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Dude’s Dad

My only living child is of the furry variety, a nine-year old 100-pound golden retriever named Mars.

Mars came to be with us in 2011.  Before his arrival, our house had already been filled with a menagerie of other furry babies, and we considered ourselves to be highly experienced pet parents. Mars was to be child #5, following three cats and a dog.  We had started our family with cats and so by the time Mars arrived, they had all crossed the rainbow bridge and we were feeling we needed to give our dog Daphne a sibling so that she would stay active.

Mars was a rescue, nearly two when he entered our home for the first time. He had been removed from an abusive situation and needed a lot of care to heal his wounds, some physical, some emotional.

Today, when I think about the word gratitude, I don’t think about people, I think about how Mars reacted to being with us in the early days.  It was like he sensed immediately that he was going to have an opportunity to bond with humans who would be nice to him, and he did nothing but respond in a positive way to that.  Most important, in what seemed like 5 seconds, he sized up my husband and said “you’re good”, and they’ve been practically inseparable since.

I have never been jealous of their bond.  For one thing, Mars likes me too; it’s just that he doesn’t look at me the same way as he looks at John.  He reveres him.  It is like he is a symbiont.  I call my husband Mars’s Dad, however according to Mars he is his best friend.  They seem to share alpha responsibilities equally, but readily concedes that my husband is the smarter of the two, and takes direction when he is confused about what to do.  The only time that I really notice that I am the third wheel in the relationship is on trail, because if I come along, the two of them are in constant conversation, and I essentially have to take up the role of caboose (which is fine because I’m slow and I like to take pictures).

Mars’s personality isn’t dramatically unlike other goldens you may know.  In human terms, he is a regular Keanu Reeves, and he has earned his nickname of Dude.  If you’re wondering where the name of his Facebook site comes from, it is because he is “the Dude”.

So up to this point I’ve mostly written about Dude, but since it is Father’s Day weekend, I think I need to write more about Dude’s Dad.  This is the thing. Damaged souls like Mars’s need to trust that your love for them is unconditional and omnipresent. I don’t know if in the beginning Dude’s Dad believed he had it in him to always be like that, but he has stepped up to the challenge enthusiastically.  But it goes beyond that.  Dude’s Dad has known from those first five seconds that to have the privilege of having such a symbiont, you have to be steadfast in your commitment to the other.  Mostly, great dog/people experiences are predicated on ensuring that there is a sense of lightness, play in fun, all the time.  Our home has that in spades.

For the past 20 years, I’ve been using this blogsite as a way of connecting to the world of employment, typically though trying to connect to others through life experiences.  In the context of employees, as a leader, are you behaving like Dude’s Dad, creating a fun, emotionally safe environment, where those employees can thrive?  If not, maybe you should take a page from Dude’s Dad, because Dude is doing awesome.

Think you’d like to follow the adventures of The Daily Dude? Then please go to 

Workhuman is for Everyone

It is hard for me to imagine, but it has been six weeks since I attended the Workhuman conference in Nashville.  I attend a lot of conferences, but this one is a personal favourite.  The content is phenomenal, and I enjoy connecting with the attendees.

In previous years, one of the rubs I had about attending the Workhuman conference was that some great tools were showcased to spark recognition, but they were only available to large employers.  Many of the circumstances where I can influence activities like recognition are at small employers, and so I didn’t have an opportunity to use the solution, that is, until now.

Actually, I was so excited at hearing of the release of Workhuman Cloud that I marched over to Workhuman Central and purchased it for my team.  I decided that the best way to demo it for others was to have some collateral in the form of real recognition moments.

The act of formatting Workhuman Cloud, customizing the recognition reasons, and inviting team members took all of ten minutes. In terms of recognition reasons, I chose teamwork, urgency, quality, results and innovation.  I felt these were relevant because we are a consulting firm.

What was time consuming was the act of creating the recognition moments. This caused me to ask myself questions like:

  • What would I recognize?
  • Why would I recognize one thing over another?
  • What was an appropriate level of recognition (whisper it, scream it)?
  • What should I actually say?

Truth is, I am not a natural recognizer, and so I had to train myself to write my recognition moments.  And I am the first to admit I’m still learning.  There are some basic tips for writing a good recognition moment including:

  • Be brief. Start with the words “thank you” if you can.
  • Be simple. You don’t have to explain all the details in your recognition, but there should be enough that the person believes that you understood and recognized the effort they put in.
  • Be specific. Try to keep to one specific idea of recognition. Tie it to the recognition reason (e.g. teamwork).
  • Encourage the recipient to do more of whatever you are recognizing.
  • You can do it via video or with graphics, and if that is natural to you, go for it.

Is my team loving Workhuman Cloud?  Absolutely!  Just read some of their reviews:

Sherri Rossi:

Although Workhuman Cloud is still new to our team, I find it to be an excellent way to touch base with our colleagues as we are consultants and we are rarely in the same location. When we recognize one another for the work that we do it allows us to show the appreciation we cannot necessarily demonstrate in person. I was also searching for a recognition tool that worked in small business teams (which is most of my client base) and this tool is bang on what I was looking for. I look forward to many recognition moments in the future.

Adrianne Lovelock:

It has been absolutely wonderful to be able to send (and receive!) recognition. Opening your inbox in the morning and finding recognition brings a smile to your face and makes me personally want to reciprocate that good feeling. Having this tool has given our team a fantastic avenue to acknowledge the positive work we all do and become even closer and more supportive than ever.

Did this post pique your interest?  If so, please go to to learn more about Workhuman solutions.

Are you still here?

Photo Credit: Andrew Morffew, Flickr

It has been a very long time since I’ve paid attention to this blogsite.  In the past couple of years I’ve used it to blog during conferences but that’s about it.

The site shows its age; weathered, stale.  It was developed over ten years ago. I had all sorts of ideas and I was passionate. In the beginning it had a lot of traffic.

But times have changed. I left for a while.

So I want to know, “Are you still here”?  I’m very curious about this. I’m not sure who is still milling about.

I’m not exactly sure why I stopped blogging regularly.  I used to enjoy writing and keeping up with the site.  Most important I valued the connections I made from it.

When I started, while I was hopeful about the blogsite’s prospects, I never expected that success would be tied to a community of bloggers, and readers, interested in engagement and talking all things HR.  I had no idea whether the site would have an audience, which it did, for a time.

I have often said that HR is a lonely business.  In many organizations, an HR team is just one or two people.  Whether they are agents of engagement or paper pushers, well that’s dependent upon a number of factors, not all talent or capability related. Having like minded people out there, even if just on the wires, was comforting to me.

Things changed a few years ago.  In my opinion, HR blogging became less about connecting and more about getting attention, like we were another version of the Kardashians.  I couldn’t keep up, didn’t want to keep up. Also, it seemed that the social media engines tried to own everything.  Monetizing impacted content for the worse.  And I feel that Trump ruined Twitter for normal people.

For me personally, I had the chance to do some other things and I turned away.  You know, hiking and stuff.  And work has been insanely busy.

I stopped reading blogs.  Sorry, if you were or still are a regular blogger, in the most Canadian way, I apologize for stopping.  It started gradually but then one day I realized I wasn’t reading them anymore. It wasn’t your content, it was me.  I didn’t evolve into the world of podcasts, I just sort of checked out.

So why am I writing this?

I’m thinking of coming back to blogging, maybe not this site specifically, maybe not in the first person.  But I am definitely thinking about blogging again.

Are you still here?  If yes, let me know.

If you are here, what are you up to?  Are you still interested in blogs?

Where can I find you?

Is there a chance we can reconnect?

I look forward to hearing from you, in whatever way you feel like reaching me.