Peace and Freedom for Iran!
Respect Life, Defend the Weakest Among Us!

Friday, June 26, 2009

You're Fired, Now What?

It can happen to anybody, like me! Yes, you get the call from your director with the appropriate apologies and warm feelings. Now what? Perhaps you have kids, a mortgage, a pregnant wife, is this the end?

Take heart! Since you are a good manager, you have taken the time to build strong networking relationships in your company, right? You have also spent time getting the right training for this eventuality. You'll be fine, at least that's what everybody tells you. RingCentral Online - Free Trial plus 10% Off

Losing a job is one of the most difficult emotional, financial, and stress-inducing situations a person can face. Like somebody who has lost a loved one, a person who has lost a job often has diminished, higher order thinking skills. They also have diminished short term memory. The physical brain responds to emotional stress by focusing on life-preserving functions. It re-directs capacity from high-order thinking to low-order thinking. Sadly, many are unaware that it is happening. Now that you know what will happen, take action!

If you lose your job, for the first couple of days, make sure you write things down, more so than you normally would. Try to avoid making major decisions for up to 6 weeks, if possible. If not, make sure you consult a trusted friend who can give you an unbiased opinion. Land your next best job. Get started.

Additionally, use your social network. Notify your friends and colleagues on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter that you are immediately on the market. Ask for advice, leads, and support. Consider all opportunities thoroughly and make sure you have folks you trust to give good advice. While Web 2.0 is awesome, don't count on your three, excellently written blogs to generate sufficient income ( and

Finally, when it comes time to leave your current job, do so with dignity. Be positive in your exit interview. Personally give your best wishes to those around you, even the person who fired you. It is a small world and gestures of courtesy and professionalism are well-remembered. Please remember also that your life is more valuable than any job or amount of money. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, get help immediately! Contact, tell a friend, your religious leader, a police officer, anybody, just get help.

The Ladders - Search $100K+ Jobs by City

Monday, June 22, 2009

Hey Boss, How are You Holding Up?

Stress is a very hot topic in 2009. The global economy is falling or scratching rock bottom and record unemployment is sticking around.

As a manager, you are not immune from these stresses. You may have had to lay off some of your staff. You may have seen some of your best customers go under or quit using your services. Your peers, superiors and staff are all acting a little funny. How are you holding up? All Inclusive for 60% Off! Save Up to 60% on Your All Inclusive Vacation in the Caribbean. Get Your Instant Quote Today!

It is very easy to believe to stick our collective heads in the sand and pretend this stress isn't adding up. We have sent out numerous "Dear Colleague" letters to help focus our staffs on customers and to keep their minds on the business. However, the stress has taken its toll. You have probably worried about your job and how to keep your business running. All of the stress adds up, but you can do something about it!

Annie McKee of Harvard Business Publishing wrote an article titled, "Are You About to Snap? Snap Out of It!" with four great points. A virtual PBX system with voicemail and Internet Fax. Try it free today.

1. Stop, look, and listen - It is time to pull yourself together. Observe what is being said by employees, managers and customers. Listen for subtle cries for help and overt calls for improvement. Acknowledge the reality and plan for action.

2. Ask people how they feel - Most people don't walk around the office telling anybody who will listen their woes. However, in stressful times, people like to know their feelings are important. It is good to folks to opportunity to vent their fears and frustrations. Also, really good creative thought comes out of stressful situations.

3. Decide on three or four absolute must-do's for yourself at work. Prioritize and execute! Sounds familiar, doesn't it? If you try to do everything, nothing will get done. As headcount diminishes, the amount of work for those still working increases. Focus yours and the work of your staff around the most critical items. Determine what is truly urgent and what can wait. However, have a plan to address those thinks that didn't make the "Urgent" list.

4. Attend to yourself — and the people you love. Life is too short to ignore your loved ones and yourself. Your kids and your spouse need you too, and you need them! Make time to have dinner with your family, and then get back work if you must. Burn out is a real risk. Prevent it with small breaks and short get-aways. Also, don't neglect your physical and mental health.

The current business climate is challenging, to say the least. However, stress is not new. When considering stress and crisis, good crisis management and common sense can help you steer your ship and lead your crew to a safe harbor, even in the stormiest of seas. Observe the conditions, take care of your crew, set the priorities, and take care of yourself. Oh how I wish I were on a boat!

Low Fares to France and Europe

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Experiential Knowledge Interview

In my previous post, "What Do We Do Now?" I wrote about three ways to improve existing customer relationships, as well as build new customers during periods of gross economic uncertainty. I highlighted the need for experiential knowledge, summed up in three words, Ask, Watch, and Do. Find Premium Management Jobs on Doostang. Start Now!

After writing that piece, I came upon a great interview done by Wharton Business School with Rita Gunther McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School. She co-authored a book with Wharton professor of innovation and entrepreneurship and co-leader of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, Ian MacMillan. The book, titled "Discovery-Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity," McGrath and MacMillan discuss ways companies can grow without spending vast sums of money. They also discuss experiential knowledge as way to not only chose the right projects, but also to modify them, as circumstances change. Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on The Free Trading Community.

Enjoy the interview!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Do We Do Now?

The economic situation of 2009, with high unemployment, tight credit, and a rapidly changing regulatory climate has made selling to now tight-fisted customers that much harder.

How do managers lead their teams to not just survive these difficult times, but also increase their customer base? Below are some real world suggestions to come out ahead

Face it, we are working on mental overload. The work, government, and social environment is changing so fast that our ability to manage the possible outcomes is overwhelmed. Our customers are facing the same challenges and looking to reduce overall expenditures. This combination requires us to be indispensable to retain our customers. We figure out how to be indispensable by asking, watching, and doing. Cheap? No. 100% Free. Trade stocks for free on The Free Trading Community.

Asking customers about their level of satisfaction and what they really want is a great first step. Besides wanting products that are better, faster and cheaper, asking what they really want provides critical information. Maybe customers want your product found in more places. Maybe they want better customer service. Perhaps they just want to be recognized for their loyalty. Ask! While a fancy, expensive market survey may be nice, why not set up a blog or feedback area on your company's website and monitor the feedback. You will be surprised. Additionally, have customer facing employees ask at the conclusion of the customer meeting, preferably at the register, but also if the customer leaves without purchasing.

Get a Free Trial + 10% Off

Watching your customers and how they interact with the product is also important. Ask your employees how they use the product. If your product is a service, is your customer able to rapidly integrate your service into their life or business? Is there something you can do to make that integration better? If your product is difficult to use or consume, now is the time to fix it. Organic Flowers & Gourmet Gifts

As I mentioned above, the current world we live in is very different from what most of us know. We lack the ability to think our way out of this. What we should be doing is trying new ideas, little ones, cheap ones, and see what works. If we have asked and watched our customers, we should be able to come up with simple improvements. Here is a simple, but great example. I bought a TV stand. It came with great instructions and the components were clearly labeled. The hardware came in two bags, one for each major assembly. I was pleased and assembled the stand with ease. I recently bought another stand, by the same company. This time, they packaged the hardware for each step, and numbered the bags, so there was absolutely no guessing. This change in packaging, a cheap, easy, action has me talking about the company and recommending it. The company is Slam Brands.

While it may be impossible to predict interest rates and net present value calculations aren't really helping us make decisions, we can survive by asking, watching, and doing. If we ask our customers what they think, watch how they use our products, and take action on that data, we will create lasting customers and better products. We can also use the same technique with our employees.

Easy cars loans from DriveTime

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to Manage Conflict in the Office

The office climate of 2009 is very stressful, as unemployment hovers below 10% and the next layoff seems just around the corner. This high-tension environment exacerbates underlying conflicts, and may bring many to the fore. Below you will find practical steps for dealing with conflicts between employees.

The first step is to identify why the conflict exists. Is there an old argument that has been simmering? Perhaps there is a structural, corporate issue that brings out the aggravation. Without a clear understanding of why the conflict exists, it can not be dealt with appropriately. Try RingCentral Fax FREE for 30 days

The next step is to stay focused on the present. If the conflict precedes your leadership, you can only hope to acknowledge the emotions, but can't be responsible for that done by others. If the conflict is fresh and the responsible party can be identified, have the party accept responsibility and make amends.

Need All Day Energy?

A third step is to refocus the conflicted parties on the shared vision of the company and business unit. While the disagreement is obvious, the points of agreement have drifted into the background. Remind each side that as employees of the company, their first priority is the customer and the success of the company. Also remind them that any actions detracting from serving customers and promoting the business will not be tolerated. Executives & Professionals: Changing Jobs?

Finally, once the argument has diminished, insure the two parties are indeed fulfilling their obligations to customers and the company. If they can't find a way to work together, it may be necessary to move them into different business units or areas where they won't be in conflict. If that is not possible, reminding them of the possibility of termination may be a very quick remedy to the conflict.

Stressful economic times often bring long-forgotten hurts to forefront, and generally put people on edge. Confrontation and conflict are more likely, but manageable. By keeping employees focused on the customer and the mission, vision and values of the company can help mitigate the conflict or at least make it easier to resolve.

The primary source for this post is "How to Defuse Discord on Your Team," by John Baldoni of Harvard Business Publishing.

Click Here to Protect your Identity with TrustedID

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How to Deal with a Difficult Manager

I received a very interesting question in my inbox from a person known as "travellingfellow." The note was in response to a previous post, "Are You a Jerk?"

From the note:

Well, I'm not a jerk. My boss, however, is. Actually, "jerk" is too kind a word. Even "bully" doesn't cut it. I think the proper term for her is "psychopath."

TF goes on to provide some examples:
  • Criticizing employees in a group setting
  • Demeaning employee suggestions
  • Harsh and rude comments in public and private
TF is concerned that they can't approach either HR or the next senior managers. Further, due to the poor economic conditions, TF doesn't feel as though they can leave their position. What is a person to do? Executives & Professionals: Changing Jobs?

First, TF has provided good examples of inappropriate behavior. Managers are best to "praise in public, criticize in private." Additionally, personally criticizing an employee for a suggestion leads to reticence among other employees. Why volunteer a suggestion when the response may be so unpleasant?

Grow your business.  Try RingCentral

To help in this situation, I would suggest the following actions. First, document the dates, times and participants where the criticism has occurred. Second, request a meeting with the manager. While this may seem both daunting and possibly futile, there is a chance the manager is unaware of the inappropriateness of the behavior, or just needs to be called on it. Protect your Medical Identity with TrustedID. $1,000,000 Warranty & Great Customer Service

In a calm tone, explain the events, providing the specifics, and request that the behavior cease. Third, be prepared to speak with the next level manager about your meeting, as well as be prepared for a meeting with HR. Review your company handbook and Code of Conduct. Make sure you are meeting all of those guidelines. Sometimes, by presenting the case in terms of what the company expects, a positive outcome is more likely.

If these steps are taken in a courteous, professional, and calm manner, there should be positive results. If there isn't, continue to document, and ask others if they have been harmed by this managers behavior as well. There is a likelihood it won't change, so be prepared to move withing the company. Organic Flowers & Gourmet Gifts

Managers, like everybody else, have their own fears, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies. Given the opportunity to do better, most people will do so. A frank, polite, and professional conversation may be just the opportunity the manager needs. In short, don't give up, and don't passively accept bad behavior, especially from managers!

File your incorporation or LLC with Intuit!

Email Your Questions!

Send your questions to
Copyright 2010.