Tag Archives: Des Moines

Staying Relevant

I just celebrated my birthday last week, so when I read Penelope Trunk’s article on  How to Remain Relevant When You’re Over 40  it hit me square between the eyes  – am I staying relevant???  

UGH!  If you have children, you’re much more exposed to the “latest and greatest” trends in technology, but have you thought about how that translates to your professional life?  Long gone are the days of finding one job and working there for the rest of your life. For survival’s sake, it’s incumbent upon to strive for relevancy every day. 

Trunk offered up some great tips on how to stay in the know and on top of your game.  Read the article and let me know what you think.

I’m certianly taking all of this to heart.


No room to complain…

After being generally cold and miserable for the last couple of days, conditions to which I am not normally accustomed, I had to see how we stack up against the rest of the frigid world…

According to TheTravelAlmanac.com, these are the 10 coldest locales on earth:

1. Vostok, Antartica -89.2 °C -138.6 °F
2. Plateau Station, Antartica -84.0 -129.2
3. Oymyakon, Russia -71.1 -96.0
4. Verkhoyansk, Russia -67.7 -90.0
5. Northice, Greenland -66.0 -87.0
6. Eismitte, Greenland -64.9 -85.0
7. Snag, Yukon, Canada -63.0 -81.4
8. Prospect Creek, Alaska, USA -62.1 -79.8
9. Fort Selkirk, Yukon, Canada -58.9 -74.0
10. Rogers Pass, Montana, USA -56.5 -69.7

I don’t feel quite so bad about our forecast now…

Stay warm!

What’s your engagement resolution?

Now that 2009 is in the history books, it’s time to turn our attention towards the prosperity we all hope the new year will bring.  Traditionally, this is a time that we confidently look forward and make resolutions designed to better our health, relationships and lives in general.  Maybe you’ll give up the smokes, or drop those extra pounds that have been hanging around for entirely too long.   I wish you the best!

When it comes to your workplace, your resolutions will take the same level of diligence if you intend to succeed.  Chances are, you’ve already been forced to trim down and are as lean as you can be.  The new battle will be maintaining the staff you’ve fought hard to preserve, and keeping them engaged (or re-engaged) as the job market improves and their alternatives increase. 

According to BlessingWhite President and CEO, Christopher Rice, the following steps should be part of your resolution for success:

1. Quit or commit. You need to decide if you are ready for another year leading your company. You have been bruised, so make sure you are ready for 2010. If feel like you are working at Dunder Mifflin, then you need to move along because you cannot lead unless you are fully engaged. Your employees deserve more than a leader who is half-in.

2. Communicate the vision. You need to create excitement and trust in your leadership. You should highlight the initiatives of 2010 and create faith that your company is on the right path. Your employees now have a choice about where they work. The large majority want more than ‘just a job’. You had better inspire them to be part of your future.

3. Talk about careers again. The top reason employees leave a company is a perceived lack of career opportunities. Don’t be fooled into believing that your leaner organization can’t satisfy those cravings. You have more priority initiatives than employees, so there are plenty of opportunities for individuals to build skill sets, acquire valuable experience, or try something new! When you scratch the surface of what people mean by ‘career’ you often find it’s all about meaningful work and personal growth. Today’s careers are built not on promotions but on assignments.

4. Forget about performance reviews. You need to do ‘engagement reviews’. You already got rid of the people who needed their performance ‘fixed’. And when using the right definition, engagement actually covers off on performance: Fully engaged employees are at their peak — of maximum contribution and maximum satisfaction. When you focus on engagement, results — and retention — follow. Engagement reviews are vastly different in tone from appraisals. There is a lot more dialogue, and the manager is more likely to end up with a rating than the employee. Engagement reviews explore:

    a) The strategy of the company
    b) The importance of the employee to the success of the team and the company
    c) What’s important to that employee (overall job satisfaction, meaning at work)
    d) The employee’s career aspirations and growth goals
    e) Focus and alignment of the employee’s talents and goals with critical organizational priorities
    f) Your own engagement and commitment (unless, of course, you aren’t sure of your answer to ‘commit or quit’ above!)

Your challenge: Your employees don’t wear labels that declare their engagement level on their foreheads. And you can’t assume that the chronic complainer is totally burnt out and disengaged or that the team member who never makes waves is fully satisfied and aligned. Engagement reviews enable you to exchange information to ensure that the employees you rely on are connected to your organization’s larger purpose, getting what they’re looking for at work and applying their unique expertise to carve out a successful future in 2010.  See full story…

Now’s the time to start making sure that your organization is as fit as it can be for the year(s) to come.  The journey to success isn’t a sprint, it’s more of a triathlon.  With the proper training and execution, almost anyone can get there.  Me, I’m going to start by working up to ten sit-ups!

Hope is not Lost – Unemployed but not Destroyed

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I recently wrote an article for Veritas Magazine dealing with the lost hope that people are feeling as they search for a job. These are definitely tough and unprecedented times, but we can still choose how our attitude will be when facing the unknown. And while hope may seem far off, it is actually as close as it as ever been.


I think it safe to say that these are some of the most difficult times ever faced for a lot of generations. As a Gen Xer, I know my generation has never seen such difficult times as these. The news seems to be getting worse every day, and every hopeful sign turns out to be a house of cards.

People have lost jobs at a historic rate and have lost confidence in everything that they had once thought was sure.

To continue reading click here.

Developing the Manager Within


Below is an article that I wrote for the Des Moines Business Record on Talent Management. Specifically on how to manage and help your up-and-comers.


There is one nice thing about working and living in America – OK, actually there are a few nice things. But one in particular is an individual’s ability to pursue his or her dream. With the right determination and skills, someone who starts in the mailroom could someday end up in the CEO’s office. Or someone who starts on the manufacturing floor a few years later ends up being the production manager running the floor.

There are tons of examples of how this plays out daily in America’s work force. The only requirements to participate are to have a dream, a solid work ethic and the right attitude. Although, with these scenarios there is a problem that might not be evident at first but eventually becomes more apparent.

The problem is twofold. First, companies believe that because someone is great at one thing, he or she will be great at another. For example, some companies believe that if someone is great at sales, he or she should be the sales manager. That is terrible thinking, because it assumes that the person would be a great manager of people. In the case of sales, if people are great at selling, let them sell and leave them where they are.

To continue reading click here.

Certain Uncertainty at Work


This is an article I recently wrote for the Des Moines Business Record dealing with the current uncertainty people are feeling at work. I try to give some prescriptive measures to company managers and leaders in what I think are good ideas to help quell worker insecurity.


Preacher and author Leroy Brownlow once said, “There are times when silence has the loudest voice.” Of course, what he did not say is exactly what that applies to. Though I agree with him, I think there are some very definite positive and negative effects of being silent, especially in uncertain times. I think there are times when silence is needed more than a loud voice, and conversely I think there are times when a loud or at least a consistent voice is needed.

Click here to continue reading.

Hit the Road: Laid Off but Not Forgotten

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This is an article I recently wrote for Des Moines’s Veritas Magazine. With all the uncertainty around us, it is a good reminder to know that some things are unchangeable.


Let me start by first asking a simple question: Do you believe God has a plan for your life? Now, before you rush to answer, I want you to take a moment and search your heart. Do you really believe, in your heart, God has a plan for you? If you are not sure because of your current circumstances of unemployment or dissatisfaction with life, I have great news for you.

Click here to continue reading.