Why I Love My Team

Apparently a theme for my blog will be, “Great advice I heard or read many (many) years ago, and I can’t give credit because I don’t actually remember where I heard or read it, yet it’s become an important part of my leadership style.” Because once again, I want to talk about a sentence that has had a powerful impact on me….

“When you die your job will replace you in a month or two. Your family never will.”

I think most (normal ;-)) folks would translate to, “Don’t prioritize work over family,” and there is a lot of that in there for me….But, as a leader, I also use it as a reminder that we spend a lot of time at work  – did anyone see the Jellybean Video on Youtube?

As a business owner I believe we have a responsibility to create the healthiest work environment we can. We encourage our team members to prioritize their family events. We provide them with all the flexibility we can to attend kid events, spouse events, etc. We believe in mental health days. As the manager I know, when I give the best of me to my employees, they give the best of themselves back…funny how that works, isn’t it?

Maybe it’s not the smartest business decision Jayne and I have made, because there is a high level of risk in this. But we hire people who become our work family.

Our very first Full Time Employee (and for any other small business owner’s out there you know why I capitalized those letters!) just celebrated her 9th anniversary. By March, well over 1/2 of our staff will have been with us for 5 or more years. I’m proud to say that most have been hired for new positions as we grew the company.

Yes, over the 9+ years the Academy has been in business, we’ve had a few folks leave the team to pursue other opportunities. We still miss them, tell stories about them, show pictures of the fun we had together and the things we accomplished. But there have been very few who have left.

How cool is that? #ILoveMyJob

We wrote this our first week in business. Our Company Philosophy starts with…

We believe people are our greatest resource – and count on each member of our team to be a superstar who, collectively, creates a high performance team. We treat our people with respect and learners as guests in our home.

Read the rest of the ITSM Academy Philosophy.

plaqueSeveral years ago, one of my team gave me a plaque for Christmas that says, “We all believe in each other, and THAT’s what makes us family.” That plaque is on a coffee table right outside our flagship training room in Ft. Lauderdale. It serves as a reminder to me that each and every individual who works here at ITSM Academy are my second family.

Without them, I could not function. Without their intelligence, love, support, generosity, ideas and courage, we would not be what we are.

Many times, learners have commented about the sign. Usually, it’s along the lines of thanking us for the culture we’ve built. Our wish is that our Alumni feel they now are part of our extended family, because that’s how we feel about them.

So here’s my advice.
If you going to spend such a huge percentage of your life at work, do things you love, with people you love. And if that’s not what your work life is like, then have courage to make a change. Either go find something else, or fall in love with your job again. Spend some time figuring out what it is about your job that no longer makes you happy, and take steps to get back to your “happy place”.

As a leader of an incredible team, nothing makes me happier then when someone comes to me with ideas and suggestions of changes they would like to see take place. Without that kind of dialog, team member can become disgruntled and negativity can spread like the plague!

So my thanks and love to my business partner, our rocking teams and Alumni. You guys make my life so rewarding.

Until your next trip into LisaLand…#LoveYourTeam!

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The Fish Stinks from the Head Down

3014736-inline-boss-vs-leader-1Boy, that’s an expression that can put the fear into any leader. Sometimes it can be exhausting to try and keep a positive mental attitude at all times. And yes, I let the negativity creep in, and Hurricane Lisa can hit LisaLand and do some serious devastation.

But then I remember, “The fish stinks from the head down”…. and if I want my corporate culture to be positive, energizing and happy, then I need to lead by example.

In a leadership training class, I learned that my leadership style is that of a Servant Leader.

Now please forgive me for quoting from Wikipedia, but the current definition available is a concise and informative;

Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

If this topic is of interest to you, Forbes has a great article titled,  Why Isn’t Servant Leadership More Prevalent?

In it, they site the example of, “Max De Pree’s leadership at Herman Miller, as expressed in his book, Leadership is an Art, that emphasizes the importance of love, elegance, caring, and inclusivity as central elements of management”.

Now, I’m not claiming to be anywhere near the leader that Mr. De Pree is, but I like the man’s style!

For you leaders out there – and everyone, everywhere, is a leader in my book – remember, the fish stinks from the head down. If you are being a stinky brat, you are infecting everyone around you. So just stop, take a deep breath, put a smile on your face, and remember all the things (and people) you are grateful for, and who look to you for leadership.

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Thoughts!

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Intellectual Rug Burn (IRB)

At the #SMFUSION13 Conference, I had a scary allergic reaction to some food at a restaurant. Three Benadryl later—no kidding—my team put me to bed. The next morning I was more than a little foggy when I attended Glenn O’Donnell (@glennodonnell) session, and I heard him say, “Intellectual Rug Burn”. That peaked my interest so much that I tweeted it, quoting him, and asked to share a frosty beverage that evening to learn more.

After the session, I asked Glenn about it. Here’s how that went:

(Hugs all around and my hearty congrats to Glenn for knocking it out of the ball park and then…)

Lisa: “You really intrigued me with that expression, ‘Intellectual Rug Burn,’ what did you mean by that?”

Glenn: “Excuse me”?

Lisa: “When you said, ‘Intellectual Rug Burn,’ what did you mean?”

Glenn: “Lisa, I said intellectual grunt work.”

Lisa: “Well, I heard what I heard…and then I tweeted it.”

No, that’s not embarrassing at ALL to have had that conversation with a lead analyst at Forrester…

To which Dhiraj Gupta (@dhiraj4772) quipped, “You have to come to the Cleveland LIG and present on Dirty ITSM.”  Sidebar, we are actually thinking of doing that, but in a way that’s humorous and informative without being offensive or too risqué – so if you have ideas email or tweet (@ITSM_Lisa) me.

Of course, we laughed a lot about my new favorite Fusion expression. Since I am an above average idiot, I shared the story with many of our industry friends. We are all in agreement, it’s a great expression, but what does it mean?

I’ve been thinking a lot about it. So I Googled it…I don’t know if I was surprised or not, but there are zero results found on the phrase…but it’s Awesome, because I’m coining it, and seriously thinking of registering the mark on it—LOL.

I asked my husband, but he got all political in his response, so I’m not going down that path with you.

So, my (perhaps still Benadryl fogged) brain started really thinking about it…Rug burn is something that hurts later, but while you’re getting it, you are so “involved” that you don’t notice it’s bad for you.

Add the word Intellectual with that, and one definition could be any conversation you have, with yourself or others, that feels good while you are doing it, but hurts later…

When put in that context, the first thing that comes to mind is gossip, whether it’s grousing about a co-worker, a competitor or an organization. It might feel cathartic to have the conversation, but what good ever comes from negativity? Wouldn’t it be better if our conversations centered on identifying problems, dissecting possible reasons, suggesting solutions and taking actionable steps to resolve the issue?

And I guess that’s my take-away from all of this. The next time I find myself having a conversation that I will later categorize as IRB, I’m not going to do it. Instead I will identify, dissect, suggest and take action! And I challenge all of you to do the same.

Because #ILoveMyJob, I don’t want any negativity in my culture, and let’s face it people, “The fish stinks from the head down.”

Until your next trip to LisaLand…Happy Conversing!

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Welcome to LisaLand

People often say to me, “you should write a book”. As a matter of fact, three peers at the itSMF Fusion conference said it to me this week. And of course, my immediate reaction is, “I don’t have time to write a book”… and I don’t. But, one of our keynote speaker’s – Cindy Solomon – talked about courage. And I realized, I can be courageous and start a blog. It’s not a book, but I think my random moments of inspiration are better suited to short blogs anyway – LOL.

The plan is to write about the things I know… process improvement, motivating teams, using humor and storytelling skills to foster relationship, etc.

Check out my professional profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

#ILoveMyJob

LisaLand