Life, Poetry

A Beatnik Poet and Disruptive HR

IMG_20150413_143824Hark for Spring Forum Comes!

The last Fall Forum has faded into distant memory.

Behold, ahead looms the Spring Edition!

To hold or not to hold, that was the question.

Whether to half the ill we bore,

Or to proceed against the mighty tide.

As day one dawns clear and bright.

Into Lean and the Value Streams,

We unflinching will plunge.

Our hearts aflame with continuous improvement,

Screaming forth from our lungs.

Where PDCA’s, 8 forms of waste to eliminate,

Root cause analysis and 5 why’s are sung!

Then, wearily we will then rest from our labors and dine.

A few moments of respite, too renew our laden spirits.

For soon our fury builds in a brainstorming burn,

Popping the corn, where no problem is a problem.

That may not be to easily solved.

We will build on flows of thought and,

Simple techniques to navigate the value streams.

And as day falls into night to cover the lands,

Our minds clamor for rest from our labors.

For upon the morrow further into the depths we must go.

A litany of voices beckon us forward,

“Respect”, “Professionalism”, “Integrity” and “Accountability”

Their cries will not be silenced by the challenges ahead, for…

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~Theodore Roosevelt, April 23, 1910

So we wake to day two, alas ready for more.

Learning to speak the truth with compassion and trust,

Casting aside the injuries we so easily believe,

The slings and arrows are not always what we perceive.

For well-intentioned the words and actions may be,

Their message is often shrouded in mystery.

Again we wearily shelter in the refuge,

Of friendly banter while breaking bread together.

We see the end that draws near, to quit now would undo

Our hard earned progress.

In the heart of struggle comes laughter from minds bonded,

Standing up in one economy of purpose.

To regulate or not to regulate is sometimes the question.

How much and how often, are the details that we scrutinize.

Our relevant mission, to ensure the services needed by all,

Are fair in worth, readily accessible, dependable and safe.

For our leaders do valiantly strive to promote the greater good.

The minds of those entrusted with the mantle of authority,

Who wield this power with justice and mercy.

Come before them now and ask what you will,

For to speak in the face of fear is the truest measure of courage.

For now, having reached the end, o’ the steps still to be taken.

For the journey goes ever on and on.

As Spring Forum begins its descent, the stories and legends hence,

Over cubicle walls will be told.

Yet, the spring breezes fade into the heat of summer,

Before drifting into the days of autumn,

And another Fall Forum will be upon us once again.

To provide some context to this post, my HR staff is responsible for hosting two day training events each spring and fall for all employees of our organization. The poem above was written and read by me in a live show of “performance art” at an all staff meeting one week prior to the training event. It was also accompanied by slides showcasing the two day agenda of classes. You kinda had to be there for the full effect!

I love it when my creative side overlaps into my day job. And yes the picture is how I dressed for the performance. I am not your typical HR Director and I believe in Disruptive HR and Leadership, it keeps people on their toes. 😉  What do you think?

Life, Poetry

Day One is Done

The following is a poem I wrote recently regarding a training event and then I added the lines in red this evening after returning home from work. The poem was written originally for the employees at my place of work where myself and my staff are responsible for coordinating four days of training each October that we call Fall Forum. The picture below was taken at the event and the opening keynote speaker surprised me by having me come up on stage and read this poem out-loud to all staff. The second time in three days that I have had the opportunity to read my poetry out-loud. There is power in words especially when spoken out load, speak life!. Hope you enjoy! ~M


Another year has drifted slowly out of sight,
over the curvature of the earth.
Time where does it go?
Yet, comes around again to where it began,
a new time of learning and mirth.
The clock keeps ticking so.
Listen! For something this way comes,
Fall Forum looms just ahead.
A flurry of preparation and decisions made.
Classes for everyone and every need,
no reason for worry or dread.
The hopes of pleasing all do eventually fade.
Out of your comfort zone you may find,
a personal rhythm or rhyme.
Something new, something few might seek.
To empower and encourage continued growth,
a supportive and inspiring time.
Once a year is all so no time to misspeak.
The values of respect, professionalism, integrity,
and accountability were discussed.
Engagement and education for one and all is clear.
Employee expectations and voices were heard,
now the courage to move forward with trust.
Day one is done and over until next year.

~Mark Schutter ©2014

Fall Forum 2014

Poetry, Writing

Along Paths Not Taken

Floating a sea of uniformity
Uniqueness often shot down
Overrated and dismissed by those
With no vision
Of what the future could be

Fear of change and what it means
Raises its loud voice
Above the noise
An unknown road less traveled
May lead to riches beyond compare

Out of place among the suits
Buttoned up and neatly pressed
All trimmed and primed
An image of perfection
Perception is the reality

A different voice arises from the crowd
A way unheard, a cry alone
Leaders emerge when least expected
From those who challenge the paradigm
Seeing visions of promise and purpose
Along paths not taken

~Mark Schutter ©2014

Change is upon you ...


Adventure, Life


1.     Keep an open mind to change –


2.     Maintain a positive attitude –


3.     Create a blameless environment –


4.     Practice mutual respect everyday –


5.     Treat others the way you want to be treated –


6.     Push down authority and discretion –


7.     Embrace failing fast and failing forward –


8.     Understand the mission behind what you do –


9.     Continually ask why, why not and what if –


10.   Believe in and demand more of yourself –


Pick one thing at a time each week to focus on. Do not be afraid to bring the ruckus, be disruptive, challenge the status quo and your life just might take you to places and adventures you never dreamed were possible!  The choice alone is yours, Carpe Diem!

Change is upon you ...

Adventure, Life, Writing

Culture – Who adapts, the organization or individual?

A crazy picture that I created many months using an app on Facebook in which I “Borged Myself” got me to thinking about organizational culture change.  But first a little history. The Borg are an alien race that humanity first encountered during the television show ‘Star Trek, The Next Generation.’  They are cybernetic organisms that operate as one mind collecting technology.  They attempt to assimilate everything and everyone they encounter throughout the galaxy into their collective or hive, with the catch phrase ‘Resistance is Futile.’BeABorgPhotoAppI and my colleagues are leading the implementation of changes in the organization for which I work and encouraging creativity, a freedom to fail, empowerment and greater employee engagement.  We want employees that will fearlessly think for themselves and come up with continuous improvements in the way we conduct our business.  We encourage managers and supervisors to trust and empower employees in all aspects of the business to breed a culture of it’s okay to fail as long as you are failing forward. We may come up with an improvement and implement but we must continue to improve on the improvements, there is no standing still.

Organizations often want assimilation in the aspect of if something works and is successful then everyone should do the same thing and the cycle continues.  I mean it has shown to be successful so let’s get every employee to do the same thing, right?. 

  • On the surface this may be a good idea, but at what cost? 
  • Does this stifle further creativity and continuous improvements?
  • Would this allow complacency to creep in?
  • Would employees become disengaged?
  • Where would the next challenge come from?

I consider myself a rebel and a misfit as does my staff as we will not be assimilated into a one collective mind.  We will continue to be disruptive with positive intent in challenging the status quo.   We always assume that others act with positive intent and we will be leaders who stand expressing own ideas encouraging others to do the same, for what is the collective but a collection of distinct and unique pieces that make the whole!

Is resistance futile?

Where will you stand?