Sunday - February 25, 2024


October 9th, 2007

Henry Ford is reported to have quipped, “Why is it that I always get the whole person when what I really want is a pair of hands?” The 21st century version doesn\’t sound quite like that, but its essence prevails in plenty of workplaces. The functional equivalent of Ford\’s thinking is housed in statements from supervisors, managers, and coworkers like: “What do you mean her kid is sick again, and I have to do her work?” “I know he\’s having a rough time at home, but he has to leave it at the door.” Or “I\’m sorry his father died... Read More


September 12th, 2007

As a frequent conference speaker, I take advantage of other presentations when my schedule allows. So, I was delighted recently, with three hours to spare before heading to the airport, to hear best selling author of Built to Last, Jim Collins, address an Atlanta group. It was the story he told about interviewing management guru, Peter Drucker, that I\’ve thought of several times since. It stayed with me partially because I\’m a Drucker fan, since his wisdom and insights helped me during my twenty years in management, and partially because it captured an interesting orientation about... Read More


August 7th, 2007

Seated at the table next to me at a fast food restaurant, I couldn\’t help hearing the lack of conversation between a young woman and a younger uniformed man, clearly employees of the establishment. “You need to take pride in your work,” she told him. There was no response. “I told you last week, to start taking more pride in your work, but I don\’t see any improvement,” she stated. This one way conversation went down hill from there. He kept glancing at her with a confused look as she repeated her unvaried message. Finally, the high school employee muttered... Read More


July 11th, 2007

Sitting in a waiting area above the tradeshow floor, I watched the forklift drivers deliver crates and boxes to small groups who were waiting to transform their rented cement floors into inviting marketing endeavors for the next day\’s expo opening, hosting seven thousand conference attendees. A microcosm of differing work styles, I found it fascinating to watch. In one area, a half-dozen people were standing around, leaning against the crates and talking, as one young woman went about unpacking the boxes and organizing the materials. Ah yes, I recognized those don\’t-exert-too-much-... Read More


June 11th, 2007

You may have seen this headline or heard about it on the news: “Sex, Shopping and Gambling All in a Day\’s Work.” It was generated by an Interior Department report, citing compelling numbers from an investigation that discovered one million log entries involving 7700 employees visiting auction, gaming, gambling and sex sites on company time. The article finished with plans being implemented to curb offenses and punish violators. Employees whose behavior is the equivalent of stealing time, misusing company equipment and breaking trust with untrustworthy or unprofessional behaviors,... Read More


May 9th, 2007

“Red tape. Infighting. Office politics. Employee morale. Can\’t get things done. Lack of communication. Layers of bureaucracy. Not valued. Rude, difficult people. Indecision. Lack of support. Inconsistency. No clear direction.” These are sample answers from readers to a Winning at Working survey that asked about the biggest problems at work. And then we wonder, as supervisors and managers, why employees aren\’t motivated? Working with a client on a consulting engagement recently, the issue came up again and again, “How can I motivate my employees?” My answer... Read More


April 13th, 2007

In the late 17th century, Lord Chesterfield, an English writer and politician, wrote to his son, “Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well.” Three hundred years later, we still heed this advice from the fourth Earl of Chesterfield. Yet doing it well doesn\’t mean doing it perfectly. The 21st century workplace requires more than doing something well. More accurately, today\’s adage should be: “Whatever is worth doing, is worth doing.” That\’s the secret people who are winning at working know. It\’s action, not inaction, practice not theory,... Read More


March 7th, 2007

When faced with catching a fly ball, Lucy missed again. “The past got in my eyes,” she told Charlie Brown, “I thought I had it, but suddenly I remembered all the others I\’d missed.” In two decades in management, I\’ve known hundreds of workplace Lucys. People who let their past get in the way of their future; who self-determine what they\’re going to do, can do, or might be able to do by what they didn\’t do, haven\’t done, or even failed at. They stay aligned to their past like a Peanuts comic strip philosophy. Past-focused people sabotage... Read More


January 30th, 2007

Traveling over the holidays to visit family outside of Denver, we were fortunate to arrive after a blizzard stranded thousands at the airport, and depart before the cancellation of flights for a second storm. However, our holiday presents were not as fortunate. Okay, things happen. Following up on the undelivered gifts we were informed by a customer service representative, “Your packages are scheduled to arrive on the 26th.” No packages arrived on the 26th or the 27th or the 28th or the 29th … you get the point. Yet each time we called back, we were told they should be delivered... Read More


January 10th, 2007

I had just finished commenting to my husband how much I liked the use of copper in the Parade of Homes\’ kitchen we were touring, when I overheard another woman telling her husband how much she disliked the look. It made me laugh. It\’s funny how we see things differently. Work is like that too. It\’s fraught with differences of opinion. One of the more confusing areas can involve your performance. Early in my career, my boss told me my communication skills needed improvement. Five months later, a new boss heralded the same skill-set as a significant strength. While one might... Read More