My favorite comments on my 2012 blog posts
Here are my favorite comments from some of my 2012 blog posts (in reverse chronological order). I have only one comment per person and where possible have linked to their Twitter profile. I have taken the liberty of taking excerpts or condensing them to a single paragraph per commenter and bolding and highlighting the key phrases or sentences which made them my favorites. I have added my personal commentary in italics after some. Lastly, please note that not all 2012 blog posts are represented below. One thing is clear… Avengers and cobwebs motivated readers to comment (and at times, comment extensively) like nothing else in 2012!
From What You Can Learn from Restaurant: Impossible (November 2012):
Lorna Bolduc: Excellent post. I would like permission to reprint this in the Connecticut Society of Association Executives newsletter minus the Thanksgiving lead in. Thanks, Lorna. I’m honored at this request.
From Digital East in Less Than 180 Seconds (October 2012):
Mayra Ruiz: Jay, this is an amazing and comprehensive curation of all the DEast12 goodness!! I can tell from the many wisdom-packed tweets and status updates that I clearly missed out on lots of good presos and convos. But with a list like yours, I don’t feel that left out!!! Thank you for sharing the knowledge and compiling it all in this fashion; and thank you for including our post on your list as well. @MayraRuiz via @RuizMcPherson
From Conference of the Bears (September 2012):
Donna Kastner: Nothing like a clever story to teach a lesson or two. Enjoyed the post, Jay. PS: There’s no pleasing those polar bears — they’re always griping about something.
From Who’s minding the cobwebs? (August 2012):
Meagan Rockett: Jay, this is a fantastic post! We work with clients all the time who may be in a situation where only one person in their operation is seeing their cobwebs in the first place. At times we find them in our office as well. What makes a difference is recognizing that they are there, and that it really should be a group effort to get rid of them. And those who participate in getting rid of them (with creative ideas or actually implementing the change) need to be recognized for their ideas – which in turn will keep them at bay in the future.
Chris Urena: This is a great post, Jay, and so true. I especially relate to your quote, “when everyone is responsible for a task, really no one is.” So often leaders overlook an immutable fact of human behavior – we all react and internalize things differently. In business this equates to – what I consider to be important, might be “back burner” status to you, and vice versa. The current trend in business management centers on organizational transparency and ownership. Although I am a huge proponent of this management style, I think traditional methods still hold value. Even though it’s tedious, I believe in creating formal, evolving responsibility lists for every employee. It helps us all remain focused on the global objectives, not just our own. And who knows…it might just help clear up some of those cobwebs.
Greg Melia: Great post. The best organizations with I have worked or been a customer have employees who care enough to take responsibility for the whole experience, cobwebs and all. The most frustratiing experiences have been occassions when employees are aware of breakdowns, errors or deficiencies but choose to ignore them. We can’t expect perfection at all times … But we can expect more than settling (and making excuses) for mediocrity.
Deb Rexon: Jay, great post! One of our commanders at JBMDL touched on a similar topic at a Commander’s Call last year when he noted that on one of his walk-arounds, he noted a hole in a wall. When he asked about it, his escort indicated that he hadn’t noticed it. Behavior like this also occurs in a volunteer organization to which I belong. More often than not, individual mind-set is one of “I didn’t create the problem/mess, so it’s not my job to fix it.” It is at times like these when we quietly lead by example, because sometimes our actions speak much louder than our words.
Deborah Oster Pannell: Jay, you make some excellent points here. My biggest takeaway is a question. How do we keep people invested in a project, company, organization, such that they are motivated to take initiative? How do we get people to feel that sense of pride and ownership that will inspire them to pay attention to those little details that can make all the difference between just OK work and something truly remarkable? It’s an ongoing challenge, isn’t it? I believe one factor is allowing people to contribute something of their creative spirit, so that they feel that they personally make a difference. If you can see something of yourself in the space around you and in the product that is being created, then you’re going have a bigger vested interest in its quality and success, including wiping away the cobwebs. I’ve worked in environments where this spirit has been nurtured and I’ve had the experience where it was utterly stomped on. The results always speak for themselves…
From The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People People (July 2012):
Andrew L.: Great article, Jay! Very well written. Consistency would be a great 8th habit to add. Many people people tend to fall short in their effectiveness because of the one or two days in the month when they are irritable with an employee or client. One bad reaction often erases any positive impression that the people person might have left on a client or employee.
From The Avengers: A Model Organization (June 2012):
Craig Sorrell: In conclusion, do not be like the Avengers. Be better than the Avengers. Be a remarkable person, but also be a remarkable teammate. If we set our work goals only to suit ourselves, like the Avengers do, we will fail. I could not print Craig’s response in its entirety here. He gets my award for a blog comment longer than the original blog post! Read it all by going to the link to the original blog post above.
Mandy Stahl: I really wish more organizations would embrace the ability to be remarkable and together. Being remarkable is not embraced because it is different and it scares people. I don’t think this is a problem with just associations, but in all office spaces. It is rare that remarkable qualities are encouraged and let flourish simply because of their place within the organization and the perceived need of the remarkable talents. All the remarkable people in the avengers seemed pretty bored prior to getting the call to action. They were not able to use their skills appropriately (except maybe Black Widow- and I’m still not sure her skills qualify as remarkable) until they were the second to last option (last, of course, being a nuclear bomb) for saving the world. Maybe what is more important is to realize that people didn’t believe in them until they finished the job. I love that you also addressed the “together” aspect of the movie. I liked that they all didn’t all get along and had their own flaws. Talking through and being vocal with your opinions and your own agendas is important to any group and I was happy that was written into the movie and only very rarely do I see that encouraged. Sorry for the spoilers!
Dave Sabol: Nice post Jay. I’ll need to preface my comments by saying that I haven’t seen the movie yet (but plan to) however, I’m pretty familiar with each of the characters individually and as part of the Avengers through my childhood comic book collecting. I think you pick up on a number of really key points that are common across organizations of all shapes and sizes. Of them two really stand out to me “remarkable” and “together”. Remarkable strikes me as tough because all organizations talk the talk, but very few walk the walk. It’s hard to be truly remarkable in an organization if the organizational culture doesn’t support it – despite what’s in the mission statement – so the idea of a “remark-ability drain” is very real as you point out. I think it’s incumbent on all organizations to really embrace being remarkable both inside and out of ones time on the job. After all, it’s the people that form the organizational fabric that keeps everything together. However, it cannot be contrived – people have gotten to smart for that – and I think it has to be reinforced every day. There are plenty of great examples of organizations that get it…Google, 37Signals, Apple and they are thriving while many others flounder so there must be something to it. We also have to remember that remarkable will look as different as each individual, so you can’t really put to tight of parameters on it. You may be a remarkable customer service guy, but I’m a wiz at product development…regardless it takes a whole lot of different strengths (like the Avengers) to create a remarkable team. Together is interesting to me because as you described the early stages of the plot because it pretty much is a textbook example of Tuckman’s Group Development Model (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing). I think too often groups fail in their missions because they aren’t allowed to follow that natural progression. The strife that takes place during the storming phase is usually seen as a sign of distress, instead of healthy group development, and groups are disbanded. However, as demonstrated in the film, if the group is allowed to proceed, most differences can be put aside, individual motives quashed and a true team emerges. Any so called high-performing team that doesn’t go through this process I’d say were merely a merry band of “group thinkers” too myopic to scrutinize the ideas of the group for fear of alienating themselves. Pretty thought provoking post overall, four simple words that have so much value and meaning. I’m glad you posted!
From My favorite comments on my 2011 blog posts (January 2012):
Chrissy Ward: Looking forward to spending time on Jay’s blog in 2012! Thanks, Chrissy. That was a great way to start 2012.
Hope to see more of all of you on the ChatterBachs blog in 2013!