Tuesday, July 28, 2015

You have the pow-ah!

How did the most powerful people in your organization get that way, asks Art Petty in Government Executive, June 16, 2015.

They got stuff done and engaged the skills and energy of others to do it.

No backs stabbed--just that.

First, they aligned their priorities with those of the bosses. If they didn't know the bosses' goals, they asked.

They connected their networks to bring into play the best people they knew. You can't stay within your silo--you need to spread.

If there are things that need to be done between set silos or depts, try to do those.

Look for opportunities to jump in.

Shine the spotlight on others when you can.

This is the light side of power--not the dark side.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Setting your own hours can make you work more

Some companies let you pick your start and stop times and whether you work at home or the office.

Obviously in some jobs--such as restaurants--you can't work at home.

But employers get plenty of benefits from flexible work schedules, writes Max Nisen, Government Executive, July 20, 2015.

People with full control over their schedules work the equivalent of nearly a full workday beyond what's in their contracts.

Firms with set hours don't usually work beyond their contract amount and companies don't want them to--overtime,

Why do people overdo it?  Seniority, job satisfaction, perceptions about security , pay level--some reasons.

But simply having freedom over hours plays a big part. Workers may want to "pay back" their employers trust. Or the desire to excel that comes from within. Some people also enjoy what they do.

Will this be taken advantage of? Probably...Let's see as time goes on, pun intended.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Things workers wish they could tell the boss

Jeff Haden, Government Executive Magazine,  says most employees don't share their real opinions with the boss.

He says many times workers WANT to say...

"You say you respect me--so give me something important to do." Assign important tasks as often as you can.

"Let me decide the best way to do it."  Not jumping in and providing a lot of opinions also shows respect.

"Please don't tell me all about your personal life." Employees really may not care about your wonderful vacation and have to fake it.

"And don't ask me personal questions." Asking me how the kids are comes off as false.

"Can't you see I am really busy?" Never interrupt work just to check in. If you do stop by, try to pitch in.

"I would like to work here a long time." Not all employees want to jump around. Most won't job hunt unless the boss gives them reason to.

"A paycheck is not a thank you." A paycheck is a given. Workers appreciate a boss who finds some accomplishment to recognize and praise.

We're all human here. We like to be treated with respect...When workers don't say these things, they think they are respecting the boss. But if you are the boss, you should know they may want to speak up.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sex and violence may not sell

The American Psychological Assn did a study that seemed to show that commercials in explicit or violent programs pulled best if the ads were G-rated.

Some researchers at Ohio State went over 53 studies done in 2014, comprising more than 8,000 participants. They looked at brand memory, brand attitudes and buying intentions related to ads.

Brands advertised during violent shows were remembered less often and regarded less favorably.

Sexual content was less meaningful in this respect. Ads in shows with sexual overtones were viewed less foavrbaly. but brand memory and intention to buy were less affected.

As for the ads themselves, they found a few studies where violent ads in a violent show were more memorable and incited more intention to buy.

As sexual content increased, viewers' memories decreased.

They concluded that sex and violence do attract attention, but people may pay more attention to that in the shows and ads than in the products advertised.

Dunno--I prefer ads where things look delicious and are not blowing up.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Management lessons taken from fighting forest fires

I heard this morning that even the soggy states of the Upper Northwest are getting dry and fires are popping up.

Johns Hopkins researchers published a story in the J of Contingencies and Crisis Management on how fire fighting can build competent managers.

Kathleen Sutcliffe, the lead investigator, describes the process this way.

First, frontline workers in dynamic, unpredictable circumstances, must constantly assess conditions and look for anomalies. These are little shifts and blips signaling trouble ahead.

Leaders of the group must help workers hang onto these details and make sense of them.

In a stable situation, getting information is a challenge. In a complex, uncertain one--too much information is the problem. And it's ambiguous.

What they are talking about is a group of people "constructing" the meaning of a situation.

Say a frontline fire fighter saw smoke in the distance. If he said nothing, it did not enter the process. If he does mention it, it requires a response from the boss and other members of the organization--and it could be another fire that would have taken over the first crew.

Another example of an anomoly was the O-rings on the ill-fated Challenger, No one broke the momentum of the flight by getting into it.

In crises, errors are not so much mistakes in execution as they are errors in perception, in evaluating.

One fire fighter told the researchers that as experienced as he was with large fires, he came to each one thinking he knew nothing about it. He built up his knowledge.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Digital debris becoming a problem

Remember the paperless office. Hah! You may not have an address book anymore--and store all your numbers in your phone, but there is plenty of mess associated with electronics.

A Baylor design expert says there is still clutter up the USB port!

How about Amazon's "dash buttons"? These are wireless and stick around everyplace. You press, Amazone sends.

Tangled cords and printer paper! Don't even.

Digital art. You can put this stuff up everyplace if you feel like it.

A new DVR is coming out with storage for three years of shows. They call this Techno Hoarding.

There is a crockpot controlled by your phone,

Even cheap storage bins are clutter--and they are supposed to prevent clutter.

One guy said we  need removable baseboards to hide the cords. What if you forget to replace them? More clutter!

Techno Hoarding--I like that.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Don't brand yourself as a boring zombie

This would be a don't.
Liz Ryan, Forbes.com, says never take advice to be one of the crowd when applying for a job. Don't try to blend in, keep low.

Let would-be employers see your humor, your brain working, your personality.

Don't use robot language--I am results-oriented, I can work with people on all levels. Snore.

If you have jumped around a few jobs or even a few fields--say it--but end up saying, I finally found my niche...and I can save money for your company like I did at Blah Blah Corp, where my improved manufacturing process saved a million a year...etc..

Sure, you can overdo the eccentric and alarm some semi-zombie like HR people. So keep it under control.

I once hired a woman who told me she had had lunch with Mick Jagger--don't even ASK how we got there!

She lasted 20 yrs--though, alas, Mick never turned up.