Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Don't Take It Personally (continued)

Now you have disarmed them. And if you can stay even calmer. You can find out what was behind the attack. There’s always a reason for it. And it’s not usually that you are such a bad person that they felt they had to tell the whole world about you. There’s usually something else. Something to do with what they think you are doing or trying to do to them.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Don't Take It Personally (continued)

You wouldn’t be agitated if someone accused you of having purple hair. Not even if they said they hated you because of your purple hair. Unless maybe you did have purple hair. No? Well, then, you would just look at them quizzically and say, "Really, I don’t", and, of course, it would be obvious to everyone else that you didn’t.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Don't Take It Personally (continued)

When people are shooting arrows at you, just step out from in front of the target. It won’t do anyone any good if you let those barbs hit you. You will just get hurt. You have to let them reach their target. And see if they are on the mark and way off it.

If someone says something negative about you and it’s true, if they hit the bull's eye, no matter how it is said or what their intentions are, the best thing to do is admit it.

If someone says something negative about you and it’s not true, if they’re way off target, the best thing to do is stay calm and set them straight.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Don't Take It Personally (continued)

Mark Twain said:

If a person offends you and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures. Simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick.
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), "Advice to Youth" Speech, 1882

Don't listen to him!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Don't Take It Personally

"Don't take it personally." I never knew what that meant. Someone said that to me right after he had repeated something really devastating someone had said about me to my face. Something totally out of sync with how I viewed myself. I must have a very expressive face. Even though I didn't say a word, being in shock, he seemed to feel that he had better say something to help me deal with what he had just told me. But it was not helpful to me for him to say "don't take it personally" when it was personal.

I still don't like that saying. But I think I understand what it means now. It's a reminder that you have a choice and a suggestion that the best choice is not to react emotionally. It's very good advice. I just like to say it differently, in a way that makes more sense to me. If you have a choice, choose not to be hurt.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Fast Company

Here's my comment posted on an interesting article at Fast Company -- It's All About The People:

Let's suppose they don't do it for a good reason. People usually do things, or don't do things, for a good reason. They might think that quantifying exactly how their approach to their people helps improve their numbers means quantifying their approach to their people. They might think that would be a bad way to treat people. I agree that it would be.

Human capital is one of those substances that cannot be measured because the very act of measuring it changes it. In other words, measuring people usually has a deleterious effect on the people.

But there is another way, maybe what you're thinking. Even though you can't measure the thing itself, you can measure the effect of a change in or a difference in the environment.

They can compare the company's performance on any measure before and after they changed their approach to their people. Or they can compare the company's performance to another company's performance that has a different philosophy.

The only prerequisite is that they are very clear about what their philosophy is. Which is a very cool thing. Because once a company states clearly and in detail what they believe about how people should be treated, the people themselves will hold them to it.

There might be an unspoken axiom here, which is that one hundred percent of a company's performance is dependent on how they treat people. But you wouldn't disagree with that, would you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

People Are Easy

Sometimes people seem so different.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Dealing with People... is Easy

If you tried to drive in a nail without a hammer, it would be hard. With the proper tools, anything is easy. Dealing with people for instance.

Monday, January 23, 2006

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Blogosphere

I told Google to notify me if my name came up on the Web. Most times, it's just a post that mentions someone named Marianne and something about powers. But then there was this one:

Doing the Right Thing - Marianne Powers

I subscribed to their feed and it's a really cool idea. They find interesting blogs for you to read, just in case you don't have time to wander around the blogosphere yourself. You'll want to read the archives, too.

Don't miss perspicacious people making eclectic selections at
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Blogosphere.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I Will Remember

I will remember to
stay calm and composed,
ask questions to clarify and hear the answers,
acknowledge what has been said,
think before I speak,
speak with compassion and respect.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

What Is Your Worst Leadership Flaw?

Ron Chapman, sometimes known affectionately as Roni Lama, gave a talk at the Toastmasters Leadership Institute today. He asked us to say what was the single most significant thing that got in the way of our efforts to be good leaders. He told us what his was. Several people were extremely honest about their shortcomings. I was tempted to speak, but I hesitated. Then he said that if we would take the risk and expose ourselves, it would help us to get better. So I said that my flaw was that I had been given this gift to see things from a different perspective, which should help me to make better choices. But I don't always use what I know. I react from the gut and mess things up. Several more people spoke up. It was amazing. And then he told us to write down what we needed to change and keep it in front of us because just doing that would help us to get better. He said that we already had in us what we needed. We just had to admit what we were doing that we needed to change. Then the magic could start.

Ron Chapman
Magnetic North LLC

Seeing True
The Way of Success in Leadership

Friday, January 20, 2006

Missing Columnist

Looks like Liz has not done her column for a while. You'll have to check her out at her website: Order from Chaos

The very best advice I got from Liz was to make sure I had enough work space. She says that if your office or workroom is all cluttered up, it stifles your creativity, because you're buried in old projects. You can't even think about anything new. You need about 30 square feet of clear working surface, about the size of a kitchen table, which is why so many projects get done on one! You need to have that in your primary working space if you want to be productive and creative there. She's so right!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Albuquerque Tribune

After several hundred edits, I have submitted "Around the Office: There is No Them, There's Only Us" to Nancy Salem, the Business Editor at the Albuquerque Tribune. I am not reposting the final version here because, if it's accepted, you'll be able to read it in the Trib.

I know and like several of the business columnists with the Albuquerque Tribune. They each cover a different area and have different styles, but they're all smart, friendly, and upbeat. Check them out:

Rob Spiegel

Stacy Sacco

Liz Davenport

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Here's a picture from the Crest of the Sandia Mountains beside Albuquerque. You can see why it is so easy to have a good perspective from here. EL34 on Flickr.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

In My Day

I was looking for a joke to illustrate humor in my column and came across these from a contest run by the Washington Post:

The Washington Post Report from Week 228, in which you were asked to tell Gen-Xers how much harder you had it in the old days:

Second Runner-Up:

In my day, we couldn't afford shoes, so we went barefoot. In the winter we had to wrap our feet with barbed wire for traction.

(Bill Flavin, Alexandria)

First Runner-Up:

In my day we didn't have MTV or in-line skates, or any of that stuff. No, it was 45s and regular old metal-wheeled roller skates, and the 45s always skipped, so to get them to play right you'd weigh the needle down with something like quarters, which we never had because our allowances were way too small, so we'd use our skate keys instead and end up forgetting they were taped to the record player arm so that we couldn't adjust our skates, which didn't really matter because those crummy metal wheels would kill you if you hit a pebble anyway, and in those days roads had real pebbles on them, not like today.

(Russell Beland, Springfield)

And the winner of the velour bicentennial poster:

In my day, we didn't have no rocks. We had to go down to the creek and wash our clothes by beating them with our heads.

(Barry Blyveis, Columbia)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Only Us (continued)

People are what they are and it’s irrelevant anyway. When people complain about each other, they often accuse each other of being one of these three – lazy, crazy, stupid. These characterizations may not be entirely inaccurate. Not because particular people are one of those things. Because almost all of us have been all of those things at some point in time. But we are much else besides. If you call someone lazy, crazy, or stupid, he will most assuredly be able to point out one of the many ways in which you yourself have failed to achieve perfection. If you show respect for his accomplishments and compassion for his weaknesses, he will likely do the same. You don’t really need for him to be anything in particular anyway and you can’t change whatever it is that he is. You need for him to do something. Tell him what you need and he will tell you whether he can and whether he will.

Only Us (continued)

Everyone is doing the best they can. We may not be doing the best that we are capable of. We may not be doing as well as we did yesterday. But we are always doing the best we can at any given moment in time. It does no good, therefore, to harass or punish someone because she’s not doing as well as you would like or even as well as she would like. The most effective thing to do is to help her figure out what is preventing her from doing better. And she will even help you.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Only Us (continued)

Items to keep in mind when working with HSS:

Everyone has a good reason for what they say and do. It may not be a good reason to anyone else. With more observation, information, or experience, we may change our minds about it being a good reason. But we are always doing what we believe is right or at least justified at the time. If you tell someone that he is doing something wrong, he will fight you, because he knows that he never does anything wrong and you are attacking his character. If you tell him that you know he’s trying to do the right thing but that you think that he may have misassessed the situation, he can listen to that.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Only Us (continued)

HSS are intelligent, logical, hard-working, moral, and social. They communicate verbally most of the time but have been known to use other methods when that is not available. Their close bond with other HSS make it possible for them to intuit others’ thoughts and feelings at times. Unfortunately, this has been known to lead them to believe that they can rely on their extremely limited psychic ability. The resulting miscommunication often results in conflict. With good communication, this group works together well.

You and I are both HSS. We can use what we know about ourselves to understand other HSS at the level on which we are similar, remembering that at the individual level we are completely different. For example, people laugh when they hear or see something funny. But what people think is funny can be very different.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Only Us (continued)

It’s true that people are different. We have different styles, different ways of learning, and different motivations, among other things. In the ways that we are different, putting us in categories is useless, because even 16 are not enough. We are different down to the individual level. In the ways that we are alike, there is only one category. If you’re human, you’re one of us.

I propose guidelines for just one personality type, homo sapiens sapiens. We could call it HSS.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Only Us (continued)

More significant than natural ability, personality, or background in picking the right person for a job is how important the organization’s goal is to the person and how much he wants to be a part of it.

More effective in improving a working relationship with a coworker is listening to him.

Which is fortunate because, for example, there are 16 personality types in the Myers-Briggs (designated by letters combinations such as ISTJ, ENFP, INTP). You never would remember what that many labels are supposed to mean in practice unless you carry the instructions around with you and consult them before speaking to anyone.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

There is No Them, There's Only Us

There seems to be a trend in management these days to try to figure people out, to give them the Meyers Briggs and personality tests, to determine what their natural strengths and weaknesses are, to give them labels and so understand them. Forget all that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Vision II

But Lisa suggested that it was like being a little sun radiating light and warmth and I like that even better.

Monday, January 09, 2006


I have tried to describe what my book is about to many people. It's a book about people who work in offices and why we fight. It has 21 perspectives anyone can use to resolve conflicts and create better relationships with people at work. It's about respect for people's strengths and compassion for their weaknesses. It's about caring for people whether you like them or not because you can't accomplish anything together if you don't care about each other. It's about changing the world. It's about making small changes that make a big difference. I have always thought of it as a ripple in a pond.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Pictures from England

Laura, a friend from Toastmasters, came back from 18 months in England this week. We met at Barnes & Noble for coffee and sandwiches and lots of catching up. They didn't seem to mind that we sat in the coffee shop for six hours! It was very cozy there. I have been sharing the experience with her through her website already. She is an excellent photographer. Check out her photographs from her stay in England and several visits to Europe:

Pictures from England

Saturday, January 07, 2006

An Interesting Day

Today I went to Toastmasters at 8:00 AM, as usual on Saturdays. Then because it was the first Saturday of the month, over to Southwest Writers, and made an announcement about the class on blogging that I will do the third Tuesday in February. I sold a book there to a future blogger. Then to work to catch up on a few things for a few hours. Then over to Page One. On the first Saturday of the month, they let local authors come and sell their books in the cafe from three to five o'clock.

This was the first time that I was the only writer there. There was a woman waiting to see what it was about, Lisa. We talked for a long time about writing and books, my book, a book she is writing, agents, publishers, publishing, and then other things. I told her that we usually had more writers show up, sometimes three or four, sometimes six or eight, apologizing that it was just me. She said that was probably the way it was meant to be. That we wouldn't have been able to talk like we did if there had been more people there and there must have been something that we needed to hear from each other. I trust that my book will help her or someone she knows or meets. I know that I will think about the things we talked about for a long time and take some of her good advice.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Big Smooze

Albuquerque Women in Communications held The Big Smooze at Wolfe's Bagels on Montgomery. It was fun! I got to talk with a few of the many interesting people there:

Phyllis Wolf, Albuquerque Women in Communications
Linda Joyce, Re/Max Relocation Specialist
Katree Edmonds, Retreat to Reality
Barbara Courtney, Shelton Jewelers
Maggie Seeley, Seeley & Associates
Marie Mound, Insight Out
Nancy Salem, The Albuquerque Tribune
John Thurman, Professional Counselor, Marriage and Family Educator, Speaker and Author

Liz Davenport, Author
Order from Chaos
Order from Chaos

Sharon Neiderman, Author
Quilt of Words: Womens Diaries Letters and Original Accounts of Life in the Southwest, 1860-1960
Quilt of Words: Womens Diaries Letters and Original Accounts of Life in the Southwest, 1860-1960

Return to ABO: A Novel of the Southwest
Return to ABO: A Novel of the Southwest

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Oestreich Associates: Dropping Into the Void

Dan has a great post today on leaders:

Oestreich Associates: Dropping Into the Void

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Saying It

There must be something to what people say about journaling, uh, blogging I mean. It does help you to sort things out. I realized today how important it is to be able to talk about what's going on with me and with other people. Maybe it's the most important thing. I can remember walking into the office and feeling something. Not being able to name it, just feeling it. My mood changing to match it, whatever it was. Or sometimes my mood affecting other people the same way. Later on, paying more attention and being able to separate what came from me and what came from other people. Trying not to let it affect me, keeping my own mood but noting that there was something else there.

Sometimes that's enough. Just letting people be. But sometimes you need to say something. You need to break the code of silence and ask a question. Reach out. Say something like, "What's up? You seem sad (or mad or distracted) today." Most of us will do that when another person is obviously in distress. But the most important time to do that is when you have the irresistable urge to talk to a third person about how someone is acting, because that's always destructive. When two people talk about another person, they ostracize that person, create a secret that must be kept from them, and make whatever is going on worse because, if the other person is involved, they're never going to solve the problem without them.

Sometimes it's just really hard to remember to talk about what you're thinking, to let other people in on all that stuff going on in you or to ask what's going on in someone else.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Cranky Day

I had a cranky day today. I woke up out of Nyquil-induced coma to the knowledge that I had forgotten to close the year (it's a computer thing) so that everybody else could get in and start working this morning. I did that in a hurry and then went in to more problems. All those were mostly solved by the end of the day so it was a good day. I don't mind problems. I just get cranky when people have a question or want me to do something else when I'm working on one. I want to say something like "I'm working on a serious problem so please go away and don't try to talk to me right now" in a really nice way. And I think I did that at least half the time. But other times, I could see that I didn't do it well enough. I tried to make up for it by coming back later to give them the help they asked for in my most pleasing and accomodating way. But I need to learn to acknowledge when I don't come across like I want to and not just try to make up for it later. If I had been able to do that, it wouldn't be nagging at me now. I could see it then, why couldn't I say it then? It's almost as if I was thinking that if I didn't bring it up, they might not notice or maybe they would forget.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Hello, My Name Is

Scott Ginsberg is the only person in the world who wears a nametag 24 hours a day/7 days a week to make people friendlier and more approachable. That's what his blog, Hello My Name is Blog, says. Yes, I know. I thought he was just a lunatic, too. But he has some pretty cool things to say and he always makes you want to smile. He wrote a book about it. He has a newer one, too, but this was the original:

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Seth Godin

Probably the most popular blogger on all things business is Seth Godin, Agent of Change. Reading him is a little like taking a ride in a sports car with the top down. Of course, his popularity is undoubtedly also due to good looks. Seth has written several popular books, including:

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable
All Marketers Are Liars: But Great Marketers Tell Stories We Want to Believe

Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable
Big Moo: Stop Trying to Be Perfect and Start Being Remarkable All Marketers Are Liars: But Great Marketers Tell Stories We Want to Believe