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Get a plan to increase your confidence

Posted by Meg Bear on April 21, 2014

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Cross Posted from my Personal Blog

I managed to get through high school and college never taking a second language, even in the ’80s this required advanced maneuvers through the academic handbook.  Why would I do this?  Was I against taking a language?

Nope.  I desperately wanted to take a language, but I lacked confidence.

The only language offered in my high school was Spanish, and I wanted to take French or Japanese (it was the ’80s).

Later, when I went off to college, my 17 year old scholarship self, decided I would be unable to keep my required GPA taking a language, given I was already four years behind.

Recursive logic indeed, especially when you factor in the fact that I had an above average memory and a crazy serious work ethic [seriously,  I was so much older then...].  Looking back on this with the benefit of hindsight, I can say confidently, that the odds of me not being able to handle the rigor of a 101 language course was exactly 0.

So when I read that women have a confidence gap, looking for perfection in themselves before putting their hands up for consideration for professional opportunity, I recognize we need to take this seriously.  Especially when we look at the incredibly slow pace of progress for women in senior leadership in the west (in retrospect maybe I was onto something by not taking Japanese).

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So what to do?

I think it comes down to recognizing the need to have a strategy for being confident.  Being angry at men for being better at this than women, completely misses the point.

Confidence is a critical skill for professional success.  Odds are you could be better.

Work on it.

Some useful suggestions

  1. Get your body and your mind helping you by improving your inner monologue and Power Posing
  2. Get someone with perspective to help you compare your qualifications more objectively
  3. Do a better job recognizing that the fact that you are skeptical of your own qualification, is a sign of your competence

Don’t let a lack of confidence get in the way of your success, practice more, work harder, figure it out.

You can do this!

 

 

 

 

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Bill Kutik Radio Show hosts Steve Miranda

Posted by Meg Bear on March 30, 2012

I’m sure you are all big fans of Bill’s radio show already.

I’m sure you have subscribed on iTunes and listen for all the most important news (and gossip) in our industry.

If you are like me, and a bit behind on your listening, I’d suggest you skip ahead to this week and then catch up on all the other great shows in between.  True to their respective brands, Bill does not shy away from the hard questions and Steve is candid and open with his responses.

Topics about the Taleo acquisition, the cloud, Oracle for smaller businesses and how Lake Larry is bay water, are all covered.  Really something here for everyone.

Check it out.

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Still True: Talent software can’t help you if you suck

Posted by Meg Bear on February 17, 2012

yousuck

I’m told that re-posting is all the rage — especially when you are about to go on vacation and you want people to not forget about you.   Here is one of my personal favorites from 2009.

Enjoy!

______________

I went home last night filled with joy and goodwill toward my development teams.  This is one of the perks of building new software, there comes a time when you are overcome by joy.  Can’t explain it.  It’s a bit like any hard accomplishment, it just feels good when it happens.

Anyway, I go home, and after answering the question, who the heck are you and what are you doing in my house?  I exercised my legal right to bore my spouse about what happens in the office.  And here is where I was slammed back into reality of how possible it is to take a good idea and totally screw it up.

As luck would have it, I happened to be married to a wealth of use cases of some of the worst talent management practices known to man.  Seriously, it might just be the experience of a varied career or it might be some kind of cosmic irony, but for every “best practice” I could talk about, he was able to give me a “worst case example” of how someone could (and did) totally screw it up.

So I decided to codify my own Meg’s law, as a proactive warning to call upon in the future if/when need should arise.

It is the intention of our team to build excellent, usable software to optimize a well thought out talent strategy.  BUT if you suck, there is nothing we can do in software, to fix that for you.

So now that we’ve taken care of that disclaimer, here are some gem examples of suck-age.

You might suck if:

  • You get feedback on employee development surveys that people are craving development and you arbitrarily mandate 10 training courses each quarter, causing people to cheat and scam instead of actually developing themselves.  Bonus points if you didn’t even check to see if you had  training courses that people found useful in the first place.
  • You set quarterly aligned objectives and then change your mind weekly as to what the priorities are, never giving any hope of people achieving anything measurable.  Bonus points when you come back at the end of the quarter and penalize individuals for lack of achievement.  Double bonus points when you use this as the reason to not pay out bonus.
  • You decide you need performance metrics and roll out a rushed performance review cycle only intending to use that data to figure out who to fire.
  • You roll out talent programs that materially impact employment and compensation retroactively and don’t give any warning that they are coming.

So please, lets not suck.  Frankly, it makes us all look bad when this kind of stuff happens.    Instead, lets think about the point of a talent management strategy.  It is not the end, it is the means.

And the purpose, is to help make your workforce a competitive advantage.  If you are implementing a strategy that doesn’t address this goal, then I really am at a loss as to what to say when you wonder why it isn’t working.

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Why trust requires accountability and consequences

Posted by Meg Bear on January 13, 2012

As a leader it is your job to build an organization that trusts each other.  Trust is the glue that keeps everyone together and opens up the opportunity for great things to happen.

In order to have trust, your must have accountability — it is not possible to get trust by edict.   Without accountability, trust is damaged, and repairing trust becomes a management time sink.

Accountability comes when there is alignment with both rewards and consequences.  We talk a lot about rewards and high performance, but we probably don’t talk enough about consequences.

There must be a shared upside when things go well and shared consequences when they do not.  There must be proper analysis around the root cause of problems — often when you dig into the problem objectively, you see that it’s really a lack of connecting the dots.

Without accountability, there will never be trust.  What are you doing to consistently require high performance from your team?  How is that helping build more trust and results?

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Don’t just connect the dots — keep them connected

Posted by Meg Bear on January 12, 2012

Patty has a fantastic blog post about how you need to connect the dots for your team.  I love how she makes it so clear, that our job is to help people understand how their work matters.

Since we know that purpose is a key to motivation doing so not only protects the results, it also increases the satisfaction of the results.

A perpetual cycle of goodness, if you will…

but, connecting the dots is not really a one time concern.

As a leader, you need to build systems to identify places where people and processes are missing the connection.  You need to be looking out for any evidence that the dots are not lining up for people, and you need to fix it.

People get busy.  People are focused on other things, they can easily confuse what is locally important, with what is strategic to the business.  It is not their failing when this happens– it is a leadership failing.

You job is to connect the dots and keep them connected — when they are not, results will suffer.

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Help… please

Posted by Meg Bear on January 10, 2012

When I was younger, so much younger than today

OK, enough with the serenade… I’ve been thinking a lot these days, about asking for and offering help.

I’ve come to realize that most are reluctant to ask for help — and I’m noticing this has a huge downside.

In trying to think about how to help people become comfortable asking for help (read that one again, it’s deep), I think the trick is to focus on being more helpful.

So I want to know

  • When was the last time you helped someone else?  Is it something you are doing regularly?  Is it a goal of yours?
  • How do you think you could become more helpful to others?
  • Do others think of you as helpful?
  • When was the last time someone observed you being helpful?

When you come to terms with the idea that to be your best professional self you will need help — you realize that someday you are going to have to ask.  When you are a helpful person, it is a lot easier to ask others for help, since you already know that being helpful makes you feel good. 

Which brings me right back to the starting point…

There is a lot of help needed out there.  To satisfy this demand, we need more helpful people in this world — time for you to start picking up the slack.

I look forward to hearing about your progress.

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On goals and thanks

Posted by Meg Bear on November 23, 2011

Cheese and chocolate Iowa style

You all know what a goal focused person I am.  Some goals I manage to accomplish in a week, others in a quarter and some take years.  Still others take on a life of their own.

When you have very long term goals, it is important to regularly review them to see if they need to change or evolve over time.

On those rare occasions when you do have a multi-year goal that does not change, that retains the same shape and target outcome over the course of time — it is important to acknowledge its completion.

To take a moment and enjoy that sense of accomplishment that can only come from a really big hairy audacious goal that you saw through to the end.

Occasionally, when you have such a goal – others decide to share and build upon your goal.   Seeing  shared goals bringing compounded results are what we are all about here at TalentedApps.

For all our friends who are working through their own big goals, I wish you success, happiness and accomplishment — but most of all I wish you the experience of being part of a shared goal that is bigger than yourself.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I want to express my gratitude — to Oracle for giving me the opportunity to think big, to my team (past, present and future) for turning dreams into reality and to our customers who have shown me the true power of shared goals.

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iPad != Mobile

Posted by Meg Bear on September 1, 2011

This is possibly a pedantic point of view, but to me, the iPad is not a mobile device.

In fact, the whole topic of mobility is missing the point.  I think the iPad is bigger than mobile, and it warrants an entirely different discussion.

I also think that the topic of mobile became a lot less (not more) interesting with the iPhone, we just forgot to notice.  We were all too busy trying to find a reason to get and/or use one.

OK, to start at the beginning.

I believe mobility as a [technical] topic, is about being able to access networked technology without a hard wired connection.  Mobility, as a concept, has seen huge leaps forward in both cellular and wireless technologies.  So much so, the lists of places you can go to be disconnected, are more practical to collect, than the reverse.  Mobility is possible with laptops as well as tablets and smart phones.  As far as enterprise applications are concerned, mobility, as a topic, is passe.   The internet did [sort of] change everything.

So if we should not be thinking of the iPad as mobile, how should we think about it?

My point of view is that iProducts create a very different story than a mobile one.  They introduce entirely new form functions for user experience.  They expand the types and kinds of personas we should be using to design applications.   They introduce the vision of user-centricity.

Once I can imagine the idea of a user centric device, I can begin to have a different relationship with technology as a whole.  I can imagine a world where enterprise applications are useful to me and not just to my company.

The personal connection between the device and how I do work is a very big thing.  The concept is not about where I do work, but how I do work.

In this I see a big difference, and I look forward to more people talking about technology and work as a result of this beautiful new device (and all the excellent devices that will come along after).  We need to be talking about how we can use technology to make work better.  We need to be talking about how we begin to make business better.

iPad, I am expecting a lot, I hope you are ready to see this through.

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When trend lines fail

Posted by Meg Bear on July 29, 2011

When you work in technology, and are inclined to study disruption, you will begin to realize that it is easy to be mislead by trend lines.

Trend lines work great for markets that are steady and predictable.

They tend to be less than great, for markets in transition or experiencing new external market forces.

I’m not suggesting that we should avoid analytics and trends, I’m just saying that we need to be careful that we are not investing in fantastic buggy whips (or carriages if you are feeling pedantic).

I see real change coming in the world of HR Technology.  A shift from systems build to benefit HR, to systems built to maximize business results (of the people, by the people and for the people).

I am not the only one who is starting to sense this shift (examples: here and here).  As we watch the market for HR Technology and Business systems, I strongly recommend we keep our eye on the ball — things are getting truly interesting in our world.

Time to be a leader not a follower, but if you must be a follower,  be sure you are following the right people.

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More focused, less busy

Posted by Meg Bear on July 22, 2011

You and I know that one of the things that defines me as a leader is my focus on the goal.  I am relentless when I get my mind set on making something happen.

and yet, even I have times where I find myself being more busy than productive.

Busy is a state that is becoming my norm.   Busy is rarely a productive state for me.

Ironically, I do not love the opposite of busy either.  That, for me, tends to be boredom which is not my thing.

So as I contemplate busy vs. focus I realize that the important piece for me is what I am busy doing and how I apply my focus to a useful and important goal.

Lately, I’ve been a bit out of balance in this area, and the result is not bringing forward the best of me.  I have not been working from a position of strength.   I have been surviving on [figurative] muscle and not winning by working smart.

I have decided to give myself a personal goal to skip the busy and bring on the focus.  In order to do this I will need to be better at deciding, what I do and what I let go.

While I have a demanding job, and I need to deliver, it is my job to set the priorities.  Being too busy to think, is not being the best I can, for my job or my life.  I refuse to settle.

My new approach is to be more focused and less busy.  I am taking back control and I am going to make great things happen.

Stay tuned.

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