Monthly Archives

June 2016

Save Your Apple — No Teacher’s Pets Here

By | Create Value, Inspire Ideas, Invoke Passion, Take Risks | 25 Comments

What I love: positive people. What I hate: insincere people. If you agree with everything I say, eventually I’m going to catch on that you’re telling me what I want to hear instead of what you really think. Your ideas and opinions have value, but not if you don’t share them. Saying yes to everything just makes you a robot. I prefer to work with humans. Until robots are better than humans – maybe then I will like them as much as humans.

I need people around me to push back. I need input. I am not always right. In fact, I love to be wrong as that means someone either 1) came up with a great idea or 2) saved me from a bad idea. If I knew all the answers, I wouldn’t be working at a Market Research Company (I can think of about 5 people who just read this and gasped – get over it. It is true).

Be a disruptor. If you are in first grade, this may not be the best advice. As a matter of fact, when I went to my daughter’s first grade open house, her teachers told me she was a lovely, smart girl. The teacher said she had no doubt Antonella would be President one day. As I was smiling with pride, the teacher quickly added “But she is not the President of my first grade class and we need to work on it.” I then smiled bigger.

Advice of the day: Say what you really think. Even if you think it may not be well received. I challenge you to do so. The people I admire most know how to disagree without being an annoying ass. I get so jazzed when someone pushes back, states their position and makes a compelling case for me to change – that is what makes a good day.

So as long as you are not in elementary school – go for it. Disrupt, disagree, drive change.

What Do Waffles, Luna Bars and Diet Coke Have in Common?

By | Be Genuine, Have Fun, Invoke Passion | 16 Comments

Why Traditional Interviewing Questions Don’t Give You the Full Picture

I’ve done hundreds of job interviews over the years. In my opinion, that is hundreds too many. I don’t like interviewing – at least not traditional interviewing. What I found is that you can learn more about someone by asking them what they had for breakfast than by asking them where they see themselves in 5 years. I am such a fan of non-sucky interviews that I wrote a whole blog post about it called You Have 30 Seconds to Sell Me This Pen [CLICK HERE]. A couple of weeks have gone by, so I thought it would be fun to share a few tidbits from recent interviews.

My goal is to get people OUT of interview mode, and get to actually know the person and not the “I-am-in-an-interview” part of the person. Sometimes though, I learn more than I need to know. Sometimes I even learn things I don’t want to know.

You don’t need a waffle iron to make waffles

In response to my tried and true “What did you have for breakfast?’ question a candidate told me that she had waffles and strawberries. I asked her how she made them. She told me that she added water to the mix. Seems legit right? Not everyone is Rachel Ray. I asked her if she had a waffle iron – and she said no. She seemed offended when I pointed out that it sounds like she had a pancake and not a waffle. Why lie? I have no idea, but we did not hire her.

Amazon Prime will deliver Diet Coke to your door — in bulk

So while waffles are pancakes (I am not in agreement here), Diet Coke and Luna Bars seem to be a legit breakfast as well. I then pointed out the convenience option – you can pick these up AND eat them on the go. I am not sure it gets any more convenient (or lazy) than ordering these items in bulk, from Amazon Pantry, to be delivered – in less than 2 hours. I guess this 2-hour window eliminates any serious withdrawal symptoms?

Some people work for free, for YEARS!

Whaaat? So confusing. But apparently not only do “employers” get away with it, but “employees” do it. One candidate shared they were “thinking” about leaving their job as they had not been paid in 3 months and another described their two years of work history at non-paid “internships.” One company that was brought up had 40 total employees – 36 of them were unpaid interns. I even asked one candidate, “What are the elements of a job offer you weigh to consider taking it?” They replied, “paycheck.” I always thought this was a given. Maybe I am doing it all wrong? I actually have a payroll. Or maybe I am doing it all right, as I get a paycheck for my job – a pretty decent one at that. Conundrum.

Tinder is a perfectly acceptable basis for an interview conversation.

One job seeker volunteered that she met her boyfriend on Tinder. To be clear, I have nothing against Tinder. Or relationships. Or “boyfriends.” I just think the specifics should be on a “need to know basis.” And I didn’t need to know that level of detail. “We met online,” would have been good enough. Actually, I am not sure why she was even telling me about her boyfriend……

There ARE ways to triple your Instagram followers in one day

From 12 to 36. I had no other follow up questions. If this is one of your top accomplishments in life, I don’t need to know anything else.

Some people take job descriptions very seriously

We like our job descriptions to be entertaining and reflective of our culture and work environment. In a recent posting for a Sales and Marking Administrative Assistant, one of the requirements was “take lots of pictures at company events that may or may not be used for future blackmail purposes.” I learned from a candidate that blackmail is not only unethical but illegal and “concerning.” I laughed (I honestly could not help it) and promptly told her that it was a joke. She was quick to let me know there was no mention of jokes in the job description. The End.

A COO’s Report Card

By | Be Honest, Be Reasonable, Take Risks | 11 Comments

Accountable [a-kown-ta-bel ] noun

The readiness to have one’s actions, judgments, and failures to act to be questioned by responsible others; to explain why deviations from the reasonable expectations of responsible others may have occurred; and to respond responsibly when errors in behavior or judgment have been detected. Accountability, a critical component of professionalism, is closely related to the principles of morality, ethics, and legal obligations.

About a month ago, I ran out of gas. The experience got me thinking a lot about ways to improve my overall quality of life from a mental health/self –preservation perspective. As an entrepreneur, mom, wife, boss, friend, CrossFitter, and volunteer I run out of gas often. I made a list of ten things and committed (publicly) to doing all ten, every day for the next 30 days.

In and out of the workplace, we make a lot of commitments. It is easy to do. But how often do we follow through? What level of focus, importance and awareness do we put towards these things?

Let’s see how I did!

1.     Start my day with 5 minutes of meditation. That is a mere 300 seconds of the 86,400 seconds I have each day. That is .0034722 % of my day. I got this.

Grade: B

There were some days I rocketed out of bed and took off at one hundred miles a minute. The days I paused and took a few minutes to reset and think intentionally about my day seemed to be better days. The days I did not do this resulted in a lot more #5.

2.     Close out all of my programs on my Surface each night (it should help ease the aggravation of why everyone was ignoring me and didn’t reply to my email when I find the minimized email at the bottom of the screen).

Grade: D –

Using my “have as many files open at the same time as my to-do list” mentality doesn’t       really work. But I do it. Over and over and over. I did manage this for a few days for sure. Maybe when I grow up, I’ll get better at this.

3.     Physically shut down my computer each night. Like off. I know it means I have to wait like 30 seconds for it to start up in the morning, but I am tough. I can do this.

Grade: D

Yeah so I sucked at this. I just can’t seem to resist that “one more peek” mentality. I don’t know why I insist on giving IT ammunition against me. When my computer is acting like an a*shole, I usually get, “When was the last time you shut down your computer?” or “ Your email box is too big.” as the reason for my Surface’s incompetence. (Side note: I don’t care at all why it is not working, I just want it fixed. But I digress.)

4.     Drink a full glass of water as soon as I wake up. It just makes me feel good. Whenever I do that, I feel fresh and tend to drink more water for the remainder of the day. Water is good.

Grade: A+

Awesome. Hydration rules. Drinking this water BEFORE coffee makes a huge difference. I started seeing a Naturopath and take lots of supplements when I first wake up so this makes the morning water drinking just part of my routine. Every try swallowing Spanish Black Radish with no water? Hint: DON’T. EVEN. TRY. IT.

5.     Start my day over when things go off track. Consciously make an effort to stop the avalanche.

Grade: B –

This is something I have been working on for many years. Dealing with the last 18+ months of injury and health issues, it is really easy to let things spiral out of control really fast. The good news is that I don’t have the time or energy to be angry, upset, resentful, worked up etc. for very long. I am not saying I don’t do it often, just not for every long during any one incidence.

6.     Unplug from work at least 2 hours before going to bed. This one is a TALL order for me. Tallest of tall. I vow to do my best. I also vow to not push back my bedtime to 2 a.m. to accommodate this.

Grade: C- –

This is so hard for me. Now that American Ninja Warrior and Team Spartan are on, I will have a better chance of this at least one night per week. But I did do this on several occasions. I even passed up a dinner on a recent business trip to practice a little self-care. So Crucial. My biggest improvement was on the weekends. I found myself being able to do a little spot-checking and brief periods of working and nothing at night. Progress not perfection.

7.     Read 30 minutes before bed. From a book. Not on any electronic device. Nothing that needs to be plugged in or charged – yes, I am talking to you Jacqueline. Who me? Yes you.

Grade: C+

SO I did not do this every night. But I did read two books and my husband bought me a little handy dandy reading light (apparently sleeping in bed with the side lamp on is not his idea of fun). I am up for hours after he goes to bed. The books I read were nonsense. No thought involved, easy to read and entertaining. No deep thought here.

8.     Plan and accomplish [1] “I wish I had time to_______” thing each week. I made a list over the weekend of people I wished I saw or talked to more often. I made a decision to make at least one visit/call to someone from this list every single week. Not text. Not Facebook message. Actually meet with them in person or speak with them on the telephone.

Grade: A

This was my very favorite part!!! I got to visit my friend and her new baby. I was dying to get over there and just kept “running out of time.” I thought about her daily, texted her often and just couldn’t get over there. I finally made it and we had some awesome quality time!

I chatted on the phone and then spent a night over the Memorial Day Weekend with my friend and her family. It was awesome!

I also got together with a friend I have not seen in more than 10 years. Albeit she reached out to me, but we made it happen. The conversation flowed as if no time at all had passed. We ate some gluten free, vegan, paleo health “stuff” and chatted away.

I wouldn’t give up these moments for anything.

9.     Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day. No. Matter. What. I typically do this anyway, but lately, work is very busy, I still have an excessive amount of medical appointments and things get harder to juggle. I need the Adrenalin, release and sense of accomplishment. It is also one of the few ways I consistently practice self-care.

Grade: A-

This was the easiest for me. But having it as a public accountability did push me on a few days when I may have let “life” get in the way. I also FINALLY managed to make it to the illusive TOP of the rope – I even have the rope burn battle wounds. Pumped up!

10.   End my day with 5 minutes of meditation. That is a mere .0034722 % of the 1,440 minutes I have in a day. You are impressed by math huh?

Grade: C+

I actually attempted this in some form each day but when I committed, I was actually hoping for some state of peace and clarity versus a rundown of the day. I struggle with using that end-of-the-day time as a period of reflections and relaxation as opposed to a mental to-do list for the next (impending) morning.

My therapist LOVED the idea of me making a very deliberate effort around self-care. I was quite proud of her accolades. Until 2 seconds later when she also pointed out that committing to 10 things per day, in order to make sure I don’t “run out of gas” may have been too much and would result in most people “running out of gas.” Remind me why I pay this woman $150/hour to harass me.

The Healing Power of a Get Well Video

By | Be Genuine, Inspire Ideas, Motivate Others | No Comments

I was recently asked to speak at the NorthWest MRA Conference on Authentic Leadership. This is the kind of speaking gig I absolutely love. I am giddy with passion for SoapBox and our unique culture that is built from the inside out.

Shortly after my family and I were in a head on collision, I received a video from the staff. It was touching, personal, funny and uplifting. It really, really demonstrated the pure awesomeness of SoapBoxers. Despite the fact that I was MIA, the staff huddled together and did whatever it took to keep things moving forward. We were just barely over two years old at the time. Not only did they kick butt, but we grew by more than 50% in 2015.

Check out a highlight reel of the video here:

I do not believe that culture is made up of Perks, Work Schedules and Events. I do believe these things help to foster and emphasize the culture but to me, the real elements are:

  • Environment – The energy, buzz, layout and style of the room. Even the décor and “feeling” you get when you enter the room. At the risk of sounding too “hipster” it is the vibe.
  • Mindset – This drives how people respond versus react, problem solve versus blame, take ownership versus just being a participant.
  • Covenant – A two way, mutually beneficial agreement around attitudes and beliefs that drive the company, and the individuals forward. This goes both ways – top, down and down, up.

I could talk about fostering culture ALL day (and night). It is what drives me each day. It is what I love most about being an entrepreneur.

The original video is 8 minutes of pure awesomeness. If you’d like to view the full video, you can click here.