A Company Culture like the Tree House Masters

treehouse-masters-drlSometimes you come across every day, ordinary occurrences, that you stop and grab your Evernote (or pen and paper if you’re old school) and say “That will make a great blog post!”

It just so happened that I did this very thing over the weekend. I’ve probably been watching way too much TV for the summer and beautiful weather and should be outdoors but I can’t seem to get enough of Reality TV. I know, I’m wrong for that!

After watching one of my new favorites “The Treehouse Masters” on Animal Planet, I realized that I had to write about my perspective of what appears (notice I say appear because, hey – it is still television) to be a great company culture with Pete Nelson and his organization.

Here are my takeaways:

  • He thinks his crew (team) is awesome – every time you watch the show you hear him talk of how he thinks his crew is the best at what they do and takes time to recognize them and their talents.
  • He recognizes their strengths and understands that each man plays a part in the whole. He knows that it takes more than one person to get the job done and allows them creative input. (THIS CAUSES THEM TO BE MORE CREATIVE AS THEY GO. Everyone loves to be noticed and trusted).
  • He’s a mentor – not a dictator. He takes people in under his wing and step by step mentors them with the knowledge that he’s gained throughout his career. He shares both the triumphs and the mistakes.
  • He’s so passionate and that is contagious. His passion in his field and in this niche industry is so refreshing to see. He’s like a little kid at Christmas when he sees everything coming together.
  • He loves his job. He mentions almost always that coming to work is not really like “work” because it’s something he loves to do.
  • He gives back. I recently watched an episode where they donated a treehouse to someone who could not afford it. Someone who had won a contest and he and his team were quoted saying “This is the way to build a treehouse” realizing that giving to someone who couldn’t afford it made it all the more sweeter.
  • He’s open to doing things differently. He often dives into the unknown and uncharted waters with ideas that come from either the Treehouse Owner who has hired him or his own ideas. He’s not afraid to take risks.

All in all, I challenge you to watch this show and see how he and his team operate. Of course we don’t see all the behind the scenes, but you’ll come away refreshed from watching someone so excited and passionate about what they do that it’ll make you stop and wonder, “Am I doing what I’m passionate about?”

And, you’ll want a Treehouse.

While I was blogging, LIFE HAPPENED

busyIt’s been some time now since I last sent out a post. I’ve been digging up previous posts just to try to keep up and not run out on you guys completely!

For the past several years I was at it hard and heavy. Blogging 4 to 5 times a week, researching online to keep up to date on things, attending conferences like mad and running my business. All of the sudden I had to at some point prioritize because it seemed like my personal life was falling apart.

I found myself smack dab in the middle of dealing with one close family member who has bipolar disorder and goes off the deep end way too often while the other close family member in my life was homeless and living on the street due to addiction and alcohol abuse. Every day seemed to have its share of drama and crisis. It’s a miracle I’m not sitting in a loony bin myself from all the stress.

Life is hard. Life is messy and things can easily get all outta whack in a Minnesota minute and we can find ourselves trying to juggle way too many things. This can cause us to lose our minds if we don’t realize what’s most important and lay a few things aside.

It was excruciatingly hard to lay my ideas, hard work and time gained aside to feel like I would never gain back traction in the area of my business, blog, social networking etc. But most everything has a price. And being there for my family is worth it. It will always be.

In the end I have lost some traction in the area of my online brand but I can quickly work on that. And I wouldn’t trade any of the time off for anything because I can say I gave it my all to help those dearest to me, when I really wanted to walk away and give em a big “F” YOU!

I often sit in silence with my thoughts asking myself if I would go through all their crap again and always come back with a “yeah!” To think that we can be the very one who helps saving those within our realm of influence could go to ones head. We must always remember “But for the grace of God, go I.”

I won’t make any promises of how often I’ll blog, how many conferences I’ll attend (if any), if I’ll talk to you on Twitter – but I can tell you I’ll keep fighting for the lives of those dearest to me. And that’s what matters now.



When Social Media Silence Falls

SocialSilenceSocial Media is what you make of it. I use it for personal use but I also use it for both work and professional growth because I like technology and the creative outlet it provides. Yet, I often ask myself what would happen if I went silent for weeks and months on all accounts? Is that ok?

The motivation behind social media use provides an answer to my question. A person who uses it only for personal use would have no adverse impact form the social silence. It may prompt a few telephone calls from friends and relatives ensuring the person is ok but that would be the gist of it. A business or an individual using social media for professional reasons would have a very different negative impact due to the silence. Can anyone say falling Klout score?

Allow me to use my Mother as an example. She has a Facebook account and spends probably 90% of her Facebook time scrolling through photos on her iPad. She has no other agenda but to view updates of friends and relatives.

Now, allow me to use a fake business as another example. This business has a Facebook page and Twitter account and occasionally posts holiday updates and an a rare special promotion on their Facebook page. The Twitter account is linked to Facebook and no other tweets are sent from the account.

I present to you that my Mother’s use is acceptable but the fake business’ use is not.  Why?  Well, the answer is simple. My Mother has no agenda beyond accessing information. As she has said before, “I’ve lived without Facebook the majority of my life and it won’t hurt me if I don’t have access to it.”  The business, on the other hand, does have an agenda or the accounts would never have been created. The goal might be branding, exposure, customer service, marketing or (if smart) a combination of them all.

Without boring you with statistics, it is a safe assumption that social media experts almost all agree that dormant accounts are worse than a business not having an online presence at all. Businesses should allocate personnel to spend time managing social media. This can be accomplished by hiring an employee to manage and coordinate social efforts. If this is not financially feasible, the business can allocate internal resources and allow an existing employee time in his/her schedule for social media.

Be forewarned because it should not be just any employee! Just because Joe or Sue has an account on every social media network does not make Joe or Sue the perfect candidate for the job. I would recommend that any internal employee offering to assist with social media be required to submit examples of their own posts or other work. Poor punctuation, grammar and spelling on personal sites would usually translate into the same on business pages.

Adding the element of a volunteer organization further complicates the above process because the person(s) in charge of social media are often volunteers with their own lives, employers and agendas. Regardless, the recommendation stands.  Just because volunteer Joe or Sue has an account on a social network does not mean he/she is right for the job.

They say silence is golden but, in social media, extended silence is toxic. What steps do you take to prevent the silence from falling?

About the Author:

KYLE12062012Kyle Jones is a fan of comic books, science fiction, gadgets and a devoted Doctor Who “Whovian.” Professionally, he is the Human Resources Manager at Megagate Broadband, Inc. and served as the first Social Media Director of Mississippi SHRM. He is a longtime SHRM member and continues to serve the HR profession online and as an advisor to MSSHRM council members and to South Mississippi SHRM. HR to Who: From Human Resources to Doctor Who.

100 Funny Southern sayings (Volume Two) to start off your Weekend!

chickenSo I thought I would pull together a few (some very funny) Southern sayings. Yes, we have our own language down in the South. Even my husband commented when moving there when we first married “I feel as if I have moved to another planet.” And somehow I find that very odd because he’s from Chicago (a whole other world – to me, of course).

I wanted to lighten up our week with a few giggles for the weekend. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from the mundane and venture out. You know, not take ourselves too seriously.

  1. I won’t say it’s far, but I had to grease the wagon twice before I hit the main road.
  2. I was busy as a funeral home fan in July.
  3. If a trip around the world cost a dollar, I couldn’t get to the state line.
  4. We were so poor I had a tumbleweed as a pet.
  5. He looks like he was inside the outhouse when lightening struck.
  6. She looks like she was born down wind from the outhouse.
  7. Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day.
  8. Never smack a man who’s chewin’ tobacco.
  9. Never ask a barber if he thinks you need a haircut.
  10. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.
  11. Scared as a sinner in a cyclone.
  12. Scared as a cat at the dog pound.
  13. Pregnant before marriage: They ate supper before they said grace.
  14. She’s so ugly she’d make a freight train take a dirt road.
  15. He’s so ugly his cooties have to close their eyes.
  16. So ugly his mama takes him everywhere she goes so she doesn’t have to kiss him goodbye.
  17. She looks like she fell face-down in the sticker patch and cows ran over her.
  18. He looks like the dogs have been keepin’ him under the porch.
  19. He’s about as sharp as a mashed potato.
  20. So dusty the rabbits are digging holes six feet in the air.
  21. It’ll last about as long as a fart in a whirlwind.
  22. He’s rough as a corn cob.
  23. He’s got enough money to burn a wet mule.
  24. He’s about as sharp as a bag full of wet mice.
  25. It’s as dry as the dust in a mummy’s pocket.
  26. It’s about as scarce as bird crap in a cuckoo clock.
  27. He’s as tight as the pages in a book.
  28. Tight like a too-small bathing suit on a too-long ride home from the beach.
  29. This race is as tight as the rusted lug nuts on a ’55 Ford.
  30. Hotter than a Laredo parking lot in the summertime.
  31. It’s hot enough to peel house paint.
  32. Running like a squirrel in a cage.
  33. Safe as a tick on a dog with a stiff neck.
  34. Dumb as a bag full of hammers.
  35. She’s just naturally horizontal.
  36. Meaner than a skilletful of rattlesnakes.
  37. He couldn’t find his a$% with a flashlight in each hand.
  38. He couldn’t pour rain out of a boot with a hole in the toe and directions on the heel.
  39. If dumb was dirt, he’d cover about half an acre.
  40. So windy we’re using a log chain instead of a wind sock.
  41. It’s so foggy, the birds are walkin’
  42. Tighter than bark on a tree
  43. As welcome as an outhouse breeze.
  44. Her hair looks like a cats been suckin’ on it.
  45. We were so poor my brother and me had to ride double on our stick horse.
  46. As bad-off as a rubber-nosed woodpecker in a petrified forest.
  47. As confused as a cow on AstroTurf.
  48. It was so hot you could pull a baked potato right out of the ground.
  49. It’s so dry the trees are whistling for the dogs.
  50. Busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor.
  51. If things get any better around here, I may have to hire someone to help me enjoy it.
  52. Well knock me down and steal muh teeth!
  53. Cute as a box full of puppies.
  54. You can’t get rid of ’em. He’s like a booger you can’t thump off.
  55. It’s about as hard as trying to steer a herd of cats.
  56. The wheels still turning, but the hamster’s dead.
  57. I’ll beat you so bad you’ll feel like you were ate by wolves and sh$% over a cliff.
  58. He’s so confused he doesn’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his a$%.
  59. She was as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
  60. So crooked you can’t tell from his tracks if he’s coming or going.
  61. I wouldn’t trust him any farther than I can throw him.
  62. He’s got more guts than you could hang on a fence.
  63. So dry the catfish are carrying canteens.
  64. So dry I’m spitting cotton.
  65. Hot as a two-dollar hooker on the 4th of July.
  66. So hot the hens are laying hard-boiled eggs.
  67. Cold as a frosted frog
  68. Cold as an ex-wife’s heart.
  69. Cold as a cast iron commode.
  70. Cold as a banker’s heart.
  71. She’s about as useful as buttons on a dishrag.
  72. He’s tougher than a two-dollar steak.
  73. Happy as a puppy with two tails.
  74. She’s got enough wrinkles to hold an eight-day rain.
  75. That’s about as useful as a trap door on a canoe!
  76. He’s busier than a one-legged man at a butt-kickin contest!
  77. He’s so dumb he couldn’t pi$% his name in the snow.
  78. That politician’s so crooked he could hide behind a cork screw!
  79. That baby was so ugly the Doctor spanked the Momma!
  80. She’s so ugly she’s got ten-foot pole marks all over her.
  81. It’s rainin’ so hard it sounds like a cow pissing on a flat rock.
  82. He’s so bad off, his eyes looked like two piss-holes in a snowbank.
  83. Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!
  84. Her hair looks like it caught on fire and somebody put it out with a brick.
  85. He couldn’t find his rear with his hands in his back pockets.
  86. It’s raining so hard the animals are starting to pair up.
  87. His pants were so tight that if he farted, he’d blow his boots off.
  88. Raising kids is like being pecked to death by a chicken.
  89. He’s so skinny, his pants had only one back pocket.
  90. She’s so fat, it takes two dogs to bark at her.
  91. He was mean enough to hunt bears with a hickory switch.
  92. He was ugly as a burnt boot.
  93. Tougher than the back end of a shootin’ gallery.
  94. West Texas is so flat you can watch your dog run away for three days.
  95. He’s so stupid he could lock himself in a bathroom and still pee his pants.
  96. It was so hot we sat around a fire to keep cool.
  97. West Texas is so flat that they send levels there to be tested for quality.
  98. He was so short you could see his feet in his drivers license photo.
  99. Your face looks like it caught on fire and was put out with a bag of nickels.

Feel free to comment on “What does that actually mean?” in the comment section. 🙂 Oh and by the way, I didn’t write these so please refrain from calling me names for sharing!

Using Klout to Screen Job Applicants

This post originally aired in July 2012. I thought I might bring it back around. Makes sense!


Don’t get me wrong, I love Klout perks. I’ve gotten some good chit over the past few years – anything from wine openers to T-shirts to smartphones worth $700.00.

But lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about social recruiters and companies looking to Klout to determine one’s “influence.” Heck, I’ve even heard rumors that financial institutions are using Klout to determine one’s credit worthiness. That takes the cake for me.

If you have been in a dark room hiding for the past year or so and don’t know what all the Klout is about, here’s a little info.

I’m all about online influence, relationship and community building and I glance at my Klout score from time to time. But I really don’t take it seriously. In fact, I haven’t invited a single person to join Klout (that I know of). See below. I find the picture to be quite funny and don’t think I will ever invite anyone on Facebook to join Klout – ever!

I think the reason that companies should not weigh in on someone’s Klout score for a potential job (accept perhaps in Digital Footprint and Management in Social Media but only in this area and since my Klout is somewhat good 🙂 ) is that it can be manipulated as written in this post “Klout Myth Busters: Thoughts From The Experts.” I like what one dude says in this article:

Klout is a naive measurement that takes a 3 dimensional universe of influence and reduces it to a one dimensional snapshot. Like all other algorithmic people-scoring utilities, it only works as a very general indication of a person’s importance in the social media universe. (BAM!)

It’s funny how we take this whole thing so seriously and any new technology that comes along. There are some great tools out there that can truly assist in online recruiting, sourcing or whatever, don’t get me wrong, and I’ll be writing about those in the weeks to come.

But perhaps we should go back to “oldschool” methods of honing in on those skills that help us in determining the best fit, the best candidate and skills set or pull a dang credit check to determine if you should give someone a loan instead of looking to something like Klout!

What’s your whole thought of Klout and online influence? You’re the expert, you tell me?

Photo Credit: DeonDesigns

Here’s what you get when you have a half-arse Social Media approach

bad-online-reviewSo I was minding my own business, probably baking a cake or something, when I received a knock on my door. It was a sales rep who caught me at 6:30 pm in the evening, half-dressed (okay, still in my pajamas) and right smack in the middle of doing something domesticated. I was a little agitated but thought I’d let him stand out there and give his best sales pitch.

He wound up scheduling an “expert in their industry” to come by another night to tell me in detail how great their product was and how it was made. We scheduled for a couple of nights out and that was that. I shook my head and walked away thinking “Do people still actually do door to door sales calls?”

As a consumer I decided to do a little research into the company before the “expert” arrived so I could find out what folks were saying about the company, their product and their service. WOW! I did not expect to find such negative reviews and was blown away. Folks weren’t necessarily talking bad about the product and in fact stated how great the product was but the sales strategy, set up and customer service were in fact not good.

When the “expert” came in to the house I listened for a while, watching his displays and telling me how great the company was, how great the product was, and how other people gave them such great reviews. Now, this is where I had to chime in and share how I had done my research and actually found the complete opposite to be true in regard to how they operate. Very defensively, the “expert” came back with “Well, you can’t believe those online reviews. I’m pretty sure they are our competitors trying to run us in the ground.” I’m sure you can imagine my look back at him while he’s telling me this.

I listened to him talk for about three hours total and while he talked I kept getting on my phone and checking out their website and did a little more research. I’m pretty sure this annoyed him, but anywho! We got down to price and after almost coughing up a lung I told him I understood the value of the product and it was something I desperately needed to do but simply could not do it at the moment and I would not go in debt to do so.

I asked him were they on social media and his response of course was “Yes. We’re all over Twitter and Facebook.” So I proceeded to go to those sites. They had 6 followers on Twitter and around a 100 Facebook likes and no one was saying anything good.

I asked him how they were handling the negative reviews and he said they just simply could not take the time to comment to all those negative comments and why should they since they were probably their competitors trying to run them out of business. He even spoke up and asked me was the reason I was not buying that night because of what I had found online in my research.

Clearly, these folks have no idea how to run interference and put out fires, much less social media marketing.

So, here’s what you get when you have a half-arse Social Media Marketing approach:

  • No designated person to be the ears and eyes of your organization to be able to put out fires (bad reviews, complaints, etc).
    • Having a designated listener or team of listeners keeps this in check and keeps you on top of any negative feedback allowing you to be in charge.
  • You aren’t taken seriously as a company/organization who is trying to reach their customer / (or potential employee) where they are (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and those who do understand this will have a competitive advantage.
    • Most companies that implement a social strategy to their marketing efforts understand that people are online looking for them, looking to do business with them, looking to work for them and they are searching for them. They know that it’s crucial to have a strategy in place of who your target is, where they hang out, etc. so that they’ll find you when they search. This is the new way of doing business.
  • If you’re going to have crappy service and a crappy way of doing business you should probably get off social media all together. If folks aren’t happy with you they’re going to get online, share reviews, post pictures, etc. of how you have treated them. Good or bad. It’s just a fact.
    • Perhaps you shouldn’t blame other people for sharing bad reviews or your competitors and take a look at your business strategy and how you’re running your business. Perhaps it’s time to stop doing things the way you’ve always done them hoping they’ll still work in this day and age and make a change. Fix your business, train your people, then develop a strategy or call an agency to take care of your online activity.

On that note I may as well bring up the fact that someone came to me on LinkedIn a few weeks back wanting me to come do some work for their organization. Guess what? Yep. I Googled them “What it’s like to work for >>>>” and found some terrible reviews from former employees, especially on Glassdoor. This kind of stuff is important to know before making any decision.

It’s 2014, people are going to Google or Bing you and that’s just something you need to face. What are they going to find? Are they going to find that your employees hate you, you’re a terrible person and you treat your customers like a red-headed step child?

It’s always better to be proactive than reactive. But for goodness sake, do something!

Okay, rant over!

Inbreeding – The Social Way

We Southerners always get a bad rap. Whether on TV, in the movies, or some dip shit that says out loud and to your face, “Hey, don’t all you southerners intermarry? Is your uncle really your daddy?”

So to clear the air, not all southerners marry their cousins.

I was thinking one day and pondering how I came to be connected with so many folks around Cyberville and noticed a wonderful thing. Here’s how it works:

I connect to Joe Blow. Three days later Joe Blow’s connection John Q. Public sends me a connection request because he sees that I’m a friend of his friend Joe, and he respects Joe’s opinions (for the most part) or sees some comment I made on Joe’s FB or Twitter stream that he decides he too, would love to connect with me. The next thing you know, not only have I made friends with Joe and John Q. and have been engaging with them in conversations and content sharing – I have reached out to their friends Tom, Dick and Harry and they have obliged me in connecting…and so on, and so on.

I now have this awesome community with whom I engage almost on a daily basis. Shootin’ the sh#$, sharing their blogs and links, and just plain ole getting to know them.

A waste of time, you say? I beg to differ.

You see, I have made many friends online, many acquaintances that know about my business, what I’m passionate about, what rocks my boat. They also know how much I care about them because I share their shit too! In fact, I make a habit of it.

When the time comes that they themselves or someone they know needs my services, or they want me to blog for them about my area of expertise, they are already connected with me and have organically grown this relationship – all they need to do is ask. I’m not having to cold call them (which is so a thing of the past) but they are just about one click away from me.

If you’re not building a solid online community of engage-rs (not just those selling you their wares) you’re totally missing out. And I believe I have the coolest online friends ever – whether that turns a profit or not.

Stop evaluating this according to ROI and start building relationships.

And for Pete’s sake, stop asking me if I connect to every Tom, Dick or Harry – I just told you I do.

If you want to read more on inbreeding in America – check out “When Cousins Get Married.”