Timing can be more important than we like to think it is in our lives. We have all experienced the best laid plans destroyed instantaneously by events outside of our control. On the other hand, most of us have also had unexpected luck or a sudden turn of events bless us when we least expected it. What is most important, is how we respond to these unexpected and unplanned moments.
Some of my most profound experiences have had a peculiar timing that tipped the course of my future. My HR career began in 1979 after I saw a job posting in an obscure hallway on the last day one could apply for it. I got the job. My, what would be future husband, picked me up for a business lunch at the exact same time two dozen beautiful red roses were delivered for me in the lobby from a former boyfriend who was a florist. I couldn’t have planned that better had I tried. Before moving to Sugar Land, TX, for several years, I tried and tried to reach groups who might want to join us in the “Vets Coaching Vets” initiative and was ignored. I couldn’t get a response. Then the first person I reached out to at Lone Star Veterans Association in Houston said, “Yes, let’s do this!” Again, timing.
More timing. My newly released researched based book, Fresh Insights to End the Glass Ceiling had been set for several months for a release date of Tuesday, August 29, 2017. Then, just weeks before the launch, another fortuitous event appeared in the news. A Google software engineer wrote his carefully crafted vivid manifesto about women, gender disparity and he challenged the company’s diversity policies. That situation did not end well leaving the gender issue to be a tinder box of emotions, disconnects and disagreements. While this was a difficult matter for those involved at Google, it was great timing for my book. The book discloses the true reasons why the glass ceiling exists and it is not what most people think (including Google.) With this knowledge offered through our research findings, the gender blame game can be eliminated and organizations can move forward with tangible solutions that will work.
As the book launch moved closer, I knew our August 29th date was pushing a little close to the Labor Day Weekend. I thought that the start of a new school year was good timing to welcome fresh thinking. However, I never expected to butt heads with Harvey (that is Harvey I). At the precise time my book released, my husband and I were, like thousands of other Houstonians, trapped by rising waters and unable to leave our home. On the day before my book launch, a boat of young kind-hearted volunteers came to our door to evacuate us and we stayed because we have a two-story home and we have three dogs. August 29th was the day that the rains began to dissipate in Sugar Land. Our area had never flooded before but with 40.5 inches of rain in three days and two lakes converging on our property, Harvey seized the moment. Fortunately, we were spared.
Most importantly, Harvey’s timing and duration of hanging around far too long, changed history for national disasters, the Houston area and the nation. It is too soon to know the extent of damage, but thousands remain homeless. Some lost their lives. Some have abandoned their homes for good. Everyone was impacted – themselves, their families, friends and businesses.
Timing was good for the people, however. Never in my life have I witnessed such a spirit of helpfulness, care and love. People from here and everywhere risked their lives, resources and time to pitch in and help. They are still doing so and it is profound to experience. We are not the divided nation the media likes to portend us to be – they just need to visit Houston to understand the goodness of the people.
So, briefly – back to my book launch. You could say it was thrown off course for a bit. Despite Harvey, even with floods at our doorstep, I went forward with quite a few radio interviews since we still had power. In fact, national radio hosts were getting two interviews for one: being inside the hurricane zone and a book with new insights to fix an old problem.
We adapted as needed and extended the launch and rescheduled some of the activities that were impacted. Fortunately, Fresh Insights to END the Glass Ceiling was up and running and available on Amazon and the Kindle version is now ready. The feedback from early previews have been blushingly remarkable. In fact, just this week on October 17th, my colleagues in Tulsa, Oklahoma threw a wonderful Book Launch Party at The Vault which was well attended and terrific fun.
Interestingly, timing has really been good overall to spark interest in my book and our assessment work regarding inherent leadership risk factors. After Harvey I, Hillary Clinton recently began what even CNN called her blame game book tour which has sparked more radio interviews requests for me due to my book and our research on the glass ceiling.
Then, most recently, another horrific Harvey (this is Harvey II) surfaced in the news: Harvey Weinstein. While my book is about the glass ceiling, we measure and contrast the inherent risks – or bad behaviors — of leaders. In the book, we cite that men leaders common risk factors were found to be as “Egotists, Rule Breakers & Upstagers” which results in tendencies for them to: be overly aggressive, think they are the smartest and best, have a sense of entitlement, hog air time, and ignore rules and limits. Depending on the rest of their (CDR) assessment results or what we call their profile, on the outer extremes, they can be bullies, harassers or even corporate stalkers. Mr. Weinstein obviously had serious personality issues demonstrating a lack of empathy with a relentless need for power, control along with reckless, aggressive, and cruel behaviors. He certainly was an outer extreme who was free to run amok, assaulting, harassing and devastating women for decades. Worse yet, he was never held accountable. He should have been fired or given a last warning on his first offense. That never happened.
Organizations sometimes facilitate bad behaviors by leaders by just looking the other way. We see inappropriate behaviors by leaders ignored routinely in organizations. To clarify – we do not see sexual harassment commonly, but leaders and executives are sometimes permitted to treat people without respect or are freely permitted to bully and intimidate them because of bottom line profits or results. It is true that all leaders and people have some inherent risk factors as this is part of normal personality. These are not, however, permission or an excuse for bad behaviors.
So, getting back to the book, given the timing of all of these events, the research we have conducted to END the glass ceiling is relevant to current leadership events and issues. This has lead so to me participating in about 40 radio interviews and a national television interview so far with more on the schedule. Did I mention timing?
Timing has its way if giving us ups and downs and can throw us off course. Two things I’ve learned to do over the course of my life, and especially in running a small business while raising four (now adult) children, particularly if things turn downward or go off track: get up, dust yourself off, and find the sunny side. There is always a sunny side.