Monthly Archives: July 2009

The power of online bridge playing

2009.7.30 Community -

The world is shrinking. In the midst of a record breaking heatwave, my hubby and I were invited to dinner with his parents and two houseguests. These houseguests were friends his parents had met online whilst playing bridge, which for these two sextagenariansis an obsession. They sit in two different rooms with two different computers playing with folks across the world. But now here is why this is so cool. My hubby’s parents are Ismaili muslims from East Africa. Their online bridge playing out of town guests are Jewish and live in Israel. And they all got together in North Vancouver for chicken and a good time. LOVE IT. And who says the world is not changing…


Why hosting a great party and being a great HR person go hand in hand…

So on the weekend we hosted a party to celebrate a birthday. It was a heck of a lot of fun and large… more than 60 people came by. So what are the synergies between party hosting and effective human resources? Here are  a few to nibble on:

  • Determine your strategy: what kind of party do you want to throw? Big and boozy? Warm and intimate? Who is the party for?
  • Be prepared: there is nothing worse than a party that runs out of wine or food. Yes people will bring their own drinks..but if it’s a fun party they will stay a while and drink more than what they brought. Always keep a set of gourmet pizzas in the freezer.
  • Duty to accommodate: one must always provide non-alcoholic punch and club soda.
  • Understand human behaviour: people bring red wine, but drink white. We call this the “red wine effect”. No one wants to bring a warm bottle of white wine. We rarely buy red wine for parties.
  • Acknowledge and appreciate different styles: if someone is happily sitting on the couch, glass in hand, gazing at the party do let them be. There is no need to try and make them go all “extrovert”.
  • Leverage the strengths around you: if someone is determined to fill glasses, the chip bowls or create a playlist do let them go for it.
  •  Orientation is key to party goer success: when guests arrive show them where the drinks, food and washrooms are. Then introduce them by doing the following: “hi everyone, this is “Jim”. He works for ABC Company and loves doing the Grouse Grind/ lives in the ABC building/is from Toronto..” You can now move on as there will for certain be someone in the group that loves the grouse grind(!), works for or knows someone who works for ABC Company, or is from and/or hates Toronto.
  • Measure everything: if a good party one will receive emails and phone calls the next day thanking them for the party. There will be a few (less than five or six) bottles left. There will also be at least one broken glass.
  • Have fun!  One must not take oneself too seriously, but will take the hosting (your job at hand) seriously.

Wandering eyes…

"Ogle Office?"

What to say about this? It is kind of funny… shall we gasp and say that women are being ogled and objectified…or shall we just shrug our shoulders and say men will be men. I actually think Obama and Sarkozy score some points for appearing to be “one of the guys”. I can only imagine the discussions in Obama’s spin room. So to be fair,  I don’t really have much to say about this. Just that it is amusing and a reminder that we are all human. And, when the leader of the free world gets caught “ogling” and men go “he’s one of us!” that us ladies need to be ok with men ogling… or not…

Know thyself and avoid leadership 101

rudeI read the most refreshing thing this week. Peter Drucker (uber management guru – in HBR a lot) has stated that if you want to instill leadership in an organization, focus on self management. That’s it. Nothing much else.

Now what is self management or “managing oneself”? According to Drucker, by the time you are in your mid-twenties you should be able to answer the following questions – cornerstones to understanding oneself:

  • What are my strengths?
  • How do I perform?
  • What are my values?

By knowing the answer to these questions an individual should be able to decide where they belong, or at least where they do not belong. And knowing where one belongs can transform an ordinary person – hardworking but otherwise mediocre – into an outstanding performer. Drucker’s premise comes from the fact that historically, as humans we did not have choice about the work we did as it was typically passed from one generation to another. And up until the 1960’s and 70’s organizations told us what to do. That time is no longer. By having so many choices the only way to determine the right choice is to know thyself. And the only way to be effective in managing and working with others is to know thyself. And when you make the wrong choices, you become frustrated, unhappy and perhaps rude (more on that later).

Another Drucker pearl of wisdom I just love is “Organizations are not built on force, but on trust. Trust does not mean people like one another. It means they understand one another”. Pheew. Stop worrying about getting people to like you and just start telling them who you are, what your strengths are, how you perform, your values and what you intend to contribute. Another pearl: “If brilliant work fails when cooperation is needed, this indicates a lack of courtesy and manners”. I love that! We spend so much time being politically correct instead of just saying that someone is rude! Rude people are often described as having  “style issues”… or ” needing some feedback”. How about saying “they are rude and need to learn some manners!” One more quote I came across this week that is worthy of a mention is: “you get what you reward and you deserve what you tolerate”. So stop telling rude people they need some feedback and need to work on their style. Tell them that they are rude in the workplace and lack courtesy and manners in dealing with others. And then ask them what their strengths and values are. Now that is leadership.

Everything feels so clear…