Commit or Quit

I wrote last night about how a single blog post has completely upended Uber’s rocket like trajectory to the top of the business world.   Uber and Lyft provided a much needed alternative to current modes of transportation available in our cities.  Uber was a head of the game, but a lack of discipline and an abysmal, abusive corporate culture has derailed their ascent to the top.

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When you look at the core values of Uber, at least from what can be pieced together through various media and former employees’ reports, are built around winning and only winning.  Some of these are toe stepping, make magic, super pumped, and always be hustling.  While these are levels of motivation you’d want to see in your employees on the daily, they’re not the only traits or values that you’re looking for them to uphold.  Most companies’ core values reflect their goal of making a profit, but they also reflect their goal of making a profit in concert with integrity, great work environment, and responsibility.  The core values serve as a guide for all of their employees to make sure the business is run both within the letter of the law and with the utmost integrity.

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The establishment of core values for a corporation is important as it signals to employees, customers, and shareholders who you are and wants important to you as a business.  When establishing the core values, it is essential that all levels of the organization commit to living within that value set or else you’re operating within a house of cards much like Uber.

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Much like any habit, if you say you’re going to commit to running 25-30 miles a week to achieve a PR at our next race, but you only run 10-15 miles a week your PR will likely not materialize.  Likewise, if you as a business commit to core values, but do not adhere to all of them, your business practices will not align with your core values.  Moreover, as a leader you’ll have little to no credibility with your folks.  The lesson is don’t be half pregnant.  Don’t preach one things and live another; commit to your goals, your values and stick to them.

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House of Cards

Uber had been a darling of the business world for the past couple of years.  When my youngest son and I along with his best friend and his mom found ourselves stranded with a couple of strangers at a seedy motel in Union City, GA at 2:00 am.   The hotel shuttle dropped us off assuring us we could use our vouchers there.  Upon dropping us of at the hotel, the driver collected his kickback and promptly departed.  No sooner had the driver left, when the hotel clerk informed us that they did not accept Southwest’s travel vouchers.  As the others in the party argued with the hotel clerk, we sat off in the corner with the kids watching as several pimps and their hoes walked in and out of the hotel.   There was no way in hell that we were going to stay out of the hotel, but getting a taxi outside of the city was difficult.  A businesswomen from Milwaukee, called us two Ubers and booked us hotel rooms as a hotel closer to the airport.  Thank god for her and for Uber.

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The past couple of months for Uber, much like that night for us, have been nothing but an unmitigated disaster culminating yesterday with the departure of Uber’s CEO.  I was reading an article in the paper the other day about the state of Uber and how one blog post has brought the once might company to its knees.  In her blog post, Susan Fowler described her very strange year as an employee of Uber.  This blog post recounted a number of issues at the company including explicit sexual harassment, career sabotage and gender discrimination to name a few.  This blog post by a former engineer ended up going viral setting off a number of earth shaking events at the company.

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The lesson for bloggers is that your words matter and your voices can be heard, so use the platform wisely and judiciously.   For corporate leaders, consider how your run your teams and your organizations.  If your employees were to write a blog post on your leadership, what would they say?  Would they recount stories similar to Susan Fowler’s?  Leadership is rarely glamorous and often thankless, but when people are treated with respect and made to feel value their opinions of their leaders and organizations will reflect it.  Build an organization on respect, valued employees and principled leadership and you won’t find yourself leading an organization built on a house of cards.

 

For further reading on the Uber debacle:

https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/how-a-single-courageous-voice-led-ubers-ceo-to-resign.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/22/technology/uber-workplace-culture.html

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/22/uber-cto-thuan-pham-susan-fowler-travis-kalanick

 

Celebrating 18 Years of Jake

Today my oldest turned 18!!!  As I sit here and try to figure out where time has gone, I can’t help but think of how proud I am of the man he has become.   I am also amazed that well he is now 18 years old, I don’t look a day older than the day I delivered him.  Amazing, I know!

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The fact that he’s now an adult has thrown me for quite a loop.  Although the benefits are many, I no longer have to pay the unaccompanied minor fee when the boys travel to Minnesota without us.  There’s $150 saved!  He can finally buy a lottery ticket, however, he informed me today he felt his money would be better spent on stocks.  I’ll be referring him to Garth’s new book for some great pointers as he starts his investment journey.

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This evening he brought Alexis to figure skating and she had some great gems for him including this nugget of gold.  He needs to get a better job, so he can drive her in the limo she deserves.  She definitely takes after her dad John.  She also shared her plan to go to college and then get a good job, so she can buy a limo to be driven around in.  I have to say I love her style!

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Jake and his brothers enjoyed a nice dinner Sushi Yama and some Arrested Development.  We had an awesome cake from Menchies with a hodgepodge of number candles after the Mayor failed to deliver his ear wax candle he had promised Jacob earlier.  I’m sure Jacob more than a bit relieved that the Mayor failed to deliver the candle he promised would smell both like a fart and his ear.

 

In a little over two weeks, Jacob and I will head down to Miami to see Paul McCartney.  I’m thrilled that my son’s dream gift was tickets to see one of my idols.  As a Beatles fan since childhood, this concert is a dream for both Jake and I.     Happy birthday Jake!!!!

 

To Be Or Not To Be

When the question is whether or not to be a helicopter parent, the answer is always not to be.  Helicopter parents aren’t something I remember from my youth.  I cannot recall a time where numerous parent volunteers populated the halls and the classroom my elementary school, but it is the case at my children’s school.

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While there’s nothing wrong with volunteering in our kids classroom, it isn’t healthy when you’re child goes off to kindergarten and you go too.  I remember when Goalielocks was in kindergarten he had a classmate whose mom was literally in class as a volunteer every single day.  While it was awesome that she was able to help the teacher every day, it wasn’t healthy for her child to have her in class every day.

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While my brothers and I were in middle school and high school, my parents were always there to support us, but they allowed us to make decisions and make mistakes.   My parents were never involved in any of our relationships and certainly never orchestrated any of them.  Present day, we parents like to meddle in our kids relationships, in our kids’ grades and all aspects of their lives.

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The problem is if we handle every issue, every bump in the road our kids face, they will never learn to overcome obstacles on their own.  This leaves them ill prepared for the obstacles they’ll face in their adult lives.  As hard as it is to watch the stumble, we have to let them stumble and make mistakes.  It is through these mistakes that they’ll learn critical thinking skills, that failure is okay and that we all make mistakes.  Life lessons they’ll take forward into their adult life that are invaluable.   The alternative of course is that we smother them as a helicopter parent and they turnout like Buster from Arrested Development.

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Daily Dose of Cuteness

The boys gave their guinea pigs their first bath yesterday.  Their little pigs are super sweet and they’re doing a great job taking care of all three of them. Here is Goalielocks’ piggie Simone taking her first bath.

Sage Advice

With my oldest about to turn 18, gulp, there have been a lot of talks in our house about the future and paving a path forward in life.  The beautiful thing about high school graduation is that it is a clean, fresh start.  A chance to take all that has been learned and forge forward into new learnings and to creating a life for ourselves.  Even though most of us are slightly past high school graduation, maybe more than slightly, the advice is still pertinent.   Here are three pieces of sage advice that can benefit us all.

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First, whatever path you choose in life, whatever profession you choose do it well.   Take pride in our craft and pour your heart and soul into it.  To give it any less would be to short change yourself of both your full potential and opportunities.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson eloquently wrote, “a man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise shall give him no peace.”

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Secondly, don’t be afraid to choose the path less traveled.  It is easy to follow the herd and a path that has been freshly cleared, but it is not always rewarding.  This will make being passionate about what you do difficult.  Blaze your own trail.

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Lastly, the biggest challenge and the biggest accomplishment is to be authentically you.  There is a constant pull, amplified by social media, for you to fit a certain mold.  The pressure to dress and look like celebrities and influences is unending.  The pressure to be the perfect spouse or parent is suffocating.  Never mind  the fact the definition of perfect parent depends on which day of the week it is, what season it may be and the time of day.   If you try to keep up with the ever evolving standards, you’ll drive yourself crazy.  If on the other hand you remain true to yourself, you can keep your sanity and should feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Happy Father’s Day!!!

“One father is more than a one hundred schoolmasters.”  This quote from George Herbert, 17th century English poet and orator perfectly sums up the role and the importance of fathers in our children’s lives.  In modern society, we place (with good reason) a lot of emphasis on the importance of motherhood while not always paying much attention to the role a strong father plays.

 

My brothers and I were fortunate to have grown up with a father who was always here for us and instrumental in our lives.  He shared with us his love of music, military history, aviation and Dr. Who.   Give my parents a call today and you may hear his music blaring in the background.

When my mom was working second shift, I learned to cook by helping him make dinner on those days.  I cherish those memories.  My dad has always treated my mom as an equal and has always supported her, her goals and her career.  My dad’s love for my mom and for us kids was always on display.  To this day, my dad still carries the pink comb I gave him when I was in preschool.

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Now that we are older and have kids of our own, our kids get to call him Grandpa.  My oldest brother and I both have kids, who absolutely adore him.  What’s even better is that my kids have a father, who is exceptional.  My hubby is an amazing dad, who is devoted to me and our kids.  He’s volunteered as a coach on their hockey teams since they started in 2010.  Some seasons he’s been on the roster of all three of their travel teams, which is a huge investment of time.

 

He’s taken the time to show them how to fish, how to build and how to be men.  When I work late, he cooks amazing dinners, helps with the homework and takes them to hockey practice.  Our life runs at a crazy pace and without a true partnership, we’d never be able to manage our life successfully. My boys are blessed to call him dad and blessed to have three grandpas, who love them unconditionally.  They are lucky to have so many positive male role models in their lives.

Time to pop a bottle and celebrate all of the dads in our lives.  To all the fathers out gthere, who day in and day out work tirelessly to support their family, happy father’s day!

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