Stop the Bus!

I work with a liaison who, when faced with criticism or complaints about the performance of his team, throws EVERYONE under the bus, myself included. He does not want to take responsibility for the problems, perhaps thinking that if he does he might come closer to being fired due to the cut throat nature of his company’s work culture, so instead he deflects. He will blame the delivery guys, the warehouse guys, the merchandising guys, he will blame the advertising plans and marketing efforts, saying they are either not enough or that they were not targeted. fun fact, he heads the S&M (giggle) team and he approves the very plans he criticises. He is not a team player in tough times and he drives the proverbial bus over everyone. I was upset about it and complained to my co-worker whose response was “get your own bus!” 

I do have my own bus, for this guy and his team are not at all without flaws, however, I don’t think that this parade of buses is the way to go. I don’t want every meeting to feel like we’re playing in traffic and someone is going to get run over any second. I want us to be able to work together and realise that we all want the same thing – more sales. So I’m sticking with the pedestrian route and trying to use Stop signs – I don’t retaliate, I ensure that all my comments have a positive tone even if I have something negative to say and I always say “we” to enforce the fact that we are indeed a team.

How do you deal with being thrown under the bus? Do you get your own and return the favour or do you stay pedestrian? Tell me in the comments.

Optimise it!

not mom, not my room, but close enough.

My room is clean and tidy. Those words are akin to the last words of any general uttered at the end of any long and arduous battle. Shout out to my main soldier – Mom – who saw the carnage and sought to rescue me. 

Seriously, the chaos of that tiny space was intense! Why? Well two reasons – 1) I am a pack-rat and I have terrible trouble letting go of papers, books, knick knacks etc because I feel like I’ll need them later on.

2) I fix my room in a way that is not conducive to keeping it tidy. I fix my room in the way that it “should” look according to other sane people but i’m crazy and lazy and things like “folding” and “putting on hangers” never get done.

This time, I’m determined to maintain this clean and tidy look (I’ve got space to spread down my yoga mat or to have a solo dance party and I’m not giving that up!). So to ensure continuity, I sat down and thought about how exactly I operate and fixed my room to facilitate these processes. For example, I always fling my jeans/pants onto the little basket that I’m supposed to fold and put them in. I was honest with myself, am I going to start folding? NO! So instead of continuing to facilitate this failing folding process, I instead used a little rack my mom bought me to facilitate said flinging. So when the jeans are flung, the room will still be tidy and this new rack also eliminates wrinkles etc that the jeans and other pants would get when flung on the basket. 

We act like this at work. We set-up our desks and our work processes based on the way we “should” or we work hard trying to make ourselves perhaps tasks in a way that doesnt come easy to us. Perhaps we continue with a method we came and found when we took the job, perhaps we set-up our desk the way our superiors like to see it. Even when Efficiency Specialists are called in, they often look at ways to change employee behaviour to fit the processes that management would like to see, however this seldom achieves maximum productivity. They (and you!) should be looking at how workers naturally go about their tasks and seek to facilitate this as it makes the job easier and faster. (Obviously within the safety / ethical rules and regulations)

So take a few minutes to ponder how YOU work, are those spreadsheets really helping you in their current format, is having the papers on the left side of your desk convenient? If not, move things around to suit you. You may be the weird one in the office for a bit but when your productivity goes up, you’ll be applauded (and probably copied!). 

Have a great Tuesday and see you all on Thursday!

I Got a Beef with This

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Apologies for picture quality but the caption was too perfect not to post (image from artizans, as if you couldn’t tell…)

Alfred Hitchcock is famous for his alleged observation that “Actors are cattle”; he later corrected this observation noting: “I said ‘Actors should be treated like cattle’. Many businesses feel the same way about their employees – just there to be herded and supply labour or products. But what the former do not realize is that without the latter they are nothing. Those scripts can’t bring themselves to life, how many times has a good movie or play been ruined by sub-par performances? In the same way a great product can’t sell itself. Sure it can make people want it without much advertising but if there is no one to make it, deliver it, bag it or parcel it out or even simply answer the phone, it’s not going anywhere. Even self-check out lines need an attendant. If somehow you managed to get your customers to perform all these duties, the store still needs to be cleaned, good luck getting your customer to pick up a broom!

So treat your employees well, they are an important part of the process that makes your business succeed. Still not convinced? Ok one last example – think about the last restaurant  you went to that had terrible wait-staff, you probably don’t even remember the food! Prime example of good product being undermined by bad personnel.

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Here’s an extra pic for laughs! it’s adorable!

Good Human Resource Management saves you more than it costs, and you can do it on the cheap – just congratulate them when they do well and let them have some autonomy.

Ever been treated like cattle at work? Or have an opinion? Comment and let me know!

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