When you work for a bad boss, it is easy to just try to "keep your head down" and do your job. If your boss is merely annoying, this isn't a bad strategy. Maybe he/she will get replaced someday and the risk of trying to find another job may not seem like it is worth it. However, I want to suggest that if your boss is really bad, he/she can do a lot more damage to you and to your career than just being an annoyance. Let me tell you a story. The names have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent, but the facts are real. Acme Inc. employed about 150 people. One of the assistants there seemed very competent. We will call her Sally. Sally was an above average worker, … [Read more...] about The Dangerous Boss
Managers are told that whatever they measure will get attention and improvement. If they measure the number of defects in cars coming off the manufacturing line, just giving it this attention will help lower the number of defects. So, how can you use this for your personal productivity? The same rule applies. Measure the things that you want to improve. For example, if you want to read more this year, keep a list of every book you read. If you want to write more for your blog, keep track of how many posts or words you produce each week. If you want to lose some weight, keep a chart in the bathroom next to your scale and record your weight every day. If you want to watch less … [Read more...] about What Do You Measure?
I have seen some employers who figure that a down economy means they can treat employees poorly. I suppose the logic is "they should be happy to have any job at all". Since the employer figures their workers can't really leave, the employers make demands that they would never make in a normal economy. This approach is very short-sighted. First, the very top employees are always going to be in demand. I'm not talking about good, solid employees. I'm talking about the star performers--the top 5%. These types of people are always in demand, simply because they are rare. When an employer treats people poorly, the best people are the first to leave because they have other options. … [Read more...] about Treating Employees Right
In the book The Millionaire Mind and The Millionaire Next Door, the authors point out that millionaires tend to marry people who support them financially. One of the easiest ways to wreck your financial plan is for there to be competition between a husband and wife, financially. If you have ever heard a couple say things like, "well, you bought a new dvd player, so I can go buy a new dress" or "you spent $300 at the mall, so I decided to go buy a new television." You know what I'm talking about. If the members of a marriage feel like they are in competition with each other for spending, they are off to a bad start. Here are some simple tips to avoid this type of … [Read more...] about Working with Your Spouse Financially
You can't manage what you can't measure. A lot of my consulting work centers around helping people deal with the business consequences of that sentence. Giving businesses real-time data about what is going on can solve a lot of problems, just because it gets things out in the open where they can be seen and discussed. A good example of personal data that ignores this little truth is your electric bill. Electric bills aren't real time--you get them once each month. By the time you see how much you owe, you only have a vague idea about what might have produced those dollar figures. You might see a low bill and think "Oh yeah, we were gone most of the month." You might see a high … [Read more...] about Managing Electricity (and everything else)
In life, many opportunities are tied to what other people think of you. If the people around you think you are smart, you are more likely to get asked to participate in projects that will enhance your career. If people think you are dumb, you'll probably be passed over. Looking smart is just as important as being smart. Assuming that you are actually smart you don't have to fake anything. Your goal is to make people think of you as a smart person. Humans aren't particularly good at judging the intelligence of other humans. Here are six things you can do that will help enhance people's perception of your intelligence. 1. Look Smarter by Asking More Questions Most people try to show … [Read more...] about 6 Ways to Look Smarter
Someone sent me this video of paper that wants to be shredded. It reminded me of a client of mine. I was coming in to do some consulting so I asked for a copy of their organizational chart to get a better idea of how everything was organized. I carried it around with me throughout their facility for about a week as a reference. Often I'd set it down on a table or desk while talking with an employee. When I really started looking at it in detail, I discovered that it had the salaries of all the executive level staff penciled in under their names! While it wasn't a problem for me to know their salaries, they should have at least warned me about the additional information. … [Read more...] about Paper that wants to be Shredded
I was reading the book "The Leadership Challenge" and ran across a story about how to improve the productivity of your team that I wanted to share.The authors of the book ran a workshop to help people focus on continuous improvement. One of their suggestions was to have managers ask their team what they had done in the last seven days that would make them more productive in the next seven days. The idea was to keep people focused not just on being busy but on accomplishing more. Here is a quote from the book: About a month later, we heard from a participant in the workshop who had done what we recommended. He told us that the first time he asked the question, people looked at each other … [Read more...] about Tuesday’s Tip: Asking Yourself Questions