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November 19, 2010

Networking at its best!

A recurring theme I share in my Marketing Class is the value and importance of networking. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I want to share one of my dearest (and oddest!) networking stories.

In 1996, I flew to New York City to sing in a fellow Wichita Eagle coworker’s wedding. Besides seeing friends, enjoying the sights and attending the Broadway production “Cats,” this was my first major trip sans an escort. I wasn’t married yet nor was I able to book the same flight as the other Kansas wedding guests. However, seeing the New York skyline when flying into Newark, New Jersey, was a thrill like no other, and most likely a more intense emotion due to my adventuresome independence.

I’ll never forget my taxi ride from the Empire State Building to my overnight accommodations in upper Manhattan. When the cab driver realized I was from Kansas, he excitedly exclaimed in broken English “Oh, I love cowboys! Someday, I want to move out West and work as a cowboy!” I forget which country he was from, but he was completely mesmerized by the possibility of driving with someone who might actually know a REAL cowboy! Of course, I explained to him in Kansas, we call them farmers, but nothing could dampen his excitement.

I gave him my card – I was then working at the Hays Daily News – and I was probably the only person that evening (or possibly that year?) who got a goodbye hug from a New York taxi driver! A month later, I received a Thanksgiving Day card from my new friend, addressed to me at the newspaper’s office. He thanked me for my time and told me he paid for a year’s subscription to the paper.

Every Thanksgiving, I can’t help but think of my friend, wondering if he ever did get to meet a real cowboy. Heck, I wonder if he still gets the paper???

3:11 pm cst          Comments

November 18, 2010

Just Another Day in Paradise


I woke up mid-stride as I ran toward my son’s room last night, confused and bewildered by the entire situation. Garrett’s next statement seeped into my consciousness forcing me to stop at the hallway closet to look for our “puke bucket.” (Surely others also have a designated bowl for such a purpose?)

Alas, I’m too late, and end up catching the volcanic eruption with his comforter. After a quick clean up, I see he has already fallen back to sleep, only to “erupt” an hour later. This time, pillows, sheets and jammies all need washed.  As my husband takes over the linen duties, I take over the child duties.

With a freshly cleaned and changed child, we snuggle into my bed to catch a few more winks. As Garrett drifts back to sleep, he asks me, “Do I need to go to school tomorrow?” My answer pleased him as he wiggled closer into my embrace.

Nope, I thought, you just stay right where you are.
10:39 am cst          Comments

November 16, 2010

Engaged Leadership

I finally realized reading three books simultaneously was distracting, so I hunkered down last night and completed “Engaged Leadership,” written by Clint Swindall. Its subtitle explains the heart and soul of the book: “Building a Culture to Overcome Employee Disengagement.”

According to Swindall, employees can be broken down into three categories: 26 percent are engaged; 55 percent are disengaged, and 19 percent are actively disengaged. The point this book made was management spends the majority of their time with the 19 percent of employees who do their best to disrupt an organization and create a negative culture for all of the others. Unfortunately, the top performing employees, the 26 percent, are left on their own; these same top performers are often the first to leave a company in search of a culture that values their contribution in a more productive and positive manner. In reality, if management spent more time developing the top tier workers, this same group may positively impact the 55 percent majority who can be easily influenced in either direction.

While reading, I related this to a time in grade school. We had a classmate with a learning disability, requiring much attention from the teacher. Keep in mind, our school was small, and each teacher had the responsibility of teaching two classes. Many times, a struggling student demanded time from a teacher which kept her from attending to other students who excelled. Unfortunately, the entire classroom worked at a slower speed, resulting in most of us not being prepared adequately for high school English class. (Thus, that English teacher spent much of our freshman year reviewing basics in an effort to get the class up to snuff.) Ironically, years later this same student told me that she felt embarrassed by the individual attention and wasn’t that appreciative of the teacher’s time and efforts.

That’s not all that different in today’s workplace. A few employees spread ill will and negative attitude while sucking the energy and enthusiasm from the rest of the team. So my question is this: if efforts to improve these employees fail, why are they still allowed to remain and spoil the rest of the work culture?

10:48 am cst          Comments

November 14, 2010

Most wonderful time of the year - on TV!

Some people love watching baseball, football or basketball on TV...(hmmm, wonder who that could be??) while others love American Idol, Survivor or Big Brother. Me? I love the sappy, smarmy, and totally predictable viewing of holiday shows on the Hallmark and Lifetime channels.

From early November until New Year's Eve, I actually enjoy spending time in my kitchen. Washing dishes or cooking are just a bit merrier with the festive messages and music playing in the background!

I now realize why I have a TV in the kitchen - I just got bumped out of the living room because "someone" wants to watch the KC vs Denver football game. Maybe I can convince the 6-year-old to play upstairs so I can at least relax in the comfort of a lounge chair in the basement! Right now, I need a dose of merriment!

3:03 pm cst          Comments

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