• One year ago yesterday, I got on a plane and flew away from my comfort zone.
  • One year ago late tonight, I arrived in a land that I had repeatedly expressed a less than zero desire to live in.  (And yes, I came to live here.)
  • One year ago tomorrow, I viewed our new home and met new neighbors for the first time.

So today I’m taking my own advice and pausing:

  • To look back at this journey
  • To evaluate what I hoped would happen and compare it to what did happen
  • To evaluate what I’ve learned
  • And think about what’s next

When we announced our decision I shared the following goals:

1.  I was determined to Turn an Unwanted CHANGE into an Adventure.    Continue Reading…

Dear Bully

Chery —  April 7, 2014 — 6 Comments

My friend, Kate Nasser is doing a beautiful job of leveraging her #PeopleSkills platform to shine a light on workplace bullying.

She recently challenged my friend and co-author Susan Mazza to share her Letter To A Bully on her blog.

In Susan’s post she asked,

It did not take me long to craft my response to Susan because I’ve spent so much time pondering this issue – long before I called it what it is.  (Anyone that tears down others so that they will feel better about themselves is a bully.)  Below are links to three of my previous posts.

1. I was a bully, and it changed my life.

2.  Like you, I’ve seen great leaders and I’ve seen workplace bullying that reminds me of the playground.   It makes my stomach churn and my heart ache.

3. Bullies on the playground and in the workplace reflect the hearts and minds of racists, drug lords, human traffickers and unfortunately many world leaders.

This was my answer to Susan… Continue Reading…

Chaos or Vision: YOU Choose!

Chery —  March 31, 2014 — 5 Comments

As expats we live in a secure compound with high walls, inside those walls we have grass, trees, flowers, beauty and order.

Many local families live in their own high walled “compounds” with their extended families.  And although I have never been behind those walls I have heard of their gardens.

Outside of all of our walls is the city we all share.  Most of the city is full of trash, partially developed buildings, blowing sand, broken sidewalks – if there are sidewalks at all; narrow streets and tiny parking lots that don’t accommodate all of the cars, and random unmatched street lights that don’t begin to illuminate the dark.

A few weeks ago I met with some local women and they encouraged me to check out a city that is 101 kilometers (62.75 miles) away.

This past weekend, my husband and I rode there on our Harley with several other couples.

Before we left one of the women commented about how much she likes the city we were driving to.  When I asked why she said, “it is just like the movies at night, it is all lit up…”

So as we drove into this neighboring city my eyes were wide open…

As I looked specifically for light sources I noticed several things: Continue Reading…

The Power of FirstsAs a society we tend to label and categorize everything into the smallest, tiniest little box so it seems more clearly defined but is it always necessary?  We always want to clarify with adjectives, adverbs and descriptors so there is no margin for error in what we are talking about.

  1. Does it help us to visualize better?
  2. Or does it hold more negative connotations instead of creating equality? Is it a form of discrimination?
  3. Will it call attention to and single out individuals as more of a minority status? How can this be kind?

About a month ago I got a note from Jane Perdue with an invitation to write a guest post for her blog with these questions as thought starters

Do you ever wonder what women, men and society need to do so that…

  1. Women and persons of color are designated as a doctor, not “a woman doctor;” as a scientist, not “a Latino scientist,” etc.?
  2. Special designations aren’t needed in announcements, e.g.:  the first woman to lead the federal reserve, the first female best director Academy Award winner, the first African American female flight crew, etc.?

I struggled with this topic for a month. I was so torn but my heart and most recent experiences led me to a very eye opening conclusion. One you may be surprised by.

Read more at: Braithwaite Innovation Group Why our world needs FIRSTS – LeadBIG

Several years ago a mentor shared his business plan with me.  In part of it he wrote something he called a STAND.  When I asked what that was, he said it was knowing what you stand for before you are faced with a situation and have to make a choice.

I’ve shared part of his leadership wisdom and how it impacted me in this previous Smart Blog Post:  Why Leaders Need To Practice Compassionate Accountability

For the past several weeks I’ve been focused on another part of his STAND:  “To Be Consistent, Fair, and Explainable in all that I do”.

These are some of the reasons those words are resonating with me again:

I’ve been studying the impact of parents that have a favorite child that is t treated differently than the others.  It’s an ugly situation for everyone.  ….Even the favored child.

I’ve been thinking of times I’ve witnessed a boss becoming close friends with some of their employees and how that broke down trust with other employees.  (Even if both the boss and the employee were holding each other to a higher level of accountability, the perception of unfairness was still there.)

I know an executive that is struggling because he makes hard fast rules that sound powerful in his office, however when the rules are challenged or violated that executive avoids confrontation at all costs. Continue Reading…

This is the third post in our series:  What does HR Really Stand For:  Human Resources or Human Remains?

Kevin KennemerAs I thought through this series, I reached out Kevin Kennemer because I knew that he had both the passion and the data to make the case that Great Workplaces enjoy a significant competitive advantage over their competition.  Kevin is a Great Workplace Advocate, and the founder of The People Group, a firm dedicated to transforming companies into winning workplaces. He works with CEO’s of small and medium sized businesses to create work environments built on trust, respect and dignity.  Kevin holds a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management.  This is what Kevin had to say:   Continue Reading…

Earlier this week we launched a new series titled what does HR really stand for:  Human Resources or Human Remains?

When I reached out to my network asking them to participate in this series, I shared an excerpt of a conversation I had with someone with an MBA and years of HR experience.

Chery I have been in HR for X number of years, I have my MBA, I’ve attended tons of seminars and I’ve NEVER heard anyone talk about the HUMANS.

And then I asked these questions:

  1. How do you balance the need to protect the company from lawsuits with the needs of the real live human beings you serve?
  2. What tips do you have for organizations that are seeking to bring the Human back to Human Resources?

Mary SchaeferThis post is the second in the series and was written my another Lead Change Member and Co-Author of The Character-Based Leader Book, Mary Schaefer.  Mary is the President of Artemis Path, Inc. and her passion is challenging others to Reimagine Work.  This is what Mary had to say… Continue Reading…

Over a year ago I met with a group of people about an upcoming speaking engagement.  As we discussed the focus of my presentation I said, “it’s about putting the Human back in Human Resources.”

Immediately one of the men in the group got really quiet and after a few minutes he said,

I have been in HR for several years, I’ve attended tons of seminars and I’ve NEVER heard anyone talk about the HUMANS.

In the past few months as I’ve been publishing stories and lessons in an ongoing series about “The Real Housewives of Expat Men”, this subject has come up again.

The examples below are real and come from people employed with several different organizations.

Imagine…

  • Organizations that notify their people of life-altering changes with a two-sentence email with no details and no timelines, let alone any discussion, questions or answers.
  • Annual reviews that are delivered over a computer instead of by a live person, evaluating the recipient on objectives they were never told they had and leaving no opportunity for discussion.
  • Bosses that make decisions about their employees lives, don’t communicate those decisions and when they are asked about them, then play the blame game pointing fingers at the titled leaders above them.
  • Families that are days away from finishing their time overseas and have sold things, packed, said tearful goodbyes to friends, and have families at home excitedly waiting for them, that are notified two days before they are scheduled to leave that they won’t be going home now.  And as each day goes by their expected departure date continues to change.
  • HR never responding to emails or phone calls and then one day emailing the office and getting a response that says, “Today is my last day, I quit.”
  • Companies that emphasize that their policy is to make sure that EVERY exiting employee receives a survey when they leave the company – no matter why they leave.  However, when a boss fears the information an exiting employee will share, that survey is never given to the exiting employee even when they ask HR for it.
  • HR admitting that the exit surveys that are received are rarely looked at or used to evaluate leadership and organizational development opportunities.

Those stories make my heart ache.  So I reached out to friends with HR Backgrounds that are Consultants, and Leadership Experts and asked them three questions:

Continue Reading…

Seth-and-Chandler1A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to interview Seth and Chandler Bolt via Google+.

  • Seth is the bass player for the internationally renowned band NEEDTOBREATHE.
  • His brother, Chandler is a decade younger, a very successful entrepreneur and a college student.
  • They look different.
  • They have different interests and different strengths.
  • They hang out in different circles.

Prior to the interview I had just a few hours to take a brief look at their new book.   I was hooked instantly because:

  • Of the electricity these two generate together.
  • Their WHY reflects so much of my own WHY.
  • Of their playfulness, and their deep respect for each other.
  • Of their pay-it forward thought process….
  • They get it.  You can’t break out of a broken system until you realize that Change Begins With “Me”!

How it all started:  The two of them were visiting one night and realized that the successes they’ve experienced are rooted in lessons their parents taught them.  (Lessons they did not always appreciate, lessons they sometimes took for granted, and lessons that many of their friends never received.)

As that realization sunk in, they decided to write a book to share those lessons with others and to give their parents a lasting legacy.  What they’ve created is as unique as they are.  Half of the book is written on a black background with white text, the other half is a white background with black text.  The pages are filled with pictures and doodles and links to music.  (They call it A.D.D. friendly and have written it with millennials in mind.) Continue Reading…

Two days ago, Karin Hurt shared a post about the importance of play at work.  (Something I LOVE to do!)

Yesterday, I walked into the Bistro in our expat compound and witnessed 4 pre-school aged children playing.  I stood in awe, knowing that although 3 of those children have learned a common language, 1 of them had not.   And yet, in spite of the language barrier they all understood the game, and were completely engaged in the activity.

This morning my husband and I went on our first group motorcycle ride.  Minutes into the ride it became clear that the group we rode with not only shared a common language we don’t know, they also shared a sign language that helped them to communicate while they were driving and we did not know that either.  In spite of all that we did not know, we found it easy to learn the signals on the fly simply because we were “playing” together.

Continue Reading…