Let’s Talk about Dag Nammit Swearing at Work


Dang! I’ll bet if you saw that title, you clicked right on over here to read more!

This is more of a confession than a sermon on swearing at work. Just because I write about things that happen in the work place and what I feel should be done to rectify situations, does not make me sanctimonious. Here’s an area where I should pay closer attention.

One of my fondest memories from the movie, “A Christmas Story,” is when Ralphie swears when trying to help his father fix a flat tire.

Ralphie: Oooh fuuudge!

Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] Only I didn’t say “Fudge.” I said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!

Mr. Parker: [stunned] *What* did you say?

Ralphie: Uh, um…

Mr. Parker: That’s… what I thought you said. Get in the car. Go on!

Ralphie as Adult: [narrating] It was all over – I was dead. What would it be? The guillotine? Hanging? The chair? The rack? The Chinese water torture? Hmmph. Mere child’s play compared to what surely awaited me. Continue Reading →

Curses to Cursive No Longer Being Taught in School


Our nation’s educators have found yet another way to upset parents and grandparents these days. In their infinite wisdom, many schools are no longer teaching the art of cursive penmanship to our youth. Most schools are making demands on parents to supply their children with tablets in lieu of paper and pencils. Okay, I’m with it. Kids are growing up in a fast digital age and need to be in the know as quick as lightening. Why go to the library when you can call up the answers in Wiki or Google? That’s a great resource to have, no question about it. One thing is good; we are all doing a heck of a lot more reading than a few generations back. Once upon a time, it was feared young people were losing reading skills by not picking up books. It was even said, that educators hoped kids would at least read comic books. Whatever, read, read, read was their motto then. What children are reading on these devices is another blog.

Today, nobody wants to write, write, write. Why should anyone with a computer hand write anything—printing or cursive? I even found it old fashioned that I had to fill out a form the other day and fax it back.

I believe cursive handwriting is a) beautiful when executed professionally, and b) much faster than block lettering. We still have calligraphic fonts that demonstrate its beauty and used notably for formal occasions, such as wedding invitations. My question to educators is; if you don’t know how to write in cursive, how will you be able to read it yourself?


Speaking to a twenty-something colleague of mine the other day, she said she would probably never use cursive writing any more. Sad. I guess it will have to be left for the older generations to show off their penmanship skills and it’ll be our new code so none of the younger gens will know what we’re writing about!

I envy the folks who know short-hand. My mother remembers how to write in shorthand since her high school days when she was taught how to do it. Boy, that could really come in handy at meetings when I don’t have access to a computer and most of us still hand write notes where I work. I think there still is a stigma about being the high-tech geek at the meeting with your tablet in hand. So, my “short hand” is actually long hand writing very fast.

There is a cognitive skill involved in handwriting – whether print or cursive and I believe it coincides with drawing. Most students who take a class in drawing, whether artistic or not, tend to do better in their other classes as well.

Young Rembrandts, an after school drawing program for grade schoolers, explains: “Drawing is the fundamental skill of the visual arts that can – and should – be learned by all children. Young Rembrandts® teaches drawing while developing visual learning skills that give children ages 3½ to 12 an academic advantage in the classroom.”

I not only believe it this philosophy, but I was a Young Rembrandt’s teacher myself several years ago. I watched children pick up their pencils and didn’t even have a clue how to hold them! The grades I taught were from preschool to 5th grade. Therefore, I employed a strict “pencil check” at the beginning of each of my sessions – even for the older kids. Let me tell you that if I didn’t, one of the children would be sure to remind me, “Miss Kathy, you forgot about pencil check!” They remember.


Whether or not cursive handwriting is linked to drawing skills, I don’t know, but I feel that the more you take away these skills from children, the less and less creative they will become. Oh there’s a ton of brilliant, talented graphic designers and artists online today. But they probably were taught how to write and draw while in grade school. Many graphic designers today still use a pencil to sketch out ideas in their heads on paper first and then employ computer graphics later.

I think children want to draw naturally. They learn to color with crayons early in life, and move on to pencils and markers. I am convinced in my experience with children that these skills are quintessential to learning and helps build confidence.

What are your thoughts?



TNS Dance Card Full for October

TNS-Tradeshow-BalloonThis is our busiest season of the year for attending trade shows!

OCTOBER 2-3 - Our first stop is in Nashville, Tennessee at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conference Center to attend the HCA Human Resource Leadership Summit “Our Time is Now,” from 7AM to 11PM.  If you plan on coming, please come see us. Attending will be two of our experts in their fields. You’re going to want to talk to them!

Patricia Sikora, Senior Consultant

Patricia has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and organizational research services including online surveys, multivariate analysis, qualitative and ethnographic research, competitive intelligence, and secondary research; with particular expertise in complex emerging technologies and business-to-business relationship management. Past clients include Microsoft, American Heart Association, GTE, PacifiCorp, Qwest, and Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

As a former client services director, she provided design, analysis, and consulting support to Fortune 500 clients. Patricia holds a Ph.D. in Social Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2002. She is a proud recipient of Albert Heyer Award for research in Applied and Organizational Psychology.

Mark Posmer, Director, Consulting Services/Advanced Analytics

Mark Posmer has worked in survey development and data analysis, specializing in employee and customer surveys. Experience with data analysis programs and procedures, such as SPSS, has allowed him to conduct statistical analyses for different clients. He has assisted clients such as United Technologies Corporation, IHG and HCA in the coordination and analysis aspects of the survey process. Mark is a member of the Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology and the American Psychological Association. He earned a bachelor’s of science degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Northern Illinois University.

OCTOBER 14-15 - NRF Human Resources Executive Summit 2014 will be at the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago. This summit caters to HR in Retail and we plan on boasting what our retail clientele say about us.

OCTOBER 19-22 – Leading Age Conference Meeting will also be held at the Music City Center in Nashville, TN. From the site:  “No matter how small or large your organization may be, the LeadingAge EXPO is designed to meet your needs. Created as an essential component of the Annual Meeting, the EXPO gives aging services leaders the opportunity to meet existing and new suppliers, conduct business network with others and research new products and trends.” Come see us at booth #2013!

OCTOBER 23HRMAC Annual Summit 2014 is held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. What’s exciting this year, is that we are going to be one of the speakers on industry knowledge and thought leadership. Come see us at booth #320!


Acquiring Broad Shoulders to Tough Criticism

TakingCriticismSo, you have a great idea and you draft up the best conceptual design you’ve done in years and really believe you’re on the cutting edge of something so unique that you already can hear the thunder of applause from your supervisors and coworkers.

Instead of the great Wow factor you were expecting, your idea was kicked to the curb like an old dish towel. Now you’re devastated and you could be thinking one of the following:

  1. Dang it. Are these people ignorant or what? Nobody ever likes my ideas. I’m going to quit this job and go where my ideas will be appreciated.
  2. I put so much thought and research into this idea that I never dreamed it would be so easily rejected. What is it they don’t like, or won’t work? It’s too frustrating to work here!
  3. Well, I guess it’s back to the drawing board! First, I want to get more input from my critics as to what exactly they didn’t like about my first idea, and how I can improve so that we’re all happy with the results.

Believe it or not, there are people out there who really feel like #1, above, especially if their ideas have been kicked to the curb once too often. It can be very discouraging and frustrating because they think, “Wow.  Am I still in the game here or what?”

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Got Chops? Open up at Meetings!


After reading a great blog from Roz Usher, a leadership, image and branding specialist, entitled, “Silence is NOT Golden or When and How to Speak Up During A Meeting,” I naturally want to embellish even more into the heart of employee engagement.

Roz touches on employee engagement by noting how the silent people at meetings may appear to be disengaged by not participating. However, in my experience it is more the case of very much engaged employees afraid to speak out or interrupt a filibuster conducted by a chatty manager or a bloviated bulldozer.

We know that communication is 80% listening. The listener decides if communication is to take place. However at meetings, participation is mandatory in order to accomplish the meeting objectives. You were invited to the meeting for a reason. If you were in doubt that you should attend, ask the meeting coordinator what your purpose is at the meeting so you can prepare for it as Roz suggests in her blog.

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Hi-Tech Kiddies Soon to Surpass Millenials


This story will sound like I’m bragging, but it’s just a fact. Sunday afternoon, I was driving my grands back home from their weekend at my house, when I noticed a few miles ahead of me on the highway there was smoke. And where there is smoke, there’s fire. Sure enough, traffic started slowing down and a fire truck and state trooper sped right by us. Fortunately, I was right at the only exit for several miles, so I quickly took it. Having taken that exit many times in the past, there are a lot of side roads to get to my destination and I always get lost.

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Employee Survey Scores and How They Differ Among the Genders

female-malesHere’s an interesting stat for you. If you are reviewing the results of your employee surveys and notice scores that vary between female and males, maybe you should dig deeper into the possibility there may be issues affecting either one.

I just received this from our Norms and Advanced Statistics Director:

Here are the items with at least a 5-point gap between males and females. I used only US-based employees for this data.

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Do you have to “Bark” and “Meow” about everything?

complainersI never complain about anything. Everyone knows I sit perfectly at my desk, am quiet and make no waves. Ha! Of course if I said that seriously, my coworkers would have me committed.

Every so often, I find myself complaining and while I believe you have to have someone as a sounding board, it’s wise to do this only once in a while. There are those who are unhappy, either with their work or their private lives, and they tend to complain about everything – ALL THE TIME. Nothing is positive and the glass is always half empty.

If/when I think I’m complaining too much, I have to make an immediate self-assessment. Me first because all else reflects what I am thinking or doing.

1. Did I get enough sleep last night?

2. Is it a “crabby” Monday morning?

3. What’s going on at home that I’m bringing to work and taking it out on everyone?

4. Is it money problems?

If I’ve answered any of my self-assessment questions, then I know I have to regroup, take a deep breath and think before I complain again to anyone. Be careful with the coffee too, though I need it to stay awake if it’s self-assessment #2.

Continue Reading →