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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What is the Value of Effort?

Do you pay for results or effort?

Effort towards a task that ends without a result is called trying.  We all know what notable management consultant Yoda said about ”try”. There is no try.  Vivid examples of effort:

Vs. Results
I tried to complete the pass
I tried to not hit your car
No Dents
I tried to not spit on your food
A correctly prepared meal
I tried to balance the budget
Profit goals achieved
I tried to keep the clients happy
Return customers


At the close of the fiscal year, will you reward for goals achieved or goals that had some positive progress towards?  A renowned CEO coldly informed us some years ago, ”If you cannot do the job, I will find someone who will”.  Aptly put, that CEO only pays for goals achieved, not effort toward the goals.  Will your employees step up to that challenge?  Do you see value in rewarding effort?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Should You Hire the B Student?

With the current jobs market and the time of year, a new crop of grads will be banging on your door.  Some years ago, a supervisor told me that there were so many applicants that one could simply screen by grade point average and only interview the very best students.  Best?   I would suggest that you also consider hiring some B students.  In some cases the B student might be the best choice: 

  • The B student may mean a longer term employee.
  • The B student may mean a more eager learner (in order to advance).
  • The B student may not require a premium starting wage.

Don’t get me wrong, the valedictorians have a lot going for them, but they may not be as “hungry” as someone who has been more challenged.  What is your experience?  Does a high grade point average generally equal the superior employee?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Work/Life Balance is not your choice.

Work/Life Balance, as any life coach would explain, is critical to not working yourself into a grave.  One employee of mine used to say “Keep work at work.  Keep home at home”.  The point Cathy was trying to make was that if you’ve got problems at home, leave them there and on the other side of the coin, if you’ve had a crappy day at work, don’t go home and make your family miserable about it too. 
My twenty-something friend Chris is always pulling late evenings and weekends, because he enjoys it.  To him it is not work.  Our friend Fritz, a reporter, cannot stop reporting even when he is not at his day job.  His twitter feed is often more interesting than his articles due to its prolific nature.

Despite Cathy’s advice, the management at your organization may insist on a say as to how you express yourself  outside of work hours and thus taking charge of that work/life balance. How dare they!  That should be your prerogative.  Or not.  Companies ranging as far afield as Microsoft  article link and ESPN  article link are insisting on controlling their employees outside of work activities/opinions.  The point is that what you do outside of work may affect your [keeping your] job.  Does that make you “on the clock” even outside of work?  Yes.  Is it right for them to do so?  Yes, if your actions negatively impact the organization.

Example:  If your Pastor joined a hate group but only participated in its activities on Saturday’s, that might make you question his value as a Pastor. 

What you say/do outside of work can easily affect your value to the organization.  Is it after work hours?  You’re still on the clock.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Do Employee of the Month Programs Create Discord?

One can view Employee of the Month (EOM) programs with a jaundiced eye.  These program are designed to 2) Recognize the employee for actions above the call of duty, 3) Recognize the employee for outstanding work either on a project or with a client, and 1) Put the employee up as an example to inspire the other employees to do a better job. Yes, these are listed out of order because the primary intention is usually to “inspire others”, but that is rarely a publicly stated purpose.

Depending on the company, the benefits range from a financial reward, a fancy lunch with the boss, or a closer parking spot.  My experience has been that the last thing an employee wants to do is have lunch with a superior. They’d rather have a nicer lunch with their co-workers.

In some work environments, what inspires some employees to do a better job “next month” in hopes of earning EOM perks may actually cause discord.  “Why did John get EOM?, Harry, Jose, and Ethel worked on that project too!”  As for John, he is certain to get polite applause when the boss announces this month’s winner.  Whispers amongst the audience may be less polite.  Not always so, but it depends upon how the co-workers generally regard the winner.

With winners, also come losers.  So for a company of 150 employees, there is one EOM and 149 last place finishers.  For the coming year 11 more people will earn EOM, leaving 138 who won’t.  Will those 138 set their sights on “next year, I’m going to win”? or will they regard the EOM program as a lottery where winning is unlikely, so why buy a ticket?

How is your Employee of the Month program regarded? Is it inspiring or causing discord?