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You’ve heard the saying, opinions are like… armpits, right? So is advice. Everyone has them and most of them stink, especially when it comes to careers. But Alison Green has some advice about advice for you; you’ve got to separate the good from the bad, and you have to pick your battles. Today, she and Laurie talk about crappy advice, what it takes to be a great leader, and what she wishes all managers knew.

  • Bad advice isn’t limited to careers. It all stems from a much bigger problem: we think we know what’s best for another person and their life. We’ve all had jobs, and as a result, we all have opinions about how they should be. But the truth is, most of us have trouble acting on the advice we give AND receive. Alison even has a folder full of questions asking for her advice on topics where there IS no great answer, including farting at work. Seriously.
  • Not all advice is crappy (pun intended). Every once in a while, we get a gem that can fix a situation or even change the way we think. Alison had one such piece of advice early in her career: pick your battles. Despite it being good advice, Alison had a hard time swallowing it, and she explains why. Twenty-somethings, this is for YOU. Laurie also shares a piece of advice she got that she has patently ignored.
  • Great leaders get where they are by filtering the good advice from the bad, and there are some key aspects they share. Drive and commitment are a given if you want to get results. But some of the other things Alison believes are required for good leadership might be a little difficult for you to embrace. While there are some great leaders, there are plenty who are lacking, and Alison shares her theory on why there are so many of them.
  • Conflict avoidance is one of the most pervasive issues in management. People don’t want to have difficult conversations, and it leads to terrible work cultures. Alison shares a story about a difficult conversation she had to have with an employee, and you should DEFINITELY take notes on how she handled it.
  • Do you have to be a people person to manage people? Ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 different answers because, you guessed it, we all have our own advice to give. But if you want GOOD advice, Alison wrote the book on it, Ask a Manager. She shares whether you really need to be a people person if you want to lead well. Introverts, according to Alison, you CAN be a great manager.
  • As an employee, or even as a manager, you’ve probably come across the sense of secrecy about management. So what do managers wish you knew? Alison has some great thoughts about that, and first among those is that it’s okay for an employee to speak up. She shares when it’s appropriate and how much you should divulge.
  • Alison’s new book, Ask a Manager, isn’t just a collection of blog posts she’s written over the years. Instead, Alison took all she’s learned and created a handbook for managers. Specifically, ‘what to say when,’ and other things that you can actually learn and apply to your daily interactions with employees. Alison gives you the language to use for awkward and cringey conversations.

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Alison Green

Ask a Manager Website

Ask a Manager Book

Slate Articles

New York Magazine Articles

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Shawn Madden is made of fun. No, really. His company, Fun Corp, runs ‘friend building’ parties for small to medium sized teams and companies to help create real social connections and friendships that directly affect culture. Because his business is mostly fun and games, Shawn has a unique perspective on the workforce because he takes employees OUT of their normal habitat. You might be surprised at what he sees as a result.

  • There are two ‘dirty f-words’ at work, fun and friends, and this is where Shawn believes that work is broken. People are almost afraid to be social at work the way they are in life, so they end up with a sharp divide, which Shawn explains as ‘Facebook is for friends, LinkedIn is for co-workers.’ Now Shawn claims that it’s science that it’s good to have fun at work, and he reveals why.
  • You’ll often find that friendships at work can cause trouble, especially when it’s between a manager and an employee. But it’s really not that different than having falling-outs with your friends in life. Shawn poses the question: is it a matter of touching a hot stove or falling off a bike? He explains why the distinction matters.
  • Shawn has a plan for fixing work, even though many leaders are resistant to it. Rather than invading the workplace, he’s inviting teams out of the office to connect in different ways: company parties. It’s the one box that company managers know they need to check off whether they believe in being social at work or not. Oh, and introverts? Fun Corp hasn’t forgotten about you.
  • Laurie and Shawn don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on team building. In fact, Laurie owns the domain name teambuildingisforsuckers.com. (For real!) Laurie believes that companies put on events to help themselves, not their employees, and it’s all for profit. Shawn doesn’t disagree, but he explains why his approach is very different.
  • How does Shawn know what he’s doing is working? It’s from the stories they get back after hosting an event for a company. It’s when the employees want to keep the party going at the office. Well, sans alcohol and giant Jenga. But people who used to walk the halls with their heads down now have fun memories in common.
  • Despite the fact that Shawn’s current strategy is to get teams out of their environments, when he looks at the future of work, he poses the question: do we really need to leave the office to have a party? How would YOU feel if your boss decided that they were going to give you 4 hours off on a Tuesday so that you and your co-workers could party and bond together? Shawn talks about other ways that leaders can bring fun back to work.
  • Planning parties isn’t easy. And getting leaders to engage is challenging, too. Shawn recommends a simple game that teams can start playing tomorrow: High, Low, Betcha Didn’t Know. He and Laurie play it live, and you’ll see from Shawn’s recommendation of a tour guide for Laurie how effective it can be in making connections. Shawn also shares the ONE metric you should use to see whether or not the party went well.

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Shawn Madden at Fun Corp

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LinkedIn

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Hey, everybody. I’ve been absent from blogging because there aren’t enough mental hours in the day to write a book proposal, launch a podcast, focus on my wellbeing, read books, earn a little cash, and be present in my home life.

Sometimes I need a break from the screen, and the blog has languished.

I’m also trying to be less negative about human resources, which is what this blog is all about. It’s unnecessary to bang the drum when you’re right. Work is messed up, and HR is complicit. But the people I need to reach don’t work in HR. It’s time to help make the employee experience better (or less cruel) for more people. And since HR professionals are employees, too, it makes little sense to tear them down. They’re often victims as much as anybody else.

So, instead of being an HR blogger with limited views on the world of human resources, I’d rather pursue solutions to fix work for everybody. And I use the word “fix” because I think there are solutions to the wage gap, institutional biases, and the other intricate ways that work sucks. If I do my job right — by curating good ideas and sharing my own thoughts — I’ll fix work, and, also, fix HR.

That’s why I’m busy building a platform. Books. Podcasts. Blogs. Courses. And I will need your help. Whether you work at a restaurant or in HR, fixing work is a community effort. And we fix work by fixing ourselves. I’m ready to level-up and help people improve work around the world. And because you’re reading this, I think you’re ready, too.

I’ll be back soon with more information on how you can get involved.

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Elisa Camahort Page co-founded BlogHer, later became the CCO at SheKnows Media after they acquired BlogHer, and is now a writer and consultant. Entrepreneur, speaker, conference leader, and blogger, Elisa has the type of bird’s-eye view of work the rest of us can only dream of. Laurie and Elisa talk about the disconnected workforce, the gig economy, and the rise of those brave souls who are daring to be their whole selves at work.

  • Elisa has a unique view of why work is broken. Have you ever noticed that the higher up someone gets in the management chain, the more disconnected they become from what they did before? That disconnect turns into a fundamental lack of empathy. But here’s the kicker – that lack of empathy goes in BOTH directions. Elisa has been at the top of the management chain, and she approached the problem of empathy directly.
  • If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking for a partner or co-founder, you know it isn’t easy. Elisa has some very practical advice for finding the right person: date them. Not romantically, but work on a project together before you launch a company. You’ll thank her later. She shares the story of how she and someone she barely knew founded BlogHer.
  • Many of the issues we’re discussing in this day and age (wage gaps, family leave, etc.) were front and center for BlogHer in 2008 – a decade ago. That fact alone makes the idea of change seem like a lost cause. But is it? Elisa shares what is disappointing for her, but also, where she has hope for the future. The first one might surprise you: working from home.
  • Then, there’s the gig economy. With so many people working from home as contractors, what about benefits? How is automation affecting jobs? Why is wealth being concentrated in the hands of so few? Is it possible to outsource and globalize yourself out of having a workforce that is engaged? Elisa and Laurie pick apart what the future of work looks like.
  • At BlogHer, Elisa and her crew were looking at how women can be fairly compensated and fairly heard in the workplace, and she brings some happy news. As side hustles become main hustles, there’s a lot more hope for marginalized groups to earn what they deserve. And there’s a hidden benefit to this as the gig economy allows us to bring our WHOLE selves to work, not the version of us that corporations want.
  • Have you ever heard of a ‘work-life advocate?’ These people are coming from a place of not being politically engaged or familiar with social issues, but in recent years, they’ve become galvanized. To do what? Elisa explains what work-life advocates are… are you one of them? This is one of those cases where it might do a later generation well to learn from the younger ones.
  • There are some companies out there who are doing it right. Take, for example, the company who makes WordPress. They don’t even have a headquarters; they meet regularly, but everything they do is remote. People who can’t work in traditional settings flock to companies like this, and the flexibility they provide is incredible.
  • We’ve covered the ideas of living wages, dividends, and universal basic income. Like many of our other guests, Elisa doesn’t see another option, especially with automation and globalism. Alaskans get a dividend from oil, but have you thought about the tech industry doing something similar? With automation and outsourcing, there ARE no jobs.
  • In closing, Elisa tells the story of a boss who told her she needed to lower the expectations of her employees when they were upset they didn’t have the time or resources to do their jobs well. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over well with Elisa. You have to hear what she asked HIM to do instead. And the point of the story is this: do you understand the difference between satisfaction and happiness?

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Elisa Camahort Page

Website/Speaking

Preorder Book: Road Map for Revolutionaries

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SheKnows Media

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LinkedIn

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Facebook

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Hello, everybody. I’m headed home from a week in Ireland. I hate it when bloggers like me go on vacation and then use their time away from the computer as an opportunity to lecture you to take your PTO.

“You need space and time to think,” they write. “Turn your brain off. Get away from the computer. Get back to what’s important in life: creativity.”

I don’t know what world these people live in, but most of us don’t have the freedom and luxury to take a break from reality and swap our daily negativity for a more positive inner dialogue.

But chumps like me are right. You gotta take your PTO.

It pains me to admit it, but all that touchy-feely crap about taking your PTO is right. Time away from the grind is good for your mental and physical health. You are killing yourself for your job, and it’s not worth it. Most of you work in bullshit jobs, anyway. Take your PTO.

It’s also true that too much work makes you weird. All that initial energy and passion for your career becomes obsessive and unnatural. It leaves you with a myopic interpretation of purpose and goals. And it makes you annoying as hell. What’s worse than someone who only talks about work? Not much. Take your PTO, get better at your job, and have more interesting life stories. 

Finally, PTO is part of your total compensation package. (Well, if you’re lucky and don’t work in some crappy portfolio/temp/creative job.) When you skip vacation days, you’re leaving money on the table. Companies love unlimited PTO because it turns out that works take less time off when there aren’t clear parameters around the program. Take all your PTO. If you have unlimited PTO, test those boundaries. Don’t let your company profit from your weird, peasant-like commitment to work.

And a quick word for people who don’t have PTO — join a union and fight for your rights as workers. Or get a lawyer. Years ago, Microsoft had to go back and recognize contractors as employees because the lines were blurry. I think the market is ready for another lawsuit. Words like “employee” and “contractor” are 20th-century terms in a 21st-century economic environment.

What’s full-time? What’s part-time? What’s contingent? Freelancers, artists, and entrepreneurs should test this and redefine the corporate and social contracts in America and beyond.

But all of that is for another day. Just do me a favor and take your PTO. It’s good for your brain, your body, and your soul. And you freakin’ earned it.

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Robert Sutton is a Professor of Management Science and Engineering and a Professor of Organizational Behavior (by courtesy) at Stanford University. He co-founded the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP) and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (which everyone calls “the d.school”). He’s also a Ph. D., but he doesn’t like to be called Doctor, or even Robert. His latest book is called The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal With People Who Treat You Like Dirt, and that’s what he and Laurie talk about on today’s episode.

  • Bob and Laurie both think the management landscape is broken, and according to Bob, managers tend to make two major mistakes. First, they overestimate their own value. In practice, this means that the more they micromanage employees, the more highly they’ll rate their employees’ performance, whether they actually perform better or not. Second, managers don’t know when to back off. It’s true: when an authority figure is in the room, it has a stifling effect – and Bob reveals why leaving the room is often the better move.
  • What’s the solution? Bob argues that we do need some management, but we need as little as we can get away with. Think about it: nowhere in the animal kingdom or in human society does there exist a group without some sort of pecking order. Google tried to get rid of it in the early days, but that blew up in their faces. Bob shares another story about GitHub’s dysfunctional lack of management adhocracy which led to every business owner’s worst nightmares and a founder getting forced out.
  • So where do you land between ‘Lord of the Flies’ and militaristic management? Laurie and Bob talk about the difference between authority and authoritarian assholes, and between narcissists and guilt-prone leaders.
  • What do you do if you’ve just founded a company and are looking to build strong leadership without being a stifling leader? Bob believes that the best leaders have ‘strong opinions that are weakly held.’ They also bring in people who offset their own weaknesses. Finally, if you’re going to be a leader, you HAVE to be resilient.
  • Want some quick and dirty advice on how to deal with assholes when you’re stuck in your job and you can’t get out? Bob’s got some tips for you. In fact, he’s the expert on how to deal with assholes; he even wrote the book on it. But the answer is probably going to shock you, and he shares a story of someone who worked at Apple for 25 years and how he avoided Steve Jobs’ wrath. You also don’t want to miss the technique another of Bob’s colleagues uses on assholes – he deals with this problem like a research scientist would!
  • On a more poignant note, Bob and Laurie discuss some of the greatest scandals in the past decades, from sexual abuse in the Catholic Church to Bill Cosby to Harvey Weinstein – there is strength in numbers. When you have people around you standing up for the same reason you are, you can no longer be singled out as a crazy person.
  • Bob’s latest passion project is spearheaded by his podcast, Friction. What is organizational friction? Bob’s learned a lot about it – he and his co-host have tracked organizations as they scale, and how great ideas and excellence can spread, but the big obstacle is continuing to do the great things they’ve been doing all along. Friction, frustration, and fatigue – they bring everyone down. But in his research, Bob has also found good things about friction, such as when friction was a result of a problem that could be fixed.
  • Bob gives us a preview of an episode of his podcast that hasn’t come out yet, a husband and wife team who run a 7-person restaurant chain in the San Francisco area. From dealing with substance abuse to the rhythm of the typical workday, Bob details some of the areas of friction they deal with. How do they do it? Like it or not: the answer is hierarchy.
  • When is friction good or bad? Are there times when you should embrace the friction or you should change the system to eliminate it? Bob shares a wealth of insights on how to deal with friction in the workplace. One of these is ‘the cone of friction.’ It’s a person who, wherever they go, cause friction around them. He also draws in the legendary George Carlin’s saying: “Your stuff is shit; my shit is stuff.”
  • Some of the worst managers and leaders act like children and lick the cookie. Rebecca Hinds was a guest on Bob’s podcast, and he shares the DIY sabotage that creates bottlenecks and breakpoints within a company.
  • Shifting gears, you have probably noticed the trend of many companies to celebrate failure. Fail forward! Fail fast! But is this the best path? Certainly, we shouldn’t run from it, but if we’re going to fail, we should be failing in new and interesting ways. Bob and Laurie talk about what healthy failure looks like.

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Bob Sutton

Website

Twitter

LinkedIn

Friction Podcast

Asshole Videos

Books

Podcast Appearances

Bob’s Favorite Friction Podcast Episodes

Don’t Sugar Coat Your Culture with Patty McCord

Friction’s Antidote: Radical Candor with Kim Scott

DIY Sabotage: Lick the Cookie with Rebecca Hinds of Dropbox

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Sam Weston is attempting the impossible: trying to educate our lawmakers about technology and its effect on the workforce. Okay, maybe it’s not impossible, but so far, it’s been an uphill battle as automation and artificial intelligence have continued to take jobs from people who need them. There’s no support for those people, and Sam’s mission is not just to raise awareness; he aims to help those lawmakers by giving them context with awareness, and a plan to make things better.

  • Sam was born in New Zealand and began his career in politics there, but it wasn’t long before he came to the US to become a political consultant. From there, he stepped into PR and then into an Internet agency where he participated in the early days of the Internet and saw its impact on business.
  • The Internet has been great for business. We all know this. But there’s a hidden truth that no one wants to talk about. Businesses have been growing but it’s at the expense of employees, and the Internet explosion threw fuel on the fire. Consider: Facebook changed the world, but have all the changes been good?
  • No doubt you’ve seen a million different promises that if you fix THIS ONE THING, you’ll fix work for yourself. It’s the perfect marketing pitch. But according to Sam, fixing one problem won’t fix all of work. In fact, a lot of what people say is broken about work isn’t really broken at all. Case in point: communication.
  • So, if all these problems are just symptoms, then what is the actual problem? It’s simple: no one is fixing work for employees. All the consultants, programs, and courses are trying to fix work for the company instead. Most employers are happy with the way things are and Sam reveals what’s really on their minds when they think of fixing work. If you’re a cynic, you’ll agree.
  • As always, there’s an underlying problem here: the interests of a company are its shareholders. And that interest will always be diametrically opposed to the interest of the employee who asks, ‘how can I get paid what I’m worth?’ A different sort of problem for those who don’t struggle to earn enough to live is finding purpose and meaning in their work. They wonder if they’re wasting their lives.
  • The amount of change rushing toward the workforce is massive. With the advent of AI and technology, more and more jobs will be disappearing. Importantly, this second rush of automation won’t just affect automotive industries and factory workers; it’s the white-collar workers who will bear the brunt of this coming change. Laurie asks a scary question, ‘is the future of work NOT work?’ Sam believes the jury is out on whether the number of jobs AI creates will be more or less than the number of jobs it destroys. But here’s the parallel issue: no one is talking about the jobs it will destroy.
  • We already don’t have a great track record of supporting people whose jobs were either outsourced or taken by robots, and it brings up an interesting discussion around politics (of course) and how the Democratic party has become more about the status quo instead of for the working class. You’ll want to hear what Sam and Laurie have to say about political capital and what it means for change. Do you agree?
  • With all the gloom and doom of business interests and the AI tidal wave that’s about to hit, we have to wonder what’s standing in the way of truly fixing the systemic problems of work? Sam’s response is so dead-on that you’ll be nodding along: our policymakers are technology-illiterate. They don’t understand the problem or how to fix it.
  • According to Sam, we are drowning in awareness of problems, but we aren’t drowning in change. This is what he’s dedicated himself to fixing. If we can present the problems that technology brings, give it context, and make it matter to policymakers, that is a HUGE step forward in heading off the issues before they arise.
  • Another problem with political leaders is that they’re having the same arguments they’ve been having for nearly 60 years. They lack a real vision for the future, so their policies don’t encompass that. Whether you like Elon Musk or not, the man knows how to look toward the future, and both policymakers AND business owners can learn from him.
  • It might not only be up to policymakers and business owners to create a vision for the future. In the past, families like the Rockefellers and Carnegies have done amazing work, so where are the new millionaires and billionaires who are creating real, positive change in our world? (If that’s you, Sam has some pointed advice that can help you make almost immediate change and why you shouldn’t focus on foundations.)

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Find Sam Online:

Sam Weston’s Website
Twitter
LinkedIn
Essence Global on Facebook

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Laurie gets emails all the time with the same question: ‘Should I quit my job?’ She admits right off she might not be the best person to ask; she’s not exactly driven to work. Despite that, she’s been in the HR world for the past 25 years and she’s seen it all. Laurie begins with the first answer she generally gives: Yes. Quit your job. Here’s why.

  • Let’s get one thing straight. You don’t write in asking if you should quit your job for no reason. You’re asking because you WANT to quit your job and you want permission to do it. But in today’s society, we’re expected to ask for advice, to get consensus and validation. Consider this your green light. Stop asking and just go for it.
  • There’s another group of people who actually love what they do but they’re embroiled in wage gaps, #MeToo issues, terrible bosses, and bad work environments in general. It doesn’t seem fair that they have to quit their jobs, but Laurie has some tough love that you need to hear.
  • Maybe your job is craptastic and the only reason you’re in it is that you can’t find another job. Know this: you are not expected to keep yourself in a toxic environment. If you can’t find one job to replace the terrible one, then find two. Do whatever it takes to get yourself out of the toxic situation because it is slowly killing you. It is self-abuse. Stop it! You deserve better.
  • Are you angling toward something more entrepreneurial? Maybe a swim school or frozen yogurt stand? Great! If you’re determined to be your own boss, then bet on yourself. Get a business plan and get to work. But make sure you’re ramping up first. Don’t quite a job and THEN start a company; it’s a recipe for disaster.
  • Are you really struggling with the decision? Then get someone qualified to help you work through it. We’re not talking about some sketchy Internet life coach who is using you to self-soothe their own past. Laurie recommends talking with a psychiatrist or psychologist – no, really! If that’s not an option, check out The Muse. They have certified career coaches to help you take the right steps when you’re ready to quit work.
  • Finally, if you’re determined to quit your job, make sure you take all your paid time off and exhaust every benefit in your employee handbook. Use your health insurance to make sure you’re well; go to the dentist, the eye doctor. While you’re doing this, try to remember why you accepted the job in the first place. What made you say yes? Is it worth leaving? Think through it.
  • Laurie’s final piece of advice is instrumental: expand your network. Talk to smart people. If you truly CAN’T leave your job and it’s a toxic environment, then you need good people around you.

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

Episodes referenced in this podcast:

Eric Barker Episode on being smart about choosing your job
Katrina Kibben Episode on how to ramp up a business
Ben Brooks Episode on democratizing coaching
Scott Stratten Episode on burning down your career

Links and Resources:

The Muse
Unmarketing podcast with Scott Stratten

IF YOU NEED HELP:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline United States
Call 1-800-273-8255 – Available 24 hours every day
Crisis text line: Text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States.

List of international suicide hotline numbers
Workaholics Anonymous
The Forces Driving Middle-Aged White People’s ‘Deaths of Despair’

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Has your company tried to implement leadership training that ended up doing absolutely nothing for the leaders or the employees? If so, you’re not alone, and it’s because they’re missing a key component in what makes a great leader: accountability. Today’s guest, Vince Molinaro is an expert on the subject. In fact, he wrote the book on it, The Leadership Contract. He and Laurie talk about the 5 behaviors of accountable leaders and ways to fix a disengaged, broken workforce.

  • Vince Molinaro is a thought leader and consultant, and author of the fantastic book, The Leadership Contract.
  • We all have our stories about work and the leadership we experienced, some good and some bad. But some of them are just lukewarm. Dead and dull, the daily grind, even in sectors where the work itself is life-changing. Vince shares the story of his time at a company like that, and the heartbreaking reason why the turnaround his mentor and leader spearheaded ended up failing and the toxicity that was behind a curtain. This experience is what set Vince on his path of thought leadership.
  • Vince’s former mentor and boss was the epitome of great leadership. Not only did she have what Vince calls leadership ESP, but she also shielded him and the other employees from the toxicity of upper management. All that Vince does, he does in memory of his mentor. She inspired him to work only with truly great leaders.
  • Is there one, standard definition of what great leadership is, or does it vary from organization to organization? Vince has spent a long time learning and researching that very questions, and what he’s found is that while companies are investing more and more in leadership programs, they aren’t happy with the outcomes. It all comes down to accountability.
  • Vince shares the 5 behaviors that describe a truly accountable leader: holds others to high standards of performance, is excited about the company and shows that enthusiasm every day, has the courage to tackle tough issues and the courage to have difficult conversations, knows how to cascade and communicate strategy, and one who keeps their eyes truly open.
  • Models of businesses and leadership are changing, so do those behaviors still hold true? Laurie and Vince discuss how we are more dependent on each other than ever before, and how leadership doesn’t just come from the top. If companies are going to succeed, they need a new brand of leadership accountability.
  • How can you be accountable if you don’t have any real power? Mid-level managers face this dilemma all the time, as Laurie points out, and Vince explains what a dual response is and what it means for you AND your upper management leaders.
  • Laurie points to the chicken and egg problem with trying to find future leaders in a workforce that is largely disengaged. She and Vince talk about the huge opportunities companies have missed and instead have tried foosball tables and cafeterias to increase engagement. For example, focusing on leader engagement sets off a ripple effect throughout the entire company.
  • Don’t kill the souls of the people who work for you. Please. Do us all a favor and take Vince’s advice on how to get your passion back and become engaged once again in your role as a leader. First of all, you have an obligation to lead. Leadership is a contract (which is why he named his book The Leadership Contract). But you ALSO have an obligation to yourself to fulfill, and that is to ask yourself whether you’re really meant for a leadership role.
  • Vince brings a measure of optimism to Laurie’s normal cynicism, and he shares his thoughts on how you can fix work for yourself. Yes, the robots are coming. There’s AI. There’s employee disengagement all around. But then there’s YOU. You have a wealth of experience in the trenches, and Vince reveals how you can be the change you hope to see at work and the tremendous opportunities that await you.

Links from this episode:

The Leadership Contract

Find The Leadership Contract on Amazon

Vince on LinkedIn

The DIY HR Handbook

Wouldn’t you love to get your hands on Laurie’s no-holds-barred, honest DIY HR Handbook for employees and pros alike? Download it for free!

 

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I am finally over the hump of PRK surgery.

What’s PRK surgery? It’s like LASIK to correct eyesight, except it’s not like LASIK at all. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. It’s surgery and much more invasive.

PRK works like this: They remove the outer layer of your cornea and then reshape your eyeball with a laser. A doctor inserts contact lenses in your eyes, and they send you home with prescription eye drops. The protective contact lens is removed after 5-7 days, your corneas heal in a week, and your vision stabilizes in a week to six months.

Yes, it could take six months.

PRK is not an easy procedure. It all happens without anxiety and pain meds in North Carolina because people are addicted to benzos and opioids. The eye care crew at my doctor’s office recommended a rotating cocktail of Ibuprofen and Tylenol, both of which kill my stomach, so I skipped pain medicine entirely.

It was no fun.

My vision has not quite stabilized, but it’s much better. Who needs vision when you have a team of awesome people in your life to help you out?

PRK is a team sport. My husband was a champ and earned a second doctorate in marriage after nailing blankets over my bedroom windows because my eyes were incredibly light-sensitive. And he administered my eye drops when I was shaking in pain, fed me soup when I was too exhausted to eat, and did all the household chores.

PRK surgery is excruciating. Most doctors downplay how much it hurts, but you should take this seriously if you’re considering the procedure. I’ve had my tonsils out as an adult, and that was very painful. PRK was worse.

PRK surgery keeps you housebound for at least a week. Maybe more. The first five days were tough. I couldn’t drive or watch TV. My friends sent kind packages, called me on the phone because I couldn’t text, and offered to bring grilled cheese and champagne to the house. They made sure that my real life wasn’t too awful or boring. I had help around the house and access to a teenager who was more than happy to sort through boring email or look at blog posts at a moment’s notice.

PRK surgery gets worse before it gets better. My sister sent a lovely bouquet of flowers, but it looked like three bouquets because I had triple vision. So, instead of dwelling on the negative, I was grateful for the love. And, instead of having three cats, I had 6-9 cats depending on the day. I wasn’t lonely, and Roxy made sure to plant herself by my face and give me smooches to help me heal.

PRK is not LASIK. And it’s annoying. It feels like I should say that I’m grateful to be out of glasses, but I would not recommend PRK surgery to anybody in the market for laser eye surgery. Even if it’s fancy, PRK is not worth it. The place where I went was on a list of providers from my health insurance, but it wasn’t the most cutting-edge surgical unit in the world. And they weren’t honest about the recovery and how much I would rely on other people for support.

So, thanks for all of your support, these past few weeks. Appreciate everybody who moved meetings or listened to me complain about my privileged life. You get a coupon, and I have your back. That’s why I’m warning you off PRK. In retrospect, glasses and contact lenses weren’t so bad.

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