Author Archives: Karen Snyder

Mindset - Performance Management

Assumptions and Roller Bags

On our recent bucket list trip to Australia and New Zealand, my husband Bill and I realized that his luggage rolled more easily and smoothly than mine. When taking a trip of this magnitude, suitcase performance is put to the test.  

Weeks after arriving home, I was working through my to-do, but not urgent list. I started reading reviews and investigating luggage options online. After looking through various models and colors, I selected a highly-rated carry-on roller bag and hit “purchase.”

The next day, two identical large boxes arrived. I was in a hurry, so I brought them in without opening either. “Wow, that was incredibly fast,” I thought. I guess I accidentally hit “two” even though I only wanted one, I surmised.

The next day, another box, similar in size, arrived. Again, I was distracted, so I brought the box in, but I didn’t stop to investigate. I was miffed. Why three boxes? I only remember ordering one suitcase.

Later in the week, I pulled out the first suitcase and I remembered looking at the brand and thinking the plum color was nice, but the reviews weren’t good for that brand, so I didn’t want it. Did I accidentally order it? I checked my online receipts. It wasn’t there. I checked my credit card. I had been charged for one suitcase, not three. Weird. Again, this couldn’t be a priority this week as I had two presentations and I was hosting our neighborhood book club. I was going to need to make a lot of calls to figure out the mystery. In the meantime, I stashed the extras in my car trunk to be out of the way before my guests arrived.

The next day I was working in my office when the doorbell rang. The person was persistent and would not stop ringing. I was deep in a project and not expecting anyone, but finally went begrudgingly to the door. There the very polite UPS man said, “I need to ask you an embarrassing question. Did you receive any packages this week that don’t belong to you?”

“Indeed I have. What size approximately?” I answered.

“The size of carry-on luggage.”

“Well, walk right this way. Let me take you to my car trunk. Could this be what you were looking for?”

He went straight to the labels and noted that the two boxes were not addressed to me, but to a neighbor with a similar last name and the same house number, on a different street. Why hadn’t I checked the labels?

I do a lot of consulting and training about rushing to assumptions, and here it was again. I was so certain in my belief and assumption that I had ordered the suitcases, that I didn’t do the most obvious thing, check the label! When we talk about assumptions we often think about those that put others in a more positive or perhaps a more negative light, but our assumptions can also be time-consuming, costly, or even dangerous.

How do you check your own assumptions? How can you slow down and notice? Please tell me, I need the help!

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Conflict Resolution - Performance Management

Performance Management: Is Your Workplace in a Pickle?

Like over 30 million other Americans, I have been playing pickleball. I am bad. I don’t say that to be coy, modest, or kind, I am truly not a very good player. What I love about both my husband and the group I play with is they are very, very encouraging. I hear on the pickleball court in the evenings what I hear in organizations during the day, both the good and the bad.

For the most part I hear encouragement like “Good idea!” which is a lovely way to say, “You missed it, but you at least know where to stand.” Or “Good try!” Or “Now you’ve got it.” I am both amazed and impressed by the different ways this supportive group encourages.

One night I had a new partner. She was so kind and supportive of me, but when she herself missed the ball, she called herself an idiot, stupid, or a loser. Another player suggested, “If you start encouraging yourself the way you encourage Karen, your game will improve.” She heard the feedback and I can only imagine that her play has improved as well.

Sadly, not everyone in our group is so supportive. One member said to me “You have absolutely no hand eye coordination. You should hit against a board about 200 times a day, every day for about 3 months and then come back. My spouse did this and it helped.” My takeaway from that interaction was, “You need to learn about Carol Dweck and the growth mindset.”

Carol Dweck wrote a Mindset: A New Psychology of Success. In the book, Dweck says that those who see learning as an ever-evolving and fun process have greater life and career satisfaction. They aren’t expecting life to be easy so they aren’t easily frustrated when life becomes challenging. I discuss Dr. Dweck’s research in my programs and I use it in my life. I notice during performance discussions that those who are expecting work to be challenging are more open to feedback.

Now on the court I say to myself, “I don’t serve consistently, YET.” It’s helped my game. What growth mindset phrases have helped you in your work and life?

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Diversity and Inclusion - Employee Engagement

Juneteenth is 61 Days Away

Holidays have a way of creeping up on me. It’s springtime now, and before you know it, it will be summer. I know that I often have the best of intentions to commemorate special days, but often I fall short on the delivery. It’s suddenly Father’s Day and I haven’t even thought about organizing a family event. Or it’s Veterans Day and I forgot to send the special cards that I purchased for my friends who are Veterans.

If you are working in an organization that recognizes holidays with special programming, there are 61 days until Juneteenth. The past few years we have sent out suggestions for ways to honor this special day, but we heard from our readers that they came too late to include any of the amazing options in their plans. Here are some ideas and suggestions in advance, so you can put one or more in place before this important day.

Watch Videos Together:

Social Inequities Explained in a $100 Race

The Sounds of Slavery

“Stand Up!” from the movie Harriet

March, March

Distribute Articles and Host a Discussion Group:

Corinne Shutak, 106 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice

Ibram X. Kendi, The American Nightmare

Daryl Austin, George Floyd’s death has to be a tipping point. White people like me must fight racism.

Tim Wise, Code of Ethics for White Anti-Racists

Nikole Hannah-Jones, The 1619 Project

Howard Ross, Everyday Bias article and presentation

Karla McLaren, How to Support Antiracism in Yourself and the World

Washington Post Magazine, Visualizing Racism

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail

Jane Elliott‘s Blue eyed/Brown eyed exercise

Display Quotes:

“The opposite of ‘racist’ isn’t ‘not racist” . . . Success for the anti-racist is a world where power and policy support equality of opportunity for all. This equality of opportunity will produce equality of outcome.”

— Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Anti-Racist

“We are persons classified as white in this society. As aspiring anti-racist allies/collaborators, we seek to work with people of color (and follow their leadership) to create real multiracial democracy. We do not fight racism on behalf of people of color, or as an act of charity. We oppose white supremacy because it is an unjust system, and we believe in the moral obligation to resist injustice.”

— Tim Wise, Code of Ethics for White Anti-Racists

Black Lives Matter

I Can’t Breathe; 

No Justice No Peace”

— Millions of people all over the world

Provide Books:

Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility 

Layla Saad, Me and White Supremacy

Other Options and Activities:

Play Juneteenth Jeopardy with questions related to Black history.

Plan for a Lunch and Learn and invite a university professor or professional speaker to talk about Black history, music, or culture.  

Learn about soul food and cook authentic recipes.

Tour a Black culture museum or exhibit.

Read a book about civil rights and host a book discussion, or invite the author to speak to your organization.  

Host a movie afternoon and show a movie or TV show, for example:

  • Miss Juneteenth
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Black-ish
  • Atlanta
  • All American: Homecoming
  • Sherman’s Showcase
  • Watchmen
  • Harriet
  • 13th
  • Malcolm X
  • I Am Not Your Negro

For more resources, click here for a list compiled by my racial diversity peer group. I am just starting to read and listen to these sources. I am sharing this list and I have seen it in several places, but I cannot endorse the materials.

We hope this list will give you both ideas and time to create an event that will bring your employees together to commemorate this special day.

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