Perception: no longer a fair deal!

I had the worst 1:1 I have had in my entire career last week.  I am not really sure the fallout is over.  We have been having issues.  This has been ongoing for quite awhile.

This little encounter has helped me understand why I am being so picky about my next move.  I am really efficient, effective, and courteous.  That last one gets me into trouble, because I always consider courtesy to be a given; big mistake.

There is a huge gap in our communications styles. But at least I understand why I am looking so hard for a position working with professionals.  If I were truly working with courteous individuals, I wouldn’t really have to explain why interfering with the communications between an agenda’ed presenter and the facilitator is disrespectful and creates confusion.   That wasn’t very thoughtful, let alone discourteous.

In the past, I was measured by a different measuring stick, so I would do the work it took to get the job done on time and we would work out a ‘fair’ treatment.   This relationship worked a lot better for me as it encouraged me to do the job right, at the right time.  I could de-prioritize the hygienic/sustainment tasks until we had some down time.    This allowed me to keep my hours steady.  I always had something to do in the lull.

My situation changed, as expected with all of the moving and shaking going on at the client.  Now the focus is not on doing the right thing at the right time as it is on accounting for every minute you are billing.  The things that matter are different.  We are in total ‘cover-your-ass’ mode, it blows my mind!

Writing this little note has really helped me understand what is going on.  The forces in my situation have changed my perception of the situation is no longer a ‘fair deal’.

One of 2 things is happening here:

  • The immaturity of my indirect leadership is so weak they don’t understand what to do.

  • The immaturity of my  indirect leadership is so evil they know exactly what they are doing.




Vision statement stab

In addition to my epiphany this week that it is time to go, I was assigned the task of bringing on a variety of new folks to my current teams.

What can I say?  I am passionate about all the “X’s” – User eXperience, Customer eXperience, Employee eXperience.  A person is at least one of these roles in every transaction.   Each X is on a journey and mapping that journey is greatly influenced by how the whole thing started.  Personally, that accurate map requires we begin with a purpose statement that includes a stated vision for the activity.  Today I am focusing on the Employee – welcoming him to the team and explaining what we really do in all of these activities he will soon be performing.

Our team seeks to design and deliver above and beyond the ‘heuristic solution’.  We look for the appropriate solution rather than defaulting to the collectively adopted rote, safe solution to every problem.   We strive to deliver experiences that meet the brand, identify and meet the users’ greater goals, and differentiate the solution from the other options available.



Culture shift and it is time to move on down the road…

For a number of years I have had a job where the primary goals were to ensure that my leadership was successful and that our team would deliver on our promises.  Technically, this team should have been eliminated with one of the many reorganizations that we have endured, but we weren’t.  As a matter of fact, our breadth of influence has continued to expand over the years.

I take great pride in the fact we have not only survived, but thrived.  What makes me sad is the lack of understanding about what it has taken to ride these waves of change and continued forward.  It takes a lot of hard work to remain relevant in an ever-changing environment.  Essentially, what we did yesterday is not necessarily what we will be doing tomorrow.  The only way that we have been successful is through honest, open communication and a trusting relationship.

The most recent direct leadership change broke the rules.  The recently promoted Gen X’er is clueless.  There is a lot of power-tripping going on and a complete lack of communication.  The team has never been this disjointed and the morale can’t get much lower.  To be honest, these are the results of poor leadership and devaluation of the individual.  Ironically, this Gen-X leader reads lots of materials on how to manage and tries to implement them.  We have more checklists than anyone has ever seen, but they are just that – checklists.  Checklists without culture are worthless.  I equate them to lousy phone trees you encounter on thoughtless interactive voice response systems.  You do them just to get through to the next prompt, but the experience is anything but delightful.  There are no trusted relationships left of the team.  There are people going through the motions and there is absolutely no room for feedback or negotiation.

Since the latter years of MCI/Worldcomm, my favorite message has been ‘Perception is reality.’  That was their tagline and it really is a good reminder for anyone who ever engages in communication.  The message you are sending may mean one thing, but if the receiver perceives it to mean something different, the reality is the receiver’s perception is the meaning that will be consumed.  Advice to all leaders out there, when someone tells you this is their perception of your message, listen to them.  It is important to hear what is being said.  This is your opportunity to clarify an misperceptions and shouldn’t be used by you to defend what you meant.  If there is a strong disagreement between what you meant and the actual perception, work needs to be done together to bridge that gap.

I realize that this under-qualified leader has been promoted beyond her capabilities and we have spent the last few months trying to improve the situation, but without active listening and participation on this leader’s part, nothing will change.  This leader has broken the trust and is on an all out war against successfully achieving team goals.  My perception, which is my reality, is that we no longer have a solid vision and without vision, we are dead.

In years gone by, I would have dug in and tried to improve the situation, but not anymore.  My reality is my perception and currently I am perceiving a lack of appreciation for what it truly takes to get things done and I don’t feel like explaining it anymore.  What does that mean?  It is time for a new job.  So I am starting a quest to locate an organization that shares my values of professionalism, hard work, open, honest communications, accountability, reliability, fairness, honest days work for an honest day’s pay.   I used to work in that environment, but the recent culture shift has eliminated those shared values.




Partner to realize the vision

This is what I want!  I want the opportunity to partner to realize the vision.

Interviews are a joke.  Everyone shows up with their checklist.  The interviewer knows what they need to do, the interviewee has a set of pat answers designed to help them get the position.

Everyone has a checklist.  Everyone is trying to answer those questions in such a way as they can exemplify they know how to do all of that stuff on the checklist.

The reality is that anyone who gets the interview has already proven they have the basic skills necessary to do the job as defined by the job requisition filed to be able to publish the position.  From there, it is all a matter of mood.  The offer goes to the person who fits the emotional state of the interviewers at that point in time.

I am actively looking.  The culture of my current environment has become untenable and it is time for me to take action.  I deserve better!


When does onboarding begin?

There’s a topic for the ages.  One of the tasks that I have performed in my current role and all of my previous roles for the past bajillion years is onboarding.  Recently, I have seen an uptick in the usage of this term, but essentially it remains the same thing – getting from the initial question to the ability to do the task.

I take great pride in my ability to guide folks through their first couple of days, weeks of an engagement.  I can get anyone from the bare-bones-beginning to enabled to perform specific tasks, given the correct parameters.  For me, onboarding begins when we publish an opening on the team.  From that point forward, everything that happens influences how long it will take for a new team member to become productive.  Following my procedures, we can minimize the uptake time.   Given earlier information, I could improve that process.

What does ‘pokey’ mean?

Essentially, I interviewed for the job I have been doing for the last five years to join the company as a full time employee.  What can I say?  I live in the land of reorganization, so there are always job openings and title changes.  It was communicated to me that they won’t be making me an offer.   At some level, I take that as a compliment, but I am still digesting the feedback.

I know the hiring manager and she was courteous enough to schedule a one-on-one debrief to provide me post-interview feedback.  To her credit, she had a checklist.  I was actually thrilled, hoping to get some constructive criticism that will help me rise to that next level.  We had a brief discussion.  For the record, it has absolutely nothing to do with my skills.  My skills and abilities were seen as stellar.

We had a good conversation and she did provide two specific examples of communications that were negatively interpreted during the entire interview process.  I get where she is coming from and it is probably best that I don’t get an offer, because I don’t think I truly could thrive tied to such a sensitive environment.

The whole application/interview process was disrespectful.  Looking back on this now, all of the scheduling/re-scheduling shenanigans that happened to get this thing on the books was a clear indication they truly were not interested in making me a full-time-employee.  If they were truly interested, they would have gone above and beyond to get it right, but they didn’t.  In the end, it feels like we only went through the exercise in futility so someone could keep their word.

Ultimately, I thanked her for the opportunity to interview and I walked away with a couple of things to think about.  The one item that continues to go over and over in my head was a slice of the direct feedback where I was informed that my relaying of the story about how mis-managed this whole process had been ‘felt a little pokey.’   My head almost exploded!  First, I was shocked at this response to my honest feedback about how the ‘we-want-to-hire-you-candidate’ was awful was not appreciated and second, the only pokey I could think of was from my childhood.





Pacific NW Term: Moist

I couldn’t believe it, I used the word ‘moist’ today.   The bright side is I used it properly. It has been dribbling rain off and on all day long and this is the absolutely appropriate term to describe the day.

Growing up in the high desert, moist was one of those terms we only ever used when describing a washcloth or to create a giggle amongst our friends.  Moist was never a term I used to describe the weather.  Definitely one that has wormed its way into my vocabulary since relocating.

Denver Broncos Win Superbowl 50

As a native Coloradan, I grew up bleeding orange and blue.

Tonight’s win is exceptionally rewarding to me:

  • I have been a huge Gary Kubiak fan for over 30 years!
  • Von Miller win MVP, given the draft connection with Cam
  • Chances are good this is Peyton’s last ride. He deserves to go out  with a win, kind of the way his boss retired from the game.

Congratulations Denver Broncos!

New idea for onboarding – Iteration next

Create a blueprint for everything.

Spent the last year proving what establishing a solid foundation could do for improving team efficiencies. There is no arguing, the results speak for themselve.

Now it is time to take it one step further. I need to figure out the steps that will make it easy to develop habits and define what those habits mean.

Guess I will try to ‘hook’ them.