Month: December 2014

2014 in review

Wishing everyone a great 2015! Here is a snapshot of my year of blogging:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 930 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 16 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Its not a lot of traffic, but its quality, not quantity that counts…

Best,

M

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2015 a Year of Endless Opportunities

My Mid summer post still resonates as we enter 2015. So here is a toast to a new year, one with endless possibilities!!! I’m providing an encore for your reading pleasure….

Here is the Original:

The One Year Anniversary

No, this is not a wedding or job anniversary, its one year since I left Marcum. It’s been a strange year and this will be one of my stranger posts.

The Marcum Challenge last year was the day everything unraveled (so tomorrow is officially one year). I can’t say much about my last few days at Marcum , which followed. You know I had a contract going in…and one going out…the preverbial gag order. I will tell you that in hindsight it was a good thing leaving. I was able to give running my advisory firm a try, I learned to fail and get back up. I learned the  type of people I will never ever work for again. And I learned to stand up and say what you need on the way out the door without burning down the bridge. I learned who my real friends are, and who are not. Its funny when your dealing with adversity who comes out of the woodwork to help a friend pivot in their career. It’s also a wake up call to see the people you thought you could count on stay silent.

I made a few friends at Marcum, not as many as I normally do in a work environment, maybe that’s a good thing. I used to believe in having friends at  work. Many business consultants believe friends at work are important…on my one year anniversary, I am not so sure. Maybe that was part of my issue at Marcum, I didn’t like that many of the folks there (wow I said it and I feel better). I am not sure why, maybe the type of place it was to work, or maybe anxiety and stress that we all knew was unnecessary to get the work done. Or it could have been that folks just didn’t like me…probably a combination of all factors, I may never know for sure. One thing I do believe is it is a lot easier to work with people you like and respect and that like and respect you too> All future endeavors will incorporate the like factor into the decision process. I like and respect my current boss. that’s an important starting point…

The important thing is that in the last year I have moved on from a bad work experience. People like to say you learn from bad experiences. This was an extraordinarily bad one…I think that’s partially bullshit, like rain on your wedding day or stepping in dog poo is lucky… we say it to make ourselves and others feel better.

Here are some highlights:

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Actually I don’t have any, it was a lost year, one you don’t get back. In fact I wish 2014 was over now, even though my strange year started in 2013…I just want some closer. My last three months at Success have been interesting, I am pushing myself again to do great work. I am still teaching at Adelphi in the MBA program in the fall, I may also do some SHRM coursework again in the winter for SHRM locally or even a workshop or two nationally. The consulting firm is still operating, although in a scaled down state. Maybe one day I will turn up the volume with HC3 again.

I am thinking clearly about my career once again…something all of you should be doing. No more “contracts”, we are all free agents and need to keep our skills sharp and up to date.

Well I will use the Marcum challenge as my official one yr. anniversary and consider the lost year officially over.

Happy anniversary!

___________________________

A few notes since this was first posted:

1. Time does heal. The Scars of 2013/2014 are just that – Scars that create a physical proof that something happened.

2. I was harsh about some of the folks I worked with at Marcum. In reality they were victims too (or innocent bystanders). Some of them have moved on like me to new and greener pastures. Others have lived with the cognitive dissonance created by their situations.

3. The jury is still out on my “Success experience”. It’s awesome to work for a Mission (or purpose). The real question is whether this is the right Mission for me. There are so many causes that resonate with my moral fiber. Regardless, I have spearheaded the creation of the Strongest HR and Recruitment team in the Charter School Space Nationally. Now that’s something to hang your hat on….

See you in 2015!

HC3 on Vacation

Wishing all my friends a happy New Year!

Its been a tough and exciting year…Not sure what 2015 has in store for any of us….Wishing all the best.

HC3 will be back in 2015…

The DO OVER

 

My favorite interview question is: If you could have one “DO OVER”, what would it be?

With the holiday season here many of us take time to reflect on the past year and then make the cliché New Years resolution…I usually don’t make resolutions as I never seem to be able to achieve them. In fairness I do make goals throughout the year, both professional and personal…My batting average is much better at the professional…we all have our strengths (and weaknesses)…

What we really should be asking is what would we do again if given the chance. A second chance at getting something right.

How far back would you go and how big would it be?

A job you should have accepted or maybe turned down.

Or a relationship handled differently.

A project or opportunity…

If you did get the chance would you even act on it? Some folks are fatalists and believe everything happens for a reason. Sometimes I believe this too, however maybe its fate drawing you to the take another stab at something…

In 2015 instead of making a resolution, do something over…I guareentee you wont be sorry.

What are you waiting for?

 

I Had A Good Day

Sometimes its not about business, Sometimes its about life. today was a GOOD DAY!

My daughter came back from college, she is a sophomore engineering major at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. My wife and I are extremely proud of her. She has been working harder at school work then I have at making a living for the past 5 or 6 years. She made a lot of sacrifices in high school to achieve at an extremely high level so that she can attend one of the 20 best universities in the country. She had a good semester, doing well in classes that I can’t even comprehend (like Differential Equations and Statics) if you’re an engineer you know how difficult these classes are. She also got elected to an executive board position in her sorority. Her social and personal life are better than ever. In short she continues to surpass expectations, hers and ours, as she matures into adulthood.

I missed her a lot recently as she hasn’t been home for almost 16 weeks. We did spend thanksgiving with the Fogel family in San Diego so its only been 2 weeks since seeing her last, but in a strange way it felt like I hadn’t seen her in a really long time.

When she got home we didn’t spend a lot of time talking, but that didn’t matter because she was home and I missed her. Our dog Max was so excited to see her too.  He spent at a good portion of the night hanging on the edge of her bed as she settled in and watched her favorites shows on her MAC. Some folks call it unconditional love…Max can’t talk but he missed her too.

Before my daughter arrived in the afternoon, I spent the morning with my friend Michael. We work out for an hour every Sunday at our gym and then go for Starbucks. We usually hang afterwards at the local starbucks for 30 – 35 minutes catching up on the week. We had a good talk today as we shared personal and business concerns, We bounce things off each other and it helps me set up my work week. It’s been intense the past few days in the office so I did most of the talking.it put me at ease as I was a little more anxious than I normally am.

This evening I watched football and my HBO shows, I am an ESPN and HBO cable junkie feasting on Sunday night football highlights and HBO. Tonight was the ending of The Network ( it was a great show) and I enjoyed it immensely!

Sorry no interesting ideas or incites. It wasn’t a special day by any means, but it was just Good!

 

 

It Doesn’t Really Matter

Most of what you do at work, doesn’t really matter. Maybe 60 -70%. Maybe I am off by a few percentage points, however most of what you do or get asked to do is a waste of time.

I know your thinking another “time”  or “do less” conversation from Mark. Well I will keep this one short, but let’s be real ask yourself if you just didn’t do whatever it was you were doing, would it impact organizational results?

I asked my entire team last month to provide to me a focus five project list for the time period thru the end of the calendar year (approximately 60 days). My comment to the management team was if they are working on any project not on the focus five list they were to STOP immediately. It’s amazing how much crap folks are off working on.

I tell folks at least a couple of times a week to Go home when they are working late. Really can it wait till tomorrow to finish. Of course there are the occasional up against a deadline late nights. I am probably committing blaspheme by stating that I tell folks to stop working at night. One of my peers in leadership keeps their team at work till 10 sometimes 11 pm to finish work each day. I am talking about 4 nights a week…I am not sure how much of the work is needed  to meet important deadlines vs. imposed for the sake of imposing…

Sorry in the Mark world some shit just has to wait. Especially the stuff that really isn’t important.

If I didn’t get a single cc, I could cut almost 80% of my email out each day. I actually did a two-week audit recently averaging 164 emails a day during the week and 11 emails a day on weekends, with an average of only 36 daily direct communications. I did have two days that spiked to over 50 due to a major issue.  Additionally I averaged  just under 3 communications in succession from each originator as the conversation went back and forth. So if you do the math I average about 12 real conversations daily thru email. The rest is fyi and bullshit I often times just don’t need to know. Lets assume 20 emails a day that you get cc’d on you really need to know…thats still 100 emails that are delete button eligible…

Take my email scenario and apply it to mtgs, conversations and assigned tasks… bet the results are close to the same.

What if you could be given one half of your daily time at work back to do real work with impact to your organization.

What if the whole organization could do that???

 

 

Just Say NO

I-Phone Calender: “It looks busy tomorrow. There are 8 events scheduled, and the first one starts at 8am.”

We are all overloaded and over scheduled. Some even suggest it is a badge of honor in today’s work world. The busier you are the more important and higher status you incur. Without corner offices, status is harder to see, except for the size of your inbox, and depth of your outlook calendar.

Six mtgs. today, maybe you’re not busy enough. One hundred and fifty emails, well I have 200 today so I am more important than you.

Here is a secret, you own your calendar and your Outlook/email. Sometimes you need to say “NO”

Don’t accept the invite (gee there are 3 folks on your team already going – they can debrief you afterwards).

Don’t engage in the email conversation. If your cc’d just listen. And if there are more than two of you on the email string, wait until the others way in. Most of the time the situation or discussion resolves itself without even responding.

Here’s another tidbit, don’t let your outlook become your to do list for other people. Of course sometimes your boss or someone in authority needs some information or assistance.

Block off time to do your work and choose time to check emails. Maybe 3 or 4 times a day, answer everything that is quick in 2 sentences or less where possible. Schedule the time your going to leave like a mtg., block off the time after you leave so others don’t have access to you.

Just say NO…