Archive for the Work Smart Category
Over at Daily Blog Tips Daniel has created an event called Blogging Idol. The idea is to match wits against the other bloggers to see who can get the most RSS subscribers in one month. I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve, but I know that I’m in a heck of a battle. I just hope that I’m not the William Hung of the group, laughed off the stage.
The grand prize is $3,000. That’s a nice chunk of money.
If I win this battle my pledge to you is that one of my RSS subscribers will be chosen at random and be given the $3,000. This site is here because of you. I want to reward one of you with $3,000. But that’s only if I win.
If I gain at least 100 new subscribers, but still don’t win the contest, I will give a randomly chosen subscriber a second place prize of a $25 Visa gift card or a signed photograph of yours truly (just kidding). I know that it’s $2,975 less, but I’m not a rich man. I haven’t made a penny off this site yet.
I’m still building my reputation as a master of work happiness. I know it takes time and I’m willing to keep on working my butt off, but I figure that I can pass some of my good fortune on to you, if you help me win.
Don’t be afraid to pass this on to your friends because my guess is it will take around 350 subscribers to win this contest. If you find 20 friends to sign up and split the prize between all of you, you could have a 7% chance of winning. That’s $150 a piece. That’s one awesome party if all of you threw a big blowout somewhere.
Hey, it’s worth a shot. What do you have to lose?
And if you lose you still get unique tips on how to make work more fun, exciting, and enjoyable.
Articles of Interest:
- Why are Icelanders so Good at Working Happy?
- Looking forward to Monday is within Your Reach
- The Nurse That Mattered
Image courtesy of Daily Blog Tips
We all get lazy at work and this only makes work more torturous. Sometimes we just don’t have the motivation to make a go of it. Check out Marc and Angel’s post, 9 Black Belt Techniques for Fighting Laziness at Work, to get a better understanding of how to become engaged and improve your work happiness.
Albert Einstein was a working happy genius who had a rough go of it in his early years. Shilpan over at Success School has a great post that can help you improve your life with a little energy and grit. Check out Albert Einstein’s 7 Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks.
A blogger that gets great joy out of helping others is Barbara from Blogging without a Blog. She pushes a blogger to become more interesting. My two favorite posts from her are
We all wish to be perfect in the job that we do, but we all know this is impossible. We need to wear people down with a small trickle until people just can’t resist us any longer. Drew McLellan has a great post on his blog, Perfect is the enemy of good (Jay Heyman). It will help you strive for good, which we all know eventually turns into great.
There are times that we need to slow down and take a new perspective on an old situation. Sara over at On Simplicity has a cool article about Elizabeth Taylor’s view on jewelry called What Elizabeth Taylor Can Teach Us About Simplicity. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it has a great angle.
Related Articles from Work Happy Now:
- Let’s Learn from a Doctor on How to Work Happy – Small Business Tips
- Why are Icelanders so Good at Working Happy?
- Create 12 Parties a Year Instead of 1 Boring Holiday Party
Image courtesy of Nicholas Davis
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Love or hate Bill Gates, it’s up to you, but no one can deny the impact he has had on business. Microsoft was setting the standards of working happy before most of Silicon Valley got on board. They have a career development compensation program as well as health care investment programs. They also do little things like free drinks (anything you like), on-site services (dry-cleaning/laundry service and grocery deliveries), professional counseling, office ergonomic consultations, and paid health-club membership.
Bill Gates understood the value in paying well, giving great perks, and investing in his employee’s future. He has probably made more people wealthy than any other CEO alive. He also understands what it takes to motivate his employees so they were engaged and excited about their work. Bill Gates is a leader that we can all learn from. Here are 7 quotes from Bill Gates that will help you understand his ability to work so successfully.
1. Failure Teaches Resiliency
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
The employee deserves recognition for great work, but mistakes should be recognized. and when an employee or co-worker makes a mistake. It may be a small failure, but it must also be acknowledged, not swept under the rug, so it can be turned into a gain. Microsoft has made countless mistakes. They’ve put out software that wasn’t ready or that was fragile against hackers, but they learn from their mistakes and do their best to make the software better.
I own Vista and it’s not a great operating system, but it hasn’t crashed or been attacked by a virus. I’m a huge fan of the Microsoft Office products. They are still the best office based programs available to companies, and they constantly being improved.
Microsoft understands what a person needs and then they try to over deliver. They don’t always hit the mark, but neither will you, so try to use each mistake to improve your company.
2. Understand Your Ego
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”
If I don’t keep delivering value, all of you will stop reading this blog. I can’t just push out a bunch of recycled material from someone else’s blog and expect my readership to grow.
Take a look at how you might be coasting. Some bands make a whole career out of just one hit. One hit wonders. They think that they can just ride out the wave and not come up with anything else new. If you want to separate from the pack and become the success that your mother had hoped for, then stop believing your own hype and keep those ideas coming.
3. Unhappy Customers Help You Improve
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
The customers that don’t complain are ones that don’t care enough about the company to come back and buy again. They will just take their money to someone else that listens.
I’ve dealt with this when I ran my own wild mushroom mongering business when I was in college. I didn’t take enough care to throw away the mushrooms that were riddled with tiny worms. I thought that I didn’t have enough time to worry about it. I got up at 6am and picked wild mushrooms until 1pm, just as the lunch rush ended. I took a quick shower and was at the first restaurant by 1:45, then I rushed until 6pm trying to peddle my mushrooms to the various chefs at each restaurant. I thought that the sous chefs could deal with the mushrooms that weren’t good enough to serve their customers.
Well…I learned quickly. The chefs stopped dealing with me. I learned this because one chef told me that I was giving him crap. He told me to come back when I had better mushrooms. I made sure that the next batch that I picked was of higher quality, which meant less money since I was paid by the weight. It worked. The head chefs started buying from me again.
Make sure you listen to your customers at every stage of the process. If you ignore what they have to say, they will soon ignore you.
4. Leadership isn’t about Control; It’s about Trusting Others
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others.”
I love companies that empower their employees to make the company better. Toyota is the company that has almost perfected this technique. They give rewards to any suggestion that is implemented into the company’s processes. Even if it’s a small suggestion such as a new type of cleaner for the oily floor, they will give the employee a monetary reward.
Toyota understands that every employee must be involved in improving the company, otherwise you’ll have managers making all the decisions. Managers are sometimes so far out of the loop that they can’t make informed decisions that help with day to day operations.
Being empowered makes an employee feel proud. A proud employee feels appreciated. That’s what most employees want more than anything else: to contribute to a company that appreciates them.
5. Treat Everyone with Respect
“Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.”
Be nice to nerds, your secretary, the supervisor in the next building, and the co-worker that just doesn’t know when to shut-up. Whoever you are dealing with, they could one day become your superior. If you were a jerk to them, they won’t do you any favors when you need them the most.
I worked with someone that treated me like crap. When I moved up he suddenly wanted to be my best friend. I knew that he was only out for himself. I was nice, but never bent over backwards to help him. My boss could see this and one day we had a discussion about this employee. I vented my frustrations. He was gone by the end of the month.
I’m not proud of this and didn’t expect him to be fired, but if you don’t give more than you get you won’t be successful at your job.
6. Action Creates Results
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”
Listen to everyone because they just might have a great idea that might bring in a lot of revenue. Howard Shultz, the CEO of Starbucks, didn’t like the idea of the Frappuccino. He was a coffee purist. He finally relented when he saw how his partner (Starbucks likes to call their employees partners) was so adamant in wanting to serve a drink to her customers that was cold, creamy and sweet. After telling her to stop trying to make her anti-pure coffee drink, she ignored him and made it anyway. He finally listened and took action, letting her come up with a concoction that her customers would like. Through this process they saw the potential. They eventually perfected the idea and it was an instant hit.
Starbucks now bottles Frappuccino and sells it in grocery stores and convenience stores throughout the world. They are pushing the Starbucks brand to new people every day.
What if Howard stuck to his guns and stayed the course with what he thought was best? If he didn’t listen to his coffee partner that wanted to give her customers what they really wanted, they might not be the strongest coffee powerhouse in the world.
7. Step Back and Look at the Bigger Picture
“Until we’re educating every kid in a fantastic way, until every inner city is cleaned up, there is no shortage of things to do.”
Work is great, especially when we have a good year and the boss loves our production, but work in itself shouldn’t be our whole lives. Bill Gates understands that he may be the richest man in the world, but if he doesn’t help others lift themselves out of tough circumstances, he hasn’t lived to his full potential.
We need to give back to the people that are less fortunate than us. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest donators to underprivileged people in the world.
Because there is no shortage of people who need help, Bill was able to help Microsoft become stronger and he will continue to work happy because he is isn’t afraid to set new goals.
Bill Gates is a controversial figure, but he is making history. No one can deny his influence on business and charity. He is working to his full potential. Bill is not perfect, but he does care about the choices he makes. When I think of Bill Gates I think of many descriptions, but lazy is not one of them.
When you use the resources that you have to take action, you are creating a work happy mindset. Whether you are a marketing assistant or the CEO of a fortune 500 company, make sure you are engaged in every decision you make. The work happiness will come when you allow yourself to be involved.
Image courtesy of Esparta
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My father owns an electrical contracting business. He built a strong company that has lasted for over 40 years. He has never advertised in his life. He went out and proved he was good and his customers referred him to other friends and contractors all over eastern Pennsylvania. Seth Godin would have been proud.
I worked for him in the summers when I was out of school. Working with him was a pleasure and a pain. He was born German and insists on everything to be perfect. He always set the bar higher than I could reach.
I look back on it now and realize how much I’ve learned. I was lucky to have a father who owned his own business and wanted his son to tag along. I was probably more work then a help, especially in the early years.
As you read this list try to picture a German man with a graying black beard, a tool belt on and a pair of dirty jeans as he says each one. It makes it more fun.
1. Never worry about the time, all it will do is make work go slow.
2. Take time to hang out with co-workers, it makes work interesting.
3. Be able to laugh at yourself because people like to be around someone that doesn’t take himself too seriously.
4. A good cup of coffee is worth the price it costs.
5. Do it right the first time.
6. Why take a longer break then you really need?
7. If it works then you did well. If it works and looks good then you did great.
8. Be able to explain how you made the mistake. No one wants to hear how you’re not sure.
9. The earlier you wake up the earlier you can get home.
10. Nothing wrong with daydreaming as long as you pick the right spots.
11. Don’t worry about how a customer looks, just worry about their ability to pay on time.
12. Always lend a hand to another contractor because you are going to need them to help you before the job is done.
13. Set the bar higher then you can presently reach because one day you’ll reach it if you keep trying.
14. Buy coffee for everyone every once in a while. We all need to spread good will.
15. Can’t force a person to care about their work. It’s really up to them to make that decision.
16. It’s only money. The real joy is in the accomplishment.
17. The customer doesn’t always know what he wants. Sometimes they need to be enticed with good ideas.
18. Don’t walk too fast and don’t walk too slow because you’ll either wear yourself out or you’ll look like a slacker.
19. Even if you don’t know how to do it, give it a try because you may surprise yourself.
20. Eat lightly during the day because you’ll weigh yourself down if you eat too much.
21. Always have a system for each task because then you can do it without too much thinking, which frees your mind up for planning the next task.
22. Never be afraid to walk away. Not every relationship will work.
23. You can enjoy your work or you can think about going out tonight. It’s up to you.
24. Don’t do what I do unless you really love it.
25. Hard work may make you tired, but it’s a good tired.
Happy Father’s Day!
I love you Baba (German name for Dad). My friends always made fun of me for calling him that and now they ask, “How is Baba?” It’s cool how unique things stick in people’s heads.
What is one lesson you’ve learned from your father?
- 8 Mental Boosts that Never Fail
- All Employees Deserve Respect
- Renew Your Thoughts to Improve Your Work Outlook
Image courtesy of Nikki Staib. It’s an image of my father holding his grandson (My nephew Kris).
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Being a man in today’s workplace isn’t easy. There are always more unwritten and official rules that we must follow. What was okay a year ago might have changed, but I believe the core principals of being a man in the workplace haven’t changed.
The core principals of being a man at work are timeless. I’m not talking about honor and draping your coat across copy toner that spilled on the floor. I’m talking about values that every man should possess in the workplace.
Here are the 12 ways to live consciously as a man at work:
1. Thinks Outside the Box
A man is able to think outside of the normal range of choices to find the best solution. He doesn’t keep going back to the same idea well, using old resources to solve a new issue. He dedicates himself to constantly create and has a willingness to listen to other people’s ideas no matter what level they are within the company.
2. Not Afraid to Make a Mistake
A man who isn’t afraid to make a mistake will be more willing to take a risk and win big. To be a great co-worker or boss a man can’t just do what is expected; he needs to try things beyond his comfort level and fail. Then use those failures as a way to make himself and the company better.
3. Gives Others Credit
He won’t take credit for other people’s work. If he would he knows that it will come around to bite him in the butt (Karma). He makes sure that no matter how good the idea is, he informs the powers that be that he supported the idea, but didn’t come up with it on his own.
4. Regulates His Emotions
A man understands that emotions are a part of working life, but he never ever lets them dictate his choices. He knows how to control his emotions so he doesn’t blow up at a colleague or staff member. All emotions pass and there is no reason to take out frustrations on someone that deserves to be treated with compassion.
5. Trusts Others
A man knows he can’t do it all alone. Whether he runs a one man business or is a CEO of 5,000 employees, when he needs help he asks for it. He trusts that the person he asks will do a good job. If a person or company fails him, he lets them know and if it happens more than twice he lets the employee go if necessary or takes his business else where.
A man trusts his own choices. He uses logic to ascertain the situation then trusts his instincts to come out on top. If he fails, he acknowledges it and moves on to the next pressing thing on his list.
7. Believes What He Says
He makes statements he believes in. He won’t make up information to cover his butt and he sure won’t say that he believes in an idea when he doesn’t. He isn’t afraid to put himself on the line for a good idea, but refuses to go along with a bad idea because the rest of the group wants him to.
8. Looks People in the Eyes
A man always looks people in the eyes because of rule # 6. He is confident in who he is and isn’t afraid to show it.
9. Respects His Superiors but Never Kisses Butt
A man respects his boss’s choices, but never kisses his/her butt to get ahead. If the boss has a bad idea he may voice his opinion, but doesn’t pout as he continues to work on the project that he doesn’t believe in. He knows that he isn’t perfect and neither is his boss, so the boss must be given leeway to make mistakes too.
10. Makes Quick Decisions with the Information He Has
A man gathers the best information that is at his disposal and makes the best choice he can with the information that he has and never looks back. His choices are only as good as the information that he has, so if he makes a mistake he doesn’t beat himself up because he tried his best to make a good choice.
11. Listens to Co-workers Opinions
A man listens to his co-workers before he makes a decision. He believes that there should be input from all levels before a project goes into effect. The collective mind is smarter than any single individual. But if they don’t like what he says then he must weigh out their opinions. If he still believes in his idea then he must go with it; hopefully everyone else will understand his choice.
12. Increases His Wisdom
Every great man improves at work by researching better ways to do his job, whether it be through classes, mentors, conferences, or reading a book. He does it to constantly improve himself and become more valuable to the people who depend on him.
Steve Pavlina wrote an article “How to Be a Man,” which inspired this article. He also threw a gauntlet down on writing a post about “How to Be Woman,” so I took the challenge. You can read my article “How to Be a Woman at Work” right here and don’t forget to check out the comments where I got beat up by some of my readers and defended by others. It was a cool discussion.
With that being said, all of the traits could also apply to women. That’s the beauty of this day an age. The barriers and mental boxes aren’t as strict. We are growing as a working culture. We still have a long way to go, but I love the direction we are heading.
Image courtesy of jpeepz
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We feel comfortable and relaxed in places where we have friends. I like going to my local grocery store instead of the big warehouse because I know the people. They smile and we say hi to each other. Some of them even know my name. It makes me feel appreciated, so I give them my money. The big warehouse is cheaper and about the same distance away, but I prefer to shop at the smaller store.
I’m in the marketing department of my company and I have to go to fairs and trade shows and always run into the same people. We’ve slowly become friends and because of this they buy our services. This friendship makes for a happier work experience.
Working happy may mean feeling appreciated, keeping a flexible schedule, having friends at work, or making good money for all our effort, but it also means having a good relationship with our customers. They are the reason why we get to do what we do. If we have a good relationship with our customers, success is usually a wonderful byproduct.
Max Davis of the Blog Experiment wrote a great article about creating a successful online business. The best part of this post was this quote because it could apply to every industry.
…becoming friends with your customers is a GREAT way to become more and more successful online. Your customers are your market. They know other people in that market. When you treat people right and make friends in that market, the word starts to spread and before you know it, your business grows dramatically as a result.
When you are successful, you are usually happy because you are providing your customers with value. If you had great co-workers, an awesome boss, and long lunches this would eventually get old if you weren’t accomplishing anything.
There is something deeply ingrained in the human spirit that needs accomplishment. We need to produce so we feel our time and effort is worth the sacrifice.
If we can work with friends and accomplish our work then we’ve got the best of both worlds. The customer keeps coming back because s/he has a friend on the inside and you have a friend who trusts that you will treat her/him right. If that’s not a great recipe for working happy then I’m a bad chef.
What could you do to create friendships with your customers?
- Sometimes We Need to Pretend We Are Happy
- It’s the Little Touches that People Remember
- Emotional Intelligence Improves the Workplace
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We all need to slow down throughout the day and take some time to relax. That’s what scheduling in leisure time is all about. Yesterday I posted Tell Your Boss You Need Leisure Time. We need to make sure that our bosses understand that we aren’t robots and we need some joking around, coffee break and just plain fun time. I was able to procure an interview with Alison Link. I thought that she would be very helpful to my Work Happy Now readers and lo and behold I was right.
I only wanted her to answer one question in order to help you understand the benefits of leisure time at work, and she answered it better than I could have expected.
I asked her, “How does someone schedule in leisure time when they don’t have enough time to get everything done that their boss asks of them?”
Become more aware of the benefits of leisure. If you have a strong value for leisure, others will see you as a role model when they understand that your quality of life is higher than theirs. You will help them believe it is possible to have leisure in your life and not be less productive (short term and long term). You should make time for leisure because it provides the balance we need to handle non-leisure activities well and enhances resilience and life satisfaction.
While there are a few happy workaholics, most people need time away from work in order to meet all of their needs. They may have talents that do not get expressed on the job, partners or families they want to spend time with, projects to complete and values they want to support. They also need to unwind, relax, refresh and revitalize themselves.
A leisure-positive lifestyle:
- Increases physical and psychological well-being. It reduces stress and increases wellness, and enhances people’s sense of independence.
- Perceived freedom in leisure has been shown to help people resist stress-induced illness.
- Impacts professional performance, enhancing decision-making and problem-solving capabilities.
- Supports personal development by clarifying values, increasing social interaction and breaking down barriers
When people live a balanced life, they provide an important benefit to their communities as well, simply by demonstrating that such a life is possible and valuable.
My readers are constantly bombarded with needing to get more done in less time. I was hoping that you might have some insight.
There is evidence to show that leisure is linked to productivity. Adults have been shown to be able to maintain higher attention levels when they have more frequent breaks. Several U.S. and Canadian studies show that leisure programs “increased productivity by seven percent while decreasing absenteeism by 20 percent.”
Leisure education as provided by The Leisure Link builds employee morale and strengthens team functioning through its positive impacts on:
- Self concept, self esteem and self confidence
- Sense of autonomy and perception of freedom
- Stress reduction and relief of boredom
Employees may find a renewed sense of purpose for its own sake. Also, increasing leisure can increase creativity.
Everyone can use more creativity in their lives (even at work, even if you have trouble getting everything done that your boss asks of you). Whatever you do, being able to generate a lot of ideas about it will help you do it better.
Leisure education helps people create the conditions for nurturing creativity in their lives and in their work. People are at their most creative when they are in a “flow state.” When was the last time you became completely engaged in your work? And how about your leisure? Remember that your work and leisure both have a ripple effect into each other. Thing about what kind of ripple you want that to be.
Basically it’s about teaching the people at work that it’s okay to schedule in a little leisure time. If you have any trouble convincing your boss just send me an email with his/her name and phone # and I’ll give him/her a call. I’ll put on my best Tony Soprano voice and I’ll make sure that he/she allows you to relax and destress at work.
Check out Alison Link’s website The Leisure Link Consulting. The Work Happy Now readers and I thank you for taking the time to answer my question. If you are having any trouble creating leisure time in your hectic life I would suggest hiring Allison.
- Tell Your Boss You Need Leisure Time
- Renew Your Thoughts to Improve Your Work Outlook
- 8 Mental Boosts that Never Fail
Image courtesy of Alison’s website
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Get right up in her face and tell her you demand leisure time. Okay, that’s a bit much, but you can probably take some leisure time without being a jerk about it. It’s as simple as taking fifteen minutes here and two minutes there. There is a reason why people are addicted to smoking and it’s not just the nicotine. They get to go outside and take a break from all the stress. I find it funny to see a group of smokers huddled on a cold day, but they’re out there because it gives them a chance to have their nicotine and leisure time.
I discovered a great article in the NY Times “Why Leisure Matters in a Busy World.” The author Marci Alboher interviewed Alison Link, who believes that everyone must have some leisure time to work happy. It’s great to see so many people dedicated to helping others improve their work life.
Q. Why should we care about our relationship to leisure?
A. Too often, leisure time that is not used in a satisfying way turns into idle time, or is used to do a single thing to excess (like overeating, or getting into family quarrels). It can even turn negative, which is what happens often in the cases of substance use, delinquency and criminal activity. Also, wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t define ourselves by our work? It should be just as valid to define ourselves by our leisure.
We all need to take our health and happiness into account when we work. Many of us work so hard that we become ill or depressed. We need to have leisure in our life to keep our lives fun and energetic. If all we do is worry about work then what type of life is that? It’s a prison.
My second favorite question and answer was about feeling free. We all need to live our lives as if there are endless possibilities.
Q. So how do you explain all those people who don’t feel free in their lives?
A. Few of us really think about or plan for leisure. We think we should just go with the flow, but too often we end up feeling stressed, overwhelmed and unfulfilled. We need to plan for leisure — perhaps by doing one small thing every day, identifying long- and short-term leisure goals, putting enjoyable activities on the calendar — like we do other aspects of life. But before people start moving up leisure on the priority list, they need to appreciate and recognize the value and benefits of leisure, even when they have constraints (that may be internal or external). We all have obligations and other constraints that inhibit us from engaging in leisure that range from guilt to time or financial constraints. Yet the personal benefits and collective benefits short term and long term are worthwhile.
Click here to read the whole insightful article.
The mind needs to unwind and just have fun. There is a reason why kids are given time to eat and then run around the playground. They need to release their stress and so do you. You need to schedule in some leisure time every single day.
Here are 7 of my favorite leisure breaks:
- Take a long lunch break and go to a museum by yourself.
- Stretch at your desk for two minutes
- Meet with a friend who you normally don’t see for Lunch
- Breathe deeply for two minutes and nothing else
- Walk around the block
- Call your mother (only if she doesn’t stress you out)
- Read a fictional book during your break
- Write a Poem
It’s up to you to schedule in a little leisure time for yourself, so you will work happier and be more productive. Believe me, your family will thank you for destressing throughout the day instead of letting it all come out when you get home.
Tomorrow I will be posting a short interview that Allison Link granted Work Happy Now. I asked her, “How does someone schedule in leisure time when they don’t have enough time to get everything done that their boss asks of them?“
You’ll just have to tune in on Friday to find out her answer.
- Hand Massage for Stress Relief
- 7 Tips to Process Your Stress Faster
- How to: Balance Out Your Work Stress
Photo courtesy of fcaballero
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You’re leisurely jogging toward the finish line in your khakis and button down shirt when you look back and all the other managers from your various competitors are on your heels. You thought you were leading the pack by a good distance, but they caught up. You look forward again and the finish line got pushed so far away that you can’t even see it. 12 swear words pop into your head, you ease up and everyone passes you by.
This attitude has struck down the greatest companies because they stop pushing for innovative ways to separate themselves from the pack. The best way managers can help a company flourish is by dedicating themselves to professional growth. We all need to keep moving or we become a bucket infested with mosquitoes, attacking others to stay alive. The only way to avoid the blood suckers is to keep moving.
Complacency will wreck any company, especially one that relies on the same tactics that they used last year and the year before that. If marketing companies kept putting out the same ads then the audience would learn to tune them out. If managers keep using the same techniques their voices will fall on deaf ears. That’s where continual learning fits in. Whether it be classes, conferences, meetings, or consulting companies, there are ways for a manager and his employees to learn new tactics that rock the world of their customers. It’s the only way to stay alive in this hyper competitive working world.
Chris Bailey wrote Four Professional Growth Issues For Managers (And How To Address Them). My favorite line was:
If you are a leader, know that a key responsibility of leaders is to produce more leaders.
Managers should be creating people that can help a company grow. They should never fear that they are producing someone more capable than them. If that does happen then the manager should be happy. The company will only prosper if it beats out the competition. The only way to do that is to have great people around you. Every master should be ready for the day that his pupil surpasses his abilities. If you taught them right, they will respect this relationship and treat the company and the manager with respect.
Chris wrote four reasons why managers don’t further their professional development as well at their staff’s. It’s a good read for any manager wanting to overcome obstacles that might be preventing them from growing.
My biggest obstacle to continual learning was convincing upper management to buy into the idea. They don’t want to spend money when they think they are doing fine without it. If they were having a bad quarter they sure as hell didn’t want to spend money on professional development. They wanted to cut back on every extra expense. The only thing I can say to this is to keep trying. Most sales people get rejected between 8 and 16 times before a client agrees to do business. Consider yourself a salesman and keep after your bosses. If you keep trying, they will start believing.
- More Work Makes for Happier Employees
- How to Get Your Boss Naked
- 7 Tips to Process Your Stress Faster
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Great companies understand that they need to have a “goal post” philosophy to ensure their company’s success. Every employee (player) must know his role. First they need to have the philosophy (foundation) to hold up the employees (cross bar) that support the processes (left upright) as well as the assessment of accomplishments (right upright).
I promise that I won’t use only football concepts to forward my ideas. Like any great game, even the game of business, there are both metaphors that are obvious and those that are hidden deep within. I hope my example pushes on an emotional button that encourages you to improve your company.
We’ll cover the three foundations to creating a “goal post” business.
If your company doesn’t have a philosophy then you probably have workers that are looking for one. Employees need to connect with something more than just, “Make money.” We are in an age where people want to know why they are doing their jobs.
A philosophy is the foundation of every organization. Every team needs to have a philosophy to guide its actions. The greatest coaches understand this and set the mood for the season. Many teams give up halfway through the season because they were given the philosophy of Superbowl or bust. If a team lost a few games they might believe they weren’t good enough; when this happens no amount of money can make them play hard. Employees in a business are the same way. They want to be paid well, but if the company doesn’t motivate them emotionally they will eventually lose interest.
If you watch football you’ve probably seen teams play awful in the first half of the season then turn it around; the coach probably gave them a philosophy to hold on to that kept them motivated. The coach willed them to believe that they could win.
Most people have a philosophy that guides them through tough times. They use it to make good choices. Great organizations make sure that they clearly convey their message to the rest of their employees.
- “Do no evil” – Google
- “The People of Southwest Airlines are the creators of what we have become – and of what we will be.” -Southwest Airlines
- “ Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.” – Starbucks
The employees believe in the philosophy and give 100% to make it happen.
Every job must have a process or the employee flounders with what to do and how to do it. I’ve worked for companies who have broad job descriptions and I’ve seen workers, including myself, flop around like a goldfish on a countertop, gasping for water.
A process creates action. When people understand what is expected of them, they want to get moving to accomplish their goals. This is good, but we don’t want them to work to feel busy, we want them to work smart. Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots knows how to teach the difference.
Bill Belichick makes sure his players understand where they need to be in every situation. They won three Superbowls in the last seven years because the players understood their roles. They never tried to overextend themselves, which would have caused blown plays. They are also never out of position. Belichick also gives his players instructions on what to do if a play breaks down. They always have options that are calculated risks to minimize bone headed plays.
When we empower people within the process we get intelligent action, instead of just action for the sake of moving. You can do this by encouraging every employee to take an active role in improving the company.
Assessing the accomplishments or lack there of will help the company improve. Almost every company I worked for assessed my work, but never gave me the proper tools to help me improve my job. I rarely felt motivated or properly rewarded.
A regular assessment is vital to making positive changes. We wouldn’t sprint through a forest during a cloudy night and we wouldn’t run an organization without checking in and making sure the organization is going in the right direction. The people who are best positioned to assess and improve the company are the employees. They are best able to fix any problems because they are closest to the problem, and the employees who are willing to identify a problem are more likely to find a solution.
That’s why great teams point out the faults of their players and show them how they can improve on the play. Players that take assessment personally and sulk are less likely to improve and may never take their play to the next level. The great players know that they have to improve on their mistakes to become great. A company needs to be able to listen to and empower their employees to move a company in the right direction. Management can’t do it all by themselves, they need their employees’ wisdom. Two heads are better than one and 500 heads are better than 50.
A positive solution is to create a reward system for every employee’s suggestion that is implemented into the company. If an employee suggests buying a computer program to save time and it is implemented then they should receive a small gesture of thanks. The employee understands that he is being listened to (feeling of empowerment) and the company improves. Toyota implements this system and they give between $5 and $2,000 depending on the value of the suggestion.
Every company is different and maybe a monetary reward wouldn’t fit with your company. You can reward employees in other ways like an extra hour off work or a dinner for two after a certain amount of improvements were implemented due to their suggestions.
Review of Creating a “Goal Post” Business
Your company must create a winning attitude otherwise you’ll become a stagnant pond of unhappiness. I know that this sounds extreme, but I’ve seen it happen. Unhappy teams kill all chances for success. You must ask yourself, “Does my company have a “Goal Post” business?” Most companies that I’ve worked for have been small and didn’t have a philosophy that helped an employee connect with the company.
If you feel your company can improve then sit down and write down a revised company philosophy, the process of your job, and five ways your company can improve. If you are the boss then implement them, if not then take it to your manager and see if you can get the “Goal Post” business working for you. If you are hesitant in any way, contact me and I’ll talk to your company and see if we can create a system that encourages improvement and not just by using the same old methods, but by implementing systems that take people’s ideas into account. I believe it’s the best way to grow a business.
- ”Do no evil” – Google
- ”The People of Southwest Airlines are the creators of what we have become – and of what we will be.” -Southwest Airlines
- ” Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.” – Starbucks
What is your company’s philosophy? If you don’t have one what do you think it should be?
- All Employees Deserve Respect
- How Toyota Became #1 and a Peek into the Short Interview with the Author
- The Five Most Important Things You Need to Know About Working Happy
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