Author Archives: Karen Snyder

Mindset - Performance Management

Mistakes Happen

I sometimes comment to colleagues and clients that mistakes are inevitable, and recently I’ve experienced that in my own work. A few weeks ago I posted a short article to an online group, and sharp-eyed readers were quick to point out a spelling error. I referred to a state capitol building, but inadvertently wrote it as capital. Wonderful Mrs. Bersch, my third grade teacher, would have been disappointed that I didn’t remember the mnemonic she taught us – “the capitol in DC has a large dOme. Remember the O.”

The following week I wrote a blog titled “It’s Always Someone’s First Job.” The article was very well received, but the moment it was sent, I realized I’d made a big mistake. I failed to mention my dear friend Kristin and her wonderful husband Peter. When I lived in Boston, they went 15 minutes out of their way, every day, to give me a ride to and from work. We laughed our way down Storrow Drive, enjoying each other’s company. Often those rides were the highlight of my day. They did so many wonderful things for me during those two years that I couldn’t decide which to write about, and somehow I unwittingly left them out entirely.

When I noticed, I called Kristin immediately. She was as gracious as ever.

A spelling error is just a spelling error, but failing to acknowledge those who are kind to us is a bigger deal. All of us make mistakes at home and at work. When costly gaffes happen repeatedly, how do we correct them? When the same employee makes the same error over and over, how do we help? Learning from our mistakes is an important life skill, and helping others learn from theirs can be powerful. I look forward to hearing how you recover from yours.  

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Diversity and Inclusion - Employee Engagement

It’s Always Someone’s First Job

I graduated from school during a deep recession. Armed with an undergraduate degree in psychology, I didn’t have readily apparent job skills. After a long and daunting job search, which took place using an old-fashioned typewriter, envelopes, stamps, and bus rides all over Massachusetts, I secured a job at a junior college in Boston. My adult children are very tired of hearing about my travails, but that search and resulting job left a lasting impression on me.

My first professional job was a great fit! I was able to work with junior college students and help them plan their future careers. I was able to work with employers and help them find great workers, and I was able to teach a class that I had taken as an undergraduate. That was not all – the environment I worked in was vibrant, and most of all caring.

My new colleagues invited me to lunch and then to their homes. My new friend Karin greeted me every morning. Ruth always had a listening shoulder. Jon teased me mercilessly and created so much humor that many days I laughed until I cried. There was ever-smiling Debbie, and also Maria, who was older and wiser and shared so much wisdom with me. And then there was Nancy. Nancy was my manager and she ensured that I felt welcome and a part of the team from the outset.

In our new virtual work, where our colleagues are dispersed all over the area and oftentimes all over the world, do you take the time to welcome the first timers? Do you send a text or a card when a colleague is ill or is struggling with a family member? And if you are back in an office, do you go to lunch with the newbie? Do you take the time to welcome them and spend a few minutes learning about them?

Here are my friends from my first professional job in Massachusetts. Even though none of us have worked together in over three decades, we gathered last week for dinner in Boston. This group was my support system and they encouraged and inspired me. Are you that person for someone else? Be the reason someone new feels welcomed and included. Pass it on.

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Performance Management

Time Stands Still

I am leading a monthly series of Leadership Trainings spanning over a year. One of the modules is Time and Stress Management, and it’s a topic that I have been presenting and trying to learn more about myself for the past 31 years since I started Concordia Consulting.

To prepare for the program, I began my usual process of reading what’s current, watching a few YouTube videos, querying my colleagues on an HR listserv, and then poring over previous presentations of my own. I have no shortage of materials, and as you can see from the spread, it’s not a neat and tidy exercise as I like to fan things out all around me as I review the materials on the floor.

Reading through some of my more dated course books, I found that there were a lot of references to phone interruptions which I found humorous since the only phone interruptions I regularly receive are robo calls. There were also numerous references to facsimile machines which were invented in 1964 and became common in the 1980s. Of course with the widespread use of email, faxes are rarely used today. I filled my recycling bin and was happy to toss some musty paper out!

What I realized during this exercise is that while forms of communication have changed considerably through the years, the basic tenets of time management have not changed at all. I like to start my course by saying “Time Management Is a Fallacy,” and point out that you actually cannot manage time since we all have the same 24 hours each day. What you can manage is yourself and how you focus your time: what projects you take on, what tasks you say “no” to, and what your job, organization, and manager require.

One of the best methods for organizing your time is by accurately analyzing how you spend your time and then making sure it’s appropriate. The time management exercise shown that I used 31 years ago is just as relevant today. I hope you will take the time to click on its image or here to complete the exercise and share the results with me.

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