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Most Likely To…

January 23rd, 2015
WHS Band 1989

SB WHS Band 1989

I was forced to get sentimental recently.  Not because I love history (as you know, I don’t–I care more about the future than the past). But, because I’m working on a new project, it involved me taking a gander at…the old high school and college yearbooks.

I’m not sure why the photo in this post was tucked into one of my yearbooks, but I couldn’t resist posting it. I even postponed my breakup from Faceplace to post it. It is of the 1989 South Bend Washington High School Marching Band.   I’ll spare you from pointing out where I am in the photo…you’ll find me if you look close enough.

But this reminds me about something I want to discuss, as it relates to one of my new projects, which is this.

What influences, classes, experiences and factors shape us into the adults we become?

Don’t you remember the “Most likely to…” awards in school?  At the time they appeared as a type of cheesy popularity contest, but I wonder how much influence all of that has on who we are as adults.  After all, you can be what you can see.  Thus, I think it is important to expose kids and young adults to as many positive and different people, professionals and experiences as possible in order to become who they are truly meant to be.  The best version of themselves.  The shape and form of the person most optimized to make the Earth better than when they weren’t on Earth.

Let’s not get too deeply philosophical for a Friday.  It’s been a long week, even with Monday off.  But, I’ll leave you for this to ponder over the weekend.

Who are you, and what made you who you are?

Have a great weekend.

#STEMPrincess2 and other Misadventures

January 20th, 2015

O.M.Squee.

I’m sorry I’ve not been around.  Last week was crazy town with the start of the spring semester, inter alia.  This week has been crazy with a complete work computer meltdown today.

Randomness running through my brain right now:

1. #STEMPrincess2 - What to do with #STEMPrincess2.  It’s been noodling since Dec 31 when I finalized my goals for this year.  I think I FINALLY have it figured out.  Not only will it be fun, but it will also take me in a different direction on publishing that I’ve never tried before.  Also, it will help the universe.  Can’t wait to see if the experiment will work or not – but hey – that’s what STEM’s all about, right? EXPERIMENTING!

2. My first press release – Students are rocking BU Well.  One of the teams already took on the press release for the journal.  Now, those of you that took a media class or even majored in it in college may not think that’s a big deal.  But for the REST OF US who went to pharmacy school, this IS a big deal! NOBODY EVER TAUGHT ME HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE!  And there’s definitely an art to it.  So, props to the students who are diving right in and knocking it out!  I also need to work on some media training for all of them.  I digress…

3. Zero to One – I’m re-reading Thiel’s book.  I skimmed it when it first came out, but I thought it was worth re-reading.  I took it on the plane this weekend with me.  I agree with most of it…except ONE item.  I completely DISAGREE with Thiel on only having part time employees.  I think full time employment is rapidly going the way of the dodo, so that’s going to require employers to really think about how they hire the best and brightest on a part time or contract basis.  In fact, I think most of the best and brightest are doing their very own things now, so they may only work for others on the side part time as clients.  After all, aren’t we all just clients, serving each other?

Thiel also asks what we don’t believe in that is different from the general population at the beginning of the book.  Masses aside, I disagree with Thiel on this point.

4. White Collar bingeing – Generally, I’m not a TV watcher.  Then, Netflix came along.  And, whenever I start a TV series on Netflix, I secretly hope it will be awful, so I don’t get sucked into watching the entire series.

This is NOT what happened to me on White Collar.  It has a trifecta of awesomeness: 1. art 2. law and 3. Matt Bomer.  I’m on season 4 and I must. Get. Through to the final season (6) ASAP so I can get back to more writing in the evening.  Like I’m doing now!

5. Pharmacists and our government – There was a big announcement about the governors recognizing pharmacists as part of the healthcare team in this report out today.  To that I say, dear Governors of our great 50 states–if you REALLY think pharmacists are part of the healthcare team, couldn’t you make them legal healthcare providers in your state, like California?  If you can’t go that far, at least start by including us in the state medical malpractice statutes.  (Eh hem…Indiana…).  Talk is cheap.  Give us some action around this instead of yet another white paper, por favor.

#BrainEmptied

 

How To Help Your References Write a Letter Of Reference That Will Knock Their Socks Off!

January 8th, 2015

KnockThoseSocksOffOne of my students inspired this post tonight, which is super, duper important.  Especially this time of year, and particularly right now for pharmacy majors, as many of them are interviewing for residencies, fellowships and first gigs when they graduate this spring from pharmacy school.

What do they need (and what do YOU need) to get to the top of the stack as a candidate?  Many things.  Good grades help. A clean CV or resume helps.  Interviewing skills are important.  But one thing I can help my students with is–writing a great recommendation letter.  GREAT letters of recommendation can’t help with the entire interviewing process, but they can certainly help one stand out for the crowd.  A great letter of recommendation can literally knock a reviewer’s or hiring manager’s socks off!

I keep reading that 2015 will be the year where the employees are back in the driver’s seat when it comes to great jobs (unlike the last few years), so I really can’t think of a better time to write about how I work with my students to help them by crafting great recommendation letters for them.  I want to share my process with you, which really can work for any type of reference and any type of employee–and can benefit both the candidate and the reference letter writer.

Ready?  Here it is!

How to Get Great Letters of Recommendation

1. Make sure you ask for references that you know well – I’ll be honest.  I have, on average, as a professor, about 120-140 students per class, times 6 years of college/our pharmacy program.  On the low side, that’s 720 students to keep track of…and my tiny brain can’t hold all the names of all the students in each class, as much as I’d like to have that ability.  Thankfully, we have a lot of opportunities where I teach (Butler University) to have smaller classes and one on one (1:1) or small teams of students working with professors on projects and in electives.  The students that show up in my project, rotation and small team projects are the students I am most comfortable recommending, because I know them and their work.

So, if you’re on the asking side for letters, make sure you ask references who know your work well…not just had you in a class of 120 other students or who you randomly networked with 5 years ago.  This is probably the most important step here – otherwise, you’ll get a generic, homogenous, wishy-washy letter of recommendation at best, which could be THE WORST when it comes to getting you at the top of the stack.  If you’ve been asked to write a letter, how well do you know the person?  If not well, don’t do it.  Gracefully decline their kind offer.  You’re killing your own precious time, and you won’t give them a good recommendation.

2. Give 3 strengths, and 3 stories to your reference for the letter – After you identify your references, you’ll want to arm them with at least 3 of your strengths, and 3 stories of how you put those strengths into action.  For example, when students hit me up to write them a letter, if I know them (per step 1), I then ask them for their top 3 strengths, then one story for each strength of how they utilized them in situations where we interacted.

For example, let’s say hypothetically your top strength is futuristic, and you took my entrepreneurship class.  EASY. You can then just share “futuristic” as a strength, then tell me about a time in class where you wrote a paper or worked on a project that was futuristic, and that you rocked or earned an A.  Make sure, however, that your story involves your reference.  Otherwise, it’s all hearsay – and a good letter of reference writer has first hand experience (and stories) that will support your strengths and your candidacy.

If you don’t know your strengths (Wha?!? Where have you been? Obviously not reading my blog)…get a copy of Strengthsfinder 2.0 or use the freebie assessment online to figure out what your top 3-5 strengths are – then think about times you actually used those strengths to achieve great outcomes!  Which leads me to my next tip…

3. Use STAR format on those 3 stories – STAR is a format all the big employers use for interview questions, but this is a good format for sharing stories with your letter writing references too.  S stands for situation – set up your story: what was the situation that caused it?  Task is T: what task or steps did you take to achieve the….A for action in your story and what was the result (R) or outcome of that action?  I’ll give you a real STAR example from my own checkered past – ready?

Strength: I’m futuristic.
STAR story with this strength:
  In 2008 when I was applying to law school, I was looking for a book on life science lawyers, or people who started in healthcare, but who also went to law school and became “hybrid” professionals in healthcare and law.  I looked at Amazon, at the libraries, and couldn’t find any books on this type of professional, so I decided to write a book about this type of professional before I went to law school.  I did online and offline research, found 30 professionals who had both types of degrees, and interviewed each of them to see what career paths they took.  That book was published in 2009, and entitled The Life Science Lawyer.  Because this book exists and is the first that I’m aware of for hybrid professionals, when I have students in pharmacy who are thinking about going to law school, I send them to our library to check out a a copy of this book.

See how easy that is?

4. Help with supplementing other relevant information that the reference can put in your letter – Facts can help.  Facts that relate to a particular job can help too.  Maybe you’re a member of an association that’s relevant to the job you’re asking a letter for – great! Tell the reference to consider adding it.  Activities and volunteer hi-lights can help too.  Pick and choose what you want hi-lighted from your CV and ask the reference to possibly add the facts too.

5. Give different stories to different references – Most jobs require at least 3 references.  Some can ask for as many as 10!  For the references you have, try to mix up the stories and even strengths and activities based upon your relationship with the reference.  For example, I would ask my boss at work to discuss my strengths in teaching.  I’m a better 1:1 teacher than 140:1…so I’d love it if she could talk about my ability to teach in smaller groups that we’ve co-piloted on in the past.  I also volunteer and work on projects outside of my day job that employ my strengths, so perhaps I’d ask a friend who let me teach a writing workshop for her write a letter speaking to my ability to teach different curriculum.  Just try and mix up the stories with your strengths and based upon your different relationships with references.  That’s important.  Variety of stories here shows a track record or ‘theme’ of your strengths…which is good.

6. Never, ever lie – As much as we all love a rich fairy tale, one place you don’t want any fiction is in your reference letters (or resume for that matter).  Never lie.  Never ask your references to lie, either.  Not only is that not cool and totally unprofessional, but just like the very opposite of most fairy tales, you’ll eventually get caught and have a very UNhappy ending.

That’s it!  If you really want some stellar letters that knock their socks off, this is the process you should consider taking.  Make it EASY for the reference to give you a stellar reference in writing!  By knowing the references well, knowing your strengths, and sharing stories of how you put those strengths into action for a positive outcome, you’re already on your way to the top of the stack…and possibly the job of your dreams!

The Top 5 Books Everyone Should Read Challenge

January 7th, 2015

ErinLAlbertFirst off, I have to say that leaving the Faceplace has been interesting.  Now that I’m gone, I get much higher quality email and hear more from my friends – yay! (And no, I still don’t miss it…thanks for asking.)

One said email hit my inbox today.  As I’m prepping for the spring semester, I noodled on it for most of the day while working, and while I’m not quite sure I’m fully ready to take my friend’s challenge, I’ll try. (Even though Yoda says “Do or do not. There is no try.”)

OK.

My friend Mike sent me Neil deGrasse Tyson’s top 8 book selection (you’ve probably already seen it floating around the internet ether), and said he’d love to see my list.  First off, Dr. Tyson is WAY smarter than me – he’s an astrophysicist.  I can barely spell astrophysicist.  So, please keep that in mind.

But, Mike, I’ll take that challenge.

Easy – my favorite 8 books that I recommend for everyone to read – are my 8 books!  Hahaha. Just kidding. (Sort of.)

Picking a top 5 list out of thousands of books I’ve read is super, duper tough – but I’ll try.  (And I’m going to avoid the obvious Harry Potter/Divergent/Hunger Games/Nancy Drew/Anne of Green Gables series or chick lit like Jane Austen or the Bronte girls.  I love them all, but that would be an easy cop out.)

This list is more reference-based rather than reading cover to cover.

My top 5 Best Books Ever List

1. The Art of War – This is the only book Tyson and I agree upon.  (Neil’s list, BTW, is great, but it’s pretty science-y, and I love science, but I’m going to do a general list.)  This book is really, really, REALLY important if you want to understand business, old school style.  It’s hard to read cover to cover, but it’s worth trying.  (And while it may be controversial to not choose the bible, I just read and re-read it as a kid in church.  What I missed out on as a kid was studying other religions, so I’m going to encourage y’all to read and study all religions, and leave them off my top 5 list.  Live and let live!) Next…

2. The Choose Your Own Adventure Series – This is for the kids.  And yes, it’s a series of books, not just one.  But what I love, love LOVE about this series is that kids can literally interact with the book and alter the outcome.  I really love that about this series, and I’ve really never seen other books like it.  The ability of the reader changing the story by different choices is amazing!

3. Strengthsfinder 2.0 or Now, Discover Your Strengths -Socrates said, “Know thyself.” I’ve said this here repeatedly.  I personally believe that knowing and understanding yourself and how you tick is one of the most important studies you’ll ever do on this planet; yet, ironically, I never really took a class on “discovering myself 101.”  For this reason, I recommend either of these books for you to learn your strengths.  (If you don’t have a library card and can’t afford to drop the cash after the holidays for the quiz, you can take a mini quiz online for free. Ssshhhhh….)  If you can’t rattle off your top 5 strengths and recall 1-2 stories around each of them–you’re in serious trouble.  This is super handy for job interviews and networking.  It’s a great way to find common ground with others in a universal language.  Do yourself and the universe a favor–KNOW YOURSELF!

(BTW – futuristic, maximizer, intellection, ideation and input – that’s me in 5 words, thanks to these books.)

4. Chase Guide of Events – Man, I really struggled with whether or not to share this precious nugget with you, as it’s one of my super stealth tricks for finding off the beaten path inspiration for writing.  It has a full, comprehensive list of holidays, major events in history, and birthdays of famous people.  If you ever get stuck on writing about a certain day or event, you can check this book out and really get some fab-u-lous ideas on how to start.  It’s not cheap, but it’s one of my favorite reference books.

5. Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own BookYou aren’t a common reader, my fab 13.  You’re awesome.  So, my expectations for you are a little higher than the average bear.  Thus, I feel obligated to give you my favorite book on writing and self-publishing, so you can go forth and write, publish, and sell your very own amazing books.  It’s one thing to read great books.  It is yet another, and far more amazing feat to write and publish books.  (Here’s even the bible equivalent: sell a man a fish, you feed him one day.  Teach a man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.)  I challenge you (YES, Y-O-U) to write and publish your first or next book, and read this book to make that happen.

Then, I can add your new book to my NEXT top 5 list!

Mike, there you go. Challenge met.  Check!

Stereotype A

January 6th, 2015

Two short things before one longer thing:

1. Are you a new pharmacist on the job?  If so, better read this.  Shout Out to Pharmacy Times, who included a very sage pharmacy law prof in one of their articles today.  Classy choice.

2. I am very disappointed to report that after a trip to the dentist today, he found a cavity. On one of my teeth. In my mouth. This is small but big, because I haven’t had a cavity since I was a kid.  Needless to say, I’m less that satisfied with myself and my dental hygiene, but the silver lining is that he and I didn’t have to talk about a root canal/crown situation.

Now, on to really, really important stuff.

In 1999-ish, the band Cibo Matto released their second album, Stereotype A.  They are two gals from Japan, who recorded in New York, and their band name is Italian.  Anyway, for their second album, according somewhat to this article, they said they were trying to not be stereotypical, and thus ironically named their second album Stereotype A.

I just kept thinking of them today at two points.  The first, where I’ve read last night about Kurt Timken.  He’s a regular guy – except not really.  He grew up in a family that owned a legacy business and he went to the best schools in order to one day take on the family business.  Stereotypical, right? Except, he decided to quit it all and be….a cop.  But, he head a really long, hard road to be hired as a cop.  He didn’t fit the stereotype – and why would a Harvard Business School grad want to be a cop?

His story is in G. Richard Shell’s book, Springboard.  I don’t want to steal Shell’s thunder, so you can read Timken’s outcome on page 69.

The second point: having a chat tonight with one of my gal pals.  We were discussing France, as she used to live there.  Unemployment is really high in France.  But she said she really had a hard time finding a job when she lived there, because everyone was very siloed in their careers.  They picked one thing and went 40,000 feet deep in it, rather than professionals being generalists that bounced from different professions or sectors.

I find all this stereotyping kind of sad.  Why are we so busy pigeonholing everyone?  Maybe the police departments could benefit from a Harvard B School grad, perhaps?  Couldn’t an ex pat in France offer a variety of employers some really cool skills? I find the stereotyping we do…ironic.  If we really want to be a society that grows, is flexible and can morph over time, shouldn’t we get rid of stereotyping and consider people for their work ethic beyond their studied profession(s)?

I’m rambling a bit – but I’d like us all to think about the “outlier” here for a moment.  The next time you have to hire someone, consider the out of the box candidate.  The one not like the others.  Maybe they can bring a different approach to your work, that you never even thought of before.  Maybe they can expand your horizons and make you a better worker/employee/consultant/entrepreneur.

Be ironic about stereotypes – like Cibo Matto.

That’s all I have this evening.

5 Ways to Make Your First Week of 2015 Sparkle

January 5th, 2015

2015sparkleI’m a little obsessed with sparkles.  Gold sparkle is my official color of 2015.  (That is, if gold sparkle can be considered a color.) In fact, this photo is one of 2 sparkly Patroni (or Patronses – you Harry Potter fans will have to work the proper plural out) that I have on my wall of fame.

I couldn’t think of a better symbol for what should be the first week of any new year for us – sparkly!  I love the changing of the calendar, because that means a fresh start. Score.

But, as I went back to work today after a week or so off, and after reading this article today on how to rock your first day back at work from HBR (and an even more hilarious one over at Time Out London that’s too naughty to link), I thought I’d share 5 tips that help me get back into the groove – and better yet, create NEW, HEALTHIER grooves for the new year.  Ready?

5 Ways to Rock Week 1/52 of 2015:

1. Get what you need to get done for 2014 – and be done with it.  You can’t really move forward until you clean up the messes from back there.  Performance management docs dragging you down? Read this, then get to work. Get your tax appointment scheduled. Do whatever you need to do to wash your hands clean of 2014, ASAP.  Not a problem for me – 2014 wasn’t my favorite.  Buh bye!

2. (Re)Start one new habit - for me, this one is getting my dupa back on the treadmill.  I ate way too much sugar over the holidays and sat around bingeing on Netflix, so it’s time to kick that workout back up a notch.  So, I slowly started this over the weekend, then officially found a time that I’ll be getting on the treadmill this semester.  For me, that time will be before the national news with my man, David Muir.  (OK, every girl needs a hypothetical TV boyfriend, right? Right.) I digress.  Example 2: I LOVE Downton Abbey.  It is on Sunday night.  That means, that I’d better have looked at my calendar on Sunday afternoon and made sure I was ready for the coming week, and/or prepped stuff I need BEFORE I get the reward of watching Lady Mary with her parade of suitors on Masterpiece at 9 pm.

Let’s move on to…

3. Combine painful stuff with stuff you like to do in habit land – Treadmill for me isn’t really fun. However, if I take my headphones down and listen to Stitcher while pinning on Pinterest and walking on the treadmill, suddenly 30 minutes went by and I didn’t realize it. (Caution: if you run on the treadmill, I wouldn’t advise pinning with running.)  If you can find something that’s fun to supplement your painful objectives/new year’s resolutions, you’ll be more likely to stick with them.

4. Get organized – The first thing I did when I hit my work office today was to take down the Christmas tree and take it out to the car.  The second thing I did was scrub down my desktop with a bleach wet wipe.  Clean it up, dust it off, and clear it out before you get down to business.  It’s not only good for the office, but it’s good for the psyche.

5. Listmania – I am a HUGE fan of lists.  NOTHING gives me more satisfaction than knocking off that list line by line.  Today? Knocked off my list and then moved on to what I want to get done tomorrow before I left the office today. I use my black Moleskine to track all my projects and where I left off. (This is my way of juggling.) But – if I don’t write it down, I’m doomed.  It’s got to be on the list!

There you go. Hope this helps–even if I went TMI with my own bad habits.  (The things I do for you, my fab 13!)

I really hope your 2015 is off to an excellent start.  But if not – try a few of these tricks and maybe they’ll work for you.

(And bring on Matthew Goode! Sorry. Downton spoiler alert!)

Why I Broke Up with Facebook

January 4th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 11.03.58 AMSo, last night (after 4 tries before success in downloading my page archive) it became official: I broke up with Facebook.  I wrote that we are “separated” and I’m going to take a year off from it before I totally decide on whether or not to bail 100%.

A lot of my 1100+ friends over there want to know why.  So, rather than give Zuck more fuel, I thought I’d post about it over here, along with all my other routes of connectivity.

Facebook has a lot of problems, as we all know.  I’m not down with their manipulation studies (although, I fully realize that mass media has been doing the same thing to us for decades now).  That was one of the reasons.  But, here are a few more reasons why we broke up:

1. Facebook is about the past.  I had the chance to reconnect with a bunch of people I went to high school with, which was cool to catch up and see where everyone landed.  But honestly, as someone with “futuristic” as her number 1 strength, I can’t dwell in the past.  And I’m not the only one who thinks this.  A lot of social media gurus left Facebook for this same reason.  I wonder if this is why the tweens are leaving the faceplace too.

The bottom line: I prefer to channel my social media energy into the FUTURE, rather than the past, because my strength is being futuristic–and I’m much more interested in where I’m going vs. where I’ve been.  Other channels do a better job at focusing on the future–like Twitter (where I can connect to pretty much anyone I want to meet).

2. Facebook has clamped down too harshly.  I consider using social media a contract.  Contracts require “consideration” – something for something.  In exchange for Facebook giving me a free place to put my goodies out, I get the privilege of putting the goodies out on my page and interacting with friends, to see their goodies (and some ads).  Well, on top of pounding my timeline with ads, they limit putting my goodies out now (just read anything you like on business pages and how they’ve limited posts to fans), and they limit what goodies I can see from my friends (my timeline is OUT of synch with actual time now), and I can only see some posts Faceplace deems “worthy” for me to see from my friends–not all.

Nope, that consideration is no longer good enough anymore, Zuck.

3.  Facebook is a vacuum suck of time.  I’ve noticed how much time Facebook can suck away from a person.  Time is finite.  Everything else is potentially infinite.  I have to watch my time moving forward if I want to make the world a better place–time we never get back.

4.  Senseless political arguing.  I have friends on radically different sides of the political fence on the faceplace.  Some obviously I agree with, some I do not.  But arguing on the faceplace about who is right and wrong gets all of us exactly nowhere.  I’d rather try and affect change by walking the talk, rather than just talking.  I can get my meme and cat fixes over at Pinterest or Instagram now, without the vacuous rants.

5. TMI.  Some of my friends just post stuff I don’t care about–and overshare (not all, but some).  Ironically, Facebook seems to hide the stuff I want to see more of, and serves up more of the garbage I don’t want to see these days.  Back to #2.  The risk and annoyances now outweigh the benefits.

Now, to those who fear missing out on my fabulosity – fear not.  There’s all kinds of ways to connect with me.  Like at this blog – you can punch in one of those old fashioned email address things and get my weekly blog update if you like.  All my social media is still in the upper right hand corner of all the pages of my blog (except the landing page).  (And yes, Facebook was there, but I’ve replaced it with Tsu.)  I will remain on Facebook for professional pages (and in the background, groups), which include:

Single Women Entrepreneurs
The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM
Plan C: The Full Time Employee and Part Time Entrepreneur
Yuspie (although I use Twitter a lot more for this brand)
Law School: A Few Short and Plain Statements

And the work channels:
BU Well – our new Butler U COPHS healthcare review journal
Butler COPHS Experiential Education – for our preceptors

Oh, and Jack the Cat will still have his own page–if you’re cat crazy, comme je suis.

In 2015, I’m going to focus on LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.  I get different things from each of these platforms, and I like them for different reasons.

I will miss a few people’s posts on the Faceplace, and connecting with them in that manner.  Will faceplace become the new MySpace?  Not over moi leaving, certainly.  But, for the reasons I’ve outlined above, I think a 1 year trial separation is in order.  Until the separation is over – I welcome you to join me in another social media realm that is important to you…and see you in the friendlier social media platforms soon! XOX!

5 Steps to Make the Performance Management Process Less Painful

January 3rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 3.01.51 PMAh, the end of the year, and start of a new one – you know what that usually means – time for the super-fun performance management review cycle!

I’ve been neck-deep in my PM docs all day for 2014.  Let me first cushion this discussion by saying that I do love my day job.  Overall, it’s fun to teach,  learn and develop ideas into books and classes, which is what I get the opportunity to do every day.

However, I have to take a break from the performance management process and docs and do them in a few bites a time for a couple of weeks.  While I joke and equate them to the infamous TPS reports from the movie, Office Space, they really are pretty painful, if you spend the time to do them correctly.  Even harder for me, as someone who focuses more on the future and less on the past, I’m not going to lie: the process is extra painful upon detailed review of stuff I already did and can’t change.

I looked online to see what’s out there on taking the pain away from performance reviews:

Fast Company had this article on Performance Reviews not being so awful.  There’s this article, more focused on the performance review conversation too.  There’s this from Forbes.  This article from HBR is more for managers.  There’s this list of 10 ideas – I particularly dig bullets #2-4.

But Fast Company also had this article on gender bias in performance reviews.  Really – can we stop treating the genders differently (i.e. treating women in the workplace negatively, especially for those of us women who rock the boat/stir the pot and really do try to make the world a better place?)

Here’s my thoughts on the performance management review process – and feel free to argue with me if you disagree.

5 Steps to Make The Performance Management Process Less Painful:

1. Make sure you toot your horn here – This is a problem that particularly the ladies struggle with (because bragging isn’t lady-like).  While it may be daunting to have to go back an entire year and review everything you did, you need to do it and do it thoroughly, because if you don’t toot your own horn, who will?  Ladies and gents – carry the bass drum of your awesomeness here and bang on it!

2. Remember: being thorough now can pay off later – This one is particularly true for my friends in academia.  Most of us in academia have two separate processes for performance:

  • 1. the annual performance review process and
  • 2. the even more daunting promotion and tenure process.

This second review does not occur annually, but less frequently.  However, one still has to produce their “body of work” for promotion and tenure.  (Think about this – instead of reviewing one year, a professor could be reviewing as many as 2-10 years’ worth of work. Talk about a daunting challenge! I can barely remember last week, let alone 7 years ago!)  I try to minimize the pain of #2 by being as thorough as I can with #1 annually.  That means, I have a lot of appendices that go with my performance management docs, so 2-10 years from now, I can more easily recall what I actually did several years ago.*

3.  Add your CV or resume as an appendix – If for no other reason, add your CV or resume to your performance management docs not only for the company you work for, but for YOU.  That way, you can see how far you’ve come, and better yet, you can hint at where you want to head by sharing your training/education/speeches and publications through your CV.

4. Write your personal goals before writing your performance review goals for work – My goals at work are part of my goals for myself in the coming year.  Thus, I need to think about my overall goals for myself before I can start talking about work.  I write one page list of goals for the coming year in December in several important domains to me (work/entrepreneurship/personal/financial/health/travel), and then I already have in mind what I want to drop in for my goals in my performance management docs at work for the coming year.  It’s easier for me to think about the big picture first, then zoom in on work specifically.

5.  When you meet with your boss, be ready to and focus on the future – Frankly, I care little about the past.  What’s done is done.  You can’t really control it, other than maybe to learn from your failures in order to improve how you attempt things in the future.  Thus, spend the majority of your time focused on your goals for the coming year, rather than wasting your time on the past–which you can’t change.  A good boss will already know this and take you down this path during the verbal review.  But if for some reason s/he doesn’t, own this and move the discussion on over to the future.

That’s all I’ve got.  I don’t really honestly know how to take away the pain of the performance management process, because I understand that it is a semi-valuable process, even if it is tedious to do right.  Don’t let it bog you down.  Chin up, and take it as an opportunity to celebrate your success, and focus on the future!

Image from: http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/p/keep-calm-and-print-tps-reports-1/

*I had to go through the promotion and tenure process last year.  It included 7+ years of stuff.  Seriously, if you’re up for academic promotion and tenure, get a scanner, snag a hero file box, and start saving stuff.  My post here has more details on what I did for the P&T review.

2015: Less and More

January 1st, 2015

Happy New Year.

Here’s what I’d like to see LESS of in 2015:

Popups – seriously, if you have pop ups on your website, remove them. They are annoying. They remind me of the internet in 1998.  In fact, they are so annoying that I’m going to try and not revisit sites that constantly have popups on them for the new year.

War – we can do without this. One of my friends says more women should be in charge of countries.  We wouldn’t instigate wars if we were mad at someone – we’d just have a lot more countries not speaking to each other.  While this isn’t the perfect solution, it’s a LOT better than how most countries currently handle conflicts.

Pop Culture TV – Is the housewife/reality TV era with pseudo-celebrities over yet?  Please make it go away.  I don’t need to watch that garbage to feel better about my life, thanks.

The same 2 families running for office – Really – can we find more than the Bushes and the Clintons to keep running for offices?

Here’s what I’d like to see MORE of in 2015:

News and Media that matters – Shark Tank. Made in America. Reality shows making a difference and improving the world in which we live.

Time away from the screens – My eyes are killing me at night, now that I’ve been reading a lot of ebooks and watching netflix on the iPad.  I’ve got to get back to good old fashioned book-books and putting away the netflix and crank more work out.  This also applies to smartphone-eyes-glued-when-moving-somewhere-else-syndrome, which all of us (myself included) need to just stop. Life is happening all around us, but we’re too busy trying to see who re-tweeted the silly post 2 days ago or unfriended us.

The world – Made a goal to get out of my natural environment (Indiana) at least once a quarter in 2015. I think that’s doable. My international trip I’ll be planning mid-January.  Where am I going? Not totally sure just yet – but I can tell you it will be: away.

Hangouts with homies that believe they can change the world – I’ve got a few professional goals in 2015 that are going to put me on a different path.  The good news here is that I get the opportunity to connect with an entirely different tribe than I’ve been connected to in the past.  But – I’m never, ever going to walk away from my fellow entrepreneurs – who I also love hanging out with..make new friends, but keep the old…la la la…other gold (or whatever that saying is).

I think this list is reasonable and doable. Let’s see if we can make it happen.

 

The 12/31/14 Challenge

December 31st, 2014

I just finished the 12/31/14 Challenge.

What, exactly, is that?

Well, as I’ve said repeatedly, 2014 wasn’t my best year.  BUT–on this very last day of this challenging year, I did one thing to set up my 2015 in a bright and exciting way.

What did I do?

Well, I can’t really talk about specifics.  BUT–I can tell you that I used a few guideposts to do it – and I’ll leave you with those, so perhaps they will guide you into taking the 12/31/14 challenge yourself:

4 Questions to Ask Yourself: The 12/31/14 Challenge:

1. Is there someone who had a huge impact on my life in 2014 that I need to thank?
2. Is there something I can do TODAY to meet one of my goals that I wrote for 2014?
3. Is there something I can do today to meet or start any of my 2015 goals?
4. Is there something I can easily to help someone ELSE wrap up one of their 2014 goals, or start one of their 2015 goals today?  (And if you don’t know, reach out to your best peeps and ask…)

Good luck, and hope your 2015 will be stellar!  Happy New Year.