Thursday, May 28, 2009

Becoming More Effective

Productivity measures what it takes to get a job done. We can improve productivity by doing more with fewer resources or less effort.

Efficiency measures how quickly and accurately we accomplish something. We can be come more efficient by working faster while maintaining or improving quality.

Effectiveness is the result of productivity and efficiency. We are effective when we do the right tasks and reach our goals.

Improving effectiveness is everyone’s responsibility. It is said that one minute of planning saves five minutes of execution. That’s a 500% return on your effort. Small gains in productivity can produce big results. This is illustrated by the Japanese concept of kaizen.

What are the benefits of becoming more effective?
Why is it important for you to become more effective?
What obstacles prevent you from becoming more effective?

See the entry for "Kaizen" to set an improvement goal.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Are you your boss's partner?

Partnership means that you:

• Prioritize job tasks.
• Accept higher levels of responsibility.
• Communicate assertively and appropriately.
• Enhance your abilities and skills.
• Take initiative.
• Offer solutions.
• Seek opportunities to help your boss succeed.
• Work effectively with others.
• Respect your boss and understand his/her needs.
• Respect confidences.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Motivational Styles -- Part 1

Toward vs. Away From Styles

This is the classic carrot vs. stick approach. People with a toward style are goal-oriented and are motivated by the pleasure they will get when they achieve a goal or reward. They want the carrot. Toward-oriented people know what they want and are willing to take risks to get it. They are the ones who sell the most widgets in order to win the trip to Paris. Many high achievers, managers, and leaders have a toward style. Because they may be motivated solely by achieving their goals, they may be less interested in the process of achieving the goal. Toward-oriented people can also be controlling and may dominate teams.

The away-from style is the opposite. They act to avoid the pain because they do not want the stick! Away-from oriented people do not respond well to goals, but rather act in order to avoid the consequences of not acting. They dislike problems and difficulties, know what they do not want, and will work to avoid it. They tend to be more cautions than toward-oriented people. However, they also find it harder to maintain motivation. With this style, as soon as the pain or threat is mitigated, they lose motivation and stop acting.

A toward person goes to the dentist because they want attractive healthy teeth. An away-from person goes to the dentist because they do not want cavities. A toward person wants to lose 25 pounds to look better and be healthier. An away-from person wants to lose 25 pounds so they will not have a heart attack or stroke. In each example, the results are the same, but the reasons for acting -- the motivation styles -- are very different.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How Far Can You Go?

They might as well put a honing device in your bra, a camera in your car, and a listening bug in your Coach bag. No, it’s not the newest Bond flick. Around 75% of employers monitor employees’ electronic communications in some way; one-third monitor keystrokes! That’s right. Every time your fingers move across your keyboard, someone may be watching what you are typing. Creepy, huh?

Did you know your company might be checking what websites you visit using company computers – even take-home laptops -- and company time? If they find anything X-rated, you may find yourself an X-employee pretty quickly.

Did you know your company cells might have GPS to track your whereabouts when the phone is on? That quickie manicure, Nordstrom’s emergency or visit to mom may not be perceived as so innocent.

What about using your own cell at work? Surely that’s sacred, right? Well, your company can’t listen in, but it can track how much time you spend on your cell when you’re supposed to be working. Heck, some companies track how much time you spend in the bathroom.

Some bosses take a hard line with all this; other bosses are more laid back and understand you have a life outside the office. And many companies have a “reasonable use” policy for using technology for personal reasons at work.

Check your company's manual and find out how far you can go before you go too far!

Shaking Hands

Shaking hands properly is a mark of professionalism and sets the tone of the interaction. Too strong a shake, or too limp, and you put people off.

1. Extend your right hand, perpendicular (at a 90 degree angle) to the ground. Don't tip it to either side.

2. Exert the amount of pressure you would if you were squeezing an avocado. No more, no less.

3. Hold the grip for a moment with a brief up and down movement, then release. Do not cover the handshake with your left hand. Do not pump the hands as if you were priming a pump.Here's a good article on handshaking: