Category Archives: Work

Mistake # 95: Let there be gossip!

How many companies have your worked for where gossip was king?!  I have had plenty in my day. And, when a company is expecting to conduct layoffs, the gossip becomes rampant; people become fearful; and production goes down the tubes.

An article in the NY Times illustrates how one company eliminated gossiping. When hired, an “agreement to values” is signed so that people are not talked about behind someone’s back. If so, the company has the right to let the individual go, since it is a breach of their agreement. Most importantly, the company management keeps information, including layoffs, timing, reasons for layoffs, all out in the open. Knowing what is expected of each individual, and holding each other accountable, eliminates the need for office gossip.

Further, the company identified how employees can communicate with diverse personalities within the company.  Can you imagine how they can be successful with the diverse personalities of your customers?!

Awesome company! Bravo!

Mistake # 90: Fail to turn in assignments to your manager

What happens when you don’t get specific projects turned in by your direct reports? I have a laundry list of at least ten specific requests to a sales rep, and he never turned these in. It’s beginning to mount. I’m addressing these with him next week.

How can someone do that? What happened in the previous jobs? Pathetic.

Mistake # 88: Are you trustworthy?

I hope so. I mean, your company and what you do rely on the integrity you provide to your customers. Just think if you were perceived as another Bernie Madoff?!  Ugh!

In a recent article in CareerJournal.com, Stephen Covey stresses that you should (1) learn the skills that will earn you greater trust; and (2) don’t over promise what you can deliver. Particularly during these lean times with less resources and  short personnel, that is great advice.

Mistake # 85: The consultant is working on it

Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong way of thinking.  I’ve worked with many consultants in my life. Some I even learned from so much, that they became mentors (two, in particular). However, when you have consultants that really don’t have something specific to do, but are on the monthly company expense report, it’s really hard to justify.

Being a consultant right now could be very lucrative, since many companies have reduced hiring and controlling their activities by hiring freelance work.

Being a consultant right now could be very lucrative, since many companies have reduced hiring and controlling their activities by hiring freelance work.

When you do hire a consultant, I suggest that you at least follow these tips:

* Have specific outcomes monthly on what you expect that individual to perform.  It seems like a very obvious tip, but you would be surprised on how months go by and you are wondering what that individual is actually doing out there!

* Ask the individual to put together a monthly report on activities with specific deliverables attached, along with their invoice. This will monetize the value of this individual on what he/she is performing.

* Speak with the consultant weekly to answer questions, ask questions, identify if he/she is on track—or on the wrong track—to accomplish the assigned project. Just thinking that they are doing what they need to do could be a big problem in the end. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Finally, be sure to evaluate the value of the work the consultant has performed every 3-6 months. You’ll be glad you did!

Mistake # 84: The numbers just don’t add up!

Why is it that every company I’ve worked for has different sales numbers all over the place, and they never add up! I am trying to put together my progress report for the month, and there it is! Six different ways to look at one sales rep’s sales.

Why are they different?  Who knows. All I know is that I’ll spend another hour in the CFO’s office on Monday trying to have him explain which number I should use for my report. Again.

Martini anyone?

Mistake # 83: Text message in the wrong places

Are there etiquette rules out there for adults on text messaging? Anywhere? How about if you are at dinner with your boss and you receive a text message? Should you answer back in between bites of shrimp or prime ribs?

I say nay, nay. I was at dinner not too long ago and my direct-report received a text. He puts his fork down and answers away.  Head down to his lap to poke his fat fingers on the phone’s buttons, I’m still talking to his bald spot on his head. What’s with that?! Is that really necessary?! What happens when he’s at his desk and in the middle of a conference call on the office phone. Does he do that too? It’s unlikely that it is from a customer, because, let’s be honest, what customer would text message a representative for more information?!

Here are three rules for text messaging for employees:

* Text messages are like emails. Answer them when you can, but don’t stop the train to do so. Take a break and go out to a hallway or the work break room to answer your text message.

* Don’t text message in front of your boss. If you do, there are likely to be questions on how you are spending your time–at the computer answering customer questions, or on your phone answering your wife’s questions on what color she should color her hair.

*Don’t ever text message at dinner with clients or your boss. Ever. If you do, it will look like you are not paying attention to the conversation and you have other things to do tend to. “Dad, did u deposit my $ yet? I want 2 go 2 the muveez w/Jak!”

What are your rules for text messaging at work?

Mistake # 82: Create an office mess

My office—and the work stations around me—are a mess! I need a day to clean my space. I’ve got soda cans (due to the cold caffeine needed throughout the day), piles that I have yet time to organize, etc. In all the years (two to be exact) that I have been at my current job, I have never even had time to hang pictures! My office looks worse than a doctor’s examining room. Help!

What does your workspace look like?