Don’t Be An %#*hole!

April 30, 2012 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

A colleague recently suggested I read the book, The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t. Maybe I should have asked what his motives were in suggesting that I read this particular book. I didn’t. Some things you just don’t want to know!

The book was a New York Times bestseller, so plenty of people have read it. I’d say it has some good lessons for everyone. But, what amazed me were some of the stories the author, Robert I. Sutton, told about assholes in the workplace.

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And the Survey Says . . . We Have a Problem

April 20, 2012 - by: Dan Oswald 3 COMMENTS

The results of a recent survey of our employees here at BLR are in and, frankly, I’m concerned.

You see, our survey contained 27 statements about our work environment. The employees were asked whether they agreed with each statement and how strongly they agree or disagree with it. The statements covered individual, departmental, and company-wide items such as performance feedback, recognition, communication, personal development, and fairness.

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Here’s to the Crazy Ones

April 09, 2012 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

I’ve been reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. It’s an interesting read because Jobs was a fascinating character. Jobs was a polarizing figure, revered by many and hated by others. But regardless of how anyone might feel about him, there’s no denying the man was a creative genius.

Shortly after Jobs’ death I wrote the following: “Steve Jobs has been called the greatest American innovator since Thomas Edison. Like Edison, his contributions have changed the lives of people worldwide and will continue to do so for generations to come. Now that’s a legacy!”

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The Battle of Control vs. Collaboration

February 13, 2012 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

I think it’s a natural tendency for people to want to be in control. In fact, I read the other day that the feeling of a lack of control contributes significantly to a person’s stress level. So, it makes sense that all of us would prefer to be in control. It certainly beats the alternative of being controlled! Right?

The definition of control is, “the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events.” Think about those words for a minute. Let’s start with the first four words of the definition, “the power to influence.” Well, right off the bat, that sounds like less than what most of us think of as control. The “power to influence” seems like a bit of a hedge to me. Control means things are happening exactly as we dictate, nothing less. Well, if you’re only influencing events, then you aren’t dictating them.

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Enough is Enough: You Can’t Make Progress Without Action

January 30, 2012 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

They say to never talk about religion or politics, but I’m going to risk it today. The President gave his State of the Union speech last Tuesday night. I was at a dinner event and missed it. And, I’m sad to say, I really don’t care that I didn’t hear it.

You see, I’m incredibly frustrated by what’s going on in Washington, D.C. I know I might be a little late to the party. Millions of Americans have long been frustrated with what’s going in our nation’s capitol, but I think partisan politics has risen to a level never seen before.

The morning of the State of the Union address, I read that the President last met with Republican leaders on July 23, 2011. That’s six months ago! Now before anyone jumps to any conclusions and determines that I’m going to bash our President, let me just say there is plenty of blame to go around. That is, both parties are to blame for the mess we currently have in Washington, D.C. read more…

Loyalty Unchecked Leads to Headaches and Heartache

January 23, 2012 - by: Dan Oswald 5 COMMENTS

Legendary college football coach Joe Paterno died on Sunday after a battle with lung cancer. But by many accounts, some people who knew him well say the 85-year-old died of a broken heart. I think Joe Paterno’s career at Penn State University is worth closer examination because there are lessons for employers and employees alike.

Joe Paterno spent his entire career at Penn State University, coming to the school as an assistant coach in 1950. That’s not a typo — 1950. That’s 62 years ago. I’d be willing to wager that only a small minority of those reading this were working full-time in 1950. After 15 years as an assistant, Paterno was named head coach in 1966 — the same year I was born. And he spent the next 46 years winning football games and impacting the lives of young men. In that span he chalked up 409 wins, more than any coach in NCAA football history.

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Sometime You’ve Gotta Use the “F” Word

November 21, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 2 COMMENTS

Recently, I was intrigued by a Wall Street Journal article — “A Four-Letter Word Schools Won’t Use.” It said that colleges absolutely refuse to use the “F” word. Yes, it’s true. Schools avoid using the word “FIRE” at all costs.

According to the article, the writer analyzed 50 recent news releases announcing coaching changes in college football and basketball. Of the 50 releases reviewed, not a single one contained the word “fired” — zip, zilch, nada.

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The ‘Flip Side’ of Mr. Naysayer

August 15, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 2 COMMENTS

After last week’s post I received an email from a reader who had a suggestion:

You need to write about the “flip side” of Mr. Naysayer.

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4 Tips for Dealing with Mr. Naysayer

August 08, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 2 COMMENTS

The other day a colleague shared this Dilbert cartoon with me:

Dilbert cartoon strip

My initial reaction was that the message of this cartoon sums up the way the two parties in Washington, D.C. approach one another. ” Everything you said is right, but I have a reflexive urge to disagree with you.” Sounds very much like something a Republican might say to a Democrat or vice versa.

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Open and Honest Communication

July 29, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

People want to know what’s going on where they work. They want to know what the organization is trying to accomplish — the mission thing. They want to know how the business is going to get there — the vision thing.  And, most of all, they want to know how the company is doing at accomplishing its mission.

As a manager, it’s your job to communicate with the people who work for you so they know where the company is headed and how well it’s performing. Many managers make the mistake of only sharing information on a “need-to-know” basis. They wrongly believe that if the information isn’t directly related to the employee’s day-to-day activities that he doesn’t need to know.

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