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The Platinum Rule: Curiosity, Humility and a Commitment to People First

 I recently completed a 10-week virtual professional development/certification program for coaches called Arts Based Experiential Learning (ABEL). The program aims to strengthen key leadership and innovation skills such as readiness to learn, cognitive agility, collaboration and problem solving. Developed by the lovely folks at Creating Futures That Work, “the ABEL System combines powerful arts-based experiences with unique instruments that quantify and track skill mastery. Over the past decade, its impact has been proven through successful use in hundreds of corporations, educational institutions and non-profits.” (No previous art skills or experience needed.)

Our course concluded last week and as part of our “graduation,” we did a final presentation of our independent project roadmaps (as shown in the above picture). My project will augment my existing career transition toolkit to move beyond an exclusive narrative focus of clients’ key values, strengths, expertise, etc. crucial to successful career transitions. The toolkit will now include visual methods to define and tell desired career arcs, future-focused stories, etc. The first iteration will focus on leveraging the digital tool Trello. The next iteration will focus on Pinterest. Future digital tools may be considered (e.g. Mural) at a later date. The toolkit will also be expanded to include tips and ideas for those wanting a non-digital option to Vision Board their career narrative as well as a career journaling tool. The inspiration for these efforts came from my wife, Rosemary, and to her, I owe a very big thank you! If you have interest in learning more about the suite of tools or the ABEL program, please let me know.

People first! This is the central theme of this edition’s featured article, Rethinking Your Approach to the Employee Experience, from the current print edition of the Harvard Business Review. Career transitions continue at a blistering pace in large part due to a sustained lack of focus on what constitutes optimal employee experiences.

Crafting thoughtful, deliberate and strategic employee experiences transcends a narrow focus on perks and other surface-level enticements. It necessitates a keen focus on the “platinum rule;” treat others as they would want to be treated. This requires a depth of humility, curiosity and willingness to shape our work environments in ways that benefit all, and not just some.

Defining meaningful, holistic career experiences based on our values, strengths and aspirations is a precursor to unleashing our greatest gifts in the best service to ourselves, teams and organizations. We ask a lot of our team members and we have an obligation to create extraordinary opportunities. In the end, “employees want to be treated as whole individuals…and to feel deeply connected to their company.”

This edition’s collection reflects an eclectic range of transition-related reading and listening. Diverse in content and sourcing, these pieces all resonated with me and the work I am doing with clients and colleagues.

As always, happy reading and listening! I will publish again in May, as I am doing some traveling over the next few weeks.

Be well, take good care of your families and community.


Harvard Business Review: Remote Work Has Opened the Door to a New Approach to Hiring. “Companies have drastically changed the way they work, but hybrid and remote work aren’t the end of the story. Firms should consider the flexible or open talent model: project-based or temporary work that is staffed with workers who are not permanently attached to a company…Open talent can offer companies flexibility and access to talent and resources traditional hiring models can’t provide. And as more workers opt for flexibility in their careers, there’s significant potential for this model.”

Harvard Business School: Hidden Workers: Untapped Talent. “How leaders can improve hiring practices to uncover missed talent pools, close skills gaps, and improve diversity.”

Fast Company: How to suss out company culture during a job interview. “Here are a few ways to get a sense of a company’s culture so you can determine whether it is a good fit for you.”

Pocket: 5 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Accept Any Job Offer. “It’s exciting to get a job offer, but there’s good reason to hesitate before accepting. Ask these questions first.”

Harvard Business Review: The Real Secret to Retaining Talent. “The requirements for talent management in the modern economy may feel daunting…Top talent enables outcomes that otherwise wouldn’t be possible—special, tail-of-the-distribution-curve outcomes. If you rely on these people for outstanding organizational performance, you must treat them as valued, unique individuals. Never dismiss their ideas, never allow their progress to be blocked, and never miss the chance to shower them with praise when they succeed.”

NBC News: Employers roll out ‘stay’ interviews as record number of Americans walk off the job. “To keep employees happy, more companies are turning to one-on-one meetings to give key people the chance to talk about what is or isn’t working in their current jobs.”

UChicago Magazine: Optimal quitting. “An economist’s advice on when to fold your hand in favor of the next opportunity.”

Harvard Business Review: How to Quit When You Lead a Team. “…Transitions inevitably stir a range of emotions from excitement and pride to loss and insecurity. The ending phase of a role is not just a departure; it’s an opportunity to solidify your legacy, prepare your old team for future success, and strengthen the integrity of your relationships and network.”

Fast Company: Tech workers are fleeing FAANG for Web3, here’s why. “Accelerated career progression, flexible work cultures, and creative perks are luring traditional tech workers to the worlds of blockchain, cryptocurrency, and Web3.”

Blog Posts & Opinions

Fast Company: It’s time for a new social contract with America’s workers. “Amid a great resignation and inflation, corporations—and governments—need to revisit their obligations to employees, a financial health expert writes.”

Seth’s Blog: Variability, industrialization and hating your job. “And yet, even though it’s easy to show that these five factors [task significance, task identity, autonomy, skill variety and feedback] are critical in attracting and keeping skilled and talented workers, many organizations work overtime to eliminate them.”

Fast Company: For Gen Z, the future of work must be flexible. “A new report from Handshake reveals what Gen Z professionals are looking for in an employer. And the top location of their job searches may surprise you.”


The Ezra Klein Show Best Of: Stop. Breathe. We Can’t Keep Working Like This. “We were promised, with the internet, a productivity revolution. We were told that we’d get more done, in less time, with less stress. Instead, we got always-on communication, the dissolution of the boundaries between work and home, the feeling of constantly being behind, lackluster productivity numbers, and, to be fair, reaction GIFs. What went wrong?”

Freakonomics Radio: Why Are There So Many Bad Bosses? “People who are good at their jobs routinely get promoted into bigger jobs they’re bad at. We explain why firms keep producing incompetent managers — and why that’s unlikely to change.”

McKinsey & Company: Public and Social Sector Insights. “Forward Thinking on the social contract in a postpandemic world with Minouche Shafik and Andrew Sheng.”

Arts, Music, Culture & Humor Corner

Atlas Obscura: The Greatest Unsolved Heist in Irish History. “Scandal, conspiracy, and cover-ups in the theft of the ‘Irish Crown Jewels’ from Dublin Castle.”

udiscovermusic: Musicians Who Are Poets: 12 Game-Changing Lyrical Masters. “From awards-laden lyricists to those whose creativity has reached new heights of expression, these musicians could – and should – be considered poets.”

The Atlantic: How to Want Less. “The secret to satisfaction has nothing to do with achievement, money, or stuff.”

The New Yorker: Time With Family. “After forty-eight days of ‘Frozen,’ Chuck E. Cheese, and playdates for two young male children and one little girl, it’s back to the gridiron for Tom Terrific.”


I Dwell In Possibility
by Emily Dickinson

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

“I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty and joy to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. … The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.” – Helen Keller


This article was originally published here.

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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  1. Dawid Lisowski

    This podcast sounds best “The Ezra Klein Show Best Of: Stop. Breathe. We Can’t Keep Working Like This.”

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