Operations and Motivations

"Supporting employee self-views can significantly improve performances and well being. Employees want employers to recognize who they are and what they can bring to the world. People need to be valued." (McShane and Von Glinow)

Hello! We're seeing a lot of firsts on this blog of late and mine is another. I'm Diana, Director of Agency Operations.


I was born in 1980 so I was a bossy little kid. "They" remind me these days to describe my own daughter as having leadership skills. I wonder if my management style today could possibly have anything to do with how I refused to let my brother talk for himself - yes, I was certain he wanted to eat that dog food I just fed him. Or, how I ran my neighborhood gang in the 2nd Grade - yes I was wearing a beret! Or, maybe how I would take on too much of a project because I wanted to ensure a particular vision?

I have some of those classic people pleasing and perfectionist failure tendencies and in light of those I have compensated by learning time management and structured goal setting. I've been able to implement these strategies quite well in my professional life and with less acuity in my personal. My bio blithely states that I retreated from academia. That was a professional decision that detrimentally affected my personal academic goals. My strengths may not be in execution, but rather in planning. I'm good at seeing the larger puzzle but then I can be blind to the pieces.

So when I planned a surprise 35th birthday trip for my husband last year it went swimmingly. Trying to plan out my ownbirthday trip this year literally left me feeling paralyzed by options at one point.

Since starting a strengths-based approach to coaching here at Swash Labs I'm happy to say that this year we'll be purposefully using our time working on personal and professional development goals. A big-bureaucracy professional background has shown me how single year goals and review periods can languish and never see realization or improvement.

We've set 90 day goal periods with space for two reviews and room for growth and revision. It has come to light, unfortunately, that the Google-esque practice of 20% time is mostly a myth and what employees in those situations face is really more like 120% time. As a community here at Swash we are committing to work outside of our billable hours but within our week to build our own skill sets as well as capital and best practices for Swash. It is important for us in all aspects of our lives to find clarity in our roles and complexity in ourselves. I'm beginning mine with a course on Organizational Behavior.

Swash Labs is a great place to work because the organization values the complete nature of the employee. It is important that we have roles outside the office. I am grateful to have the opportunity to apply the strengths of my many identities - both social and personal - here at Swash. It's my hope that we will continue to use strengths-based approaches when appropriate and multisource feedback as we grow. This might ensure the continuity of Swash Labs as a holistic agency. We should treat ourselves the way we treat the work and in this way the work and the company will grow.

This is ultimately how I came to think about my birthday weekend. I watched for the highlights and sought opportunity when available, and took the time to try and allow myself the vacation, to use the time away from some roles in order to energize the others. I was often reminded during the trip about how impactful our actions in the workplace are on our everyday lives, and for the lives of those we come in contact with.