Moving Nevada Forward

in support of higher education

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Why I Love Nevada

As part of Moving Nevada Forward we asked people, “Why Do You Love Nevada?”

Personally, I love the gigantic outdoor playground.  I enjoy over 300 days of sunshine, the quality of life, I never tire of the beautiful skies, and this list goes on…

I created this video to capture all of the wonderful things people shared with me, but it only touches the surface of all the reasons we love Nevada.

I want to hear from you.

Please tell me, why do YOU love Nevada?

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Become an Overnight Success


Do you really believe there is such a thing?

Personally, I like the saying…

It takes twenty years to become an overnight success.”

Eddie Cantor

We often hear about companies or individuals becoming an overnight success, but there is usually more to the story if you dig a little deeper.

Mozart started writing music at age six, however much of his masterwork was not composed until he was 21.

Facebook was founded in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, but it didn’t join the Fortune 500 list until 2012.

Apple Inc., started in 1976 and spent many years with rocky sales and a low market share before Steve Jobs returned to the company and became CEO in 1997.  It wasn’t until the introduction of the iPod in 2001 that Apple really started to become what seemed like overnight success.  In 2012, it was the largest publicly traded corporation in the world.  It took 25 years to reach this level of success.

The lead developer of Gmail, Paul Buchheit notes that the success of Gmail was a long time coming.  They started working on it in 2001, and most everyone disliked it.  Even after it was launched insiders were predicting its doom.  Today there is over 400 million active Gmail users and growing.

Even Selena Gomez  had to start somewhere by making her debut on Barney and Friends in 2002.  She didn’t have her first top 10 hit until 2013.

The truth is it takes years to become an overnight success.

Most elite performers follow a process.  In John Maxwell’s book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership:

1. Success is like building wealth, it doesn’t happen overnight.  It is created by a steady, day-by-day long term effort.  It takes time to build momentum.

2. Great leaders continually invest in their own self-development.  It’s a life long process that helps you grow and develop.  Many of today’s great leaders have been working on becoming  leader for years.  Maxwell says at 51 he was still waiting, but had been working on it for 30 years.

3. Overnight success is the result of self-discipline, perseverance, and momentum built up over time.  Everyone has to start out as a beginner before they become an expert.  You may not have the knowledge, skills, or abilities in the beginning, but developing a consistent habit of preparation results in greatness overtime.

There really is no such thing as an overnight success.  It is rare.  The mere notion of an overnight success can be misleading,  discouraging and demotivating to most people.  If you are starting something new, you may be a lucky one hit wonder, but you should expect a long journey and hard work along the way.

Don’t give up the dream, just realize that time, preparation, perseverance, positivity are key to your long-term success.

What’s Your Story?  How long did it take you to become an overnight success?

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Do You Have The Happiness Advantage?

If you haven’t seen this TedXBloomington yet with psychologist Shawn Achor you need to take 12 minutes of your to time to stop and watch it.

He does an excellent job at demonstrating the power of a positive attitude.

We believe we should work to be happy, but could we have that backwards? In his research he found that only 25 percent of job successes are predicted by IQ and 75 percent of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of a threat. He explains the absence of disease is not health. To get to health we need to reverse the formula for happiness and success. It is not just about working harder to become more successful. If we think we have to be successful before we can be happy we may never be happy. If happiness is on the other side of success your brain never gets there because our goals keep changing.

Raise your level of positivity. He advocates raising your level of positivity in the moment then your brain will experience what he calls the happiness advantage. When you brain is positive it performs significantly better under stress. Your levels of intelligence, creativity, and energy rise. In his research he found that every single business outcome improves. If your brain is positive it will be 31 percent more productive, 37 percent better at sales, doctors are 19 faster and more accurate. If you have the happiness advantage it can help you better secure jobs, help you keep your job, have greater productivity and resilience, less burnout and lower turnover. If we can find a way to become more positive in the present then our brains work even more successfully. We work harder, faster, and more intelligently.

He suggests ways to train your brain if done for 21 days in a row will rewire your brain to work more optimistically and successfully. In his research he asked clients to try these 5 things or 21 days:

  1. Write down three new things your are grateful for each day
  2. Journal about one positive experience you have had over the last 24 hours
  3. Excercise-as it teaches your brain that your behavior matters
  4. Meditation it allows your brain to get over the multitasking we keep requiring all at once and teaches us to focus on the task at hand
  5. Random acts of kindness-write one positive email each morning praising or thanking somebody in their support network

He ascertains that at the end of the 21 days your brain will scan the world for the positive instead of the negative first and create ripples of positivity.

Quote by Mr. Achor, “{It’s} the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational business outcome at the same time.”

Do you believe you should work to be happy?  Or do you think we might have it backwards?

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All I Really Need To Know About the Workplace I Learned In Kindergarten

A key component of the HR function is employee relations.  It has been said it is one of the core competencies for all HR professionals.  I am sure there are hundreds of books, webinars, and lectures on the topic.  It never ceases to amaze me just how complicated this subject can get with complaints, grievances, posters, lawyers, training, the equal opportunity commission, affirmative action and the list goes on. Perhaps we are over complicating things.  If we spend one-third of our lives at work-don’t we want it to be happy?  Isn’t about taking responsibility for our actions and being good citizens?

Are you a good citizen at work?  Here are some simple reminders from one of my favorite poems by Robert Fulghum, (chock full of sage old advice), “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.


Kingergarten (Photo credit: courosa)

Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be in the workplace I learned in kindergarten.

Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday school.

Wouldn’t the workplace would be a much brighter place if we could all just remember these 16 tips?

Here are some things I learned about how to be a good employee and thrive in the workplace:

  1.  Share everything. We all have to play in the same sandbox–can’t we all just get along?
  2. Don’t hit people.  The workplace is no place for bullies.  Don’t do it.  Please call in sick or find another job.
  3. Put things back where you found them.  Yes, your mother was right.  It is about respect.
  4. Clean up your own mess.  Please spare me the emails.  Just clean it up!
  5. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.  Integrity.  (This includes other people’s jobs.)
  6. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.  Mind your manners and remember to say thank you and sorry!
  7. Wash your hands before returning to work.  Don’t wait for the sign as a reminder as you go out the door.
  8. Flush.  Need I say more?  (It is about out with bad in with the new.)
  9. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.  And good for your colleagues too.  Bring enough to share.
  10. Live a balanced lifeMental, spiritual, physical, emotional wellness for the common good.
  11. Learn some and think someEmployee engagement.  There is no such thing as a dumb question.
  12. And draw and paint; sing and dance and play; work some everyday. Work hard.  Play hard.  Take your much needed breaks and lunches for some R & R.
  13. Take a nap every afternoon.  (In your car of course)
  14. But most importantly when you go out into the world watch out for traffic.
  15. Hold hands and stick together.
  16. Be aware of wonder.

I love it!  Even in the workplace we have so much to learn from children.  Find your passion and take responsibility for your own happiness.

What can you do to be a better citizen at work?

What have you done today to be aware of the wonder?   Have you learned something new lately?  Do you say please, thank you, and I am sorry?  Do you work hard?  Live a balanced life?  Remember to draw, paint, sing and play at recess.  Let’s hold hands and stick together.

I think it is time I deliver some cookies and milk.

Milk and Cookies

Milk and Cookies (Photo credit: Cook Jones)


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Diversify Nevada

What will the future competitive advantage be for Nevada?

Red Rock Sunset, Las Vegas, NV

Red Rock Sunset, Las Vegas, NV (Photo credit: Grufnik)

One thing is clear, it is time for Nevada to diversify as moves away from the reliance on the gaming industry.  I applaud the Governor for establishing the Governor’s Office of Economic Development on his new website where it is good to see Governor Sandoval recognize the value of partnership between the State of Nevada and the Nevada System of Higher Education.  Nevada is an excellent place to do business and partnership with education is needed to help move Nevada forward.

Nevada A Top 10 Entrepreneurial State

On June 20, 2013, Nevada was listed in the Top 10 Most Entrepreneurial States The 2012 start-up rate is 390 per 100,000 adults.  Entrepreneurs in everything from retail to tech, aerospace, energy and defense are betting on Nevada as a place to launch.  Some are inspired by the presence of big-name companies like Apple, Microsoft, Zappos and Boeing, said Steve Hill, executive director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development.  For others, it’s the business-friendly environment.  There’s no personal income, business income or franchise tax, the state has streamlined its business licensing and permits process, and commercial real estate is relatively affordable, said Hill.  Nevada also recently set up a $10 million Catalyst Fund in 2011 to help start-ups get capital for relocation and expansion.

Education A Top Priority

Governor Sandoval was elected as Chair of the Education Commission of the States, and in a press release from the commission he stated,  “Improving and reforming education has been one of my highest priorities as Governor of Nevada and I look forward to working with education leaders across our nation to better serve our country’s children.”

Diversify Nevada website does an excellent job highlighting what Nevada has to offer.  Personally, I enjoy over 300 days of sunshine each year, but I am thrilled to see education listed as a highlight by the Governor’s office.

  • Affordable housing choices in high-energy city, peaceful suburban, and quaint rural settings.
  • Excellent educational options for students in K-12, community colleges and universities.
  • World-class entertainment and cultural events.
  • Unparalleled outdoor recreation opportunities.

Nevada Workforce describes the Nevada workforce, once again highlighting the partnership between education and business.

The Las Vegas Strip can be seen in the distanc...

The Las Vegas Strip can be seen in the distance from various points on the UNLV campus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nevada: an able workforce, ready to work. Nevada’s labor market provides high value to businesses, including high-tech industries and international trade. Our talent pool contains a large percentage of workers with advanced degrees.  Employers’ demands for skilled labor in Nevada is answered by many customized training programs designed for the needs of the state’s leading industries, such as the Train Employees Now program, which provides matching grants for qualified employers to acquire skilled labor in less time and at lower costs; and the Silver State Works employee hiring program, which provides incentives of up to $2,000 for each state-qualified employee hired.  Our workforce is also diverse, both culturally and linguistically. Many Nevada residents speak more than one language, with particularly strong representation of Spanish and Chinese speaking residents.

Nevada’s universities and colleges, technical institutions, and community colleges provide a continuous supply of workers with higher education credentials. Rich programs at the University of Nevada campuses in Reno and Las Vegas emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculums – a growing area of emphasis in the state’s K-12 schools as well.   Working with both the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and University of Nevada, Reno, the unmanned aerial vehicle industry wants to start training people for jobs they expect will exist in five years.  Additionally, the entire Nevada System of Higher Education is committed to developing specific employee training programs for individual industries and companies. These alliances have even created training for a “partner” company on the specific job tasks needed for a specialized process.

What will the future competitive advantage for Nevada be?  Perhaps it is too early to tell, but one can bet education and human resources will part of the solution.   I invite you to share your opinion on the future of Nevada and on moving Nevada forward.

Las Vegas Skyline

Las Vegas Skyline (Photo credit: Ben Adamson)

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Innovate Our Way Out


Innovation (Photo credit: Seth1492)

Nevada will need to innovate our way out by creating a culture of innovation which requires partners in education, industry and our community.

What is your definition of innovation?

The SHRM Board of Directors Chair Bette Francis, told HR professionals at SHRM 2013 that supporting innovation is their most pressing organizational goal.  It is critical to the success of every organization.  “We need to innovate our way out of the problems we face,” she said.  She further explained HR professionals play a critical role in creating real organizational change by helping to build a culture that actively supports innovation.  I agree that HR professionals need to roll up their sleeves and become part of the solution in moving organizations forward.

She cited innovation expert Michael Stanleigh, CEO of Business Improvement Architects who found the most innovative organizations:

1. Keep their organizational structures flat

2. Dare their employees to dream

3. Expect employees to regularly present new ideas to senior management–no matter how off-the-wall they may seem.

She said it is the company culture that determines success of innovation.  If it is not supported by management or is frowned upon by peers the flow of ideas will shut down.  She described a culture of innovation as one to encourage collaboration, it gives people the confidence to make suggestions, and sees mistakes as steps on the road to success.

This is where HR has a vital role to play in higher education and in Nevada HR can serve as a catalyst for change with a shortage of skilled workers, and close the global skills gap.  No doubt a cultural change in Nevada will be a challenge as the culture of the old wild west is fiercely independent.  But as Francis emphasized, “It is up to us“, to shape the future of business, the workplace and millions of workers around the world.

Please share your experiences with creating a culture of innovation.

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Welcome to the Century of Women

NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw.

NBC News Anchor Tom Brokaw. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am on my way to the 2013 SHRM national conference.  Last summer Tom Brokaw presented at the closing session of the SHRM conference. He stunned the audience with his controversial statement about it being the Century of Women. He wrote for a blog called, Lean In based on a book written by Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg.  She encourages women not to leave before you leave. Don’t lean back, rather lean in. She writes a truly equal world would be where women ran half of our country and men ran half of our homes. Currently there are only 21 women CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies.

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 - Sheryl Sandberg, ...

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 28JAN11 – Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, USA; Young Global Leader are captured during the session ‘Handling Hyper-connectivity’ at the Annual Meeting 2011 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 28, 2011. Copyright by World Economic Forum by Jolanda Flubacher (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brokaw writes, “as the challenges of the 21st century demand more from each of us shouldn’t we be thinking as much about how to free up more women for the common good as we do about immigration, entitlement reform, and debt reduction?” He appeared on the NBC today show as a father of three daughters, adding his voice to the debate about women in the workplace and the home, saying women have never made “as many gains in the history of mankind” as they are making now, but “we have a long way to go around the world.”

When I moved to Nevada ten years ago, I had a female boss warn me that Nevada is still a “good ol’ boy State”. While I think there might be some truth to this statement, I believe Nevada has made great strides just like the rest of the world. It is fair to say Nevada has exceeded my expectation in almost every way.

However I would say I agree with Tom, we have a long way to go, and Nevadans should listen closely and be thinking about how to free up women for the common good to help move Nevada forward.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?