Tuesday, December 16, 2014

End of the Year Management 101

Photo Credit: Bing Images
The end of any given year is always a challenge. Even if your fiscal year runs contrary to the Gregorian calendar, managing time, people, expenses and other resources in December can leave you waiting with bated breath, and perhaps a serious lack of patience, for the New Year holiday.

So, how did the end of the calendar year become such a challenge to manage? After all, you still have staff to do the work, and many of them come to work this time of year in a festive mood. This should translate to more work and less stress, right?

That’s not necessarily true since many employees save a significant amount of time off for the end of the year, and in our undeniably now global society, not everyone celebrates the same holidays, requiring the use of different vacation or PTO days than the traditional Christmas to New Year’s week. Couple that with the increased demand of customers and clients who also want things done before their holidays begin, and you generally end up scrambling even more than usual to make staffing assignments and provide resources to meet that demand.

Don’t get me wrong – this is not a bad thing in any way, shape or form. I, for one, enjoy celebrating the various holiday traditions and exploring those for which I have very little knowledge or experience. I guess it’s the one-time-sociology-major coming out, allowing me to revel in the opportunity to explore different ways of looking at life and business.

Over the years, I have picked up a few tidbits here and there about meeting end of the year management challenges, and have listed three of them.

Make Company Holidays Flexible. As I mentioned earlier, different cultures celebrate different holidays. If your company’s annual holidays include 2 or more days for Christmas, make them floating holidays that can be taken by employees of different faiths when their holidays fall. This provides your company with staff coverage for clients during traditionally slow periods. Global companies staff their offices 24/365 because they recognize the importance of being there for the customer when they are looking for something. Having flexible authorized holidays makes this possible.

Choose and Support a Nonprofit All Year Long. Resource allocation, including staff, is one of the greatest challenges in December. If your company supports a nonprofit by allowing staff to volunteer during work hours, implement a program to encourage staff to do so every month of the year, rather than just December. Having worked in the nonprofit community for almost 30 years, I can tell you that they need your support on a consistent basis; not just on Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, the need for those supporting the homeless and less fortunate is often greater in the first quarter of the year once winter really sets in.

Be Flexible in Managing the Generations of Your Workforce. Although I've written about this before, I think it still bears repeating. There are at least four different generations in the current workforce, all with differing needs and means of communication. Yes, you can teach an old dog a new trick, but that doesn't mean he likes it, or embraces it willingly. Likewise, puppies have boundless energy and their own ways of doing things that an older dog can’t fathom. However, that doesn't mean that one way of doing something is better than the other; they are just different. Don’t forget to keep that in mind when confronted with a management decision.
All in all, the end of the calendar year can be an exciting and busy time with its own unique management challenges. Although I've only listed three, I’m sure there are many, many more ideas, so please feel free to share yours.

Editor's Note: This blog post also appears on LinkedIn.

Before founding her own consulting firm in 2013, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and women’s healthcare fields for 25 years. She holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Management from American Public University, is a contributor on LinkedIn, and the author of the Management in Motion blog.


Dawn currently serves as the Past Chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Women’s Council, and teaches health and safety classes for the American Red Cross. As an infertility survivor she has been a featured speaker within the Fertility Community, and written numerous articles on the topic of childfree living. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Challenges of New Leadership

Change is a good thing, right?

Businesses and organizations refine and adjust their strategy based on many things, including the changing needs of their client-base and the market place. One of the most significant catalysts for change is new leadership.

Once the announcement of a new leader is made, the change process begins. 

And then, all the people say, “Oh, joy; a new leader who will want to change everything.”

As they say, change is never easy. There are multiple upon multiple studies showing that just the idea of change causes fear and stress for those involved. However, sometimes new leadership is not just necessary, but also vital to organizational growth and, even perhaps its very survival.

New leaders, be they CEOs or mid-level managers, certainly bring their own personality and management style to the top of the table. If they come from outside the organization, the most valuable asset they bring is not their education or years of experience, but a perspective quite different from those on the inside.

Good leaders know that recognizing and utilizing differing perspectives to make decisions about what must be changed is crucial. The difficulty in implementation comes from team members with the “We’ve Always Done It This Way” mentality, and those mired in GroupThink. Without trudging down the rabbit hole discussions of those two issues, I think it is safe to say that they have their own particular challenges which require situation-specific actions to address.

When I began my career in the early 1980’s, organizational leaders based decisions on input from their division or department heads, who gathered data from their subordinates in a very controlled fashion. Employees worked 8am – 5pm (or 9am – 5pm), Monday through Friday, and spent evenings and the weekends with their families.

Thirty years later, more Millennials are moving into positions of leadership, and facing an ever-evolving multi-generational workforce with different, and often competing, demands for engagement and working conditions. The younger generation not only expects, but demands to have a seat at the table and expects to move to another company in a few years to take the next step in their careers. They also don’t want to watch the clock, or be constrained by having to be in an office every day.

Older workers, such as those from the Greatest Generation and my Baby Boomer generation need to feel respected for the knowledge and experience for which we have worked so hard for many years to earn. We also need a seat at the table, or at least know that the new, younger leadership has heard and acknowledged the issues we bring to light. Like the younger crowd, I love working from home, but I also like the idea of having evenings and weekends free.

The leadership challenge with a multi-generational work force is finding a way to meet the differing needs, while building a cohesive and open organizational culture that allows and encourages employees to be passionate about their work and their organization’s success.


In the words of former Secretary of State Colin Powell from his book, My American Journey,

"The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."  

Stepping into a new leadership role is an exciting experience. It is an opportunity to develop a vision for excellence and innovation, and to share that vision with an actively engaged organization. All leaders face challenges, however, it is their response to those challenges that determines their success.

If you have been a new organizational or business leader, what words of wisdom would you share with those who want to be, and one day will be, a new leader?

NOTE: This post also appears on LinkedIn.

Before founding her own consulting firm in 2013, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and women’s healthcare fields for 25 years. She holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Management from American Public University, is a contributor on LinkedIn, and the author of the Management in Motion blog.


Dawn currently serves as the Past Chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Women’s Council, and teaches health and safety classes for the American Red Cross. As an infertility survivor she has been a featured speaker within the Fertility Community, and written numerous articles on the topic of childfree living. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

What Are You Waiting For?

Last Thursday, October 16th, I celebrated my 2nd National Boss’ Day as my own boss. When I opened my own consulting firm in May 2013 I was excited about the possibilities that lay ahead, and began building on that lifelong dream of owning my own company where I could make a difference in the daily lives of others.

It was a daunting goal, with many, many steps along the way, but I knew I could do it; I wanted to do it.

Since that time, there have been many positive steps forward in fulfilling my strategic plan, and a few steps backward. Some steps forward were planned, and others presented themselves unexpectedly. As I came upon those unexpected opportunities, the loudest voice in my head was that of a friend who constantly asks those with whom they come in contact – what are you waiting for?

What are you waiting for, indeed.

Recently, another friend announced that she was taking the same giant leap of forming her own company. As we talked about the courage it takes to make that decision and move forward, I found myself asking her many of the questions that were asked of me almost 2 years ago.

  • What products or services are you offering?
  • What is your target customer base?
  • How will you reach/communicate with them?
  • What makes your company different from all of your competitors?
  • What will your brand look like?
  • Tell me about your strategic plan and goals
Quite honestly, the decision to do something – anything – is the easy part. It’s the strategic planning and then execution that takes all your time, effort, and resources.

This is also the easiest place for you to get bogged down, and eventually question your decision to strike out on your own in the first place (or whatever the decision may be). Getting mired in the minutia can easily provide 101 reasons why you can’t do something today, next week, or next month.

So, how do you guard against the “I can’t do it right now because…” mindset? It’s easier than it seems; really. 

Whether you are your only employee, or you have 1,000+ employees, it is vitally important that you build a team around you that gives you the support to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done.

You need a team of friends, colleagues, peers, and staff that will ask, “What are you/we waiting for?” You need people who are supportive of your efforts, and are not afraid to let you know that you may have taken an unnecessary or possibly detrimental side trip off the strategic path.

We’ve all heard that nothing worth-while is ever easy. However, that does not mean that every step forward has to be like pulling teeth from a dinosaur.  In truth, sometimes you just have to make yourself take that step. Sometimes you just have to tell yourself, “Today is the Day,” and move forward.

In 26 days I will achieve the half-century mark in age.  I’ll be 50. Whoohoo!!! I’m excited about Life After 50, and all the possibilities ahead. So, in writing this particular blog today, I once again have to ask myself, “What am I waiting for?”

What are you waiting for?

Before founding her own consulting firm in 2013, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and women’s healthcare fields for 25 years. She holds a Masters of Business Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Management from American Public University, is a contributor on LinkedIn, and the author of the Management in Motion blog.


Dawn currently serves as the Past Chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Women’s Council, and teaches health and safety classes for the American Red Cross. As an infertility survivor she has been a featured speaker within the Fertility Community, and written numerous articles on the topic of childfree living. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Does Friendship Have a Place in Business?

Do you have friends in business?
Photo Credit: Bing Images

I don’t mean your competitors with whom you smile and shake hands when you happen to be in the same place at the same time. I mean those with whom you spend time outside of work, have shared memories and have an affection for.

What about your co-workers? Any friends there, or do you just do your job while they do theirs?

I recently connected with a friend I had not spoken to in over 25 years. Other than the requisite tell-me-about-your-family-and-life-over-the-last-quarter-century, the conversation moved along as if we saw each other just last week. After the conversation, I mentally looked back on other long-term friendships and realized just how much each of those individuals made me who I am today. How much I learned from each and every one of them.

Some of those who have had a significant impact on my life and how I conduct business today were personal friends, while others friendships were forged through business, even though we may have been competitors.

Which brings me to the question – does friendship have a place in business? If so, what is that place?

I believe it does. Granted, ensuring your business makes decisions that take advantage of market conditions or other differentiating circumstances is vital to its success. However, what if choosing an action is detrimental to your friend’s company? Is friendship more important than drawing an ethical line based solely on business concerns, or is it necessary to ensure that humanistic considerations are considered as well?

Yes, universal ethics require that businesses operate in an honest manner, and one in which employees are treated fairly and provided a safe work environment. However, when it comes to business strategy, sometimes the ethical choices are not so crystal clear.

They (whoever ‘they’ are) say that competitors can be friends, and you hear about it quite often in sports; but what about in business? Yes, you get more flies with honey than you do vinegar, but what happens when the bonds of friendship become a barrier to taking the next step in your business strategy?

The reason friendship matters in business, is that friends treat other friends differently than acquaintances. They tend to be more acceptable to working with people and companies they know, rather than those they do not. The costs involved tend to be less, and a sense of trust is already established. It’s a win-win for everyone.

While this seems a silly topic to discuss, I think it goes back to my July 14th post on why kindness matters in business.

Where do you draw the line? How do you know when you’ve gone too far to back out, and then what do you do? Salvage the friendship, or allow it to cease as a result? Do true friends understand the difference between personal life and business and see your decision for the business tactic that it is, or walk away from the friendship in disappointment?

I suspect that there are several who will read this blog and think that I’ve completely – and finally – lost my mind. However, I would be truly interested in discussing this issue with those of you who have faced this challenge.

Thanks in advance for the discussion!

Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and women’s healthcare fields for 25 years. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from American Public University, is a contributor on LinkedIn, and the author of the Management in Motion blog.


Dawn currently serves as the Past Chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Women’s Council. She has also been a featured speaker within the Fertility Community, and written numerous articles on the topic of childfree living. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

What Are You Doing for the Next 4 Months?

Labor Day Weekend has come and gone. The Summer is over, and now the mad dash to the end of the year begins.

How is your strategic plan for 2014 doing? Have you met many of your goals? Set new ones? Better yet, what is your primary goal for the last 4 months of the year? Be specific.

What is mine, you ask? To actively engage at least four new clients for Dawn Gannon Consulting; in real terms, one per month. While it is good to have goals, they are just goals if you don't have a strategic plan to reach them.

Since it is now September, just about every business leader is in the process of reviewing their strategic plan and making changes for 2015 to better meet the needs of their business and the community it serves. But what about the final months of 2014?

As the outgoing Chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's (ASRM) Women's Council, I am leading the strategic plan review for the Council's next few years. However, we cannot effectively plan for 2015, 2016, and beyond without reviewing where we have been, where we are now, and re-evaluating where we want to be.

In the interest of increasing my knowledge, and that of those who read this post, I ask you:
  1. What are the most important considerations in your strategic planning process?
  2. Who (what positions or management levels) do you include on your strategic planning committee?
  3. What is the one thing anyone devising - or revising - a strategic plan cannot do if they want the plan to be effective?

I thank you in advance for the discussion!

Photo Credit: Bing Images.

Editor’s Note: This post also appears on LinkedIn.

Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and healthcare fields for 25 years. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, Dawn’s commitment and personal mission to improve the lives of others through service to the community focuses on providing administrative and volunteer management, consumer education, public outreach, event planning, relationship-building efforts, and strategic planning. She is a contributor on LinkedIn, the author of the Management in Motion blog, and has written a number of articles for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on the topic of childfree living.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

On Being the New Guy or Gal

Photo Credit: Bing Images
Over the last several weeks, and in the weeks to come, many people will fill one of the most dreaded positions in life – The New Guy or Gal.

From a college freshman’s or tranfer’s perspective, being the new guy or gal on campus is exciting and scary at the same time. For many, it’s the thrill of being on their own for the first time, and yet at the same time it seems daunting. Having worked many Move-In Days over my career in higher education, for the first time parents, their hearts are filled with pride, but also breaking as their child leaves home for the first time.

From the new hire’s perspective, it is also exciting and just a bit scary as well. Although they know they can do the job, and do it well, many wonder how easy it will be to absorb the organization’s culture quickly, and make new friends in the workplace. Let’s face it, identifying and deciding where you fit into the political climate in the organization without knowing all the back stories is one of the toughest choices you will have to make.

There are, however, many positives to being the New Guy or Gal. Here are just a few:
  1. You walk in the door with a totally open perspective; one that isn't colored by all the back stories. You see possibilities where others see closed doors. While walking in the door and spouting all your “we shoulds” is not the best way to make a good impression, taking notes of ideas you have, and then sharing them with your supervisor or others once you have been in the position for some time – or better yet, are asked – shows creative thinking. Before sharing your wisdom, however, be sure to look at every situation from as many perspectives as possible and then determine if your idea truly has merit.
  2. By truly embracing this new challenge with an open mind and excitement beating in your heart, you walk through the door and begin exploring all the possibilities, including new skills, knowledge, colleagues, experiences, and friends.  Who doesn't need these in life?
  3. If you make a mistake early on (which you will, of course), people tend to pass it off as being – you guessed it – the New Guy or Gal. You learn from your mistakes, take steps to ensure you don’t make it again, and tuck that lesson into your portfolio of Life Lessons.
  4. You have a front row seat to learn about yourself, how you react (or don’t) in new situations, and gain a better understanding of what is acceptable to you and what is not. While those around you also learn about you, the person who benefits the most is you. The more you know yourself, the better able you will be to make decisions, take chances, and enjoy the experiences life has to share with you.

While the list isn't all inclusive, I think you get the point. Starting a new phase in life, regardless of what it is, is always exciting and somewhat scary. It’s what you do with those feelings that determine how you use the opportunity of being the New Guy or Gal.

By the way, please feel free to add to the list and share with everyone.

Good Luck!

Editor’s Note: This post also appears on LinkedIn.


Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and healthcare fields for 25 years. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, Dawn’s commitment and personal mission to improve the lives of others through service to the community focuses on providing administrative and volunteer management, consumer education, public outreach, event planning, relationship-building efforts, and strategic planning. She is a contributor on LinkedIn, the author of the Management in Motion blog, and has written a number of articles for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on the topic of childfree living.

Five Fabulous Facts About Facebook for the Fertility Field

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Management in Motion Blog is pleased to welcome guest blogger, Terri Davidson, MPH, to talk about using Facebook as a part of a well-designed social media marketing plan.

Facebook Isn't What It Used To Be
Get used to it. Facebook is continually changing and is definitely not as effective as it was for businesses six months ago. At the beginning of the year, Facebook changed its algorithm formula for showing and garnering impressions for posts. Why did they do this? Though I don’t have a pipeline to Facebook corporate headquarters, most pundits feel one reason is that Facebook users are following numerous pages and it needed a way to separate the wheat from the chaff. This means that if consumers have engaged with pages in the past, then they are more likely to see posts from those businesses. If they have not engaged with a brand, they probably are not going to see its posts unless they visit the page. This means brands need to work harder than ever to make sure their followers like and comment on their posts and/or take other types of action.

Face This Fact: Your Patients are Still on Facebook!
Complain as you will (and I have heard many such diatribes), your patients, referrals sources and colleagues still are using Facebook. According to Facebook in June 2014, worldwide there were over 1.28 billion monthly active Facebook users, representing a 15 percent increase year over year.

Undoubtedly many fertility patients find Facebook to be emotionally painful when they read baby announcements and other child-related posts, nonetheless, they are finding creative ways to work around this by establishing ‘infertility’ profiles with unique names like ‘Rachel TTC’, as well as participating in closed Facebook groups where only members can see their posts. Even if some social media experts are declaring a decrease or potential drop in the number of users, there still are many potential and current customers who can read your messages. So instead of longing for the good ole days of 2013, adapt.

Develop a Budget for Facebook Promoted Posts and Ads
Call me cynical, but another reason Facebook probably changed the algorithm was to ‘encourage’ business owners to pay for ads and promoted posts. After all, it has to make money to continue its service, though many Facebook page administrators have the right to feel angry after Facebook encouraged them pay for ‘likes’ to their pages. The reality is that Facebook still is the best website to accurately target your potential market. Therefore, I would encourage you to develop a budget to promote newsworthy posts that you think will garner engagement and/or buy ads for events like seminars. Facebook ads and promoted posts are very cost-effective compared to other types of advertising plus you can target, target, target them to reach your ideal customer base.

Familiarize Yourself With Facebook Insights
If you have a Facebook business page, you probably have noticed that the number of fans seeing your posts (impressions) unfortunately has been decreasing. The good news is that Facebook provides page administrators with an excellent set of insights that can help you analyze all sorts of metrics, including which posts garner the most impressions and engagement so that you can recognize trends to create similar type of posts. You can also see data about when your followers are online, where they are from and other valuable data. So use Facebook Insights so you don’t lose market share.

Post Directly on Facebook
Though it may be tempting to use third-party apps like Hoot Suite to save time and sanity, I don’t suggest doing this. First, a tweet is not the same as a Facebook post. Facebook posts can be longer and should not be filled with abbreviations, though hashtags before keywords is acceptable on Facebook. Second, I believe that posts generated on Facebook will accumulate more impressions than posts generated via an outside source. Of course, you can verify or disprove this by running your own tests and seeing which type of posts win out statistically.

Have questions about Facebook or other types of social media? Please email me at terri@terridavidsoncommunicaitions.com, direct tweet me at @marketingmaven or post on my Facebook page, Fertility Marketing Maven.


About Terri Davidson

As the founder of Davidson Communications, Terri is a marketing specialist who has worked with a variety of fertility clinics, physician practices, hospitals, home health care agencies, other health care organizations, higher education institutions, nonprofits, and small businesses.

Terri is also a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and serves as a Member-at-Large on the Executive Committee of the ASRM Women's Council.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Finding Your Passion at Work

Although it was more than a decade ago, I remember it as vividly as if it happened last week.

It was a beautiful day on the Jersey Shore, and I was driving home after a news conference about a bill being introduced in the House of Representatives designed to required insurers to cover the treatment of infertility if they also covered maternity care.

The road was empty of other vehicles, and in the silence of that quiet road I realized that my purpose in life was to work for, and with, organizations whose missions are focused on improving the lives of others. In that moment of clarity, I found my passion; a passion that would be the deciding factor for all my future professional choices.

Over the years, I have truly come to appreciate Wayne Dyer’s quote, “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” If you aren’t doing what you love – or are passionate about – you most likely are not really giving it your best effort. After all, who gives their best effort for something they don’t like?

This is not to say that your work quality is sub-par if you are not passionate about the company or the job. recent study at the University of Warwick found that happiness at work significantly increases productivity. Just imagine what your quality of work would be like if you woke up every morning excited to get there!

Unfortunately, as Cal Newport points out, finding your passion, or passions, is not always easy or quick. That doesn’t mean that you should give up looking, or refuse an offer of employment simply because it is outside your passion. It just means that you may have to spend more effort to find it. By effort, I mean trying new things, or donating your time to nonprofits whose missions interest you. Go back to school – you might find a passion for teaching or a different field altogether.

A few years ago I found myself asking what I wanted to be when I finally grew up, even though I was in my mid-40’s at the time. I was on the precipice of a mid-life crisis, and had no idea what I wanted to do other than help others. I know it sounds corny, but there it is in all its unvarnished truth. So, the question was really, what did I want to do for the second half of my life?


My passions are serving the military, higher education, and infertility communities. Given that knowledge, what did I need to do in order to feel passionate about what I do for the next 40 years, and enable myself to do it?

First of all, I took a look at my life goals and realized I had neglected one: obtaining an MBA. Although I worked in the field of higher education for almost 20 years, I never took advantage of the opportunities to reach that goal. So, I entered the MBA Program at American Public University, and graduated with honors, while working and travelling full-time. It wasn’t easy, but I did it.

You are probably wondering what this has to do with identifying my passion at work. The answer: it helped clarify where my specific talents and interests lie, and identified areas where I was focusing significant time and energy for which I am ambivalent. It opened doors to new possibilities and opportunities to work with those three communities, which I would have never considered.

The bottom line is this: take a look at where you are, where you appear to be going, and ask yourself if you are really passionate about the possibilities. If not, take a step back, grab your best friend (or friends), and ask yourself what you are passionate about, and then decide what you can do to fulfill those passions.

Editor’s Note: This post also appears on LinkedIn.


Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and healthcare fields for 25 years. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, Dawn’s commitment and personal mission to improve the lives of others through service to the community focuses on providing administrative and volunteer management, consumer education, public outreach, event planning, relationship-building efforts, and strategic planning. She is a contributor on LinkedIn, the author of the Management in Motion blog, and has written a number of articles for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on the topic of childfree living.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Taking a Chance on the Unknown

Have you ever hired someone even though they did not meet all the job description requirements, but you just KNEW that they had the potential to be a great fit for the job?

Think about it for a moment. Who gave you your first big break, and were you truly qualified for the position? I know I wasn't.

Over the last 30 years, I can point to at least three instances where someone was promoted or hired, and the current staff shook their collective heads and asked why. And yet, each and every time the answer became apparent as time moved on. In each case, the hiring official saw something in that applicant that was not reflected in their resume or obvious to others.

They took a chance on the unknown.


Over the weekend, I watched several programs about the Apollo 11 moon landing 45 years ago. Having watched it take off from the Cape live on the shores of eastern Florida as a child, I was curious about the back story I could now better understand as an adult. The most interesting comment to me was the fact that the crew had determined that they only had a 60% chance of succeeding, and a 40% chance of dying in the attempt.

Talk about taking a chance on the unknown!

This chance, however, began taking shape in 1914, when R.H. Goddard from Massachusetts received two patents for rockets, one based on liquid fuel and one for a multi-stage rocket. Like the hiring official who hires or promotes someone who seems unqualified for the job, Goddard was ridiculed for his absurd notions, and yet, he is now seen as the father of the space age.

Leonardo da Vinci also developed a few ideas that were “out there,” such as designs for machines that eerily resemble modern tanks and helicopters, just to name a few. The only challenge he didn't overcome for these machines was identifying a power system to enable them to operate (Encyclopedia Britannica).

The bottom line for all of these examples is that someone (or a group of people), saw something that others could not – or would not – and took a chance on the unknown that paid off.

This is not to say that you should hire every unqualified person who applies for all of your open positions. As we all know, the success of finding a job these days is found more often than not in networking; having someone you know introduce you to someone they know and provide an outstanding reference, while asking them to consider this new person for a position. In a sense, they are asking their friend or colleague to take a chance on the unknown – another friend or colleague for whom they will vouch.

I saw this happen recently, and while my friend wasn't qualified for the position as it was listed in the job description, once hired, he thrived in the environment, and has just received a promotion simply because someone took a chance him - they took a chance on the unknown.

Granted, in business you have to be careful and weigh the risks against the possible rewards of embracing the unknown before making a decision. But consider where we would be today in terms of scientific discovery and modernization if people like da Vinci and Goddard had not taken those chances on the unknown.


Just suppose the person you are asked to consider doesn't have the 2 years of experience in that particular position, but has offered to take a lower-paying salary until they can reach specific goals you set together. Is your only hesitation that they don’t have that experience, but they have great references who support their ability to handle the job?

If that’s your only hesitation, go on; take a chance on the unknown today, hire them, and then let me know what happens! My money is on them exceeding your expectations.

 Editor’s Note: This post also appears on LinkedIn.


Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and healthcare fields for 25 years. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, Dawn’s commitment and personal mission to improve the lives of others through service to the community focuses on providing administrative and volunteer management, consumer education, public outreach, event planning, relationship-building efforts, and strategic planning. She is a contributor on LinkedIn, the author of the Management in Motion blog, and has written a number of articles for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on the topic of childfree living.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Why Kindness Matters in Business

In the 1970’s, singer Nick Lowe lamented (quite successfully) that being cruel to be kind is a good thing.

While that may be true when ending a relationship, and I’m not saying it is, kindness – not cruelty or meanness – most assuredly matters in business.

I recently observed examples of both kindness and meanness in business situations, and for the life of me, I could not understand the necessity of, or reason for, the meanness that was exhibited.

Yes, in business, the goal is to get ahead of the competition and to reach or exceed your goals. However, believe it or not, how you get there is also vitally important.

Professionally, your most valuable asset is not your education or experience; it’s your reputation.

If your actions or in-actions lead to the presentation of a mean person or organization, your reputation within the business community will quickly begin to reflect that demeanor, whether or not it is actually true.

Clipart from Bing Images

As Benjamin Franklin is often quoted as saying, “It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”

Think about the businesses you work with, or the products/services you purchase. Do you spend your hard-earned money on businesses and people with good reputations, or those with bad reputations?

Have you ever stopped using a product, service, or business because they were involved in a negative incident? I know I have, and I know many others who do as well.

We've all heard, and probably said at one time, “Business is a dog eat dog world.” Yes, it certainly is.

In my "Who Am I?" blog, I referenced the “It’s not personal, it’s business” philosophy as exhibited in the movie, You've Got Mail. Yes, again, it’s business.

However, being kind to the person or people you are doing business with takes less effort than being mean. By being kind, I don’t mean ignore the business opportunity your competitor doesn't see or cannot take advantage of that is also right in front of your face.

It means simple things like promptly returning emails, phone calls or texts. It means letting people know that you received the information or request they sent to you, and providing an approximate timeline for a response.

It also means not embarrassing, demeaning or belittling your competitor or colleague in front of others – ever.  These behaviors are not only unprofessional; they are mean and uncalled for.

In the words of former First Lady Barbara Bush, “Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people - your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.


Editor’s Note: This post also appears on LinkedIn.

Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and healthcare fields for 25 years. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, Dawn’s commitment and personal mission to improve the lives of others through service to the community focuses on providing administrative and volunteer management, consumer education, public outreach, event planning, relationship-building efforts, and strategic planning. She is a contributor on LinkedIn, the author of the Management in Motion blog, and has written a number of articles for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on the topic of childfree living.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

If I Had To Do It All Over Again

What if you had an opportunity to go back 10, 20, or 30 years to start your career or build your business again? What words of wisdom and lessons you have learned over the ensuing years would you hope someone would share with you as you got started?
It's the age-old question of "wouldn't it be great to be 20 or 30 again," if you could do so with the wisdom, knowledge, and perspective that you have now at 40 or 50.
What I wouldn't give to let my 25-year-old self a good kick in the pants so that I could see what my actions - or more accurately, my inaction, would cost in terms of opportunities down the road.
Would I have chosen a different path (or many paths) if, as a 25-year-old, I could see the opportunities presented to me with my half-century-old eyes and knowledge?
However, with age also comes the recognition and understanding that all of life's experiences, both good and bad, contribute to the person you are today, and set the stage for tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.
Without going too in-depth, I would remind my younger self that education is vitally important, and opens many unexpected doors of opportunity for personal growth and the ability to positively affect the lives of others.
There are other things I would tell my younger self, but I would really like to hear from you. If you had to do it all over again, what would you tell your younger self?
Editor’s Note: This post also appears on LinkedIn.

Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and healthcare fields for 25 years. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, Dawn’s commitment and personal mission to improve the lives of others through service to the community focuses on providing administrative and volunteer management, consumer education, public outreach, event planning, relationship-building efforts, and strategic planning. She is a contributor on LinkedIn, the author of the Management in Motion blog, and has written a number of articles for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on the topic of childfree living.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

Question: Why did the chicken cross the road? 

Answer: To get to the other side of the road, of course.

It’s an old joke that just about everyone had heard, told or modified in some way.

Just recently I was standing on the porch, talking with my sister when suddenly I saw a chicken crossing the road; really, no kidding. It was a real live chicken crossing the road in a small town in Kentucky, but it was a chicken nonetheless.

My sister said I made the oddest facial expression, and then calmly asked her if indeed it was a chicken crossing the road.

I’m sure you can imagine the hilarity that followed, when everyone in the house was brought out to: #1) hear the story, #2) see the chicken, and 3) to send the tweens down the street to take a photo of him. We are so easily amused…

Although this is funny, and I truly enjoy laughing at myself and with others, the experience also allowed me to consider why I make the decisions I do, both personally and in business.

We all know that good decisions are based on accurate information, and used as strategic stepping stones toward the completion of a goal.

Like the question about the chicken, what about the goals? Why did I (or you) choose those particular goals, or set the bar so high (or low)?

Generally, goals are set to achieve a specific end, often in conjunction with one or more others as well. I think the goals we set for ourselves are formed by our personal experiences and perspectives.

Each of us has a slightly different perspective on life, even if we grew up in the same house and shared the same experiences. However, often times those different perspectives between individuals give rise to differing ultimate goals, automatic responses in similar situations, and sometimes drive a wedge of misunderstanding between parties.

This is life. As human beings, it is inevitable that we will disagree with someone on a daily basis; some minor and others as big as an immovable boulder.

In business, you may have personality conflicts with a co-worker, peer, partner, or that very annoying customer that everyone passes off to someone else.

This doesn't mean that you are an awful person. You just have to try a little bit harder to work cohesively with your team and those around you.

Then, like the chicken, you have to decide if you want to stay on that side of the road or walk across it seeking another opportunity.

If you want to stay, then seek a mentor to help you with workplace challenges such as personality conflicts.

If you want to move on, then do so, thereby ensuring that you benefit from a new opportunity to build on your success somewhere else, and the company you leave has an opportunity to hire someone who can better help them fulfill their mission or reach their strategic goals.

So, tell me. Why did your chicken cross the road, and where was it going?

Editor’s Note: This post also appears on LinkedIn.

Before founding her own consulting firm, Dawn Gannon served as a respected project management and administrative operations professional in the military, higher education, and healthcare fields for 25 years. As a Lean/Six Sigma Green Belt, Dawn’s commitment and personal mission to improve the lives of others through service to the community focuses on providing administrative and volunteer management, consumer education, public outreach, event planning, relationship-building efforts, and strategic planning. She is a contributor on LinkedIn, the author of the Management in Motion blog, and has written a number of articles for RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association on the topic of childfree living.