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  • Winning at Working: Progress Over Perfection
    by Nan S. Russell - August 23, 2016
    In the late 17th-century, Lord Chesterfield, an English writer and politician, wrote to his son, "Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well." Over three hundred years later, we still heed this advice from the fourth Earl of Chesterfield. Yet, doing something well doesn't mean doing it perfectly. The 21st-century workplace requires more than doing something well. Today's adage should be: "Whatever is worth doing, is...
  • Winning At Working: Get the Facts
    by Nan S. Russell - July 29, 2016
    It was his perception that caused the outburst. "Why aren't there any managers in these sessions? Why aren't they required to attend, too?" he challenged. Hired to provide workshops on building trust in a workplace lacking it, I answered his question to the extent I could during that first session, "It's my understanding that everyone is attending," I offered. "But let me find out for sure and get back to you." Confirming...
  • by Nan S. Russell - June 27, 2016
    Reading in the airport while waiting for a flight, a housekeeper was tidying around me when approached by another facilities employee. After a few minutes of easily overheard chit-chat, she received coaching from her now apparent supervisor. "You know," he said "I'd like you to pace yourself." Intrigued by his words, I stopped reading to eavesdrop and heard as he told her, "You're doing too good a job. You don't need to wor...
  • by Nan S. Russell - March 22, 2016
    Against. Against. Against. It seems that's the political model of late. What one party is for, the other is against. Even before an idea makes it to twitter or the blogosphere, opposing party pundits and candidates are railing against whatever approach is being considered. However, before smugness gets the better of us, I'd suggest we take a closer look. The against-it-resist-it road is alive and well in most workplaces, to...
  • by Nan S. Russell - March 17, 2016
    There’s a line in the movie Gracie that I love. Gracie is a teenager in the 70s who is competing for a spot on the boy’s high school varsity soccer team. In one scene, dejected and on the verge of giving up, her mother, played by Elizabeth Shue, tells her, “If you want to limit yourself, that’s fine. But don’t let other people do it for you.” Most of us do an impressive job of impeding our own paths with our detrimental sel...
  • by Nan S. Russell - January 28, 2016
    Once there was a young woman who didn't like her job. Everyday when she came home from work, she told her husband how terrible her day had been, how tiring the work and how unreasonable her boss. "Leave that job," her husband told her. "Oh I will" she said. "But not yet. I have too many friends there for me to leave just yet." And so she complained until the days became years and her family grew to five. "Leave that job," h...
  • by Nan S. Russell - November 19, 2015
    In the early days of a start-up company I once worked for, a plump turkey was a small thank you token given to employees around the holidays. The turkey-giving practice lasted maybe three years, until the growing size of the organization necessitated its change. While enhanced benefits emerged to replace that poultry gift, the missing turkey still appeared as a resentment issue years later in employee forums. Not long ago,...
  • by Nan S. Russell - October 27, 2015
    The subject line of the email read: “We met at …” and the name of a conference where I’d recently spoken. Thinking it was from someone who attended my session, I opened it sooner versus later. “I never heard back from you,” she wrote, “I wanted to take you to lunch or drop by your office to explain my product more.” Since I live and work 2,000 miles from her, I knew she’d confused me with someone, or that we’d never met. I...
  • by Nan S. Russell - October 1, 2015
    On our first morning of vacation, we were pleased to find open tables when we arrived for breakfast at a popular and highly recommended cafe. With several people actively filling walk-up specialty coffee orders at the counter, it took several minutes to be acknowledged: "It'll be about five minutes for a table since the waitress needs to catch up," a person finally called out in our direction. Fifteen minutes later we were...
  • by Nan S. Russell - September 21, 2015
    We can use the same words but mean different things. When it comes to building trust at work that's often the case. However you define trust or use the word, stop thinking about trust per se, even though trust is a necessary ingredient to both engagement and innovation. A better way to look at trust is to look at the behaviors that enable engagement, innovation, great work, sustainable results, and exceptional work relation...