Tom Gardner Talks Company Culture at GoogleHQ

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“All of the greatest companies want their people to succeed.” It’s true! Learn more from Tom Gardner’s presentation at Google HQ about the importance of investing in your organization’s culture. Don’t have time to watch the video? Here are Tom’s four takeaways:

1. Name your own value.

2. Know everyone’s name at your company – learn as many name’s as possible.

3. Connect with people outside of your company.

4. Craft your own job.

To learn more about Tom’s points in detail, read his full article here.

Developing a Foolish Path to Your Dream Career

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Now The Motley Fool’s Chief Communications Officer, Adrienne began her Foolish career 7 years ago as an Executive Assistant. Over her time at FoolHQ, Adrienne has also excelled as a project manager and publisher within our editorial business. She recently spoke on how she shaped her dream career to conference attendees in the executive support field. 

By Adrienne Perryman

“Don’t let him keep you down!”

I emphatically said this with hands on hips – head shake and all – in front of a crowd of 250. The comment, which surprised me as it exited my own mouth, was followed by “I think it’s about time for you to start looking for a new job!” The cheers of the crowd, which was mostly comprised of women in blazers and 1 inch pumps, signified overwhelming agreement.

This kind of support in a public forum would normally be pretty awesome. But it upset me.

Here’s Why:

It’s 2014 – having a boss that won’t let you advance in your career is so out of style, Mr. Executive. And women in support roles, you’re not helping yourself either.

My agitation grew when another woman approached me after my speech with the same issue. And then another. It wasn’t just the one woman in the crowd who felt compelled to speak up about her stubborn, selfish boss who was hesitant to let her take on extra projects for their own selfish reasons. There were many. And I found myself repeating similar advice that I uttered on stage.

“It’s time for you to move on.”

“Find someone who will appreciate your interests and encourage growth.”

I felt like I was giving relationship advice. But these were hard working, eager, smart, educated women – all women – who wanted to know how to convince their bosses that their development is important.

Thankfully, this concept of not being allowed to grow, develop, and eventually move into my dream role is foreign to me. I started as an Executive Assistant at The Motley Fool 7 years ago and, from day one, was encouraged by my boss and co-workers to try new things. To use my position as a launching pad into other areas of the business; learn the business and develop to my full potential; take classes in our internal university; and talk to Fools about my development and how I can progress.

This development approach is unfamiliar to many employees, which seems confusing to me. Similar types of career barriers are a reality for millions worldwide. Why don’t executives realize it’s for their own good that their assistants love working for them, rather than feel hindered by their management?

Attention, Bosses

If you’re a manager of someone…develop them. For goodness sake, don’t hold them back! Would you like that if you were in their position? Encourage it. Incentivize it. I’m confident that if your employee is proactively reaching for more, they’ll go to great lengths to make sure your calendar, project, or needs won’t suffer. You’ll survive. And you might actually have an employee who will work harder for you because they appreciate the opportunity you’ve given them.

Attention! You Own Your Career

If you are stuck under the sticky thumb of your boss, do something about it. Have an honest conversation with your boss about your concerns, and take a plan with you to that meeting to help show them you’re capable of doing more – and that nothing will suffer because of it. Own your career. Don’t wait for someone to wake up to the fact that their style is so outdated. Make the change happen. Be the change you want – or find a new job where your development is a priority.

You’re More Than Your Job Title

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Holiday PartiesNovember is almost here and the holiday season will soon be upon us. For many people, that means weekends filled with cocktail parties. My least favorite kind of party is the one where my wife knows everyone there, and I know no one. Inevitably I end up engaged in small talk and, as it turns out, I’m pretty horrible at small talk. It’s especially difficult when we get to the “what do you do?” question.

In the U.S. you have to have a clear answer to that question. This answer is important. There is a lot of pressure to nail this one. I am an Anesthesiologist, I handle logistics for the largest non-profit in the world, I am a Teacher, I am a Developer for NASA, I am a Dog Walker. Whatever your answer, it defines everything about your life; what is important to you, how much money you make, what difference you are making in the world, and whether the conversation is about to get interesting.

My challenge is I don’t know what to say. At The Fool we have never liked traditional job titles and job descriptions. There is so much limitation in a job description and so much hierarchy in a title. I play many roles here and they are dynamic and fun. Overall my goal is to make people happy. Often I work to ensure Fools are passionate and skilled about what they do, and that what they do is valuable to our members. Sometimes I lead, sometimes I follow, sometimes I learn, and sometimes I buy doughnuts. There is no great title that describes those actions or that I care to use.

I am proud of my work and I believe it makes a real difference in the world. I don’t find value in being the assistant to the vice president of administrators or whatever sounds important. A lot of people might wonder how I could be important without a fancy title that connotes subordinates and authority. To fix this, I have been telling people I am the President of the United States, but he’s getting so much air time lately I fear people won’t believe me.