Thursday, April 8, 2021

D.FINED Engagement BookCast with Teresa O'Kane, Author of Safari Jema


The latest D.FINED Engagement BookCast Interview with Teresa O'Kane, Author of Safari Jema.

Safari Jema translates to "Good Journey," and Teresa provides the background and specifics of a very good journey that she made with her husband in Africa. Her book's subtitle is "A Journey of Love and Adventure from Casa Blanca to Cape Town." 

We cover a lot of territory in this BookCast: why her and Scott chose the unconventional life of travel adventuring, individual stories about their over- land experiences in Africa in a span of 10 months, and the feelings and emotions that Teresa shares in thinking back on this time of her life. I hope you enjoy this BookCast. It's the first one that I've done with the author of a book that is not related to concrete subjects in the business or personal finance realm. Engagement with life is what we have here and that falls very much in line with the mission of these D.FINED Engagement BookCasts. 


 Find Teresa's Book Here:

And here is Teresa's Blog:

She keeps it updated regularly about her life with Scott and their amazing adventures. 

Here's the audio version if you'd rather not see my mug!


Thursday, March 18, 2021

D.FINED Engagement BookCast with "Betting On You" author Laurie Ruettimann


Laurie Ruettimann is a speaker, author, podcaster, and a badass. She and I have a wide-ranging discussion about her book and the things in her life and career that let up to it. This is a book that Laurie wished something like it had existed in her early career as an HR professional. The workplace can be pretty awful at times and even toxic to people, doing real harm with their health, well-being, and family life. But Laurie advocates, even while admitting that reality, that people can improve their work lives by improving their overall outlook towards themselves which includes wellness, personal and career growth, self-leadership and taking better risks. 

Our discussion includes ideas about setting healthy boundaries with work and having a rich and almost unrelated personal life as opposed to the 100% Productive All-The-Time ethos that can exist for some in these times. Laurie calls that "hustleporn." It can also coincide with working people thinking about themselves too much and some needing to be 'on" 24/7. "Always thinking about myself is a terrible place to live," she shares. 

The fundamental premise of "Betting On You" is fixing yourself before you can do anything effective about fixing your work life or work in general. Hers is an action-oriented book which requires doing things rather than merely thinking about things. I know you will enjoy this bookcast and I strongly encourage you to buy the book and give it as a gift to friends and especially to those who are new entrants to the ever-changing world of modern work and workplaces.

Find "Betting on You" Here 

Find Laurie Here 

Laurie's LinkedIn Profile


My review of Betting On You. 

 I am going to write this review from the standpoint of the amateur that I am. 

I found this book so refreshing because Laurie Ruettimann puts herself out there, not as a model and expert in all things career and work to be imitated, but as a flesh and blood human being who has made her way and learned some things the hard way about the insane world of work in America that will be helpful to others if they have but ears to hear. She is transparent and vulnerable throughout Betting On You. She shares a bit of her background story that makes clear that she is not a privileged expert that learned from books and lived and worked above the fray of everyday people and life. She’s earned her punk-rock attitude honestly and she shares how she was not so subtly guided by one of her first her bosses to “modify” her appearance, lose the generic army boots at work, and learn about how to better adjust to what was more “on trend” for work attire. Laurie was smart enough and practical enough to pocket her rebel attitude and go with the well-meant advice. 

Laurie has become a well-known career coach, podcaster, HR, and workplace expert that has not in the least lost the common touch with people that can use her help. She has the years of experience in HR to be authoritative at times, advising “do this, don’t do that.” She knows what she knows. It’s all to be genuinely helpful to her readers. That is how I see Laurie in the book – she’s an honest to goodness genuine helper to people that want to have careers that will bring fulfillment and purpose in an American business landscape still mostly incapable of celebrating and recognizing the glory and the talents and the uniqueness of the people that make the big boys all that money. She does this by sharing how she has learned to choose herself first over any kind of work and she tells stories about how she has helped other people learn to do the same. She advocates that work cannot be fixed for anybody unless we all learn how to fix ourselves and follow through on the necessary changes we must make to do it. 

In that effort she is a trusted guide with countless bits of the wisdom that she has gained for herself on her journey to health, wholeness, and a changed mindset about the proper place of work in our lives. You need to get this book if you would like some generous help that you can put to very good use! Highly recommended for young people starting their careers. New grads!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Upcoming D.FINED Engagement BookCast with Laurie Ruettimann, Speaker, Author, Podcaster, Badass


Heads Up. 

My BookCast with Laurie Ruettimann will be available next Thursday. She wrote the book Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career. We cover a lot of ground in this chat and, not surprising, Laurie shines. Get her book and join the conversation.

#podcast #relationships #leadership #engagement #leaders #culture #bookcast #work #networking #career #selfleadership


Monday, March 8, 2021

International Women's Day, 2021

Today is the day. But it's only a day. I'm gonna do my best to be a better ally and grow more aware and committed to action when and where I can. You too?

Men and women, share away!

Thursday, February 25, 2021

It's Not Them It's YOU - Final Episode (8!) with Laura Sukorokoff - Wrap Up


In our final episode Laura and I talk about the overarching theme of her book, It's Not Them, It's You: Why Employees "Breakup" With Their Managers and What To Do About It. 

 Good positive relationships between managers and employees are the key to any organization's success in meeting their goals, serving their customers, and making sustainable profits. An important foundation to those relationships are regular 1:1 meetings between individual employees and their manager. These meeting are not merely a "check-in" to see how things are going with specific tasks, goals, or projects. Of course those are important to discuss. But effective 1:1s go much deeper than that. These meeting should be seen as almost "sacred" time between people and distractions and interruptions should be minimized. Managers will need to practice supportive attending skills which includes active listening, proper sitting arrangements, and enough time to build better trusting relationships. 

Laura's book offers many great questions that a manager can use to help them in having rich, effective, and meaningful 1:1s. 1:1s are NOT meeting for meetings sake. Rather they are the means to build strong partnerships and mutual satisfaction and engagement between a manager and a team member. 

We discuss the overarching theme of the book, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, which coincide with the seven leadership traits that Laura's book emphasizes - Relationships, Empathy, Support, Promotion, Empowerment, Consideration, and Trust. Laura explains that the first trait, respect, is woven through all the other traits. 

 Here's a link to Laura's book. It will greatly benefit a manager / leader at any stage of their career. We think it would be a great addition to a management library.  

 Laura Sukorocoff can help you personally or bring her expertise to your workplace. She helps everyone she encounters to grow! 

Her Website 

 Her LinkedIn Profile 

 Her email:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

BookCast w/ Author Laura Sukorocoff - It's Not Them, It's You - Ep. 7 - Tom and Trust


Doug Fine and Laura Sukorocoff talk about the final Leadership trait covered in her book, "It's Not Them, It's You: Why Employees "Break Up" With Their Managers and What To Do About It." That trait is "trust." She tells the true story of Tom who, like most people, began his new job with high enthusiasm. It was a good fit and he believed that he could learn and grow a lot working from the owner of a small training company. 

However it was not long before there were signs that Tom joined a company that might not have been financially strong enough to support him as an employee. Tom's trust in the company and his manager was being eroded by a series a things that happened to him. Although Tom enjoyed the work, promises made to him were not fulfilled and his manager was becoming unreliable and untrustworthy. Tom had to look for another job as a result. 

 Laura emphasizes that you cannot have a effectively operating organization without sufficient trust between the people and especially between a manager and her team. There are significant business costs associated with a low trust work environment. Especially now, in a global pandemic, foundational physical and safety needs are being threatened by companies towards their people. Things are particularly uncertain now and it is extremely important to maintain mutual trust to weather the storm together. 

Another aspect touched upon in this conversation are actions to take when a manager does or says something to damage trust with their people. Laura lays out the steps that must occur for there is to be a chance that trust can be reestablished. 

Here's a link to Laura's book. It will greatly benefit a manager / leader at any stage of their career. We think it would be a great addition to a management library. It's Not Them, It's You

Laura Sukorocoff can help you personally or bring her expertise to your workplace. She helps everyone she encounters to grow! 

Her Website 

Her LinkedIn Profile

Her email:

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Another Episode (6!) with Author Laura Sukorokoff. We meet Caitlin and Talk About Consideration

The D.FINED Engagement BookCast 

 I continue my fun and informative conversations with Laura Sukorokoff about her recent book, "It's Not Them, It's YOU: Why Employees "Break-Up" With Their Managers and What To Do About It." 

Leaders of people, most often called managers, need important so-called "Soft-Skills" to move a business forward. Laura is an expert in leadership training and she brings the wealth of her experience to this book. Caitlin took pride in her work. She had an "ownership" mentality in her part-time retail setting. She was an expert in the products sold, the customers loved her and they kept coming back for more - to see Caitlin and to spend money! 

But something happened that popped Caitlin's balloon. It was her leader's treatment of her. Learn the details in our discussion. Laura uses real-life people and stories to make her leadership lessons speak to all levels that can use the help that her book provides. 

 Here's a link to Laura's book. It will greatly benefit a manager / leader at any stage of their career.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Here's Episode 5 With Author Laura Sukorokoff - It's Not Them, It's You


The subtitle of Laura's book is "Why Employees "Break Up" with Their Managers and What To Do About It." In this new episode we talk about Elton and his situation. He gets a new manager who disregards any work and any accomplishments of Elton's team the minute he arrives. So off to a bad start. On top of that, new manager is a classic micro-manager. Laura and I talk about what the natural consequences are when a manager micromanages. Eventually people shut down, and in frustration, stop exercising any individual initiative. They only wait for the next order to be told what to do, and how to do it by the boss. The complete opposite of micromanaging is to empower people to unleash their ideas, innovations, problem-solving abilities, and engagement. We briefly discuss the legendary culture at Zappos and how empowered people make dedicated and long-term employees, even in their call centers. Call centers are notorious for high turnover, miserable management, and awful work environments. Laura and I think the Episode with Elton just might be our favorite of our time together so we hope you enjoy! 

Here's a link to Laura's book. It will greatly benefit a manager / leader at any stage of their career. 

Here are ways to get in touch with Laura: 

Her Website: 

Her LinkedIn Profile: 

Her email:

Thursday, January 28, 2021

D.FINED Engagement Bookcast with Author Laura Sukorokoff Episode 4 - Meet Percy and Learn About Promotion

In this BookCast we talk again with Laura Sukorokoff, author of "It's Not Them, It's You: Why Employees "Break-Up" With Their Managers and What To Do About It." 

We discuss the story about Percy who hired on to a company and a manager that had a plan to advance him up in the company and Percy was excited and eager for more responsibility. It did not turn out that way for Percy for a number of reasons. Percy was primed for promotions that never came, actually through no fault of his own. Laura shares the Leadership Trait of "Promotion." What it means and why it is very important to some people. Laura Sukorokoff is a champion of 1:1 regular conversations between managers and employees and advocates that they become a required KPI (Key Performance Indicator) that a manager is accountable for. Regular conversations that built relationship would have benefited both Percy and his manager. They are crucial in getting things done and for a manager to know what's really happening on their team. Engaged employees that have good relationships with managers help companies 1) Keep good performers, 2) raise productivity, 3) boost customers service and loyalty, 4) increase revenue, and 5) build better work cultures.

Get Laura's book from Amazon 

Here are ways to get in touch with Laura: 

Her Website 

Her LinkedIn Profile

Her email:


Thursday, January 21, 2021

D.FINED Engagement BookCast with Author Laura Sukorokoff - Episode 3 - Simone and Support

In this episode we continue our BookCast series with Laura Sukorokoff, Author of It's Not Them, It's You: Why Employees "Break-Up" 

With Their Bosses and What To Do About It. Simone was a highly sought after recruit to an important role. The company quickly shuffled Simone to begin reporting to a manager that told her at their very first meeting, "I don't want you on my team. I never asked for you." 

 That manager was a bully boss. He lacked basic respect for people. He was completely lacking in support for Simone and she left that company at the one-year mark. In this discussion Laura Sukorokoff advocates for managers to get along with their people even though they may not even like them. The expectation of every manager towards their team members is to pay them basic respect. Unfortunately some organizations view their people as just resources similar to things like office furniture. Simone's story includes how "HR" added to Simone's lack of support with the advice they gave her. 

We also touch briefly on the importance of self-awareness in managers. 

Here's a link to Laura's book. It will greatly benefit a manager / leader at any stage of their career. 

Here are ways to get in touch with Laura: 

Her Website  

Her LinkedIn Profile 

Her email: 



Thursday, January 14, 2021

D.FINED Engagement BookCast with Laura Sukorokoff - Episode 2 - Meet Emily And Learn About Empathy

I meet again with Laura Sukorokoff, author of "It's Not Them, It's You: Why Employees "Break-Up' with Their Managers and What To Do About It." 

After a few minutes talking about the woeful state of good training and preparation for a management roles, Laura and Doug get to the crux of the episode discussing a very good employee named Emily. She suffered an unfortunate injury and she could not work at 100% for a period of time. Her manager displayed a clear lack of empathy, and Emily began to feel lost and alone on her work team. Laura shares why empathy is a key trait that managers need to have if they want to get the best work from people. But in workplaces where human-centered leadership is not practiced often a manager's response to a vexing issue for an employee is "Suck It Up and Deal." Empathy from a manager towards their people is important because they need to be interested in what is happening in their peoples' lives. Again, regular relationship-building 1:1 meetings with people is the surest way that relationships can grow and empathy for people can be discovered by knowing them better. 

Here's how to get to know Laura: 

First, here's her book

Laura’s Website

Laura’s LinkedIn Profile

Laura’s email:


Thursday, January 7, 2021

D.FINED Engagement BookCast With Author Laura Sukorocoff - Episode 1 - Rosalie and Relationships


Meet Laura Sukorocoff, author of It's Not Them, It's You: Why Employees "Break-Up" With Their Managers and What To Do About It. We briefly discuss whyt Laura wrote this book and her need to help leaders keep their employees highly engaged and delivering great results in their work. The book is story-based and each story conveys a real-world work experience of a real person. Today's discussion is about Rosalie's experience and what happened to change her from a high-performing contributor to spending company time looking for a better job. Positive relationships are key between bosses and their people. Laura provides a vital practice for manager that will build and sustain strong relationships with their team members.

Laura’s Website: 

Laura’s LinkedIn Profile: 

Laura’s email:

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The D.FINED Engagement BookCast Returns

A new series of the D.FINED Engagement BookCast begins this Thursday, January 7 with L&D and leadership expert, Laura Sukorokoff about her new book, "It's Not Them, It's You: Why Employees 'Break-Up' With Their Managers and What To Do About It."

Get the book and join us! It's rich, practical, true to life, and leaders at all levels will benefit from the book and our discussions.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

New D.FINED Engagement BookCast Coming Soon


The New Year is coming and there will be new D.FINED Engagement BookCasts for you to enjoy and learn from. My next series of episodes stars Laura Sukorokoff discussing "It's Not Them, It's You: Why Employees "Break-Up with Their Managers and What To Do About It. The book is a must have for people that manage and lead people. Laura is an expert in leadership and we get to the heart of what it takes to lead well in these times. More to come. Look for it in January. 

Thursday, December 3, 2020

D.FINED Engagement BookCast - Everyone Knows You Suck w/ Trish Tagle

Our fourth and final BookCast episode with Trish Tagle covers the concept of TRUST between a manager and their people and teams. Trish conveys a story where a silly little demonstration of hierarchy within a company had a new team member wondering if she made the right choice to join this company. We also explore when a senior executive does something that no credible leader should ever do - that is, fail to defend their team in response to false allegations about them that were political in nature. Something that led to the situation was also pointed out - the failure of the leader came from them not knowing the real work of the team in order to push back on the criticism. 

I hope you enjoyed this 4-Episode series with Trish Tagle, author of Everyone Knows You Suck - Bad Boss Stories - A Succinct Guide.  

You can find Trish here: 

Can leaders admit they suck at times? Well, we do. Self-awareness can lead to self-improvement and a better performing team. 

Trish Tagle shows how. Get the book here.