“If an employee does not trust that top management cares about him (or her), it is unlikely that he or she will care to deal meticulously on behalf of that management.” ~ Laura Nash
by Chris Banescu –
In his groundbreaking book, Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits, Robert Townsend, unconventional business executive and former CEO of Avis Rent-a-Car, provides us with witty and practical advice on how to tackle misguided organizational processes and attitudes that stifle people and undermine profitability. Townsend despised the constant organizational push by management towards additional bureaucratic processes and cumbersome institutional procedures that increased in size and complexity as a company grew. He also offered smart suggestions on how to keep the executives’ egos in check.
His first proposal on dealing with the bureaucratic danger is to make the CEO the initial guinea pig for institutional experimentation. Before anyone else in the company is forced to follow any new process or procedure, or fill out a new form or questionnaire, the chief executive must complete it in full first. Townsend surmised this approach alone would “kill a lot of bad ideas early.”[Read more…]
by Chris Banescu –
There are four guiding principles that leaders must consider when leading their employees. All rewards and recognition programs should be: personalized, noteworthy, meaningful, and motivating. This raises the bar on organizational performance, helps motivate employees, promotes and strengthens employee engagement, and nurtures healthy and constructive competition based on value-creation and operational excellence.
“The right total rewards system – a blend of monetary and nonmonetary rewards offered to employees – can generate valuable business results.” – Robert L. Heneman, Ph.D.
“[Think about] actions that are meaningful to [the employee] versus what’s meaningful to the giver.” … “We tend to give appreciation in ways that are meaningful to us, but if [the recipients] think it’s not authentic, it can create damage and make them think you’re trying to manipulate them.” – Paul E. White, Ph.D. [Read more…]
by Brad Wieners –
For nearly 25 years, Ricardo Semler, CEO of Brazil-based Semco, has let his employees set their own hours, wages, even choose their own IT. The result: increased productivity, long-term loyalty and phenomenal growth.
Ricardo Semler had the sort of reckoning at 21 that most executives don’t face until middle age. Fresh from law school, where he’d been a restless underachiever, Semler took over his father’s business, which manufactured pumps and propellers for the world’s merchant marine. He was awfully young, but his dad sensed that if he didn’t give his son a chance, he’d lose him to another career. Besides, Semler Sr. was a pragmatist. “Better make your mistakes,” he told his son, “while I’m still alive.”
Straightaway, Semler Jr. spearheaded an ambitious plan to diversify his dad’s ship-parts company, which, like the Brazilian economy in the mid-eighties, was sinking. At Semco headquarters, in São Paulo, he tried to learn everything there was to know, and, while a quick study, he irritated plenty of the old hands with his precociousness and micromanaging. Working from 7:30 a.m. to midnight every day, or jumping planes overseas to raise capital and find new partners and companies to buy, his live-to-work lifestyle seemed ripped from the pages of John Grisham’s The Firm. [Read more…]
by Chris Banescu –
The realization that something is not right with our lives can manifest itself in various ways. A feeling of emptiness, a bothersome disquiet, or a strange pain, like a deep sadness or a heartache, gradually or suddenly begins to trouble our souls. We feel guilty, anxious, unsatisfied, stressed, or sad even in moments when we ought to be at peace and carefree; when we should be relaxing or enjoying ourselves. For some this pain is only a vague discomfort. For others, including yours truly, the pain can often be intense and unrelenting; sometimes lasting for long stretches of time.
I discovered the reason for this mysterious affliction in the book First Things First, written by Stephen Covey, Roger Merrill, and Rebecca Merrill. They describe this particular grief as the “pain of the gap,” the gap we sense between the compass and the clock in our lives. Every time we don’t put first things first, when we fail to follow our calling and vocation and focus on the most important things in life, our conscience warns us that something’s not right and corrective measures and proactive actions are required. [Read more…]
by Davia Temin –
Evil in the office. If you think about it, you’ll probably realize you’ve seen it play out at least once in your career.
All of a sudden a well-running, friendly, effective group or company begins to disintegrate for no apparent reason. People start to become demoralized and dysfunctional, efficiency plummets, client service and sales suffer and convoluted mistakes are made, up to and including illegal behavior such as fraud and larceny. Employees begin to develop psychosomatic illnesses, sick time rises and the best talent starts to leave.
What used to be a great work situation turns into a nightmare.
More often than not this dysfunction can be traced to the entry of one new employee, perhaps the boss, his or his assistant, the head of HR or a new shop steward. And when you start to explore, you find that, though the person may look and act apparently normal–even charming–all those around him or her are suffering. [Read more…]
by Chris Banescu
Life must be a continuous journey in discerning truth and solving problems. Courage gives us the determination to accept truth. Discipline allows us to consistently and creatively deal with the problems.
Mistakes don’t become failures until we refuse to correct them. Often, long-term failures develop when we purposely ignore truth and make excuses instead of taking the necessary steps to correct our mistakes.
by J.R. Dunn –
Crony capitalism is the most serious current danger to the American community, a threat not simply to government or the economy, but to our very way of life. It is the worst such threat since the trusts and monopolies of the early 20th century, and in much the same way. Cronyism is one of the major forces behind the establishment of the corrupt pseudo-aristocracy that has been taking shape in this country over the past two decades, a synthetic privileged class made up in large part of politicians, hustlers, and hangers-on who have become expert in exploiting the rest of us.
The legacy media, for some obscure reason, tends to bury discussions about this group. While the reportage on discrete incidents is there — see the parade of stories on Solyndra, Goldman Sachs, and MF Global for examples — we find little effort to pull it all together. Academics, with the single exception of Angelo Codevilla, who sounded the alarm two years ago in The Ruling Class, appear oblivious, as if they had no idea what’s going on, which may well be the case. [Read more…]
by Priscilla Petty –
If I had to pinpoint one single way in which our country has gone astray, I’d say that it’s when we allowed politicians to manipulate the tax code to benefit those whom they favor. There are many ways, of course, in which our country’s trajectory has taken a downward rather than upward turn, but politicians’ control of individual citizens’ money, their taking great quantities of it as though it actually belonged to the politicians to use for their own benefit and for politicians’ chosen purposes, has bankrupted us not only fiscally but morally. [Read more…]
It was a really lousy week.
One of 37signals’s key products is Campfire, a real-time chat tool for small businesses. For about a week in mid-December, Campfire, which users access via the Web, kept bouncing on- and offline. This was the first major problem we have had with Campfire since it launched in 2006. For a product that needs to be as reliable as the dial tone on your phone, things couldn’t have been worse.
Thousands of companies rely on Campfire. At 37signals, we use Campfire to run our business. Because we have employees in a dozen cities around the world, Campfire is our lifeline. It’s how we communicate with one another in real time. Campfire is where we make decisions, share designs, debate ideas, broadcast companywide announcements, and keep up to date on what everyone’s working on. [Read more…]
by Chuck Colson –
At the recently concluded meeting of the American Economic Association, the most contentious issue had nothing to do with economics, per se. It wasn’t about “the economics of the organic food system,” or “the costs and benefits of pollution control,” as two of the seminars were labeled.
No, the behavior drawing the most attention, both inside and outside the profession, was ethics — or more to the point, the lack of ethics — of economists themselves.
According to a recent article in Slate magazine, the call of for a “code of ethical standards” comes in the wake of series of “blows to the prestige of the profession.” These include “housing crisis, the credit crunch, the financial crisis, the recession, the collapse of several European economies, and the overhaul of U.S. banking regulation.” [Read more…]
11/19/2010 – Paul Spiegelman –
Paul Spiegelman, the founder and CEO of Beryl, a call-center company in Bedford, Texas, has built a unique, people-centric culture, which he chronicled in the book, Why is Everyone Smiling? His next book, co-authored with Beryl employees, is titled Smile Guide: Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty and Profit. Here, Spiegelman shares tips on how to keep your workers happy.
1. Give People a Voice
“Listen to what your employees say,” says Spiegelman. “And don’t just listen – implement the ideas that they have, and give them credit for those ideas. As entrepreneurs, we might in our gut know the right answers to certain questions, but it is often better to let workers tell you what the answers are and give them credit.” [Read more…]