Friday, August 29, 2014

What's THAT Got To Do With Me?!

Sometimes we say that when we just don't want to hear it...


It's no accident that we're all connected and reading this post right now. Something happened to make it possible. Wonder what it was? I think you already know. It was science, technology, engineering, and math overlaid with business growth and innovation in a global market place along with our insatiable desire to get and stay connected to each other.

Make no mistake about it - we will not stop innovating, inventing, trying to make it better, connecting ourselves all around the globe. Whatever the limits are we will shatter them until we find new limits and then we'll shatter those as well. Gone is any resemblance of a comfort zone. If you're still in one - a comfort zone I mean, then you might need an exit strategy.

What's THAT got to do with me?!

Here's what I see...

  • Everyone Must Get STEMulated
  • Social Media Has Gone Wild
  • The Rise of the Global Entrepreneur
  • Don't Forget About Millenials and Post-Millenials


Everyone Must Get STEMulated

If you're in a traditional STEM profession, you may feel a sense of comfort that you took the time to get a STEM degree. Kudos to you for getting the tough stuff done! As an Electrical Engineer from the University of Florida, I admit that I've felt a little smug from time to time at having a solid background in intricate scientific and technological concepts. Not anymore!

The dynamic shifts in social networking technologies, business, education, and globalization created a world that I didn't recognize. With a growing sense of uneasiness, I jumped into the middle of it to better understand what's happening and what I should do next. My sense of urgency is confirmed everyday by the facts. Every single profession in existence today has a STEM component to it whether we've discovered what it is or not. STEM will either help professions to grow, to transition, or to terminate.

A few more questions worth asking: Are you considering how you can STEMulate your current role by gaining new "social" skills? Is there a social technology that can help you improve productivity or revenue within your company or organization? Are there some quick courses that you can take to expand your awareness of this crazy new world of ours? How is your demographic group being impacted? Keep asking and answering questions then take action.

According to our estimate, 47 percent of the total US employment is in the high risk category, meaning that associated occupations are potentially automatable some unspecified number of years, perhaps a decade or two.

Source: Oxford Martin School - The Future of Employment (2013)


Social Media Has Gone Wild

Do you think the people on social media platforms are just playing around? I thought that too before I understood what I know now. I set up accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to go along with my then outdated (recently updated) profile on LinkedIn. I thought I could send a tweet, give a like, or make a comment and I'd be golden. Wrong!

There are significant and complex strategies in progress in the world of social media and I'm gettin' my game face on. I've learned that social media etiquette must be balanced with marketing tactics and that consistency and presence matters. I've also learned a lot about RPV, CTR, and CPC among many other valuable lessons.

RPV (revenue-per-visit) continues to shatter records (Social Intelligence Report). Whether you're on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, or any other social media platform, you undoubtedly see an increase in unique types of ad traffic designed to get your attention. Reviews of CTR (click-through-rate) or CPC (cost-per-click) provide insight to the business owner about whether a shift in strategy is warranted. According to McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), social media technologies are still mostly untapped.

These technologies, which create value by improving productivity across the value chain, could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value across the four sectors [consumer packaged goods, retail financial services, advanced manufacturing, and professional services]

The Rise of the Global Entrepreneur

In recent years, technology has made it easier than ever before to create global, scalable, and whimsical businesses with a team of virtual resources (or no resources at all) - using a few clicks and finger-tip knowledge. Of course I may be over-simplifying things quite a bit (not really), but you get the point. This seismic shift has granted access to billions of potential connections for everyone who is willing to step forward!

According to an article by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM, 2013), the number of entrepreneurs in the world approached 400 million across 54 countries in 2011! That’s right 400 million—or 5.7% of the world’s population! Keep in mind that these figures are from 3 years ago. Let’s break it down further. Of the millions of entrepreneurs, 39% are Women Entrepreneurs, 40% are Young Entrepreneurs (18—25), and 17% are Innovators, and 4% are Global Entrepreneurs.

The allure of entrepreneurship depends on geography as well as whether an economy is factor-driven, efficiency-driven, or innovation-driven. A key measurement benchmark is TEA - Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity for individuals in the process of starting a business or those running new businesses less than three and a half years old.

It's not just about the money...

The topic of well-being has been gaining presence rapidly in social sciences and economics. several economies, between 10% and 30% of a country’s labor force could be considered early-stage entrepreneurs or business owners
...Furthermore, entrepreneurs experience “procedural utility,” that the process of being an entrepreneur provides enjoyment over and above the material success of being an entrepreneur


Don't forget about Millenials and Post-Millenials

If you think competing with Millenials is tough, just wait for the Post-Millenials (or Gen-Z)! They are only a few years away. Heck - they're already here and are already competing with support from organizations like Kidworth and Junior Achievement. Kidworth aims to bring 1 million kid entrepreneurs to market. Post-Millenials are the first generation to be completely "plugged in."

I'm guiding my 10-year-old daughter towards a STEM-based education followed by entrepreneurship, supported by social media technologies - and she's totally engaged (for now anyway)...

What's THAT got to do with you and me?! Everything!
We have to change our strategies. In order to build ourselves a more secure future, I believe that we have to get STEMulated, get "social", and get entrepreneurial!

I can't wait to hear what you have to say. Contribute to the conversation by adding your comments.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Act Like A Lady, Think...

Do you think the rest of the title should say "...Like A Man"?

You'd be right if you were talking about Steve Harvey's book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. The book is a candid examination of male-female relationships and is a favorite to millions around the world including me. You'll have to read it yourself to get all of the juicy details.

The title and the concept are quite appropriate for Women in Leadership. Steve notes that there are 3 Ps for men in relationships: (1) profess, (2) provide, and (3) protect. I believe that there are 3 Ps for men in leadership as well: (1) pretend, (2) pursue, and (3) payoff.

This topic gets many of us riled up over the implication that we need to "be" like men in order to excel in leadership. I beg to differ. We don't need to "be" like men. The image of Katharine Hepburn dressed like a man carries home the point that there are ample female brains and tremendous savvy available to get the job - any job - done. In fact there's half a globe worth.

Since the gender imbalance is so severe in leadership, it's important to know what many men think about leadership and to leverage that awareness during our corporate climb or entrepreneurial pursuits or however it suits us. There's a bit of tongue-in-cheek word play swirling around in this article, but make no mistake this advice is serious business.

NOTE: I'm only listing male perspectives related to leadership that are helpful for women. The idea that it's OK to leave the toilet seat up isn't worth considering!
Pretend, Pursue, Payoff

To dispense with the scoffs and pushback on the insights provided, I've relied on the stellar wisdom of three incomparable male leaders to shine a light on ways to navigate and move forward in leadership.
  • Pretend - Don't wait until you reach 100%!
  • Pursue - If the rules don't work, then change them
  • Payoff - Determine what's in it for you

Pretend - Don't wait until you reach 100%!

Yesterday an article discussed differences between men and women's perspectives when pursuing roles. The author challenged the premise that women tend to wait until 100% of qualifications are met before pursuing an opportunity while men typically move forward with 60%, alluding to a lack of confidence for women. The reality as told by one thousand respondents didn't confirm the formerly reported lack of confidence. Rather the top reason for both men and women for not pursuing opportunities was the desire not to waste time due to lack of qualifications.

The truth is somewhere in between confidence and pragmatism. In the end, a significant male perspective is to pretend, land the opportunity, and adjust along the way. The term pretend has been used in the best possible way, meaning to ignore limitations and move forward in spite of them.

Part I: "Use the formula P=40 to 70, in which P stands for the probability of success and the numbers indicate the percentage of information acquired."
Part II: "Once the information is in the 40 to 70 range, go with your gut."
American Statesman, Retired Four-Star General Colin Powell
Pursue - If the rules don't work, then change them

The narrative of innovation shouldn't stop at technologies or products or companies, it also applies to moving forward in one's career and in life. If we're not innovating and leading our own lives, then who is? We can say that the game is rigged by culture, by history, and by personal limitations - and we'd be right. However, we have the ability to change the future collectively or one at a time.

As Sheryl Sandberg points out in Lean In, "First we must decide that true equality is overdue and will be achieved when more women rise to the top of every government and every industry. Then we must do the hard work of getting there." There's no rule that says you have to take a traditional route to the top of wherever it is you'd like to go. If the rules don't work for you, then change them.

And as smart as she [Katherine Graham, Washington Post CEO] was, as high grade as she was, you know, as famous as she became, right to her dying day, you know, she had that little voice inside her that kept repeating what her mother had told her a long time ago [women weren’t as good as men in business].

So everybody should get a chance to live up to their potential. And women should not hold themselves back. And nobody should hold them back. And that’s my message."

Business Magnate, Entrepreneur, Investor, Philanthropist Warren Buffet
Payoff - Determine what's in it for you

At the core of all reasons for moving forward are the advantages that we receive personally. The primary driving force for men and women is typically different. As demonstrated by Bill and Melinda Gates during their TED talk, there are two strong sides to their whole effort of changing the world by giving away their wealth.

Bill's path is big data and analytics. Melinda's path is meeting with people on the ground and understanding their needs which she then uses to align with big data and analytics. Together they collaborate on solutions which often turn out to be different than either of them originally believed. Their payoff is changing the world. When it comes to your leadership journey, you have to determine what's in it for you and then move towards it.

...You change systems. In the US we're trying to change the education system so it's just for everybody and it works for all students. That to me really changes the inequality balance. That's the most important.


Business Magnates, Entrepreneurs, Inventors, Philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates
Back to the question at hand

Should we Act Like a Lady, Think... or Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man? Either way is fine with me as long as I'm pretending, pursuing, and getting the payoff that strengthens my leadership capabilities and contributions along the way.

What do you think? Contribute to the conversation in the comments section.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beautiful Leaders, Beautiful Liars

How many times have you been told something by a leader only to realize that the truth is on another planet?!

I'm not talking about the "little white lies" that typically don't cause any damage (how did it get it's name anyway?). I'm talking about those gargantuan whoppers that baffle even the most creative geniuses. You know - the kind of statements and behaviors that topple companies or hedge funds and get us into all kinds of global trouble.

Have you ever wondered how those leaders were able to convince scores of people that they were qualified to take the reigns? I've wondered about it for years so I took a look closer at the personality traits of leaders and liars. Turns out that there is much to be learned and yes - there is a correlation between leadership and lying.


Before I go further let me issue a quick (and humorous) disclaimer:
  • Any characters or situations appearing in this post are fictitious.
  • Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Leadership is both art and science - and is also apparently amenable to lying. Many argue about whether leaders are born or built. I believe it's both. Some people come with a leadership chip installed and others have to install leadership programs along the way. Either way leaders arrive at their stations and are - we believe - prepared to lead. Yet - we see time and time again the results of lies or unscrupulous behavior from leaders that have been trusted to take their companies and organizations where they need to go. How can this be?


Rank does not confer privilege or give power. It imposes responsibility.

Peter Drucker

High Power, Low Power

Many studies on this topic are available, but the study that I found most intriguing was completed by business students from Columbia University. By studying the effects of lies and truths between high power (leader) and low power (subordinate) individuals, they were able to show a clear difference in how both groups reacted.

Results showed that low power test subjects were significantly more impacted by the negative factors associated with lying than were high power test subjects. This means that people in high power roles were more comfortable with lying. For instance, high power individuals didn't respond as intensely to negative moral emotion, cortisol reactivity, and cognitive impairment compared to low power individuals. Thus the high power individuals didn't "feel" the effects of the lies that they told.

Leaders, Watch Yourselves!

We've frequently heard the phrase "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely." by Lord Acton. He believed that "great men are almost always bad men." Whether that's true depends on the awareness and actions of high-powered leaders. The world is full of individuals who have not been corrupted by their rank as they have found ways to balance themselves.

A study in Psychology Today gave further insight into traits that can be common between leaders and liars as shown below. All traits are desirable for leaders except manipulation which can be positively converted to influence. Surprisingly, the study showed that college-educated individuals lied more than non-college-educated individuals. It's clear that leaders who don't find a balance may tip the scale to liar very quickly.


I-Core Principles: Intellect. Integrity. Influence.

While contemplating what makes an exceptional leader without exception, three characteristics came to mind as I-Core Principles: Intellect. Integrity. Influence. My practice is built on these elements of human and leadership excellence. With each of these traits in high doses, a high-powered individuals will not stray into negative territory.
  • Intellect - of or related to abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, problem solving, and the application of best practices

  • Integrity - of or related to consistent actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes leading to high personal standards

  • Influence - of or related to the power to produce effects on the actions, behaviors, or opinions, or outcomes of a person, thing, or situation usually without direct or apparent force

Pay close attention to what you say and do. As a Leader, you may be lying and might not even know it!

Care to share your thoughts on leaders and liars?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Got 99 Problems and Fear Ain't One

So sue me for using bad grammar. We got more serious problems and today grammar ain't one! Just kidding in my last post for the week.

Yesterday I was minding my own business cleaning out my e-mail box when I was interrupted by a random thought of Pamper Poles. You know the death defying exercise of climbing up a free-standing 60-foot pole, balancing on its 10-inch diameter top with both feet, and then jumping into mid air to catch a trapeze - all to prove the mantra "Yes I Can!"? Yeah those poles.

Why in the world would I be thinking about that? You ask. I asked myself the same question. Then I recalled my amazing experience many years ago when I took the Pamper Pole challenge and won. I came away from the experience seeing, hearing, feeling, and knowing that absolutely anything is possible for me. There is a significant difference between knowing something in your head (we all know that right?) and living it in your body.

That wasn't the first time I had gone to extraordinary lengths for a powerful breakthrough and I continue to seek out ways to make myself mentally tougher. Today fear is my queue to take action. When I'm afraid of something, I walk towards it. I was my parents' worst nightmare as a child because even then I had a similar tendency, but it serves me well as an adult. I'm sure my Coach would be proud to hear that ;-)

Then it hit me why the thought came to me at that moment. It came to remind me that risk can be scary, but success lies in taking the next step. For instance, climbing the Pamper Pole brought me face to face with limitations - my own and those of others around me. Some made it half way up and couldn't go further. Others couldn't do it at all. When it was my turn, I remember thinking "don't break your nails." That might sound silly, but I had just manicured my nails the night before (I know - not the greatest timing) and I didn't want to do it over. I didn't voice my concern out loud, but someone next to me said "remember - what you focus on you will get".

I harnessed up for my turn and fear immediately gripped me in the gut and my knees began to shake. I wasn't about to back out so I steeled my nerves like I had done many times before in the military where climbing to high places was part of my job. It wasn't the same because I was in a bucket or a lift - not nearly as scary as climbing up a free-standing pole that's swaying in the wind with a thunderstorm approaching. I stepped up to the Pamper Pole with encouragement being shouted at me from all around. "You can do it!" They said. I knew I could climb, but it was what happens after I got to the top that I was ruminating about.

Remember - what you focus on you will get

Pamper Pole Ground Team (2006)

I climbed at a steady pace and didn't look down. So far so good. Then I noticed that the higher up the pole I got the more it shook and swayed. I now knew why others didn't make it all the way up. I slowed down in an attempt to stop the pole from swaying. It worked until I started moving again. Deep breath - keep going, I thought. Finally I made it to the top. From the top any movement created a major vibration so I hugged the top of the pole and held on until the movement stopped. This wasn't the tough part and I was only at the top of the pole! My goal was to stand erect with both feet planted on a 10-inch diameter surface and then jump to grab a trapeze in mid-air before coming back to earth.

Oh ----, how am I going to stand up when the pole sways every time I move? I decided to enjoy the view from the top. I held on and looked around knowing that I wouldn't see that view under those circumstances ever again so I took it all in. By the time I was done viewing my surroundings, I could hear the people on the ground yelling up at me to keep going. I was still trying to figure out how to get my two feet - which were slightly longer than the diameter of the pole - on top of the pole and stand upright before jumping. Going back down after coming this far up wasn't an option so I had to go up. Enough thinking - just do it!, I thought.

I struggled to stand up with the pole swinging and made a not-so-elegant move for the top, trying to hold on to the base and get my feet on the top at the same time. It didn't work because there wasn't enough room! Either you can hold onto the pole or you have to stand up. I finally stood up ever so briefly before jumping towards the trapeze. Victory!

It wasn't until I was back on the ground that I realized I had broken a nail. Why is that significant? It reinforced the words that someone had said to me right before my climb - "remember - what you focus on you will get". My focus before I began my climb had been "don't break your nails!" - and that's exactly what happened. I broke a nail. Talk about situational reinforcement!

Pamper Poles and Leadership

Leadership is inherently risky. If you're a leader, then you must take the next step. From the vantage point of my Pamper Pole experiences, here are the leadership lessons that I've written on the wall:

Leadership is much broader than corporate results though those results matter immensely. Leadership is about moving forward even when everything is shaking. Once you've decided that going backwards is not an option, stand up and jump!

Got 99 problems? Don't let fear be one! Simply take the next step.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Put Your Own Dent In the Universe

Steve Jobs.
Really - nothing else needs to be said, but stick with me for a few minutes.

"We're here to put a dent in the universe"
Steve Jobs

There are lots of reasons why the iconic Steve Jobs succeeded where many others may not have done as well. I believe it was his destiny - and his unreasonable vision. His image alone is enough to stir up thoughts of the incredible passion, drive, courage, and hard work that it took for him to deliver his dent in the universe. Countless stories tell us what it was like working with and around him. It couldn't have been easy.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

George Bernard Shaw


While on the tech side in Telecom, I witnessed first hand the impact of the iPhone transformation on equipment, infrastructure systems, customers, customer relationships, sales, and strategies. It was a phenomenal explosion with everyone trying to figure out how to handle the massive amounts of data coming through pipes that were simply too small or not stable enough. The data demands of the future had arrived and networks weren't ready.

Just a few years earlier we'd been wondering what would fill the data pipes that were already built. We talked a lot about "the next big app" and what it might be. There was no need to wonder - we had been unknowingly preparing for the iPhone and the Information Age. Of course there have been many other significant technology shifts (too many to mention!) which also put massive dents in the universe - and continue to do so.

Put Your Own Dent In the Universe

It's easy to say follow Steve's example and you'll deliver something equally spectacular. You don't need to be a genius to know that it takes more - much more - than a simple script. In addition to Steve's example of unreasonable vision, purpose, passion, determination, courage, and action - it takes heart - a willingness to go the distance without reservation.

How many times have you seen someone succeed when there was no possible way that they should have? That's what heart does - it bridges deficits. You can be passionate, visionary, determined, courageous, and you can take proper action, but without heart you may or may not get there. It's that something extra that makes all the difference.

What kind of heart do you have? Is it big enough to conquer your vision? Is it big enough to put your dent in the universe?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Hit me up with comments and feedback - whatever your heart desires.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Under STEMulated

Technology is neutral.
It doesn't care who or where you are. If you have viable Internet access via any type of device, then you can participate in this brave new world. Yet there is a strange and persistent gap among males and females in STEM fields. Never mind that males and females use technology at the same rates - the creative thinkers, researchers, engineers, developers, builders, and owners of this brave new world are mostly male.

As a concerned STEM professional and mother of a young daughter, I went digging for details earlier this year and captured what I learned in an infographic - Women in Technology - The Pipeline Challenge.


There are two equalizers in life - the Internet and education

John Chambers, Cisco CEO

There are three main choke points where STEMulation is being impacted for:
  • (1) School Girls
  • (2) College Women
  • (3) Professional Women
The Pipeline Challenge
  • (1) School Girls - Research shows that School Girls often pick up negative queues from their mothers about STEM topics - especially math - as early as four years old. They then enter school where a lack of confidence begins to get reinforced as teachers call on boys more often than girls. Some teachers may also express their own weakness about STEM topics - especially math. It's usually around puberty when girls turn off to the idea of becoming a technology nerd or geek due to peer pressure.

  • (2) College Women - College Women often come to campus with built-in baggage from early childhood, schools, and social environments. By the time they choose a major, less than 5% show an early interest in STEM programs. The others may have sworn off those programs as too hard or too nerdy. They may have also observed their mothers' career choices and results. Though over 50% of all college graduates are female, fewer than 25% of STEM degrees will be awarded to College Women.

  • (3) Professional Women - Professional Women are faced with yet another layer of challenges as they step into the workforce. While women deliver a majority of the working hours, they hold onto a small percentage of senior leadership roles. The STEM pipeline challenge is even more dire as the number of female leadership candidates in STEM companies is miniscule. One female entrepreneur cited that the journey to the C-Suite can take 30 years! Many ambitious, brilliant Professional Women in STEM fields will retire or leave long before the traditional C-Suite becomes a "possibility" for them.

Let's talk about solutions...

There are so many more insights to share and you're probably thinking - what can I do to help? Here's what you can do right now with very little effort:
  • (1) School Girls - If you have doubts about your strength in science, technology, engineering, or math - DO NOT share those feelings with School Girls! Whether you're the parent or not, know that they are listening!!! Let them know that anything is possible if they put their minds to it. Also help to connect them with strong 'Near Peers' who can provide positive STEMulation.

  • (2) College Women - Encourage College Women to find and participate in STEMulating activities around campus. These activities may include something as simple as helping to set up STEM exhibits or connecting with campus 'nerds' during open events. Push them outside of their comfort zones (whatever they may be!) and help them to build new interests in STEM. Show them how by doing it yourself. Emphasize that 'nerds' rule the world!

  • (3) Professional Women - Standard advice is to team up with professional mentors or sponsors. This is sound advice and always will be. Add in a Life Coach as well. Determine what you need to get from the relationships and evaluate what you're willing to give before you begin the screening process. Remember that it's not all about you! Mentors, sponsors, and coaches may need reciprocal support as well. Also, find ways to share or incorporate your skills into multi-disciplinary STEMulating activities in professional associations and community organizations.

STEM Resources

STEM professionals and parents with daughters have an important role to play and undoubtedly are hard at work on solutions. There are countless programs and support systems available. Yet it's difficult to know which ones hold the most promise. If you're stuck, here are three programs per category to get you STEMulated:

While every woman and girl (man or boy) will not develop an interest in pursuing a STEM degree, there is a great need for everyone to understand the impact of STEM on their lives and livelihoods - and how their contributions fit into the STEM landscape...


So let's get STEMulated!

What do you think can or should be done about Women in Technology - The Pipeline Challenge?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Harmony in the Workplace Through Effective Matchmaking

Recent news that eHarmony's Elevated Careers may produce an effective way to match individuals and companies as an extension of their relationship building capabilities is quite exciting. While I'm not a fan of on-line dating in general, I believe that it serves a purpose and provides avenues for screening potential partners that may not otherwise be available. As the CEO of eHarmony knows, matchmaking is tricky business but they have a solid track record to speak of.


A Story of Organizational Incompatibility

Many years ago I realized that a company I worked for didn't match my core values. It was very early (within a few months) in our relationship when I made this discovery. I found myself questioning my decision to work there. My boss was an outstanding individual who knew how to handle experienced professionals so the typical perspective of having a terrible manager didn't hold water in my situation. The company and I just didn't have much in common except for the transactional relationship of converting services into cash and benefits for customers and for me. While I was "Type A" driven to resolve challenges and develop new customer solutions and relationships quickly, the culture was much slower and preferred lengthy deliberations. A fundamental mismatch was very clear.

During my investigation into the mismatch, a book published by Dr. William Bridges The Character of Organizations was recommended as a way for me to understand more about the organizational culture and how I could fit into it. Bridges brought forth the idea that organizations have a character profile much like people. In order to create successful matches, there must be compatibility or an awareness of compatibility limitations. He leveraged Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a foundation to build what he called the Organizational Character Index (OCI). OCI could be used by individuals and organizations to help define and build stronger teams with longevity as a natural result.


Once I read the book and amid much soul searching, I knew what I had to do. I had to learn the "People" profession. From there I would create an on-line tool that would help to reduce the negative impacts of mismatches between individuals and companies. If I was having such challenges as a top performer, then others must surely be even more severely impacted. I investigated the time, money, and effort wasted by companies and individuals and I learned how typical matches were made by spending time in the trenches.

Thus began my journey to the present.

It's been many years since these realizations took hold. My passion burns brighter than ever before because workforce challenges are beyond severe. As the workforce continues to be impacted by accelerations in technology innovations, globalization, insane competition, demographic inequalities, and new generations coming on-line, better matches with better mixes are more important than ever. My goal is to help create harmony in the workplace through effective matchmaking. It all begins by asking the right questions enabled by the right tools and insights.


Research shows that:
  • >70% of PRODUCTIVE life span is spent WORKING
    • The rest of the time is spent sleeping, watching TV, eating, drinking, personal care, and on other unclassified items (BLS - American Time Use Survey)

  • >70% of U.S. Workers are not fully engaged in their WORK and are not reaching their full potential (Gallup State of the American Workplace)

  • >70% of U.S. Workers spend LESS THAN 10 YEARS with their employers
    • Average tenure is now under 5 years (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


Sources: Centers for Disease Control (2012); US BLS American Time Use Survey (2013); Gallup (2013)


The implications of effective matchmaking in the workplace impacts both top and bottom lines of companies and individuals. Hard questions and answers should be resolved up front before too much time or money have been spent on either side. Traditional mechanisms are not effective. However, tools that can bring together the internal (hidden) profiles of companies with the personalities of potential candidates is a natural progression of the available insights that have been gathered over the years. Just as published information about individuals doesn't go far enough to make effective decisions, neither does published information about companies. Additional rigor must be applied. Automation of this process will be a major breakthrough that will benefit everyone. The trick is to obtain accurate "inside" information about organizations which many are reluctant to give up for valid competitive reasons. eHarmony's Elevated Careers seems to be on the right track.

Companies like LinkedIn along with Glassdoor, Monster, and CareerBuilder - to name a few - all have a similar opportunity to crack the code when it comes to determining the best possible matches between individuals and companies. Big Data and algorithms are plentiful.

The question is who will get there first... 


Lillian Gregory is a passionate advocate for Women in Leadership and Women in Technology. Connect on LinkedIn. Follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Has Someone Moved Your Cheese?

It's inevitable... Someone will move your cheese. Perhaps it will be you.

Who Moved My Cheese? is one of my all-time favorite books. I hadn't read it in quite a while when I saw it in a store last week. Wisdom jumps off the pages in an entertaining tale fit for adults and kids alike. Naturally I had to buy a copy for my 10-year-old daughter.

I urged her to read it aloud on the way home so I could hear it too. She whined a bit, but quickly realized how funny the tale was and finished the book before we arrived in our driveway. The main characters Sniff & Scurry (mice) and Hem & Haw (miniature humans) were simply irresistible and we laughed out loud at their adventures. My goal is to ensure
that she understands right now at her tender age that change is inevitable and vigilance is crucial. These life lessons can never be taught too soon!

After reading a message left by Haw on the wall of "Cheese Station C", there was a pause as my daughter contemplated what it meant. I related this insight to familiar topics like animals, technologies, cultures, jobs, products, and companies. I explained that it's important to stay fresh and ready.


If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct.


Sniff & Scurry demonstrated these principles by moving on to find "Cheese Station N" after "Cheese Station C" ran out of cheese while Hem & Haw struggled to learn a new way. Haw finally got up the nerve to take the next steps when he asked himself a key question. Haw also realized that he had to leave Hem behind.


What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?


Has someone moved your cheese?

This is a rhetorical question. Our task is to be ready with our sneakers tied around our necks so that we can quickly move on to find our next "cheese" station - in our lives or in our careers.

How can you ensure that you're ready? Take heed to the message left by Haw on the wall of "Cheese Station N" and you'll be just fine.

Who Moved My Cheese?


Lillian Gregory is a passionate advocate for Women in Leadership and Women in Technology. Connect on LinkedIn. Follow on Facebook or Twitter.