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Let’s Fix Work is underwritten by WorkHuman, sponsored by Globoforce.​ Visit WorkHuman.com and use code WorkHumanLFW for a $100 off discount.

Not everyone knows that I am a daughter of a police officer. My mom is retired from the Chicago Police Department. She has a great benefit plan and pension package. That’s because of smart union negotiations. Yes, the union has done right by my family. And speaking of unions, my guest this week is Jason Greer, labor relations expert and founder of Greer Consulting Inc. He is a Gen-Xer with a slightly different take on unions. He believes in protecting the working class and that there is strength in numbers. But yet he also believes a union is the wrong way of protecting your interests.  We talk about all of that and more in this week’s episode of Let’s Fix Work.

In this episode you’ll hear:

  1. Jason’s quick and dirty story of who he is and what he does
  2. The reasons many companies fight unions and work to keep them out
  3. Jason’s thoughts on “getting the union you deserve”
  4. Labor relations and why it’s really shades of grey (and not just black and white)
  5. If employees forgo use of a union, what can they do to protect their benefits and interests?
  6. How to bridge the divide and recover a relationship that’s broken following a union or employee dispute
  7. Unions and the civil rights movement, how the two are connected and whether or not unions have been good for protecting minorities in America
  8. Jason shares one horror story about what a union does and doesn’t do if you don’t play along
  9. How can you decertify a union? Jason shares what you can do, what’s legal, what’s illegal and some next steps you can take

Leaders and employees, if you take anything away from this conversation, take this: You’ve got to start the conversation early about what you want and voice your expectations. If you do so, maybe you won’t need a union or even an intermediary. What you need most is to have a voice, to be brave and to begin the conversation.

Jason said it best when he said, “There is strength in being proactive.”

If you are interested in the state of unions in 2019 or you want to hear from an African American man who talks about civil rights and busting unions from a different perspective, then give this episode a listen.

 

Resources from this episode:

Jason’s website: www.greerconsultinginc.com

Twitter: twitter.com/LaborDiversity

Facebook: www.facebook.com/GreerConsultingInc/

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jasonjgreer/

Danny Ozment’s Podcast Supercharger Course: dannyozment.com/podcastsupercharger

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I’m just back from 24 hours in Las Vegas where I spent time remembering my friend IJ Gorman.

Ira-John Gorman was an athlete, a coach, and a teacher. He persisted through a rocky childhood and made a place for himself in this world by being an advocate for children, their education, and his faith. Family was everything to him, and his definition of “family” included people who endured less-than-stellar upbringings.

And his definition of a family included me thanks to his lovely wife, China Gorman.

China and I have been friends for a decade. On a trip to Las Vegas in 2010 or 2011, my husband and I joined the Gorman family for dinner at Ceasars Palace. Ken sat to my right, IJ sat to my left, and because I have atrocious table manners, I kept trying to drink IJ’s water.

I grabbed his water a dozen times before IJ laughed and told me, “Look at your hands and make the ‘okay’ sign. See how your left makes a b, and your right makes a d? Bread and drink. Bread and drink. Bread and drink.”

Ken and I still use that to this day!

It’s so funny that IJ Gorman taught me table manners, but he was committed to being a positive influence in my life. When I saw him at HR events, he always asked me if I was doing okay. Were people treating me with respect? Anybody hassling me? Because I should come to him if there was anything I ever needed. Did I hear him? Was he clear? Come to him with anything. He was here for me.

When I had the privilege of seeing IJ in person, our conversations always went to respect and integrity. He believed in the adage that how you do anything is how you do everything. Having a personal brand online and a different set of behaviors in real life was appalling. There should be no daylight between what’s in your heart and how you act in person. Show up for people no matter the medium. Relationships matter.

I went to Cuba with China in 2015, and IJ sent a message on Facebook asking for photos of his lovely bride in Havana. She would never think to post selfies. He wanted to see his wife enjoying herself.

I ask you — How many husbands would do that?

And IJ reached out with support and kind words about my blog posts, speaking events and videos. He’d send cat videos to say hello. And he never missed my birthday.

IJ was such a phenomenal human being, and his memorial service was everything you’d expect for a guy who was so beloved by friends, family, and colleagues. Everybody in the room laughed and cried, and, not that it needed to be confirmed, but it was clear IJ was a powerhouse of a human being who made the world a better place.

We all just got better for knowing him.

#IJGB

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Just yesterday, the Coast Guard published a newsletter for its furloughed workers and family members with advice and tips on how to earn fast cash during the government shutdown.

Among the many gems? Have a garage sale or be a mystery shopper.

America has hit a shabby low under Donald Trump. The shutdown isn’t impacting the elite bureaucrats and coastal technocrats who overlegislate our country into a hyperfeminized nanny-state.

The government shutdown touches regular people — parents, neighbors, and even HR professionals.

Hey, Laurie, I’m currently furloughed from work…and looking to make some extra cash. Do you think you can give me some pointers on how to get some speaking/training gigs? I’m looking to expand my portfolio of work. Appreciate any insights you can share!

First of all, I’m sorry you’re caught up in Donald Trump’s hissy fit. Because he’s too stupid to remember the nuances of immigration policy, and because he’s trying to distract us from the constant stream of bad news coming from Mueller investigation — you’re out of work. Thanks, Vladimir Putin.

Second, I’m sorry your job is linked to racist attitudes against brown people, women and children. You work in HR, a department believes in ability and merit, and your livelihood is jeopardized by people who believe in fencing in brown people like zoo animals. That’s gotta sting.

So, how do you earn fast cash during the government shutdown?

Get yourself to a temp agency like Kelly Services. Literally, pick one out and meet with the branch manager. Tell your story to the people in the office, and let them know you’re available immediately for training opportunities — or anything where you can use your brain.

Relationships are the currency of the private sector. Be a name and a face. Be helpful and enthusiastic. They’ll help you out because staffing agencies have been saving lives and monthly household budgets like yours in America for 60 years.

Find a staffing agency ASAP. And I’m going to send another note to my senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, with a link to your story. Good luck, and I’m sorry we aren’t doing better by our government workers.

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Everybody’s got a life coach these days.

Not only that, many entrepreneurs and professionals are taking part in mastermind groups. Mastermind groups are very trendy right now. You join a group where you pay a monthly fee, you get on a call or video chat with a bunch of people, and the group holds one another accountable. The head of the mastermind group, typically a life coach, does little coaching. Masterminds are generally peer-to-peer support groups, and it’s really brilliant. If you’re the coach of the mastermind group, you don’t need to put in a whole lot of work.

Mastermind groups can be good for accountability. If you get out of the group what you put in, great. But, do you really need a life coach? My feelings about this topic came to a head while listening to a marketing podcast, when the host said these words, “Everybody needs a life coach.”

I thought, “Whoa, wait. What’s that all about?”

Here’s the thing: I’m not sure everybody really needs a life coach. Everybody needs access to good food and decent healthcare. Further, everybody deserves support, kindness and empathy.

But a life coach?

Sure, athletes have coaches. But for professionals and entrepreneurs, sometimes I think we say life coach when we really mean friends.

Or we say we need a life coach when we really mean therapy.  Everybody can probably use therapy because we don’t go through life unscathed.

No life coach is going to tell you to get quiet and to think about all the hurt and the pain and to go deep and understand why it happened. And you know most therapists can’t get you there because it’s terribly difficult work. It’s the work of a lifetime.

It is impossible for some people to get in touch with fears and patterns and then to connect those fears and patterns to hopes and dreams. But the work is important and the work is valuable.

A life coach won’t help you break free from self-limiting doubts. Maybe they will superficially, but they’re not going to help you break free from doubts, fears and patterns that accumulate over a lifetime.  

The work that most life coaches want to tell you that they can do but can’t do?. That work is solitary. It’s is quiet. It’s crucial. And the work has to be done alone. It’s done by you.

The work of living an authentic life where we are happy with ourselves and treat our bodies and souls with kindness? That doesn’t happen in a mastermind group or with a life coach. It barely happens in therapy. It happens in our hearts.

So the next time somebody tells you that everybody needs a life coach, tell them that the only life coach you need is you.

I can’t say this enough: Be your own life coach and fix what’s broken within yourself in those quiet moments that you would never admit to anybody in a mastermind group or on a Skype phone call. Be your own life coach and do the hard work of fixing yourself in 2019.

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Hey, everybody. Today is my birthday.

If you haven’t heard the details, the rumors are true — I am 44 years old, I have three cats, two sore hips, and one big wish for you to donate to Hustle Up the Hancock in honor of my birthday.

What is Hustle Up the Hancock? It’s actually an event that’s been rebranded as Hustle Chicago. I run up 94 flights of stairs to help fight lung disease. Your donation will go towards advocacy, research and programs to help people breathe easier.

Know someone with COPD? Do you have asthma? Are you struggling to quit smoking? Live in a house with radon? (I hope not!) I run up a skyscraper to help people breathe better, and I would welcome any donation — $5 or a million bucks — to improve the lives of people in Chicago and around the country.

Many of you know this race is important to me. It’s my 7th time up the skyscraper, and I’m running because my sister struggles to quit smoking. I’m also running in memory of my friend, Jenny Stein, who passed away from lung cancer at the age of 41. Science says quitting smoking is harder than quitting heroin, and these jokesters at Juul know it. But here’s the good news: if you can keep a kid smoke-free before they are 21, they probably won’t smoke for the rest of their lives.

So, thanks for all of your love and good wishes on my 44th birthday. Sucks to get older, but the journey is a little less painful when you have a purpose and goals that are bigger than yourself. Every donation on my birthday is special, and I’m also grateful for those of you who aren’t in a position to donate but send good wishes.

Love you all. Appreciate the support!

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Let’s Fix work is underwritten by WorkHuman, sponsored by Globoforce.  Visit WorkHuman.com and use code WorkHumanLFW for a $100 off discount.

Are you known as a troublemaker? Do you hate the status quo? Well, on today’s show, Dr. Patti Fletcher joins me to discuss what it means to be a disruptive influence at work and how it can work to your advantage. Dr. Patti Fletcher is a global speaker on gender equity, cultural transformation and leadership, and the best selling author of the book, Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold.  

In addition to talking about disrupting the status quo, we talk about Patti’s career journey, how she came to research the topics of unconscious bias and gender equity, plus we talk all about her book. Additionally, we discussed the topic of gender equity and exclusivity. And of course, we covered disruption in the workplace — both the positive effects and negative.  

In this episode you’ll hear:

  1. The various stages of Patti’s career beginning with enterprise software and on to what she is doing now
  2. How Patti came to pursue the topic of disrupting HR and gender equity in the workplace
  3. Patti shares about her book, Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold, real-life stories from real women in the workplace
  4. What Patti thinks about the book Lean In, its message about gender equity and why, in the words of Michelle Obama, “That shit doesn’t work.”
  5. Disruption and disrupters, including negative disruption and positive disruption
  6. What to do when someone feels threatened when you are disrupting the status quo and how to protect your own interest in a healthy way
  7. Stories of people who didn’t belong and found purpose and meaning elsewhere
  8. The state of business today as it relates to disruption, unconscious bias and gender equity

In the wise words of Dr. Patti Fletcher, “There is a status quo that’s no longer serving the world in which it lives and we have to disrupt it. Disrupting means you unpack it. Some things might be working, let’s keep those. But let’s disrupt the ones that aren’t.”

So if you’re ready to burn bridges or at least shake up your career, this episode is a MUST listen. Oh, and hey, come see Dr. Patti and me at WorkHuman in March, in Nashville, Tennessee! We are appearing together on a panel and we’d love to meet you.

Resources from this episode:


Website: drpattifletcher.com

Book: Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold

Dr. Patti on TwitterInstagramFacebook

She for S.H.E. Conference

SXSW (South by Southwest)

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Michelle Obama’s Take On ‘Lean In’? ‘That &#%! Doesn’t Work’ www.npr.org/2018/12/03/672898216/michelle-obamas-take-on-lean-in-that-doesn-t-work

Thanks to Danny and his team at Emerald City Productions, the producers of Let’s Fix Work

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I have a post-it note on my desk that says, “Write about resilience.”

It’s there because a friend of mine was catching flack from her friends for having a side hustle. She’s running a business, trying to drum up leads by being a thought leader on social media, and it’s not going over well with the people who love her the most.

“It’s demeaning.”
“It’s beneath you.”
“You’re embarrassing yourself.”
“Why are you always on Facebook?”

People have opinions, and they’re not afraid to share them.

My friend’s experience made me think about my blog and writing career. Not a day goes by when someone doesn’t offer an opinion about my work.

In the early days, the negative comments would bug me. Well, okay, they still bug me. Just recently, a friend told me that what I’m doing — trying to be an un-motivational speaker — is cringeworthy. And a former colleague said to me that my work stories are great but I better never write about him. Oh, and some of you know that my mom says I’m not allowed to write about her except to say that I have a mom and she’s alive.

Nobody loves you or has your best interests at heart like your family and friends, right?

But I’ve developed a thicker skin and some resilience.

Resilience is one of those words thrown around by self-help gurus and motivational speakers to push you when times are tough.

“Life is a marathon, not a sprint, and resilience helps you stay in the race and cross the finish line.”

I hate that analogy, and I speak from my experience as an entrepreneur and marathoner when I tell you that resilience isn’t a major muscle group. It’s not your glutes or your quads, pushing you up a hill when your body is exhausted. Resilience is the quality that gets you started in the first place.

You don’t sign up for life as an entrepreneur — or a speaker, writer, creative thinker, artist, small business owner, coach, consultant, parent, guardian, community leader, volunteer — without demonstrating resiliency. You’ve opted for something other than a comfortable, narrow, self-indulgent life. Congratulations, you’re resilient.

And resilience manifests in your work. Maybe you write, speak, perform, draw, sculpt, cross-stitch, build businesses, coach little league, or even work in HR. If you persist in the small moments when you could cut corners or avoid the work of doing the work, you’re resilient. No grunting required.

Finally, resilience is the ability to take incoming flack without compromising your values. Nobody does anything interesting without making a fool of themselves, first. Maybe your work is cringeworthy. Perhaps you’re embarrassing yourself and, possibly, others around you. Maybe you get it wrong more than you get it right.

But how about this — Maybe your friends are assholes? Maybe your family is jealous? Maybe your colleagues don’t have your best interests at heart?

If you can stand your ground and endure the judgments and jokes, you’re resilient.

It takes a backbone and resilience to say, “I’m sorry you feel that way about my work. What I’m doing is not for you. Don’t look.”

The good news is that it’s possible to be resilient even when it’s been difficult in the past. Everybody can demonstrate resilience on demand and without apology. And resilience is required if you ever want to do anything substantial with your life.

To be resilient in 2019, you must decide what you’re about to tackle is worth more than the collective opinions and ideas of those around you. Are you willing to stop caring about what others think? Willing to depend less on the advice of others and have the courage to redefine relationships, if necessary, to achieve your dreams? Give up the old to have something new and worthwhile?

I’m not sure if you are resilient, but I know my friend has a steel spine and can endure the petty comments and negative feedback from her family members. She’s resilient. And I believe you are, too.

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Lots of lists on how to improve your HR department in 2019.

Here’s mine.

1. Take your current time-to-fill and cut it in half.
2. Kill exit surveys and focus on daily conversations between coworkers, colleagues, and supervisors.
3. Stop worrying about culture, worry about kindness.
4. Recognize and reward character.
5. When someone shows your data, dig deeper and ask questions about source material and collection methodologies.
6. Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. People can’t work if they’re hurting. Remember that work can’t provide psychological and physiological safety, only people can do that.
7. Microlearning is good. Practical and applied knowledge is better.
8. The most significant way to improve someone’s life is to lift them out of poverty—emotional and financial. Give someone a raise, and lift their spirits.

This list could be a mile long. Want to improve your HR game in 2019? Question everything — the status quo, technology, advice from experts like me — and be brave enough to put the employee experience at the center of everything you do.

Your company doesn’t exist without smart and talented people who move the needle forward. And, guess what, neither does your HR job.

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Ten years ago was my breakout year.

It was 2009, during the Great Recession and well before people were addicted to social media, and I was a rising star in the world of human resources. You’d find me on the news, writing in business journals, or industry events and sharing my opinions on hiring, firing, and a lack of leadership worldwide.

Some people liked me, some people hated me, and some people blackballed me. I went to big events, I went rogue, and I spoke my truth. In the process, I developed a thick skin and learned that it wasn’t about me: it was about moving HR professionals to action.

Ten years later, I’m still out there pushing limits and buttons. A lot has changed about the world of work and HR, but I’m still answering a question that people asked me back in 2009: Can you do that?

Can You Do That?

Can you say no?
Can you say yes?
Can you fix what’s broken?
Can you take action without getting fired?
Can I ask for an outside opinion?
Can I press pause on an uninformed decision?
Can I end a biased practice?
Can you correct injustice?
Can you say what you think?
Can you stand up for employees?
Can you speak truth to power?
Can you write?
Can you speak?
Can you start a movement?
Can you lead when you’re not in a leadership role?

I don’t know if you can do any of those things. Literally, I have no idea if you have the strength of character to make difficult decisions or take risks when there are no guarantees of success. But I think you should try.

How to Have a Breakout Year

My breakout year in 2009 started back in 2004 when I decided that enough was enough and the world of HR — and my life — had to change. I had a big goal of being the most influential key opinion leader in HR, but I started small and worked backward to determine where to start. My blog was the first step, then I moved to industry events, and then I appeared in leading journals and news platforms. Also, I found kindred spirits on the internet who would have my back in real life and nurtured those relationships. Even when I sucked — and especially when I sucked — my friends had my back.

If I could have a breakout year in 2009, you can have a breakout year in 2019. Identify your goals, write them down, make a plan to avoid failure, start small, and loop in your community to support your dreams.

Can you do that?

I don’t know. But I hope so. Life is so much better when you try.

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I love it when podcasts are confessional and brave. It inspires me and makes me want to tell you all of my secrets. But what happens when a podcast veers away from being authentic to straight-up marketing that is, well, somewhat jarring? I will tell you what happens (because it did); I become inspired to record a bonus episode to talk all about it.

While listening to a marketing podcast, the host shared her experience about a recent weight gain. What was perceived as authentic and vulnerable at first, crescendoed into an affiliate marketing pitch. Okay I understand podcast hosts sell products on their episodes. I get it and can respect it. I may sell products or services on my podcast in the future, as well. But then the host said this, “Everybody needs a life coach,” and my respect flew right out the window.

 

I’m not really sure that everybody needs a life coach. I do know that everybody needs psychological safety, love, food and healthcare. Sometimes we say, “Life coach,” when we mean, we need friends (or support) or even therapy.

 

The work of living an authentic life, where we are happy with ourselves, where we treat our bodies and souls with kindness, that doesn’t happen in a mastermind group, with a life coach or even in therapy. It happens in our hearts. And, that is the topic of this bonus New Year’s Eve episode – it’s about doing the work, being your own life coach and fixing yourself in 2019.

 

Resources from this episode:

John Hancock Stair Climb – bit.ly/LFRHustle19

Snickerdoodles recipe – laurieruettimann.com/omahs-snickerdoodles/

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