Recent Posts

Conflict: Moving from Cowardice to Confidence

Experiencing conflict is a part of everyday life. A common response is avoidance. Most people say they just don’t like confrontation. It makes them uncomfortable, and some even become physically ill at the thought of discussing a challenging issue face-to-face. How then can you become more productive with conflict while still keeping your emotions in check?

Healthy and productive conflict can lead to:

  • Better relationships
  • Increased confidence
  • Decreased anger and depression
  • Greater respect for yourself and from others
  • Career development
  • Harmony
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Employee Evaluations: Getting a “Kick Start”

Of all of the tasks required of a supervisor, writing Employee Evaluations is one we hear most often dreaded. Some of the typical complaints we hear are:

  • “I don’t know where to start.”
  • “I have employees that have worked here for years and there is nothing new for them.”
  • “I have several to do at a time and by the end, they all start looking the same.”

Most supervisors have been there…blank employee evaluations staring back at you just waiting to be completed. It’s only marginally better if it’s electronic. You know the benefit of annual evaluations, yet they just keep being placed further back on the burner. Inspiration can be difficult to come by at the end of a long day, and often a kick start can help with the “blank page (or screen) syndrome.”

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Noise Pollution

Are you one of the millions who get interrupted by the cell phone ring of others at work, in restaurants, events, churches, and even funerals? Now that you have been disturbed by the ring, the experience only gets worse as the person talks loud without excusing himself from the room. This situation is what we call noise pollution and a lack of cell phone courtesy.

To help create a less disturbing environment many public places have posted signs asking people to turn their cell phone to vibrate or off.  Cell phone companies have tried to address the pollution by creating awareness of the problem and establishing July as National Cell Phone Courtesy Month.

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Tough Decisions: The Next Generation of Leaders

I was recently asked this question by the owner of a family business with four sons working in the firm: “How do I choose which one will run the business?”

Wow! There are so many ways to answer this question. Family business succession can be complicated. My first response was to ask, “Who wants to?” To which the owner did not know the answer. So that is a good place to start; however, there is more running the family business than just who wants to.

When deciding who should be the next generation CEO and who should play supporting roles, let’s take a look at a few of the tough decisions at play here.

The owner may be asking several questions: Who can run the business? Who wants to? Do we have the talent? Do we expect that they will want to?

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The Value of Dutiful Followers

Doris was the type of employee you could set your watch to. She arrived at 7:50am each day and left no later than 5:10pm. Her day was spent doing administrative work—much of it routine, identical to the day before, and the day before that. The phone would ring from time to time and there would be the occasional office party. But for the most part, each day was remarkably indistinguishable from the day before.

Through the years everyone got used to her reaction to change. If her schedule was interrupted, you needed to give at least a 48 hour notice. Larger interruptions, such as painting the office or a software upgrade would require a series of one-to-one meetings, coddling, and accommodation. A request to increase her workload or take on a new challenge would typically be met with a one word response, “No.” That usually meant someone else would have to pick up the slack.

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The Slight Edge: Just One More…

It’s a common perception that there is a big gap between “average people” and “successful people.” Some people are just able to get better results and make more money, yet they put in the same or even fewer hours. So what’s the difference? The answer lies in The Slight Edge, a concept from Jeff Olson’s book.

In major league baseball, a batter who gets two hits out of every ten times at bat is called a .200 hitter. This batter, within a very short period of time would likely be looking for a job outside of baseball or returned to the minor leagues. On the other hand, a hitter who gets just three hits out of every ten times at bat is a .300 hitter and is considered a great success, and if he continues to improve, he is destined for the Hall of Fame.

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Management Teams Aren’t Productive

Recently, while working with an executive team, I posed the question, “How productive are you?” They all looked at me as though I had three heads. Then gave me the list of things they are doing. Appointments and meetings they have scheduled. So I pressed on.

“What are you doing that is moving your team and/or the business forward or toward achieving the strategic goals?” Needless to say, what followed was a lengthy discussion.

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