Winning Book!!!

I am reading a very interesting book about in an effort to improve my “performance gap.” What’s a performance gap you say? Well in her book Winning from Within, author Erica Ariel Fox describes it as the disparity between your actual reaction to a situation or problem and your “optimal reaction” to that very same problem. This is a very real phenomenon. Have you every thought the moment you said something, uggh I sounded really, arrogant, patronizing, impatient or like a horrible parent? Ahh then you too have experienced the performance gap. The interesting thing about this quick read is that it gives you practical applications that real people can practice in everyday life as a leader, friend, parent or employee. It is also completely based on someone you can control, you. I have read a number of books on negotiating strategies to get desired results, they can be helpful to a point, this one may be on to something though with practical strategies for developing yourself from the inside as a leader.

Gorilla Marketing crazy or effective?

Yes, that’s me posing with a pee cup! What was a fun morning at the Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk in Minneapolis this past weekend turned in a learning opportunity. People actually find gorilla marketing fun and engaging. There was a line for the pee cup! I’m sure that like my photo, several others ended up on Facebook pages around the Twin Cities Saturday morning. and weather we want to admit it or not, that is brand and name recognition you couldn’t pay for! While paid advertising is a necessary evil, we need to capitalize on opportunities to make average people brand ambassadors for our organizations. So before you kick that random idea out of the conference room, entertain the thought, and remember this, I work for the competitor but even I needed a photo with the pee cup!

I’ve missed you!

Sorry for my extended absence. You know how life catches you and then you look up and a year has passed? That happened to me but I’m recommitting to this wonderful outlet of all the things I love about creativity, photography life in advertising and just generally good stuff I’ve learned! Thanks for sticking around!

Hit the ground running!

A cure for the unemployment blues is when you get that new job hit the ground running! That is what I have done, but I did not mean to neglect you all. My new job was less than a month from launching a new promotional campaign and needed some immediate creative direction.  On day two I was meeting with the creative agency the company hired. They needed some immediate feedback on new directions for the look and feel of subsequent work. So I just finished week three and I have directed four products from conception to production without taking my coat off! Truth is, I love it! I could not be happier to be needed. When we launch, I will share.  The best part of my new job is the fresh energy of the team I’m a part of. Newly hired, ranging from almost a year to 3 weeks it is a talent storm! I have learned a lot and made new friends I know I will have for years! What a perfect storm, I know I will be smarter for having worked with this marketing dream team! Watch out Twin Cities here comes HealthEast.

Cozi a warm and friendly family calendar

So, I start work today, yay! This past week I found there was a lot of organizing I needed to do to prepare my home for my new schedule.  I apologize for my absence! I looked at the wall calendar and thought of filling in the pertinent appts for my husband to see. We will now need to share the teacher conference schedule as well as dental appts and school physicals.  I went hunting for a solution and I stumbled upon, not just another calendar. It is a virtual assistant. I created a family profile, set a group password my husband could remember then loaded my chlidren’s school schedules. This part was super easy because you can load the electronic school calendar. That’s right Cozi’s got district schools in it’s system including my children’s small year-round district.  Then I proceeded to load the appointments on our calendar.  Next I downloaded the app to mine and my husband’s iPhone then set the alerts! Best part ever it will text and e-mail reminders to whoever is designated on the appt. So on Friday, two hours before our daughter’s preschool parent conference, my husband’s phone will  text remind him, and he will get an email from Cozi. This may just be my new best friend! You can add the whole family then simplify and only view the events that involve one person.  Did I mention you can set others to read-only so they can’t mess with your beautiful schedule?

It’s been a long time……..but change has come!

It has been a busy week. I had business lunches on Monday and Wednesday. I had interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday both went well. I had a third opportunity come up on Thursday. When it rains it pours. I was offered a job on Friday and I knew it was the one I wanted. A great fit, exciting work for a company I believe in.

So I’m back to the land of the employed and I’m eager to begin my new journey. I will be back to focusing on my tips and tricks for innovating marketing management. All while putting them to practice on a daily basis. I’m so excited to have you all following my journey! Thank you for all the prayers and encouraging words.

Hillery Shay

Manager of Brand Services at HealthEast

Flexibility breeds flexibility

One of the most difficult balances to achieve is the balance between work life and home life, especially for moms. Maternal guilt is real! We internalize all the looks we receive when the pie for the bake sale is store-bought. I at least buy well. While I grocery shop at Rainbow, I buy pies at the boutique bakeries. This assuages the guilt somewhat.

As a manager I try to remember that people had lives outside of work. While in theory it would make sense to keep work life and home life separate, I would argue that the traits people exhibit in their home lives are part of the reason you hired them in the first place. I am a results oriented leader. As long as we hit our goals and the work gets done, I am happy.  I truly believe that flexibility, within reason, breeds flexibility.

On a calm weekend in 2010 someone decided to commit news and shoot a St. Paul cop. It happened to be a weekend when we only had one day time shooter. I came into the office to direct news coverage. I began thinking of whom to call to cover the shooting and my phone rang. It was a staffer who was off that day asking if I was alright coverage wise. I was just about to call them, because I was not OK! I needed bodies fast! I shared this and they made a plan and hit the road to cover the story. A lot of journalists understand the fast-paced unpredictable nature of news and are ready to pitch in, this was different, it was  an unspoken agreement.

This particular staffer had a busy home life with two active children and a traveling spouse. I often made sure they could start their day from home, make it to sports games etc when their spouse was out of the country. As long as the work got done, I was not going to mandate that this responsible member of my staff were sitting at their desk, just for the sake of making them do it. This respect for their family meant that they were willing to help me, the way I had helped them, by being flexible and helpful.

It may not always work, by no means should you allow people to take advantage of your kindness, but flexibility can be extremely useful.

Standing out in the field

I had a second round interview today and a manager actually thanked me for doing something that seems like a no-brainer, but that others rarely do. Before my first interview, I took the job description’s key points, and I summarized my experience and skills that would help me achieve that portion of the job. I typed it as neatly as my resume and I submitted it after my interview so that the focus was on our conversation throughout the interview.

This was purposeful. I knew the second round would be a panel and they would likely be forwarded everything I submitted. First, it gave me a chance to explain the main reasons I felt qualified for the position even if their note taking was sparse. Second, it allowed me to go deeper in round two instead of just repeating myself. This gave the new members of the panel a chance to read the legible notes I typed up on why I felt qualified for this position. It also gave them insight to the round of the interview they had missed and I didn’t have to rely on the notes taken by my interviewers being shared. When I was thanked by a potential new manager of my position, it was clear this set my interview apart.

Today the other stakeholders came to my interview feeling as if they already knew the answers to most of the job related questions. This let them ask more questions based on my management style and collaborating personality. Since the second round is really the group you will work with the most, it is great to let them get to know you in a more relaxed fashion if you can. I can honestly say I enjoyed meeting the panel today and I enjoyed the more personal nature of their questions since I had already filled them in on round one. So, if you have a big interview coming up, you may want to try this technique.

The waiting is the hardest part of anything

During different parts of my life, waiting for a breakthrough for my next goal is the hardest part of change. I thought the hardest part of transitioning fields would be going back to school. Instead, I found the work hard but rewarding. I learned I am a much better student as an adult who knew exactly what I wanted to do.  I loved learning the business concepts for work I had been doing for years without the foundational knowledge.  I gained a true perspective on budget statements and management style, as well as creative approaches to problem solving, that don’t occur naturally.

So why is it that the hardest part is waiting for your chance to put those enriched skills to good use? I think it is because I’m so eager. Not just eager to find a job, but I’m eager to start a new career.  I get so much joy from working hard and collaborating with people, that I find I miss the little things like the joy of adult conversations and hearing diverse opinions. While most will tell you to enjoy the time you have off between jobs, I think the joy of working hard in a satisfying role is just as rewarding.

I had an interview last week for a position I really want. So this week I wait. Wait for a call for round two, wait for a call on a new interview opportunity and wait to begin that new career. Honestly I don’t know how I’m going to stay in my skin long enough to get through the week!  Send positive vibes for my sanity! If you are thinking of going back to school, do it!

Today is Higher Ed day, I did it so I know you can!

Raisin in Minnesota

Just wanted to share my post on Good Enough Mother today. I’m off to prepare for my interview!

I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. Have a wonderful day!