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57 Performance Reviews

57 Performance Reviews

A few weeks ago, I started receiving emails from Microsoft called “My Analytics.” Have you seen these? Microsoft is tracking my digital behaviors and creating a report designed to help me understand my work habits and give me helpful suggestions. For example, the My Analytics report told me that I open my emails, on average, 30 seconds after I receive them.  Based on that data, it suggested that I answer email only 2 or 3 times each day to avoid being continually distracted from my projects.  Smart, right?  Here’s another example: The most recent My Analytics report I received told me I’ve had 57 performance reviews in the last 4 weeks. Actually, as you can see the report told me ...

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The Tsundoku

The Tsundoku

For as long as I can remember I have loved to read.  I was brought up in a family that made regular trips to the library to look for new books to read every week or so.  It was an adventure.  I loved getting lost in the stacks and trying out new books to take back home. I remember the wonder I felt entering the small library at Cherrington Elementary School in Westerville, Ohio.  And I remember one book I loved and checked out multiple times – A Rocket in My Pocket.  While in elementary school I joined the Scholastic Book Club where you could order books and then the teacher would present yours to you when the box arrived ...

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Take Off

Take Off

I’ve been told I’m not very good at accepting compliments, maybe it’s because my mind is scrambling for something nice to say in return.  Do you know that feeling?  Here’s something that earned me a few compliments recently: Thanks for your message! I’m taking a day off to breathe, rest, and recharge… I might even exercise!  I know how much great work needs to be done, and this is going to help me be at my best, thanks for understanding.  I’ll respond to your message following my return on Tuesday.  -AJ Do you ever feel guilty for taking a day off?  Or do you commit the greatest crime of all and work during a day off?? Ouch. I do both ...

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Do you have 5 minutes to spare, for YOU?

Do you have 5 minutes to spare, for YOU?

Pause & reflect. Find energy in balanced well-being. Looking at my Lululemon shopping bag, I’m reminded multiple times to take a pause for a meditation and deep breath break… “Breathe Deeply” “Meditate for 10 minutes every day. Unless you’re busy. Then meditate for 20.” “Stress is related to 99% of all illness” Meditation and deep breathing support your nervous system. Having a meditation practice can lower blood pressure, improve focus, increase energy and help to deescalate stressful circumstances. Sitting quietly with focus only on your breath can be tough. When I first started meditating, I found it difficult to sit still, feel comfortable in the position I chose and not make my mental to do list. After some practice (because ...

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Disrupt: Notions About Work that Are So Last Year

Disrupt: Notions About Work that Are So Last Year

The last few weeks of 2019 were full of networking events, professional development workshops and more LinkedIn scrolling than usual. A few comments and posts stood out to me because they went against the grain and challenged me to think differently. How could ideas like working less, celebrating late bloomers and taking subtle risks be better than nearly burning out, focusing on only the “up-and-comers” and going big or going home? Here’s how… Work Less Society says: The more you work, the more important you must be. Work day, work night. Or in the words of Rihanna, “Work, work, work, work, work.” I recently listened to a local chef and his wife speak about the successes (and failures) of their ...

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Consistency: A 22nd Century Skill

Consistency: A 22nd Century Skill

Not long ago, a member of my team emailed me an interesting challenge: come up with a training for 22nd century skills. It piqued my interest. Here’s how I responded: “That’s a cool idea. By the 22nd century, I imagine there will be a volume of content so immense that people will need to be excellent at filtering, finding, and quickly assessing. Like today, actual human interaction and communication skills will be a commodity. The ability to connect, influence, and capture attention will be vital.” Was I on the right track?  How would you answer that question?  I could have started with any one of the many lists created for 21st century skills.  One simple list of learning and innovation ...

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What are you Screwing Up?

What are you Screwing Up?

After seeing Kristen Hadeed speak at the Wellness Council of Wisconsin’s annual conference last fall, I had to dig deeper and read her book Permission to Screw Up. Inspired by a pair of jeans that she couldn’t afford as a poor college student, Kristen, through ad an in the paper to clean houses for cash, came to run a successful student-based cleaning company called Student Maid. Let me clarify…she runs a company where college students are lining up to clean other people’s toilets. As you can imagine, Kristen piqued my interest in a few ways… First, she wore ripped jeans, a t-shirt and a ponytail on stage for her keynote. It’s not the ripped jeans that got me, but that ...

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Arriving at Good Leadership

Arriving at Good Leadership

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a professional airline pilot?  Imagine the experience and training required to earn an Airline Transport Pilot certificate; to be a pilot-in-command, responsible for dozens or even hundreds of passengers? The term “Cockpit Resource Management” might not be familiar to you, but to the professional pilot community it is a vital part of their training. Commonly referred to by its acronym, CRM is a pilot’s ability to work effectively with their crew to reduce risk. It is defined in one safety manual as “the effective utilization of all available resources, equipment and people to achieve safe, efficient flight operation.” There are few places in the world where risk management is more vital ...

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The Vibrations

The Vibrations

Can you feel it? Whatever’s happening right now in your workplace is the cause of every decision, every action, every word communicated, and everything left unsaid. It all ripples.  It’s all alive. Good intentions can sometimes leave behind unintentional scars.  I try to wear my scars as signs of learning.  Scars often cause people to go into hiding and become more covert in their disillusionment. Stop trying to “improve the culture” and meetings should be ended immediately where the goal is to brainstorm how to “pump up the culture.” Because it doesn’t get done in a plan.  It gets done in a moment.  And those moments cling together, sometimes for dear life, to become energy and bring new life.  That’s ...

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Breathe In, Breathe Out

Breathe In, Breathe Out

I found myself in a unique juxtaposition this past year shifting between severe work stress and studying the practice of integrating the body, mind and spirit into one. The company I worked at for 13 years announced its merger with one of its largest competitors around the same time I had applied for the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) certification. My role as a recruiting leader holds a high degree of responsibility and I thrive on the multi-tasking busy nature of the role. Post-merger announcement, that multi-tasking busyness was amplified to the nth degree. We took inventory of all things recruiting for both companies and pushed towards a unified way of doing things in the future. I started off hopeful, ...

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