Nov 1 2010

Communication (a ramble, a vent if you will)

I don’t remember the name of the game, but you might? You sat in a circle and one person started. You whispered something in the ear of the person next to you and then they in turn repeated what you said to them in the ear of the person next to them. Not you again of course, but the other side.

Did you play that game?

Did your story make it around that circle in tact? I’m going with, no.

Maybe not enough people played that game when they were young. Maybe I and the small group that did play that game were the only ones? Because at almost 50 years old, I am still amazed and surprised that some think that the best way to communicate.

This recently happened to me and it involved a very complicated process that I had about 2 hours worth of training 6 month ago for. A process that according the the training, if not done correctly “can result in massive fines and criminal exposure”. Yet those in charge think that a couple hours of online training and a power point deck can protect them from massive fines and criminal exposure.

Two years ago I had a situation, two actually. A he said, he said and a she said, she said. Right, a couple of my favorite things. So I gave everyone the opportunity to clear the air. Two of them sitting in front of me, opening the opportunity to be fair and not point any fingers. Yeah, that didn’t work either.

Some how it’s a smart thing to do, to put someone in the middle who has half the information and communicate for the other’s in the mix. You know so that it can get even more cloudy and removed from what is really being said or needs to be done.

Basically what I am saying is I am more than willing to communicate what I am doing to all involved. But I can not know what one person is thinking or why the other person isn’t on the same page, then step in and try to communicate the first persons message to the second person.

See!! CRAP, that doesn’t even make sense! Fastest point from A to B? A TO B!!!

Now I’m thinking about that quote, “the buck stops here.” I’ve always been that way. Maybe because I’m from Missouri and grew up not far from Independence where Harry Truman lived. Maybe I should pass it more? Even when I know what the hell is going on.

Mickey, if you and Minnie had conversation and you then you told me one thing and Minnie told me something else. Mickey is it really my responsibility to tell Minnie what you said? Or maybe shouldn’t you have that conversation again, the one I didn’t hear so that you are on the same page?

If it has the potential to damaging, or costly, I suggest you two talk again and leave me out of it.

Let me just say this. If you are a business and have a process that can open your company up to fines and criminal exposure. I suggest you hire experienced trained individuals to do that work. At the very least send them to training that last’s longer than 2 hours and require they get some kind of certification.

Call me crazy, I’m just say’n.


Dec 30 2009

me thinks he doth protest too much

Maybe someone could ask him to retire? Please!!

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Dec 30 2009

denied

I was going to write about something else, but this came up this week.

I’ve been paying for my own insurance since October of 2008. One of the perks of unemployment. COBRA was $500 a month. Not seeing any job with benefits in the near future I switched hoping to save some money and make my cushion last a bit longer.

I got some misleading information with that insurance and six months in found out that it was “short term”. Literally. Because I had recently all of a sudden after 48 years had high cholesterol. My doctor would say, “will do you blood work next time you and three other of my patients have the lowest cholesterol of all my patients.”

So when I went for my check up last year and they said that my blood sugar was a bit high I should see the nutritionist. So I did and changed my eating habits.

When I went back 3 months later my cholesterol had SHOT through the roof. WTF?! Oh, and my blood pressure was a bit high. Also previously perfect. What the hell did this nutritionist do to me.

I find out that my short term coverage with Assurant is “short” and useless because of the cholesterol and blood pressure, so I go online and apply to Providence Health Plan. I’ve had Providence before and for me it was good. It was $190, but better than $500.

I carefully looked at and check all the boxes, within the last five years has anyone had any medical advice for …

Now I had just recently heard on the news that someone had been denied insurance because she neglected to put it on her health statement. And I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of. And having Providence previously, they will have all my records anyway. Right?

Well I missed #32, a. Mental/emotional condition/depression, b. Therapy/counseling within last 5 years (if “Yes” record date of last session: Hmm, I even remember looking up when my last session was in April?

Now I’m not mental, I am emotional and I am blue most of the time. I think it’s my nature. And yes I have gone to therapy off and on for years. Good grief? What is wrong with that? Sometime you just need that objective outsider to help you keep things in perspective.

So why would I hide this? I have no reason to. But being the sly criminal that I must be (maybe should have had a different therapist) I lied on an application and now have no health care coverage.

The other part of this that is confusing to me is that I have been told in the past and believed that if you had continuous coverage you would be covered. No.

So I’m 49 years old and have had insurance of some sort for all of that. So I or someone have paid in a lot of money that like most insurance is never used just paid into the profit pool.

I have 30 days to appeal. Somehow I don’t think, it was an honest unintentional omission, will be acceptable.

May play it safe and just stay in until I re-establish coverage.

Happy New Year!


Dec 22 2009

speculation

I listen to PDXSucks. People who actually love Portland. “We think Portland, Oregon is just about the finest city on the face of the earth. We’re just more than a little frustrated in the path that Portland seems to be taking to become a “big city” and we can’t keep quiet about it anymore.”

I frequently listen later, cause I’m not up at 8. One of my most favorite benefits of unemployment. But I do miss being able to interact in the little chat box with the show by not listening at 8. Today, 12/22, they talked about the death of Brittany Murphy. And I 100% absolutely agree with their conversation. The instant someone famous dies, it starts. Speculation.

Someone died. Someone that because of their profession many people are aware of. This person as they pointed out is some one’s daughter, cousin, niece, granddaughter and friend. And now her family and friends will forever have the week of Christmas when they lost a love one.

Speculation is mean, cruel and an opportunity for focus puller’s to grab some attention. I’ll call it the “Gloria Allred Syndrome”(GAS, how appropriate). People so desperate for attention that they will speculate on something that they can know nothing about in order to get on the news, get a book or the ultimate a show about nonsense on a plethora of cable channels.

How about this, she died. We won’t know the cause of death for 4-6 weeks. At that point if the family is inclined to release the results we will know. And this was her career…list some of her 40 plus movies, “Clueless”, Girl, Interrupted, Sidewalks of New York”, “8 Mile”, “Just Married”, “Sin City”. Or even some of the televisions shows she was in or added voice to, “King of the Hill”.

Brittany Murphy actress and singer born November 10, 1977 died on December 20, 2009. Then list several of her movies and if I were writing this (and I am) discovered in the movie “Little Black Book”, that she can sing. I found her voice quite nice. Then again got to hear her in Happy Feet. And due to a battle over the song rights and now her death, we won’t see her in a biopic about Janis Joplin.

Yes she was a public figure. Yes she chose a career that put her in the spotlight. But she was a person and had a life and a family. Doesn’t that somehow allow her some level of privacy when it comes to the most intimate part of her life? Like her death? It’s times like this that I become embarrassed for some.

Yes, I’m interested in people and what they do, but not to this degree. This is just cruel.


Dec 8 2009

Oops!

Day seven came and went and … no post. Yesterday was a long day! And Portland had a rare record. Coldest day in ten years. It was between 24 and 28 degree’s all day.

Now I do not like the cold. Many of you reading most likely know that. If you are new here, I DON’T LIKE COLD! Portland was a great relief from Kansas City. But 28? Oh, San Diego!

So yesterday was a long day. It started when I left the house at about 6:50am to meet Dr. Tom for coffee to talk at 7:45. Oh, here’s another one. I DON’T LIKE MORNING! But coffee with Dr. Tom even at 7:45am, not such a bad thing. Then I was off to PSU for the Internet Marketing Conference.

My first cold day out in it waiting for a bus. Y-ouch! The wind was biting and fierce. Now that I don’t have a car again I’m back to using public transportation. It’s pretty good here. Except when it’s cold. I’m still glad I sold my car. Yesterday didn’t make me want to have it back. It did make me want to be elsewhere … San Diego!

I don’t know if that’s why I didn’t post yesterday. Lazy mostly. Got home about 8pm, ate and warmed up. Love that radiant water heat that I don’t pay for!

The sun is out today, but it’s not really working? It’s 32 today and I have NO where to go!

If I post twice today does that count?


Nov 29 2009

value

Last yesterday afternoon Twitter, at least here in Portland, heated up with the urgent announcement for people west of the Willamette to boil their water for a minute because E. Coli was found in a random test of a water reservoir.

The Mayor’s tweet;
@MayorSamAdams
I guess that story about whether or not to let those who guard those reservoir’s to carry a gun will be put on the shelf.

As I watched the stream the word value was in my head.
Screen shot 2009-11-29 at 1.04.27 PM
At least, it appears the Mayor is trying to take advantage of a tool that makes communication easy, quick and effective. Yet so many just don’t understand the potential impact of this easy tool. The value. Did we even know that water had a Twitter account?
Screen shot 2009-11-28 at 11.29.42 PM
Now I’m the first one to say that everyone needs a break. Everyone should take a vacation and you should walk away from your desk at least once a day for more than a bathroom break. But Carri’s point is right on.

Do you hear the world value a lot? How often have you heard it at work? Maybe you don’t? How often do all of us fall short of bringing to the table and showing up with value?

How do we define value? Here is the Dictionary.com. Good thing is a substantial definition and covers not only, meaning and a monetary concept. It speaks to music and light.

For me the issue is that with value comes, accountability and responsibility. And who has time to be responsible and accountable to everyone they tell they will do something for? No really! Companies talk about value, the value-add of this, and the value we bring to our customer’s. And very often companies staff their departments so inadequately that they can’t actually deliver true value. That value they so eloquently spoke of to convince you to choose them.

I think the reality, it’s one of those words that get’s overused and at the same time underused. In other words, talked about in every staff meeting, conference and un-conference but never actually realized, lot’s of talk, no action.

I grabbed a few lines from some old work documents.

We seek customer relationships that share common values and where true, long-term partnerships are valued and nurtured.

provides the following “value-added” services as part of our offering.

Adding Value to Our Solutions
Adding Significant Value through Focused Savings

Together, we gain a clear, common understanding of the process and the value in completing each step.

And the big one!

A Strategic Value Add

All I can say; say what you mean and mean what you say. Be real. Pay attention and be present. Don’t forget what you say and what you do can have an impact on other’s. Like I tell my little friend, “Think about it, would you like it if your brother did that to you?” When she says, “No.” Then I say, “Then let’s not do that again.”

Now she is four so she is just learning. But hopefully she will start to understand consequences and the idea that things we do and say have consequences. And will take that into her adulthood. Sometimes they are happy, fun rewarding consequences. Other times they can have a negative impact.

Just pay attention! Awareness can be enlightening. And consider what the value of value is. What is it worth to you or you and your organization.


Oct 20 2009

DO NOT CONTACT ME DIRECTLY – I WILL NOT RESPOND

A few weeks ago I got an email from Carl. I don’t know Carl. But he had been reading my blog and asked if I would share a link to his site on my blog.

I’m always a bit embarrassed when this happens. I’m happy to include great blogs on my blog roll! But to include mine on his? It’s so random and hasn’t really taken shape yet, in my opinion.

I guess I’d like to think that only a couple people even know that I do this and only a couple people actually read it, like my Mom and Tiny Elvis Girl. Even more than that, that it’s not something that people can find.

Carl does have an interesting site called, Smart Unemployment . The site has some great stuff on it. Things like unemployment eligibility, career resources, COBRA: Everything You Need to Know, information that can be really helpful!

Oh, the title of this post. I cut and pasted that directly from a job posting on LinkedIn. This is a HUGE pet peeve with me.

I realize that people are busy. I realize that for every job there are most likely hundreds of applicants. I realize that companies don’t often staff adequately so that recruiters or hiring manager can really do their jobs. But this says more to me. More than just I’m too busy to truly engage the applicant pool that might be interested in working for the company I work for. Resumes are words, but to hear some ones voice and to talk with them has value beyond the gold star your applicant tracking system give someone.

I have been in one form or another a recruiter for more than 15 years. I have worked to fill jobs with 4 applicants and 400 applicants. The best applicants that I have come to know and place in positions are the ones who reached out to me or contacted me directly.

I am unemployed. I think I’ve written that here already. I’ve applied to several jobs. I have tapped and tap my network at every opportunity when applying to positions. At the advice of or encouragement of another recruiter or individual I have reached out via direct email or phone to people who are doing the hiring. No response?

Carl has a lot of great, helpful information on his site. All just for the taking. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’d be willing to bet he never wrote at the bottom of a job posting, DO NOT CONTACT ME DIRECTLY – I WILL NOT RESPOND

Thanks Carl!


Sep 8 2009

I’m rambling…

The Mayor sent out a link the other day via Twitter about a service in NYC called, NYC Business Express.

“NYC Business Express is offered to assist you with obtaining general license, permit, tax, incentive, and other useful information online. NYC Business Express will be adding additional sectors and functionality over the next year; while it is being developed, information contained on this website may not be comprehensive, and service disruptions may occur.

The City has made every effort to provide accurate and timely information on this website, however, the applicability and comprehensiveness of the information is dependent on the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the information you provide. In addition, NYC Business Express does not provide a comprehensive source of all information needed to start and run a business, nor does it provide comprehensive information regarding typical State or Federal requirements.”

He tweets,

“This is the kind of online small business up support/info in NYC we are working to provide in Portland:”

First response,

“I’m not convinced this is a great model, it’s almost too simplistic. Requires me to categorize my biz before I get content.”

As I am pondering this and thinking about the conversation I have been apart of directly and indirectly for about 8 years. I click a link in a tweet from HarvardBiz that take me to an article about, “What Alienates Top Performers”.

On the surface this appears to be two different conversations. Two conversations I have been apart of for more that a few years. I’ve been known to say, on more than one occasions, I ‘m done talking. Right now I think I am listening more than talking. Let the kids have the conversation.

Before I read the article I skim for a few things and see these words in bold that indicate new paragraphs.

1. Dropped balls.
2. Ignoring tough questions.
3. Lopsided reliance on data over judgment.
4. Unease with leadership skills in the ranks.

Ok, so maybe not so different? A few months back I saw a bumper sticker that stopped me cold.

Keep Portland Passive Aggressive

Yes just a bumper sticker, but the fact that someone took the time to make them worries me. This is the problem, in my humble opinion. I have made too many calls sent too many emails about mildly important things. And will receive no response. Portland is too passive aggressive. And there is an unusual fear of collaboration.

Maybe it’s because it’s a small town by real standards. And there are a ton of business/companies here that have less than 50. In 2006 the PDC reported that Oregon had 95.494 small businesses 44,427 of those had less than 50 employees. So what does that say about competition?

The thing is. I’ve seen a lot of the talent here in Portland. I know a lot of the talent. And while I will say that there is competition. If the talent focused there attention to companies and organizations that matched their talent instead of complaining that they can’t get into the coveted place A, B, N or W or K for that matter.

Now this will sound like I am shooting down someone’s dreams. I work very hard to not to that so as to keep them on track to actually, maybe someday see them walk in that door they dreamed of. But all to often they are busting their hump and setting themselves up for either disappointment or burn out. Mostly burn out just trying the get anyone at any of these companies to return a call or an email for a simple conversation.

Talent is talent. It comes in all kinds of esthetics. Some more sophisticated than the other. If you are good, you have a certain level of confidence in what you do. But that may inflate a bit where you should actually be. The analogy I’ve used before is this; there are only so many spots open in the NBA. Not everyone gets to play.

It is the very same for the creative. You might be good, but are you NBA good? What do you do well and how does that fit into where you want to go? Be clear about what you do. All to often in tough economic times people scramble and try to be everything. Find what you do best and do it. You will be happier!

So,

1. Don’t drop the balls and only juggle what you can.
2. If you don’t know the answer to the tough question, say you don’t but you will find the answer.
3. Data is one thing, but if you don’t use your best judgment to manage the relationship you won’t need to worry about data.
4. Realize that no one knows anything really. And collaboration can make your life less complicated.


Sep 5 2009

How do you take enough of the passive out of passive aggressive to capture or move to action beyond the conversation?

Excellent question. Is there an answer?


Aug 25 2009

fair? cont’d

So charges hit my account today. Getting the card canceled with in minutes of the theft just wasn’t fast enough….
picture-2

If I sell my car that could come in handy … if I had actually been the one to buy Tri-Met passes.

8.27 ~ credit union credited the $49.50! Thank you!!