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Showing posts from May, 2014

Random thoughts

I believe:

that 9 out of 10 people can be wrongthat democracy is the best we have, but it is flawedthat people jump to conclusions, rationalise and then present their conclusions as factsthat people shouldn't tell you that you look tired, its very demoralisingthat black is always the new black, orange cannot be the new blackthat if you trust people, you will be right most of the time, but trust does not mean naivethat family comes firstthat some friends are familythat if a tree falls in the forest, it does make a soundthat kindness is its own reward, but a thank you makes it shinierthat you should lift while you growthat two in the hand is worth a gamblein the butterfly effectin the halo effectthat most people can be persuaded to do the right thing (maybe not Boko Haram)that money might not buy happiness, but it makes tough times easier to handlethat people think that if others know their weight or age, they look fatter and olderthat if nobody sees you eating, it is not nearly as f…

Managing with Respect

The divide between management and employees is often touted as key to effective leadership.   Many managers believe that they need to create distance to maintain a respectful relationship.

We also hear constantly that respect has to be earned.  In the old days, the title alone earned respect.   Today, people are very critical of people in senior and public roles.

Our right to question corruption, ineffectiveness and inefficiencies in management has to be a part of keeping businesses honest.

There are ways, though, and treating people with respect, no matter what they have done, creates a generally more positive work environment.

We have moved a long way from being able to publicly humiliate staff who have not done their jobs properly.   It does not mean that issues are not confronted, simply that they are confronted as confidentially as possible.

There are some negatives around this, not least that other employees might believe the transgressor has not been dealt with, particularly if…

Age, height and now weight - do they define us at work?

People I love who drive me crazy

You must know them too, those naturally slim people who eat whatever they like with no effect on their figures, and (its usually the same ones) who put their heads on the pillow at night and sleep until their alarm wakes them..............   But let's focus on the weight issue.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - Fat or Slim?

In Mauritania, fat women are considered beautiful, and force feeding young girls is part of their culture.  It is changing, but is still carried out on 75% of girls in rural areas.

In the Western world, slimness is seen as beautiful and healthy.   And yet, obesity in the States is a growing concern.   In fact, I understand that the current generation of children are expected to be the first not to live to a greater age than their parents.

Is weight important in the workplace?

There are people who believe that the overweight are lazy and undisciplined in their lifestyles, and this will carry through to their work ethic.   This…

More about numbers - height and success

Age and retirement struck a few chords with my readers and I received some lovely, funny emails on the subject.

I was amazed at how many people are actively trying to hide their ages from their colleagues because of the potential negative impact.   Its not easy to do, either, because our SA ID numbers immediately disclose age, and confidentiality is far from guaranteed.   I don't know how many other countries use age as part of their identification systems????

And then there is height.   As if we can influence our height or age!

Why do we define men by how tall they are?   I understand that tall men are more likely to get into senior positions, and they are often put into leadership roles at school, too.  It appears height grants you gravitas.

The following article from Business Insider quotes Harvard Review:
Men who are at least 6' tall make an average salary of $5,525 more than their shorter, 5'5 counterparts, says Harvard University,
Another study polled half of all the Fo…

Its all about the numbers - retirement age

Weight, height, age, dress size, shoe size, all numbers that we (and the media) use to define people.

I was fascinated by an article from the Leicester Mercury where the age of each witness to a bus crash in January were carefully listed.

Sue Kellett, 56, whose front garden is bordered by the wall, was one of the first at the scene.

Read more: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Bus-driver-airlifted-hospital-collision-tractor/story-20512289-detail/story.html#ixzz31lXUuyZg

Read more at http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Bus-driver-airlifted-hospital-collision-tractor/story-20512289-detail/story.html#9cHShVptF30lJw4X.99 Sue Kellett, 56, whose front garden is bordered by the wall, was one of the first at the scene.

Read more: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Bus-driver-airlifted-hospital-collision-tractor/story-20512289-detail/story.html#ixzz31lXUuyZg

Read more at http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Bus-driver-airlifted-hospital-collision-tractor/story-20512289-detail/story.html#9cHShVptF3…

Benevolent Sexism

Possibly an extension of paternalism, benevolent sexism, and his ugly brother, hostile sexism, have become a subject of much study.   And then there is the stepbrother, ambivalent sexism, to add to the mix.

Mentioned in Sheryl Sandberg's best seller Lean In, it is a topic that is definitely gaining momentum among women in business.    The fact that it is seen as higher in people in traditional marriages (man being the major breadwinner) is very interesting, particularly as the use of the word people is deliberate, both men and women in traditional marriages, are often seen as being benevolently sexist.

Melanie Tannenbaum's article has received a lot of commentary, and both the article and the comments are well worth reading.  Because it isn't simple, most times telling a woman she looks great is just a compliment!   But there are times when the line gets crossed.

At a recent talk I gave, a young woman asked how she should handle being patronised, because she had achieved s…

Making your last month a networking opportunity.

Exit Strategy or Networking Opportunity - former title

Sometimes when you have resigned, it just feels like you can't wait to get out of there.

The new position beckons, all bright and new, glistening with possibilities, and it is so unfair that you have to work out your notice period, with good grace, especially when you are earning much less money.

Would you rehire?

"Would you rehire?" is the question most recruiters ask former employers.

And the question we should all be asking ourselves is "Would my employers rehire me?"

Have you ever asked them?   If you resigned, would they be fighting to keep you, or would they say nice things, and be quietly sighing with relief?

Or maybe even doing the Dance of Joy.... (See below for link)

At your next evaluation or one-on-one, consider asking the question.   You might be pleasantly surprised, or you might hear the opposite of your expectations.

We often sit in those dreaded appraisals, and the only thing we are trying to do is fight for a higher number on the various ratings.   What about really trying to find out if you are delivering, rather than bickering over 3s and 4s with your line manager?

If their perception of you is vastly different from what you believe about yourself, this is the time to take this very scary step, and ask for honesty.

"Would you rehire me?"   and l…

Knowledge Workers - value for money?

+Accsys (Pty) Ltdsupplies software and services. We sell the software under licence and provide regular software updates and improvements, training and a phone service for assisting with queries.   Our consultants neatly fit the definition of knowledge workers.
Having spoken to other companies with similar business models, there seems to be a common thread that there are clients that see service charges as a grudge purchase. While Service Level Agreements (SLAs) may alleviate this, many companies would rather handle payment for on site service on an ad hoc basis.
The problem is that software is not tangible, and quantifying the value of the time that is being charged for services is challenging. In addition, there may be a lack of trust in the amount of time really needed to do the job.
Recently, I visited a medical specialist. I was kept waiting in reception for over an hour, and then spent 48 minutes in his rooms.

The charge was R4 800, yes, R100 per minute.

We have also had a plumber do…