Employee Growth – A Leader’s Perspective
When I was named Chief Financial Officer with an “Interim” tag in front of the title, it was both a great challenge and a great opportunity. I had prepared for years with the goal of becoming a CFO, but when I looked at the criteria in the written description for the CFO position, I understood why our CEO and chairman, Mark Rohr, chose to make me interim rather than full CFO. I came to Celanese with a broad variety of experiences and skill sets in finance and, since 2010, I had had direct ownership of most of the finance and shared services functions at Celanese. But while I had accumulated a great deal of finance experience—and that is what put me in the running for the job—it was clear that I was missing other types of experience. The external search criteria called for candidates who had deep engagement with the business and experience leading cross-company initiatives. My experience in these areas was limited because I’d spent my career playing mostly in the finance sandbox.
This Year I Resolve To Give (And Ask For) More Feedback
Recently I joined a yoga studio for more exercise and a peaceful place to settle my busy brain. For anyone considering yoga, I highly recommend it. Not only is it a challenging whole-body workout – it encourages focus and presence in the moment. Something I’m striving for.
What I didn’t expect from yoga was getting jazzed about giving and receiving feedback.
If you’ve never tried yoga, here are the basics. Each class begins in a quiet room – generally the lights are off and everyone lies down on a mat or sits still – there is no talking. In this calm atmosphere minds are cleared of the events of the day and “intentions” are set for the class. This means simply deciding what to achieve in this hour.
Earlier this year, we had record rainfall in the local area. The generous showers may have been a welcome sight to budding spring flowers, but not so much for area drivers as it flooded major roadways for days at a time. One of the impacted roads happened to be the one I take to work each day. Great – now what do I do? I knew I had a destination and I was forced to find another route to get there.
I had a few options, and because the road was closed for about a week, I think I must have tried them all. I was desperately seeking the route that would get me to work or home in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of hassle. One of my phone’s navigation apps would give me optional routes to my destination based on current traffic patterns. While each route would get me to my destination within a few minutes of each other, they would also take me on completely different roads. One route took me to an area I’d never driven through before. It wasn’t very far at all from where I live, and yet I discovered places so close to me that I never knew existed – like a nice park or popular restaurant. The next day I tried another route that took me WAY out of the way…taking a lot longer than it really should have but I got there eventually. Several times, my smooth talking driving companion (the system calls her “Jane”) would instruct me to take a turn, obviously unaware that the road she was leading me to was closed. When that happened, I ignored her advice and took another direction that I knew was better. I hoped she would quickly get the hint and create a new route for me: “Recalculating,” said Jane.
Online Shopping Tips That We All Tend To Forget During The Holidays
Online shopping has become the preferred method of many holiday shoppers. With the introduction of Cyber Monday, retailers are providing deep discounts and easy ways for shoppers to find the perfect gift for friends and family. Since I’ve started my role in IT Security, I’ve begun to look at online safety from a different perspective. We often think of identity theft and Internet security as some distant thought, but your information (and in some extreme cases, your financial livelihood) can be compromised with a single click.
A Fog Advisory – Navigating The Unfamiliar
On most days, the drive to work is uneventful. When that is the case, you follow a familiar route and the drive is a forgettable, to-be-repeated-tomorrow affair. Yet, sometimes your route can be foggy and your trip requires a change in plan and routine.
In the same way, our day-to-day job is a lot like our daily drive. As we plan our week, we expect it to be familiar with a bit of repetition. Our routines are governed by an anticipated destination and follow a clear, well-traveled path…
It gets pretty windy in our office parking garage, and one winter morning the wind was so strong it whipped my hair back and forth, no dance moves required. Once inside I made my way to the ladies’ room to put it all back in place. I combed from side to side, trying to get it just right. When I combed part of it one way, I immediately didn’t like what I had done and wanted to move it back to where it was before. And without thinking, I muttered, “Undo, undo.” And I stopped and thought about what had just happened.
It Always Works Out In The End
Growing up, my parents always told me to get a good job with a good company and I’d be set for life. My mom worked for Quaker State Corporation; my dad worked in the IT department for a company called Franklin Steel. Both worked at their respective companies for 20-plus years, and for a long time I thought they were right. But, then change came…
The Listening Habit
I confess. I binge on business books, and can consume them like food.
I think most business books are like popcorn — enjoyable when hot and fresh, with some great nuggets of knowledge, but often you’re left wanting more. It’s like expecting a dinner, but settling for a snack.
Ten Tips For Staying Healthy – No Matter What
I recently had the pleasure of giving a lunchtime talk – “Staying Healthy Under Pressure” – for the ABC News team in New York City. As it happened, the day I presented was the same day the United States announced the easing of sanctions against Cuba.
It’s a scenario to which virtually any hardworking person can relate. We are all pulled in so many different directions – work, home, family, community. And in the midst of all this, we also have to be thinking about our health…
How A Little Planning Can Go A Long Way
A little planning can go a long way, but what’s the recipe for success? First, you need personal vision and commitment to be successful. If you’re not personally invested into the task you’re faced with, it will become meaningless and you won’t follow through. In order to finish, you have to first be willing to give it your all, no matter how big or small it may seem, by beginning with the end in mind.
Everything I Know About Communication I Could Have Learned From Country Music
Do you like country music? I used to hate it. Every time it came on the radio, I turned the station. At least I used to until my 16-year-old son started listening to it. That’s been a good thing because now I see how much country music and good communication have in common…
Perspective Of An Intern: My “Journey”
My name is Taylor Jensen. I have been an intern in the Human Resources department since January, and will continue this wonderful journey until April 3. I am excited to share with you my experiences and what I have learned in this role for the past nine weeks and counting.
5 Lessons Learned In Personal And Career Growth
In order to grow we must commit to owning our career development. To be authentic, we encourage a diverse and inclusive environment. At Celanese, we have found inspiration in our company value, Employee Growth, and seen how it can move us forward…
Seventy-Five Years Of People Making The Difference
Narrows, Virginia, is a small town located in southwest Virginia in Giles County with a population of approximately 2,000 people. The New River flows through this town crossing the Appalachian Mountains.
Narrows is part of the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford area which is one of the fastest growing regions in the U.S. The region has been ranked on multiple occasions within the top five areas to raise children considering education, safety and economic development.
The color of the seasons could not be more vibrant around this area. From the bright greens in the Spring, through the orange and red leaves in Autumn, to the white scenery that brings the snow fall during the Winter.
A river, mountains and several hiking trails are also neighboring scenery to the world largest…
Stepping Out From Behind The Corporate Curtain
I’m in my early 20s and slowly learning the DOs and DON’Ts of daily corporate life.
- DO show up to work earlier rather than later.
- DON’T stay in your cubicle all day long.
- DO ask others if they need help on projects they are working on.
- DON’T be afraid to ask for help.
As I am trying to learn as much as possible, I have found myself caught in a bit of a trap. I’m watching each step I take so carefully, with a fixed gaze on my feet, I have forgotten to look up and look in the mirror. I sometimes work to reflect this corporate image I have in my mind, rather than the…
What My Drive To Work Taught Me About The Internet Of Tomorrow
It is not uncommon for my conversations with Gen Xers and Baby Boomers to touch on the idea that technology might hamper our ability to connect with others.
I guess it is because I work in enterprise Information Technology (IT). Conversations tend to shift toward technology and a lot of people only see the consumer side of the industry – a side dominated by social media. It’s probably natural to wonder why everyone seems to be focused on a smartphone instead of physically interacting with the world around them. It’s like talking about the weather –a topic none of us will really disagree on.
“Yes, it is hot outside.” “Yes, two kids might stand next to each other and communicate via text message instead of actually talking.”…
Learning The Value Of Values: An Intern’s Perspective
When we started working on the Celanese Values Challenge, a two-week competition we hosted at our company headquarters in Dallas, we set out with a charge: to educate Celanese employees about our new values so they could internalize and connect with them. We expected employees to learn about our values by participating in the challenge; however, in the end, we realized how much we had internalized those values ourselves.
Our managers demonstrated to us how much they valued Employee Growth, one of Celanese’s six values, by giving us the responsibility of not only coming up with the idea of a competition from scratch, but also finding creative solutions to implement every step of the way no matter what roadblocks we faced. When push came to shove, we learned…
How Curiosity And Collaboration Helped My Growth And Development
Curiosity is a good thing, especially when it comes to personal growth and your career! Last year I asked colleagues and customers to consider providing me feedback for my year-end review. It was a bold move, but I was interested in what they would say and how I could improve. You see, my role is unique on the global communications team. I am responsible for the Celanese intranet and manage the editorial calendar. On a daily basis, I work together with team members in Budapest, Frankfurt and Shanghai to share company news. Based on their feedback, I was challenged to consider working on some non-Dallas projects and learn from my colleagues in other regions. So, I prepared a summary to share with my boss.
I have always had a healthy fear of performance reviews, but with our new approach to employee performance, I was optimistic that this year’s discussion would ease my discomfort. During my review…
Building The Communication Skills You Need
Do you aspire to lead a team, an organization, a corporation? Have you thought about the communication skills you will need?
Leaders who move organizations in powerful directions connect with people and build a shared vision of the future. Being a strong communicator can significantly enhance your chances of success. Whether it’s one-on-one, with your leadership team, business or global enterprise, people need to believe in you and your message before they’ll follow you. Good communications can help. At the same time, by developing communication skills, you are building a career asset that will set you apart.
A rare number of people are born…
Do You Do Windows?
Shortly after Mark Rohr joined Celanese we began to discuss our culture. We did surveys, sensing groups and had several global teams work on our vision, mission and values. Ultimately we had consensus and established an “enhanced” set of organizational values. As you walk through the offices and plant sites, you can see these colorful posters hanging on the walls. Our “Employee Growth” is defined as “Make Celanese a rewarding place to work with growth opportunities that allow employees to reach their fullest potential.” But what does that really mean anyway?
From my experience (as an employee and supervisor), here are the fundamental elements that lead to highly-effective employee growth…
How Can We Add Value And Grow With The Company?
I remember the exact moment I knew that to be successful, I had to grow faster than my company and the industry I was working in. I had just taken the top human resources (HR) job for one of the fastest-growing business units in a global technology solutions company. I was joining HR after a career in research and development so my learning curve was steep.
I had to set myself on a growth path to learn and lead . . . ahead of the business. And, this business was destined to grow from $1 billion in revenue to $9 billion in revenue over four years – all organically. So, needless to say, I had to get busy. In the end we had great success, and I emerged four years later a better leader. How did I do it?…
They Said It Couldn’t Be Done
Two years ago this month, we launched the Celanese Blog (CE Blog). Some people were anxious about discussing issues openly and honestly. But I wanted to hear from you; and I wanted you to be heard.
Our first blog tackled controversy head on. Ryan Morrison wrote Is Losing My Office a Good Thing? sharing his thoughts about the transition we were making from offices to an open space environment at the headquarters in Dallas. This change wasn’t popular. Yet he embraced the topic and challenged the water cooler talk.
In A Call for More Women Leaders Lu Zhang encouraged women to take on…
The Corporate Vision In And Outside Your Box
The parroted corporate vision sounds exciting, but as an employee, how will it affect me? This is a common question heard at the water cooler in many companies.
A vision — defined with future-oriented strategy — is a picture of what an organization could and should be. It appears to be far away from what we do on daily basis, but what every employee does daily will help shape the company’s future and help realize this vision.
Vision is not just a “pie in the sky” idiom we hear so often, but it’s everyone’s responsibility to…
Putting A European Face On The Celanese Vision, Mission And Values
Some time ago, Celanese put its global vision, mission and values into an amazing, visually appealing original painting. This was adapted in the different geographic regions of Asia and Europe. Shortly after the painting was formulated, our Celanese Asia colleagues also painted a beautiful picture reflecting the company’s global vision, combined with its Asian culture.
As employees in the European region were tasked with leading the effort of creating the visual representation of our vision, mission and values, we found it difficult to come up with…
Calling All Bloggers…
Want to blog for us? Have an interesting story to tell that relates to Celanese or the chemical industry? We would love to share your perspective!
As we approach the two year anniversary of the Celanese blog, we are looking for ways to expand the topics and readership. We have had more than 80 bloggers and posted 110 blogs since inception. If you would like to join us in making the next two years an even…
24 Hours To Better Leadership
The first business book I actually read was “What the CEO Wants You to Know.” I remember admiring the way it looked; small and white with a band of red across the bottom. The author was Ram Charan; his name was strong and when I read the book I wasn’t disappointed. In a few sittings, I learned about business metrics, leadership and how to tell a compelling story using simple examples. Of all the business books I have owned, it’s the one that has…
Daily Gratitude Can Bring Out The Smiles In Us All
Thank you. These two little words carry so much power and are sure to brighten the day.
Although we are a global company, it’s easy to show appreciation and embrace an attitude of gratitude – being grateful for others and their part in our daily lives. In our efforts to embrace our changing culture, I encourage everyone to acknowledge the little things every day that we can…