Let Them Feel Proud

We like to hold down to our ideas and tell everybody that we are right when they are wrong. But we can let others be right, even if it is not true just to make them happy and we have a piece of mind.

heart_made_of_words_16158 (1)When I was ten years old I use to trim my hair ate the nearby barber. But when I go to another barber to cut my hair he would ask me the usual question “Who cut your hair last time?” I would name the barber shop and he would quickly point out how badly that barber cut my hair and missed a spot without cutting. I usually smile or at lease agree with him just simply because he holds my head at that moment with scissors moving fast!! Sometimes the barber asks the same question while, but I answer immediately, “It was you cut my hair last time, but why?” The barber will be silent until he finish cutting my hair. I might feel smart with my answer, but the barber usually punishes me by not spraying me with his usual cheap cologne.

I am in Singapore now and I have to take a different taxi every morning from the hotel to National University of Singapore (NUS). I have a map to show the taxi driver to take me to the right building in NUS campus. Every taxi driver would look at the map and then take me through a different route to the same building and when we arrive there he will say something like “if I followed your map we would be late and …”. The directions on the map were prepared by the NUS staff and I am sure that they selected the best route to the building. I could argue with the taxi driver that he was wrong and yesterday’s driver said the same but I usually agree with driver and just pay the money and wish him a good day.

Arguing with the barber, taxi driver, or co-workers over obvious things may make you feel better but will consume your time without gaining any value over the argument. You might be right and they are wrong, you might have the supporting evidence, but agreeing with them will make them feel proud. Always agreeing with the others when no risk is involved, you will get what you want and they will feel proud.


Acronyms are everywhere these days and they can mean different things to different people. In the business lingo, CSF means Critical Success Factor. These factors are what will make or break the organization. The organization should focus on a limited number of CSFs, typically between 3-8, that affect the services efficiency, or product quality. The success in the CSF will differentiate the organization from it’s competitors. For a hairstylist, the the design and beauty of it’s styles would be it’s CSF. For a baker, the freshness and taste of the it’s backed products will be a CSF. Successful surgeries with few (or no) complications is a good CSF for a medical surgeon. The CSF needs a Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to measure them. The old saying “What gets measured, gets done!” is so true in this situations. The critical success factors have key performance indicators which the organization should carefully monitor. The key Indicators should be measurable but not all of them can be measured easily. Customer satisfaction is a good KPI but very difficult to measure. However, number of units produces can be calculated easily.

Technical Position Training

Technical employees need intensive technical training but also need managerial and leadership training to advance in their jobs. Some organizations start the administrative and managerial training too late which make the technical employees struggle in approving and implementing their ideas.

Technical Position Training Model

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Organizational Climate

Organization climate is defined by Shapira-Lishchinsky and Rosenblatt (2009) as “shared perceptions that help employees to comprehend work processes and their organizational surroundings” (p. 720). The organizational climate affects the workers behavior positively and negatively. The workers behavior will be positive when the organization focus on morality and ethics (Shapira-Lishchinsky & Rosenblatt, 2009). Organizational climate is better defined by Hunter, Bedell, and Mumford (2007) as people’s “perceptions of, or beliefs about, environmental attributes shaping expectations about outcomes, contingencies, requirements, and interactions in the work environment.” (p. 70). Organizational climate is different from the organizational culture by being a localized experienced affecting on the individual or group in the organization. The organizational climate is changed esear than the culture because the climate is influenced by peer group and supervisory relations, the level of organization autonomy, management support, reward orientation, and mission clarity (Hunter, Bedell, & Mumford, 2007).
The transformational style is best set for the organization during the climate change process. But the transactional leadership style is needed to force the climate change because some groups in the organization require authoritarian style to force the change. Charismatic leaders are needed to use their charisma to support the climate changes offort. Charismatic leaders are required for their quick influences to score quick wins, but they will not be effective if hired from outside the organization.

Shapira-Lishchinsky, O., & Rosenblatt, Z. (2009). Perceptions of organizational ethics as predictors of work absence: A test of alternative absence measures (Vol. 88, pp. 717-734): Springer Science & Business Media B.V.
Hunter, S. T., Bedell, K. E., & Mumford, M. D. (2007). Climate for Creativity: A Quantitative Review. Creativity Research Journal, 19(1), 69-90. doi:10.1080/10400410701277597

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards

Managers at work and parents at home are searching for the best reward to give. Rewards are two types, intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic reward is a feeling of accomplishment after achieving a challenging task. The intrinsic reword do not need another person’s comments or encouragement, it is, rather a self-fulfillment feeling the worker sense after completing his or her tasks (Schermerhorn et al., 2008). Intrinsically motivated workers perform their tasks with impulsive experience of interest, excitement and satisfaction (Selart, Nordström, Kuvaas, & Takemura, 2008). Extrinsic rewards can be intangible like a public praise or being the employee-of the-month, but extrinsic rewards can be tangible similar to cash payment or benefits (Schermerhorn et al., 2008; Selart et al., 2008). The basic extrinsic needs are receiving external rewards or avoiding punishment (Fullagar & Mills, 2008).


Fullagar, C. J., & Mills, M. J. (2008). Motivation and flow: Toward an understanding of the dynamics of the relation in architecture students. Journal of Psychology, 142(5), 533-556.

Selart, M., Nordström, T., Kuvaas, B., & Takemura, K. (2008). Effects of reward on self-regulation, intrinsic motivation and creativity. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 52(5), 439-458. doi: 10.1080/00313830802346314

Schermerhorn, J. R., Hunt, J. G., & Osborn, R. N. (2008). Organizational Behavior (10 ed.). NY: John Wiley & Sons.

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Meetings: Sneaker Time?

Listen to this postMost of us have been in a meeting which ended without solving the discussed issues. The meeting participants leave the meeting to meet again in the nearby walkway to discuss the unfinished subject from the meeting. Sometimes they continue the discussion over the phone to complain how unproductive the meeting was. They use the phone to conclude some of the issues discussed in the meeting.
Sneaker time is the time spent by the meeting participants after the meeting discussing the open issues. Sneaker time discussion takes more time and waste many resources. The discussion after the meeting is usually between 2-3 meeting participants, the rest of the participants are not aware of the followup discussion and there is a good chance that they will not even know the outcome of the follow-up discussion.
Meeting discussion is usually documented and circulated for information and action. Sneaker time discussion is rarely documented and almost never circulated. The actions items from the sneaker time discussion can be dangerous because only few people know about them and approve them. These action may contradict with other action items generated by another group in side discussions similar to the sneaker time.
Well managed meetings should discuss and analyze the meeting agenda’s times to reach solutions and action plan that prevent the need for further discussion. The meeting chairperson should manage the meeting while thinking of the possibility of sneaker time after the meeting. The target should be to reduce the sneaker time to meeting time ratio. The meeting participants should leave the meeting without the need for further discussion on the meeting action items.

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Meetings: Why Do We Need An Agenda?

You may ask “why do we need an agenda? We all know what we are going to discuss.” Preparing the agenda takes time and in some meetings people do not even look at it. The agenda is a contract between the meeting participants during the meeting. They are committed to the time allocated for each discussion item and they agree on what to (or not to) discuss. Some people are professional in hijacking the meeting. They will steer the discussion to a subject not in the agenda and consume the meeting time to discuss their personal agenda. Most of the time they will start with a shocking or outrages comment that grab everybody’s attention then direct a question to one of the participants (or the meeting chairperson) to answer. When they finish the discussion on that subject the will say “A similar situation or maybe worse is about ….” and the discussion will continue to serve their personal agenda. They would consume most of the meeting’s time before anybody could notice it. The best solution for such people is to say “I am sure this is an important subject that you are bringing to the meeting, but it is not listed in the agenda. We will schedule it at the end of the meeting or you may ask for a separate meeting to give it the time it deserves.”

One of the first signs of a good meeting is a well written agenda. The agenda should have the title of the meeting (the subject) and the start and end time. The exact location for the meeting should be clearly stated. You will need a map with clear directions (like Google maps) if some of the meeting participants are new to the meeting location. The agenda should have a list of the discussion items written in simple and clear language. Please avoid the trade lingo, slang, abbreviations or general statements like “Discuss the situation in XYZ” you may know what is the situation and what is XYZ but other participants may not know or could misunderstood both of them. Estimate how long each item in the list will take and record it next to it. The participants will know how much time is available for that item and be ready to finish their discussion within the available time. They can call and ask for extra time before the affirming the agenda or at least before the meeting could start. Always add 5-10 minutes at the end of the agenda for new items but please do not allow for more than that. If the new item needs more time then schedule a new meeting for that new item.

The meeting participants can read the agenda and prepare themselves for the discussion by researching the subject and preparing important documents (tables, drawings or maps) to support their argument. without the agenda some participants would answer “I did not know that you are going to discus XYZ subject, I am to ready to discuss it, I will come back tot you on …”

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Your Discussion

Listen to this postWe have discussed many issues, challenges and opportunities with different people but we rarely notice how we discuss or negotiate. We start the discussion with a strong believe that we are right and are able to convince the other side to agree with us. We should open the door for the other side to express and discuss their points also. Their ideas might be better than ours but we will find difficulty in accepting their points. The best way to go about such conflict of interest is to share our views and be ready to integrate or mix both ideas and come up with a solution that please both sides. Lions mark their territories with their urine, and I do not suggest that you do the same for your ideas during the discussion, but give the others a chance to change, ultra, expand or add part of their thoughts into the final solution and they will definitely agree with you. Sometimes, when you offer a complete solution to a different department or organization you notice that somebody for that department will disagree and become a roadblock. All you need to do is to give them a chance to review your offer and suggest how you can customize it to their needs. If the changes they suggested are not fundamental then incorporate their input into the offer and announce that they have helped you to reach the final solution. You will see them championing your work and help you in many ways.

Sugar Coating

Listen to this postYesterday was my anniversary at work. I have been with the same employer for the past 30 years and I enjoyed most of the days I worked there. Now I am managing more that 700 employees and I have tried to be fair with them while meeting most of their needs, requests and demands. One of the best tactics the employees use for their complains is “Sugar Coating”. I am not saying that the complain is true or not, but the way it is presented to me is sometimes strange.

For example, an employee would take an appointment to see my Boss and then start his discussion by saying “This is not a complain, I just wanted to say…” and then he or she would exaggerate every negativity they experienced in the last 3 years! Another example is when the employee send an official complain to HR or my Boss, but then catch me walking by and start by saying “I wanted to talk with you about an issue I have … do you have a minute do discuss it?

We all make mistakes and we should take our responsibilities to admit the mistakes and correct them. But using different ways to discuss the complain is not the best start to resolve any issue. Through my years at work I followed a good philosophy that goes something like this “Do not explain…and Do not complain” and it made my life very simple and peaceful. I am sure that my boss does not want me to explain to him why I made the mistake (or delay in an assignment). And I am very sure that nobody would like to set and listen to my complains. When I make a mistake I would admit it and do my best to correct it. If I have a complain or an issue with somebody, I would meet him or her and discus the issue face-to-face with them. Other than this … life is very simple.

Waiting For That Promotion

Listen to this postA time will come during our long careers when we would wait for that important promotion. Naturally, most of the promotions involve a decision to select you between different candidates. Office politics and favoritism may have some affect on the selection but finally the selection is made and you will know about it in one of the following ways:

  1. You are called into one of your Bosses offices and told that they have thought about the selection and how difficult was the decision to select between you and the others, but at the end you were the best choice. You tell your self “finally they noticed me, I don’t now why it took them so long?” If you are promoted then you need to gain new knowledge and learn new skills to fulfill the job requirement. What you have learn so far was enough to get you the promotion, but your current capabilities are not enough to survive and thrive. First you to learn what it takes to do your new job, and then you have to improve your skills and knowledge to be ready for the next promotion.
  2. You are called into one of your Bosses office and told that they have thought about the selection and how difficult was the decision to select between you and the others, but at the end you were not the chosen one. You blame everybody and everything (except yourself) for not getting the promotion. You have to understand why you did not get that promotion. What were the reasons for not selecting you. What was the selection criteria and in which part you were not competitive. Start immediately working on your weaknesses and get ready for the next opportunity.
  3. You are not called, or you don’t know about the selection process and you would be the last one to know that somebody else was promoted and you have missed the chance. You feel that you were cheated or stupid. If you were not aware of the opportunity then you need to improve your networking skills. However, if the opportunity was keep secret on purpose then you should consider changing your employer. Go ahead and find another employer who appreciate your work and give you equal opportunities with other candidates.
By the way, if you are not ready for a promotion or there are no promotions for you in the near future then you have to think seriously about your career.
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