Nan S. Russell
Author & Speaker

All posts in April, 2015

As a colleague of Nan’s I regularly post here about work and sometimes life. I’d label myself an avid reader. I enjoy a combination of an e-reader and the printed page. I need to see book titles as I go through my daily activities. I have bookcases in my office, in several rooms at home plus a stack by my nightstand. They keep me grounded and often spark an idea or provide inspiration. The other day, I was flipping through a well-read book and came across this passage. I think it offers both a thoughtful perspective and a ‘how to’ for getting results in today’s complex workplaces. And, I thought I’d share:

Give What’s Missing*picture-heart_of_stone_in_a_stone_wall-Bild014

If everyone is shouting, what’s missing is quiet reason.

If everyone is pointing fingers, what’s missing is accountability.

If everyone is finding fault, what’s missing is praise and recognition.

If everyone is in agreement, what’s missing is another perspective.

If everyone is focused on short-term gains, what’s missing is long-term thinking.

If everyone is thinking about their own department, what’s missing (continue reading →)

Tips, Today's Workplace 

gpsUnfamiliar with the city and location where I was to speak, I added the address to the GPS before leaving home. Arriving in the conference city hours later, I turn it on and dutifully followed the route that chirped at me from the device. “That’s odd,” I thought as the directed turn took me away from the city towards the foothills and into a neighborhood. “Maybe it’s a retreat location,” I mulled as I followed that voice up a winding, steep hill.

But when instructed to turn onto a dirt road 15 minutes later, I knew the GPS was wrong. I double checked the address (correct), then retraced my steps, rebooted the GPS, and started again from the town center. A half hour after beginning my location hunt, I pulled into the hotel parking lot, less than two miles from where I first turned on the gadget.

Luckily that GPS misdirection became readily apparent, requiring a simple reboot to get me back on track. But that’s typically not the case at work when professional misdirection can (continue reading →)

Winning at Working 

MicrowaveFor days or weeks at a time, the microwave works perfectly. Then, for no apparent reason – poof – its buttons don’t push, its timer stalls, and the panel goes dark. There’s no way to anticipate whether the day will be a bad-microwave-day, requiring periodic trips to the garage to reset the breaker, or a fully functional day. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. Each time it does, we hope this is not the day it finally stops working.

The most curious thing about the microwave is its consistent inconsistency. There are weeks when every day is a bad-microwave day; others when none are. While replacing it might seem logical for a fickle appliance, it’s not that simple. When we built our home, we built the microwave into a corner cabinet at counter level. Microwave sizes have changed in 10 years, so replacing it means a mini-renovation.

Trying to heat soup for lunch today was a bad-microwave-day. Three treks to the garage and three tries to make it work before the soup was heated. But the problem is, sometimes I feel I operate like that microwave. My day is going along fine, when poof, something shifts and (continue reading →)

In the Scheme of Things