I sincerely thank you for being part of my community. This has been a year packed to the brim with adventures, connections, and surprising new opportunities. Let’s wrap up the year with the ten blog posts you liked the most in 2017.
It might be time for the Millennial media obsession to wind down as a new generation inches up in age and takes their first baby steps into the workforce. I’m talking about Generation Z, the next demographic cohort after the Millennials.
An interesting question raised about Generation Z concerns their predicted political leanings. In particular, will Generation Z be the most conservative or liberal generation in decades? Read here to take a look at both sides of the spectrum.
The benefits of being culturally aware are innumerable, and with the global economy, intercultural teams are becoming the norm. SHRM Foundation reports, “At a very basic level, culturally appropriate communication and nonverbal business etiquette are essential to success in running international teams or engaging in negotiations with foreign firms.”
A client asked me to speak on cultural awareness, with a focus on their international offices in the United Kingdom, United States, China, India and Sweden. I used Geert Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory as a framework for building a greater understanding between the different cultures in their organization. Read here to learn about that model.
(Bonus: I also share a story about the disastrous result of my lack of cultural awareness while managing a hotel in Africa.)
When it comes to teams, accountability must go both ways. For a team to function well, an individual is not only obligated to be accountable, they need to hold their coworkers accountable too. That means consistently asking for updates on clearly defined goals, and openly sharing their own updates. Yet holding others accountable is difficult because it can cause interpersonal discomfort. Read here to learn what an accountable team does and doesn’t look like, and how to create accountability in your own teams.
My daughter, husband and I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. It was an amazing adventure—but unfortunately, all vacations come to an end.
Getting back to my schedule wasn’t so easy; in fact, it was much more challenging than climbing the tallest freestanding mountain on the planet. I went from feeling connected to something (literally) bigger than me to feeling disconnected to what I was doing. Suddenly, I was questioning everything: Does my work matter? Do we want to live in D.C.? Do I make enough of a difference in people’s lives? How can I connect more to others?
Before I knew it, I was completely disengaged with my work. Yet I had to pull myself out. Read here to learn how I did it, and discover some tools you can use if you find yourself similarly disengaged.
I was excited, and more than a little nervous, when Cornell University asked me to be an Entrepreneur in Residence. What did that actually mean? It meant I held office hours twice a semester, to meet any student who had any type of question about being an entrepreneur. And why did I agree to drive 6 hours, one way, to Ithaca, NY, and meet with students four times in one academic year? Because I wish I had someone to help me when I was a student.
I didn’t fit your normal student profile. I was an Ivy League drop out, and only went back to school when I realized I didn’t want to be a chef for the rest of my life. While most students in my class were interested in hotel and restaurant finance and real estate, I was interested in finding ways to operate my own small business. Yet there were few resources for me and I had to find my own path. If I had an Entrepreneur in Residence option when I was at college, I would have latched on!
So what do I wish I had known when I was a student? Read here to find out.
Mindfulness. More than a buzzword? Absolutely. With giants like Google, Target and General Mills investing in mindfulness, it’s time for all organizations to take a closer look.
The first thing to realize is that the concept of mindfulness is not new. It’s an ancient mental methodology that enables you to control your attention, enhance your awareness and see things more clearly. In everyday terms, it’s a way to get out of “autopilot,” a mode that we easily fall into in our day-to-day lives.
But what’s the point? There are many studies that show the effect of mindfulness on the brain and various aspects of our work behavior. Read here to see the top four reasons mindfulness is important in the workplace, and learn easy ways to incorporate mindfulness into your workday from start to finish.
Hierarchy, time and decision-making—these three elements cause conflict in the workplace even when there are no cultural differences. Toss a group of people into a room who are not culturally aware, and you get bad meetings. A client of mine asked me to discuss the different cultural perspectives of these three topics. Because the client has global offices in Sweden, India, China, the United States and the United Kingdom, I focused exclusively on those countries. Read here for a breakdown of how each country views hierarchy, time and decision-making—and learn how to set yourself up for positive and productive meetings with your global colleagues.
“Sensitive fake extrovert.” That’s how Jade Lenier classifies herself. As a performer and public speaker, you’d take her for an extrovert, but in truth, says Lenier, “my extroverted outsides don’t match my introverted insides. Because I do love being around people, but I become over-stimulated and overwhelmed by them and must retreat to my own corner of the world.”
Is Lenier really just an introvert in the wrong career? Not exactly, says Harvard Business School behavioral scientist and author of Sidetracked Francesca Gino. In fact, Lenier is no outlier. “Personality traits, like introversion and extroversion, exist along a continuum,” Gino explains. “In fact, many people fall somewhere in between when it comes to this very personality trait.”
While this gray area is popularly known as “ambiversion,” the fact that so many of us aren’t clear-cut introverts or extroverts begs two important questions: Why are we still clinging to this black-and-white classification in the first place? And are there any downsides to doing so? Read here to find out.
Sofia has been managing the same workload since day one, and now that the processes she implemented are airtight, there is little to no variation in her day. She’s even been ordering the same breakfast from the commissary, Monday through Friday, for months. The boredom is really getting to her—she’s tired all the time, feels trapped, can’t focus, and is starting to dread going to work in the morning. She wonders out loud if her brain is atrophying.
Is it time for Sofia to move on? Is leaving behind a company culture you love, inspiring coworkers, a great salary and fabulous benefits worth it to escape the dredge of the day-to-day? Many of us have faced this situation, and what starts out as a casual scan of available jobs on LinkedIn can turn into a full push to get out the door, sometimes leaving good things behind.
But what if there’s another way? Can a job ever be resurrected once it has descended into a full-blown drag? Definitely. You have to wake up your brain, break your routine, alter your role and unclog the drain. Read here to find out four real ways to invigorate a job that’s become little more than a chore.
Last year, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that nearly half of the almost 28,000 transgender adults it polled weren’t hired, were fired, or weren’t promoted due to their gender identities. The same report found that nine in 10 transgender employees either took steps to avoid harassment or experienced it in the workplace.
As Luke Jude, the executive director of the advocacy organization Yes Institute, points out, “Going through a gender transition can be scary for everyone—from the person transitioning to the top tier of leadership.”
I talked to Shannon Scott, an air force veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, who transitioned after taking a highly technical role with the Federal Aviation Administration in 2011 as an airway transportation systems specialist. Read here to find out what she’s learned about navigating—and minimizing—the pitfalls of transitioning at work.