Is Love Greater Than Fear?

The most famous quote from Machiavelli’s book “The Prince” is:

“Better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.”

Uh, oh, Tim is quoting Machiavelli, this blog has jumped the shark!

I heard this quote recently in a virtual HR event. HR speakers seem to come in two types:

1. Love is greater than fear. This is popular and most fall into this camp. It’s a feel-good play. The first rule of HR speaking, it’s always better to make the audience feel good, than to give them something they actually need.

2. Machiavelli’s assessment, It’s better to be feared. Less popular take, but I do hear it in the form of stuff like, “I’m not here to be your friend, I’m here to get results!”

I also have smart friends who pull Machiavelli’s name out anytime they want me to feel like I’m on the wrong side of something, “How ‘Machiavellian’ of you, Tim!” Okay, I get it, you’re smarter than me, how ‘Machiavellian’ for you!

The normal breakdown of leadership goes like this. You would rather be a beloved leader than a feared leader. Those leaders who are loved will be more successful than those who are feared. You have to be one or the other. Or do you?

I think all leaders deep down in places we don’t talk about at parties (A Few Good Men reference!) want to be loved, or at the very least, well-liked. It’s human nature. No one really wants to be hated. It’s stressful, people don’t want to be around you, it makes for uncomfortable hugs, etc.

On the love side, love can make you do some crazy things, but so can fear. I would drive all night to help my wife or kids with something if I thought they really needed me, even if they or I could probably find another alternative. I would also probably work all night if I thought I might lose my job and I need to pay my mortgage. Love and fear are powerful in getting us to act.

I think fear is bigger when it comes to crunch time scenarios. I might ‘love’ my boss a ton, but when the project is on the line and the company might lose a major project and cost us hundreds of jobs, fear is driving the truck, not love. Love won’t bring those jobs back, fear might just win those jobs back.

As leaders, this our dilemma. I want my team to love me, but I also need a touch of fear on the edge. It’s an imperfect balance.

What I know is love isn’t the only answer, no matter how many memes you make or posters you put it on. I don’t know if Love is bigger, it’s definitely more popular, for obvious reasons, but great leaders have used both. I want you to love me, I need you to fear me a bit, in the end, I’ll probably use both to get the job done.

If You Don’t Stretch, You’ll Never Know Where The Edges Are…

Did you know the N95 mask that is critical PPE for healthcare workers right now was invented by a woman at 3M in the late 1950s?

The title of the post is a quote from Sara Little Turnball, she was a designer who started consulting for 3M in 1958. She was super sharp and made a name for herself prior to 3M, and then 3M came calling. They didn’t know what to do with her (it was 1958 women aren’t supposed to know more than men, right!?! ;), so they started her in the gift wrapping section, because you know she’s a woman!

She decided she needed to do something and created a famous product presentation called “Why?” where she presented one hundred ideas to 3M executives for various products that actual people would use. She told them there were so many uses for this moldable, woven textile they had created.

So, they hired her to make a molded bra cup. Of course, they did! But, she persisted and let them know she was also using the design and material to make a better type of surgical mask. Her first attempt failed, but eventually what she started turned into basically the N95 mask that 3M started producing in mass in 1961.

“If you don’t stretch, you’ll never know where the edges are.” 

You guys know I’m not a “failure porn” person. Just fail more. Fail faster. Etc. Sara Little Turnball was a designer and inventor and it her world you needed to fail. She estimated about 90% of her work was failure.

The world takes both types. Creatives will fail way more than they succeed to reach their genius. Producers can’t fail as often, and shouldn’t. We need all types in this crazy gumball factory we live in.

We need people willing to stretch themselves to find the edges. Today, as we take off for a long holiday weekend, I’m grateful for this lady who was willing to find the edges and I’m betting so are millions of healthcare workers who are fighting for our lives.

 

#CoronaDiaries – The Travesty of Hero Pay!

I’m back in the office and I’m feisty as ever about all this “Hero” pay going on across the world! I love Heros, I mean who doesn’t love Heros, but…

Can I be real a second?
For just a millisecond?
Let down my guard and tell the people how I feel a second?

Also, beyond excited that Disney+ is releasing the Original cast of Hamilton on July 3rd! In the comments give me your over/under number of the amount of times I’ll watch Hamilton on Disney+? (I’ll tell you what my wife’s number on me was after a bit!)

If You Are Efficient You’re Doing it the Wrong Way!

I read this interview with Jerry Seinfeld recently and I wanted to share a piece from it below:

A few thoughts on this…

  1. You know I’m all about efficiency when the process calls for being efficient, like in recruiting. When you start talking about being creative, like Jerry is above, that’s when you have to throw efficiency out the window. Genius doesn’t have a timeline. Sometimes working smarter not harder isn’t the right answer.
  2. “Who’s McKinsey? Are they funny? Then, no I don’t need them.” Too often we ask for help from folks who don’t know what we do or how to do it, but they have an MBA from an Ivy League school so they must be smarter than us, right? Right!? Well, they might be smarter at somethings, but you know your business and you probably know what needs to be done. The question is do you have the courage to do it or are you using a consulting firm because you want someone to share the blame?
  3. “The show was successful because I micromanaged it.” When I speak to really successful entrepreneurs almost all are successful because they micromanage the crap out of every aspect of their company. We like to act like this is a bad trait because it can be destructive, but most of the great leaders find ways to micromanage and still treat people really great. It’s not one or the either, it’s both.

 

I love reading and listening to really successful people talk about why they are successful when they aren’t trying to be impressive. When you get the real stuff. I think this was some real stuff from Jerry.

 

Happy Thoughts by Tim Sackett

My local news station is doing just positive news for one of their half-hour shows on Thursday early evenings. I’m a cynic, I suspect it’s a play to grab ratings on a low ratings time, but you know what? We could all use some good news!

So, I sat down to think about all the Happy things that are going on that I could share. It’s not easy! There’s so much negative, I can’t even with the news anymore, but here goes:

The All-In Challenge!

Have you heard about this? A bunch of celebrities are auctioning off stuff and they’ve tried to make it inexpensive so everyone can have a chance, not just rich folks. So, you can be in Kevin Hart’s next movie and get the chance for $10 to put your name in the hat! Or Justin Beiber will come to your house and sing a song! You can play in the NBA Celebrity All-star game, etc. The entry fee for each is just $10 with all proceeds going to provide food for those affected by the pandemic. I’m obsessed with this, I want to do half of the stuff!

Hourly Workers Getting their Do! 

To be honest, I’m not a giant fan of everyone calling themselves heroes. I like to save the “H” word for those who really put their lives on the line for my freedom and safety on a regular basis. All that said, hourly workers usually just get dumped on with crappy pay and crappy jobs, and right now many of those folks are holding this country together. I was in a gas station today and the lady in front of me was running a laundry mat and she said, “I’m an essential worker! I’m needed right now!” Yes, you are my dear! Get all the feels you need right now!

Family Tik Tok Videos! 

They are corny. Some funny. Some not. All of them are families doing stuff together and I quite frankly think it’s awesome. Even those where they are just having their Mom or Dad hold the camera. At least you are finally doing something with your teenage kids! Family Tik Toks and Puppy Tik Toks, keep them coming. If you haven’t downloaded Tik Tok, it’s 99.9% stupid short videos and every once in a while some pure gold.

Conversations at the Dinner Table! 

Yep, we are all sick of each other by this point, but in a couple of months, I have had more real conversation at my dinner table than the combined past two years! That is awesome and makes me smile! My wife and I are actually getting tired of cleaning up after dinner because it’s happening every single night! I have boys so you usually don’t get a lot of conversation anyway, but it turns out if you actually sit down every night, they start talking.

The Return of Civility! 

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like everyone is a nicer right now. I mean I guess any of us could kick the bucket at any moment so we tend to just be a little nicer to each other. Of course, early on we were all fighting each other for toilet paper, but once we got settled in I think people are truly caring about their neighbors and community. Even in my work interactions, everyone seems to be really concerned for each other’s safety.

I like thinking Happy Thoughts. I’m reminded of a great quote by Viktor Frankl:

 

Are We Still Pissy About Unpaid Internships?

Back in the height of the Great Recession (think 2008-2010), when we had double-digit national unemployment numbers. It was dark times, especially for those students who were graduating and those trying to get internships.

Most organizations in hard times cut internship programs. It’s not that they are not important to recruiting, it’s just the ROI drops as unemployment numbers rise. If you have a lot of candidates, it’s tough to spend valuable resources on interns who aren’t really adding much value, if any, to most organizations.

Internships, at its core, is mostly a one-way proposition on the front side. We hire you to get experience. We pay you. We hope you’ll come back and take one of our open jobs and in the future help us be successful. It usually works out, but it’s not a guarantee. In hard times, “not a guarantee” is a hard budget item to get approved!

During the Great Recession the idea of offering “Free Internships” was being used by many organizations and a lot of people lost their minds!

“You have to pay people for the job they do!” “All Interns should be paid fairly!”

Basically, this all went away pretty quickly because the economy took off and we got to the point where we weren’t just paying interns, we were competing for interns and developing all kinds of programs and incentives for interns because talent was so scarce.

The argument wasn’t really solved, it just disappeared because it was no longer relevant. Well, say hello to my little friend! The Free Internship concept is back! Thanks, COVID!

Let’s talk a little bit about our current internship situation!

  • Most organizations have canceled internships for this summer. There will be significantly fewer internships for the summer of 2021, as compared to summer 2019
  • As unemployment rises and layoffs grow, more will cancel these programs.
  • New graduates who can’t find jobs, need experiences to build their resumes.

Should we offer Unpaid Internships? 

YES!!! 1000% YES!!!

Now, let me explain. If you can afford to pay your interns, but be a dick and not pay them! If you can’t afford to pay interns, but you can afford to give students and graduates valuable experiences, give them those experiences!!!

I never understood the argument that you must pay interns for their time. I did student teaching as part of my undergrad degree. I worked a full semester as a teacher and I paid full tuition and never got a dollar for that work! My wife is a Physical Therapist and she did many practicums (medical internships) where she had to pay for school, work full time without pay. Many professions have this happening.

We turn a blind eye to these examples and just believe it’s part of getting that degree, but it’s truly no difference. The reality is, the experience you get, the ability to put that brand on your resume and have a professional reference is very valuable. So, working for free almost always works out for the best for those who take on those experiences and give it there all.

For the record, I have paid my interns. I will pay my interns this year. But, I can’t tell you I’ll always be able to pay interns. At that point, I have a decision to make. Not have interns, which only hurts those kids who need an internship, or have unpaid interns. I’m completely comfortable having unpaid interns, as I know the value it gives those individuals.

I’ve gotten questions recently about unpaid internships, as I hear so many people canceling their internships for this summer. “Can we have an intern work remotely and be unpaid?” Well, it’s not officially an employee, but if you want to “mentor” a student, and that student what’s your mentorship, nothing is stopping you from helping that person out!

Understand, if you aren’t going to pay someone, you get what you pay for. But, I also truly believe that a student who says, “Hey, I can give you twenty hours per week to learn the business” we have a moral obligation to help these students out in a time of crisis!

Okay, hate me in the comments – but we need to be open to Unpaid Internships!

Would you choose to live at your job 24/7 for a month? These workers did!

40 employees of Braskem America in Marcus Hook, PA unanimously decided they would lock themselves in their plant for 28 straight days, so they could safely make N95 masks for healthcare workers. Day and night, they worked, ate meals with each other, and slept at the plant to ensure there would be no spread of the virus to the products they were making.

The workers spent 12-hour shifts making polypropylene and a non-woven fiber in N95 masks, hospital gowns, and sanitary wipes.

Braskem has given the workers “enhanced employee compensation” for their work.

They were provided an onsite kitchen and supplies to sustain them as they operated the manufacturing facilities in isolation, according to Braskem.

Workers got TV breaks and drive-by visits from family during the 28-day period.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Well, I would do the same thing!” Especially given that most of us have just spent a full month or more with our families in lockdown in our houses! And I believe many people would have sacrificed as these employees did for the betterment of the healthcare workers who desperately need this PPE.

But don’t kid yourself, I’m sure this was an emotional decision for many! It’s not like the workers of a manufacturing facility do this on a normal basis. Most probably don’t travel for work, so they see their family and friends every single day. Going a month without that contact had to really difficult! I don’t like going for three days without seeing my dog!

The HR person in me loves this story and also knows that somewhere out of this probably comes a wedding, or bad breakup, or a baby! You just don’t keep 40 people together for 28 straight days, day and night, and not have some stuff go down! If HR has taught me anything, it’s humans will be humans!

I know the reality of this situation is this company was doing what companies do. Because of a crisis, they have a very short-term opportunity to make some great money and in the process help healthcare workers, help their employees, and help the stakeholders of that organization. It’s a win-win-win all the way around. It doesn’t stop this being a great story and we need all of those we can get!

So, my question for you today is, would you be willing to spend 24/7, for a month with your co-workers and your co-workers only!? Working, eating, sleeping, side by side? Hit me in the comments!

I loved that one of the workers being interviewed said one of the things they took for granted was being able to work next to someone and sit down to eat next to someone and not have to be six feet apart or even worry about that. When they came out into the ‘real’ world they realized they took stuff like that for granted.

Zoom Bombs! Let’s have some fun!

Okay, if you’ve been working at home for the last month or so, you’re getting bored with video conferences with your team! You’ve also probably heard of some Zoom meetings getting “Zoom Bombed” by folks outside of your organization that figured out your public link and come in cause all kinds of havoc.

I want to Zoom Bomb your weekly team meeting! But not to cause havoc, but to just have some fun and talk shop!

Most of us set up weekly meetings with our teams. The same day, same time, same meeting link. It doesn’t have to be Zoom, could be Web-ex, Bluejeans, Google Hangout, Microsoft Teams, etc. The key being you have a normal meeting where you talk shop with your team.

I think it would be fun to drop in on some of your meetings and shake things up! So, let’s play! Here’s my promise to all those leaders out there that might have interest:

  1. I’ll be fully dressed.
  2. I’ll be as professional as I am on this blog. That means no porno images or hate language! I might bash the University of Michigan if you consider that hate language please don’t invite me! 😉
  3. We’ll have some fun and learn some things, and I’ll try to help you out.
  4. I will not tell you if I’m coming on or not!

Are you interested in having me Zoom Bomb your Team? 

All you need to do is send me a quick email to sackett.tim@hrutech.com and let me know you have an interest. Give me the day, the time, and the link for your meeting. Also, tell me who’s on the call and what you guys usually get on the call for.

I mean what could go wrong!?!

Like, please don’t send me a link to your meeting and then decide to use that meeting to lay off your entire team! I mean, while I would have a great story to share, I’m not sure your team would really appreciate that! Or maybe they would, no judgment!

I hope to see a bunch of you by surprise over the next coming weeks!

Leaders Aren’t Best Judged in Crisis, No Matter What You’ve Heard

We are in a crisis. Everyone would agree with this.

It’s been popular since the beginning of time to judge people based on their best moment. Stand up tall, when others are small and you are destined for greatness in history. No matter when you did before or after.

Rudy Giuliani, by most, is considered a great leader of our time for his leadership in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. He was in charge when the towers came down. He said and did the right things during that time. He will be forever remembered for that time in his legacy.

The reality is, leaders are not best judged in times of crisis.

Great leaders should not be judged by how they reacted in a once in a lifetime event, but how they act every day. On good days, average days, bad days, and very rarely on crisis days. The problem is we aren’t paying attention on normal days. We don’t see the greatest. So, we judge them on the few times we see them, which are either celebrations or catastrophes.

Crisis management is incredibly difficult by leadership teams at organizations. You try with all of your might to put your own situation aside, but it’s always there in the background, while you try and do what’s best for all involved. The hardest thing a leader will ever do is make the decision that some will have to lose their job, so the majority can keep their job. Even putting your own name on that list of cuts, isn’t as difficult.

Nobody wants to be judged by his or her worst moment. In crisis management, we tend to have a lot of worst moments because we are often making quick decisions with limited information that in hindsight looks foolish.

As we are all going through some level of crisis management currently, I wanted to share Professor Scott Galloway’s three steps of crisis management from his NYU class he teaches on the same subject:

  1. Top Guy or Gal Takes Responsibility
  2. Acknowledge the Issue
  3. Overcorrect

Overcorrect is the key. Well, I’m not sure if we should do this, let’s just wait a little while longer and see what happens. NO! Overcorrect. Make the safest choice possible. Make the best choice possible for your people. Act swiftly.

If we watch, we will see great leadership moments in any crisis. Some of these moments will be by great leaders doing great leader stuff. Some of these moments will be done by idiots who just happen to be in the right place and make the right decision. Don’t confuse a moment of leadership competence with being a great leader.

Great leaders don’t just show up for a crisis, they show up every day.

 

Momma always said, “Stupid is as stupid does”

Do you think we, Americans, will be able to self-quarantine?

I don’t. Let me give you two examples of why not:

  1. It’s this past Saturday. We are getting ready to hunker down at Casa de Sackett. Part of our nesting process is to get some projects done which means a quick trip to the Container Store to get some materials. The Container Store is very close to the Cheesecake Factory. In my mind, “No one is going to be out, let’s just slip into the Cheesecake and get the last supper in before the big shut in!” We arrive at the Cheesecake Factory to find a 30-minute wait to get in. A giant gathering of people inside around the host stand all squished together. Breathing on each other and acting like none of us are really sick.
  2. Pictures have been circulating (like the one below) from this past week in Florida as Spring Breakers are just out doing Spring Break stuff, during a global pandemic. By the way, similar pictures were spreading about 3-4 weeks ago from Italy before they had to shut down the entire country and start making death bed decisions on who gets care and who dies.

There is a line in the musical Hamilton from the second Cabinet Rap Battle where Hamilton says to Jefferson:

“You must be out of your god damn mind!”

Most of us, right now, are out of our god damn minds. The fact is the vast majority of us, around 97% will survive the 19 without much issue at all. So, we think what the hell, extra Spring Break suckers! I’m outta school!

The reality that will soon hit home is when we are attending virtual funerals for our Mom’s and Dads, and Grandparents, and aunts and uncles, the little boy down the street who has asthma but I thought it was a great idea to bring him a stuffed turtle from Clearwater Beach and kill him.

For all those folks who think the flu is worse and we are just overblowing this entire thing, answer me this – if I gave you one hundred Skittles in your hand and said, no, they taste great, only three of them will kill you, would you eat any of them?

Apparently I would, because I thought going to Cheesecake Factory for one last meal was important enough to put myself and my family at risk, and I’m the average American right now…

But god damn are those sweet potato fries are amazing!

See? We’re all Fucked! Keep safe out there my friends, and for the love of Saint Pete stay away from people! And stop buying all of the toilet paper!