May 19, 2008

Bulk view

The only way to fight the darkness is to blaze even brighter with light


Thank you for your comforting thoughts.

I was horrified to hear what happened to Ollie. It’s sad that people can do things like that. I cried and cried and cried, and J- and W- put their arms around me and comforted me. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it or to call him back, and there was nothing I could do to prevent that from happening to other animals in the future.

When the initial shock passed, I found myself faced with a decision: I could either let this close me up and discourage me from caring so much that I could get this hurt, or I could defy that and keep myself open. I realized that–at least for me–the only way to fight the darkness within the world and within ourselves is to blaze even brighter with light. The only way to deal with random acts of sickness is with kindness. The only way to deal with hate is to love more fiercely. The only way to face death is to live.

Ollie was a good cat, and I’m glad I had that time with him. You can read about the time my dad rescued this poor drenched little kitten off the street and our daring cat rescue when Ollie decided to go and get lost on the roof. It was more than just the adventures, though. Ollie taught me a lot about the kindness of my parents, Kathy, and the other people at home. That’s what I treasure most about him: that a rather dusty orange cat with an endless appetite for food, the most piteous kitten-like meow (really quite out of place on a tomcat), and a penchant for getting stuck (in the same place! sweet but not very smart – that meow certainly helped persuade us to keep rescuing him), could teach me more about people and love.

I am sad that people can do such things to a cat, but I will not let that eclipse the goodness of other people or the happy stories Ollie was part of. I’m happy I got to know Ollie.

(And I am trying very hard not to run off and adopt another stray cat.)

UPDATE: My mom said that Ollie might have been in an accident; no one knows. But it’s beautiful that a stray and fearful kitten could find in our house something to call home.

Are you neglecting new employees? Web 2.0 can help you with relational onboarding

When you’re new to a company, you can feel quite lonely. Who will you eat lunch with? Who can you ask for help? You can also feel lost. Why are you working there? What can you do to make a difference? Where do you go from here?

This can be hard to remember this several decades after you’ve joined the company and when you’ve developed a wide social network, but people who are starting out might not only feel tremendously isolated, but also not know about opportunities to use their strengths.

Gallup has an article about helping newcomers make friends in order to increase employee engagement and retention. This reminded me of the Human Capital Institute’s webcast and whitepaper on relational onboarding and how social networking accelerates new hires into star performers, which said:

Rather than abandon highly motivated new hires to orientations, hard to navigate intranets, and stacks of dusty manuals, successful organizations help new hires build a strong network of relationships with colleagues who can help transform them into star performers. Building strong relationships from day one makes new hires feel more connected to the workforce, resulting in decreased turnover, shortened time to contribution, greater engagement and job satisfaction. This webcast will examine how HR executives can make the shift from ‘administrative’ onboarding’ to ‘relational onboarding,’ and how Corporate Social Networking technology can help build the network of connections integral to a new hire’s and the company’s success.

Sally Colella and Nancy Wheeler, Human Capital Institute

I’ve been with IBM for seven months, and I want to share this kind of onboarding experience with everyone. As a new hire, I’m learning so many things every day. Writing about what I learn helps me not only understand and remember things better, it also helps me share what I’m learning with other new hires and with other people throughout the company. Isn’t that amazing? I get to create value for other people while I’m learning. Blogs have helped me make friends, ask for help, give help, get plugged in… It’s terrific stuff, and I want to help as many people connect as I can.

That’s one of the reasons why I love working with IBM. I want to help organizations figure out how to use social networking to help bring new people on board, connect passionate people with each other (employees, customer evangelists, whoever!), and join the conversations inside the company and in the world. This is challenging because it’s not just a matter of introducing a blogging platform or putting up a wiki – it requires a lot of thought about the work culture, and yes, even the occasional cheerleading. But this is work I love to do, and if there’s any way you can help me find organizations who want to consult with me and my team, please feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]. =)

I worked on a little sketch presentation on “[email protected]: In Pursuit of Passion” over the weekend, trying to explain why this is just so cool. I put it up on Slideshare on Saturday, and today it’s the Slideshow of the Day. That probably means lots of people are interested in this topic. =) Are you? Let’s talk about it so that we can figure out how wonderful it can be!


Link from myventurepad: Make Friends with Employee Engagement