Third of 3 | Things Managers Do to Set Staff Up for Success

I read this and immediately began to ask myself, “Is anyone listening?”

3. Provide a path for the employee. Twenty years of the same job won’t get or keep a lot of people.  Reid Hoffman , founder of LinkedIn  and the author of The Start Up of You , states that companies want and need to hire people, but only those who want to be a part of what the organization is doing.

  • Have a plan for employees that shows them where they will be in 1 year, 18 months, 2 years. Waiting 5 years won’t work any longer.
  • Zappos  has a great practice of promoting associates in small chunks of time rather than waiting two years. They have mini-goals set up the employee can achieve.  This enables the employee to achieve goals at a quicker pace but the end result is the same.

Very few companies are actually training people. They are expected to come equipped ready to work.  The mindset is “what are you bringing to the table”? However, it’s important to set the employee up for success on the front end with:

  • A solid job description and clear expectations
  • Training and development opportunities
  • A path to grow and develop with the organization
There are a LOT of orgs that talk a good game of “growing” their people and “promoting from within.”
But are they actually doing it?

The SocioEconomic Tech Divide: Beginning to Close the Gap

You’ve found this blog post, so you’re obviously enjoying whatever Internet access you’ve got, right?

Do something good for a family in need this holiday who may not be able to manage the mondo cost of high-speed, perpetually-on Internet access some of us enjoy — let them know this is available to them:

And then let Comcast know that this is an appreciated action. THEN let other technology product and service providers know we expect to see them do more to help close the divide as well.

Yes, there are still millions of kids out there who cannot do the research they’re expected to for their homework assignments — because they don’t have Internet access – or even a computer – at home. Some of us just take this stuff for granted. No, I’m not pitching for Comcast. Just making folks aware who may not be. We all need to be aware of this issue and actively doing something to level the playing field for those who need our help. Nothing to me is more unfair than the socioeconomic gap between “The Haves” and “The Have Nots”. Nice to see big business beginning to care and starting to do something to help. Other government and big business need to follow this example. Knowledge and opportunity should be available fairly and equally to all.

Perhaps the more we are aware and demand it from our vendors, leaders and government, the more we’ll see it happen — and THEN we’ll really begin to see some economic recovery in our country.


Learning Leaders Fieldbook by The Masie Center

Here’s a neat resource for educators aspiring to grow and make an impact in their communities. The page includes links to the field book in PDF format, and podcasts from each of the featured learning leaders describing what it’s like to be in their role, how they see the function of their role and of learning in their organization, and the interesting story of the path they each followed to become the learning leader they are now. I was pleased to find that my friend, Martha Soehren, was one of the leaders featured. Congratulations, Martha!

Check it out:

UM’s Deborah Ball confirmed to National Board for Education Sciences

This is inspirational to folks like myself who hope to have a positive impact on the education industry:

On June 22, 2010, the United States Senate unanimously approved the appointment of Dean Deborah Loewenberg Ball to the National Board for Education Sciences. President Barack Obama announced his nomination of Ball on February 23, 2010.

UM’s Deborah Ball confirmed to National Board for Education Sciences.

U-M honored as Employer of the Year for innovative internships

By Joe Serwach  |  News Service

The university has been named nonprofit Employer of the Year by Crain’s Detroit Business and the Detroit Regional Chamber’s program.

Because students who intern in Michigan are far more likely to take permanent jobs here, the chamber has made boosting internships a major priority at its last two Mackinac Regional Policy Conferences. The award, presented for the first time this year, recognizes U-M’s innovative Development Summer Internship Program.

“Our commitment to the Michigan economy includes creating and supporting careers for new graduates. We want to keep talented graduates in the state, and internships are an excellent path to full-time employment,” President Mary Sue Coleman says. “We are pleased to expose students to careers in philanthropy through our innovative Development Summer Internship Program.”

Quoted from

Five Worst No-No’s | Leading With Kindness

Five Worst No-No’s [against Effective Leadership]
Monday, August 11th, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Entirely too many former co-workers still existing in environment that oozes one (or more) of these deadly workplace sins:

5. Micromanage
If you’ve done your homework and hired the right people, there should be no need to micromanage them. Give them direction, set challenging but realistic goals and keep them well motivated. By telling employees exactly what to do you destroy any motivation they might have to think for themselves and make valuable contributions.

4. Fail to Follow Through
Setting directions and providing goals are primary tools of a great leader, but if you don’t follow through, employees quickly learn to ignore what you have to say. Provide a few simple clearly communicated directions and then return to the subject within a reasonable period of time. Employees will quickly learn that you mean what you say.

3. Keep Secrets
Be as open and honest as possible with your employees. Poor leaders often use secrecy as a way to wield power. However, the less employees know the less able they are to act effectively. In addition, secrecy creates resentment and fosters gossip within the ranks. Google maintains an intranet that has information on all company strategies and current projects. The risk of secrets leaking out is less than productivity gained be everyone working together.

2. Play Favorites
Employees need an even playing field. They need to feel that if they work hard and excel at what they do they will be able to rise up in the ranks. Too often family ties or friendships bias leaders. Employees begin to spend more time and thought currying favor. Both those being favored and those out of favor will be less motivated to work hard. And remember, a perception of favoritism is almost as bad as favoritism itself.

1. Deceive Employees
One small lie can have profound effects within an organization. Once employees believe a leader is willing to lie, they have no basis to distinguish fact from fiction. And it often doesn’t matter who the lie is directed towards. Often leaders will lie to clients or authorities and keep employees as co-conspirators. But if leaders are willing to lie to clients, employees realize these same leaders are probably willing to lie to them in other circumstances

Full article at

Empathic Leadership

I read a very interesting editorial today about shoes, and empathic leadership, written by Norm K of CLO Magazine.

In it, he reflects on all the footwear idioms we use in our western culture, particularly the one that references “walking in someone else’s shoes.” He then continues on to relate that to how learning leaders and the business world at large would do well to approach their practices with more empathy — for the client, the employee and the business — if they wish to increase their bottom lines and make their work more productive, effective and appealing:

cover of current issue of CLO MagazineChief Learning Officer Magazine, July 2009 issue
Editor’s letter, pg. 4
[digital version]

I wonder if any of our leaders out there are reading this, or thinking along these lines… or if folks have forgotten that brighter times are ahead — and we better be ready.



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