Rainbows, Leprechauns & Unicorns

IMAG0192 179x300 Rainbows, Leprechauns & UnicornsThe other night I saw my first double rainbow. Ever. Given how unusual and vivid it was, I took a picture of it (that’s it to the left) and posted it to Facebook. The response was astonishing. It was by far one of the more popular posts I’ve had.

Here’s a snippet of the conversation:


Question: does the same leprechaun manage the pots of gold at the end of both rainbows, or are there 2 leprechauns?

What does it meeeean???

Totally saw a rainbow on my way home last night. tis the season.

It must be the season. The rainbow season. Just like the Christmas season. Do you think we’ll get gifts for this one too?

I can only hope… although i think that these gifts might be better. as they don’t come in physical form.

While the event itself was pretty breathtaking, I think I liked the response to it and the community it created even more.  There’s even a guy who’s enjoying his 15 minutes of fame because of the double rainbow he saw and the video he recorded of it.  I’ve noticed this phenomena on Twitter as well. I have a few friends who like to talk about things like leprechauns and unicorns. Ahem, Ef Rodriguez (@pugofwar) and Tery Cabeen (@tcabeeen). I’m talkin’ to you. Every time they tweet about these kind of topics there are lots of enthusiastic responses. Then there’s Twig the Fairy. I didn’t even believe in fairies as a kid but here I was following one.  And so are nearly 3700 other people. (Turns out Twig is a performer at renaissance festivals).

It got me to thinking. What was it about this event that was so enticing?

Have we gotten so jaded that we get excited about something that inducing child-like wonder like a rainbow?

Are rainbows so universal that everyone responds to them?

What else is as universal as a rainbow?

How can we create a buzz without invoking a rainbow?


Have You Been Pegged?

Hiring and job hunting are some of the most stressful and time-consuming business activities.  They’re also some of the most critical for success for a business–especially during the startup and growth phases. And, for an individual. The hiring process can sometimes seem like a magical black box. And, you can’t always count on that magic box giving you an accurate or reliable answer. This is equally frustrating for companies as well as for the job seekers looking to work in them.  This frustration translates into hard dollars and cents. It’s estimated that it can cost 2 – 5 times the annual salary for just one new hire. That’s a whole lot of money. And time. The costs are just as high emotionally and financially for the employee. This, is not a trivial problem.

moz screenshot 3 Have You Been Pegged?moz screenshot 4 Have You Been Pegged?logo fit for hire websafe blue 300x80 Have You Been Pegged?Given this, I was excited to learn about Roundpegg, a Boulder based company that provides web-based tools that help predict the cultural fit of a potential employee and employer.  I like to describe the company as where science meets culture. Which, results in better hiring. This is good news all around.  Roundpegg aims to change the paradigm on hiring making it much more neutral and objective than the traditional model. The traditional model of hiring is highly subjective and isn’t typically well-articulated or consistent. The traditional model can also favor the company over job applicants—especially in situations like our current tight job market.  This neutral, scientific model democratizes the selection process allowing both sides of the equation to take an objective look at whether it’s truly a match or not.  It takes a squishy, intangible seeming concept like culuture and makes it, well, tangible.

The other thing I really like about what Roundpegg is doing is that they’re taking the edge out of hiring. There’s not a good or bad here. It’s about whether an individual and a company are a cultural match. This is inherently empowering for individuals.  And, for hiring managers and companies. There’s no need to try to stuff a round peg into that proverbial square hole. (Super clever branding by the way that fits their product well.)

Using a more objective approach also creates more ease in the selection process for both the job seeker and a hiring company. 1172982 vintage keys Have You Been Pegged?Once you have clarity on the parameters relevant to success for the individual or company, the talent search becomes markedly easier. No more trying to making things fit—like when you try to squeeze yourself into a pair of pants that are way too small.  Or, ones that are designed for a completely different kind of body type so there’s a major misalignment. It fits or it doesn’t. Plain. and. Simple.

Using a scientifically-based model takes the guesswork out of hiring from a cultural perspective. It removes the nerves on both sides of the partnership wondering whether this marriage will work. No more finger crossing hoping you guessed right. No more gaming the system. Searches become easier, more efficient, more accurate and potentially quicker. This is a good thing for both businesses as well as the talent.

It means we can get back to doing the work more quickly. Ultimately, that’s a good thing for everyone.

You’ve been pegged right?

If you haven’t been pegged yet (as the kids call it)–do it today. Even if you’re not looking for a job thisminute–it’s good to know what kind of culture, team and communication style works best for you. The best part? You can get pegged for free.

OK–go do it. I’ll wait. And, I want a hear what you learned about what you need in a culture.

(By the way, I don’t work for the company nor do I get a kick-back of any sort for this post. I just happen to be an admirer who likes to spread the word about cool things companies are up to–especially in my field.)

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What Type of Employee Are You?

moz screenshot 2 What Type of Employee Are You?IMAG0182 300x179 What Type of Employee Are You?I’ve recently been at a number of large events–the first one being Ignite Boulder which was held at Chautauqua Auditorium. I recently attended  Word Camp Boulder which was held at the Boulder Theatre. Both were held in large venues that attract crowds. This made them great places for people watching. Given my work in executive coaching and organizational strategy, observing (and commenting on) human behavior is one of my favorite past times.  Since both events are pretty crowded there was a scramble for seats. That scramble got me to thinking about how where sit translates to how we act in group settings.

Most people have patterns. While it may seem so to the outside observer, we generally act fairly rationally and consistently.  There are reasons why we act the way we do and in the case of my above example, why we sit where we do. The more I thought out this phenomena, the more I saw correlations to how people behave in companies. There are generally 3 types of business behavior I’ve observed.

j0437264 300x206 What Type of Employee Are You?You’ve got those people who like to sit right in front. Be it the front row or even a couple of rows back, these are the Enthusiastics. They come to the event to listen, take part and generally take the whole thing pretty seriously. They tend to get there early and stay late. In companies, Enthusiastics are the dedicated employees. The ones who come early and stay late. They ask good questions and strive to use all of their skills. These are the ones who really want to be an active part of the company and be a part of the solution. These are the kind of folks you want in your boat–they’ll row along with you.

Then you’ve got your folks who like to sit smack in the middle of the auditorium. They tend to come right on time or maybe just a smidge late. They like the safety of being lost in the crowd. These are your Middlings. They like to be anonymous. They’ll show up, listen and generally use their knowledge to be a productive part of the team. They’re the ones who will put in a good effort but may not be your stars. Having your business succeed is important to them but it’s not likely the top priority in their life. They may have other projects on the side or have a really full personal life. Having these folks on your boat means they’ll show up and get the job without alot of work or effort required on your part.

1223458 exposives cart What Type of Employee Are You?Finally you’ve got those who like to sit at the back of the bus. They come in late and generally like to leave early. They’re the rowdy ones who heckle you. You’ll rarely seem taking the lead. These people are your Disturbers. They’re distracted and…they can be distracting to others. They seem to be there to have fun, to criticize or some other reason that’s not often productive or connected to the main event. They might not add much value.  Or, they might add great value in fits and starts but can also be a disturbing force if not channeled well. Having these folks on your boat can be very dangerous if you have too many of them AND if they’re not managed properly. Their lack of effective effort and tendency to be back-seat drivers can just tip the boat over if you’re not careful.

I’m no Pollyana. So let’s not pretend that you’re only going to have a boat full of Enthusiastics and Middlings. There are always going to be Disturbers. And, some Disturbers can actually be effective in the right context and if managed in the right way. So why do Disturbers act that way?

1. Because they don’t really want to be there.

2. Because they can.

3. Because they’re bored.

If your Disturbers are acting from #1–the answer is simple. Figure out a way to move them along to where they really want to be–stat. This can be to  a new position in your company or–outside of it.If your Disturbers are acting this way because you allow them too (#2) then you need to set boundaries and work with them to see if they don’t want to be there (get rid of them) or whether they’re really just bored (#3). For Disturbers who are bored, work with them. People who are bored often have great untapped reserves of talents that aren’t being used. Talk with them. Find out what they think needs to happen and how they can become a part of the solution. If you do this well you may actually be able to transform a Disturber into an Enthusiastic.

You will likely have a mix of all 3 types of employee behavior in your business. In a large business, the Disturbers may not matter much due to sheer size–as long as they’re not in positions of influence. However, in a start-up or growing business, their negative influence can be disastrous.  Given the potentially destructive force of Disturbers, that’s why we focused on them in this post. There are things you can do to enhance the performance of the others–but that’s a whole different conversation.

We all have the capacity to any of these 3 types–as an employee or even when we’re in a leadership position.

So, what type are you?

Have you ever been a Disturber? If so, why?

As a leader, how do you handle Disturbers?

What do you do about the Middlings?

p.s. In case you’re wondering…I’m an Enthusiast.