Running A Good Race

Inspiration is everywhere. The trick is recognizing it and grabbing it. Today I found it in a Facebook status from my friend Donna. She wrote this in preparation for running in a half marathon. I think we can all glean something from her words.

DonnaFLDonna Foster-Larocque

my race mantras for today: Run Strong and steady. tough times will pass. Your mind is in charge. Keep your head in the game as it controls the body. Break down the route and set goals to reach each point. Just do it! Things can happen that are out of your control, deal with it, stay relaxed and in control of your best performance.  Pace yourself!

Donna finished the marathon today.  Way to go!  If you’re interested in investigating running for fitness you can find Donna at Totum Life Science in the Toronto area or look her up on LinkedIn.

Whether you’re planning on running in a marathon or working your career with laser focus —  determination and endurance are valuable qualities.  I’m going to think of Donna and her mantra as I stretch myself toward running a good race this week.


Gigonomics – Wordsmithing The New Economy

Gigonomics.  This word is popping up everywhere.  It’s been popularized in Newsweek, the Denver Post, the New York Times…  Perhaps we’re attracted to this word because it sounds so new, so web 2.0.  The truth is it isn’t new at all.  Just ask survivors of the 1991-92 jobless recovery.

Gigs are part-time or short-term jobs and gigonomics is the art of juggling several gigs simultaneously in lieu of one fulltime position with benefits.  Since this is nothing new for an estimated 1.4 million people in North America (let’s call it Gig Nation), it’s no surprise to see gig-related words creeping into our vocabularies.

Gig Economy / Age of Gigonomics – Some writers are describing the current job market in this way

Gigocracy – People of the new Gig Economy.  What’s new today is the demographics.  Where gigonomics used to be the domain of the entry-level or freelance web worker, we now see the well-educated and well-heeled joining the ranks of the freelance community.

Gigs – “ a bunch of free-floating projects” (Tina Brown, The Gig Economy)

Gigwork – A snappy way to answer the question “What are you doing these days?”

Gigomania – I made this up – but wouldn’t it make a cool word?

Gigophile – One who collects gigs for the love of it

I don’t mean to make light of a situation that doubtless many find uncomfortable or even downright scary.  Perhaps this is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on our own career or employment situation and find new reasons for gratitude.  And while we’re at it, can we look for the gig workers in our midst and find a way to make their day just a little easier?

Great Meetings Are Hard Work

A distinguishing characteristic of great meetings is that they have lasting impact. They deliver value.  The best meetings tackle issues and unleash creativity.  And guess what — they’re hard work.

That was my summation at the end of a two-day strategic planning session led by Joanne Downey, President of Strategy + People Inc.   A skilled facilitator with business depth, Joanne led our discussions in a way that helped us challenge assumptions, name issues, and get to a place where we saw opportunities.  Not surprisingly, the deepest revelations came near the end of the session.  Breakthrough thinking isn’t something you can conjure on command.  It takes time and determination to stick with it through the initial stages to make it to the payoff.

Smart companies everywhere are taking a second look at the true cost of meetings.  One could argue that the business world developed a bit of meeting madness during the boom years.  Weekly updates, monthly project meetings, quarterly department reviews.  It’s not that these are bad events but the recurring meeting is the most prevalent offender when it comes to counter productivity.  It takes a strong leader to ensure that routinely scheduled meetings are a place where work happens.

I maintain that fiscal responsibility should not be the burning platform for more effective meetings – and I’m not alone. Here is a quote from Harvard Management Essentials:

“Discussion is no longer good enough. Time-starved teams need more than directionless chatter or meant-to impress progress reports. Productive meetings depend on clearly defined objectives toward which people can work and against which they can measure progress.  (Make Every Meeting Matter – Feb. 27 2008)

Today’s leaders have to find ways to move business objectives forward in an environment of increased uncertainty and reduced resources.  As a result our ROI expectations are higher.  We’re saying no to meetings that don’t hold at least a promise of critical conversation and measurable progress.  I’ll never say a recession is a good thing but maybe we can admit that in some ways this one is teaching us to become better business partners.

Social Media Credibility

Remember when you were nine and you wanted that dog?  You promised your parents that you would feed it, walk it, clean up after it…  Social media is a little like that.  You have to know that it comes with added responsibilities.

I think it boils down to three keys:

♦Be present
♦Be yourself
♦Bring value

Be present

Social media is all about conversations and connecting – and it’s all pretty public. Every action and inaction sends a message to the cyber world. Do you have a profile on LinkedIn but do not respond to InMail and email messages?  That’s bad cyber-karma. Have you created a Twitter account only to let it sit around with no attention from you and no tweets?  If you’ve created the account simply to reserve your name for future use, that’s a smart move but make sure you protect your tweets.  Better to appear private than missing in action.

Be yourself

I talk a lot about the leadership transparency that Web 2.0 has brought into the picture.  Being real and going for consistency will help you build credibility.  Consider using the same photo on all your social networking sites (you do publish a photo, don’t you?).  Take a look at your sites and ask yourself if your online persona is unified.

Bring value

Everyone has something to give.  Do you know where the best restaurants are, where the cleanest washrooms in the city are to be found, or perhaps you have a skill that you are willing to share…  Social media is not an instant road to revenue or new relationships.  It’s a very useful tool that requires thought and development if it’s to work for you effectively.

Please let me know if you found this blog helpful – or if there is a topic that you would like to see addressed.  As always, all comments are welcome and appreciated.