The Tale of the Sprinting Hippo

Some people call me the ‘The Sprinting Hippo’ and I don’t mind it at all. I coach and play for a softball team during the summers, and, just like the noble hippopotamus that can reach top speeds of 30 mph (it’s true, look it up!), I am much faster than you might assume just by looking at me. I’m not sure how to write out the sound that a hippo might make, but rest assured that I have attempted it several times as an on-field cheer (and it never fails to elicit a laugh – but no one has ever said, “That sounds just like a hippo!”).

My success with sprinting doesn’t end on the softball diamond though, nor does it even end with running. I have found it to be a very effective way to manage the work that my team and I do. If you have a lot of work, or a long way to go, it’s often daunting to try and look at the end as the goal. Instead, I like to think of it as a series of small distances I need to go.

My team subscribes to a method of work management called ‘Scrum’. Scrum has a lot of different principles (which are covered in this very excellent book), but the fundamental tenet that I like most is that you plan your work for relatively short periods of time called sprints. Sprinting at work has dramatically improved our throughput and may be exactly what you need to get through your own large project load.

At its most basic, a sprint is some period of time (we use 2 weeks, but typical sprint lengths range anywhere from 1-4 weeks). At the beginning of each sprint we decide, “What are the most important things on our list to accomplish during this sprint?” We select those items, discuss generally how they should be executed and then go to work. Each member of my team knows what’s expected from them during that time period, knows what success looks like, (Did we finish all of our objectives for the sprint?) and knows where to go next without needing me to guide or direct them. In short, it creates autonomous flow and keeps us having small successes.

Instead of looking at our entire workload as a never-ending pile of features to build, integrations to create and automations to… well, automate, we just look at it as a series of 2-weeks-worth lists of projects to accomplish. Our to-do list decreases down to empty as the sprint comes to an end and who doesn’t love the feeling of accomplishing everything on their list? What’s more, the relative importance of items on our total list changes pretty frequently. By only setting our list for 2 weeks, we have the ability to reprioritize every 2 weeks which keeps us agile and responsive to what our business needs.

Not everyone has the same kind of project list, I get it, but setting sprints for yourself has plenty of applications:

  • Completing Important but not Urgent Projects: Sometimes work is hard to predict – you can never really tell when jobs will come to your lot – but that doesn’t mean that your larger business objectives don’t have to be met. Your sprint objectives don’t have to be your entire weeks’ workload, just the most important thing for you to accomplish during that period. Choose just one or two such items set them as your sprint objectives for this week. Find time to accomplish those and then re-evaluate at the end of the week.
  • Completing Unpleasant Projects: Unpleasant tasks are often the most delayed because, well, they’re unpleasant. Sprint scheduling allows you to add one or two unpleasant tasks to your overall sprint goals which lets you take the sour with the sweet as you get work done. Just as importantly, success tends to beget momentum. Get a few things done on that painful project and the rest of the work will feel that much more possible.
  • Chipping Away on Home Projects: Got a big “Honey-Do” list at home? Pick the most important items you can reasonably complete in a weekend and choose that as your ‘Sprint’. You’ll feel less distracted by the entirety of your workload and will have a clear idea of what success looks like.

While sprinting as a runner is about going as fast as you can, sprinting for work is more about taking your work in appropriately bite-sized chunks. There’s always more work to do and if you always look at your full list, it’s human nature to get overwhelmed and decide that maybe it’s just better to not get started until tomorrow (or next week or next month). Instead, try choosing the bites you’d like to take, the sprint distance you’re going to run, and then start sprinting.

<Insert triumphant hippo noise here.>

 

Is Your Team Performing or Storming?

When there’s a lack of harmony on a team, chances are everyone is aware of it on some level, even if it’s just a vague sense of something’s not quite right. It could be really bad, palpable even from a distance – there could be internal turmoil, talking behind colleagues’ backs (which is never as secret as you might think it is), unrest, and open unhappiness. Or maybe communication just isn’t as smooth as it could be. There are hurdles like not being able to or wanting to talk face to face, digital communication dwelling awkwardly in the mystery tone-zone (was that sarcastic? mean? too informal?), or the relationships are professional but not much more than that.

I’m on multiple teams, and right now, not one of them is in the sweet spot. It stinks. It feels discordant, unsafe, and in the case of the team I manage, it feels like failure.

The four stages of team development as explored by my favorite leadership development tool, Officevibe, identifies the journey teams make in the course of change.

The difficulty the teams I’m apart of have had is that change is almost a near constant part of our workflow. We adaptably respond to the company’s needs and alter teams where need be. Just when it looks like we’re getting to “Norming” or if we’re lucky, “Performing” we have a change or a blow that sets us back to “Storming”.

“Storming”, what can be interpreted as dysfunctional teamwork, includes negative attitudes, competition, and breakdowns in communication.

My teams are storming. (Hi, teams, I love you, please trust in me!)

On one team, I can see as clearly as the words on the page the causes of our storms – staffing changes, work-life balance obstacles, and as ever, our ongoing Sysophisian challenge of figuring out how to effectively communicate with one another. Things are getting done, people are doing their own thing, but there isn’t harmony.

On my other stormy team, there’s distrust, competitive leadership, uncertainty, and complex relationships. It’s also, at times, highly effective. It’s the type of stormy team that when the clouds clear, they can accomplish some beautiful things – it can’t rain all the time! But it’s spring in Wisconsin, so, yeah, it rains.

Are you a member or leader of a stormy team? What’s to be done?

  • Know it: I know it. I am a leader of and member of teams that are forming, growing, feeling the pressure, and are sometimes storming. The first step is to accept it.
  • Don’t do nothing: Inaction and compliance are the safe and easy ways to let dysfunction win the day on teams. As a manager, I need to own it and work with my team to get to norming and performing. As a team member, I need to hold my peers accountable and not be complicit in behavior that holds the team back.
  • Get uncomfortable: I’m a highly self-conscious, sensitive, new and inexperienced manager. I’m pretty uncomfortable all the time. But, knowing my team is storming, and in part storming because of my role, I need to put myself out there, hear things that will suck to hear, and adapt to meet the needs of my employees, meet our team’s objectives, and grow as a leader – this is also true in my peer group – one’s got to lead by example!

Easier said than done, right? I know it.

We all want happy, healthy, and high functioning teams – if any of those 3 things are off, it’s time to check in and see what you can do as a peer and leader to get your teams from storming to performing.

You’re A Poet: A Leadership Exercise

This morning at an off-site leadership training session, Captain Reman challenged his office managers and your loyal REMAN U writers to write a poem… about leadership… inspired by our natural surroundings at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Society.

In a fashion consistent with his character, he didn’t tell us why we were doing this activity, just that we should try and do it. In pairs, we walked the grounds thinking about words that resound with leadership, taking in the senses, and letting our setting inspire us.

Here are the results:

I hear you talking
I feel the words as if they are mine
The tools you speak of are slowly walking…
towards you closer because I hear
Your need for structure
The structure is – near

-The Duchess of Drivetrain and The King of Catalog

 

Once there was a boy
who could fill a room with joy
but when he was bad
nothing could stop the little lad.

Even though he drove his parents crazy
he could never be defined as lazy.
He was strong-willed
no matter how many times that fort wouldn’t build.

The boy is now a teen
and to all his friends they may lean.
Captain of the team, he’s leading the pack.
Never lets a small defeat put him on his back.
Determined to win, but never alone,
gives credit when it’s due, even though he’s the reason they grew.

So the boy is no longer a boy, but a man.
Looking back on all the struggles,
all the scolding for coloring outside the lines,
this man is doing just fine.

Grown from a stubborn child
the leader inside him was determine to develop.
Never once could he be described as mild.
Empathy, strength, fairness, and poise
Separates the leader from the boys. |

-The Siren of Support and The Sales Soignuer

 

The comfort that comes from a well-loved smell, that’s how I know I’m being led well.
A leader always gives the impression they know how to respond, not unlike the swimming duck upon the pond.
The importance of interests and motivation are important to find, a good leader acts with open ears and open mind.
Staying connected matters so much, a great leader makes efforts to stay in touch.
A leader who acts with abundant grace, acceptance and taste is always followed with noteworthy haste.

-ET-D2 and The Trans Detective

 

We did it ourselves
work completed they will say
leaders are best unseen
work complete the team will say
we did it ourselves.

-The Duchess of Drivetrain and The King of Catalog

 

Hello, worm
Breaking through spring’s chill to
face the challenge
Feeding the earth around you
nurturing
Climbing up to regenerate
spirit

Hello, turkey
Crossing our path on your way
to hunt budding ideas
Reflecting in the water of
the Teal Pond

Hello, children
Being taught and teaching with
wonder and curiosity
Togetherness toward a
brighter day

-The Market McGuyver and The Rhythm of Reman

 

You can do it from the front
You can do it from the back
But you have to do it.

No, it will not be done to you,
Or for you, with or without you,

It won’t happen on its own
If not you, then who?

You have to do it.

You won’t sleep at night

Like the others.
You won’t rest when they do.
You won’t let things slide.
You won’t be thanked, likely not recognized,
You might not be paid,
You will be scrutinized.

But you’ll have done something big,
You’ll do it all the time,
When you choose to lead,
You’ll have done a great deed
For those who choose to follow.

-Captain Reman

 

Cheesy? Yes. Uncomfortable? Totally. Without merit? Not at all. The lesson here was to get uncomfortable, get creative, and make original and inspired observations about leadership. It’s an activity anyone can do, and they aren’t bad, huh?

 

Fish Stink From the Head

ETE REMAN’s founder, Sam Loshak, is known for his many insightful and pithy statements. We’ve regularly refer to his statements as “Sam-isms.”

One of Sam’s most frequent reminders to ETE’s leadership is “fish stink from the head.” What Sam means is that the worst smelling part of a dead fish is its head. But what Sam really means is that most problems within a company can be traced back to its leadership. Since you’re reading this, odds are that you’re a leader within your company. Odds are, I’m talking about (and to) YOU.

When you’re evaluating a problem within your business, it’s easy to blame everyone around you. It’s easy to point your finger at your builder, at your manager, at your assistant…pretty much at anyone. The hardest thing is to ask (and answer) why the problem truly exists. Often, your employees’ actions are a symptom of a greater problem. And, often, that greater problem is, well, you.

I’ll clarify:

Your people are a reflection of you.
Your people are a reflection of your work ethic.
Your people are a reflection of your attitude.
Your people are a reflection of your encouragement (or discouragement).
Your people are a reflection of your example.

You may not realize it, but you’re being watched. Your employees look at you, they look to you, and (sometimes) they look up to you. No matter how they feel about you, however, they emulate you. You set the standard.

Don’t tell them what to do, show them how it’s done.

Ask yourself:

  • “How’s my attitude?”
  • “How do I react to stressful situations?”
  • “How do I treat customers?”
  • “Do I always get to work on time?”
  • “Do I follow my own rules and policies?”
  • “How often do I praise my employees for doing things right?”
  • “Do I always deliver on my promises?”
  • “How well do I listen to my employees?”
  • “Have I provided my employees with adequate training – both in technical skills and personal development skills?”
  • “Am I living (and leading) by example?”

Those are tough questions. Well, actually they’re easy questions that result in tough answers and tough work should you need to make changes in yourself. But the results are worth it.

The bottom line: Be who and what you want your employees to be.

Bonus questions: If you were your own employee, how would you stack up? Would you hire you? Would you fire you?

Slow to Hire, Quick to Fire

“Slow to hire, quick to fire” is one of the countless philosophies on how to staff a business.  As much as we have an official hiring policy here, it’s at the very least to hire slowly. Every candidate goes through a series of interviews with a variety of staff members, tours the office space, and is evaluated from not only a technical, position-related perspective, but many put their heads together to determine if an individual is, as importantly, a culture-fit. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months for the right candidate to find us, walk through our doors, meet our people, and then woo and be wooed by us.

We should all go into new hires like a young relationship: there should be optimism, excitement, and a little bit of professional infatuation. If you aren’t head over heels for your candidate, why hire them?

A new hire is an investment. Not only do they cost actual money to pay and insure, but there is an investment in time in the hiring process, training, and a potential loss of productivity during this onboarding period. If the hire doesn’t work out, that money and time is a bust investment. And then you have to start over. Hence, if you are going to go through the effort of hiring and it turns out not to be a good fit, better to lick your wounds and recover fast so it doesn’t cost you and your business more time and money for a hire that you think you might replace eventually.

Every hire is a gamble. And much like most gambling outcomes I’ve observed from afar, when you win, it’s awesome. But you sure can lose a lot.

I just lost.

Firing fast is a harsh reality. I care about the people I take onto my team. And because we hire slow, I’ve already invested a lot of time into choosing a person, training them, and believing they are the best for the role and that it’s going to work out. But then it doesn’t.

It takes some people a lifetime to learn they’re in a bad or toxic relationship. I am not one of those people. Hiring is a feeling. And when the feeling turns sour, it very rarely recovers. Why spend more time, more of your prime years in a relationship that doesn’t feel good? All relationships start sweet – that doesn’t mean they stay that way.

Fire fast because:

  • The “damage” has been done. I can’t divorce the emotional and financial impact that has been dealt already. How much more should I take?
  • I have a bad feeling. And once that seed is planted and takes root, I find myself watering it on a daily basis with every task, every interaction. It’s an unhappy plant.
  • We’ll be okay. I got along before that person was hired, I’ll find a way, and you know what? So will they. If it wasn’t a good fit, it wasn’t leading to the best possible place for that hire either.

Sometimes I haven’t fired fast. Sometimes I’ve really waited, trained, given chances, retrained, and exhausted myself and everyone else in the hopes that it would work out, that it would become a good fit, that the feeling would recover. In that scenario, the feeling was bad for far longer, I continued to invest time and money in the hire, and the productivity wasn’t there. I don’t see how that benefitted anyone in the [work] relationship.

Firing is a miserable management responsibility. Having recently fired fast, I spent the rest of the day and night, and next day… in a tailspin. Was it right? What does this mean for me and my workload? Are they okay? What will they do financially because of this? It’s a bad feeling. But so was working with this person. So, ultimately, I know this policy of hiring slow and firing fast is the way to make the best choices for my team and my company, but none of it is easy.

What’s your hiring – and firing – policy?

Leaders on Leadership

In my observation of these things, leadership is obtained in one of two ways: 

1. It is ambitiously sought.  

  • I shall one day lead others! 
  • I will educate and study leadership to qualify myself!  

2. It is achieved: organically, accidentally, and oftentimes against your very will.  

  • I work hard, help others, and set an example – Oh, yeah, I guess I am a leader.  
  • I think outside my role and demonstrate impact to be harnessed. Promotion? Okay, sure!  

While one is not necessarily better than the other, the latter, the, Oh, I’m a leader now? How did that happen? is the one to investigate and nurture in yourself or your team.  

Upon happening into a situation like this myself recently, I reached out to some leaders I know for some bookly advice. I’ve led by example, I’ve embodied servant leadership principles, and I’ve operated in a peer-based feedback position to guide the work of others. Leadership as a concept wasn’t new to me, but the title, the expectations, and the responsibilities inherited from bestowed leadership – maybe a little new, and worth studying up a bit.  

Captain Reman: “I like that Simon Sinek book…”
That Simon Sinek book is Leaders Eat Last 

The Sales Soigneur, (formerly The Sales Cyclist), responded right after Noah. He seconded that recommendation and added, “I would read Tribal Leadership first. (it’s in our library).” 

ET-D2 provided a list of books, too, but made a point to differentiate them by the nature of their storytelling. Instead of how-tos, Jim prefers to read stories about real-life leaders and their challenges. His suggestions:  

  • Skunk Works: A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed by Ben R. Rich 
  • Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing and Nathaniel Philbrick 

The King of Cataloging had books outside the norm to recommend, too. In fact, they were books that he hadn’t even read yet. They were on his list to read in the future, demonstrating in action a tenant I believe in: keep learning. A perennial oversleeper, I was most intrigued by:  

  • The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) by Hal Elrod 

The Woman Behind the Curtain assures me she has some actual books she’s going to bring me the next time she’s in town, but even without specific recommendations, she’s helped. From getting CCed on relevant communications, being responsive when I’m in a pickle, and providing timely feedback – she’s modeling being a supportive leader each and every day.  

What’s worth observing, outside of the book recommendations themselves, is the diverse way each of my leader peers approached the prompt. Rich with their own personality, style, and preference, I can see here demonstrated much of their approach to leadership.  

And what does The Rhythm of Reman offer in terms of advice on leadership? Learn from those around you, learn from experts, and learn from yourself. My favorite strategy in life, and coincidentally in leadership as well, is to journal. I keep a OneNote tab affectionately called my Work Diary, and pour into it any negative or distracting thoughts, as well as long-term ideas or simple to-dos. In the very early days of leadership, reflecting on my interactions, what’s gone well and not at all well, and how I can approach the next day has helped keep me sane and helped me problem solve some of my own issues.  

Whether you’re a leader already (you are or can be!), or a leader yet to be pulled from rank and file while you were just over there not really minding your own business, solving problems, and finding ways to work smarter, look around you for the knowledge in the room. It’s there with you in the form of a lobby library (if you don’t have one… get one.), your fellow leaders, and in yourself.  


Finding herself at the front,  The Rhythm of Reman realizes she had better know where she’s going. Good thing there are others ahead of her in the distance to look to… for expert recommendations, advice, and just some direction. Comment below or connect with Andee directly.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (A New Employee)

Babies are tiny, cute little miracles. They are innocent and adorable. But they’re not very smart. They have no experience; they haven’t learned yet. They are truly entry-level humans. They are fresh and new and need nurturing to develop. It is the responsibility of the parents, teachers, and community to teach. From ABCs to SATs, from kindergarten to college graduation, we train these ignorant babies with hopes they will succeed in life (or really just to be able to move out of our basement before they turn 35).

When bringing on a new employee, especially one that is entry-level or lacks previous job experience, it is your responsibility as their employer to provide the opportunity for them to learn and grow into the role. The ability to train, retain, and foster productive and knowledgeable employees has benefits that stretch beyond the company’s profitability and productivity. Employee satisfaction, fulfillment, and dedication will increase when an employee feels competent and secure, just as a baby needs shelter, food, and love.

Include these tips into your onboarding and training process and your newbie failure rate will decrease (as sharply as your shut-eye with a newborn):

TOOLS: Give your new guy or gal the tools to succeed. Make sure they have the right access to information and that it is easy to get to. Present instruction in a clear and concise format and make sure the newbie really “gets” it before turning them loose. Taking the training wheels off too soon only leads to bloody knees and tears.

COHESIVENESS: Everyone likes friends. We learn best when we are comfortable. Think of Algebra: class was more enjoyable when your friends helped you study. Create an environment that is friendly and open. Clear any animosity surrounding the position prior to the start date. There is no room for someone to be angry with this person simply because they didn’t get the job. Make the new addition feel like they are wanted. Celebrate their arrival*. *Flowers and pink or blue balloons not required.

EXPECTATIONS: Set realistic goals that are measurable. Your new employee needs to know when they shine and when they fall short. Give feedback regularly, and not just when improvement is needed. If the guy is doing a great job, TELL HIM! If the newbie isn’t learning, evaluate why. Maybe it’s your training that is failing and not the new guy. Learning new skills is a process and must be taught in an order that makes sense. You cannot teach the tot to run before they can walk.

While babies are cute, and newbies are exciting, there’s a lot to learn—and prepare for. You don’t go home from the hospital without diapers stocked, nor should you onboard a new employee without a plan setting them up for success. It’s the success of your team and your work on the line, after all. So, eagerly anticipate the arrival of your newbie—maybe even throw them a party—but ready yourself as best you can, which is arguably more than you can do for a baby. Give them tools, present them with a strong team, and set your expectations from day one.

Oh, and don’t be discouraged if you get the “bad seed” that just doesn’t want to follow direction. There’s one in every family.


Babies: they’re cute and sweet. What’s not to love, asks the Siren of Support? Babies are a little dumb. And the newest new person on a team often falls into the same category – but there’s a lot you can do to support those new to your work life. How do you successfully onboard? Share your thoughts below or message Sari directly. 

The Karma Effect

What goes around, comes around. The Golden Rule. Do unto others what you would have them do unto you. Karma.

Whether guided by logic or the divine, kindness is a powerful force to believe in. I do; I’m a firm believer that we do manifest good or bad based on our actions and choices. No, not everything is sunshine and roses if you do good deeds. Of course not. Nor are the bad always justly getting what’s owed to them. However, there are benefits on many levels when the time is taken to do what’s right, to give back, to send more than your product out into the world.

The world is sometimes a competitive, cut-throat place. How can kindness win out? Should we quietly do good? Do we praise those who do? What about those who don’t?

  1. Hire good people. It may be painfully obvious, you may be thinking, “No kidding, Louisa!” but here’s what I mean: are you hiring people who are active members of their community? Do they volunteer? Have a cause that’s near and dear them? Do they invest in mental, physical, or spiritual growth? While a “Yes,” answer isn’t a magic formula, hiring people who care outwardly certainly gives you and your business a great head-start at attracting positive things.
  2. Get some feedback. What are those great causes that your team members have? What would they like to get involved with and haven’t? Is there a companywide initiative that you could implement? Answer those questions and you’ll probably have a great idea of your direction.
  3. Make it public. Spread the word and bring attention to your causes. Chances are you have partners that would love to get involved, too, if they knew about your projects. Giving is contagious! When you see or hear about someone doing good, you’ll be motivated, too.
  4. Like attracts like. A large part of a business’s success is contributed to who you’re doing business with. If you find yourself at odds with more than a few business practices, maybe there’s an underlying issue.
  5. Reap the rewards. Community awareness, growing with your team, new connections, improved workplaces, taking care of the environment, and overall attitude improvements are just a few of the many benefits of taking some positive action.

What you and I can’t control is how nice or kind people are, short of showering them in kindness ourselves. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do to improve our worlds—and our odds of attracting good things our way.

In the last year, I’ve seen the benefit of putting good out into the world first hand: through the implementation of an office recycling program, staff volunteering time to pack up food with Feeding America for Puerto Rico, and the simple acts of kindness in celebrating my coworkers each and every day. The result? The inspiration to write this, for one. Another? The hiring of more genuinely good people and more good deeds and good feelings every day.

If what goes around comes around, send out some good stuff. Identify opportunities to go the extra mile and watch what comes back. It starts with you.


Kindness is contagious and The Senorita of Support has caught the bug and wants you to as well. Good deeds result in good vibes for you and your business. How have positive acts impacted your business? Add your thoughts below or email Louisa directly!

The Anti-Millennial Millennial Club

Encountering a millennial in the workplace is pretty normal for most of us now depending on the industry. If you’re in a business that utilizes technology, then there’s a bigger chance you’re surrounded by millennials—or maybe you’re a millennial yourself. If you’re in the automotive or machining industry, it may be different. Regardless of your industry, you probably have people talking about millennials whether it’s good or bad, true or false, right or wrong, the stereotypes are out there in full force.

I am a millennial, and I’ve probably heard just about everything you’ve heard about them. And let me tell you, those things just aren’t true. (Well, maybe some of them). But these things can’t be true of every member of a group born within a decade+ and can also be true for everyone from the prevailing baby boom, GEN X, to newborn, undefined generations as well. It’s not a generational thing. Every generation has their own lazy, technology-obsessed, or entitled people.

Millennials are the future, but more importantly, they are the present and from a business perspective if nothing else, if you want to be successful and reach your entire market potential, they need to be understood.

How can you do that? Let’s break down 4 of the most common myths about millennials from a millennial:

  1. Millennials expect things handed to them.
    • While you may be hard-pressed to find someone that would just say “no” if something they desired was handed to them, the vast majority of millennials, and just people in general, understand and accept the concept of having to work to earn what they want. The generalization that millennials just expect everything to be handed to them is plain false as evidenced by the number of millennials actively in school, in the workforce, or fighting for those opportunities. Sure, some grouped in the millennial category feel entitled, but so do people from every generation. It’s a personality thing, not an age group thing.
  1. Millennials are obsessed with technology.
    • “Obsessed” is a strong word, but the younger generation should know more about technology, right? After all, they were raised by technology. The way people do business is changing to be done via emerging technologies, so having someone that fully understands it is a positive—not a negative—for your business. If you don’t understand how to sell to a customer (of more age groups than just millennials) through technology, why would they buy from you? They can just move on to the next guy who’s trying. The customer wants convenience, so if you won’t provide it, plenty of other people already will.
  1. Millennials are lazy.
    • Who doesn’t enjoy a good ol’ lazy day? But to categorize an entire generation as being lazy? That’s just not right, and a lazy generalization in itself. Look at all the self-made millionaires, entrepreneurs, and the new ideas and innovations that have come out of the millennial generation so far. Have some of them been made to help someone be lazier? Sure, but who doesn’t want to work smarter rather than harder? Necessity is the mother of invention after all. So, if a better, more efficient way of doing something is necessary, then leave it to your closest millennial to invent a new way to more efficient, or lazy, if you will.
  1. Millennials are poor communicators.
    • Are millennials really poor communicators? Or are you not adept to the new ways of communicating? Talking in person or on the phone are still very effective ways of communicating. What about the people that want to just send a quick email or text message? Or the still-growing impact of social media or digital communication (like, say, a blog!). What seems like a pretty minor detail to you could be a lost sales opportunity that you don’t realize because you don’t value it.

I’m sure not everyone will agree with me because I’m just some guy on the internet, but if you’re one of those people then I don’t agree with you. Here’s a millennial making an argument (not just asking for your respect) and utilizing a method of technology to communicate with you, no matter your generation.

If you’re turning away millennials because you believe very general things about a very wide range of young to middle-aged people in the workforce and consumer groups, you are choosing to miss out on a lot of potential in the workplace – and beyond.

I challenge you to sit down and talk to a person of this younger generation. Millennials, talk to each other. Ask questions about their communication skills, their motivations, goals, and their work ethic. Some of the hardest working people I know are millennials, and it’s because they know they need to work hard for everything they want, partially because that’s just how the world works, and also because the business owners and managers who employ them, often from a different generation, already think they’re just going to be lazy, not get the work done, and still expect a paycheck.

Next time you’re looking to hire a new employee, think about who is going to best suit your needs. Do you sell online? If not, then why not? Does anyone you work with know how to effectively use the Internet to sell your stuff? Are you expecting everyone to be great on the phone because you think email, instant messaging, and texts aren’t meant to be in the workplace? Is being obsessed with technology really so bad when technology can be the place where you make the most profit?

While I’m not arguing to hire millennials for the sake of millennials (not looking for a handout, remember?), what I am saying is that you can turn what seems to be a generational liability into your business’ success and that way, everybody—no matter age—wins.


IMG_AEineichner_RUMillennials: a younger workforce full of liabilities or a generation that you can employ to your business’ advantage? Dude Diligence, a millennial himself, is back in the author seat this week. Have something to add to the conversation? Comment below or email Andy directly.

Growing, Shrinking, and Being Ok Either Way

I am one of those stubbornly independent, obstinate types. I can lift that. I can do this without help. No, I got it, thanks. Doctor? Why? It’ll heal. “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” I say!

Except, I can’t. I can’t do it all. I find myself inflicted with a semi-voluntary, temporary condition that requires help, dependence, and regular care from medical professionals, colleagues, and significant others alike.

Instead of making my way through the entire store to find what I need because I can, in fact, solve this logic puzzle, I really do need to ask the obligatorily helpful staff member where the thingy is because my feet hurt – a lot.

Instead of devising clever ways to prop and lift heavy bins and crates by myself because I can do it, I must, in fact, gather the aid of another for team lifts, or, heaven forbid, the directing of lifting and moving on my behalf.

At 12:30 AM one very early morning, awoken from a deep sleep with chest pains, I found myself on my couch being talked into going to the emergency room from triage nurse and significant other alike. That’s what you do when you have chest pains. You go to the ER. “It isn’t that bad. It will probably go away. It’s nothing,” I lied and lied to myself.

Being wheeled around in a hospital bed is the ultimate submission. It says, I do not have this. I need help. It’s scary and puts your life into perspective. I said weakly a couple of times, “You go home, get some sleep. I’m fine.” It fell on ears sick of my crap, and for once, I was really glad to be ignored, because as fine as I would have been lying in a very bright hospital room in the middle of the night by myself, it was a far superior experience with company.

Around 5 AM, I sent a blurry-eyed email to my team from my hospital bed informing them that it would probably be best if I didn’t go in to work that day. I wanted to, really, we had stuff to discuss at our meeting, and my to-do list? Long. But, no. It would probably be best for me and my co-inhabitant if I maybe just got some sleep. I guess. I mean, should I go in?

The choice was taken out of my hands: to do because I can do and therefore should do or not to do because, well, I can’t. I was liberated from my controlled independence for the very first time and semi-successfully in the hereafter.

Turns out, there are benefits to shrinking your bandwidth:

  • Me Time. (You Time.)
    • Turns out when you can’t do it, you have more time. While I typically use that time to nap or zone out on Netflix, it’s a luxury to own the fact that you know what, maybe tomorrow when you have more energy to do your best… for now, this.
  • Trust.
    • You didn’t trust someone else before to handle your things, but when you have to, you have to. It isn’t blind trust – it’s training and delegation and shifting of responsibilities and experience. Differentiation on a team is as much a strength as one powerhouse do-it-all-er.
  • Reprioritization.
    • That mile-long to-do list is going to stay a mile long if you continue to attempt to do what you’ve always done and don’t reprioritize. Taking time to truly consider where your biggest impact lies, what projects you’ve been ignoring, or how to restructure what’s most important puts all the things into perspective – and perspective is freeing.

In six months’ time, my physical state will go back to a place of normalcy. I’ll be able to lift again and bound freely through the halls without waddling. My life, however, will never be the same. And my work habits? Much like all other aspects of myself, they should and shall continue to grow and develop. Me time might be a hot commodity, but learning to trust, train, and delegate? Reprioritizing tasks according to what’s most important? Lessons worth learning. Admit it: we each need help. And as it turns out, (*puts feet up*) it ain’t all bad.

 


 “Help,” isn’t a word usually heard from The Rhythm of Reman, an “if you want something done right, do it yourself” person. But recently Andee has had to change her tune, utter the word, and both accept and embrace all the help. And turns out it isn’t the worst. Comment below or connect with Andee directly.