Sunday, November 24, 2013

A little advice


Polonius’ Advice to Laertes

Hamlet I, iii, 55-81
Yet here, Laertes! aboard, aboard, for shame! The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail, And you are stay’d for. There; my blessing with thee! And these few precepts in thy memory See thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue, Nor any unproportioned thought his act. Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar. Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel; But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatch’d, unfledged comrade. Beware Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in, Bear’t that the opposed may beware of thee. Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice; Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy; For the apparel oft proclaims the man, And they in France of the best rank and station Are of a most select and generous chief in that. Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine ownself be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell: my blessing season this in thee!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

This Bully Business

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse: emotional, verbal, and physical. It typically involves subtle methods of coercion such as intimidation. Bullying behavior may include name calling, verbal or written abuse, exclusion from activities, exclusion from social situations, physical abuse, or coercion. Since the early 2000s, attention has steadily increased on addressing this problem in schools but headlines have recently focused on the National Football League.   

Richie Incognito, Jr. of the Miami Dolphins was suspended indefinitely for allegedly harassing a teammate. Before the NFL, he played college football at Nebraska. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft and also played for the Buffalo Bills during the 2009 season. In 2012 he was honored with an invitation to the Pro Bowl. This news story is still unfolding and includes the culture of professional football. We’ll hear more before all is said and done. 
Inside the context of pro sports it isn’t hard to imagine this behavior getting out-of-control. The media spotlight will find similarly high profile activity within corporate culture soon enough. It is a serious problem when there is a perceived imbalance of power. Add pressure to succeed and desire to fit in and you have a recipe that can result in an explosive combination of human interaction. Bullying often takes place in the presence of a large group of relatively uninvolved bystanders. A bully creates an illusion that he/she has the support of the majority and instills the fear. Unless the bully mentality is effectively challenged, in any given group, in early stages, it becomes an accepted, or supported, norm within a group.  

Therein lies the opportunity to put a halt to it. Speak out! It is easier said than done of course, when you see it happening in a corporate boardroom. But is it important. It is the right thing to do. Incognito cases of camouflaging problems to disguise unacceptable behavior between associates in the workplace can have extreme and dire consequences. Be on the lookout and do your part to stop it.    

Friday, November 1, 2013

Be a Part of the Solution

According to some experts, after three years at the same job, you've learned 90 percent of what you're going to learn there. So even if you're satisfied with where you are now, switching jobs can help you gain important new expertise and skills. Furthermore, the days of the 30 year gold watch employee are long gone. Churn is happening as businesses assess the needs of their organizations.

As a veteran of advertising, marketing and communications business I have noticed an unfortunate consequence of changes in the nature of human resources. Companies expect loyalty but increasingly it isn’t a reciprocal expectation. More is asked of fewer individuals. No guarantees.

Increasingly the job life cycle goes in three phases.

1.      Being a part of the solution. (S)

2.      Being a part of the problem and being a part of the solution. (P/S)

3.      Being a part of the problem. (P)    

Phase I (S): It generally works like this. As you join an organization you have undoubtedly navigated the employment process, recruitment, assessments and interviews. You get an offer and (hopefully) you are determined to apply your talents to solving problems. You want to make things better. You can see as an outsider, as you study the company, that you can be instrumental in change. You see yourself as part of the solution.

Phase II (P/S): After a while, It could be a year (It could be six months), you realize that the solution is more difficult to obtain than you first imagined. You face the facts that some systemic issues have evolved over time. Rather than make yourself stark raving mad, you conclude that you must work within the system, no matter how dysfunctional. You tell yourself that playing along for a while will allow you to affect change from the inside/out. So essentially you are making peace with being a part of the problem (part of the time) while focusing on being a meaningful change agent – part of the solution (part of the time).

Phase III (P): Like a drug you find that being a part of the system is easier. You feel more secure. You might even admit it. You are fearful and are making decisions based on job security and fitting into a culture.

It’s too bad. Being a part of the solution is more satisfying. It’s really too bad that being part of the problem is safer. But chances are you still aren’t gonna get a gold watch!   

Phase I (S) Solution; Phase II (P/S); Phase III (P) Problem.