Author Archives: Karen Snyder

Appreciation - Self Reflection

Worksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been one of my very favorite holidays. I like the family time where we all sit around making suggestions about what we should do together. Usually nothing actually happens — it’s so predictable that it is fun! I love the aromas and I am especially delighted when I smell apples and cinnamon baking together, wafting through the house. It blankets me in peace and sugar.

When I first heard the word “Friendsgiving” from my eldest son, I admit that I was a bit taken aback. You mean my kids could go off and make their own traditions and eat wonderful food with their buddies? Their BFFs? I quickly got ahold of myself and realized the blessing of those wonderful friends! It was even easier to embrace Friendsgiving when I realized how those friends have become a tapestry of our entire family’s lives. Oh how I love those adopted young adults that have brought joy to our nuclear family!

And if there’s going to be Thanksgiving with family, and Friendsgiving with friends, I would like to propose Worksgiving. For Worksgiving, my list of gratitude is as long as the other two categories. Here goes…

I am thankful for fulfilling work that helps people improve their work lives and often transcends into their personal lives. If you are receiving this, you have touched my life and I want to hear from you again.

To the clients who have hired me or are planning on hiring me, I am oh, so grateful. Without you, there would be no Concordia! And where would I get the money to buy the turkey, the apples, and the cinnamon? Thank you for your trust. And thank you for the referrals; they are my life boat and they mean the world to me!

I am thankful to work with the most creative, caring, giving, and flexible people on the planet! Thank you to Keri, Tina, Pam, Mary, Pam, Arnie, Lane, Dave, Lara, Laura, Dahlia (we miss you!) and recently, Tiffany.

I am so, so grateful to the NSA-DC board and chapter. Thank you to Nicole! And thank you to Ann Marie, Colleen, Denise, Dr.O, Gregg, Kiki, Lewis, Liz, Liz, Myla, Sharon and Shelley. Thank you for your incredible support. I adore each of you so much!

Wow, what would I do without my NSA National friends? The list is way too long, but this year alone the following people have been incredibly helpful: Jennifer, Lenora, Laurie, Gary, Patti, Pegine, and Russ.

Thank you to those of you I missed when I rapidly dashed off this list. Please make your own list of gratitude and pass it on. Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving and Worksgiving– all excuses to express appreciation.

Let me hear from you as you tell me what you appreciate.

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Communication - Workplace

Rule Rethink

Is it time to reassess your office rules?

When I was in my twenties I went to visit my girlfriend Anne at her parents’ home on the Kilmarnock River. Once there, I found myself helping with their spring cleaning ritual, and a ritual it was! It included setting up their porch for outdoor summer relaxation. Down from the attic came bright chairs and tables, seat cushions, and a huge 1960s indoor-outdoor carpet. Trying to show initiative, I started to unroll it.

“Stop!” came a roar from their entire family. Startled, I froze. They explained, “We start unrolling from this corner, not that corner.” “Why?” I asked. The answer: Because that is the way it had always been done.

Now Anne’s family were loving and generous. They invited me to share their home and go out on their boat. They treated us to a crab feast and they lavished attention on us. They just had rules. Some made sense to me, and all made sense to them. I see the same phenomenon in many workplaces. Think about the rules that you have in your office. If you use the last of the paper in the copy machine, do you replace it or is it the job of the person who follows you? If the workday starts at 8:30, is it okay to arrive at 8:31 or even 8:51?

Of course we need rules, but problems arise when we don’t communicate and assess them. So ask yourself, “Are office rules serving you or are they getting in the way?” If you’re not sure, ask your colleagues — they will be happy to tell you if your rules are in their way!

Once you figure out the keepers, communicate them clearly and without judgment. I find starting with “I would appreciate it if…,” is a great way to get the conversation started.

Let me give you an example of a rule done right. In a workplace I frequent, there is a sign above the copier that reads, “Use the second tray and input this code, or the copier will jam.” I appreciate that clarity. I don’t want to be the one who jams the printer and creates a big hassle. And that is really the litmus test for good rules:  Do they make the workplace a more efficient, friendly, and productive environment for everyone?

What are some of the rules in your workplace, written or unwritten?

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Communication - Meaningful Conversations

The Bat on the Table

Sometimes, or is it all the time, we get so wrapped up in our own little world that we fail to grasp what’s going on around us.

A few years ago, I rushed home after work to pick up my son for a chiropractic appointment. “Jeffrey, get in the car!” I bellowed. Since I am not one to waste time, on my way out the door I grabbed the baseball equipment in the foyer and stashed it in the garage where it belonged.

We were on time for our appointment, but the chiropractor was not. As we languished in the waiting room, I received a text from my husband, Bill, that said, “You must have left in a hurry, the TV was on, there are dishes on the counter, and there’s a bat on the table.”

Slightly insulted, but deciding to take the high road, I responded,“Thanks for cleaning up and starting dinner.”

He replied, “Do you want fish or hamburger? And, what do you think I should do with the bat?”

 

What was his preoccupation with that darn baseball bat? I typed back, taking a deep breath and remembering all his many amazing qualities, “Put the bat in the garage with the cleats.”

To which he responded, “But I’m concerned about rabies.”

Wait. What? All this time he was talking about a flying rodent in our kitchen? I’m concerned about rabies too!

He referenced the bat several times, but I was so wrapped up in my own concerns — being tired, hungry, and frustrated — that I failed to truly understand what he had said.

Miscommunication happens all the time in business, and in life. And it’s often the result of not looking outside of ourselves and truly appreciating the efforts and words of those around us. I bet you have had a miscommunication today, and certainly this week. Pretend that I am Ellen Degeneres and send them to me. I can’t wait to read them!

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