Don’t Overlook Younger Workers’ Potential

June 28, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

Young WorkerI’m not much of a golf fan. I certainly can’t play the game and only have a passing interest in it as a spectator. Like the rest of the world, however, I did notice when young Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open a couple of weeks ago.

It’s amazing to see a 22-year-old at the top of his profession. Can you imagine being 22 and ranked as the third best in your profession as Mr. McIlroy is? But it seems more and more common that young people are reaching towering heights while barely out of their teens — or still in them.

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4 Tips from Google CEO Larry Page’s Playbook

April 08, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

Recently, Google Inc. cofounder Larry Page reclaimed the role of chief executive at the Internet company. I really wasn’t surprised when I read that one of Page’s priorities was to cut through the bureaucracy at Google. I’ve worked with and for enough entrepreneurs to know that they prize a nimble and fast-moving approach to business where new ideas can take hold quickly and be tested.

But one must keep in mind that Google has 24,000 employees. So while Page’s goal is a noble undertaking, it won’t be easy. Here are some of the things he is trying in an effort to make Google act more like a start-up. They might be things you can do in your organization or department to increase the pace.

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What It Takes to Be a Team

February 28, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 2 COMMENTS

I’ve been reminded lately about the value of teamwork and how amazingly powerful it can be at work. I’ve watched as some very impressive teams have formed and begun to work together. This experience has led me to consider what the elements of a successful team are. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

T-rust. The “T” in teamwork stands for trust. Without trust, a team cannot function effectively. Of course, it takes time for trust to be built. No team starts off with a high degree of trust. It’s something that must be carefully nurtured. But once trust is developed, it’s a critical contributor to the team’s success. No team will succeed without it. If there isn’t trust, there is no team.

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A Matter of Trust

January 10, 2011 - by: Dan Oswald 5 COMMENTS

The other day, I was faced with a situation where things were not progressing as I had hoped. My frustration led me to have a conversation with a colleague. I shared my dilemma with him and asked what he thought the key was to resuming progress. His response was, “You need to build trust. Obviously the person you’re dealing with doesn’t trust you enough to feel comfortable committing to what you’re asking.”

That conversation got me thinking about trust. It’s the critical element to every successful relationship. This is demonstrated clearly in the military. Soldiers put their lives on the line and need to trust the other members of their platoon implicitly. If they don’t have a high level of trust among the members of the platoon, the mission will be jeopardized and, possibly, lives will be lost.

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Unchain Yourself from Your Desk

December 03, 2010 - by: Dan Oswald 1 COMMENTS

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, my youngest son pulled out his favorite holiday movie to get himself in the Christmas spirit. You see, my wife was planning a day of putting up the Christmas tree, stringing lights outside, and generally decorating our home for the holidays. You might say that not everyone in the family shares her enthusiasm for these duties so my 14-year-old needed a little motivation to get ready for the day.

His method for motivating himself got me thinking. What if everyone could do something to put themselves in the right frame of mind to get the work at hand done? My next thought was, maybe we do. Do we all possess little tricks that allow us to ready ourselves for the tasks at hand? Are there ways that we all summon the courage or enthusiasm to face another day on the job? Or do we just show up and either have “it” that day or not?

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Doing the Wrong Thing – $8 Million; Doing the Right Thing – Priceless

October 22, 2010 - by: Dan Oswald 10 COMMENTS

Just the other day I read a story in one of our publications about Kara Jorud. Kara worked for the retailer Michaels as a store manager beginning in 2001. By all accounts, she was an exemplary manager and a hard worker. Her job required her to work extremely long hours, including weekends.

In late 2007, Kara began to experience serious health issues that were difficult to diagnose. After she informed her district manager about the problems, his treatment of her began to deteriorate. Specifically, she alleged that he: read more…

Did HP’s Board Make the Right Call?

August 20, 2010 - by: Dan Oswald 3 COMMENTS

When a colleague suggested I write about Hewlett Packard’s firing of CEO Mark Hurd, I wasn’t sure there was anything of value to say about this situation. But on further reflection I think there is a clear lesson in all of this.

Mark HurdYou might recall that on August 6, Hurd resigned under pressure from HP’s board. According to a company statement, a woman who had romantic ties to Mr. Hurd, who is married, “received compensation and/or expense reimbursement where there was not a legitimate business purpose, as well as numerous instances where inaccurate expense reports were submitted by Mark or on his behalf that intended to or had the effect of concealing Mark’s personal relationship with the contractor.”

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What Really Motivates Employees?

July 09, 2010 - by: Dan Oswald 4 COMMENTS

The other day a colleague here at M. Lee Smith Publishers suggested I take a look at a video that’s posted on YouTube. The video he wanted me to see was an animation adapted from a speech given by author Daniel Pink. The title of the video was the same as Mr. Pink’s latest book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Hmm, someone’s sending a message to the boss.

I must say that I found the video to be very enlightening.

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Your Company Benefits When It Supports the Community

June 18, 2010 - by: Dan Oswald 0 COMMENTS

Forgive me for bragging, but I’ve got a group of fantastic coworkers. Many of them were in action again this morning. You see, some of our people volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House here in Nashville today. As I write this, they’ve already served breakfast to the families staying there and another team will be serving lunch. In addition, we have a group that will be getting together during their lunch hour to make blankets for the families of the Ronald McDonald house.

It’s amazing to watch people come together to perform selfless acts that benefit others who are in need. Ever since the Nashville community rose up to help its own in the days and weeks following the flood that devastated many parts of our city, I’ve been thinking about how wonderful people can be in times of need — and how the people who do the volunteering often are the ones who benefit the most.

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Recognition for a Job Well Done

March 11, 2010 - by: Dan Oswald 2 COMMENTS

Employee recognition is an important, and often overlooked, part of management. Everyone likes to know that their contributions are recognized and appreciated. Yet, as managers, we all get wrapped up in the day-to-day activities of the business and can lose sight of the need to show our appreciation for the efforts our people make.

And the thing is, it doesn’t take much to let people know that their work is important and valued. A quick note in their box thanking them for finishing up a big project can do the trick. A short email praising them for closing a sale can let them know you’re paying attention. A quick pat on the back or just sticking your head in the door when you’re walking by shows them that you’re aware of the work they’re doing. I’ve even heard it suggested that a quick note or call to the employee’s spouse or significant other is a great way to let a valued employee know that they’re appreciated. None of this takes more than a few minutes, but it can be an invaluable management tool.

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