Talent Lab – Candidate Experience Matters

Last month I went to a “Talent Lab” event (my first HR/recruiting event in an eternity) and was beyond impressed by the commentary and the crowd. The group was honest, refreshing and most of all, REAL.

Last week, the founders of Talent Lab, Tess Sloane and Alisha Adams asked me to write a post (#flattered!) and today it’s live!

Give it a read: Candidate Experience Matters

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Expand Your Mind – Best Reads of 2013

Last week I was giving myself a hard time because I hadn’t finished a single book in 2013. Gah. I have been given books. I have been lent books. I have bought books. YET, NONE READ. {None finished would actually be more accurate. Been working on Steve Jobs’ biography for like 10 months}. I am the kind of person who gets super caught up in a book. I love reading and once I get started, I usually can’t put the book down. I’m often hesitant to start a book during the work week as I always have a sneaking suspicion it’s going to affect how much sleep I get. And hell, I’ve needed all the sleep I can get this past year.

A few days after I was getting all mental on myself for not reading, I arrived back on planet earth. It only took a quick browse through my Evernote and Twitter favourites to remember that I read ALL THE TIME — just not books. :) Articles, posts and random doses of inspirations fly through my social media feeds every moment of every day {often in a somewhat overwhelming way}. Every now and again, I’ll click a link and be swept away. Whether it be a post that completely resonates with where I’m at today {or where I want to be tomorrow} or a big reality check in the face or something that gets my creative juices flowing… I read, re-read and share it with anyone I think might love it.

While I’ve been reflecting on 2013, some of my favourite posts of the year have come top of mind {in no particular order}:

If you’re keen on being a better human, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, thinking outside the box and drilling down on what’s most important, than you’ll likely enjoy some of these reads.

“A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag

Do you have a favourite post {or book} from last year? Spread the love. Share it with me.

PS – Since last week I’ve finished 2 books — “Doppler” by Erlend Loe and “Start” by Jon Acuff. Hurrah! Books {and sleeping} will be a part of my 2014. Setting that intention right now.

Dreaming Big – Part 1: Vision Boards

A few nights ago I started thinking about goals. It was random and motivating and ended up turning  into one long, very nerdtastic, project.

In 2010, I created my first vision board! I closed out 2009 with some very big goals for the upcoming year. I was entering into my final year of university and I had a number of intentions: get my degree, complete my designation, keep on track for 5 years of well-rounded HR experience and begin creating my personal brand. 2010 was the year I got involved in social media {really learned and understood why Twitter is rad!}. It was also probably my most successful year of my career.  I figured out what I was good at. I interviewed with executives across the country. I had job offer after job offer. I was recognized for my contributions to the community and my industry. I had opportunity after opportunity presented to me. And, I was happy. Pretty sure I was sleeping 8 hours a night back then too. ;)

I account a lot of my successes that year to dreaming big and staying focused. I had a personal board of directors who kept me in check, a mentor to push me into the uncomfortable and goals that aligned with my personal and professional growth. The year was by no means perfect — Exhibit A, Exhibit B — but did I learn a hell of a lot and did it contribute to who I am today? You bet.

I have no idea where I first learned about vision boards, maybe elementary school. :) I am a visual learner and liked the idea because I thought it would help my dreams come to life. In 2010, I wrote all my goals and then transformed it into a visual. Pretty straightforward.

This year, I approached things a little bit different. 

I’m 100% not ready to write my goals for 2014. I’m still focused on getting through this year and doing a lot of reflection on what worked and didn’t work. I’m very committed to reflection, learning from the past and moving forward with intentions. I feel like I gotta get to the end of the year, get on a plane to the UK, sleep a bit,  figure out what I’ve learned  this year and then write about it. Writing has always helped me move forward. 

I decided I would create a vision board based on my gut. What’s important to me right now, in this very instant? What am I not focusing on, that I really should be focusing on? Who do I want to be? What do I want to achieve in 2014?

A couple of hours later, I ended up with this:

Capture

Whoa, eh.

You know when something — just works? I put the finishing touches on my vision board and knew I’d hit the mark. It gave me clarity, inspiration and showed me what I’m working towards: strength, vulnerability, stillness, gratitude and embracing me for me. 

Next up, I plan to write my goals {and make them public!}, find a mentor and re-jig my personal board of directors. All good problems to have.

Interested in making your own vision board? Sweet!

A little advice from me to you:

  1. Brainstorm, dream and dig deep. What gets you out of bed in the morning? What gets you jazzed up and talking with your hands? What could you talk about with a stranger till the sun comes up? What is eating away at your brain and something you know you need to focus on?
  2. Do a sanity check with yourself. Did your “dreaming” land you on a tropical island with your mega babe husband, with wads of cash tucked into your bikini, a bling of a ring on your finger and a butler waiting for you with your glass of champagne? Similar to writing goals, you’re not going to want to create a “yeah-freaking-right-this-is-unachieveable-in-one-year board.” ;) Think about what REALLY matters to you — to your core. Start there. Be honest with yourself about what you want. There is no right or wrong. Just remember that you’re human.
  3. Find pictures — whether it be words or images. Pinterest and Google are both great starting places. Drop in keywords {could be related to your career, relationships, health or any items on your bucket list} and scroll through images. This process in itself will get you thinking even more outside the box about what you’re looking for.  When you find images you like, save them all to your desktop.
  4. Send Oprah some gratitude. In my opinion, Oprah has got the best tool on the internet for creating a vision board. Check it out and if it works for you, use it! I always loved Oprah’s web application because it allowed you to export it as .jpg, send to your mentors, save it in your Dropbox, etc.  You can also do an old-school vision board with magazines, scissors, glue, etc! 
  5. Get clear on what you want. When you start uploading pictures to your board, you’ll realize that you don’t love some or they weren’t what you originally intended. My best advice? Go with the flow. Find your focus. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Your vision board will be a work in progress and it’ll take a bit for you to be like — whoa, that’s it. 
  6. Keep it top of mind. Make your desktop background your vision board. How’s that for staying present on your goals? Alternatively, you could print it out and pin it up at work or on the fridge at home.
  7. Share it. I’m a big believer in sharing goals. Personally, it keeps me in check with myself and holds me accountable. Whether you want to blog about it, share it with your sister, brother or best friend, or send your mentor a note with your game plan… I’d encourage you to get comfortable with involving others in your journey.
  8. Take action. What’s stopping you? Like Amber Rae says — nothing. Get moving. Hustle. Figure out what you want and GET AFTER IT.
  9. Go with the flow. You may achieve a few things on your vision board — or you may achieve all of it. You will grow over the course of the coming year and your intentions may change. Be flexible and adapt as you evolve.

Dreaming big in 2014? Excited to head down this little journey? Keen on making a vision board or stoked on setting goals? Let me know what you’re working towards, I’d love to be a part of your journey.

PS – I turn 30 in 6 months. Like exactly, 6 months today. Eep. If anyone knows how to process that, please let me know. xo

Culture, Collaboration & Nerd Confessions

Long before I was outspoken, assertive, and extroverted… I was academic and introverted. I’m pretty positive that’s still my comfort zone (and to my core, I’m a total nerd).

I would rather listen to a TED talk than watch a movie. I would rather read a business or leadership book, than read chick lit. I really like school… like *really* like school. Although I absolutely hated Greek & Roman Studies, I enjoyed most classes in university. ;) When people ask me what I do for fun, I usually say volunteer, read, speak and write… whaaaaa? The keener strikes again.

When I’m not working or running or cooking up something magical, I often devour myself in the internet. There is so much to read (!!!), so much to learn (!!!).

I could easily spend hours upon hours reading about change management on Harvard Business Review, leadership on Dan Pontefract’s blog, high growth companies in Inc Magazine and community do-gooding on Mashable’s Social Good. Lots and lots of what I read is the same old. People recycling content and stories that we’ve all learned about over the last 10, 20, 50, 100 years. With that said, every day I read something where I’m like whoa — that’s good.

I randomly came across a recent presentation by TELUS International and Google on customer service, culture and collaboration — and boy oh boy, I thought it was a winner.

If you are remotely interested in building your business, empowering your team or thinking outside of the box, you’ll enjoy these takeaways:

  • Build a community, not just a company
  • Empower employees to make decisions and tackle big problems
  • Work socially to collaborate and connect
  • Invest in personal and professional development
  • Create time and space to innovate

I know it’s not rocket science… but seriously, not often do you see senior leaders getting on stage and talking proactively about THEIR PEOPLE. I love what TELUS has done to engage their call center crew — it’s totally rad. I love that the President of TELUS International has stood up on stage and said — yo, we’re going to be different. TELUS and Google are creating cultures where employees make an impact.

That is why employees are committing to them.

That is why employees wake up excited to go to work.

That is why employees are coming up with awesome new ideas and solving real world problems.

“… it’s important to go back and examine your own corporate culture – to make sure that your culture is well aligned to your strategy. And to define those key principles that your own people can embody in everything that they do. Your cultural values, and knowing how to reinforce those values, will be critical to your success.

And don’t think culture matters only within your corporate walls. Your cultural values should extend well beyond that to the partners you choose and the relationships you build with them. What we’ve shared today doesn’t mean that you have to aspire to have a culture like Google or TELUS International. These are just two examples. It’s about finding what works for your organization and the partners you choose to work with.” – Peter “Scotch” Scocimara, Director, Global Enterprise Support, Google

If your inner biz nerd would like to learn more, check out the slide deck, read the transcript (lots of GOLD!) or listen to a few excerpts from the presentation:

C