Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Generation Now


We've all grown tired of generational stereotypes in the workplace. Baby Boomers are giving presentations on how to manage Millennials, Millennials are sick of being picked on, and Generation X has all but vanished. I recently read an article sighting the behavioral traits of Generation Z (now the Millennials have someone to pick on). It's all a stupid attempt to simplify human beings into manageable categories to limit our desire to transcend simplicity. People are not simple!

It cannot be ignored that we are on the crest of a major sea change in the working world. With this shift comes a massive opportunity for change that has created a great deal of uncertainty. Regardless of when we were born into this beautiful world we all share insecurity when it comes to our uncertain future. Those who find opportunity in the wake of change will win the day.

Will You Be My Peer...?
Those joining the workforce have a desire to be accepted, not as the children of executives, but as established professionals.

The one thing new workers get a ton of is advice. A great deal of said advice is mislead. More often than not the "this is how its done around here" cautionary tales are mired in the failures of those who squandered their early work years accepting bad advice. Don't follow suit.

Can I Lead Now...?
Generation X has been lost in the shuffle. We watched reality bites, shrugged, and got on with our lives avoiding the generational stereotypes that have been piled upon the Millennials. With a new group of workers charging the workforce gates and an aging group of executives unwilling to give up their post, will Generation X get lost in the shuffle? Will they even care?

Loyalty is not what it used to be. Those who thought they would follow their parents legacy by being with one company their entire career have faced unanticipated disappointment. Companies have been critical of "job hoppers" but those who have given their lives to a company (only to receive a pink slip) have learned to know better. You can wait for your company to develop you or you can develop yourself.

Your Not Going To Tell Me What To Do...!
It seems as the sun sets on the extraordinary careers of so many Baby Boomers that they would be willing to share their knowledge. I've seen many examples that prove otherwise. Far too many senior staff members are protecting their knowledge base in an effort to maintain their careers. While it has been deemed a best practice for Baby Boomers to stereotype Millennials, the avenue to reciprocate has been identified as a road to nowhere. The road is shifting. What purpose does it serve to be alone with all you have learned?




We should exist in the workforce with the intent to collaborate in an effort to challenge one another. Titles, tenure, or years on this earth should be secondary. We love the new girl with big ideas and the confidence to share them. We love the middle manager who listens more than he talks. We love the old guy who still acts like a 25 year old. We're really not all that different....

We all have insecurities, we all want to be validated, we all want to be relevant... we all just want to be loved.

"It's OK if you don't know everything" - Ben Folds

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Friday, July 11, 2014

Chasing Paper


"Don't Chase The Paper, Chase The Dream" ~ Sean Combs 

LeBron James, the world's most recognized sports star is leaving the glitz and glamour of Miami to return home to Cleveland. It is a tale of humility that has given many a renewed faith in humanity. James left his home team to form an all star team in the sunshine state a few years back, they won 2 championships. Today many are applauding the superstars decision to get back to his roots while other are questioning his motives.

I believe LeBron James had three reasons for his career transition:

More Time To Make Things Right...
Most anyone will tell you that they regret making decisions that were motivated by money. Being broke sucks! Having a little extra dough levitates stress. But, what price do we pay for money? Do unrealistic expectations come with a larger paycheck? Is purpose lost in the pursuit of success at any cost? In accepting more money do we give away our ability to oppose organizational expectations? Google is the greatest place to work in the world and their managers remind their employees of that every day.

Many of us look back with anguish on the times we stepped on others to get ahead, took short cuts, or lost our direction. I know I do... and I bet LeBron James has as well.

Making a ton of money is awesome, making amends is priceless.
  
He's The Boss
Basketball Legend Pat Riley is known for his hard-edged motivational tactics. His coaching of the Lakers in the 80's will forever be enshrined in basketball lore. But its not the 80's anymore. When I heard Pat Riley give a fist pounding rant at the expense of his players, I knew his reign of greatness was over. It may be said that after a long year of trying his ass off only to fall short of an NBA title, LeBron James did not want to hear an out-of-touch Executive call him a coward.

Today's workforce will not be managed by fear and intimidation. Employees (especially Super Star employees) will take six months off, work for less money, or start their own company if their work conditions are adversarial. Managers who still think they can push their employees around with the option to find a replacement (who respects authority) are high. The "my way or the highway" ethos is done. It may still be working for you right now, but the sand is hitting the bottom of the hour glass.

Winning (the right way) Is Everything! 
Any of us could make backroom negotiations to build a winning team. Offer certain people more money, steal top performers from competitors, or slick talk people into empty promises. Personally, I'd rather coach my son and his friends from the block to a championship than to offer the dad's of superstars perks to join our team.

Anyone can buy a championship. Earning one is something completely different.

Leaders are people who recognize potential and help individual contributors seize their greatness.

We all come to a point in our lives when we can no longer fool ourselves. We would rather walk hand in hand with our children than to board a plane in an uncomfortable suit. Time is far more precious than money. We can always pay back a loan but we do not get the hours back.

I would venture to guess that the greatest basketball player of our time got tired of the madness. Like the rest of us, he faced the reality of dying with more dollars than people around him, and saw no wealth in that manufactured future. Destiny is created by those who choose to take control of their lives and to live on their own terms. Because they know they are far more capable than others and are willing to do something about it.

The heart is stronger than the head. Always leave the door open on your way out.

Don't Forget To Remember!

Dave

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DREAM


I'm a morning person. Each day I get up slightly before 5am to get a head start on the day. My first few hours are usually spent among a few others whose occupation call for their early awakening. Occasionally, the guys who manage the shop across the street will drop in. They sit at a table with their eyes on their workers making sure they make no mistakes nor reveal their humanity. They complain relentlessly about their shitty lives masked in the criticism of those who work for them and those who they work for. These guys have to be in their late 60's and they hate every second of their waking life. Only one question visits me when I see their rotten faces:

When Did They Give Up?

Were these guys always miserable or was there a happy time in their lives? How did the good times vanish? Did they make bad decisions? Have they come to realize the err of their ways? Surely, all 24,820 days they have spent on earth couldn't have been bad. Do they take comfort in criticizing others because they have tried and failed so many times? Have they even tried at all?

It seems to me that a person after doing so much living should be filled with joy. We should look back on life with wonderment and know that everything we do creates a legacy for others.

But then again, if we have compromised our existence to the lowest extreme, maybe looking back only brings us pain.

The next thought that visits me:

How Can I Avoid Turning Out Like Those Guys?

Dream Big!
Do you ever awake from a dream feeling completely energized? Something empowering happened in your unconscious state that reminded you anything is possible. Maybe you caught inspiration from a movie or song. Maybe you had a few beers and your imagination created a new beginning in your minds eye.

And then you wake from your trance, forget your potential, and get back  to reality.

No chance! If you can imagine it, you can dare to put your dream into action. Hold on to one part of the story in your mind. Too often we are scared to take chances. Very seldom does our fear manifest itself into failure. With every inaction failure is inevitable.

Cowards ignore their dreams and spend their lives with arms folded in judgement of those who dare to dream.

Prove Them Wrong!
I'm always one to do my talking on the field so I am not a big fan of post-game interviews. One of my favorite moments in sports history was when reporters asked Tiger Woods what he would consider a decent result in his first professional golf tournament... without a moment's delay he said,

"A Victory"

Some laughed, others shook their heads, and there were those who sought to talk some sense into him on the spot. He listened to none of it and went out to become the greatest golfer of all time. Because he did not allow the limitations of others to dictate his path in life.

If you allow the naysayers to crush your spirit, things will forever remain in the realm of the uninspired existence that they were too cowardly to change.

Keep Fighting
Coward is the most offensive word that can enter our ears. I think of times I have wimped out and done the safe thing. I will never get those moments back. We have to live every day with the understanding that if we are not willing to prove others wrong, their version of right will forever exist.

Dream...dream big....fear not the consequence and do what is necessary to make it happen.

If you are measuring the ROI of your actions a slanted scale glares you in the face: there is a 0% chance of achieving what you do not attempt. And yet we choose to do the safe thing, again and again. I don't like those odds.

We have to try harder. We have to be creative and to surround ourselves with people who will amplify our ambitions. At the very least I can encourage this:
  • Dispel negativity by eliminating people who hold you back from your social circles.
  • Ignore those who say you can't.
  • Believe in yourself so strongly that no one's voice is louder than your own.
  • Try harder than everyone else (its not as hard as you think).
One day, I may ask those bitter old men at what point in their lives they gave up. But then again, without their ugly existence, I would not know who not to be on any given day. 


Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Your Turn


The debate has raged on....

Is cultivating Employee Engagement the duty of Executives or Middle Managers?

What if the answer is: neither!

If we are being honest with ourselves, we can genuinely determine our own level of engagement.

Your success each day is driven by your perception and your attitude. You determine what you pay attention to and how that shapes your day. Each day you find yourself in your current job is the result of the choices you have made. You have the power to ignore the insignificant, to focus on the good stuff, and ultimately to quit your job.

So while there is an expectation of a fair salary and ample benefits... the rest is up to you!

Step One: Ignore What Doesn't Matter!
I used to get bent around the axle when an exercise was proposed by my manager. I'd ask the significance of the exercise and he seldom had an answer. I shouted at the mountain top, enraged by stupidity of this fruitless waste of time and effort. I called a hundred people, talked to senior managers and wrote letters to executives. I spent hours complaining about an exercise I could have completed in a half hour.

If you wake up with the perception that today is going to suck.... it will!

Step Two: Push Yourself Harder Than Anyone Else!
I remember being in a college orientation class when a recruiter was asked:
"Should I take the hard classes and get C's or should I take the easy classes and get A's"

...to which he replied.

"Take the hard classes and get A's"

Why not? Any logical person knows their limitations. The stronger people use their limitations to set their baseline (and then exceed it). A little skepticism is healthy, too much is crippling.

You should set the expectations higher for yourself than any else... and over-perform. Expectations are merely a collection of limits previously established. There are no limits.

Step Three: Smile!
I've never felt bad about being over optimistic. My regrets in life revolve around alienating people through my negativity.

Positive thinking is not a sign of weakness but an ultimate strength. It's easy to fold your arms, do nothing, and criticize those who dare to try.... and then you die with a meaningless existence.


Final Credits
Each day you face yourself in the mirror. You interact with several people but ONLY YOU live inside your head every second. You know if you've done enough, you know if you took short cuts, you know if you cheated. Achievements are trophies on a shelf and regrets hang like chandeliers.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Friday, June 27, 2014

Deprogramming The Robots

As I limped through the Exhibitor Hall at the Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference (I have a slightly fractured ankle) a thought came over me:

If all of these vendors have it figured out. Why is only 13% of the Global Workplace engaged?

I passed thousands of sales people trying to differentiate themselves from one another until I got to a corridor thinking I had escaped the madness.... then, I realized I was only half way through the Exhibitor Hall. 

Mother F-er (my ankle hurt, my brain was tired, and my soul was unfulfilled)!

It struck me that the burnout I felt meandering the Exhibitor Hall was a metaphor for today's employee. With so many tasks, portals, forms, meetings, mandatory training sessions, and peer emotions to navigate; when do we get time to do our actual job? 

In this hall full of madness transactions were being made in rapid fire. 


While I understand that the SHRM Annual Conference would not exist without vendor sponsorship, I couldn't help but wonder if the badge scanning and swag hand outs would help any business solve any problems. 

The thrill I felt at the SHRM Annual Conference came not through transactions but genuine human moments. Presentation bravado, infographics, branded merchandise, gift cards, demos.... None of it matters and transactions fail to leave a memorable impression.

Your Life's Memories
In decompression from the conference I spent the plane ride home with John Roderick in my head phones. He spoke of his strange ability to remember seemingly random events. I was reminded of a toast I gave at a friend's weeding:

It is not the grandiose events we remember but the moments in-between...

Clarity came over me. We have given up on engagement because we think it is a transaction. Technology cannot create genuine human moments, annual rewards and disingenuous speeches cause people to quit, and people hate training. With all due respect, most vendors suck at what they do. The Global Engagement Crisis is the fault of two things:

1. Vendors who pretend to care about culture while selling transactions.
2. HR Professional who do not demand more of those to whom they outsource human moments. 

Employee Recognition is a meaningless transactional waste of money that serves nothing more than an insult to your employees intelligence. In truth, you cannot outsource human moments. 

Employee Engagement is something completely different. Without true partnership, Engagement is impossible. This takes deep analysis of business objectives and employee preferences along with a team of champions who will not allow others to ignore the love they feel for their company.

Can You Teach Engagement... Yes, You Can!
What's worse than demos and badge scanning are speakers who talk of humanity in the workplace but compose no strategy for improvement.

The Truth You've Ignored:
a. Industry surveys are meaningless... what matters is what YOUR employees think.
b. Your shelf-stored solutions continue to insult your employees.
c. Technology drives transactions which only create entitlement.
d. Recognition is a benefit not a strategy.
e. If you view your job as a series of transactions, you are easily replaceable.
f.  Transactions between HR Administrators & Vendors will lead to only one thing...

Mass Unemployment!

SHRM has entered the certification process because they are hell-bent on making HR professionals more strategic. I know people who will make sure they stay true to that mission. I believe their commitment is to transform the HR profession. Those insulted by this transition may be afraid that their transactional existence is threatened. I hope it is. 

The vendor hall may never be cut from 5,000 vendors to 500, but it would be nice to see the forest through the trees.

We need to transform not transact. This takes a genuine investment in people that requires consistent human interaction and an uncompromising commitment to evolving organizational strategy. Very few people have the guts to continue to splash in the wishing well whether they are an HR Professional or a vendor. We prefer to throw coins into the fountain, let them sink to the bottom, and hope something comes of the transaction.

If we continue to act like robots, the robots will replace us. No company will exist without interactive human commitment. We are differentiated not by our tools but in our ability to take off the tool belt.

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave      

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Debriefing SHRM14 - The State of The Workplace

The sun has set on the 3rd day of programming here in Orlando and those of us who were lucky enough to attend the 2014 Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference know how the US Soccer Team felt playing in Brazil. Through our blood, sweat and tears we got closer to (re)certification, attained an exorbitant amount of knowledge, found solutions to unmet needs and made a few new friends. This was my favorite of the last 7 SHRM Conferences thanks to the quality of content delivered! Applause to everyone who makes this monstrosity of an event possible!

I met a thousand people and heard from the industry's boldest thought leaders. It was a perfectly Human event filled with Resources. Allow me to share my thoughts on the State of The Workplace as it relates to what I learned at SHRM14.

It Take A Village
A few myths dispelled at SHRM14:
- Innovation is not a symptom of technology.
- Engagement is not a symptom of rewards.

The advances in technology have made it increasingly easier to start a business. Find a concept, make it systematic, and program accordingly. While our organizations rely on technology, it's overuse has opened a flood gate run dry of human connection. The days automating a solution are being trumped by people who simply don't want to be reliant on a system to connect them. The best presentations this year shouted one great certainty:

Our Employees need Humans as a Resource!

Why Not You?
Who did you admire at SHRM14? A speaker, a person you met, a new business partner who solved a problem for you? As I looked over the thousands of people from the 3rd level of the convention center I was overwhelmed by a thought:

What if everyone in this place shared one idea with everyone else? 


You Didn't Expect It To Be Easy... Did You?


In the world of Employee Engagement we talk about being happy at work. We want fair pay, a boss who understands us, flexible work schedule, the ability to wear whatever we want, and a Thank You for our every action. While the world of work is evolving, we still have to earn our pay check.

Engagement cannot happen without our divine effort toward something we believe in. There is not a platform, app, or prize that can engage us. We have to know what we want, to be willing to fight for it, and to bring the village along with us. Many chose a career that was convenient and went through the motions. Some get to the point of self-actualization and realize they cannot merely be satisfied with their job. There are those people who do not enjoy work, feel they are out of options, and wait to retire to be happy.

The Human Resources world is more determined than ever to find a cure for our Engagement Crisis. What if all it takes is a whole lot of knowledge, some great resources, and a network of people who believe in you?

Because you acquired all of that at #SHRM14. Now its time to have the guts to makes difference!

Until next year.....

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Monday, June 23, 2014

Decompressing Day 2 of SHRM14

The second day of the Society for Human Resource Management's Annual Conference is in the books and I figured I would share a few highlights from this divinely inspiring day.

My interactions in the Exhibitor Hall revealed an evolved vendor strategy across the board. I've attended this event 7 years in a row and I have never been more impressed with the exhibitors commitment to delivering content and interacting with attendees. The days of handing out stuffed animals have been replaced with presentations by subject matter experts, high impact demos, and structured customer conversations. Bravo!!

Keeping it Human with Steve Browne
There are very few people who I would arise at 3am West Coast time to watch present. Steve Browne is one of them. Steve is not a Start-Up Marketer or a Professional Speaker, he's an HR Professional who works in the deepest trenches. There is NO ONE in the Human Resources Community who cares about people more than Steve Browne and he continues to prove it again and again. While others use their social presence to sell something or promote themselves, Steve remains totally committed to sharing for the sake of improving others.













Welcome To Fabulous #HRVegas!!!
Joe Gerstandt & Jason Lauritsen began their session by orchestrating a packed house of HR People to work in four-part harmonies (no simple task). In addition to this fabulous #HRMashUp the boys delivered emotionally charged, highly intelligent workforce strategy. Jason & Joe blend age-old theory with modern day action planning that is next-level stuff for the HR Community.













The Great Robin Schooling & Matt Charney kept it very real in their talks at the packed Smart Stage. Robin paying her years in HR forward with a no-fail strategy for gaining Executive attention. Matt is on to something by relating his time in film school to story telling in organizations.

Be Brilliant!
It appeared from the overly-packed house that the word about Simon Bailey has spread like wild fire in the HR community. Simon's infectious laugh and candid delivery coupled with his Executive experience at Disney turned a speech on self-motivation into a ME/WE auditory delight.













If you are in Human Resources and have not had a chance to attend the annual SHRM conference it is a must-do! Content is delivered from a thousand angles at your disposal to interpret and transmit as you see fit.




Until Tomorrow....

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Solving The Engagement Crisis


There is no better place than the Society of Human Resource Management Annual Conference to engage the issues of the day. You will undoubtedly hear tales of Employee Engagement (or lack thereof). As you walk the Exhibitor Hall or attend sessions you will notice a divide on the subject:

School 1: Those who believe Employee Recognition is a benefit.
School 2: Those who believe Employee Engagement is a strategy.

There is a distinct difference in these schools of thought. Both have their place depending on organizational objectives and employee initiatives. Some Human Resource professionals find their skill set in the transactional. There is a place for this in every organization. Unfortunately, the transactional past of the HR skill set is holding back those who want more out of their profession. It is my belief that SHRM has made the transition into certifying their members because they believe that the title of Human Resources encompasses more than the transactional. The future of the profession may very well be split into two groups:

Group 1: Generalists
Group 2: HR Business Partners

Here's where the vendor/attendee partnership becomes critically important.

Transactional Recognition = rewards that are not performance based or that are driven by back-end technology that serves only as a compensation device.

Strategic Engagement = entirely unique programs that serve employee well being through revenue production.

A Vice President in our HR Community once told me that he would not offer a non-cash reward program for his employees because they were minimum wage workers who could barely afford to pay rent. He fought to get a them a pay raise rather than a better benefit. Makes sense.

We often see companies who want to borrow technical design to better measure performance and its according cash pay out. Fair enough.

There are organizations who rely on industry case studies to determine what will make their employees happy while others are seeking big data metrics to determine the best total rewards package for their employees. A viable bench-marking exercise.

At the conclusion of 2013, Gallup reported a 13% Global Employee Engagement rate. They have data to prove it. I disagree with their data (and everyone's data for that matter).

Lack of employee engagement is not due to lack of employee motivation it is due to an organization's inability to embrace it. If you seek an off-the-shelf program (that every other company has) you have put a check in the Total Rewards inventory. For most employees, that is not enough.

Why Not Dream Big!
Starbucks has partnered with The Arizona State University to pay for their Barista's college education. The transactional-minded may see this as a potential expense drain. These are the people who afford their employees only minimal learning opportunities for fear that if they learn too much they will leave.

Howard Schultz thinks different. Starbucks' bold effort will create two distinct opportunities:
1. Improved employee retention by keeping Baristas in place for as long as it takes to complete their college degree.
2. The creation of better-developed job candidates in their business communities.

Completing a college degree is a massive challenge. While Starbucks employees endure said challenge they will amplify their performance at work to ensure they reserve their opportunity to a free education. This will transform transactional employees into strategically engaged employees.

Simple question: if Starbucks can make business leaders out of retail workers how is it possible that HR Generalists cannot become HR Business Partners?

The Test: are the vendors at #SHRM14 selling you something that works for them or partnering with you to create something that will make your business better?

The ability to recognize the difference between transactional vendors and strategic business partners is one that every SHRM14 attendee possess.

Ask Yourself: Why Are We Still Paying People to Put a Check in a Box?

Don't Forget to Remember!!!

Dave              

Monday, June 16, 2014

How To Maximize The Exhibitor Hall Experience

The Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference is upon us. How do I know? Because my inbox is flooded with requests for interaction from the world's finest sales people. If you haven't attended the SHRM Annual conference in the past, the Exhibitor Hall can be a bit intimidating. Sales and Marketing professionals in logo-ed polo shirts engage their core audience through i-pad raffles, branded handouts and interactive stuffed Monster giveaways.

I've had the equal pleasure of working a vendor booth and walking the Exhibitor Hall as a conference staff member. So, while this week's SHRM preparation editorials are aimed at conference attendees, I'd like to offer a few tips to the boys and girls that will be on their feet all day.

Let's Run The Numbers....
Let's say your company has invested $100,000 all in for the SHRM Experience (this is a hypothetical figure). Your average deal size is $10,000. You'll need to close just 10 deals to secure your investment. I like your odds!

With the aforementioned formula in mind, allow me to advise a few points.

Stuffed Animals are Incapable of Conversation
Your company has printed a bunch of stat sheets, you've got branded stuffed lizards, your badge scanner, and a pocket full of gift cards. Your goal: scan as many badges as possible to add to your pipeline, correct? Incorrect.

If your only intent is handing out collateral and scanning badges you will collect a ton of names from people who very well may not be your target audience.

Quality not Quantity 
If you rush to scan the badges of every person who walks the hall you may miss out on a genuine conversation with your greatest potential customer.

Slow down and advise the following:
1. Introduce yourself.
2. Look at the person's badge.
3. Ask if they have a business problem that your product, service or personal expertise can fix.
4. If they qualify, have a meaningful conversation.
5. Differentiate yourself.
6. Set action items for follow-up.

Even the finest sales pitch will not make an impression with a conference attendee who has seen 700 companies that do the same thing you do.

Make is personal, understand the other organizational players involved in the sales process, introduce qualified prospects to Subject Matter Experts... don't waste your time demoing your product for a person who does not fit your target audience or who does not have a need for your service.

Don't Be Annoying...
Some HR people are introverted. Don't scare away your audience. As easily as you can create a lead, you can destroy one.

* Don't scan a person's badge if they do not request it.
* Don't pretend you are working a carnival dunk tank.
* Don't waste your time talking to someone who does not extend you the courtesy of their full attention.

Have Fun!
It sucks being away from your family to stand on your feet all day. Believe me, I feel your pain!

Find people that engage your interest, have a beverage (or 17) and make sure you sell something!

See You in Orlando!

~ Dave
  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Empty Hotels

"The life of the artist is, in relation to his work, stern and lonely. He has labored hard, often amid deprivation, to perfect his skill. He has turned aside from quick success in order to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. His working life is marked by intense application and intense discipline." - John F. Kennedy


When I wore a younger man's clothes my family moved around a fair amount. My Father was a Corporate Leader and his thirst for progress took his family to various locations. We moved down the coast from Northern California into Orange County when I was mid-way through grade school. It was the first reflective transition in my life. I was aware enough to sense the sea change. It was exciting! During this trip we stopped at a hotel off the highway, it was a transient affair. I remember being in the lobby in the middle of the night. Though the hours were odd, there were a collection of weary travelers in the common area. They shared stories of their travels and where their lives were taking them. I sat with my sister among these strangers and took in their knowledge. My senses were amplified by this massive room that people (by their own doing) could turn from an empty resting stop into a community. I've never forgotten that feeling. 

Every morning I sit in an empty coffee shop before most people are awake. As the sun begins to smile upon us, people begin their days and trickle in with half-shut eyes. Most of the time when I am departing others are just beginning their days. My willingness to catapult myself from my slumber into each morning gives me a 2 hour head start into a day of limitless possibilities that are mine to create. 

I spend a fair amount of time traveling. I'm not one to strike up a conversation with fellow travelers yet I spend very little time in the sanctity of my hotel room. Before most are awake, I find my way down to the lobby to get some work done in the company of the human race. 

Wes Anderson's extraordinary set design of the film Grand Budapest Hotel personifies this feeling of emptiness in a place built for crowds. It was so comforting to take it all in. This film brings out the forgotten element of customer service: when serving people was job #1, when you could enjoy a meal without being shuffled out the door, when people knew your name and your preferences. And then there is the element of dwelling among a common area knowing you can relax without being confronted for loitering.

With each morning I see people come and go through the coffee shop. Some wear their troubles on their sleeve, others can't wait to talk to the Baristas, and there are those who simply want to enjoy a few moments within their own mind before they run off to form the making of their day. 

Whether I am in an empty airport, a forgotten restaurant, a lonely coffee shop or an uncrowded conference hall; there is no more peaceful feeling to me than being among humanity. It's even more pleasing to dwell among them with their theme songs in my headphones writing the story of their day. 

Don't Forget to Remember!

Dave