A sustainable up skilling strategy.

As you know, I’ve been in the HR industry a long time and pattern recognition is my jam, so I can’t help but experience frustration with “top 5 emerging skills” discussions. These articles are important as they trigger both individuals and organizations to prioritize and invest in #learning.

Good stuff. Really.

But this “top 5” approach is also a fool’s errand. The shelf life of skills are shrinking and the global talent shortage is growing. Our entire process for addressing our corporate skill gap is broken, while we are working harder and harder to keep up. It doesn’t take an expert to notice that this is unsustainable.

It’s not anyone’s fault – Business is changing fast. The HR function is already hard and the demands on CHROs keep growing. No function can thrive when priorities change every day and yet, for a talent strategy to be aligned with business needs, more agility is required.  We must find a path that allows us to work smarter, not harder.

We need systems that can adjust on their own without so much manual effort and we must build intelligence that helps organizations move to data driven experimentation to invent new pathways for employees to learn and grow. In a word, we need to leverage the power of machine learning (#ML) to solve the #upskilling imperative. Moving to a data driven and agile growth mindset that allows for both learning and unlearning.

What we need is innovation, not a faster horse. We need to recognize that HR doesn’t need to do all the heavy lifting to solve the skills gap problem – instead we can leverage the collective wisdom and unique capabilities of the workforce and let #AI automate a lot of the manual effort. 

We must think about a future-ready workforce structurally. Not as a fixed place but as a path that can adapt and adjust to the changing needs and realities. One where the wisdom of the crowds becomes a practical value to the business, and where HR can facilitate the execution of a talent strategy not just once (or every year) but ongoing and in real time.

We have the ability to focus on the longer term business goals — not a single quarter but enduring people sustainability. Because when the HR helps facilitate business strategy execution they are THE strategic advantage to the business. In the end people power business and HR is a people function.  

Cross Post

Word for 2023: Enduring

A conversation with ChatGPT

Human: what do generousimpactfulpowerful and joyful have in common

AI: They are all positive qualities or characteristics that someone can have. They indicate kindness, strength, and happiness.

Human: what would be a similar word that evokes a sense of legacy

AI: A similar word that evokes a sense of legacy might be “enduring“.

Human: how would you define enduring

AI: Enduring is defined as lasting or surviving for a long time, especially despite difficulty or danger. It can also refer to something that has a lasting impact.

Start with Why

I have a few core “why” elements.

The first is a deep sense of obligation to not waste potential. I’m learning that this is a bit of a shared experience for many “first generations“; the recognition for the sacrifices made on my behalf and the long term modeling of a strong blue collar work ethic create this context.

The second is a deep belief that we can make work better, and that the time is now. I reject the idea that people are interchangeable and here to fit pre-defined hierarchical role definitions. I believe that we are each more than our jobs and that our ability to grow, adapt, change and learn belong uniquely to us.

Define the goal

My goal is to help create the context of work that brings individualized purpose and meaning. To shift the story we tell ourselves about why we work and to champion growth, diversity and agency as the path. To recognize that small changes compound and that both personal and organizational habits are the key to lasting change.

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Move through the discomfort

I had a lot of discomfort with this word choice, as I also recognize that enduring can be about pain and perseverance. I recognize that my own tendencies toward hard work and goal orientation can be a risk for my own wellbeing. I have many times experienced physical suffering from overwork and stress.

In short, I have a massive boundary problem.

I wonder if I will compound wellbeing risk with this intention. And yet, I think this is also part of my 2023 journey, finding the habits that build the enduring outcomes I want to create with joy and meaning. So I will embrace the awkward and the opportunity, and I will remind myself that showing up, being curious and learning are the tools that have served me well so far.

I know that 2023 is going to be a hard year, especially for those who are unexpectedly navigating job change, I want to remind us all that our impact matters and that the investments we make in ourselves, our communities and our work endures.

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The Importance of Being Seen

I had the occasion this week to engage smart HR peeps on twitter to help me understand where they are landing on framing the future of talent management. As expected, I learned and I laughed – one of the reasons I don’t want to give up on Twitter, but I digress.

In all the talk about talent wars and “great” resignation/reset/reshuffle and quiet/quick quitting, I wonder if we realize that the real opportunity is right here in front of us. While it is true, worker expectations (and power structures) are shifting. The fact remains, humans wants and needs are same as it ever was, in a word Agency.

I had a few conversations this week that reminded me of the importance of being seen. When people feel really seen it unlocks greatness. When we are seen, we can contribute with the fullness of our gifts. When we contribute with our unique strengths we have a greater impact and feel good about ourselves. This is a kind of virtuous cycle that benefits everyone.

When I reflect on how we can find the opportunity in all this chaos around us, I realize that the real tools we need are both simple and complex. It is about fostering cultures where we value the individualized gifts and build authentic and trusted relationships to how we work.

The more that we open up leadership pathways to seeing the importance of human connection and job role individualization the more our working world will flourish – not just in the results of our work, but in how we value each other.

This is really great stuff. Let’s not miss it getting distracted by the click bait.

Cross Post

It’s time to re-think work

More than a decade ago I wrote an article for Workforce Magazine talking about what we would now call the gig economy. Predicting that the definition and construct of the job was changing and the relationship and nature of work with it. With the benefit of hindsight, I can say I was on the right track, but really didn’t go far enough with my thinking.

The nature of work is changing but the pace is far more dramatic than I had anticipated. When the average worker’s day has become less about complete task X, Y, and Z (where the value of X, Y, and Z remain constant) and more about Solve Brand New Problem #1443, companies need a high-tech solution. Something highly adaptable, capable of complex problem solving, and able to quickly iterate on past experiences in real time.  

Luckily we all already have access to that tech: the human brain

I was really energized when I read research in MIT’s Sloan Management Review that suggests that well designed work can make us smarter. You read that right – by making work better we can expand our human potential. This is exactly what Human Experience Management (HXM) is all about. When you make space for people to show up with their whole self, foster a culture of learning and facilitate adaptable dynamic teams, work can become dynamic and stimulating. Employees – and their brains – benefit from being challenged and they enjoy co-creating solutions. 

There’s risk in getting this wrong too. Work can be good hard and it can be bad hard. Complex is good, but too complex (re: far outside of skillset, quantity, etc.) can have negative effects. To understand how, when, and why to challenge employees, we need to understand each of them at their core – what motivates them and what they aspire to do that is what we call the whole self model.  

When in doubt, as Parker and Fisher write, make work and projects SMART 😉:

S — Stimulating (complex and varied work)

M — Mastery (providing job feedback and role clarity to aid mastery)

A — Agency (job autonomy and control)

R — Relational (social contact, social support, and interaction with others)

T — Tolerable (manageable levels of job demands such as workload and time pressure)

Now here is the most interesting bit – when we combine this energizing work with groups of people who are all working together something magical happens. Now instead of being forced to have all the ideas yourself, you can leverage the super set of strengths of the group. This is why dynamic teams are so important. When teams can dynamically form to solve problems great things happen, not just in solving complex work challenges but also in building a stronger sense of belonging. And when I’m energized and engaged in a place where I belong I am at my best to learn new skills.

As HR leaders, we have the power to change work for good – for our companies and for ourselves. Let’s make the future of work a future that values each person every day and helps each of us grow and upskill together.

Cross Post

Word for 2022: Joyful

Like most of us 2021 was a pandemic blur for me, a year of progress and power for sure, but not one to tempt the fates with prediction or intention. As we emerge into the new year with endemic clarity what also becomes clear, is that each of us has to choose our own framing for our life story.

This is not a new state, this has always been true, we are not in control and we have no power to predict the future. Not the distant future, but the next week/tomorrow future. In this knowing, there is freedom and clarity. What we must do is focus on how we react and how we impact. This choice is ours, and something we should seize with purpose and intention.

So as we roll into 2022 I am taking the moment to express my intention to focus on the joy. I will live the moments that present themselves to the fullest, and adapt to those taken away. I intend to recognize that I’m above average in adaptability and that fortune favors the flexible. I will remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for, first among those are you — the family, friends and community that I am blessed to know.

Thank you for being the light that helps me find joy in uncertainty, and for inspiring me with your willingness to share your gifts. I am delighted to see how together we find joy in 2022. Let’s be honest, we’ve earned it!

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It’s all so retro (or… no, I haven’t been hacked)

In the last few weeks I’ve been migrating my old blogs to make sure I don’t lose my own writing. I’ve since learned that notifications are firing (doh!) .

Long way to say, if you are confused that you are getting blog alerts from 2007 there is nothing to see here, we will be back to our regular neglect in short order and the chaos in the universe will stop.

If you do find yourself wondering into the early content, feel free to have a giggle at the brash and unfiltered view of 2007-2012 Meg… She was “really something” that is for sure.

The humor, typos and general grammar challenges, remain of course, one can’t have too much personal growth in life.

Honor your gifts

I was recently in a work event where, for fun, we were reading our astrology based personality profiles. Some statements about us were accurate and some wildly off, there was wine, there was laughing, a good time was had by all (well except one co-worker that might have suffered long term emotional trauma with a profile that was clearly written by someone with anger issues).

As I was reading my profile, a colleague was visibly shocked when I agreed with the statement that I “had a great memory”. In the moment, I realized something important — many of us have been taught that verbalizing our gifts is arrogance.

I believe that is not only wrong, it is a huge problem.

Here is the thing, we each have a rich set of gifts AND a series of challenges. Being aware of them and openly acknowledging them is a first step to finding more opportunities to use those gifts to help others.

Like you, I aspire to be someone who elevates everyone and everything I come in contact with — of course I fall way short of this goal most days, but there are days — glorious days — when I know I have made a difference.

When I reflect on the times I get it right, I know it happens when I lean on my strengths to help others.


So I challenge you to quit hiding your gifts and start advertising them. Offering them up to support and help others. Share them openly and without reservation and welcome the same from others.

We aren’t just stronger together — when we combine our gifts we are unstoppable and let’s be honest, we need more of this in our world right now.

The importance of breaks

As we round into an awkward summer of social distancing and surging outbreaks, I have found myself struggling a bit.

This isn’t my first setback, I had my first emotional surge in March as I was struggling to put any kind of order to the chaos, then again in May when I recognized I had a boundary problem, but these last few weeks have been different, they have been about deep and sustained fatigue. Emotional and physical fatigue.

I’ve known for some time that the challenge that I am facing is not unique. The balancing act of hope and reality is articulated best as the Stockdale paradox.

 “You must never ever ever confuse, on the one hand, the need for absolute, unwavering faith that you can prevail despite those constraints with, on the other hand, the need for the discipline to begin by confronting the brutal facts, whatever they are.”

Confronting brutal facts can be dark sometimes. Knowing that this is not ending soon, makes it clear I am in serious need of better coping and recovery strategies. I need to take into account the enormous emotional load I am under right now. While I know I have real blessings and privilege, I realize that I am also experiencing burnout. Feelings of loss and the sheer weight of cumulative anxiety and uncertainty.

I know I’m not at all alone, my friends are sharing articles about mom rage and mood swings and we are all seriously worried about the setbacks for working moms and the suffering and injustice of systematic racism.

These conversations are important but they are also fraught. I recognize I need to create better frameworks of self care, to be able to sustain my emotional health which has been suffering.


That last bullet is one I’m still processing.

I took a long weekend to think, and I realized that trying to plan for a vacation takes me to a dark place. Between the inability to travel, and the uncertainty of the kids summer/back-to-school plans, I feel overwhelmed. I am thinking what I will do is instead of trying to synchronize everyone’s schedules, is look to see if there is a way to take a few more mini-breaks over the summer. Doing nothing is not a viable option, as I can feel the impact on my mood and my physical health.

Finding balance right now is hard. Acknowledging the burnout is important, and building a path back to a more centered place is the next logical step. One that will help me feel more in control and help keep me going, as the work is far from done.

I am wishing you kindness and self care this month of my birthday (#KindJuly). I know that practicing kindness for ourselves is the first and most important step. Thanks for joining me on that journey.

My personal leadership user manual

IMG_0953It is well covered territory that I am all about the idea of finding and leveraging your best self.  I believe it’s the trick to thriving personally and professionally.  So, when a work colleague suggested that I create a user manual about my leadership style, I had no choice but to make it so.  Special thanks to Abby for this format that I’ve plagiarized.

My style 

  • I am very direct, my default position is to address things head on.
  • I love to learn – I’m always looking to add new skills, ideas and insights.
  • I am extremely goal oriented – I love setting, tracking and achieving goals.
  • I have a strength in understanding and managing complexity, I love ideating and problem solving.
  • I look at everything with both a strategic (what) and execution-minded (how) lens.  If I’m not confident in the success of the strategy, I am likely to push back.
  • My second language is sarcasm and I’m a collector of cultural references.
  • I have a bias to action – I want to make a plan and get moving toward testing it out.
  • I don’t take myself too seriously and I try to challenge myself to have a learn-it-all mindset.
  • I’m comfortable with being wrong and I’m experienced at apologizing.

What I value 

  • I value hard work and effort.  That said, I value even more people who work both smart and hard, because I want to have an outsized impact, and to do that you need to work hard on important things.
  • I appreciate candor and decisiveness.  If we disagree let’s do that openly.  If I’m wrong, I prefer you let me know.  I am a strong opinions weakly held believer.
  • I love to laugh, and I admire people with a good sense of humor.
  • I require honesty and integrity.
  • I love using my gifts to help others.

What I don’t have patience for

  • I have low tolerance for laziness and I abhor entitled behavior (in myself and in others).
  • I find people who only see success as bringing someone else down fatiguing.  I want to spend my time with great minds not small ones.

How best to communicate with me 

  • I am working to develop the skill of small talk, it doesn’t come naturally.  If you want to connect, it’s most effective to talk about something meaty vs. something surface.
  • I appreciate being able to get mentally organized on a topic before having a discussion — sending me SMS or email on what you want to talk about vs. just hitting me cold is very helpful.  Otherwise you will get a familiar “can you remind me what the topic we are discussing” question which is awkward for us both.
  • I’m an audio learner so flow charts and graphics take time for me to decode – I prefer pre-reading information, asking basic questions asynchronously, so that when talking in person we can have a richer discussion.
  • I embrace clear is kind and I appreciate it when people are clear with me in return.

What people misunderstand about me

  • I struggle to remember names — a lot — I am more likely to remember every other thing you have told me than your name.  I actually have this issue with almost any proper noun.  I refer to this as how my brain indexes complex topic “metadata” vs. the data itself.  I’m delightful at bookclub –“John, is that the guy that was the mechanic or the one that was the waiter?” or recalling business partnership opportunities “that company in Asia with xyz product with the sales office in Florida“.
  • I have extreme sensitivity to high frequencies — specifically, I experience significant physical pain if I take a call on an iPhone without headphones.
  • I am an ambivert with significant energy swings.  Too much extroversion can fatigue me like an introvert.
  • I’m very curious and ask a lot of questions, this can be annoying for people who don’t enjoy the 3rd degree.

My Quirks and Interests

  • In addition to being bad at names, I also have a severe “sense of direction disability” – I recommend against letting me lead the way to any physical location.  I also struggle with other visual spacial topics including but not limited to, flow charts and complex graphs without associated language.
  • I love nerding out on random stuff, especially if I can learn something or share with others, something I’ve learned — this is why I’m a TED conference enthusiast.
  • I enjoy reading for pleasure – majority of the time my preferences are less literary and more “beach reads”.
  • I generate a lot of typos – feel free to point them out to me (in this blog or anywhere), in most cases, it’s not that I don’t know the rules of grammar, it’s just that my brain can either finish a thought, or write well – rarely both.  I exist to help grammar snobs practice empathy.
  • I love the concepts of life hacking – I hate inefficiencies and love deliberate practice.  I especially believe that we should each be purposeful about how and where we spend our time.

Other Stuff

Favorite Quotes

What else do you want to know?  How can we build a better relationship together?  Hit me up with your questions.

*Editors Note: I heard a great tip once that if you find someone hard to understand you should imagine who they were at five and you might find them more likable.  This is me at age 6 sporting the best of 1970s fashions.  You’re welcome.

Embracing the power of difference


I read an article recently about surviving  your 40’s that said

The 40s are when you become who you are

This created the opportunity for falling down the rabbit hole of “who am I?” and are we just yolks [you’re welcome].

Knowing who you are makes it possible to embrace onlyness and find your unique power — this, in turn, drives real impact.  Important stuff.

The two most important days in a person’s life are the day on which she was born, and the day on which she discovers why she was born.Anon

As I reflect on my unique best self I realize that similar to Patty’s thankful for childhood bullies post, my childhood experiences gave me ability to be comfortable being different.

I attended 10 different schools K-12 (I also skipped a grade, so more precisely,  K-7 and 9-12).  I was continuously forced out of my [socially awkward] comfort zone.  Being frequently out of the loop on key foundational academic concepts, social norms and even popular lower school skills, framed my early reality (and self image).

My consistent experience was to show up lost, confused and out of sorts, and find my way to achievement, only to have to start over again the next year.   I now understand this as building grit but, if you had asked me in middle school, I would have called it disappointment and suffering.

My college and early professional experiences followed a similar pattern.  I was the first in my family to attend college.  After college, I began my career in tech and toward an elite job,  identifying and building skills for each of these new experiences as quickly as I could.  In other words, I was again lost, confused and out of sorts.  Dusting off and finding a new path forward became a core competency that has been the foundation of my professional success.

Not expecting to fit in, has made me comfortable in places that did not lend themselves to belonging — it felt natural to me to be the youngest (for a time) or the only (most of the time) or even just being the lone person who sees things differently.   I am able to say the thing others are afraid to say, and be my whole self in a way that feels uncomfortable to others, because it feels normal for me to be different.

If you can’t fix it, feature it*

You see, my difference is my power, my strength comes from years of practice being different.  I am comfortable being uncomfortable.  I have resilience and the ability to chart a course where there is no existing path to follow.  I have confidence in my ability to navigate an unknown situation successfully because I’ve done it so many times before.

I’ve been blessed with two twice exceptional daughters.  Watching them learn about their own differences, I realize how frequently they are encouraged to hide these differences or feel shame about them.  Teachers, friends and even well meaning parents, often push them toward the mean.  As their mom, I encourage them to do the opposite, to use their full set of gifts and embrace and own their differences to set an example for others. You see, courage is contagious and when we step into our whole selves we give permission for others to do the same.

Every day I’m learning about the variety of lived experiences that exist around me.  The programmer with dyslexia, and the journalist with ADHD .   The complexity of power structures and the bias of privilege remind me that that each of us experience the world differently.

Normal is a myth.

We are all doing the best that we can.  We are all a mess of guilt, shame and feeling like we don’t belong on our worst days, and powerful, strong and ready to shine our light on our best days.  When we honor our unique strengths we own our power.  Anything less would be to sacrifice the gift.


My wish for you

I wish for you to know that you are enough exactly the way you are.  I hope that you find your own power in the fullness of your differences, and that you use that power to be a force for good in the lives of others.

I bow to the divine in you.


*Attribution apologies – I remember the moment where I heard this, but not the name of the person who said it.