees are full of birds that drop you-know-what on your car.  This presents a true Hobson’s Choice:  do I accept a much hotter car interior or bird crap on my car?   The origin for this interesting ...

Illinois Meets Florida

I am still adjusting to my new environment here in Florida.  As such, something very funny happened the other day, illuminating the fact that I am still acclimating to my new place and climate. Every day, I go for walks around the lagoon my place looks out on.  On any given walk, I see 40-50 little lizards that scurry across the sidewalk in front of me.  One day, when returning to my air-conditioned townhome, I saw one of these creatures race across my living room floor.  Moving to my hands and knees, I cluelessly tried to ...

Learning To Have Fun With Change

"Every day the clock resets. Your wins don't matter. Your failures don't matter. Don't stress on what was, fight for what could be."  -Sean Higgins I turned 61-years-old on October 4th. I fielded and appreciated myriad “Happy Birthday” phone messages, emails, Facebook posts, etc. throughout the day. At 5 p.m., I suddenly realized that I had not yet heard from someone who was largely responsible for bringing me into this world, my Mom. So I sent her a message: “Hi Mom. Does 10/4 ring any bells with you?” She immediately recognized she had forgotten it ...

Invariably, Mistakes Will Be Made: The Three Key Tips For Great Customer Service Recovery.

I recently moved from Illinois to Florida.  No one likes a move.  As such, you want to make sure you hire the right Moving/Van Line company.  If you don’t, your move will quickly go from bad to unbearable.  Unfortunately, I did not and had an absolutely horrific experience with Bekins/Boyer-Rosene Moving & Storage, Inc. and will never hire them again. Here is what went wrong and an outline of my terrible experience with Bekins: The representative who sold me their services (Dean) was very prompt in returning my messages during the sales process, and all ...

7 Ways To Manage A Talent Shortage

Are you ready to handle the current job surge?  Nearly half of the 22 million jobs that were eliminated in the early months of the pandemic have been recovered.1 A combination of the financial stimulus, the quick roll-out of vaccines, and increasingly positive jobs reports have caused hiring to be on the rise.  Thus, competition for talent has grown extremely intense.  In fact, 42% of companies report that they have job openings that they cannot fill.1 In addition, a 2021 Federal Census Survey reported that 6 million people did not seek work because of childcare ...