Workplace Wisdom

27 Mar 2019

How to Prepare for an Unexpected, Unwanted and Unwelcome Business Setback

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com Like most entrepreneurs, I’m dependent on both computer and human support. But sometimes that support can fail — big time. Over the last 10 weeks, I’ve taken significant hits in both of these areas, despite strong efforts at advance planning. The business and I survived, but it has been 10 weeks, and counting, of distraction. Of course, I’m not alone: Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Hengchen Dai of the Anderson School of Management at UCLA said that, […]

05 Mar 2019

What Should You Do When You Know a Project Is Bad?

Most projects and initiatives start out with carefully thought-out plans and a decent chance of success. But every once in a while, you get that sinking feeling that something is heading for a flop: not the kind of failure that comes from a reasonable experiment or despite a good effort, but one that results from misfires due to errors in analysis or lack of executional capability. Who has the responsibility to nix a bad project or debunk an unrealistic forecast? […]

26 Feb 2019

How to Respond When Employees Ignore Feedback

Don’t you get frustrated when you’ve told an employee a hundred times what you need them to do, or how they’re supposed to behave, yet it makes no difference? Or even worse, when the person tells you they understand, or says the magic words, “I’ll try to do better,” but nothing changes? The reason nothing is changing could be because you’re not taking a decisive, accurately targeted approach. First, consider that there’s a significant difference between dealing with someone who […]

06 Nov 2018

How to Raise a Problem and Not Hurt Work Relationships

Maybe you’ve heard this saying: “The world is divided into people who know they are right.” That’s the entire saying — and you can see why! Whether it’s a kneejerk reaction, or a data-gathering process that’s heavily subject to confirmation bias, most of us have a hard time questioning our belief that what we assume happened must be what actually happened. So when something goes wrong in the workplace, how can you avoid confronting the other person as if it’s […]

12 Dec 2017

It’s Always Better to Resolve a Problem Than to Reroute It

When should an organization realize that it’s not enough to keep stepping around a problem — and that it’s time to work through it and stop the excessive cost, disruption, and generally bad customer experience? Wrong Way, Go Back Here’s a personal example of bad customer service from last week: I arrived at Tucson International Airport, ready to return home after spending a satisfying, productive week with a wonderful client. I’m not a micro-packer so I had to check a […]

03 Oct 2017

3 Powerful, Practical Fundamentals to Help Change Stick

Change may be a constant in life, but in business, many planned change initiatives either peter out or don’t even take hold in the first place. According to a Towers Watson study, only slightly more than half of all change initiatives succeed, with only 25 percent sticking for the long term, mostly because of a variety of management failures. I consider this a problem of oversimplification — the result of the all-too-common “just do it,” “just say no,” “just tell […]

05 Jul 2017

Your Complaint Was Refused? No Surprise, They Don’t Care

If an employee ever says the equivalent of, “Please don’t tell me about your problem; I really don’t want to know,” you can be sure that the organization has bigger problems than the one you happen to be having. That was my sad experience traveling on the Hickory Hop shuttle from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to my long-awaited vacation destination. It turns out that the shuttle’s cute name is no indication of appealing service: Hickory Hop is in the business […]

11 Apr 2017

Sorry, Leaders Aren’t Entitled to Be Opinionated

“But I’m entitled to my opinion!” a vice president insisted. I was facilitating a work session with a client’s leadership team. Our goal was to resolve a longstanding business problem, with the full participation of dueling factions within the group. If you’ve ever been part of a management team that’s going in circles on a crucial issue, you know the process can cause great offense, and fuel anger and resentment. That’s why a facilitator can be useful: to help participants […]

31 Jan 2017

Stay Out of the Trap of One-Off Leadership

Many business owners prefer to make all their decisions on a case-by-case basis, as determined by their deep understanding of individual circumstances and well-developed gut instinct. They resist creating formal policy, believing that each situation calls for unique, specialized treatment — whether it’s resolving customer complaints or dealing with employees’ problems. An Argument on Behalf of Policy But the one-off approach isn’t always efficient or appropriate. I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs who started out with the assumption that decisions made […]

18 Oct 2016

Tried and Tested Ways to Make Better Team Decisions

When leaders make decisions skillfully, everyone on the team wins. But when leaders are poor decision-makers, the team’s performance and culture suffer, and individual team members can lose confidence and become disengaged. Unfortunately, though, team members don’t always make good decisions on their own. They may not have the experience or acumen, they may come in with preconceptions, or they may not recognize the ramifications of their choices. Most of us just make up our minds, without rigorously examining the […]

 

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