Workplace Wisdom

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? […]

30 Oct 2018

What You Should Do If You See Your Boss Is in Trouble

It’s a boss’s job to provide employees with direction and guidance, ensuring effective performance and development. That includes keeping employees safe within the organization and helping them do well, for their own sake and to ensure the team, gets a good return on their hiring and training investment. But even if your relationship with your boss is solid, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is happy with them or that they’re successful in their roles and responsibilities. Your boss could […]

23 Oct 2018

The Problem with Using “I Statements” at Work

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. It has become common advice for businesspeople to use “I statements” — such as, “I feel frustrated that you missed the budget deadline twice” — as a way to raise challenging conversations without causing colleagues to feel blamed or under attack. Indeed, I statements may be helpful during situations in which you have a close personal relationship to a colleague who cares about your well-being, or when you want to show that a particular […]

16 Oct 2018

5 Things to Do When an Employee’s Performance Deteriorates

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. For all kinds of reasons, even longstanding, highly productive employees can experience a performance slump at some point. The Towers Watson Global Workforce study showed that up to 26 percent of workers surveyed said they felt disengaged, and another 17 percent felt detached. As a founder, you may not always find an obvious way to get someone back on track, but the investment of energy you would need to turn this situation around is still so much less […]

03 Oct 2018

How to Retain and Engage Your B Players

This article originally appeared on hbr.org. We’ve heard for decades that we should only hire A players, and should even try to cut non-A players from our teams. But not only do the criteria for being an A player vary significantly by company, it’s unrealistic to think you can work only with A players. Further, as demonstrated by Google’s Aristotle project, a study of what makes teams effective, this preference for A players ignores the deep value that the people you may […]

12 Sep 2018

4 Mistakes to Avoid When You Have to Deliver Bad News

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. One of the most important jobs of leaders is to tell people what’s going on, even when the news is bad. Leaders must be able to address everything from an individual performance issue to the denial of budget for new personnel or other resources, the loss of a client or project, even an existential threat to the business, such as a tariff or regulatory change. The first time as a young manager that I fired […]

07 Aug 2018

How to Plan for Succession When There’s No One to Succeed You

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Many articles and books have been written about succession planning and how important it is for company longevity and shareholder protection. But most of the advice focuses on the selection of and transition between CEOs and assumes things like a fully functional board and a fairly robust organizational structure. In many privately owned and operated businesses, though, it’s tough just to predict what will happen next quarter, let alone years into the future, and when you’re the CEO, there may […]

05 Jun 2018

Which Environment Is Being Improved, and Who Really Benefits?

Twice in the past month I’ve stayed at hotels that asked me to participate in new, eco-friendly programs with names like “A Green Choice.” And twice, I agreed to do it, because of the promised savings of 37.2 gallons of water, 25,000 BTU of natural gas, 0.19kWh of electricity, and 7 oz. of cleaning-product chemicals “for each night you forgo full housekeeping.” But I won’t be doing it again. For many years now, almost all but the most luxurious hotels […]

08 May 2018

How to Work Safely with a Boss Who Doesn’t Do Follow-up

Early in my career, a senior leader in my firm was a master of “what-if,” “blue-sky” thinking. He would come up with an idea, assign it to whichever staffer happened to be around at the moment, and then, more likely than not, forget about it. Most of the employees who had experience with this leader’s wild goose chases would wait until he asked for something a second time before investing five minutes or a lick of work. All too often, […]

06 Mar 2018

How to Survive Being Promoted Past Your Peers

A significant number of employees, supervisors, managers, and even vice presidents find themselves getting promoted and having to figure out not only how to detach from their old peers as well as how to fit in with their new ones. The transition can be difficult to navigate, but these 10 behaviors can help you avoid the standard pitfalls and become more successful faster. Leave your old job carefully. Exiting your old department with unfinished projects or messy relationships will undercut […]

 

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