Closing a Door…

3328858714_039336fcd6_bIn August 2006, I started my first blog.

It was, like so many other things, an experiment.   A creative outlet when I had a job that had turned out to be something different than I what I had signed up for.   As can happen.

(And that “something different” wasn’t too demanding.   So I had creative energy to burn.)

“Sustainability” interested me, in the sense of the new environmental discipline that was entering the public consciousness.

But also in a larger sense.  A sustainability that encompassed the idea that we don’t waste people, to paraphrase Majora Carter.

Blogging started out as a sort of online diary of interesting things — remember, there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Tumblr — and became a place to refine my thinking.

At some point, Valeria Maltoni generously added me to a list of emerging women who blogged, and people started to visit.  My blog became a place to connect with other people.

In late 2007, I left that job, laid off with the rest of my team.   Soon afterwards, we were followed by waves of people affected by the financial crisis.

Before it became clear that I’d be hard pressed to ever find the Job I had been trained/educated/socialized to expect that I should have, I started a business.  And the journey that led me here.

This blog is the the daughter of my original blog.

I don’t post a lot.   Good content takes time.   It takes creativity.   It takes bandwidth.   I don’t buy into the “everyone should blog” meme.

The other blog?  I brought some posts over with me, and cross posted for a while.

Then, my beloved old blog became a part of an Internet ghost town.

This blog became a more focused endeavor, to develop a body of content relevant to my work.

This summer I’m working on a side project.  I’m finding new ways to share content I’ve developed over the years — and more important, the learning and practical knowledge it represents.

(More on that over on Tumblr, which I use as an online journal.   Sort of.)

Yesterday, I shuttered my old blog.

I couldn’t delete it.   Yet.   Instead, I made it private.

And I took a moment to remember the incredible expansion and generosity I’ve experienced since I pressed “publish” for the first time on August 24, 2006.

Thank you, Blogger.   Thank you, WordPress,com.   Thank you, Internet!

And many thanks to everyone who has ever read, shared, or commented on one of my posts.   Your time is an expression of your generosity.

The Journey continues.

I blog about once a month.  Want to hear from me when I do, or when I host a public event?   Click here

Photo: Shutters by Monica Arellano-Ongpin, via Flickr under Creative Commons license.





Doesn’t Even Seem to Be A Shadow In the City…

Tower Dec 2013Because I’m not a summer person, I prefer Tower, Minnesota at -24F (yes, that’s a screenshot from my phone) to NYC at 92F.

It’s not just the heat.

It’s the pace.   It could feel great when I had a Job.

As an employee of Anne Inc., when my clients slow down, my business does too.  And that can be a bit boring!

A few summers back, I decided to stop fighting, and embrace summer.

So for a few years now, I’ve had summer projects.

They’re a little experimental, around creating experiential learning exercises to  help people to explore people management.

One year it was a book club.  Another, open office hours.  Last year, an out-of-the-box artistic exploration.   Over time, I’ve added service, like free coaching/consulting for not-for-profit execs, or donating proceeds to charity.

To shape this year’s project, I reached out to a Brain Trust of clients and other startup denizens.

I asked them to tell me about their biggest management challenges.  Their views on topics I thought could create good group discussions.   And who they’d like to learn with.

Everyone was interested in better ways to give feedback.  Setting goals came in at a strong second.

Some wanted to talk about how to work with an employee whose performance isn’t up to par.

These are universal experiences at work!   Whether you work at NASA or at McDonald’s.

Here’s what one person said*:

…I think I would definitely be interested in attending the sessions above…but I think I would get most use out of them if I could go to them *when* I am experiencing that issue, or just before.

It would be really awesome if these were a quarterly series that you knew about and knew you could drop in or something.  I am SURE I will need a lot of guidance on how to fire someone, but I don’t think learning about it now will help me that much…

This person is looking for Just In Time management learning!   (More on that notion in another post.)

With many great disciplines — athletics, musicianship, programming — it’s obvious that learning is progressive.   And that the discipline hangs on a structure:  rules, best practices, conventions.

Some day, you’ll have to fire someone.   It’s gonna suck.   (It will suck the 20th time, too.)

With management, structure makes it possible to do the hard things well.

And I’m talking about having meaningful goals, and a process for giving feedback.   If you’re going to be even good, these practices come first.

Structure doesn’t make hard things easier; it makes them clearer.

And learning is progressive.

A “how to let someone go” discussion group is best for people who have had the “goals” and “feedback” seminars.

I digress, somewhat.

Thank you, Brain Trust.  You’ve put me on a good path to this year’s summer project.

Two lunchtime discussions:  July 25th, on setting meaningful goals; and August 15th, on giving effective feedback.

It’s a package deal, because it’s progressive, and to cement the learning.   Questions?  Throw me a comment.

Or, you can sign up here.

Want to hear from me about future events like this?   Click here.




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