Archive for the ‘Work Life Balance’ Category

Leadership: 9 Ways to Successfully Navigate Changes, Tragedy and Triumph – Implementing the Never Give Up Perspective

Friday, March 23rd, 2018
My entry into the world of professional speaking came about when I wrote my first book Kidjacked: A Father’s Story. It told the true events that rocked my world to its foundation. You see, when my kids Jonathan and Alexandra were 4 and 2 years old they were kidnapped and taken to the Middle East by the person I trusted most- their mother, my wife Liza! Leadership was not foremost on my mind, But as it turns out, it needed to be.

Yeah, I was devastated, lost and emotionally trashed. And yet, I accomplished what few people said that could ever be done. I located them, came up with a less than fool proof plan and eventually was successful in getting them home to America! And, I had the honor and pleasure of raising them…except for a few moments in the teenage years!

Today, my kids are grown, I’ve remarried and with the extraordinary help of my fantastic wife Meg, we raised two wonderful adults.

Today’s world is filled with horrific stories.
It’s difficult to pick up a paper, read an article online or talk to a coworker without discussing a school shooting, another woman being harassed or worse at work or cyber or personal bullying.

Okay, the bury our head in the sand approach is not working. And, we complain, almost in unison that this and that must end. Today! Yet, it all continues, we feel helpless and there often appears to be no end in sight. It requires individual leadership.

Feeling like crap, are you? Well, happily there IS something you and I can do. I learned it many years ago and I call it The Never Give Up Perspective.

Here’s how it works.
Are you old enough to remember when seat belts were often not worn in cars? No laws required it. How about drinking and driving? Smoking on airplanes? Same sex marriage? Legalized Marijuana? Laws, laws and more laws! So, how does change professionally and personally take root and grow into a movement and more? Here’s how change works and keeps going:

  1. Communication
  2. Sharing information
  3. Getting mad
  4. Losing someone/something you loved
  5. Doing something. Speaking up/speaking out
  6. Be brave
  7. Realizing that whatever you’re aiming for takes time
  8. Building a base of support
  9. Never ever under any circumstances giving up!

You have something(s) you’re passionate about at work. Something that MUST change.

We all do. Be that voice. Be brave. Know that others feel the same way and are looking for a leader to support.
You’ve seen the ugly in life. You’ve seen the inappropriate in the workplace. The leader is you. The first move is yours.

Moms got MAD and driving while drunk laws changed.

People did not want others smoking on the plane and in restaurants/bars. Laws were enacted.

People wanted people to marry whomever they choose. Laws were changed.

Seatbelts-new laws

Inappropriate behavior in the workplace- laws, regulations and PEOPLE being brave and speaking up!

Kids kidnapped– Moved forward, fell down many times and never gave up. So, did all of the women and men who made the changes above.

Safer gun laws that protect our children and citizens… Perhaps closer then we think!

As humans we’re often quick to complain, quick to judge and slow to react.
History shows us that it is often the act of 1 person that begins to move a cause or action at work or in society forward. A brave woman in Selma. A brave man in San Francisco, a group of mothers and more!

Please, don’t wait for that women to come forward. Don’t watch to see which man will speak up. Instead, be that person that so many are waiting for. It always begins with a single voice. Perhaps yours.

#METOO, gun violence, workplace harassment, bullying, cyber shaming. How do you deal with these things? Do you speak out against this and more?
Are you willing to be THAT voice of change professionally and personally? We’re counting on you! We counting on your leadership, communications and guidance.

Interested in having me speak at an upcoming event? Let’s chat.

Want more productivity tips?

Read my monthly blogs to get tips and tricks on increasing productivity, improving communication, and living your best life  – http://scottlesnick.com/blog/

Scott Lesnick is a popular keynote speaker, author and trainer.
Learn more at www.scottlesnick.com

Leadership, Staff and Workplace Excellence

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

The pendulum has swung back in favor of workers. Businesses are hiring, unemployment is hovering around 5.5%  or less and workers understand that there are many more work options available. Retention is always an issue and now you have to fight hard to keep your best from jumping ship – a right they have and will exercise when appropriate.

Our competition is stronger than ever. Our business goals increase yearly but the leaders with unhappy staff will lose them in the blink of an eye.

New hires understand that the options are out there and will make up their mind within 30 days of starting a job how long they plan on staying.

You ain’t got much time to make them satisfied, comfortable and committed. Great leadership is essential!

Excellence comes from more employee training, a watchful eye on their wants, needs and desires and an overall feeling that they matter and that you care.

When I conduct breakout sessions, I often include an activity that allows us to “deep dive” into issue. Sure I can present but a room full of talent can always come up with more ideas, thoughts and recommendations than one person can offer.

Here is what I learned at three different conferences I presented at last summer about what employees want. I’ve shortened the list down to seven. They are:

  • Training, training and more training. The reason- more knowledge, better opportunity for advancement & improved skills.
  • Cross Training– They want to better understand what others at the same company do and how it affects their role. Plus, they may find an area of the company that they are better suited for.
  • Employee recognition- Sure, you remember when we did more of that! Well, they want it to come back. Gas cards, bonus, lunch. Employees need to hear that they matter, make a difference and are an integral part of your team.
  • Ask them. Asking for feedback and input grows trust and builds relationships. Plus, great ideas can come from anyone at work but you have to ask.
  • Cross mentoring. Attendees have convinced me that mentoring not only works, it moves projects and employees along faster. Because we are now seeing Boomers & Xers specifically working with Millennials and the results are mostly very positive. Millennials can offer fresh perspectives, are a whiz with technology and are fast learners. Older generations have plenty of experience and are often in a higher profile position. Legacies are left by those in their forties and up, mentees advance faster than those who are not mentored and succession planning is stronger as a result.
  • Humor me. Lighten up, lose the “boss” attitude and come down to our level. Today’s best leaders understand that relationships increase productivity, grow business and make for a ‘lower stress’ work environment. No laughter, no fun, no appreciation. Where would you rather work?
  • Social gatherings. We understand that outside of work people let their hair down and tend to relax. Some more than others! New bonds are formed, relationships grow and leaders show their ‘off site’ personality. When offered and organized, the results can be tremendous and the cost to benefit ratio low!

Excellence in anything requires dedication, assistance and time. Today’s leaders lead from the sideline, in the trenches and wherever they can to be effective.

How do you lead?download (1)

Red Licorice and Work

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

downloadIn an effort to stay in shape I run, lift weights and practice yoga. Yes, I watch what I eat too and it’s FAR from easy. The temptations are everywhere and my “say no” toughness to unhealthy foods is average at best. But, I try.

That’s all I want you to do-try.  We’re so quick to brag about being the best, being your best and besting the rest. It’s simply too much. Hay, I’m not advocating a transformation from human to 3-toed Sloth. I am suggesting that we often don’t try at all and in doing so we often miss the target. The good news- there are plenty of targets to aim for in life and many are closer than we realize!

Losing weight, getting a promotion at work or starting a walking regimen that you stick for 12 months a year takes just plain hard. But, trying gets results and we all like results.

What to do?

As a self diagnosed candy junkie in his 50’s, I had to make a concerted effort to stop eating the stuff. Okay, in all honesty it took every ounce of strength I had to kick the sweet habit. If you’re one of  my 77 approved candies or sweets I’m gunna eat you.

So, I switched to red and black licorice! They’re low fat sure, but sadly plenty of carbohydrates, sugar and other crap. I had to find a way to eliminate this delicious, I could eat a bag of Twizzlers, snack.

All this and work too?!

From time to time works has forced me to take action as well. We’re all faced with decisions from “bossholes” to a crummy coworker and more. Working for a company that often times makes good decisions is wonderful. Working for a company that doesn’t get IT can be frustrating at best. Thankfully, my company was pretty darn good, my team rocked and I always emphasized the power of trying. They got it. They understood how this one word could affect their lives both professionally and personally.

I’m no Einstein, I’m just me.  However, I remember learning the lesson myself from someone and passed it on when I could.

The simple act of walking away from a good paying corporate job to peruse speaking professionally took guts. The looks sometimes we get when we confide in others our dreams, goals and aspirations is somewhat similar to glares we might get if we told someone we used crystal meth 3-5 times a week.

Life is demanding. Working is demanding. People are demanding. I’d like you to consider trying. Whatever it is you’re holding on to inside that few if any know is important to you.

Try. Go for it. And, please don’t be afraid.

I’ve seen so many times how this small act can change a dream to a wonderful reality. The glass suddenly overflows with possibilities and you may have to make some difficult, yet awesome decisions .You deserve this and it contagious. Others will take notice. You’ll sometimes fall, but don’t get discouraged. You’ll bounce back like never before because you understand that it’s all about trying.

Lastly, would you be so kind as to please pass me one-no two pieces of licorice. Hey, trying doesn’t mean perfection!

 

Ninja Leaders Accomplish More With Less

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

I’m used to going against the grain.  Always have. They guy who managed himself and others in a non-traditional manner was often questioned when it came to this method. Not so much though when it came to results.

Since childhood, I drove my parents crazy with questions and teachers with ‘non-typical’ classroom behavior like just getting up and wandering around.

I realized at an early age that my mind, sprit and body wandered. I embraced it, moved with it and got in plenty of trouble. Sure, I understood that it was better for your health to look both ways before crossing the street, but it didn’t mean that you have to wait for the crosswalk to flash WALK.

I self-diagnosed myself with ADD in my early thirties, had already learned to embrace it without meds and took this with me into the corporate world. And, I’m not alone by a long shot! I know a lot of women and men with the same “outside the box-ADD enriched” ways of getting things done. Often high achievers, these folks look at life, work and getting from A to B in a different way than you might. They have no choice.

It’s not the job as much as the style of leader that motivates inspires and brings a team together. Parents, teachers, police, business and more require us to lead others. Ninja leaders understand that their role is less hands on and more mentoring/teaching and those that ultimately answer to this type of leader tend to perform at a high level.

Ya see, trust isn’t implied, it’s a given. Freedom to be who you are as long as you get the work completed ain’t just a method. It’s survival when we discuss leading different generations and cultures. Millennials are the number one population at work and on the street.

They too look for leaders who understand their ways of working, playing and views of life. Understand this and you’re ability to move effortlessly in meetings, with tasks and one on ones with your staff increase. Job satisfaction and employee retention grows. People climb the ladder at a faster pace. Your non-stiff, on point, less is more meetings are in vogue. If you’re not moving gracefully like a ninja and allowing your folks to show you what they can do with less direction and more actual support than you might be missing the opportunity to lead more productively.

My meetings were notoriously open, loose and free of a tight agenda. The results were often a staff that contributed more, feared less and produced more than their peers. Upper management would scold me and warn that I was not LEADING my people. Instead of telling them that their methods were outdated, somewhat draconian and boring, I let the results do the talking for me. The results were often good.

Your family, coworkers and any team that you lead need some structure, I get that. However, they also appreciate a leader who allows them be involved, feel appreciated and set free to exceed expectations. Isn’t that the way you like to be treated? Ya, thought so. Me too!

A great leader allows other to flourish though praise, stated confidence in their abilities and positive direction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d consider being your friend, but your dog is such a JERK!

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

I know, right from the get go, this sounds negative. I just wanted to get your attention and I believe it worked! I’m a dog lover, really. I’m the very proud parent of a 15 year-old Golden Doodle named Jazz.

 I love animals-especially dogs; it’s the owners that need some serious training. We see this played out time and time again. The (most breeds) dog with poor social skills. Mean stance, tail up, jumping on you, showing teeth and basically out of control. A guy from down the street has two little terriers with crazy, Cujo-like personalities. He shows little control as they walk him down the sidewalk. Then, he stands across the street staring at my wife and me as we calmly walk Jazz through our tree-lined neighborhood. It’s almost peaceful until a couple, with their Lab mix, comes our way. Mom has little control over the 80# pup, dad is on his phone and we see this train wreck approaching before they do.

 Dog pulls hard. Mom lunges, loses her grip and big dog gets loose. Focused on us and our calm dog, I stand sideways in front of my wife and dog attempting to show less body while protecting my peeps. Parents yell at their “BAD DOG” who decides not to listen. I loudly and in a deep voice tell their dog to SIT! To my astonishment, big dog listens. Disaster avoided.

 You don’t have to watch Cesar the Dog Whisperer to understand almost always the owner’s lack of training, skills coupled with little desire to care about others.

 Your dog’s great behavior is mostly due to you caring enough to teach it how to behave well. Your dog’s crappy behavior is a direct reflection on your poor owner skills. No excuses. No “Bad dog. I’m sooooo sorry.”

 I’ll consider being your friend, talking to you and chatting away. But, not until you train yourself on the basics of dog walking. These include: my dog is out in public and should behave calmly, no jumping or showing of teeth and for heaven sakes please hold on to that leash!

 Walk anyone?

I Was Wrong About Susan

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Yep, I’m man enough to admit it- I was wrong! Confident I pegged her correctly; I knew she and I would NOT get along well. She’s so analytical, so focused and business-like. I’m a long time survivor of ADD who is successful because I have always done things MY WAY to get from point A to point B sometimes making a mess along the way. There was no fricken’ way we would find enough common ground to work together on a volunteer project.

One of the likes I appreciate about ME is my ability to assess people quickly, categorize them to my satisfaction and move on. I’m fair, tilted towards kindness in others and often correct.

Looks like I can get WAY better!

After sitting down and having a glass of wine with Susan I discovered a passionate, intelligent women whose basic views about life paralleled mine!

Who’d a thunk?!

 I pegged her wrong. I made up my mind without ever sitting down and chatting with her. It took me three years to do so.

 Lesson learned: We’re (I’m) good at initially sensing if we “click” with someone, if we vibrate well together. But, we’re (I’m) not as good as we (I) think. So, sit down and have a glass of wine, some coffee or lunch and then you’ll have a much better idea if the person you think is not “your type” is in fact a much better “fit” than you realized.

 I was wrong about Susan. Today, we are friends. I got lucky!

16 Reasons Why I Left Corporate America

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

1-      After 28 years with the same company I had to ask myself; why are you still doing the same thing you did when you were 25 years old?

2-      Every week they want you to face in a new direction. New policies, good and bad managers. It was time to manage myself without a “bottom-line” mentality.

3-      ‘Cause I can!

4-      ‘Cause the ride is over and I’m ready to jump off.

5-      ‘Cause my horoscope said that today was the day to make that BIG change in my life. I hope they weren’t referring to my deodorant!

6-      No more reports. No more reports. No more reports.

7-      Ties, procedure, core values, egos and business dinners-yuck!

8-      Back stabbers, gossip, more egos and those darn ties.

9-      My desire to listen to one more person give their opinion about politics, religion, how to better run the company and those damn tie’s.

10-  My passion changed from the glamorous world of floor covering to the fantastic worlds of writing and professional speaking.

11-  I spoke with my wife and she said I could.

12-  I spoke to my dog and I think I saw him blink his left eye in approval.

13-   Our kids are done with college so we don’t need another trillion dollars to pay for tuition and books.

14-  ‘Cause I want to.

15-   Burnt out-sure. Done working-hell no.

16-  Professionally, I’ve accomplished more than I ever dreamed of. I leave behind a strong legacy and many beautifully decorated homes.

                     

Until next time………………

10 Things to Do Before Leaving your Job

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

1-Have an exit strategy. Know where you’re going, why you’re leaving and how you’re going to pay those pesky bills.

2-Some companies will give you a severance package. The longer you’ve been employed at the company the more they will offer.

3-Insurance.  You need it. Your family needs it. Make sure you understand your options before leaving. If you’re going to a new job ask their HR department during the interview.

 4-Clean up as much as you can. Someone else will most likely be taking over some or all of your responsibilities. Be kind and finish up what you can and leave behind a note listing important things to make their transition easier. Hopefully, you’ll have a similar note waiting for you at your new job.

 5-Understand the options you have in rolling over any money you’ve saved in your company’s retirement account.

 6-Mend relationships. Seek out those who you might have had differences with. Say good bye and try to say one positive thing about them or their work. People move within the same industries and your paths may cross again.

7-Your manager can make your transition easier. They can even help with severance. Thank them. Work with them so that they understand any pending issues that may arise.

 8-If possible, try to give yourself 1-2 weeks before beginning your new job. The down time will help you relax and allow you time to ramp up for your next chapter. Good time to begin the exercise program you’ve been avoiding.

 9-Farewell note- This can be done as you’re leaving or in an email and goes directly to your manager and their superior thanking them. How many employees do that?

 10- Pay it forward- Find 1-2 people who would benefit from your knowledge of the company and share with them. (who – co-workers? customers?)