Shifting Gears

As we’ve discussed around these parts in the past, I’ve not been writing here as much as I would like.  There’s lot of reasons (none of them terribly good), but I’ve felt like I should be doing more.  With that in mind, I’m excited to share some news with you.

Starting today, I’ll be porting over to a new site, WordsOnTheDL.Com.  (Clever, right?)  The focus will be less on Lean and/or HR, though those topics will still be part of the show.  Shifting over allows me room to move around a bit more mentally, though, and that could take us to some really interesting places.

So after this post, all the new stuff will be over there.  The archives will still be here, though, so you can amuse yourself with old posts as you like.  I hope you’ll come check out the new digs.  There’s been a lot of work by really smart people in putting it together.  I’ve been very vocal in the decisions made, but despite my best efforts, it still looks pretty great.

Coffee’s ready if you are.



Zips. Zip codes. Zip+4.  Best invention of the 20th century for interpersonal communications.  Aside from that Internet thing.  Robert Moon was no dummy.

Why is it genius?  Order from chaos, my friends.  Taking the country and breaking it down systematically into bite sized pieces.  Instead of 50 states, you have thousands of small sections.  Zeroing in on a street adress was never so simple.  Huge land mass, now in small, neatly wrapped packages.

We can take inspiration from this.  Order from chaos is our goal.  Taking the hectic, everyday traffic in an HR office and finding ways to harness that energy, bring an efficiency to the motion, and turning the tornado into a Whirling Dervish of productivity.  It’s not an easy task, and rarely one that we can take on without a burning platform of some sort.  Jim Collins was right on that point.  Break it up, break it down, and rebuild it.  That’s the only way to move forward.  It takes change to make change.

Makes you wonder what Robert Moon could have done in an HR department, doesn’t it?


Those teeth are Vext.

No, not vexed.  Vext.  Sound the same, right?  What’s the difference?  One is a legit word.  The other is nonsense.

You see “vext” all over your organization, even if you don’t know it.  That onboarding process that doesn’t include business cards and a cell phone on day one?  Vext.  The three hour meeting someone calls to prepare for the two hour meeting next week?  Vext.  The way you work your budget to be frugal all year, then load up on supplies in December so your budget isn’t smaller next year?  Totally vext.

It’s nonsense, and it’s killing your organization.  In fact, I’d say you are vexed by vext.

Vext is more than a nuisance.  It’s a cultural norm.  It’s a way of life.  It is how business gets done far too often.  You’re better than that.  You should be, anyway.

Stand up against vext.  Play the game the right way, refuse to pander to the “old rules” of business.  It’s the only way we will ever move forward and break out of this economic slump that seems so hard to shake.

Powered by Hope

Recently had a brief Facebook exchange with friend of the show John Jorgensen over a story about US unemployment claims.  John’s smart.  He saw right away that there were some big pieces of the puzzle missing, and this bit of positive news was being presented isolation.  Call it spin, call it selective reporting, call it a little misleading.  Maybe all three.  He’s totally right.

But here’s what I dig about economics.  The economy is one of the few things that seem to be truly powered by hope.  If we all believe it will get better, and we act that way, it gets better. If we think it will tank, and we act accordingly, it tanks. So maybe a little spin on the numbers isn’t such a bad thing.

You know what else seems to be powered by hope?  Your career.  You heard me.

Think you are doing a great job?  Think you will be rewarded for your work?  Think your company has a bright future, and you can make a real difference?  Frederick Herzberg, father of Motivation-Hygiene Theory, tells us that those are just the right attitudes for you to have to be connected to your job and, in the end, more effective.  What do we know about those connected, effective and motivated A players?  They are way more likely to perform above others, earn greater rewards, and have a real impact on their organization.  They are the brass ring, the reason we measure and chase employee engagement scores.  To try to find an copy them in order to breed success.  And they are powered by hope of a better future.

What about the opposite?  Employees who have no reason to believe in the future of their role or company?  They are distracted, not to mention distracting.  They suck away at your time, your resources, your energy and, yes, your success.  Too many of those start to drag on performance.  And soon, it’s not just them that have lost hope.  It is everyone around them as well.

I suppose you could consider these macro and micro versions of the same phenomenon.  I find them fascinating.  As the presidential election rolls around, I’m sure we will hear much about hope again this time.  And while most of what we hear in stump speeches may be overblown rhetoric, this little bit may be more true than even the speakers believe.

So, how’s your hope level these days?

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