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The problems–as I have been saying…

December 3, 2011 Leave a comment

This is verbatim from a website:

 

The CTO of the information technology company was more than a little irritated.

“In our high tech business,” she said, “when people buy our products, they’re really buying into our conception of the future. Some of us of us have an innovative vision for where our company can fit into that future. Unfortunately, right now the company simply reacts to the marketplace and the competition. The CEO’s favorite saying is It might be the early bird that gets the worm, but look what happens to the early worm. And it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese. Unfortunately we’re never even the second mouse—or the third. By the time we get there, the cheese is long gone. But every time any of us try to push through our point of view, the CEO turns the discussion into an argument. Which of course, we eventually have to let him win.

“We’re losing out to birds, worms, mice, and cheese,” another senior executive added. “Underneath it all, I think [the CEO] sees the logic behind what we’re saying, but he’s not comfortable acting on it. Which always leaves us on the verge of civil war.”

 

http://www.barrymaher.com/expert_motivation.htm

I am sad to say this type of stuck in  the mud management is the norm. Maybe my blog will be about how to change the world by NOT working for anyone else!

 

https://ecarrollstraus.wordpress.com/wp-admin/

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May the “Force” be With You…

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

When you get that long awaited job, there is hope and anticipation. You will be able to hold your head up. You will be able to pay your bills. You will be.. an indentured servant? It may well feel that way, all too soon.

Sir Richard Branson, a well known and successful business man thinks poorly of American attitudes toward our workforce, (and I agree with him!) “Sir Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur who has started about 300 companies, doesn’t think much of American policies regarding flextime and vacations. He calls the amount of holidays “horrendous…. Branson says that in the U.S, companies seem to believe that employees should work for them full-time or not at all. But many employees would love to have a job where they can job share, work part-time, or take 6 months of leave. Employees are too scared to ask, he says… American vacation policies stink, Branson says. Branson believes that employees need time to see their children, to reenergize.” (HR Daily Advisor, September 14, 2011)  What a concept. Life outside work. (No more 30 days paid leave in civilian life, you know.)

And these lovely managers use emotional force to get the obedience they think they deserve:  check this out: “What ‘job leveling’ means, in plain English, and how it’s applied to align employees’ actions and behaviors across the workforce”. I don’t know about you  but I feel this describes a bull dozer. ..leveling all in  its path.

A”s the U.S. economy improves, complaints about pay compression (employees drawing similar salaries despite big differences in their experience, skills, and seniority) will simmer out of control in many workplaces. “BLR®—Business & Legal Resources 9-12-11 More happy thoughts! Simmering resentment. I wonder why?

There are American companies that have the human friendly attitude Branson has, where both customers and employees are happy. Find one! So again… the trick is the fit.  You may miss the sense of mission you had in the military, but you can be happy—with the right fit.

For the Love of.. HR?

September 13, 2011 Leave a comment

A Facebook friend of mine points out that “HR”is a form of propaganda. Depressing huh? Still we have ti deal with them, dont we?

 

Read on an HR resource:

*** On a plane, a seatmate asked Lott what his job was. Lott said, “I help companies avoid lawsuits.” “Are you a lawyer?” asked the seatmate. “No, I’m in HR,” Lott said. “Oh, that’s worse,” the person said.” http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/05/Training_YouTube_Test_HR_Lawsuit.aspx?source=HAC&effort=14

“HR has three pieces to its job, Lott says: the harmony part (morale, culture, conflict resolution), the productivity part (since the recession, getting at least 110 percent out of everyone), and the compliance part (not getting sued). http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/05/Training_YouTube_Test_HR_Lawsuit.aspx?source=HAC&effort=14

 Sadly, HR is probably worse than law. (I’m a lawyer.) Most people think they are experts at getting things done—even when  that involves others whose job it is to complete various tasks. Of course, very few of us really are experts on this-or on human behavior. How many of get out OWN to-do lists done? Not many.

The best advice I have seen on an HR post lately is this from “Are You a Manager or a Controller? : Hurricane Helps Us Find Out” Friday, September 02, 2011 3:00 AM, by Steve Bruce:

“A lot of executives [read humans] mistakenly believe they’re in control. They think they’ve climbed to the top of the ladder to be in charge. But really the best we can do as managers is, well, manage. All the planning and preparation in the world doesn’t allow you to control events, it only helps you influence or affect the outcome.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about your customers, employees, shareholders, or a hurricane, you can’t control what they do. Knowing the difference between controlling and managing can help you to focus on the things you can truly control.”

http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/02/Epinions_Management_Hurricane_Irene.aspx?source=HAC&effort=16

This also applies in every facet of life. Focus ON WHAT IS REALLY in YOUR hands. Tomorrow—how to stay resilient in the depressing hunt for work.

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Read on an HR resource:

*** On a plane, a seatmate asked Lott what his job was. Lott said, “I help companies avoid lawsuits.” “Are you a lawyer?” asked the seatmate. “No, I’m in HR,” Lott said. “Oh, that’s worse,” the person said.” http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/05/Training_YouTube_Test_HR_Lawsuit.aspx?source=HAC&effort=14

“HR has three pieces to its job, Lott says: the harmony part (morale, culture, conflict resolution), the productivity part (since the recession, getting at least 110 percent out of everyone), and the compliance part (not getting sued). http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/05/Training_YouTube_Test_HR_Lawsuit.aspx?source=HAC&effort=14

 

Sadly HR is probably worse than law. (I’m a lawyer.) Most people think they are experts at getting things done—even when  that involves others whose job it is to complete various tasks. Of course, very few of us really are experts on this-or on human behavior.

The best advice I have seen on an HR post lately is this from Hurricane Helps Us Find Out

Friday, September 02, 2011 3:00 AM
by Steve Bruce:

A lot of executives [read humans] mistakenly believe they’re in control. They think they’ve climbed to the top of the ladder to be in charge. But really the best we can do as managers is, well, manage. All the planning and preparation in the world doesn’t allow you to control events, it only helps you influence or affect the outcome.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about your customers, employees, shareholders, or a hurricane, you can’t control what they do. Knowing the difference between controlling and managing can help you to focus on the things you can truly control.” Are You a Manager or a Controller?

http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011/09/02/Epinions_Management_Hurricane_Irene.aspx?source=HAC&effort=16

This also applies in every facet of life. Focus ON WHAT IS REALLY in YOUR hands. Tomorrow—how to stay resilient in the depressing hunt for work.

 

Interviews: How to Tell What The Values Of The Company Are

This gleaned from an HR publication: “The interviewing process is rife with opportunities for problems. For example, it’s important to avoid certain subjects, such as conversations about the applicant’s spouse or children. Some brief “small talk” at the beginning of an interview about the applicant’s child playing in the local soccer league may seem harmless, but it can quickly turn into evidence that you didn’t hire the applicant because you were worried she would need to leave work early because of her child’s extracurricular activities. “

(BTW, for the same reason using Facebook to research a candidate is legally dangerous.)

“Another danger spot is interview notes. Remember that any notes you take during the interview could become evidence at trial if the applicant files a lawsuit over your decision not to hire. Therefore, you must be cautious about the types of notes you take and how they relate to the applicant. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take notes. It simply means you should make notes with the understanding that they could appear in letters six inches high in front of a jury.” http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com/archive/2011//15/HR_Policies_Procedures_Discrimination_Smoking_Gun.aspx?source=HAD&effort=114

Note that the emphasis hear is fear and defensiveness. If you are looking for a job that matches your values you may wish to avoid this company… unfortunately this is the received wisdom” in HR—which is where I got this information! As I mentioned previously, if your interviewer seems preoccupied with their agenda… beware!  Sorry to be so alarmist but this IS the gestalt of Human Resources.

Look for a company that is NOT afraid. A company that is afraid of who will sue them next is NOT lookg for the real values of their “human capital. They are looking  for tier hid oarts– and probably because they have somethig to look out for.

You can do better.

Non Toxic Management

I seem to be off a tear about workplace culture. I suspect it is in part because it has been so very long since I was in a good one! I became a lawyer in the 80s when there was still a shred of civility and honor in the profession. Of course, my first job I was pretty thrilled—I had worked VERY hard to get there. But it was nit a bad place to work, although our offices were cramped. The form was three women friends and me and a few secretaries. It was more like a family than most law offices. I learned a lot.

 

Then I heard that this firm in Los Angeles was hiring. (I got all my jobs through people I knew—often opponents who thought well of me.) I had been doing plaintiff work and this was an insurance defense form—what is now called “captive counsel.” We had a separate office from the insurance side but did not have billable hours. The other attorneys were pretty decent, the hours were reasonable and the location was good. Looking back it seems almost idyllic. (I left for more money and a shorter commute.. and HATED my new job.)

Since then I have not had a law job that was not toxic. So maybe I am prejudices or jaded. But my non law jobs (teaching) have been pretty awful, too. I see corporations placing profit above both employees and customers routinely. So… I think NON toxic workplaces may be the exception. (Anyone reading this who disagrees feel free to chime in.)

Here’s an opinion found on the web: “Meaningful work and a sense of value within the organization are indeed powerful elements of employee engagement. All work is meaningful and valuable (otherwise, why would you be paying people to do it). The trick is for management to help employees see that meaningfulness and personal value, especially during this tough economy and often stressful workplace environment.” http://www.tlnt.com/2011/08/09/a-key-to-better-employee-engagement-having-meaningful-work/

I agree with this chap—but I wonder how many managers do? I know a lot of my military students were in the medical corps, and happy taking care of people. They did not have to worry there about billing or profits, what will they find when they seek employment in the civilian for profit world?

I wonder.

Best Places to Work are Employee Owned—or VALUE YOU!

In the 1990s an Orange County California company (alas, I have blanked on  the name) made a huge profit–which it shared with employees. The company was written up: bosses worked along side the regular workers on  the floor. No one spent their “bonuses” on stupid things–toys. (One employee borrowed a Porsche and drove it to work just to watch everyone’s face—then told them it was a joke.) They paid down their mortgages and debts. This is great place to work.

Elsewhere, a “study shows that the overwhelming success of companies like UK-based John Lewis is due to innovative mechanisms to encourage employee participation and cultivate a culture of ownership. Andrew Bibby explores how this company model of a fully or majority employee-owned business is not only self-sustaining and successful, but is in fact widely applicable.” http://www.ilo.org/wow/Articles/lang–en/WCMS_081375/index.htm

In the 90s employees were given “ownership” via ESOPS—a form of stock—but that did not work out all that well, as the airline industry shows. Many have suffered financially despite a degree of “ownership” by employees. Southwest may be an exception: here’s what their blog said in 2009: “Another thing that’s unique about Southwest is its sense of humor,” says Colleen. “We use words that corporate America doesn’t. Our stock exchange symbol is LUV. We give employees a lot of freedom. We don’t want them to be cookie-cutter copies of each other. When most people go to work, they take off their personal demeanor.”

Sounds like a great place to work to me.

Another company rated well by employees: “Treating their workers well was one of the reasons DPR Construction, a national company of 1,200 employees (130 in Orange County), ranked high in the meaning survey. Workers are free to pursue their passions and are cherished by management, said Jim Washburn, the company’s regional leader. The company also landed on Forbes “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2010.http://www.ocregister.com/articles/company-279352-school-work.html

Bottom line.. don’t just work—work for joy and appreciation!

Managers Call In Sick More Than Employees

Seen in USA Today: more evidence it pays to be careful where you work. A poll of 60,651 people taken by Replicon shows that managers used 3.6 sick days a year and non management employees used 2.8. It also showed summer is the time most folks call in sick, which does make for some suspicion as to the possibility the sickness is either fictitious—or from too much fun in the sun.https://secure.smartbrief.com/news/bscai/storyDetails.jsp?issueid=9C7E624E-A806-48C0-A7F7-7CA7B00B51D2&copyid=5F53DC70-D9AA-4DFC-A7C3-40BE457E739E

What does this say to job seekers? Note that in the US, no vacation time is mandated by law: “The U.S. federal government dictates that employees are given exactly zero paid holiday and vacation days a year (that means, if you get such things, it is because your employer is being generous/in a benefits arms race with other employers). In most countries workers gat paid vacation by law: “In every country … except Canada and Japan (and the U.S.), workers get at least 20 paid vacation days.  In France and Finland, they get 30… an entire month off, paid, every year.”http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/01/31/paid-holidaysvacation-days-in-the-u-s-versus-other-oecd-countries/

What this says to me, boys and girls, is you really had best do what you love, and love what you do. And if you really DO love what you are interviewing for this will be very clear in the interview.

Now, some of you will be interviewing for management jobs. This means more pay—and more stress. So, again—if you love the job, and dare I hope PEOPLE, you are once again at the top of the heap.

Just remember… everyone can’t finish first. That is one reason this blog is not for everyone. Only those seeking true excellence and service.