This week’s episode is special because we have hit our 50th episode milestone!  I am thrilled that our Let’s Fix Work community is thriving. Today, I want to focus on doing the inner work so that you can have the best year yet. As I always say, we fix work by fixing ourselves.

In this episode, I share my top three mindset tips I’ve learned from friends, colleagues, and guests on this podcast. My tips will help you reflect where you spend your time, rethink who gets your attention, and encourage you to be of service to those around you. So if you are ready to make a lot of money, kick butt, and take names, then sit back and listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  1. What having a healthy mindset has to do with success
  2. Rethinking the way you manage your time and expectations
  3. Setting clear expectations on performance and stop wasting emotional and physical energy on poor performers
  4. The importance of reimagining your brand and being of service

Resources from this episode:

Thank our sponsor:

Jesse Itzler

Kevin Kruse

Laurie Ruettimann 


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.


Hi, everybody. If you’re new around here, I’m fixin’ to write a best-selling book on fixing work. There’s an agent involved, and I wrote a 74-page proposal based around my core philosophy that you fix work by fixing yourself.

Yes, companies and HR departments should deliver an incredible experience. But if you run your life like a business and take responsibility for your relationships, including your relationship with yourself, you can survive and thrive in just about any employment environment.

The book has stories from my experiences in HR, but it’s not a book about me or HR. The book is about how to fix work in ten steps. It’s written for executives and HR leaders who want to invest in processes, programs, and policies that people employees and customers in the heart of all experiences. But it’s also for employees who are stuck in mediocre corporate jobs and want to challenge themselves and their leaders to think and do better.

I’ve written an intro, market research, an enhanced biography to highlight my accomplishments, a marketing plan, a list of speaking engagements, a chapter outline, and two sample chapters. It’s been a fascinating ordeal — and I’ve learned a lot — but I’m only 22% of the way there.

My goal is to create a modern-day handbook to fix work, but, to sell a half-million books, it helps to be famous. I’m not famous enough for publishers to go, “Yeah, okay, let’s give this kid a shot.”

Also, while I have an excellent voice and strong writing skills, I’m not an experienced storyteller. I’m more of an enthusiastic yeller, and my energy disguises the cracks in communication skills. The proposal is almost there, but it has to be strong to be published by one of the “Big 5” companies and placed in a Target near you.

So, my agent told me I still have a little work to do. How much work? We’re close. Soon the manuscript will go in front of editors who give it a thumbs up or down, but, even if someone buys the script, much of what I’ve already written may not end up in the final book. A book proposal is just an audition. The real work happens once the deal is done and I sign the paperwork.

Even if a brand-name publishing firm publishes this book, there’s no guarantee it will sell. That’s why so many authors you know and see at conferences have purchased their way onto The New York Times Best Sellers list.

(Don’t get me started.)

If none of this pans out, which is a real possibility, I can always go back into HR or publish my book through an academic publishing house or association and still get on the speaking circuit to talk about work. I’m trying to keep a healthy perspective about all this.

When I explain my situation to friends, they always offer book recommendations to soothe my anxious soul. My friend Ryan Arnold encouraged me to read The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom.

The book tells you to:

1. Be impeccable with your word

2. Don’t take things personally

3. Don’t make assumptions

4. Always do your best

I read this book while traveling and thought, wow, maybe one day someone will recommend Let’s Fix Work to someone who has reached an inflection point in her life! What a dream!

I’m no Don Miguel Ruiz — or Oprah, Tony Robbins, Rachel Hollis, Mark Manson, Dan Pink, or Jen Sincero — but none of them are me. And no one is out there talking about fixing work and addressing a broken employee experience by asking workers to fix themselves.

I’m still optimistic this book can be a big hit. Hope you’re hopeful for me, too!


Today is Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and Pączki Tuesday. It’s all fun and games until Ash Wednesday when everything goes downhill for Baby Jesus.

(Someone should warn him!)

Lent is such a downer a time of reflection, and many Christians give up smoking, drinking, chocolate, swearing, being on the internet, etc., to honor the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Then, on Easter, they go back to normal as if those 40 days never happened.

Let’s do this whole thing differently in 2019.

I think giving stuff up is narcissistic. Instead of embracing austerity and being miserable for six weeks, I think it’s time to improve the quality of your life and take up something new.

What can you take up for Lent?

• Can you embrace a new hobby?
• Get to know somebody new?
• Be curious about your neighbors, colleagues or associates?
• Become a little healthier by adding instead of subtracting things to your diet?

Don’t do less of something bad and mope around about it. Do more of something good and make small but incremental improvements to your life.

Wonder how to do Lent differently? Time to get quiet and reflect on your needs. What makes you happy? Who brings you joy? How do you know when life is good?

Stop punishing yourself for being human. Give your time, attention and energy to the activities that positively move the needle.

I’m not Christian, but I think that’s what Jesus wants for me during Lent 2019. What does He want for you?


Recently on the Let’s Fix Work podcast, I had the pleasure of chatting with radio personality, Ryan Arnold. He’s a longtime friend and DJ at WXRT, Chicago’s Finest Rock. He’s also the founder of Desoto and State Communications. We talked about what it’s like to have a dream job and how health insurance makes dreams possible. We also covered side hustles, entrepreneurship, and the art and act of service. What I found most fascinating and endearing about Ryan was his passion for communicating on behalf of the little guy. Through his communications company, Desoto and State Communications, Ryan helps nonprofits with their marketing and communication.

Ryan said, “There are so many not for profit organizations in the world, in Chicago especially, that serve a micro community. And those organizations, they’re doing good work. But, they’re not going to get recognized by media. They’re not going to have an article written about the Executive Director. For example, a nonprofit bringing mobile health facilities to underprivileged neighborhoods. They deserve attention.”

And Ryan is a born communicator, it’s in his DNA (as you’ll hear me say time and again in our interview together). So I was not too shocked to learn this about him.

Ryan used his knowledge of media, his knowledge and experience in advertising and marketing to serve nonprofit organizations. What started as something as simple as helping someone write a press release turned into a company. His business is thriving and he is doing important work.

So why am I sharing this with you today? Because with every conversation we hear and have, (in this podcast or in the workplace) there is something to be learned. In this case, it’s understanding that your abilities can be used to affect the world around you, in a good way. In Ryan’s case, he “helps the little guys get their fair share of the pie.”

What are you doing to make the world around you, your organization, your workplace, and also your community, better? If you’re not of service as an entrepreneur, what are you doing?

If you want to hear more of my conversation with Ryan and all about how dream jobs happen with health insurance from a smooth-talking radio personality and PR professional, then listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work, here.


In this episode of Let’s Fix Work, I talk with Professor Amy Edmondson from Harvard Business School and author of The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth. HR leaders and executives love this book, and they love Amy for her rigorous take on what it means to create a high performing and humane work environment. Her name and ideas come up in my social circles over and over again. I’ve come to know of Amy’s work through many women that I admire. And since it’s really important to them, it’s equally important to me.

So if you are interested in psychological safety, inviting participation, and creating a productive workplace of tomorrow, then listen to this week’s episode of Let’s Fix Work.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  1. Why organizations are fearful in the workplace today
  2. Why people need to understand that our human instincts, and especially our human instincts in hierarchies, are at odds with our organizational goals
  3. The definition of psychological safety
  4. How we reconcile psychological safety and corporate social responsibility
  5. That psychological safety tends to be quite variable across groups in an organization
  6. How leaders in the middle have figured out that they want their group, their part of the organization to be engaged, dynamic, energized, and candid
  7. People need to feel free to be candid and feel free to offer candid feedback
  8. How leaders can create that fearless organization, what it looks like, and some concepts leaders can use
  9. Being a leader is so different than it was even 10 years ago, and it requires such an exceptional and extraordinary skill set
  10. What the fundamental job of a leader is today

“How can you create the conditions whereby we can show up and do the work we need to do, but also keep thinking about how will we be doing it better tomorrow?” ~ Professor Amy Edmondson

“Set the stage, invite participation, and respond productively.” ~ Professor Amy Edmondson

Resources from this episode:

Thank you to our sponsor:

Amy at Harvard Business School:

Amy on LinkedIn:

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth:


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.


In a recent episode of Let’s Fix Work, I welcomed entrepreneur and technologist, Armen Berjikly. Armen serves as the Senior Director of Growth Strategy at Ultimate Software, where his expertise in human-computer interactions drives Ultimate’s artificial intelligence platform and direction. Through my own work, I have realized that there are many people in the workplace, in the world of Human Resources, and tech that don’t understand how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can aid us in the workforce. So I was pleased to have Armen as a guest, because in my mind he is an expert in AI.

While Armen and I touched on many facets of artificial intelligence throughout our conversation, today I want to focus on how AI can help human resources professionals make better decisions more fairly and with competence.

Let’s start with unconscious biases. Unconscious biases are social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs about various social and identity groups, and these biases stem from one’s tendency to organize social worlds by categorizing.*

Now let’s see how unconscious biases can have a role in workplace decisions. Every employee has to make decisions all day long. If we’re honest, we make them under duress, right? We have time limitations, resource limitations, information limitations. We have personal limitations. These are all situations where professionals have to make judgment under less than perfect conditions, day in and day out.

And when under pressure, as HR Professionals, we may lean on unconscious bias to help us make decisions. As Armen points out, “That doesn’t seem fair.  It doesn’t feel good, and it’s really doesn’t lead to the best workplace environment.”

These are areas where we struggle as people, but a machine does not.

A machine does not have unconscious bias.

Armen says, “What we can do with artificial intelligence is that we can help people make the decisions they need with more competence. We can help them make those decisions more fairly. We can help them make those decisions with more computer evidence behind it and we can make it personalized to their situations. That is the general AI approach, get away from judgment [and instead use AI to help aid us] to make decisions at work.”

By using artificial intelligence to help us make those decisions, we can begin to remove unconscious bias from our decision making, thus fostering a more fair and competent environment.

If you’re interested in learning more about using AI in the workforce, the reality and hope, then listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work, here.



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.

This week I’m talking to radio personality, Ryan Arnold. He’s a longtime friend and DJ at WXRT, Chicago’s Finest Rock. He’s also the founder of Desoto and State Communications. In today’s show, we talk about what it’s like to have a dream job and how health insurance makes dreams possible. We also cover side hustles, entrepreneurship, and the art and act of service.

If you want to hear how dream jobs happen with health insurance from a smooth-talking radio personality and PR professional, then sit back and listen to this episode of Let’s Fix Work.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  1. Ryan’s love of communicating,presenting, and being a personality: when he decided he was going to be in radio
  2. His experience during the Great Recession, unable to find a job in radio and taking a job as a heavy equipment operator
  3. The important lesson of checking ego at the door and coming back to earth
  4. Benefitting from and having your world change from access to healthcare
  5. The normal culture of a radio station versus the culture at WXRT
  6. Having a dream job and Ryan’s thought about it all
  7. Ryan’s passion for communicating on behalf of the little guy
  8. Ryan’s PR company, Desoto and State: why the company exists, who they work with, and the work they do

“I’m privileged to do this every day. I walk into the Prudential Building where the station is located, my key card beeps and I walk into the studio. I’m grateful every day.” Ryan Arnold, DJ at WXRT

Resources from this episode:

Thank you to our sponsor:

Desoto And State Communications:

Ryan on WXRT:

Ryan on Twitter:

Ryan on Instagram:


Maggie Rogers:

Courtney Barnett:


Disclosure: This post is sponsored National Car Rental, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

When’s the best time to visit New Zealand? Whenever someone pays for you to come!

Back in November 2017, someone invited me to speak at a recruiting conference. As part of my compensation package, the organizers paid my airfare and travel expenses to Auckland. You can’t fly around the world without seeing a few sights, so I extended my visit for two weeks and explored the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

It’s common for business travelers to add leisure activities to business trips. It’s called “bleisure,” and according to the second annual National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey, 90 percent of millennials have engaged in bleisure travel in the past year compared with 81 percent of Generation Xers and 80 percent of baby boomers.

Do You Bleisure?

Bleisure travel is common among millennials; however, it’s hot with business travelers of all ages. Those of us who blend business with leisure report having a higher satisfaction with our quality of life (93 percent vs. 75 percent of non-bleisure travelers) and better work/life balance (87 percent vs. 64 percent of non-bleisure travelers).

I bleisured the heck out of my trip to New Zealand!

I began in Auckland by renting a car and learning how to drive on the left-hand side of the road. I drove to Rotorua and walked through a volcanic park and soaked in hot springs that smelled like sulfur pools.

From there, I headed south to Lake Taupo, which is a gorgeous body of water with an adorable lakeside village nearby. After I watched the sunrise, I drove to a town called Napier. Decimated by an earthquake, they rebuilt it during the Art Deco era with lots of gold and ornate gilding. The whole town looks like The Great Gatsby meets Al Capone.

Millennials Bleisure More Than the Rest

Millennials lead the way in bleisure. Almost half (49 percent) of millennials say they’ve extended business travel into a leisure trip or scheduled a vacation around business travel to save on vacation costs.

I was born in 1975, which makes me a late Gen Xer, but I love the bleisure trend and try to bring my audience along on my work-related trips. While millennials are more likely to share photos of their bleisure travel experiences on social media (72 percent) compared to Gen Xers (60 percent) and baby boomers (41 percent), I’m an outlier and shared about 500 photos from that trip to New Zealand. In fact, this blog post proves I’m still bragging about my trip.

From that little Art Deco town, I caught a flight to Christchurch and kicked around the main city center for a day. An earthquake destroyed Christchurch in 2011, but there are signs of life all over that city. Because it was springtime, the roses were in bloom and the town was booming with birds and bees and tourists.

Tell Everybody About Bleisure

I left Christchurch and drove to Mt. Cook, which is the highest mountain in New Zealand. I stopped at beautiful towns like Fairlie—an Irish-looking settlement with lots of sheep and goats—and Lake Tekapo Village, which is a picturesque lakeside hamlet on the shores of stunning turquoise-colored Lake Tekapo. The sun was shining, the lupins were blooming, and the Southern Alps rose in the distance. It was a breathtaking drive.

I stayed at The Hermitage at Mt. Cook and had a baller room with a fabulous view. Not to rest on my laurels, I went on an excursion to see the Tasman Glacier. It was a bucket-list item attained. 

I was shocked to learn millennial bleisure travelers (45 percent) feel they should avoid telling others about taking time for fun or personal activities while on a business trip compared to Gen Xers (40 percent) and baby boomers (30 percent). Millennials avoid telling their bosses (46 percent) and their families (41 percent).

Life’s too short not to at least have a little fun on your business trips. After all, you can emulate healthy adult behaviors and show people the real meaning of work-life balance.

Take a Trip, Embrace Bleisure

“Sightseeing” is the single most popular leisure activity among bleisure travelers (75 percent), and that rings true for me. I left Mt. Cook and drove to Queenstown on a route that’s famous for old mining towns, rivers, and bungee jumping localities. 

From Queenstown, I went on an excursion to the Doubtful Sound. It’s in the center of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, and the long ride was worth the trip. It was a stunning day, not a cloud in the sky, and we saw six whales and a bunch of penguins. If you don’t think I didn’t blast that video on Instagram, you must be new around here.

Life for a road warrior can be challenging. The best way to make your work trips more exciting and entertaining? Get a little bleisure in your life and take pictures of your fun activities.

Ultimately, work-life balance comes down to choices. You might as well have a little fun if you have to travel, so channel your inner millennial and bleisure your way through your next work trip Make sure you tag me on the photos so I can see what you’re up to, too! 

You can find out more about the National Car Rental Stats of Business Travel Survey here.

Visit the website to register for the National Car Rental Emerald Club to save on your next business trip.


I’m speaking at the Watermark Conference on Friday about HR, salaries, and negotiations. I’ll be answering questions about the role of HR in the hiring process.

Here are some questions I’ll try to tackle.

Is it okay to talk to HR about compensation, benefits, and the offer process during salary negotiations? Will I be dinged by asking questions?

If you’re working with an executive or third-party recruiter, direct all your compensation questions that way. Don’t ask HR about money. Stay focused on the position, leadership, culture, and internal mobility. You want to seem like someone who’s a sure bet and interested in making a long-term contribution to the company.

If you’re working with a member of the HR team (HR Generalist, HR Business Partner, Corporate Recruiter, or Talent Acquisition Specialists), be careful when you talk about compensation. They are obsessed with culture and sometimes forget that people work for cash. Keep your questions process-oriented.

Here’s what I would ask:

• What’s the offer process like?
• What would you like to me to know about the organization’s compensation philosophy?
• Who extends an offer?
• What’s the timeline generally like?

Listen to what’s said and unsaid. Sometimes there’s a compensation philosophy, and sometimes it’s a crapshoot.

What questions are off-limits?

HR people think it’s gauche when you ask about raises and job titles during the interview process. If you want to know when you’ll be considered for a raise or a promotion, try to find out from an internal source other than HR.

How do recruiters work? Do they represent me in salary negotiations? What’s the difference between a corporate recruiter, a normal recruiter and an executive recruiter?

In general, recruiters fill jobs for companies. Executive recruiters and third-party recruiters want you to earn as much as possible, but they also know what a company is willing to pay. Follow their good advice when it comes to salary negotiations.

A corporate recruiter or talent acquisition specialist also wants you to be happy, and, if they’re any good, will offer you good counsel during the hiring process. A company that nickels and dimes you during salary negotiations is one that will always hassle you. If you get the sense that an internal employee is messing with you in any way during the hiring process, follow your gut and decline that offer. Go work somewhere else.

Are salary websites any good? Where can people find the best sources for salary information?

Salary websites are mostly garbage. Every job pays between $36,000 and $186,000 depending on the city, years of experience and your online shopping history. The best source of information comes from executive recruiters, internal recruiters and your friends who work for the company. Wonder what you should be earning but don’t have a recruiter working on your behalf? Ask Tim Sackett. Seriously, he’ll tell you. Now you have a friend and a source.

How do I know if I’m leaving money on the table? What are the signs that the company could pay more?

A company can always pay more. You’re probably still leaving something on the table because, even in a tight labor market, the power dynamics are skewed. That’s late-stage capitalism. If you don’t want a job, go try out your skills in the gig economy. Good luck to ya.

The good news is that negotiations are choices. You get to choose when to push and when to submit. Do you like the organization? Do you love the leader? Will you be surrounded by people who have your back? Do you trust that the benefits far outweigh the $2500 you might be leaving on the table?

Sometimes you have to trust the person on the other side of the table to take care of you.

What are some compensation trends in 2019?

Some companies make one offer and it’s their first, best and final offer. They are trying to eliminate bias and use survey data to determine what the job pays regardless of race, gender, age, or what you’re currently earning. What this means is that you have to be clear on what’s important to you upfront and be willing to walk away if you don’t get it.

Another trend is to extend an offer with a detailed breakdown of your total rewards package — and information on how the compensation package compares to competitors in the same industry — so candidates can see the value of their health insurance, PTO, retirement contributions combined with their monthly salary.

I’m sure there’s information that I’ve missed.

Have some advice on salary negotiations and HR? Please leave a comment and let’s help the women of Watermark make some excellent career decisions.


I’ve worked in the HR technology space since 2008, and I’ve been involved in hiring over a dozen CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers) and VPs of Marketing for some companies you know and some that are no longer in business.

CMOs have the shortest tenure in the C-suite at just over four years, according to Korn Ferry. When they arrive, there’s a lot of hoopla. They bring big ideas from the outside world and often change the brand, logo, and sometimes even the company’s name.

But almost immediately, marketing leaders get locked in political battles with key sales leaders. New CMOs try to win the favor of the CEO and board of directors instead of finding allies and, even, co-conspirators among the rank and file employees.

The currency of business is relationships, and, ultimately, CMOs get fired for not building connections. Then a new CMO arrives to repeat the cycle.

(That’s oversimplified, but not much.)

So, when I’m asked to consult on CMO searches, I do a quick premortem. How will this new CMO fail? What’s the path to success? What attributes will work against this new leader? What skills are needed to ensure a smooth transition and steady leadership?

I won’t give away the farm, but here are some things you must hire for — beyond the obvious competencies — in the HR Tech CMO role.

Likability. The single most important quality for a CMO is likability. The role, when done well, opens doors and creates cross-departmental collaboration. The best marketing leaders create fellowship and inspire trust between teams, and the CMO has the power to unite an organization behind a brand and to generate excitement with vendors, partners, and contractors. Get this wrong, and your marketing team becomes an island, and the organization doesn’t move forward. Don’t be afraid to check around and ask, “Was this individual likable? Did people enjoy working with him?”

Perceptibility. The best CMOs have spidey sense and know what’s happening in the company — and the industry — before anybody else. You’ve got to hire someone who has operational acumen but also has a strong sense of communication, culture, and art. Ask your CMO what they do when they’re not working. Do they travel? Support the arts? Volunteer? Teach? Mentor? All work and no play makes for a one-dimensional leader.

Maturity. Sometimes we use the words “seasoned” and “experienced” when we mean mature. A lot of people finally get promoted to CMO and lose their minds — they imbibe in company perqs, act like benevolent rulers, and forget that marketing departments run on the blood, sweat, and tears of assistants and coordinators. The best CMOs are emotionally regulated, understand the priorities of the organization, and know that they’ll be rewarded if the company meets its goals and objectives. You can screen for maturity by asking your candidate to reflect on the notion of power. What are their priorities and core values? What matters most to them in a leader?

Prior Experience with HCM. In the world of HR, we often hire business leaders with no previous experience and ask them to swoop in and fix it. (My friend Kris Dunn writes extensively about this phenomenon.) While most CMOs have prior marketing experience, I believe marketing leaders in the world of HR must have previous HCM experience. Even if it’s just a stint during the early part of their career, it’s vital for marketing leaders to understand the industry and love the technology to some extent before trying to convert eyeballs to users. If you can’t find someone in the HCM industry for your CMO role, ask yourself — am I working with the right executive recruiter?

Tenacity. Finally, your CMO must be tenacious and outwork everybody else in the marketing department. It’s always nice to have staff. How you keep your team happy and engaged is by showing them that we’re all in this together. It’s not about working 100 hours a week or being on email at weird hours; it’s about digging into the real work, being a part of everyday conversations, and being gracious enough to take on tasks that should really be done by a junior member of your team in order to facilitate better work-life balance. A tenacious CMO models good behavior for the marketing department but also raises the game for other leaders in the organization, too.

Those are my thoughts on how to hire a successful CMO who lasts longer than four years. Have you hired marketing leaders? Do you have some expertise in this area? Leave a comment and let me know what resonates — and what I’ve missed — in this blog post.

I’m about to help out on another search, and I’m trying to be useful to my clients!

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