Hypothetically, if you had an employee that continuously fell short of your expectations, would you provide training or put them on a performance improvement plan? What if you tasked them with creating a new business plan and the aforementioned plan fell woefully short of expectations? Most of us would instinctually intervene and provide guidance or training to help improve their performance? What if, instead of a business plan, they were tasked with hiring new employees and those employees continuously fell short of expectations? Why are we proactive in addressing underperforming employees but not in underperforming interviewers? Isn’t the failure of the employee just as much the responsibility of the interviewer as it is the employee? Continue Reading…

Collegiate Sports and Politics

Is there a tipping point in college sports and the amount of money spent in the pursuit of winning?

I am fascinated by the interconnectedness of collegiate sports and state politics. It’s even more interesting when you live in
Illinois!!! As of this writing, the State of Illinois has been without a budget since July 1, 2015. Although I have not followed the budget impasse with the same zeal I normally would, I understand the impact it has on not-for-profits who rely on state funding to keep their doors open or the low-income college student who relies on the state to pay for college. Continue Reading…

This week Brookfield Zoo found itself embroiled in a social media scandal.  In summary, a seasonal employee, approximately 16 years old, Angry Mobwas terminated because she posted on her personal social media account a photo of herself with the caption “Wassup y’all? At work serving these rude ass white people.” In response to an overwhelming public response, Brookfield Zoo terminated the employee.  So there is no confusion, what she said was insensitive, inappropriate, and just plain wrong.  There is no place for that in a business setting nor in a public entity like Chicago Zoological Society, which operates Brookfield Zoo among other attractions. Continue Reading…

I am efficient, always looking for ways to do more with less; I think it is my German ancestry.  In fact, I have sat through LEAN seminars specifically designed to identify waste in governance.  The training was magnificent; I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, judgmental of those who fell asleep to the monotony of the presentation (that might be a commentary more on my nerdy-ness than the content of the training)!  But when my pursuit of efficiency impacted my relationships with my employees, I knew it was time to review my leadership style. Continue Reading…

The parks and recreation industry romanticizes innovation.  We hold up powerful innovation examples that create an idealism few professionals execute.  We love innovation until a sacred cow is in jeopardy.  That is when our lizard brain, which is in charge of fight; flight; feeding; fear; freezing-up; and fornication, engages and creates impossible barriers to overcome; we default to the status quo because that’s comfortable.  It explains why we falter when faced with innovation, especially when our sacred cows are targeted. Continue Reading…