On August 26, 1920, the Suffragettes in the United States, after a hard-fought series of votes in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures, saw the Nineteenth Amendment became part of the U.S. Constitution. It was progress and change for the advancement of equal rights.
However, nearly 97 years later, the inequality of women continues to endure. Women make up half the workforce, yet earn only 80 cents on the dollar compared to male counterparts.
So YES we need an International Women’s Day. Take notice. Step up. Be Bold. Make a difference.
See this article from The Institute for Women’s Policy that outlines the pay equity and discrimination prevalent today.
#BeBoldForChange #InternationalWomensDay #FirstWorldProblems
A few years ago, I worked with a young woman who was interested in defining and creating her own personal brand focused on healthy food. With strong communications skills, a love of cooking and an appreciation for organics, she wanted to be the next Sandra Lee but rather than use a mix of semi-homemade components she cooked with only healthy ingredients. The brand formation was right within her grasp. The problem was that this young woman was very busy and, while she liked the idea of creating a blog site to extend her social reach, she didn’t know where she would find the time to make the commitment to create content and build a following.
My recommendation was to create a cache of blog posts on specific topics that she could then schedule for automatic posting. She could write groups of posts at a time when it fit into her busy schedule. That way she wouldn’t have to frantically write five minutes before her blog should go live or fret that she missed a day. Great idea, right?
She thought so too, but unfortunately she didn’t follow through with writing the posts and her blog never got off the ground. Neither did her brand. It’s unfortunate because she had solid ideas, delicious recipes, and a unique opportunity. It would have taken persistence for her to continue her brand development. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way and other priorities overtake the best ideas.
That’s sort of what’s happened with me during the past few months. It’s been a long while, hasn’t it? One, I didn’t take my own advice in pre-writing and scheduling my blog posts. Two, I let life get in the way of reaching out and interacting with so many of you. Third, I decided I had enough and reprioritized my time to ensure I continue to communicate.
Ferris Bueller was one of the wisest characters ever to grace the big screen, and while the intent of his words at that time didn’t apply to a future filled with social media and content development, they certainly do now.
Don’t let your dreams or priorities get away from you, because life does move pretty fast.
It’s really quite easy to demotivate a department, a team or a person.
We all know not every boss is inspiring. Some people are just not born to lead; for others it takes time, training and patience to get there but they can do it. Motivation in a leader is an intangible quality – one you can’t physically see in the person, but it’s obvious in that person’s team and how they operate. Is there joy in the workplace or is there toxicity in the air?
When you work for a great, motivating and inspiring leader, the workplace can be a wonderful place to be. If there is no inspiration at the helm, the days can be long and dark, only punctuated by those ever-flicking overhead fluorescent lights (i.e. Joe Banks with Mr. Waturi in Joe Vs. The Volcano).
Recently, I overheard an executive in a discussion with one of his direct reports. The conversation elevated to the point the executive was yelling loud enough the entire office could hear. Then, the executive didn’t think yelling was getting his point across, so he began dropping F-bombs as adjectives. It was uncomfortable for everyone and completely unnecessary: the yelling was a good enough indicator of his irritation. Afterwards, when I spoke to the employee on the receiving end of the tirade, he shrugged it off and said, “Oh well, that’s his managing style and it doesn’t mean anything.”
But it does. It means a lot. Yelling, swearing and calling out a team member in front of others is demotivating and demeaning, and a sure way NOT to get the best work from a person or team. It also acts like a virus – one that can bring down a team.
In another example, one former supervisor was just not good at managing his people or invoking trust. He was unpredictable, blatantly showed favoritism, and also had a penchant for dating the women on his staff (a whole separate issue I won’t get into here.) One day while dealing with a particularly difficult client, he put me into the line of fire and stepped away. Afterwards, when I went to discuss this situation with him, he told me, “I would never throw you under the bus.” It was truly a matter of semantics, so my response to him was, “No, not under but you’d throw me OFF the bus, make me out to be wrong in front of the client. Then you’d whisper, “I’ll come back to pick you up later.” His response? He laughed, shrugged, and said, “Yeah, that’s probably what I’d do.”
Two good things came out of that situation: 1) I learned how to motivate myself; and 2) I promised myself I would never do to my teams what he did to me.
When you have a leader who is incapable of motivating, you really have to take things into your own hands. Change your mindset and create your own motivators, set your own goals, ask for feedback from colleagues, and build a support system – both in the company and outside. You can’t always rely on someone to be a solid, inspirational leader. Maybe that means it’s up to you.
Anyone working in a creative or development position cringes and dies a little when a client says “I want something different.” It truly is a challenge to create something that will meet an objective when you get directions like “make it kind of abstract – like you’re looking at art” or “it needs to be something other than this, but I don’t know what.” Without concrete details or examples, it’s more often than not a recipe for failure.
Vague direction means you’re going to be in it for a long haul with a lot of revisions and the accompanying frustration and headaches. You’re not quite sure if/when you’re hitting the mark because the mark is fuzzy and out-of-focus.
Recently I was told to add more FLAIR to content copy without being given insight to what the client thinks is FLAIR. My first thought went to the movie Office Space. However, I was certain the client was not looking for small buttons to add to his suspenders, so I went back and tried to pinpoint that definition. It took some coaxing but I was able to come away with more definitive word choices so I could recraft the content more to his expectation.
It’s important to give clear and concise direction, and an effective way to get the best work within budgets and timelines. Think of it as a “how-to” approach.
- Outline the objective
- Provide as much detail and directive as possible
- Avoid vague terminology open to interpretation (semantics: it may mean something different to someone else)
A great piece of advice is: If the actual outcome differs from the desired outcome, your instructions have failed.
What’s the vaguest direction you’ve received in a project lately? And what was your process for trying to get to the true meaning without overspending, over revising and dying a little inside.