Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Public ESM Graduates

Making of an Effective Manager Graduates! Congrats!!In Alphbetic Order: Jerry Barberio, Sakeenah Davis, Nancy Haig, Audrey McCant, Deborah Parker, and Donna Woodlin

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Take Hold of Initiative

  • Take your focus off your fears. Fix your eyes on your goal and its benefits instead. Stop letting fear of failure and embarrassment hold you back. Instead of worrying about all the things that could go wrong, try anyway.

  • Anticipate Success. When you expect failure, you invite it. Cultivate a positive attitude that looks forward to success. Avoid seeing setbacks as the end. Consider them as a game lost, but not the entire championship.

  • Allow Yourself to Feel Uncomfortable. It usually feels safer to keep a low profile and not stand out. Change by nature is uncomfortable, but it produces greater results than temporary security does.

  • Volunteer for Responsibility. Instead of waiting until someone asks or forces you to take the lead, be willing to step forward. People don't like indecision and want someone to lead.

  • Say "No" When Necessary. Don't be afraid to offend people by saying "No." Standing up and saying "No" demonstrates strength and will merit the respect of others.

  • Remain Calm During Disagreements. Try not to get emotionally entangled in proving your point or winning an argument. Seek common ground and a compromise that makes concession for at least part of what you want.

  • Follow Through. When delegating tasks to others, follow up on their progress. People tend to be more conscientious when they know their work is important enough to be monitored.

  • Be an Overcomer. When faced with a problem, direct your energy toward solving it. Make a list of every solution you can think of - including the unrealistic ones - and then implement an action plan

Excerpts from "My Tyme", May 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Leadership and Stuffed Shrimp

I just finished reading an article by the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in which they come to the conclusion that the shocking succession of corporate meltdowns signals a massive leadership failure across the financial services landscape. The article (Leadership Fails Wall Street by The Wharton School, 2008) continues to point out that it is their belief that executives at these troubled firms may have ignored or failed to see the level of risk their companies were taking in a crusade to enhance results and their own compensation. Risk taking, considered in many cases to be a strength of senior executives and hopefully is, becomes affected by their problem-solving and decision making skills. Some organizations have even created Decision Support Teams or Departments to provide research and resources prior to making a specific recommendation. The fact of the matter is that the executives got greedy and didn’t assess the situation as thoroughly as they should have. Why did some companies avoid entering or participating in the questionable practices that have caused the great “bailout”? It could just be that they did entertain a decision making process and were more thorough with their “what if” scenarios. It all boils down to greed and inappropriate business ethics. The personal compensation packages being offered by companies today may have played a role in the decision making process but it isn’t the single cause for this situation.

The next article that came across my computer was an article titled, Generational Interaction = Jumbo Shrimp by, 2008. I don’t necessarily agree with the rationale contained in this article but I do agree that the generations in the workplace today are not sharing their knowledge or expertise with anyone, let alone any one specific generation. We have a stalemate between the generations in terms of the workplace expectations of and for each. The baby boomer generation appears to be in the “no-decision” mode while the other generations are in a “let me make the decision mode” and nothing is getting done. Succession planning is at a standstill because to plan for such means that the “boomers” will have to eventually give up their turf and head out to pasture. They appear to not be willing to share the knowledge and expertise to make good decision makers out of the younger generation. The “no one taught us” or “we had to roll up our sleeves and get down and dirty to learn our trade” is the mantra of the “boomers”. We refuse to move the generations forward without making them “sweat and toil” like we did. The fact of the matter is that we have had some more ups and downs then they have had, but in reality, we have had it pretty easy and the “boomers” are sitting there pretty “fat and happy” for the most part. Now the financial downturn has caused the “boomers” to have second thoughts about retiring and hoping that the market corrects itself with the next few years.

I think we have a “stuffed shrimp” scenario. We are not willing to develop and mold our future leaders. Everyone is satisfied with status quo and no one wants to hand the torch off to their successor. Family businesses now have three generations in the fold with no sight of the elder generation leaving and turnover at the Executive Level appears to be slowing down. Unemployment is starting to rise again and hiring is on hold. This economic downturn is certainly contributing to the lack of movement in the business community. Business leaders must ask themselves the century old question; do the benefits outweigh the risks? If they do, try to take one step forward and show some initiative to change or we may never get out of this predicament.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fatal Errors in Business

I was leafing through the business books at my local Borders and came across a title that caught my eye, The 51 Fatal Business Errors and How to Avoid Them by Jim Muehlhausen, CPA, JD.(Maxim Communications, 2008).

The first Fatal Error noted was, “Hiring Your Competitor’s Rejects”. The statement reflects the fact that when you hire experienced people, you are really hiring your competitor’s rejects. The author goes on to say that most employees are better at interviewing than they are performing the task. It is important that interviewing be a process not just an instinct or “gut feeling” The candidates ability to fluff up the resume or speak well during an interview should only make the interviewer play up to the competition.

The interview is a process and it consists of several face-to-face sessions, testing, background check, and whatever other features you add to your process. In our management development course, we ask the participants if they would prefer to higher the experienced employee with a defined behavioral style and good technical skills or an inexperienced employee with an attitude that reflects a willingness to achieve and collaborate with the ability to learn at a rapid pace. The response is most often mixed.

Most firms feel that there is a need for improved interviewing skills, a testing methodology for hiring and selection that results in a more effective hiring and selection process. If they feel that way, then why isn’t this going to be in place tomorrow? Because the hiring and selection process is not reflected on the bottom line, whether it is on the Profit and Loss Statement or the Balance Sheet. Most companies feel that their “gut feeling” about employees is so good, why spend the time, energy, and money on developing something we are all so good at. Companies do not realize that it is more important today to hire a person that will compliment the culture of the organization, perform at a high level, align themselves with the strategic goals of the organization, and prioritize their task list. I would like to see all the managers that can provide the “gut feeling” to hire those candidates only.

Less than sixty five percent of our intentions are followed through in terms of implementation. Doesn’t that tell you something about our hiring practices? Isn’t it time you use all the tools at your disposal to create a formal Hiring and Selection Process and leave the “gut feeling” to your competitors.