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Lessons from my favorite Christmas movies!

I love Christmas movies. Every year I watch them with my family... and every year I still love them. But did you know that you could actually use these movies to help with your leadership, management, and customer service? Well you can... Here’s a sampling:

Miracle on 34th Street

Everyone seems so focused on the "commercial" from Mr. Macy and Mr. Gimbel all the way throughout New York City... But Macy’s Santa, aptly named Kris Kringle (and wonderfully played by Edmund Gwenn) really gets it. He helps customers get what they want - even when it’s something that Macy’s doesn’t carry. Customers are so delighted that they become loyal customers of Macy’s. Now that’s customer service! Couldn’t we all learn from Macy’s Kris Kringle? Give it a try!

Love Actually

I love this newer Christmas movie. In it, we hear a lot of stories about love, the holidays, and people. But it is the opening of the movie that gets me. In it, we hear the voice of the Prime Minister of England (played by Hugh Grant) saying, "Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport. General opinion makes out that we live in a world of hatred and greed. I don’t see that. Seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy but it’s always there. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, none of the phone calls from people on board were messages of hate or revenge, they were all messages of love. lf you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around."

It’s a great quote, but it also got me thinking of the interview I had with Herb Kelleher (for the film "The Excellence Files.") Herb said, "We’d rather be a company motivated by love than fear." You don’t often hear CEOs speak of love, but it is hard to argue with success. Herb Kelleher built the most successful airline in the world. And he did it by empowering, respecting and valuing (or even loving) his employees. Maybe it is all about love! (By the way, if you watch this movie, make sure to watch the deleted scenes, they’re funny and heartwarming).

It’s a Wonderful Life

OK, there are so many wonderful lessons in this movie it’s hard to focus in on one. The one I like the best is that you can’t do it alone. As many of you already know so well, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is in a pickle. He thinks he has to solve the problems on his own and even considers suicide... But the town comes to the rescue and helps George out. I love the scene at the end when everyone from Bedford Falls gathers in George Bailey’s living room to show support. I also love it because it reminds all of us that we can’t do everything alone. It is the collaboration of groups that make a difference. Teamwork really does matter - at work, at home, and in the community. It’s a nice lesson to remember at work - all year long.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Rudolph doesn’t seem to "fit into the crowd" because he has a red nose. In fact, there is an entire island of toys that seem to be ignored because they don’t fit in. But, as we know, Rudolph’s nose turns out to be a huge asset to Santa during the "Storm of the Century." Well, we know through research that diverse teams perform better than the teams that are all made up of the same kind of people. Maybe we should be looking for the "misfits" and the Rudolph’s for our next team at work. You never know, it might make the difference in your next project.

So, next time you watch your favorite Christmas movie, remember: There may be more to the movie that you love than you think!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and I hope that the New Year brings you much joy and success.

Posted under Customer Service, Miscellaneous Thoughts, Training Ideas, Leadership, Management by Stewart on Dec 17, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Fun REALLY Works!

This week, I read a small article in Business Week. The article described a project where they created a "musical" staircase (and painted it to look like a piano keyboard). The idea was to get people to climb the stairs instead of riding on the escalator. It was a HUGE success! Here is the clip on the piano staircase.

Piano Stairs

I then visited the website (http://www.thefuntheory.com/). And there are even more examples of fun. I particularly like the bottomless garbage bin.

Bottomless garbage can

For years, we have seen that fun makes a difference. Our customers have seen this in the "Fish! Philosophy" videos as well as our new "Attitude" series with Sam Glenn.

Fun does make a difference and we’ve seen it at work. For example, we found it when we filmed at the company Life is good and at the HealthWorks Kids Museum (which is part of the Tom Peters Re-imagine series). We also found it when we filmed Herb Kelleher and the folks at Southwest Airlines.

So what does this mean for you and your work? I think the lesson is simple. People are motivated by fun anywhere: In the subway, walking in the park, recycling bottles, and even at work. Think about what you can do to make work more fun. How can you engage people? How can you stimulate them to do more by making the experience fun? I know it will make a difference (particularly when times are a little tough) and that you can think of fun things to add happiness to your workday!

Posted under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Training Ideas, HR and Training by Stewart on Oct 30, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Free Webinar on Thursday

A few weeks ago we posted up a blog "What You Said About Last’s Week’s Blog Topic" and included a number of responses to what real people are doing about communication in the workplace with the various generations.

One of the responses mentioned a book called "Not Everyone Gets a Trophy: How To Manager Generation Y" by Bruce Tulgan. Bruce was kind enough to send us a copy of his book and we’ll have a review shortly.

Right now though, you can participate in his free webinar through Monster this Thursday, April 2nd at 2:00pm EST.

Here is the link: http://hiring.nytimes.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/hr-events/upcoming-hr-events/monster-generation-management-webinar.aspx

Posted under What’s New, Training Ideas by Stewart on Mar 30, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Free training for managers and HR Managers

I have noticed that there are an awful lot of these "webinars" (podcasts, webcasts) going around and I wasn’t sure who was really using them, so I did some research... I have compiled a list of the "free" (I like how some places say "Mostly Free") but these are really free webinars that focus on training for Human Resource Professionals and Managers playing the multi-hat game that includes HR responsibilities.

Manpower - has been offering Free Webinars for five years and maintains that they are pre-approved for issuing continuing education credits through the HRCI (Human Resources Certification Institute): https://brc.manpower.com/BRC/contentStandard.jsp?articleid=641

This site is actually not a human resource based site but has an extensive (and I do mean extensive) collection of webinars, white papers and podcasts for free on virtually any subject matter. Need to train someone on managing their wireless handhelds while in a meeting (or rather, not using their wireless handhelds in a meeting)? Send them a link! http://physorg-whitepapers.tradepub.com/?pt=cat&page=Hr&flt=pod

Humanic Designs has a few interesting ones also. They are a HR / Payroll tech company. http://www.humanic.com/resources/index.html

Payscale.com has a two webinars...hopefully they will schedule some more: http://www.payscale.com/hr/resources/hr-webinars

Cisco Webex (one of the major players in webinars and webcasts) hosts a variety of free webinars - the topic list is interesting and I like that you can sort by time frame: http://www.webex.com/web-seminars/index.php?task=recorded&PHPSESSID=d8b036c8c62a79cea541437b393c3ac5

Boston University also hosts a wide variety of topics: http://www.butrain.com/events/webinar.asp?source=23172&gclid=CIDc5vudrZkCFQG7GgodtxYkJQ

Would you use one? If you have, what do you think? Do you like them? Have you recommended them to employees as any kind of continuing education? If so, does your company keep track of the training?

BINGO: I30

Posted under What’s New, Miscellaneous Thoughts, Training Ideas by Stewart on Mar 19, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

What YOU said about last week's blog topic

WOW! What a response!!! I want to be sure to share with all of you the following information which is what actual people had to say in last week’s blog topic about living with, managing, dealing with and working within generational differences.

The people’s names are hyperlinked to their Linked-In profiles if you would like to continue the conversation with them or feel free to post it up here.

"While I do agree part of this is our habit of putting everybody in a nice little box so they’re easier to classify, I would say there is a noticeable difference between Boomer’s (my husband), Gen Xers (where I am) and Gen Y’s. I do feel that there’s less of a gap between Xers and Boomers, possibly due to the fact we’ve now worked together for so long we’ve learned how to work with each other, but Y’s are really requiring a change of attitude.These are folks who have much higher expectations than I did when I entered the workforce. They expect constant recognition for their efforts, even when only mediocre. I must admit I was stunned to hear that the trend in grade-school sports is to no longer just award a First Place Trophy, or even first, second, and third place. Instead, while still acknowledging the first place effort, *everybody* gets a "participation award" just for showing up! Just think about how this sets up expectations for folks who then enter the workforce.

I have not found the generalization to be true that all Y’ers are hooked up to iPods. However, they use electronic communication quite differently. Boomers and X’ers tend to use the internet as a research tool: a handy, quick way to find an answer, or at least a direction, to solve a problem or begin research. Yes, they are using the social networking sites such as Facebook, but mostly for fun, to try to locate long-lost friends, etc.

Y’ers, however, are reliant on the internet and instant communication (email, IM, texting, etc.) to know what is going on in the world. Rather than going out to find something, they wait for it to come to them. It has become an integrated part of their lifestyle, not merely a tool.

While it seems I’m speaking negatively of Y’ers, I really am not (although I must admit I’m still stunned at Participation Awards!). For example, Y’ers are also very much more open about everything. Granted, they tend to share *too* much at times (but who doesn’t on occasion?), but overall, they are open and honest, try to let folks know where they are, and have expectations that the people they interact with will be just as open and honest with them. I think this is very refreshing in the workforce. They trust more easily (whether warranted or not). They are very team-oriented, a bit less selfish, and have different motiviations for doing what they’re doing. They also tend to look more at the macro than the micro, which is often a good thing.

These comments are based both on my experiences in the workforce, but also in actively participating in the lives of my 19 nieces and nephews, who range in age from 22 to 3. Of course their generalizations, but that’s what we’re discussing after all, right?"

Stephen Pangione
Director of Human Resources at Exact Software
"I completely agree about the GenV. Working in IT many of my co-workers are from various generations, but all have the tendencies describing GenV. My boss (a Boomer) doesn’t represent that generation at all when dealing with computers and technology. He’s very much at the fore front and can’t stand people who cannot keep up with technology. He fits in with and socializes with other generations with no problem because of it."

Ranelle Maltas
Technology Training Services Manager
"I do believe that the cultural aspects of each generation is different, and that can bring differences to the workplace. What we experience colors our perceptions and our responses. We can’t necessarily expect a group of employees who were brought up in a culture where "everybody wins" to understand that not all of them are going to get a top bonus or a VP slot; that there are limitations in the corporate world. On the other hand, some "boomers" are slower to get into technical advances; not because of age, but because of technical overload for a group of people who worked with AB Dick machines (what are THEY??) and can remember when the fax machine was an innovation. We have a lot to teach each other, though, if we can get past surface differences."

Margie Ward, SPHR
Compensation, Benefits, HRMS Manager, Raymond James Financial
"The generational differences are very apparent in the communications with candidates and employees within our organization. When recruiting individuals that are Gen X’ers, we find that the entire package, especially related to work/life balance plays a bigger picture in their negotiating strategy; and unfortunately, we also find that they are not open to negotiations as much as they insist on their demands and expect the employer to meet their needs, both personally and professionally.We find that once they become employees they anticipate promotions, title changes, increases, etc., at a faster pace, and don’t necessarily connect success and "time on the job" as a factor to those decisions.

We find the Gen X’ers don’t see technology as a perk, but as a necessity to do their jobs. Therefore, cell phones with email capabilities and internet access is required and not something extra that someone earns, for example.

Each generation brings value to the organization. The younger generations have a high confidence with technology and how to best use it; they bring an energy and excitement to business practices that may have become stale. We also find that they require more of a personal connection to their coworkers than we see with Boomers. Although they tend to require more time off for work/life balance than we experienced in terms of requests from Boomers, they work exceptionally hard when they are focused on the "work" side of that work-life balance.

As someone that has a current mix in her work force of early 20’s all the way through late 60’s, I love the mix of the generations and the interesting approach that all bring to our environment."

Lisa Carp
Vice President Human Resources & Communications, SPHR
"Read anything by Bruce Tulgan. His website is www.rainmakerthinking.com . The best analysis of leadership and management I’ve read and listened to as well looking at the differences between the generations. He’s also a quick, easy and enjoyable read (although I will tell you I heard him speak at an ASTD conference and he blew me away)."

Ronald Davis
Retail Operations Project Manager at Select Comfort
**Bruce Tulgan’s website: http://www.rainmakerthinking.com/ **
"I have been saying for several years that we are about to undergo a sea change with the next generation that enters the workforce.We already have people working who began using the Internet in their teens. We’re starting now to get the people who began using it when they were 2 or 3. Now this is largely speculation on my part, since I unfortunately have had little exposure to kids. However, I’m of the 1st TV generation - I saw first hand how different my thought processes were from those of my parents. I suspect that this new generation’s thinking will be exponentially different from ours.

I suspect that their thought processes have been formed by hyperlinks - that they think the way hyperlinks work, i.e., non-linear, making connections between things that to older generations seem totally unconnected, etc. They have also grown up as "open source".

The implications of this, if I’m correct, are immense. In my own field, I’m guessing that command-and-control is such a totally alien concept to them that they will simply refuse to work in such a structure because it’s totally incomprehensible to them!"

Robin Cook
Cutting-Edge Organizational Development Thought Leader; Expert on "cultures of innovation"
"These ideas have a great deal of merit and can have a profound impact of all sorts of things. However, I am getting concerned that Generational differences are being seen as the panacea business, leadership and team work success.Generational differences are helpful more at an broad level. We should utilize this knowledge at organizational levels, system levels to ensure we are approaching significant portions of the population appropriately.

However, at an individual level this information is less helpful. I see many managers labelling people based on age, organizations teaching courses that inherently cause managers and leaders to make assumptions about people when what we should recognize is that people are different in many ways and nothing can take the place of developing relationships and getting to understand what makes each of your emplyees tick. Otherwise, we are employing intellectual or academic "Generationalism.""

Brad Federman
President, Performancepoint, LLC.
"I think there is plenty to say about the generations and like you, I find that I can relate to almost any of them. I’ve always considered it folly to paint someone in a corner because of who they are and what their habits might be. While it always seems easier for the generations to be poked, prodded, analyzed, etc, the answer will always be: it depends. Yet, the world and people are changing and many new Gens. are just around the corner in this e-AGE as I like to call it. The world is no longer flat and when you take in this from a global perspective, it’s mind boggling to say the least. We’ll still be discovering ourselves for all time so look for the the Crayola Crayon box to keep evolving with us. I accept that life was simplier for many of us and maybe easier for us to label things, but I’ve also learned that so long as you are on this planet, you have to keep growing, adjusting, and BEcoming. As I write this, I realize that all of this has implications for where we are today as humans and even in light of the current global economic crisis, we’ll have to take a deeper look at ourselves and how we communicate, live, love, and share..."

Raymond A. Truitt, PhD
Managing Director at Ellipsis Companies, LLC
""e-AGE" - I really like that term! What a great way to describe it!"

Amy Mullen
Director at Enterprise Media

Managing Director at Ellipsis Companies, LLC"I did a study last year on the "next generation." The upshot: 60% of respondents (who were more or less evenly split across Boomers, Xers, and Millennials) thought gens were defined by age + attitude... and >50% didn’t know if their coworkers would classify them as Next Gen. What I’m finding is that the way to deal across generations is to become more ADAPTIVE (as opposed to trying to adapt to a particular gen). Lots of people already do this. Why it’s so important now is that the younger gens in the workplace simply don’t have the tolerance for anything less.

I posted a whitepaper from the study at http://www.seidenleadership.com"

Jason Seiden
Leadership Consultant & Author, How to Self-Destruct: Making the Least of What’s Left of Your Career
"I look at the generations and the supposed differences with some scepticism. Not because I don’t beleive there are differences; more form the fact that we all have different expectations and demands. The key is how to adapt the style of interaction between people, regardless of their generational differences. This is more about behavioural flexibility than it is about identifying the genreation from which somebody came."

Malcolm Dawes
Owner dta WORLDWIDE
"Of course Malcolm’s, Raymond’s, & Brad’s comments are virtually a given. But in order to do so, one must have at least some awareness of the "cultural variance" involved!"

Robin Cook
Cutting-Edge Organizational Development Thought Leader; Expert on "cultures of innovation"
"Part of my learning has been to follow one of the 5 pillars of succes that come from NLP - Sensory Acuity and Behaviourial Flexibility. Suerly we should treat each person as an individual and, as great leaders that we are, build rapport based on the sensory information that we are receiving during our communication with them and behave in as flexible manner as possible to maximise the opportunities of success with that client, customer, delegate, person.Suerly one of the dangers of collecting people under a label is that we then generalise the behaviour that achieves success and then go into a meeting or training event with a preconceived idea of how we must behave to get a result.

The person with the greatest flexibility has the greatest impact on the system."

Chris Menlove-Platt
Development Partner, JSA Development
"Whenever I speak at conferences or conduct training programs and even mention the topic of Gen Y (Millennials), I know that I better leave some time to discuss the topic, because it’s going to generate a lot of discussion.I have found this to be true in many industries (e.g. manufacturing, banking, pharmaceutical...), across a variety of job functions, and at almost ever level. Interesting, the only level that I have encounted that does not see the integration of four generations into the workforce as an issue is the C-level. I have worked with many executives who just arent’ experiencing it, though this makes sense as they are probably interacting with fewer Millennials than their supervisors are.

This is certainly an issue that generates a lot of emotion."

Merrick Rosenberg
President & Chief Learning Officer, Team Builders Plus
"Thanks Amy for adding relevant information to the discussion. I understand that we have a need to categorise to simplify life. Being aware of the cateogories can aid understanding. However, within each stereotype are individuals not typical of their group and failure to acknowledge this may cause frustration, damage their motivation, and ultimately hamper their development. Therefore categories should come with a "diversity management" warning: "not all individuals conform to category standards"."

sylvia hammond
Main member at Burgeoning Skills Cc

"I completely agree about the GenV. Working in IT many of my co-workers are from various generations, but all have the tendencies describing GenV. My boss (a Boomer) doesn’t represent that generation at all when dealing with computers and technology. He’s very much at the fore front and can’t stand people who cannot keep up with technology. He fits in with and socializes with other generations with no problem because of it."

Ranelle Maltas
Technology Training Services Manager
"You should read the book "From Boomers to Bloggers" by Misti Burmeister (you can also find her on LinkedIn if you want to have a conversation with her). Misti is a best-selling author and speaker on generational diversity -- leadership through the different generations in the workplace.
Best Regards,
Courtney Nicholson"
***Misti Burmeister’s LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/pub/0/252/4a4 ***
"I too find all the identified generation classifications and the characteristics that go along with each, very fascinating. Although I am a baby boomer, I think of myself and see my traits much more as a Gen X. I think like any categorical type of tool, the generation identification is the same - that is - there are overlaps. Just because you are part of one generation doesn’t mean you meet all the identified criteria and that you are only that. Think of what your score is on the Myers-Briggs for example. The different generation classifications can be helpful in a work environment because we can each know a little bit about someone prior to truly knowing them - of course there may be some biases -- but it can still help. Here is a link
http://knowledgeadvantage.biz/newsletters/multi_generations_at_work.pdf
to an article on Multi-generations in the Workplace. I hope you and others find it informative and helpful."

Ruth Kustoff
Principal, Knowledge Advantage - It’s What Works

"You should read the book "From Boomers to Bloggers" by Misti Burmeister (you can also find her on LinkedIn if you want to have a conversation with her). Misti is a best-selling author and speaker on generational diversity -- leadership through the different generations in the workplace.Best Regards,Courtney Nicholson" ***Misti Burmeister’s LinkedIn ***"I too find all the identified generation classifications and the characteristics that go along with each, very fascinating. Although I am a baby boomer, I think of myself and see my traits much more as a Gen X. I think like any categorical type of tool, the generation identification is the same - that is - there are overlaps. Just because you are part of one generation doesn’t mean you meet all the identified criteria and that you are only that. Think of what your score is on the Myers-Briggs for example. The different generation classifications can be helpful in a work environment because we can each know a little bit about someone prior to truly knowing them - of course there may be some biases -- but it can still help. Here is a linkto an article on Multi-generations in the Workplace. I hope you and others find it informative and helpful.""I have, in the past, studied quite a bit about generational differences in many aspects of the workplace, and while I agree with the general aim of learning about and accommodating different styles of thinking and communicating, I have grown a little skeptical of the application of this knowledge. Malcolm Knowles, after creating the concept of andragogy, eventually found that his principles of adult learning theory were an improvement to the current theories of childhood education as well, and almost equally applicable to both adults and children.I suspect we’re going to find the same thing at the end of the "generation styles" rainbow: that what we’ve discovered in terms of new ways to help people learn and communicate is great, but that we will not be able to apply it simply based on when the learner was born -- or maybe even based on which generation the learner identifies with most. I feel the same way about learning the differences in the way men and women think and communicate; the main thing is to know that there are ways of thinking/communicating other than what comes naturally to you. They may or may not be applicable when talking to any new individual."

Judy Unrein
Instructional Designer at BlueCross BlueShield of Kansas City
BINGO: G54

BINGO: G54

Posted under What’s New, Training Ideas by Stewart on Mar 10, 2009 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

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