Author Archives: Karen Snyder

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Have you met In? Isn’t she cheerful and easy to work with?

While vacationing last week we went to the local Kmart to purchase everything we had forgotten to pack.  While shopping, my son Josh pointed out this sign:

Kmart2

And don’t get me wrong, I espouse making mistakes.  In fact, in organizations where there are few mistakes, there’s usually a plethora of stifled minds, stifled initiative and stifled creativity.  And since I don’t want to have a stifled mind, stifled initiative or stifled creativity, I go out of my way to make mistakes, just ask my daughter.

Thus, it’s not the mistake that I find amazing, it’s that no one has corrected the mistake.  And yes, I am aware that many Kmart employees may not be college graduates and may not be native English speakers, but haven’t others noted and commented on the sign?

Don’t the security guards wonder why customers stop to take pictures of the sign?  Or was the sign placed there, for our benefit?  Perhaps it was a gift to our family so that the 7 of us would have something to chat about as we piled back into the minivan and made our way back to the beach cottage.

Please let me know and send me pictures to me of what you notice and wonder about.

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What to Cover?

red white blue bunting
I looked at my calendar last week, and there it was, the Fourth of July.
Time to haul out the red, white, and blue.
Except–a lot of the decorations were already up.
America the Beautiful.
Land of freedom and choices.
The past couple of years, we’ve had choices we didn’t expect.
Last fall, two snipers stalked the greater Washington area.
Some of us changed our routines, some of us refused.
While we could still choose, we certainly didn’t feel free.
Only a few months later, we went to war.
Service men and women lost their lives.
Families have been separated for many months.
I have consoled a friend whose son was in Iraq.
I have worn my red, white, and blue, and waved my flag.
I have purchased and stored gallons of drinking water for emergency
shelters.
I have filled out countless emergency-contact forms.
So, most of the decorations were already up.
I went to the mailbox to hang the last festive ribbons
and found my new Newsweek, with the headline, “Is Gay Marriage Next?”
Newsweek couldn’t decide whether to feature a gay or a lesbian couple on the cover, so they split the run. My copy showed two attractive women.
This year we’ve had to decide about what to cover, and sometimes, when to run for cover. Our freedom presents us with dilemmas we didn’t expect, as well as choices we value. On this Fourth of July, I plan to pay homage to
the men and women who have given their time–and their lives–to earn my
freedoms.
How about you?

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The more rigid the employee, the more gently to introduce change…

It was on 5:45am and 4 degrees when I left for my yoga class. Chilled to the bone, the frigid air washed away my drowsiness. I was looking forward to quickly forging into deep stretches easing my tense and tight muscles. You can imagine my disappointment when my instructor Jennifer’s first words were, “We will work slowly and gently this morning, making sure we don’t push too far too quickly.  We want to avoid injuries.”

While it wasn’t what I wanted to hear, my inner voice spoke to me.  “This is what Ralph must have felt yesterday when he wanted to fire Suresh and I urged Ralph to slow down.”

Ralph had come to me complaining about one of his most knowledgeable employees, Suresh.  According to Ralph, Suresh doesn’t share information, doesn’t speak up in meetings, and doesn’t respond to emails.  When Suresh does finally respond it is because he has been prodded relentlessly.   At those times his responses are often curt leaving his colleagues with more questions than answers.  Everyone is frustrated and upset with the situation.

Plant the seeds of change and let the rigid employee grow into them slowly.

Plant the seeds of change and let the rigid employee grow into them slowly.

Ralph came to me asking that I tell Suresh how unprofessional his work style was to the group.  Ralph expected me to convey these messages and for Suresh’s work style to change immediately, or else!

While I applaud Ralph for noticing these issues and expecting a more collaborative approach for his department, Ralph’s approach will greatly impact Suresh’s willingness and ability to change.  I’m not sure if the “or else” was intended for me or for Suresh!

Often, as in Ralph’s case, when we notice that change is needed we are incredibly upset and frustrated. Regardless of whether it is change that is needed in our bodies, in our behaviors, or in the behaviors of those we work with, when we seek change too quickly, it often backfires. Change is a long and steady process.   It involves many steps forward and hopefully fewer steps back.

Just as we are likely to injure our bodies if we try to change too quickly, it is likely that we will injure our work relationships when we expect immediate change from those around us.

Think of a time when you helped someone at work change.  How did you help them?  How long did it take?

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