If the world is engaged in stalker-culture, it’s because companies started it.

At first, your organization was slow to embrace the internet. If you have time to lean, you have time to clean. If you had to have a computer, they sure as hell weren’t gonna let you shop on Zappos or check out your friends on Myspace.

But a funny thing happened on the way to late-stage capitalism …

Once businesses understood the power of the web to merge power and surveil its workforce, they encouraged everybody to hop on the internet and even bring their own devices to work.

We all know companies watch what you do; however, many employees and contractors don’t understand the depths. Legal, finance, IT, and HR can easily map the intricacies of your whole life into one large pivot table for cynical business folk to manipulate. Does it violate the law? Yes, no, maybe, who cares. Depends on where the corporation resides, where the worker sits, what legal precedent if any has been set, and the ruthless calculation of the cost of doing business.


You might come to work on Monday morning, open your laptop, grab a cup of coffee, read your email on your computer, check the New York Times on your tablet and book a flight on your phone. Some of that online behavior is monitored through apps and programs on your company’s IT equipment; your company may hook your badge up to a software that connects with cameras in the office and monitors your whereabouts and to analyze how work gets done; and, if you log onto your organization’s wifi with your own devices, you consent to be monitored and tracked.

Is that a big deal? Well, maybe.

What you don’t know is that all of this data can be collected and analyzed using natural language processing and sentiment analysis to understand if these are predictable patterns of behavior, if you’re about to leave the organization, if you’re depressed and about to commit suicide, if you are a candidate for financial wellness programs based on your internet shopping, or if you’re swinging by Janet’s workspace every morning — just like she complained to HR — and harassing her.

And we’re just getting started.

How many times a day do you use the toilet? For how long? Where do you go after you pee? What sites do you visit after lunch? Where do you go when you block off “creative time” on your schedule? Does your calendar match your physical location or are you blocking time off to nap in the lactation room? Are you sharing files on Slack to foster inter-departmental collegiality or are you trying to sabotage a project? Where do you go for lunch? Who’s going with you? Are the two of you leaving for lunch together? Are you having an affair and putting the company at risk? Are you giving away corporate secrets to competitors? Did you take this job for the intended reasons you stated in the interview? Are you only working there to bump up your salary and rebound to your prior employer? Does your criminal history match what you shared? What about your ongoing activities — are you employed at this job while running a small cannabis ring from your house?

Some of this data needs to be reverse-engineered when there’s an HR complaint, but that’s so very 2015. Much of this data can be collected and analyzed in real-time by sophisticated technology and third-party vendors who monitor a spectrum of activities to ensure that you’re not a risk to the organization by lying, cheating, stealing, leaving too soon after being hired, giving away company secrets, getting too fat, harassing your colleagues, or, honestly, being depressed enough to bring a gun to work.

UR being watched.

Stalker-culture exists because we’ve fetishized work as the ultimate form of purpose and given over our lives to corporate overlords — founders, C-level executives, business consultants — who don’t fetishize work and have second and third homes in tax-free locations throughout the United States and find meaning and faith in accumulated interest and capital gains earnings and not “growth opportunities” or “feedback from colleagues.”

So, what can you do if you don’t want to be surveilled by your employer?

• First, understand the depths of the surveillance. Find a friend in IT, risk management, finance or even HR and ask good questions. Go back and read your employment agreement.

• Think about where you sit on the corporate hierarchy and get promoted. Just because we live in a stalker-culture in 2019 doesn’t mean you can’t change things.

• Go work in HR. The one department that might fix all of this is often staffed with people who don’t know, don’t care, or don’t understand what’s going on in the enterprise. There’s no more significant opportunity to fix work than to work — and get promoted — in HR.

The answer is not to work for yourself. Running away from a problem never solved anything, and, also, the problem still follows you. While there’s less monitoring of your activity as a small business owner, you still abdicate many of your rights and freedoms while working with corporate clients.

We fix work by fixing ourselves. Get smart, get educated, and get promoted. There’s no cavalry coming to solve these problems. Want to change the way corporations act? It starts with you.


stalker culture

The internet is a strange place.

Instagram tells me that I might be interested in following your cousin. Facebook thinks your colleagues are my friends. And Twitter shows me snippets of conversations you’re having with strangers I’ve never met.

Why is this happening? How did we get to a place where conversations are public, relationships are measured in avatars, and connections mean nothing at all?

Welcome to stalker culture, where algorithms show you photos of your co-worker’s girlfriend or encourage you to connect with your neighbor’s inlaws.

Or maybe that’s just me.

I’ve come to understand that mobile device and internet usage mirrors Chernobyl — once exposed, you’re altered. The only way to fix your brain chemistry and get back to the real world is to ban the devices and minimize contact with the social web.

But I’m writing a book, and half of what constitutes “writing a book” in 2019 is marketing. So, here’s what I’m doing to participate a little less in stalker culture and make my exposure to my phone and social media a little less toxic.

Use the browser instead of apps.

I don’t have any social apps on my phone, right now. If I want to use Instagram, which has a horrible browser experience, I download the app for a moment and then delete it when I’m done.

Block, block, block.

It’s tough to beat the algorithm, but maybe we can collectively influence its thinking by blocking inappropriate friend requests and muting content recommendations. If your mom comes up in my feed, I’m now blocking your mom. To be honest, I don’t think she’ll notice.

Take it less seriously.

Just because LinkedIn or Facebook thinks I know someone doesn’t mean I know someone. These commands are suggestions, not requirements. And I don’t think anybody gives a shit if I mute them — or block their kids — because I don’t want to see private, intimate conversations.

Be true to your values.

People confuse politeness for connection. For me, I’m done with manners. The moment I feel uncomfortable, the relationship is over without explanation or apology. I’ve been on the other side of that equation, too. Being dropped is hard; however, it’s the kindest thing you can do to someone who has no place in your life.

Let’s end stalker culture.

Stalker culture exists because we let it happen to our society. Maybe it’s too late to turn back time, but we can make an effort to modify our behaviors and avoid undesirable exposure to the toxic elements of the social web.

But please stay tuned — and click on all the links and sign up for the newsletter — for my upcoming book, okay?


In a recent episode of Let’s Fix Work, we had the opportunity to examine being authentic at work. That’s a really important topic to consider. We all have different roles in our lives, and it’s so important to be true to who we really are. But how do we do that at work? We need to be professional and deal with situations as they arise… but the key is to not lose ourselves in the process.

To help us navigate being our authentic selves at work, I was very happy to welcome Rana Stanfill-Hobbs, the Director of Insights at Ultimate Software (our fantastic show sponsor). She is also a very busy mom, step-mom, singer, songwriter, and, as she says, consummate learner. She is also the founder of Compass Credo, a website that helps people achieve their best lives and live according to their own set of values. How do you actually achieve the goal of being authentic at work? Rana has some great insights.

It is essential to have an open dialogue with people at work. Everyone is coming from different backgrounds and experiences. For example, if someone is trying to introduce new software at work, it’s important to know who the employees truly are so that their response to the new system can be anticipated. Rana notes that what is important is, “really creating the best environment so that people can flourish in whatever they’re doing.” Some people are very creative at home, and it is possible to be creative at work as well. This is the idea of recognizing what you are good at and how you excel. If creativity is your thing, then that needs to be expressed at work. When that is realized at the office, you will be able to do your best work.

Rana says that it is vital to recognize your imperfections and be honest with yourself; be willing to bring your entire self to the office as opposed to leaving part of your personality at home. That kind of separation is very difficult and taxing.

When you bring your whole self to work, you will be more relaxed. Often your impact will be seen not just in big things but the little things as well. Rana points out, “I think that if you put yourself into leaving people better or find a personal vision credo or mission statement… like an action thing, what do you want to do every day? I think that you then start to see the meeting is always in the minutia. It’s always in those tiny interactions, and that is how you make your role have impact. That is how your day starts to feel really important. And then you want to bring your whole self there.”

I am so thankful for my time talking with Rana. Our conversation brings up some very positive aspects of personality and good reminders to be who you are.

You are special.

You are an individual.

And your contribution at work is important.

As Rana says, “The more that you can be human, more authentic, and the more holistic you are thinking about life and the work that you’re doing, the better you can navigate all of this. The more powerful the connections are that you have with your customers, your colleagues, and with people in general.” So stay focused and true to who you are in your life, and that energy will have a positive impact at work too.

Ready to listen to my full conversation with someone who is an expert in the technology field, an incredibly strong woman, and someone who lives an authentic life? If so, listen to my conversation with Rana on this episode of Let’s Fix Work.


I am so excited to share this episode of Let’s Fix Work with you! My guest this week is Kevin Kruse, founder and CEO of LeadX. Kevin is also a New York Times bestselling author of nine books. He has a brand new book hitting the shelves titled Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business. I have been following Kevin’s career for around ten years, and it is wonderful to finally have him as a guest on the show.

Besides talking about a “no rules” work zone, we discussed the role of “love” in leadership. That’s right, love. We explored the idea that you don’t actually need to like someone who works for you or with you, but you do need to love that person. It’s smart and interesting conversations like this one that keeps me excited about doing this podcast! So if you enjoy learning about the interconnectivity between love and work, leadership principles, or “no rules” work zones, join me for this conversation with Kevin Kruse.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  1. How rules can get in the way of relationships
  2. Success and understanding that can develop when leaders connect with employees, explain the company culture, and the “why” behind certain actions
  3. Leadership is a superpower – not a choice
  4. The importance of the “close the open door” principle and the power of creating a sense of psychological safety in others
  5. The “crowd the calendar” idea and the importance of scheduling open-office times and your work
  6. How to personalize your leadership approach
  7. The reasoning behind not over-investing in one person but rather leveraging the talents of top performers
  8. Kevin’s perspective on why leaders must lead with love by putting the needs of others ahead of their own
  9. That whatever rules you have, it’s important to have a conversation about them…then the rule will be strengthened because of the relationship that develops

Resources from this episode:

Thank our sponsor: 

Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business:

John Wooden Quotes

Kevin’s website:

Kevin on Twitter:

Kevin on LinkedIn:


We’re proud to be sponsored by Ultimate Software. They’re a leading cloud provider of people management solutions with a commitment to continuing education for HR, talent, and payroll professionals.

Ultimate Software is hosting dozens of free educational HR workshops around the country. Check out for more information on how to earn free HRCI, SHRM, and APA recertification credits.


I recently welcomed Max Yoder to the Let’s Fix Work podcast. Max is the Co-Founder and CEO of Lessonly, an online service that provides bite-sized learning with big impact to today’s trainers, managers, and subject-matter experts. I have to tell you, Max is a CEO who’s trying to get it right.  He’s not just a CEO who’s concerned about the numbers. That has always left such a positive impression on me. What has also left a positive impression on me is Max’s mission to help professionals do better work. In fact, we discussed his philosophy at length on the podcast. Some of what he said is worth mentioning again.

This is what Max had to say about doing better work, “‘Do better work’ is our mission at Lessonly, if we can help people do better work, they will live better lives. If we can teach somebody how to do their job a little bit better, 1% better, 2% better, they’re going to feel more confident in their role. They’re going to feel more competent in their role. That’s not just going to go away. When they walk out the door to go home, they’re going to have a feeling of levity and a feeling of assuredness that they take home to their friends or their family. So when you think about doing better work, we think that’s a direct impact on you and your job. But it also walks home with you and we think that’s pretty darn special.” That is pretty darn special, Max.

Alright, so how do we actually do better work? Well, Max believes that clarity and camaraderie are key. “Clarity is all about understanding what works, why it works, and how to do it, “ he says.

He goes on to say, “If we have a better understanding and we have more clarity on a team, that’s a really good thing. You measure that with camaraderie or you match that with camaraderie, and you gain a mutual trust and respect. When we have clarity and we have camaraderie, we’re going to make a lot of progress.”

Translation: when we have both clarity and camaraderie in the workplace, we can do better work.

When you think about it, it makes so much sense. Yet, disconnect, low morale, and lack of focus is still often found in the workplace, among teams and leaders.

I leave you with this question: what can you do today to begin to build camaraderie and clarity in your organization? We all should strive to do better, be better, and work better. Figure out what steps you need to take to move towards a better tomorrow.

Want more from Max? We flex our Midwestern accents and talk about training in the workplace, vulnerability, leadership, and nonviolent communication. Not bad for a kid from Goshen, Indiana, right? Head over here to listen!


This week on Let’s Fix Work, I am excited to introduce you to Rana Stanfill-Hobbs. She wears many hats, including Director of Insights at Ultimate Software (our sponsor), mom, step-mom, musician, and consummate learner. On today’s episode, Rana and I talk about enterprise software and technology, of course.  We also talk about her journey from someone who recognizes patterns to an individual who’s living a full and authentic life at work.

Rana is also the founder of Compass Credo, a website that helps people achieve their best lives and live according to their own set of values. I love it!  It’s not often that I speak to someone who’s an artist, singer, and songwriter, as well as the Director of Insights at a technology company. Rana’s background and expertise are really fascinating. If you love strong women, technology talk, and learning how to live an authentic life, then sit tight and listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  1. The influences of creativity and understanding how to create the best work environments
  2. Recognizing what you’re good at and how you excel
  3. The importance of having an open dialogue with customers to determine where they are in their journey, everyone is at different experience points
  4. Balancing the excitement of introducing a new technological platform in a company and why it’s important to slow the pace when onboarding
  5. Moving towards an honest conversation about imperfect solutions that can help move an organization forward
  6. How technology can help with positive conversations such as continuous performance management
  7. How to be your authentic self at work

“The more that you can be human, more authentic, and the more holistic you are thinking about life and the work that you’re doing, the better you can navigate all of this. And the more powerful the connections are that you have with your customers, your colleagues, and with people in general.” ~ Rana Stanfill-Hobbs

Resources from this episode:

Thank our sponsor:

Rana Stanfill-Hobbs on LinkedIn:

CompassCredo on LinkedIn:

CompassCredo on Facebook:

Compass Credo


We’re proud to be sponsored by Ultimate Software. They’re a leading cloud provider of people management solutions with a commitment to continuing education for HR, talent, and payroll professionals.

Ultimate Software is hosting dozens of free educational HR workshops around the country. Check out for more information on how to earn free HRCI, SHRM, and APA recertification credits.


Do you feel powerless or worthless to affect change in your organization? I mean, what can you do? How about just go and get a tall macchiato from Starbucks and drown your sorrows? That’ll feel great, right?  

Ah yes, that is a perfect example of someone who has hit rock bottom in the workplace. In fact, I was that person, not too long ago. In a recent podcast interview with Jeanette Bronée, I asked,  “How do we get people out of the “Starbucks, I can’t affect change” cycle before they hit rock bottom? And she offered some great advice, which I would like to share with you today.

Jeanette Bronée is a performance strategist, culture coach, wellness advocate, and founder of Path For Life, Inc.  Jeanette helps leaders and companies rethink performance by asking “The Right Why®” so they can lead themselves and their people better and achieve sustainable success. She is passionate about how we can create a culture of care by unlocking what truly drives performance, engagement, and motivation from the inside out.

Now back to the question at hand, how can we avoid hitting rock bottom at work?

Jeanette had this to say, “I’ve really gotten to see the insights of the human struggle in terms of not being appreciated at work and what it does to a person.” She believes that self-care is part of the answer and the ability to change within. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

She offers up this advice, “Have self-kindness or self-compassion for that moment and say, ‘What I really need right now is to take a walk so that I can just get away from this toxic environment and remind myself that I actually do matter.’”

Jeanette believes that self-care, self-connection, self-awareness, and self-expression are a big part of building the muscle that helps us see ourselves for what we’re really worth rather than what we believe we’re worth.

When she talks about self-care, she is not referring to being pampered, having massages, or doing yoga. Instead she means being very active and engaged by taking charge of our day and taking charge of our performance. “What I look at is, what do we need so that we can be at our best rather than hanging back and feeling all cozy at work.”

We go to work because we want to matter.

We want to create change or we want to be part of something.

The reason we get frustrated with work is because that doesn’t happen for us. And then we stumble down the mountain and hit rock bottom. So the next time you are teetering towards the edge and reaching for that frappuccino with double whipped cream, remember Jeanette’s advice, take a deep breath, go for a walk, and realize that you matter. You matter and your work matters. And, you guessed it, you fix work by fixing yourself. Self-care is one small step towards that goal.

To hear more of my conversation with Jeanette, where we talked about the intersection of wellness, well-being, culture, leadership, and performance, go here.


This week on Let’s Fix Work, I’m talking to Max Yoder, Co-Founder and CEO of Lessonly. Lessonly is an online service that provides bite-sized learning with a big impact on today’s trainers, managers, and subject-matter experts to help them create training content in minutes. Max is also the author of Do Better Work: Finding clarity, camaraderie, and progress in work and life.

In today’s episode, Max and I flex our Midwestern accents and talk about training in the workplace. We also talk about vulnerability, leadership, and nonviolent communication. Not bad for a kid from Goshen, Indiana, right? So if you like tech entrepreneurs who don’t pat themselves on the back for simply being CEOs, you’re going to love Max!

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  1. How Lessonly got started and how it addressed the need for training software in the workplace
  2. Max’s impression of Human Resources in the workplace today
  3. About Max’s book, Do Better Work, and what drove him to write it
  4. What is actually means to “do better work”
  5. Vulnerability: why Max doesn’t use the word and what he thinks it has to do with work. Plus, what to tell someone who has no space to be vulnerable in their job
  6. How Max got to a point in life where he actually gave a shit about work
  7. The Lessonly conference, some speakers that will be attending and what attendees can look forward to in 2019
  8. Max shares his thoughts on broken workplaces and what he thinks the first step is in fixing them

Resources from this episode:

Thank our sponsor:

Book: “Do Better Work: Finding clarity, camaraderie, and progress in work and life”

Megan Jarvis, PHR:

Max Yoder: Next Tech Star


We’re proud to be sponsored by Ultimate Software. They’re a leading cloud provider of people management solutions with a commitment to continuing education for HR, talent, and payroll professionals.

Ultimate Software is hosting dozens of free educational HR workshops around the country. Check out for more information on how to earn free HRCI, SHRM, and APA recertification credits.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ultimate Software, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I finished a book called “The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More, and Change the Way You Lead Forever” by Michael Bungay Stanier. The book teaches you how to form a habit, so you can adopt a coaching mindset, and then offers seven types of questions to have richer and more fulfilling discussions with your team:

    • The Kickstart Question
    • The Awe Question
    • The Focus Question
    • The Foundation Question
    • The Lazy Question
    • The Strategic Question
    • The Learning Question

Most of this is self-explanatory. In a world of continuous feedback and ongoing coaching, the kickstart question gets you involved in a conversation with your direct report or mentee right away so you talk about what matters most.

The awe question encourages you to dig a little deeper and try to help someone get to the heart of what’s going on mentally or emotionally at work. The focus question asks an individual to figure what’s happening, and the foundation question gets to the heart of what the person wants at work, in relationships, and from you.

I’m lazy, so I loved that there’s a lazy question. The author invites you to ask ‘how can I help?’ without being the first responder in someone else’s life. The strategic question is all about looking at the bigger picture and weighing what matters. Finally, the learning question is all about insight and what we’ve learned, and what we’ll take away, from our experiences.

It’s a good book for your organization to dig deeper and have better conversations with one another.


Those seven questions are helpful, but it’s not like you have hours in your day to sit around and ask all seven questions to every employee in your department. Also, not every employee needs you to ask each question. Some people are in the early stages of their journey while others are further ahead.

Human resources leaders are often scared of people data and believe analytics dashboards are for data scientists; however, people data and analytics can help you have the right coaching conversations with the correct people while understanding core needs and without making assumptions.

Think about it. If we use the framework of those seven questions and map it to the performance management process, some employees may go years without understanding the real challenges in their jobs while others are struggling with their time, attention and focus.

People data and analytics help our leaders have personalized discussions with employees by understanding behavior and trends to create more meaningful experiences. Technology like UltiPro’s Workforce Intelligence tool isn’t just a platform that collects data in a vacuum. The analytics and reporting functionality — combined with predictive, prescriptive, and sentiment analysis — helps leaders understand an employee’s story and have personalized solutions to meet whatever challenges a worker might face.


Create a coaching culture by marrying people data and analytics with a coaching framework of your choice. I enjoyed reading “The Coaching Habit” and think it offers a simple and effective way to craft a working relationship between leaders and employees in seven easy steps.

Whatever you choose, remember that data can enhance relationships by helping HR professionals and leaders get to the heart of an employee’s story and experience faster.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ultimate Software, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The big buzz in the world of HR is the concept of a distributed workforce.

A distributed workforce is a workforce that reaches beyond the restrictions of the conventional office environment. These are FTEs, PT workers, temps, consultants, freelancers, flexible workers and task assistants who may or may not be paid by your payroll department. A distributed workforce can work remotely and still be local, national and international. You can learn more here.

The challenge with a distributed workforce is to make everybody feel like they’re having a fabulous time “working for you” and achieving your goals without making employment promises you can’t keep.

The other challenge is ensuring that all workers treat one another respectfully — and follow all safety guidelines — by following your company’s training and adhering to your organization’s policies and practices.


You probably have a distributed workforce; however, you may not interact with it. HR only deals with FTEs, fully benefited remote workers, part-time employees who work over thirty hours and receive company benefits and administrative temps/receptionists.

Why is that? Why is HR’s role so small when many people come together and “work” for your company?

Well, your legal department is afraid of establishing a joint employer relationship where you and a consulting firm are both liable for the employee experience. Your company decided HR should deal with the “real employees” while everybody else has a “contractor email address,” a different color badge, and parks in a different parking lot when they come to the office.

So, we can blame the lawyers. Contractors and temps have sued companies when employment statuses haven’t been clear; then corporate lawyers overreacted and made you stop inviting contractors to the holiday party.


When people work at your company, they should have one set of goals: achieving your organization’s mission while following its vision and aligning with the values.

Unfortunately, eager workers are showing up at your company on the first day and having varied and inconsistent experiences. FTEs feel welcome while everyone else is made to feel like their output — and not their humanity — is the only thing that matters.

Nobody wants that!

A second-class experience anywhere within the distributed workforce can impede your organization’s ability to do great work. While you don’t want a temp worker suing you for benefits, you also don’t want talented people opting-out


Success in a distributed workplace is measured by a worker’s ability to find what they need to achieve your organization’s goals. That’s why it’s critical for HR to be involved and have a handle on where people work and for whom. Your in-depth knowledge of the distributed workforce means lower training costs, less administrative overhead, and less risk for your entire organization.

Orientation — on the first day of work and beyond — is the biggest opportunity where you can send consistent but clear messages to your distributed workforce. HR could be involved from the onset and help the “talent” understand that nobody is a second-class citizen and all experiences matter.

But I think HR draws such a sharp distinction between employee and contractor because they don’t have a handle on who works for the organization.

    • •The company’s HRIS is old,
    • • managers fill requisitions without telling anybody,
    • • and employee data sits on an unsecured spreadsheet on somebody’s laptop.

If you work in human resources, get your FTE house in order. UltiPro and its Workforce Intelligence product bring together HR, payroll, and talent management data to help you build better leaders, empower employees, and improve the overall work experience.


You can’t achieve revenue goals if everybody isn’t on board with your purpose and organizational values whether somebody works for your full-time in the office or is a remote worker paid by a consulting firm, attitudes and beliefs matter. From day one, all workers affect the tone, climate, and productivity of your company.

Begin with your full-time and part-time employees. Lay the foundation for a great workforce experience by gaining visibility and gleaning insights into your employee base. Build the right foundation and apply the lessons you’ve learned to your distributed workforce.

You’ve got to start somewhere. The distributed workforce is here, and it is time to clean up the existing employee experience before you tackle the buzzwords of the day.

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