Volume 3, No. 2
May 2005 - Second Quarter
Workplace Safety: A Good Read: The Instructions... Safety.com
Money Sense - Women Face Financial Challenges... Caroline N. Gundeck
Five R's and One F Spell Retention... Mel Kleiman, CSP
When Rationality Fails... Charles Fleetham
The Friendly Factor - Creating a Work Environment that Attracts and Keeps Your Workforce... Gregory P. Smith
Talk Yourself Out Of Stress... Bruno Cortis, MD
Improving Delegation: When "Just Do It" Just Won't Do It... Francie Dalton
Who Has Time For Success?... Dr. Emma Etuk
Workplace Safety: A Good Read: The
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If you’ve used one stapler, you've used them all, right?
That's what one assembler thought when he got a new staple gun at work. He loaded up the heavy duty stapler, braced the gun with his palm, and accidentally fired a staple deep into his skin.
The worker assumed he knew how to use the equipment. Had he taken a few minutes to read the instruction manual, or looked closely at the stapler to see how it actually worked, he would have avoided the injury -- not to mention the embarrassment.
The U.S. Naval Safety Center describes this incident to sailors to impart a valuable lesson: You can do a job without injury after spending three minutes reading the instructions, or spend three weeks recovering from an injury because you didn't read the instructions.
Why Don’t People Often Read Instructions?
Manufacturers have a responsibility to produce products that meet safety requirements. They also are required to include instructions for assembly, use, maintenance and disposal of a product, as well as any warnings about safe operation or handling. Particularly important is relevant information about risks that may not be immediately obvious to the user of the product.
But the consumer has an equal responsibility in using a product safely, which means to:
If a product that should have an instruction manual does not come with one, do not use it. Contact the manufacturer immediately and have one sent to you.
Money Sense: Women Face Financial Challenges
Caroline N. Gundeck
Director, Women's Business Development, Merrill Lynch
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While the tenets of sound financial planning apply equally to everyone, women often face a unique set of financial challenges that must be taken into consideration as they plan for their future. With women currently controlling $14 trillion in wealth in the United States,1 these challenges must be overcome in order to preserve and grow those assets.
The statistics on women and finances are startling. Consider, for example, that women earn 74 cents for every dollar a man earns,2 yet they live an average of seven years longer.3 Adding up the time off work due to pregnancy, child rearing and taking care of elderly parents, women are away from the workforce for an average of 11 years.4 Those are years in which women typically are not earning, saving, building Social Security credits or accumulating a company pension.
Thankfully, careful planning can help make up for lost time and money. Here are a few issues and strategies worth considering:
Being Conservative Isn’t Always Safe. Women have a tendency to invest cautiously. Between 1996 and 1998, for example, 90%5 of women held certificates of deposit (CDs) in their retirement savings accounts rather than more aggressive investment vehicles such as stocks – the prices of which typically rose during that time period. And while stock prices in general depreciated significantly afterward, women should have an appropriate portion of their portfolio in growth-oriented investments so that they can benefit from a market upcycle. Of course the appropriate allocation of assets is the key to proper investing, and everyone’s optimal allocation differs. For example, women who are five to 10 years from retirement should rebalance their portfolio with an emphasis on bonds and income-producing securities.
Reducing the Tax Impact. Because women tend to live longer than men, inflation and taxes will have a greater impact on their portfolio. As a result, it’s important to consider where to hold assets: taxable versus tax-deferred accounts. It’s also important to re-evaluate investments periodically to stay ahead of inflation and taxes. Completing an annual evaluation will help reduce the element of surprise as well as help determine where future assets should be placed.
Taking Care of Yourself and Others Isn’t an “Either/Or” Proposition. Many women prioritize saving for their children’s college education over their own retirement planning. While this is a noble endeavor, keep in mind that money can be borrowed for education but not for retirement. Examine retirement savings plans such as IRAs and an employer’s 401(k) plan as ways to save for the future. Also, college savings vehicles such as a Section 529 plan can be a tax-smart way to fund a child’s education while also offering certain estate-tax benefits. Women also need to consider the possibility that their spouse may not be around in their later years. Statistics suggest that only one-third of women over 65 will be married, and half of women over age 65 will outlive their husbands by 15 years.5 Therefore, women will need to assess their income-producing capability during those years. By evaluating all your financial goals and how they interact, you can determine where to place your assets.
Maximizing Retirement Plan Contributions and Consolidating Tax-Deferred Assets. It’s important that women invest as much as possible in their employer-sponsored retirement accounts, especially if the employer offers matching benefits. Because women re-enter the job market more frequently than men, they are also more likely to have accumulated multiple retirement accounts at multiple employers. Rolling these assets over into an IRA can help minimize the hassle of tracking multiple accounts. Consolidating IRA assets can also help women keep their asset allocation strategy on track.
Following a disciplined wealth management process can help overcome challenges such as these. The process should begin by setting specific objectives, including estate-planning and retirement goals. By carefully planning for the financial challenges ahead, women can make great progress toward a secure financial future – for themselves, their spouses and their children.
1. Diversity Best Practices, WOW Facts 2004
2. U.S. Census Bureau
3. National Council of Women’s Organizations
4. U.S. Department of Labor
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Five R's and One F Spell Retention
Mel Kleinman, CSP
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Looking for proven ways to keep your best workers working for you? Don't feel like the Lone Ranger. Employee retention is everyone's chief concern today, and with good reason!
The past two years of cost cutting, downsizing and doing more with less have left most American workers more than ready for change. In fact, a recent Gallup survey found that more than 70% of the 700,000 U.S. employees polled feel disengaged from the work they perform, and that this sense of disconnection increased the longer employees had been with an organization.
Only 20% of those who had been with the same employer for 10 years saw themselves as engaged with their work and more than a third said they planned to leave their present positions the moment better opportunities appear.
Best practices studies clearly show that companies with high retention rates have created work environments which consistently provide what I've dubbed the five R's and one F of retention: recognition, rewards, respect, rules, responsibility and fun.
Taking employees for granted is the single worst mistake an employer can make. A survey by Robert Half International found that 25% of employees who change jobs do so because they feel unappreciated and unimportant. Because they feel disengaged, they literally disengage from their employers.
Employees who understand why the work they do is important to the company's success are far more likely to feel engaged, enjoy their work and remain with their employers. Make sure your employees know not only what you want them to do, but also why and how their jobs are important.
And for heaven's sake, don't punish good performance! Managers often expect employees who do their work well to do more of it or do it better, leaving employees who work less well with less work to do. Be aware of the punishing effects of everyday occurrences such as delaying the start of a meeting because one person is late, which punishes everyone who got there on time.
Rewards go hand-in-hand with recognition, but are usually something tangible. Regardless of whether you reward your good performers with something as modest as an additional day of paid time off or a prize as lavish as an all expenses paid Caribbean cruise, you should identify the behaviors you want to encourage and reward the people who give them to you.
For the past 60 years, studies have regularly shown that employees covet respect almost as much as money, sometimes rating respect higher than cash.
Treat your people with at least the same respect and understanding you would show your customers. When you respect your employees, they'll respect you, your customers, and one another. Nothing you do will be valued more than giving employees your time and attention; it's the most potent form of respect.
Too many rules stifle creativity, but no one can win if they don't know the rules of the game. Clearly communicate what's important and what people have to do in order to get a raise, promotion, or the employee-of-the-month parking spot. Without some basic guidelines, your management decisions and recognition program will appear arbitrary and even unfair.
If you want your employees to perform responsibly and well, show and tell them what good performance looks like. Make sure they know the quality, quantity and costs of the work you expect, including what it will cost the company if the work isn't done well. Take time to fully explain what you want and why you want it. Don't micro-manage: give employees some leeway in how they do their work. Sam Walton swore some of Wal-Mart's best ideas came from their stock clerks.
Remember that all new hires are beginners in your company regardless of their skill levels. Figure out and communicate what new employees need to know about your business in order to apply the skills for which you hired them.
Employees' most important work relationships are with their immediate supervisors. If you want your employees to stay motivated and loyal, be sure that supervisors provide honest feedback and unstinting support. Without feedback on how well they're doing, employees have no way of knowing what management desires and no tools to use for improving job performance.
Celebrate success! Do something unexpected. Have balloons delivered or throw an impromptu picnic lunch. There's no reason work can't be fun. A good part of Southwest Airlines' success is because they found a way to make flying more fun. Wal-Mart has clowns in the aisles. McDonalds doesn't sell sack lunches, they sell Happy Meals. People flock to minimum wage jobs at Disney because they think it would be fun to work there. If your employees are having fun, your customers will too. Employers who create workplace fun won't have any problem finding or keeping good people.
Finally, consider your employees as investors, for that's exactly who they are. They're investing their time, effort, energy and abilities to make your business succeed. If you’ve ever courted investors, take a moment to remember how you treated them and compare that to how you treat your employees. Any gap between the two is an opportunity to improve employee retention and profits.
Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally recognized consultant, author, and speaker on strategies for hiring and retaining the best employees. He is President of Humetrics, a leading developer of systems, training, processes, and tools for recruiting, selection, and retention of the best hourly workforce. He is also the author of four books, including the best selling Hire Tough Manage Easy. You can reach Mel at (800) 218-0930, ext. 119, email@example.com, or at www.humetrics.com.
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When Rationality Fails
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Traditional approaches. People usually turn to traditional, self-help resolutions to solve their workplace problems. But these rational approaches most often fail because most problems are complex and rooted in unconscious behaviors.
For example, there's the workaholic who can't leave the office. Rational treatment prescribes time management training, which helps workaholics identify their top priorities and teaches them how to schedule around those priorities.
After time management training, the workaholic returns to the office and is suddenly overwhelmed by emotions. If I leave early and something goes wrong, will I be the guilty party? If someone else takes over while I'm away, will I be replaced? If I go home, will my family even know who I am? Will my life have meaning? All of those things swirl in the person's unconscious, and the problem remains unsolved.
As another problem, there's the angry person who tends to blow up at meetings, get into very bad moods, and blames other people for organizational conflicts. The typical rational solution is anger-management training, which teaches people to identify the triggers for their anger and how to manage the emotions once they rise up.
But anger-management training doesn't identify the fundamental source of the rage, which usually has to do with a break between the person's self and his or her unconscious. The unconscious is the source of energy, creativity, love-and, yes, anger. You can't manage anger until you've tapped into the wellspring of your emotions.
Where personal responsibility begins. None of these rational techniques to problem solving is wrong, but they don't go far enough. Rational approaches superficially work, but to completely solve our problems, we have to take complete personal responsibility for them. That means getting in touch with our unconscious.
Our society has tried to deny or medicate our unconscious. It has encouraged us to believe "I think; therefore, I am." But the unconscious is your dreaming self rather than your thinking self. In essence, it's the other 99% of who you are. You have to take responsibility for your unconscious, which drives you, if you want a complete resolution for your workplace problems.
That means the workaholic who wants to solve his problem needs to ask: "Why is my unconscious compelling me to do this, and why can't I leave my office?"?" If workaholics face up to this, then they can change.
The angry person has to acknowledge the great satisfaction that comes from overpowering people, and the pleasure you get from the "evil" that's unleashed by your unconscious.
Break the addiction. We are trained to ignore and discount the impact of our unconscious. Many people don't believe it exists. Almost all people feel like it's something to be feared, so we ignore it. Our traditional solutions tend to do the same thing. We're addicted to our traditional, self-help approaches to problem solving, but the truth is they're no longer working. The current self-help field is fixed on a self-defeating premise that never gets to the heart of the problem. It's time to move beyond rational thinking and take personal responsibility to the deeper level, where you leave Comfortopia-your comfort zone-and learn a new way to grow. It's time to become consciously irrational.
By Charles Fleetham, author of The Search for Unrational Leadership: Using Rational and Irrational Methods to Change Your Life (Right Brain Books), www.rightbrainbooks.us.
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The Friendly Factor
Creating a Work Environment that Attracts and Keeps Your Workforce
Gregory P. Smith
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By year 2011, the U.S.
will face a worker shortage of 8-10 million people. In many industries today,
jobs are going unfilled. In should go without saying if you cannot attract and
keep your workforce then you must change what you are doing or face extinction.
Take your pick. Which type of place do you want to work at: One that is cold and gives you a sense no one cares, or one that makes you feel good and appreciated? Money and benefits are important, but studies show in the long run the work environment--the feeling they get when they come to work--is more important in retaining and motivating people.
People like a friendly place to work. The friendly-factor does not require a large investment and expense, but it does require time and thoughtful consideration. Take for example a construction equipment dealership in Louisville, KY. Their turnover is almost nonexistent. This is quite an accomplishment in an industry facing a shortage of 100,000 technicians.
Their employees and service technicians share in a profit-sharing plan that could possibly mean $700,000 upon retirement. They are eligible to participate after one year and become fully vested after six years. No one has quit after becoming vested in this company. To further help his employees, the owner brings in a financial advisor to help the employees pick stocks, plan for retirement, or to get advice on buying a house or saving for a child's college education.
Other friendly-factor benefits:
--Every year employees celebrate their work anniversary with a cake. They also receive $100 for each year employed, made out in a check so they can buy work tools for the shop.
--Twice a year the employees children receive a $50 savings bond when the child brings in their "all A's" report card.
--They reward employee safety records with what they call, "Safety Bonus Program." Each employee's driving record is screened twice a year. Anyone who has a citation during the year is removed from the program. At the end of the year, the ones who remain get to split $2,000.
--To minimize the we-they syndrome, every Friday employees rotate jobs. The person in the Parts Department gets to be a service technician and visa versa. This builds a stronger team and improves communication within the company.
Here are a few other friendly-factor ideas to consider:
--Reward work attendance. Set in place a "Potential Earned Bonus Account" for each employee for a set amount, say $250 every six months. Every day an employee is late, but called in to tell you - they loose $10. For every day they are late and do not call in - they loose $15. Every day they are absent, but call in - they loose $25. Every day they are absent and do not call in - they loose $35. At the end of six months they get the balance of the $250.
--During your new employee orientation, make sure you send a welcome gift or letter to the family of the new employee welcoming them to the company. Assign the new employee a mentor to help them adjust to the new environment and make them feel part of the team. After their first 30 days on the job, have a new employee celebration and invite his or her family to attend.
--Be involved in the important aspects of your employees' lives. You should respond when there is a birth, illness, death, graduation, or wedding. These are the important events where you have a golden opportunity to build a bond between the individual and the company.
--One company photographed each employee who had worked at the company over five years. Then they put the photos on a wall for all to see. This small act built a bond and showed the employees the pride their employer had in them.
--Have a "Bring children to work day." A couple times a year allow your employees to bring their kids and show them what they do.
Creating a friendly-factor work environment takes time, and it takes managers who truly care about individuals.
Free by E-mail: If you would like a free subscription to our newsletter, please e-mail us the word Navigator to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greg Smith is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and business performance consultant. He has written numerous books and featured on television programs such as Bloomberg News, PBS television, and in publications including Business Week, Kiplingers, President and CEO, and the Christian Science Monitor. He is the President and "Captain of the Ship" of a management-consulting firm, Chart Your Course International, located in Atlanta, Georgia. Phone him at 770-860-9464. More articles available: http://www.chartcourse.com
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Talk Yourself Out Of Stress
Bruno Cortis, M.D.
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Seventy-five percent of all our problems - both emotional and physical - come from the same source. If you could identify that source, would you want to eliminate it?
For most people, the answer is obvious. Unfortunately, few people are able to identify the core of their problems. And those who do typically don't know the steps to take to alleviate their challenges.
So what is the cause of most of our problems? It is stress. That's right; stress is the source of 75 percent of all our problems and a major epidemic in people's lives. Finding ways to control stress is vital, because if you don't control stress, it will control you.
What Exactly Is Stress?
The concept of stress isn't new to anyone. But few people truly know what stress is. Physical stress is the depletion of the body's resources by illness or exhaustion. The most devastating stress, however, is psychological and emotional stress. There are many sources of emotional stress: family problems, social obligations, life changes, work, decision-making, phobias, etc.
Emotional stress is powerful and debilitating because it takes away any sense of control we have over our lives. And this feeling of control over our environment and our self is one of our most basic human needs. If it isn't met, emotional or physical illness can result. For example, a number of studies directly link stress and heart disease.
The only way to combat stress and stay healthy is to create a complete physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium within the body.
Although we used to believe that the mind and body were two separate entities, we now know that all facets of our being are interconnected.
Everything that happens to your body and your mind affects your health and stress level in some way. Every thought you have, every feeling and emotion you experience affects your longevity. That is why you must take a total body approach to eliminate stress and balance your life.
Physical and Emotional Stress Relief
If you want to reduce your stress level and live a happier and healthier life, use the physical and emotional stress relief techniques outlined below.
The pressure to perform in today's world is intense. As a result, people work long hours and take on much more than they can bear. They juggle multiple roles throughout the day and sacrifice sleep or personal time just so they can get everything done. Saying "no" to a demand is out of the question, resulting in increased stress, both at work and at home.
Unfortunately, for most people, saying "no" to another's request is a challenge. They are anxious to please others, so they put their own needs aside. They fail to realize that no one can be on call 24 hours a day, and that we all need some personal time to rest and rejuvenate.
The next time someone demands more than you can give, remember that you have to take care of yourself first. You simply can't handle everything.
Say "no" gracefully while respecting the other person and letting him or her know that you care. While you may feel some initial guilt for denying the request, that feeling will quickly pass and your stress level will diminish.
Listen to Your Body
Listening to your body helps you take control of your stress because you become aware of the signals your body gives you regarding comfort and discomfort. Once you're attuned to what your body is telling you, you can learn which events trigger stress and which events reduce it. Your body talks to you everyday. How often do you listen?
The most common warning of too much stress is a condition called angina. Angina consists of chest pain or tightness in the neck, arms, jaw, and upper back that is the result of a reduced blood supply to the heart. Other indicators of excessive emotional stress are arrhythmias or irregular heartbeat.
In order to listen to your body, you must become responsible for your health and your stress. Having trust in your doctors or in medical tests is not enough. The real solution lies with you and with your own awareness and responsibility for your health. This responsibility may involve doing some things that are difficult for you, such as changing your diet, stopping smoking, learning to control emotions, etc. Whatever change is necessary for you, your body will tell you. You need only to listen.
Communicate With Your Heart.
Your heart has an important job, pumping 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body each day. This merits the heart receiving your attention. To reduce emotional stress, your heart needs encouragement, appreciation, and love.
Start your heart talk, your communication with your heart, by placing your right hand over the left side of your chest. Become aware of your heartbeat. Stay in that position for a few moments. Soon you'll notice that the heating sensation becomes less forceful. It is as if your heart knows that you're in touch with it. With your hand still over your chest ask your heart to help you be peaceful. Ask your heart to create an emotional shield that protects you from whatever the world around you may be fighting with.
Within your heart is an infinite intelligence that is sensitive to your needs. So pose a question to your heart or discuss a problem that's causing you stress. Your heart will reciprocate with the proper answer. By doing this, you are telling your creative mind to quiet down so you can uncover new solutions to your problems. The more you become aware of your heart and what it tells you to do, the less stress you will experience. You will achieve a sense of peace and calmness knowing that you are doing what is best for you.
Clear Out the Past Clutter
Just as you do a spring-cleaning of your house, you should also do a spring-cleaning of your heart to wipe away the old memories and messages that are causing you stress. This is important, because the way we feel from moment to moment, the way we behave, and the actions we take are all conditioned to how we feel inside.
Negative feelings that we harbor from our past - feelings of loneliness, low self-worth, sadness, worry, and fear - cause a great deal of emotional stress in our adult lives. It's similar to carrying a weight on your back. The weight becomes heavier and heavier. You eventually have to walk bent over because the weight is excessive, but you are still not willing to let it go. As you clear out the chatter, you let go of the weight; you regain a sense of peace and are able to walk upright again.
To discover the past chatter that's causing you stress, think back over your life and identify the most painful experience you have had - the one you thought you needed to hide from the world. What was that mistake or event?
What message did the event trigger in your mind? Acknowledge the event, forgive yourself for it, and then release it and the accompanying stress from your heart.
If you want to eliminate 75 percent of your physical and emotional problems, you must first reduce the stress you feel in your life. By practicing the self-communication strategies explained above, you can take the steps to talk yourself out of daily stress. When you do, you'll gain a sense of balance and inner peace that enables you to accomplish more, enjoy life, and live your dreams.
Bruno Cortis, M.D., is a cardiologist with a major interest in Spirituality and Health. He authored two books, The Spiritual Heart and Heart & Soul. He delivers speeches and seminars across North America. You can visit Dr. Cortis at www.BrunoCortis.com or e-mail him at DrCortis@BrunoCortis.com. His telephone number is 708-366-0117.
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Ever wonder why it's so tough to get desired outcomes from those highly paid, well educated, poised and polished senior executives of yours? Is it that they keep turning in work products that aren't "ready for prime time"? Or is it that their stellar work outcomes are delivered at the cost of tremendous collegial discord? Are they truly short-staffed and overwhelmed?
Whatever the dimensions of suboptimal performance in your organization, chances are at least one of the causal factors is the way you (and they) delegate.
Poor delegation can easily be categorized as either Inadequate or Disabling.
Within these two categories are no less that 12 classic and discrete errors in delegation. This article describes each, and provides easy-to-implement tips for how to avoid or correct them.
1. Failing to Identify Higher Purpose Served: Caught up in the rush of doing business, it's easy to delegate on the run, without articulating how the assignment enables the organization to achieve its strategic initiatives. There are 3 important benefits to taking the extra minute or two required to articulate the linkage between the assignments and their higher purpose: 1) It increases the perceived importance of the assignment, thereby 2) increasing emotional commitment to stellar execution; and , 3) it equips the VP with tools to motivate the performance of and increase the morale of his/her staff. The technique to easily isolate and identify the higher purpose of an assignment is to ask yourself why the assignment is needed, what other outcome its accomplishment enables, and why that other outcome is needed.
2. Lack of Clarity; Have you ever been surprised to discover at performance review time that one of your execs was oblivious to a requirement you thought was implicit? The key to ensuring clear expectations is the establishment of evidence based performance measures.
Here's how. Start with an outcome you plan to assign. Rephrase it using a FIB (fill-in-the-blank) statement. For example, if your original goal statement is: "Improve attendance at this year's annual convention", using the FIB technique would rephrase the statement into this question: "Attendance at this year's annual convention will be adequately improved when ________". The FIB technique forces you to clarify your expectations embedded in your goal statement by specifying any or all of the following: a certain number of attendees, a certain type of attendee, a certain revenue number, etc.
3. Emphasizing Outcomes to the Exclusion of Method: "How" accomplishments are achieved often matters as much as "What" is accomplished; yet this balance between outcome and method isn't often reflected in executives' goals and objectives. Unless and until CEO's impose equal scrutiny on both method and outcome when delegating, the impact of, for example, managerial behavior on corporate performance will stay under the radar, free to impede business results with impunity.
Augmenting the basic goal statement with qualifying phrases such as the following will help: in collaboration with; per specifications provided by___; consistent with our core values; while protecting the confidentiality of; while continuing to adhere to ___; etc.
4. Failing to Delegate Developmentally: Aside from your fiduciary responsibility to develop your staff consistent with a sound succession plan, you have the additional responsibility of retaining "the best".
Doing so in a competitive marketplace requires that you continually challenge the intellect of your execs. Determine what new or expanded responsibilities will stimulate the growth of each of your direct reports.
Assign reasonable stretch goals. If they express doubts about their ability, respond by expressing confidence in them, and then push 'em off the cliff anyway. Create the opportunity for them to surprise and delight themselves by surpassing your expectations.
5. Failing to Anticipate Radial Impacts: Hard to discern what assignments will bleed into the assignments of others? Are the involved parties coming to you angry and confused? Here's an easy solution. Called the "Impact Grid" (See Figure One), this tool helps anticipate the possible impacts on key audiences of making assignments. Delegating a project to one department is likely to have implications for other departments; using this grid will identify those implications in advance. (Tip: This same grid can be used to anticipate the radial impact of your decisions before you announce them!)
6. Abdication: When two or more VP's are feuding, you can't just step aside in disgust and tell the children to work it out themselves. Resolving disputes is part of your role as CEO. Clarify the outcomes for which each is responsible, crystallize the lines of authority, and establish the ground rules for necessary collaboration. Link compliance to performance reviews/bonuses.
7. Deliberate Redundancy: If you're thinking that assigning the same task to multiple VP's inspires healthy competition, you're sadly mistaken. What this type of delegation actually inspires is conflict. It takes the form of silo behavior, a lack of collaboration and information sharing, which generates additional redundancies and rework. If your senior executives are like most in my client companies, they're already starving for crumbs of recognition from you and don't want to share what little the get. Exacerbate this feeling of impoverishment at your peril. You'll erode both morale and loyalty.
8. Failing to Impose Accountability: Part and parcel of effective delegation is setting expectations regarding the consequences of both success and failure. Awareness of these consequences motivates the quality and speed of execution. If your exec doesn't deliver to spec, it's your responsibility to confront that failure. A surprising number of my CEO clients are so uncomfortable confronting poor performance that they sidestep the imposition of negative consequences, feigning competing priorities to justify overlooking poor performance. Well, guess what? If you're the CEO, you don't get to use "comfort" as a determinant for action. Those who refuse to act have lost their right to complain. So if you're not going to hold your VP's accountable for poor performance, then acknowledge your contribution to that poor performance and stop complaining about it.
9. Saving Their Bacon: Much like parents who do their child's homework thinking they're helping, swooping in to rescue an exec from his/her own sloppy performance stunts or prevents their growth, generates resentment from their peers, and erodes the respect of their subordinates. Get this: unless you want to continue managing adolescent behavior, when you delegate responsibility, delegate the earned consequences.
10. Delegating to Weakness: Yes, I know that in the previous section I suggested delegating in a way that stretches and develops, but that's not the same as delegating tasks that are outside the scope of one's competence.
Classic examples of this include putting the stereotypical CFO in charge of Marketing; putting the stereotypical expert engineer at the podium presenting research findings to an audience of laypersons; moving your star outside sales professional into an inside management function; or staffing a highly regulated function with an entrepreneurial spirit.
11. Assigning Responsibility in Excess of Authority: I go round and round with CEO's about this one. So pervasive is this error in delegation, and so negative is its impact on morale, that we'll look at three examples. 1) Let's say you've delegated responsibility to one of your execs for a specific legislative outcome. Unless this exec owns Congress, it's inappropriate to impose accountability for what becomes law. What IS appropriate is to hold your exec accountable for the flawless execution of what you agree to be a comprehensive strategy which maximizes the likelihood of the desired legislative outcome. 2) Now let's assume you've delegated responsibility to one of your execs for ensuring zero erosion of existing customers. Customers can indeed be lost through no fault of your exec.
Mergers, acquisitions, and bankruptcy exemplify this point perfectly. Avoid this mistake by rephrasing the goal as follows: "Ensure zero erosion of current customer base for reasons other than M&A or bankruptcy." 3) What if you're determined to get board approval for an increase in dues. This becomes a shared responsibility among all VP's. A mistake by just one of the VP's could derail the entire initiative. Protect yourself against demoralizing the group by phrasing the goal as follows: In collaboration with VP's X, Y & Z, work toward ensuring the board agrees to a dues increase of at least "A" by (year).
12. The BIG ONE: Let's admit it. We're all trying to impress someone in our work context. As executives, the most obvious opportunity to do so is to achieve more with less; to consistently execute an overwhelming volume of work, on time and with apparent ease. In our zeal to succeed at this, we take on more and more, delegate less and less, putting various facets of our personal and professional lives at risk.
Wanna reduce that risk while simultaneously making your star shine even more brightly? Then take a look at Figure Two. This Delegation Grid invites you to scrutinize all your activities, listing them in one of the 4 quadrants.
If you complete this grid with brutal honesty (which may require input from others), the two right quadrants will contain fairly long lists. Your challenge is to shed everything on the right side of this grid. Work on getting better at what you've listed in the lower left quadrant, but focus on finding broader applications for and ways to better feature the work listed in the top left quadrant. Instead of continuing activities listed on the right half of the grid, seek additional work that requires the same strengths and competencies that underlie the work you've listed in the upper left quadrant.
Francie Dalton is founder and president of Dalton Alliances, Inc., a full-line business consultancy in Columbia, Maryland, specializing in the behavioral, management and communication sciences. Reach her at www.daltonalliances.com or by calling 410-715-0484.
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Who Has Time For Success?
Dr. Emma Etuk
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Most people claim that they want to be "successful," yet few know what kind of success they desire or how to achieve it. They wish their lives were "the profiles of success" or that they could "make it a winning life," but they have no clue how to turn that desire into reality.
Realize that what you do today has a direct impact on whether you'll be successful in life later. How you manage your time, plan your goals, and take action will make or break your future. Unfortunately, between 40+ hour work weeks, the push to "do more in less time," and increasing personal and business obligations, few people actually make the time to follow their dreams. Instead, they resign themselves to their unsuccessful habits of the past, and then wonder why they can't make any progress.
The fact is that many people do not succeed in life because they think they do not have the time to be successful or to follow success principles. But we all have the same number of hours per day. Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates, two of the richest and most successful people in the world, do not have an extra number of hours in the day, yet they have achieved more than most people can imagine. The only difference between them and the masses is that they made the time for success and followed proven success principles. You can, too. The following guidelines will help.
1. Know what kind of success you desire.
Just saying you want to be "successful" is fruitless. It's non-specific and causes you to waste your time in multiple pursuits. The key is to focus on the specific kind of success you want. Six varieties of success exist:
· Economic success:
the desire to make money and accumulate wealth.
· Political success: the desire for political fame, power, and influence.
· Social success: the desire to change the world for the better and to be known as a social reformer, philanthropist, and benefactor.
· Intellectual success: the desire to gain knowledge and be able to unravel the mysteries behind certain ideas.
· Spiritual success: the desire for complete spiritual fulfillment.
· Physical success: the desire for inner and outer beauty or athletic superiority.
Obviously, each success category has positive and negative aspects. For example, someone with a desire for economic success can use his or her money for good deeds, or can cross the line to greed. The key is to know the kind of success you desire and then focus your time on the positive aspects of that desire. Those who are truly successful take the time to define the exact success they want and what they will do with it. They create their vision for the future and devote time to attaining that vision each day.
2. Get your act together.
To be successful, you must take the time to organize yourself and your life. Realize that success does not chase after a disorganized individual. Being organized or getting your act together means doing the right things in the right order. In other words, you must take the time to prioritize your daily activities so you focus on what will truly make you successful.
Unfortunately, our modern array of gadgets and technology do not help people simplify or organize their life. While television, the Internet, and cell phones are tools that can aid us in achieving our goals, if not used properly, they can add to an already information overload, thus making it difficult to carve out time each day to dedicate to our individual goals.
To truly get your act together, you must start with the internal, which involves setting priorities and committing to them. Once that internal organization is complete, the external process is somewhat easier, which includes cleaning up the clutter in your life, scheduling, time management, and manifesting the outward qualities of persistence and commitment. Only then can you plan and follow your route for success.
3. Respect your time.
To the degree that you appreciate and respect time is the degree to which you will succeed. If you abuse time, you will surely fail and regret your lack of discipline. In fact, no one can truly succeed without a proper attitude towards time. We each have 24 hours per day, 168 hours per week, and 8,736 hours per year to devote to our dreams, so we all must schedule our time wisely.
For example, if you were to sleep 56 hours per week, play for 42 hours, work for 70 hours, and earn $10 per hour, you are likely to earn $36,400 per year. In 20 years, you'd have earned over $700,000. If you save only 10% of that, you'd have $70,000 sitting in the bank. Realize that most people work for more than 20 years during their lifetime, and that $700,000 does not include bonuses, salary increases, pensions, 401K plans, overtime, gifts, or interest from investments. Now, would you consider yourself unsuccessful today if you had at least $70,000 in the bank? Probably not.
The point is to schedule your time and your life so you're devoted to success 100% of the time. Think long-term and plan everything. The small time infraction you make today may seem small, but the small things add up, compound over time, and affect us profoundly.
4. Be single-minded.
People who are successful devote their time to mastering the one most important detail that will lead them to the type of success they ultimately desire. To be single-minded means you:
· Are not easily
· Have your eyes set on the prize;
· Devote your time to your purpose;
· Have a driving ambition;
· Are determined;
· Are dedicated;
· Have a singularity of purpose.
Most people start something but never complete it because they get distracted. The distraction may have been a phone call, a negative criticism, a word of discouragement from a so-called friend, or a personal fear that we may fail. In order to not let distractions interfere with your success, you must enhance your quality of single-mindedness, which means you devote your time to one pursuit for one endeavor, not break your time up among many activities or goals. Don't be a "jack of all trades and master of none." Stand up for one thing and go for it consistently.
5. Cultivate a proper work habit.
If you intend to succeed in life, you must cultivate a proper work habit. You must make up your mind that no substitute for hard work exists. Cutting corners to save time on your journey will only delay you in the end. No matter what anyone promises you, when you work less time or less productively, you produce lower volume of goods and services. But it you have a proper work habit, you produce and achieve more. In the end, your attitude towards work reflects your attitude towards life and your propensity to succeed or fail.
How do you cultivate a proper work habit? Realize that a proper work habit involves a change in your mental attitude. If you love to work, then you will likely succeed. If you don't love your current work, then find a profession or cause that excites you. When your work is enjoyable, you will commit more time to it and will succeed.
The Time is Right for Success
Consider today what you really want to be remembered for - what type of success you desire. Dedicate and rededicate yourself, your time, and your energy to this one pursuit, cause, or ambition for the rest of your life. Do not give up or rest until you reach your goal. Only then will you attain true success and leave a lasting legacy to the world.
Dr. Emma Samuel Etuk is a powerful speaker who was educated in Nigeria and the United States. He has taught history at Howard, Dillard and Morgan State Universities, as well as at Bethune-Cookman College. He has written seven books, been heard on more than 400 radio talk shows and television programs covering the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Europe. He can be reached at (301) 333-8755 or www.Emida1.com.