Archive for the ‘Improving Morale’ Category

The Terrible Trio—Vampires, Victims, and Whiners (oh my!)

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010
© Khz |

© Khz |

Part 1:  The Energy Vampire™

“They are Vampires, and their modus operandi is not to steal your blood but rather, your precious energy. Your life-force. Your mojo.  To drain you emotionally and psychologically. To frustrate you with their repetitious, self-indulgent, attention-seeking diatribe.”—Craig Harper

She doesn’t wear all black.  You can see her reflection in mirrors. She likes garlic just fine.  Yet her coworkers know she is a vampire as soon as they open their mouths.  But it’s not blood she’s sucking—it’s positive energy.

“I’m up for a promotion,” you say. “Isn’t that great?”

“Hey, a higher cell in the prison. Congrats on that,” she replies with a smirk.

“Sales are going to be up, up, up this year,” you say.

“That’s only because they were in the toilet last year.”

“My glass is half full.”

“You call that a glass?”

You get the idea.  And you know this person, I’ll bet.  These vampires are as common in the workplace as their bloodsucking cousins are in Anne Rice novels.  Within seconds, they can take your great day and make it miserable.

The vampire’s arsenal is limitless, from rolling eyes and crossed arms to smirks, whining, name-calling…you name it. Whatever the form, know that you have the right to protect yourself and to call the vampire out.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we’ve ALL have had our moments like this—times when we can’t think of anything good to say and seem to want to guarantee the same fate for everyone around us.  But that doesn’t make it okay.

Next time you find yourself on the sharp end of the Energy Vampire’s smile, your job is to suck away their NEGATIVE energy just as hard.  They thrive on commiseration, so deny it!  Answer each pronouncement of darkness with something like, “Oh I don’t know about that—I like working here!”  Then watch how fast they shrivel up and blow away.

Now if the person is part of your responsibility, you’ll need to get serious about this.  It’s up to you to either convert the vampire to a productive human or join the mob with pitchforks and torches and get that person out of the company before their toxic behavior spreads—and you end up with a company full of the walking undead!

Top 10 Workplace Dysfunctions—and How to TERMINATE Them

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
Creatista |

Creatista |

The dysfunctional workplace is a killer.  Untreated, the dysfunction will kill off your customer base, your profits, and your joy for living as surely as anything.

So you’ve got to kill it first.  Here are the Top Ten dysfunctions—and the cure for each:

No. 1:  People being at odds with each other with no desire to fix it.
Have the most direct supervisor meet with those involved to learn what it will take to resolve it and to secure a firm commitment to do so.  Spell out immediate consequences in the event of failure.

No. 2:  Saying one thing and meaning another.
If you have an employee with a pattern of saying, “But what I meant was…”, call them on it.  Requiring the offender to have all communications checked for clarity for a period of time usually nips this in the bud.

No. 3:  Giving lip service to new ideas, then undercutting them in private.
You’ll want to enlist everyone’s help in keeping this one out.  Make it clear that dissenting opinions are welcomed during decisionmaking, but that once a decision is made, undercutting will not be tolerated.

No. 4:  Defensiveness at reasonable suggestions.
Let your people know that you consider a willingness to improve to be one of the hallmarks of a person with a bright future in the company.  Defensiveness should be viewed as what it is—an unwillingness to improve one’s self.

No. 5:  Attraction to chaos.
Pot stirring is a violation of principles both written and unwritten and a threat to productivity.  Counterbalance the pleasure they get from drama with a greater measure of negative consequences.

No. 6:  Not following through on commitments.
Let people know that they are expected to acknowledge errors and make a commitment to clean up every last bit of the resulting mess.

No. 7:  Deflecting blame.
Deflecting blame equals deflecting responsibility.  Make it clear that the only acceptable behavior is acceptance of responsibility and (as above) quick work to clean up the mess.

No. 8:  People pretending like they “never got the memo.”
If there was no breakdown in the actual system, make it clear that the employee is responsible for consistently accessing internal communications—memos, email, and so on—so that he is never again “out of the loop.”

No. 9:  Refusing to deal with conflict directly.
Conflict resolution is an essential part of a manager’s job.  Performance reviews can and should count disruptive interpersonal conflicts against managers on whose watch they occur.

No. 10.  Gossiping and backstabbing.
Once you establish a zero-tolerance policy for talking behind another person’s back, give your people permission to address conflict head-on, out loud, courageously and honestly. And make it clear that giving or receiving gossip is not acceptable.

You may have noticed a refrain coming back again and again in this advice:  Make it clear.  Once you’ve made the determination to purge your workplace of dysfunctional behavior, your greatest ally and most powerful tool will be clarity.

Values As Your True North

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
 © Dusanzidar |

© Dusanzidar |

I had an old friend who was a software programmer in San Jose.  At the time I knew him, he’d held several jobs in a few years. He told me he wasn’t happy in his newest job and wanted to find a new one.  Again.

“Are you moving toward a new job,” I asked, “or running away from your current mess?”

“Well,” he said, “if I’m honest with myself…I suppose I’m running away.”

“That’s too bad,” I said, “because there was obviously some lesson you missed while there, some mistakes you’ll probably repeat. I suggest you stay and learn the lesson so you can move toward something—otherwise, we’ll be having this exact same conversation in another year when you’re looking for your next job.”

Despite my sage advice, he left anyway, and started a new job…which he recently lost.

Same story, different day.

The trick here is to be honest with yourself. If you’re getting married, it’s easy to say you’re moving toward a relationship—but you might be moving away from being alone. That’s a very different reason to get married, and not a very good one. How many divorced and/or miserable people are out there raising their hands on this one?

You will find that almost EVERY bad decision follows from a violation of a value—a moving away from a fear instead of moving toward something you love.

So you’ve made some good decisions, and you’ve made a few lousy ones. Welcome to the human race. But what can you learn from your personal history to improve the ratio of good to lousy?

Let’s do an autopsy on the decisions you’ve made that have killed deals, killed relationships, reduced your success, and otherwise created general chaos in your life:

You needed to meet a goal or quota, so you did the wrong thing by the client. You thought the client and your boss wouldn’t notice. That didn’t work. You violated your value of always doing the right thing by the customer, and a bad result was your reward.

You had to get home early to meet with friends, so you didn’t double-check that project before sending it out to the client. You lost the deal because you didn’t uphold your value of quality work. Again, bummer result.

You were in a pinch to fill a position, so you hired someone you knew just didn’t share your values. Twenty-four hours after the start time, you know you have a problem.

In each of these cases, you made a decision that deep in your gut felt wrong before you even made it. That butterflies-swirling-like-a-flush-down-the-porcelain-bowl feeling is all that’s needed to know for certain that we blew it.

Let’s make this easy. Psychologists tell us that all emotions are rooted either in love or in fear. Anger, for example, is a symptom of fear. You can’t be angry if you’re not afraid. Joy is based in love. You can’t feel bliss without having love at the core. Fear is a “moving-away-from” emotion. Love is “moving-toward.”

Analyze the disastrous decisions you’ve made, and a pattern of “moving away” from something will generally emerge. 
• Moving away from missing a quota.
• Moving away from confronting a problem.
• Moving away from one company or boss as opposed to moving toward a bigger calling—thus, the saying, “Out of the frying pan, into the fire.”

So the next time you need to make a decision, ask yourself if you’re moving away from something or moving toward something.  Once you master that assessment, it’s amazing how much better your decisionmaking, and your results, will become.

Woohoo! Thank God Its Monday Hit #1 Overall

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Thank you to everyone for all the help of spreading the word about Thank God It’s Monday. It hit number 1 overall as of all books sold! It is experiencing the second week as the number one business book and it’s also sold out in the U.K. and made the best seller list in Canada as well.

Pinch me!!!

Again, thank you to everyone who have sent the massive amount of emails saying you’ve bought 10 plus copies for all your friends. Now THAT is a commitment to a healthy workplace.

Thank you for being a part of this movement.

Only a few days left until Monday!!!



Great News…Thank God It’s Monday Just Hit Amazon’s #2 Overall

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

This is SUCH great news. My new book, Thank God It’s Monday, just hit #2 overall of all books on Amazon a few minutes ago and has been the #1 selling business book for two weeks in a row!

It also hit The Wall Street Journal list last week.


I think it’s because people are tired of not loving their work. With all the layoffs, those who are “left behind” with twice the work and half the friends are so disheartened and don’t know how to get their rhythm back.

Here’s a few tips on getting that “new job” feeling back… (more…)