Setting communication standards

Management is about delegation, communication, and motivation. Peter Drucker warns that, “There seems to be little correlation between a man’s effectiveness and his intelligence, his imagination or his knowledge.” (The Effective Executive)

When managing any group of people, from three up to multinational corporations, communication is paramount. Any misstep in communication regarding expectations, assignments, etc, rests solely with the management. (Any lag in communication regarding issues that arise in the trenches are most likely the cause of ineffective management as well, as effective communications in the past will lead to open channels of dialogue in times of crisis.)

The importance of communication is the shared understanding. “Communications are a two-way process.  You can be certain of what you communicated, but how can you be sure what you communicated was understood by the receiver? The assurance of your message being understood begins with the message and the manner of delivery.” (University Survival)

Interview questions

“Think of a time that you were in a stressful situation at work, and tell me how you handled it.”

“What do you consider to be your weaknesses?”

“Tell me about a time you had to choose something else over doing a good job.”

“If you were an animal, what kind would it be and why?”

The interview question. I don’t even know what to say about the interview question. Does it matter? Can you gauge a person’s aptitude, willingness to work, good behavior, ethics, attention to detail, etc. off an interview? Human Resources departments would say yes, undoubtedly.

I’m not convinced. I’ve seen some slick monkeys give amazing answers to these questions. You know what slick monkeys use their slickness for in the workplace? Sliding out of responsibilities.

What’s an animal in the trenches? An elephant? A donkey? That’s not a sexy animal to be. (I didn’t mean to take the animal thing and run with it. But I grabbed the metaphor and it grabbed me back.)

But seriously – how can you gauge talent? It has to come down to a feeling. Sure, sometimes something slick will slide by you, and you won’t catch it until you’re undoing some mess  that’s been made. And, more often than not, you’ll be passing on honest-to-goodness qualified talent, because you just can’t hire everyone that would do a great job. You’re going to watch them get away, and you shouldn’t even give that a second thought.

I like the Google example in The Internship. In deciding whether to admit to seasoned (nee, old) out-of-work salesmen into the internship program, one of the reviewers asked, “Our final judgment is always based on the layover test, right? Who would you rather be stuck next to at an airport bar for a six-hour delay?”

Maybe that person is the next golden goose for your company, and that’s no bull… (I’m done, I swear.)

A matter of principle

Every now and then you may be asked to do something you don’t agree with. It could be small, or maybe something much larger. But how do you adhere to your principles when maybe it’s your job on the line.

The workplace should have an open forum for that kind of discussion. Something that doesn’t devolve into a shouting match. You shouldn’t have to choose to defend your principles or to keep you job.

But if you are asked to choose, maybe it’s time to find a different employer.

Developing your business plan

What is it that people need? What can you offer that isn’t already out there? Or what can you do better than someone else already is?

These are the thoughts when sitting down to work on your business.

  • Do you have a product or service that will fill a need? One that isn’t already being met.
  • Do you see something that can be improved upon? By how much? Is it an incremental improvement, or exponential?

All products and services come down to that. Filling a need. Savvy marketers know how to create the need, but it always comes back to need. 

So what is it that you need? How would you fill the need. And, then, do you think others may share that specific need?

If so, then you may just have a business in its fledgling stages.

Working a job with no name

That makes me think of Yojimbo, or A Fistful of Dollars. One of the gigs I work is a cash-only business, and I’m just Mike. No last name, no past. I couldn’t tell you the surnames of any I work with, save two or three. And that’s a weird sensation.

You hide out at work like that. Someone on the run. Someone looking to reinvent themself. Someone covering up the outside life.

With a little digging, it’s easy enough to find a last name. It’s not witness protection. But it’s not the usual work either. It was just a little oddity in a world full of oddities.

Changes

I suppose it’s been three years in the making, but the time has come to make some pretty extensive changes. I’m making them in my living situation, my work – both the where and why, my finances, and even here on the blog and at my website. So, expect one or two differences here over the next month. I’m excited for the opportunities.

On Becoming

When we’re born, the whole world is open to us. Every new day brings new discovery. What changes?

School. Rather that look to the world, we are conditioned to look to our educators – our supervisors – for instruction. That’s where new things are to be found – in the wisdom of those leading us.

I’m quite fond of teachers, and most do the best that they can, within a broken system. But education now is set up with industrial processes in mind. All cogs must perform equal tasks. Outliers will not be tolerated.

There is an outcry against teaching to the test for this very reason.

The environment today resembles more the environment of learning in the 15th century – the period directly following the creation of the printing press. Knowledge is democratized, and the industrial complex is no longer guaranteed work.