Posts Tagged ‘TGIM’

One Workplace in Many Work Places

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Building a sense of shared purpose, mutual support and accountability, and wild celebration of achievement—those are some of the keys to creating an engaged and productive workplace.

This is challenging enough when you’re all under one roof. Multiply the difficulty by a hundred when your business is spread across several cities in multiple time zones.

It’s easiest to feel connected to the colleagues we see every day—in our department, our shift, or our branch of the company. The challenge for many businesses is connecting people to the colleagues they don’t see every day. So how can a large corporation in several far-flung locations apply the principles of culture transformation that have done wonders for companies with a much smaller footprint?

Fortunately, the first hurdle is cleared before we even begin. Principles are principles. When it comes to building and maintaining a productive and positive workplace culture, what’s good for a one-building firm is good for a five-continent firm. The problem to be solved is mostly logistical. How can you make people all over the world feel the sense of team spirit and unity of purpose that a conference room full of fist-pumping employees feel at an Emmerich Group Kick-Butt Kick-Off® event? (more…)

Make That Emotional Commitment—Get Engaged!

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

We often think of engagement as happily doing what we need to do at work. That’s a bit like saying a pile of lumber is the same as a house. The lumber is an essential part of the finished product, but it’s not nearly enough.

That’s why Forbes columnist Kevin Kruse wants us to look at engagement in a slightly different light.

At the highest level, engagement is really about having an emotional commitment to an organization and its goals—a commitment that leads you to do what you don’t want to do. It’s about happily and willingly giving the extra effort above and beyond the job description because you really believe in the work and the vision of the company.

Kruse calls it “discretionary effort.” You still get paid the same if you do less, but you actually choose to do more because you are motivated by something beyond that paycheck. And included in the mix is a willingness to do things that are tough, things that are no fun, things that in and of themselves do NOT make you happy. But you do them because of that emotional commitment to ring the bell. That’s real engagement.

I have seen companies full of smiling, comfortable people going nowhere fast. But I’ve also seen companies with people who work long hours and sweat and strain and wear themselves out in pursuit of a dream. That’s not the shallow happiness of a comfy chair and a cold glass of lemonade—it’s the deep happiness of people who’ve made an emotional commitment to each other and to the goals they share.

There’s no stopping a company filled with people putting in that discretionary effort because they believe in what they’re doing. That, my friends, is engagement.

What’s Good for the Company

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

I’m forever mystified when someone tells me they really don’t care much about the good of the company they work for. “It can fall into the ocean as far as I’m concerned” was one especially memorable one I once heard.

“Hmm,” I said. “Your paycheck is gonna get awfully wet.”

Companies are made up of people. What happens to the company happens to the people in it. If you harm a company, it doesn’t harm the building it’s in. It doesn’t harm the computer systems or the products on the shelves. It harms the people. And if you make a company successful, it’s the people who benefit.

A company is made up of individuals with their own hopes and dreams and ideas of success. But it only becomes a company when all of those individuals come together to put the critical drivers of the company first.

I can hear it now: I do have my own hopes, you know! Well of course you do—we ALL do. But a rising tide lifts all boats. And when all those individuals put self-interest aside and focus on the good of the company, the success comes back to them in spades.

It’s not a contest between the good of the company and the good of you. One leads to the other.

Focus your work on the key results and critical drivers of the business—because the success of the business is YOUR business.

Thank Your Boss

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

If you think “It’s lonely at the top” is just a cliché that doesn’t reflect a hard reality, then you’ve clearly never been at the top.

When one person is put in charge of others, no matter how good or kind or fair that person is, the power differential causes resentment in the others. Every time. It may be subtle or it may be overt, but it’s pretty much always there to some degree. And because of this underlying resentment, employees tend to be very unforgiving of tiny imperfections in the boss. And heaven forbid he or she has any major imperfections!

Your boss isn’t perfect—and neither are you. In fact, the world is made up of imperfect humans who make mistakes from time to time. So why do we tend to hold our bosses to standards of perfection not even WE can reach?

It can be lonely at the top. The fact is, bosses get kicked around, slandered, gossiped about, and blamed—a bit of a thankless job.

So why not make it just a little bit more…thankful?

Instead of joining in the chorus, show you are a class act by thanking your boss for all the things he does for you—the way she helps you learn, his patience, her clear direction, or even the special Dilly Bars he brings in as a treat occasionally. Be sincere when expressing your gratitude.

This kind of thing happens so rarely that, believe you me, it will make a huge impression. And it will go a very long way to blunting the hurt many bosses feel from the slings and arrows they get from the rest of the staff.

No, that’s not brown nosing. That’s being a good human.

Go Out on the Top of Your Game

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Nothing lasts forever, and at some point, you may be looking for a new job. The circumstances of the change may vary—maybe it’s your idea, or maybe you’ve been forced out—but your approach to the change should not vary.

Not everyone knows this. 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.” And in the process, I learned he had done some bridge-burning, left some projects unfinished, and said some things he couldn’t take back.

“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.

Making a career change is an important decision—not one to be taken lightly. If you’re going to leave your job, make sure you’re leaving to move toward something…not running away from a boss, coworker or lack of performance.

If you’re not hitting it out of the park at this job, I hate to say it, but you probably won’t be rockin’ it at your next one either. Remember— what you resist persists. Fix any problems where you are before moving on to something else.

You should ALWAYS go out at the top of your game. Only switch jobs when you are truly passionate about a new opportunity, then let your boss know months in advance what your plans are and tie up every loose end. Be the ultimate professional.