Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lessons From My Brother On Life, Career, and Taking a Different Path

Last week, I lost my best friend, my college roommate, my mentor, my mentee, my confidant, my consigliere, and most of all, my twin brother.

He passed away from complication from a terrible car accident that he never fully recovered from.
The loss for me is immense and my heart is broken.

Our family traveled to Raleigh/Cary, North Carolina area for the wake/services.

As part of the Thomas family tradition, once all the guests leave the house the night before the funeral, we gather around (just family members and close friends)  to tell stories about the deceased. We have perfected this ritual within the Thomas family.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Power of the Assist: How Do We Help When No One is Looking?

Not being much of a basketball fan, I admit I have not watched any of the current NBA Finals between Dallas and Miami.

The recap on ESPN during my workout is about it. When I grew up in the south it was always about football, never about basketball.

However, one of the things that has always caught my eye about sports was the amount of metrics that teams compile. While having team leaders with high metrics in each category never assures a winning team, I find it interesting how everything is tracked.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

You’re Not a Real Leader Until You Can Admit to Screwing Up

Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, said he and other managers didn’t do enough to challenge Facebook when he led the company. “I screwed up,” Schmidt said.

When I saw that statement, it was like two chest bumps. That’s what I am talking about.

There is nothing more exciting for me to see someone fess up to making a mistake. For a leader to do that, it is just awesome.

In this new era of leadership, you can never be a real leader until you pass that hurdle.

My father gave me this advice when I married right out of college. “Don’t ever be afraid to admit you made a mistake. A real man will always fess up,” he told me. My parents were married for 49 years and were in love with each other until the end.

He was always fessing up. I have had my share of doing that, too.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

How Do We Get Organizations and Employees Back on Track Again?

Mega change!!!

Those were the words that came back from a friend who is the Chief Human Resources Officer of a major global company in New York City. That was her prognosis of what she and the company were facing. The business model that her company had been successfully built on was now in total shambles because the marketplace had changed.

That same day my former employer, Martha Stewart Living, where I served as the VP of Human Resources/OD announced they were seeking “advice and council” by hiring an investment banking firm to gauge the market for a possible sale.

The publishing industry has taken a severe hit with the onslaught of digital media. Advertising revenues took a plunge and the repercussions were severe.

As the day was coming to end, which is always my time for reflection, I got a text from a friend who is a designer for a top flight design firm. As we exchanged texts, I felt that there was an underlying issue. When I peeled back the cover with some searing questions, she told me that she was thinking of changing careers.

Design, which she had loved since a child was no longer fun.