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Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

Stop revving your engines, follow through on finding solutions to your problems.

An individual in one of my therapy groups was talking about a suggestion he had read in the book “Feeling Good-The New Mood Therapy.”

It went something like this: If a person always has to be pushed and nudged to get the job done, he should buy himself a wrist counter (worn like a watch). Every time he acts responsibly and initiates something, he gets to press the counter. Being able to count the actual times he took charge would encourage him to initiate taking more responsibility. A bit like the old saying, “Success builds success.”

After the man’s explanation, a woman in the group turned to him and said, “Well, did you get yourself the counter?”

The man laughed a little sheepishly and said, “No.” After some kidding, this guy agreed to buy himself one. The next thing, of course, will be whether the fellow uses it or lets it lie on his dresser.

As I left the group, I got to thinking about the fact that this kind of thing often happens. A person, or even a company, will get excellent information on how to go about solving a problem. When the solution is presented initially, there is a burst of enthusiasm. Two or three weeks later the solution is forgotten and the problem is brought up again.

The reason for this get-nowhere phenomenon is that it’s generally easier to talk about a problem than to take the necessary steps to solve it.

Solutions are often available, but it takes thought and effort to follow through. It’s often easier to rev the engine, staying in your car with your wheels spinning, than to get out and start pushing.

What problem do you need to solve today? Take courage. Be proactive. Do what needs to be done to solve it!

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Many factors determine who actually gets a raise.
So You Want a Raise? Ah, But Do You Deserve It?

If you think you’re deserving of a raise, prepare a history of your work in the past year. List the contributions you’ve made to the company. Ask yourself how these contributions have improved the company or the bottom line. If you have trouble listing contributions, this is the time to rethink why you should get a raise.

Employers do not look favorably on those who consider themselves entitled to more money just because they’ve been working for the company for a certain number of years. Nor can you justify asking for a raise because you’ve moved to a bigger house and you need more money.

Second, research the going rate for someone who is in a similar position in your company or industry. Having this knowledge will allow you to assess more accurately where your salary should fall. A career counselor or the U.S. Department of Labor can provide you with information about what jobs pay in your area. Don’t forget to add in the benefits you are receiving in addition to your salary. A human resource person can help in this area.

Third, role play the various scenarios that could take place when you ask for a raise. Look in the mirror and practice. Play yourself and then play your boss. If you can’t convince yourself, it’s unlikely you’ll convince a boss.

Ask a friend to role play with you. Tell the friend to throw you some curve balls and see if you have the ability to handle them.

Another good exercise — go over all the reasons your boss may use to discourage a raise. Then come up with a counterproposal. For example, if your boss says, “Well, you know profits have been down this year,” you might counter with, “That’s true. But my performance has been very good. For example….” Here’s where you roll out those contributions.

If your boss says, “We just can’t afford it now,” ask when the company will be able to afford it. Try to tack down a date for review.

Also ask, “What can I do differently to convince you that I should have a raise?” Make sure you take notes as he or she answers.

Sometimes a person truly does not deserve a raise. Sometimes a raise is not in the company’s budget. And sometimes people don’t do their homework before asking for a raise. As a result they present themselves poorly and muff their chances. Don’t let this be you.

 

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Deciding if you are setting yourself up for disaster.
Victim of circumstance or victim by design?

Mike lost his second-biggest account three months ago. Several weeks later, his 17-year-old son was involved in a serious car accident which resulted in two surgeries, a three-week stay in the hospital, and ongoing physical therapy. One morning on his way to the hospital, Mike’s car died in the middle of the highway. Adding stress to stress, the part the dealer ordered got lost in the mail. That same week a skunk made her home under his house and the pest people couldn’t seem to do much about it despite repeated tries. A few days later, Mike received a letter informing him that his septic tank is located on his neighbor’s property.

On listening to what befell Mike, one of his religious friends proposed that he was being tested. Another friend said, “What’s new? Everyone has chaos, and on a regular basis.” Someone else theorized that people often cause their own crises because they are bored or need an energy boost. Or they may make a crisis to avoid dealing with a more significant issue.

I’m not so sure about being tested. I tend to think catastrophes are random. It’s true, however, that we all seem to have one problem after another. And sometimes we subconsciously make ourselves into victims.

Take, for example, the guy who knows his roof has been leaking for a few years but does nothing until the water starts pouring in one rainy night. Or how about the woman who knows she has a tooth problem but does nothing until one day she finds herself in excruciating pain?

Mike certainly had nothing to do with his son’s accident. I can’t imagine how he might have invited the skunk problem. And the title search when he bought his house didn’t cover the septic tank. I do wonder what kind of warning Mike had that his car was about to give out, but the part being lost in the mail was out of his control.

Moving from Mike to yourself, what troubles, misfortunes, or disasters have befallen you recently? Name three or four.

Did you have any idea they were coming?

Are any of them partly of your own doing?

To avoid becoming a victim, run through the following list of actions. These forecast trouble. Check off any that you are guilty of.

-Driving too fast

-Not having savings to supply extra cash for emergencies

-Trying to provide too much for your children by buying them a car you really can’t afford, loaning them money when you yourself are strapped or signing up for too big a wedding

-Overspending on recreation, clothes, jewelry, home improvements

-Starting a house project when your life is already on fast-forward

-Not paying your quarterly taxes

-Stopping your blood pressure medicine because you feel fine and you don’t like taking it

-Not looking for another job when you know your present one is ending

-Ignoring your child’s poor school performance and his lack of respect for curfew

-Entertaining the idea of having an affair or actually having one

-Trying to wing a presentation or failing to study for a test

If you find yourself heading for trouble, change lanes, put on the brake, take a different route. Not all disasters can be avoided. But don’t be a victim by design.

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Here are some all too frequently used ways to persecute someone:

Blame someone else when you go off your diet.

Smoke in the home of someone who doesn’t smoke.

Be late for an early-morning breakfast date.

Don’t send an RSVP when the invitation clearly calls for it.

Let everyone else in the company know you’re going to fire someone before telling the person himself.

As you’re leaving a meeting on Friday, tell a subordinate in an ominous tone you need to talk with him Monday.

Allow a sales clerk to ring up your purchase first, even though you know someone else was ahead of you.

Always wait until the second notice before paying a bill.

Say you’ll mail a friend’s letter and then let it sit in your car for a week.

Refuse to let another driver pull into your lane.

Make your carpool sit for 10 minutes while you finish getting dressed.

Be a half-hour late for a dinner party and don’t call. And when you get there, don’t apologize.

Stay in bed until the last minute and then scream at the children to hurry up and get ready for school.

Don’t make your child-support payments on time.

Cancel a dental appointment five minutes before you are to be in the dentist’s office.

Make a lot of noise in the morning, even though everyone else is sleeping.

Don’t tip the waitress because the food doesn’t taste good.

Tell a job applicant you’ll call on Monday to tell him whether he got the job, and then don’t call.

Lecture your child for an hour on his transgressions and bring up everything he has done wrong in the past.

Let your dog bark for hours outside in the middle of the night.

Simply hang up when the party on the other end says “Hello” and you realize you’ve called a wrong number.

Lend a book to a friend when you’ve already promised it to another friend.

Never pay back the petty change you borrow.

Throw your spouse’s coffee away without asking whether he or she is finished drinking it.

Use someone else’s idea but take all the credit.

Do you know any other ways that you may be persecuting someone?

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The other day, an editor called me and said, “Doris, I feel crazy. I have so much to do, and I’m never going to get it all done.”

Clearly, this man wasn’t going crazy; but after listening to his schedule with all the deadlines that he had to meet, I could understand why he felt so anxious. It sounded as though he had about 200 hours of work and only about 130 hours left in which to complete the work.

After listening to him list in detail everything he had to do, I asked if he wanted any suggestions, or if I could do anything for him.

He said that just talking helped; and in the end he knew he would get it all done, or at least get done what was absolutely necessary.

So often I hear the same lament in therapy. The person feels that he has too much to do and that he doesn’t have enough time to do it all. His life is disorganized; and if something doesn’t give, he’s going to die of a heart attack.

Usually when someone starts feeling overwhelmed, and most everyone feels overwhelmed occasionally, all the person needs is a good listening ear. In the telling of his tasks, he gets to dissipate some of his anxious feelings. And sometimes in the telling he is able to figure out what absolutely needs to be done versus what he would like to get done.

So when your friend or mate or child tells you how overwhelmed he or she is feeling, give the person an ear. By re­viewing aloud what they have to do, people start to feel more organized because they are sorting through and listing their chores. They feel more in control as they see what they must finish versus what they can put on hold for another week or two.

Rarely do over-extended people need suggestions, but almost always they need someone who will listen.

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It’s sheer agony working for my boss,” a woman recently told me. “He’s unbelievable.”

She continued: “In conversation he always puts you on the defensive. He asks rude questions such as “How old are you anyway?” “Are you a natural blond?” “How much money does your boyfriend make?”

“When he wants to make a point, he puts his hands on your shoulders to let you know he’s serious.”

“He assigns you a project, but then checks up on you 25,000 times. He butts in, changes it. He won’t let you be responsible for it.”

“He comes up and picks lint off my suit. He straightens my collar or my scarf. I want to say ‘Buzz off, slime ball.'”

“He acts like I didn’t have a life before I started working for his company. He thinks he made me what I am.”

“He can’t sit down very long. In the middle of a brain-storming session someone will be talking and he keeps butting in and interrupting. After he says what he wants to say, he gets up and leaves. Or he leaves while someone else is talking. We think he’s gone to the John. He doesn’t come back. We say, ‘Where is Fred?'”

“When decisions are made after one of these brainstorming sessions, he’s mad if we don’t use all his ideas.”

“When he’s with a client, he promises them the world. And then he reneges.”

“He is unbelievably tight when he negotiates salary. He uses every tactic in the book to intimidate you and make you feel insecure. He tells you that earnings are down. Times are hard. He’s doing you a favor by keeping you on the payroll. No one else would want you anyway. He, on the other hand, lives in a million-dollar house and drives a Jag.”

“He talks of being friends and thinks nothing of asking you to stay late or to come in early or give up a weekend. He says, ‘friends do that for each other.’ But he never says thank-you or rewards you with a bonus.”

“He takes your ideas and somehow in a week or two they become his ideas.”

“He starts a conversation in the middle of what he’s thinking about and you are always trying to play catch-up and figure out what he’s talking about.”

“He makes lewd remarks about other women.”

“He makes lewd remarks to your boyfriend about you.”

“He never asks any follow-up questions about your life. You could say, ‘I broke my knee last night’ and he wouldn’t ask you how you did it.”

“Almost everyone thinks he’s a jerk. Doesn’t he get it?”

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