By k | May 21, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

A loved one is a very independent,
highly skilled
project manager.
He’s been suffering lately
because his executive
is interfering in key projects.

‘Why is she doing this?’
he asked.
‘She hired me for my skills.
Why is she now questioning them?’

She isn’t questioning his skills.
She’s questioning HER worth.
Managers like to manage.
They want to add value.
If you don’t give them an outlet
for this urge,
they will manage in ways
you won’t be happy with.

So I advised him
to, every once in a while
send her an email,
asking for her advice.

For example:
He recently came back
from a conference.
At this conference,
he found out a key piece of information
about a prospective customer.

So he sent her an email,
telling her about the information
and asking her whom else
he should share it with.
‘Should I send this information
to the entire project team
or only share it
with the sales rep?’

Yes, the answer is politically important
but it isn’t going to interfere
with his project launch.

She’s happy because she’s managing.
She’s also reassured
that if he needed advice,
he would come to her.
My loved one is happy
because she isn’t interfering
in more critical decisions.

Manager management
is as important as project management.

By k | May 20, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

My replacement at the business gig
started yesterday.
Spending the day with her
showed me how telling
those first day questions are.

What were her questions?

What are the standard working hours?
What are the tasks
I absolutely have to do?
How many coffee breaks can we have?
How long is lunch?

All of them communicated
that she was a 9 to 5′er
and that she would do
only the bare minimum in the job.

Which is fine
if that’s the same story
she communicated
in her interview
(I didn’t interview her).

Pay attention to your new hire’s questions.
They reflect her true concerns.

By k | May 19, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Yesterday’s post
on workplace pet peeves
got me thinking
about what mine were.

The top one has to be…

That we spend most of our lives
(8 hours a day, 5 days a week)
at work
yet we often don’t expend
any effort or dollars
to create our ideal work environment.
We expect the company
to do it for us.

Today,
my replacement at the business gig starts.
The nice (and normal) thing
is for her to be taken out for lunch
with her new team.
My boss has no budget for a lunch.
It was assumed
that would be the end of it.

Nope.

You see,
this woman is taking over my responsibilities.
If she’s not happy,
she’ll leave.
If she leaves,
I’ll end up working there forever.
I don’t want that to happen.
I have novels I want to write.

So I’m organizing a lunch.
Because I’m organizing it,
no one is assuming I’m paying
their way.
I WILL pay for the new employee
and for my own lunch
but that is a small price to pay
to make her feel welcome.

You spend most of your waking hours
at work.
Make it the happiest place
it can possibly be.

By k | May 18, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Randstad’s annual Work Watch Survey
shows that
others’ poor time management skills
is the number one
(at a whopping 43%)
workplace pet peeve.

What is the definition of
others’ poor time management skills?
22% of people replying
define poor management skills
as coworkers taking excessive breaks.

In other words,
when you’re MIA
and someone else has to cover your ass.

In the past,
I worked with a lady
who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day.
I wouldn’t have cared
except that during every smoke break,
I had to deal
with her internal customers.
I ended up working late some nights
because of her frequent smoke breaks
and yes, it irritated the hell out of me.

If you’re going to slack off,
you may wish to minimize
its effect on others.

By k | May 17, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

A literary agent
told authors on the weekend
that sales numbers
on their previous novels
are everything.

It used to be that agents
could finesse publishers
about the sales numbers.
They could pitch the book
and then answer (or evade)
the question about sales.

Now, publishers don’t need
to ask the question.
The moment the agent
mentions the author’s name,
her sales are looked up on BookNet
(or some other tracking system).

The publishers know the numbers.
The booksellers the publishers
must sell in the book to
know the sales numbers.

That is true
in almost all industries.
Your buyers know exactly
how your last product launch did.
You can explain the failure
but you can’t hide or lie about it.

By k | May 16, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Attended an intriguing session
held by Harlequin’s Digital Marketing Team.

Sulemaan Ahmed,
Director of Digital Marketing,
talked about winning over
the BPU.

What is the BPU?
The Business Prevention Team,
that’s what he calls the person
or group of people
who resist every new idea or product launch.

Some of the tactics he reco’s
are
to bombard them with information
(”education is the antidote to ignorance”)
and to share early (or rather all) wins
with everyone,
giving acknowledgment
to all team members involved.
That guy in legal who helped
with the vendor contract?
Associate the win with his name.

Very clever.
That increases the odds
that not only he’ll support your innovation
but other people on his team will also.

BPU’s are in every organization.
If you want to manage projects,
you need to learn how to deal with them.

By k | May 15, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I’ve talked about bridge positions
from a contractor point of view
(how to add value in them),
and
from a manager’s point of view
(how to hire for them).

As I get ready to transfer
my current position
to the new employee,
I thought I’d talk about
how to do this effectively.

Day 1 for the new hire,
she IS the new contact person.
She sits in the former employee’s seat.
She has his phone number.
All emails are sent from her email addie.
She answers all questions.
She is now responsible for the position.

The bridge position contractor
is now a consultant.
Don’t worry about hurting
the contractor’s feelings.
This is what she signed on for.

All the focus should now be
on getting the new hire up to speed,
incorporating her as quickly as possible
into the team.

By k | May 14, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

You don’t need a budget
for team building activities.
You don’t even need time.

On Monday,
my suit and heels (all female) group
is coming in
wearing baseball caps and running shoes.

Just our group.
Just on Monday.

The idea came from a co-worker.
Everyone is excited about it.
Because we’re ‘rebelling’
as a group,
we’re bonding tighter over it.

Team building doesn’t have to cost a cent.
Don’t use that as an excuse.

By k | May 13, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Being a contract person,
I’ve been trained
in many, many different companies.

Most managers advise their staff
to train people
by having the new person sit beside them
and watch them as they work.

Very little is learned this way.
Watching someone work
is as boring as hell and
the trainee’s mind tends to drift.
The expert normally also works
too quickly for the trainee to process
(especially if she is taking notes).

A slower yet more effective method
is for new person to be
the one at the keyboard.
The person training
is sitting beside him/her.
While this slower pace
may drive the trainer batty,
more information is transferred.

And isn’t that the goal
of training?

By k | May 12, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

An acquisitions editor
for a major romance publisher
told me
that she always sends revision letters
before she sends contracts.

Why?

Because editing is a big part
of a writer’s job.
She wants to ensure
the author is open to editing
and can follow directions
before doing business
with her.

This ‘testing’ is,
as it should be,
done during the ‘interview process.’

Look at the key skills
you require in a employee.
Can you test for them
BEFORE you hire?