Friday Frustrations: Branding, Thoughtfulness, Diversity

No one is obligated to sacrifice for your brand. Everything's transactional. If you're not expecting people to pay with currency, you're expecting their attention and time. No one should be more invested in your professional walk (or hustle, you dastardly entrepreneurs) than you are...because no one stands to benefit more than you.

Offering to pay people a pittance (without any other transfer of value) to perform labor you're unwilling or unable to is an issue of character. Expecting people to do the heavy lifting of mining your professional personality (company ethos) and abilities to further your agenda without any reciprocation is repulsive. To expect others to draw on their hard-earned experience, insight and limited time to solely advance your priorities is to admit that lack of consideration.

Don't know what options are available to you? Start at Google and hit the virtual ground runnin'. Do a search for all the Meetup groups that convene within 50 miles of your zip code. Go on LinkedIn and take a peek at the profiles of head honchos and everyday folks that you admire - reproduce their "sound" in your own voice. List the brands you feel loyal to and consider why you're drawn to what they elicit in you. Take a look at groups in your industry and figure out the role you want to play.

...then play it.

Tidbits: Freelancer's Union / Gary Vaynerchuk / Society of Grownups 

Sure, ideas aren't everything, but blind execution's sloppy...and costly. When we aren't reading articles about Millennials or women and girls in tech, we're looking over ones that aim to whip all of us into a do...do...doing frenzy by diminishing the value of ideas. It's rarely mentioned how a variety of experiences and vantage points that come from diverse teams will expose more complex needs...that will result in a need for more thoughtful communities.

I'll admit that being able to act is key; I'll add that it's only possible to consistently do well if you've taken time to reflect on your options and resources.

Mine your more pensive employees by hosting think tanks over lunch. Invite direct managers to chat with HR about their team dynamic so they can be aware of what's missing. Offer your wonderful people opportunities to draw on the fullness of their experience (their volunteerism, soft skills they might not have been hired for) and foster an environment of thoughtful people striving to do great things.

Sometimes opportunities to innovate are missed because they're disguised as thoughtful consideration.

Tidbits: Levi Baer Consulting / "It's All in the Cards: Work Lessons in Spades"

Hiring a diverse team is not a Herculean task (so it shouldn't feel like one). When I recruited and managed teams, I took note of individual character, communication style and ability...and whether the combination fell in line with the company's identity, needs and goals. I don't suggest that people hire to create a family dynamic - bring members into the fold as if we're in the trenches. 

In any industry, we're up against competitors, the weak links in our own company culture, and mediocrity on an individual and company-wide level. That all hands on deck approach to working requires both vocal extroverts and discerning introverts, it requires Relationship Managers with the understanding that parenthood grants tempered by the bright eyes and blunt hunger of the interns.

These days, I hear predominately- and all-white or male companies sheepishly admit the lack of diversity while they wring their hands and set 1% increase goals. It's akin to indiscriminately reading literature of the Western canon and creating a Goodreads queue of amazing works by women and people of color without ever reading them. We spend time on the things we prioritize...no matter what the goal, how you act will betray those priorities.

When you learn to value ability and insight more than preserving unchecked biases and set standards that aren't driven by comfort and the need for familiarity, you will have a more diverse team.

Tidbit: Kristy Tillman: "The Problem with 'Diversity and Inclusion' Roles"