Miscellaneous Articles

Why you should strive for integration, not balance

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 4/30/2015

“Hi. How are you?”

This is a pretty standard greeting as we acknowledge co-workers in the morning or begin a phone conversation. In fact, it’s become the kind of question that rarely, if ever, requires a serious response. If we do get a real answer, it often feels awkward or even intrusive.

For some time I’ve noticed that the response I usually get when I ask, “How are you?” is “busy,” “crazy,” or “stressed.” It seems like most of us are running in different directions, struggling to manage it all, and striving to make a difference in our personal and professional lives. The common thread is the desire to achieve a greater work-life balance.

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You’ve Conducted a Survey…Now What?

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 7/17/2013

It’s a common practice to collect feedback from employees to gauge how things are going. Whether it is an employee opinion survey, an assessment of employee engagement, or a focus group/interview study, many organizations periodically ask employees for their thoughts and/or input. The hard part isn’t asking the questions or collecting the data. It’s what do you do once you have the information.

Next steps

Survey feedback often suggests that employees think that “management won’t do anything with the results.” To avoid this from happening, the senior leadership team should take the following steps after any assessment effort:

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No Offense Intended

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 6/6/2013

I received a marketing email yesterday from an individual who used a term that could be considered derogatory and offensive. I took note; found myself surprised by the use of the language; and, wondered about a potential lack of awareness as to how the terminology could offend. Well, within twenty-four hours I received a second email sincerely apologizing for the use of the language. The individual indicated that unfortunately she had no idea of the source of the phrase and its derogatory meaning. She went on to say:

“…And I couldn’t be more embarrassed and horrified. Please understand that no offense was intended.”

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Take Time to Appreciate

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 3/28/2013

Snowstorms…spring thaw…freezing rain. Huge fluctuations in weather are quite common in the Midwest. If you’ve lived or traveled in this area you are well accustomed to it.

What struck me during a recent cold spell is how easy it is for some people to focus on the negative instead of appreciating what’s in front of them. The robins are back—scratching for food through what remains of the winter snow. The crocuses and daffodils are poking their way out of the still frozen ground. Yet, what I’ve heard from a lot of people is the negative reaction to our slow turning spring (i.e., “I’m SO sick of winter”). While this is understandable as temperatures remain chilly, it prevents people from appreciating what is around them and recognizing the beauty that is at hand.

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First Vision, Then Action

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 2/8/2013

“The very essence of leadership is that you have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet.” –Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

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A Time for Reflection

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 12/19/2012

The end of a calendar year brings about a time of reflection. Organizations wrap up budgets and plans for the new year. Individuals spend time reflecting on what was (and wasn’t) accomplished in the year that is coming to a close. The song from Pete Seeger of the Byrds often comes to mind, “to everything there is a season.” (The song, recorded in the 60s, is adapted from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible.)

For many, this time for reflection presents an opportunity to look ahead and think about what you can do to “make a difference” in the year to come.

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Applying the 80/20 Rule

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 10/18/2012

You’ve heard the phrase, “the devil is in the details.” The idea that the details are important—that whatever one does it should be done thoroughly.

I’ve been knee deep in details of late. I am writing an e-book, Talent Management Toolkit. We want to provide a resource for small to mid-size organizations to help them with their talent management efforts since much of what is available focuses on large, global organizations.

I spent a great deal of time pulling together the content, writing the various chapters and updating the tools and templates. However, now I’m in the detail stage. Editing, refining, setting up the associated web pages, marketing, etc. I have definitely been overwhelmed with the details.

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From Awareness to Competence

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 9/27/2012

I dusted the cobwebs off of an old training maxim this week. I was coaching a leader who talked about the discomfort she was feeling while trying to implement some of the changes in her development plan. She shared that while she has increased her awareness, she doesn’t feel like she has been successful in changing her behavior. The following learning path came to mind. I remember using it years ago when I first started working in the area of OD and Learning and Development. It will be very familiar to many of you—hopefully, it is a good reminder. My guess is that for many individuals you work with it will create an ‘aha’ moment. It did for my client.

Learning Path

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Leadership Past and Present

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 9/12/2012

I like to look for leadership everywhere. I talked about that in a previous post, Observe Leadership in Action. It might be evident on a sports team, in the board room, or at a neighborhood gathering. Leaders and leadership traits emerge all the time; and, we can learn from those around us on a daily basis.

This past weekend I learned about leadership past and present. I had the privilege of accompanying the Badger Honor Flight to Washington D.C. Eighty-seven veterans flew from Madison, Wisconsin to/from Washington DC to visit the war memorials.

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It’s That Time of Year Again

Author: Diane Hamilton, Date: 7/17/2012

“The man who is so run down that he needs a vacation can never adjust or reform himself in two weeks. What he really needs is to re-transform his life.” — Elbert Hubbard, Philistine: A Periodical of Protest, 1905

SunsetFor many, summer means vacation season. It might include packing the bags and taking a holiday with the kids. Maybe it is as simple as kicking back with friends or enjoying an outdoor concert. Or, perhaps it is enjoying a variety of outdoor activities in order to benefit from the long summer days.

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