Action: required and desired

To get anything going in your company, some action will be required.

Let’s kick some familiar open doors:

“There are costs and risks to a program of action, but they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.” John F. Kennedy

So old but still so true

Also: “We judge ourselves by our intentions, others judge us by our actions”

So how do your create some action that will be successful and help you accomplish the goals? There are three main points to consider:

Understand where you are

It may now be known by my readers that I’m a stickler for Goal Clarity and understanding where you are means in this context, understanding thoroughly what the goals are and what should be done to accomplish them. Without that knowledge you won’t be able to develop any action.

Know your resources

Consider your network, your budget, your co-workers, employees and support services. Ensure you enlist whoever and whatever is possible to get support for your intended action. The first rule of management is “ask help when solving problems” so look around you to see and recognize the resources available. Great start-ups fail because they are underfunded or lack the proper resources to scale when the first wave of success rolls in. Don’t make that mistake but be prepared with all your resources.

Start!

Do something to start and let people know about it. Some teams take an inordinate amount of time planning the perfect action but alas when they get ready to take action the momentum is gone and their action, however powerful it was, has been sideline by a sub-optimal but quicker action of another team. Just get started. Take a small step, celebrate that you have started and move forward. Communicating your start is at the same time a good encouragement to continue. It is like going on a diet or stop smoking, if you share your intention you can count on your environment to “shame” you into continuing. Timing has a lot to do with creating an action that will be successful.

Silence is golden

 

Wisdom about management is hidden sometimes in plain sight, sometimes in a movie and sometimes in a song title. The Tremeloes had a great success with this song in 1967 and although the content of the lyrics is not totally in sync with the purpose of this blog post, the title is.Silence is gold!

At the office there is a tendency to share lots of things. How do you strike a balance between being part of the in-crowd and maintaining a professional profile?

When in doubt, silence is golden! If you are unsure if the topic of the water cooler conversation is appropriate, walk away, don’t react, don’t participate. Some topics though are more complicated to navigate. Something as harmless as talking about vacation plans should be safe right? Well only if it is a non controversial vacation. If you are a fanatic nudist I’m not sure if you should explain your vacation plans in detail, the same goes for a vacation as a hunter for big game, also the vacation on one of the most exclusive cruise lines could become an issue.

Discussion of company policy are fine as long as it does not end up in a boss bashing exercise or mutiny against the company’s direction.

We all know that talking about politics, sex, race, religion and other hot topics should be avoided too.

So what can you share with your colleagues without the fear of major battles and trouble ahead?

Remember colleagues in a company are a set of people recruited around a central purpose or skill. You are not friends, you are not family (even if the business is family owned) and you did not choose the others around you to be there. Sharing of work experiences, work related ideas and generally accepted topics as weather and the local sports team should be fine.  It has helped me in my career to draw a sharp line between the work life and the family life. The work didn’t know too much about my family life and the family was only vaguely aware of the characters in the office. It made sense for me, the people at work would form opinions on my family life that I may have issues with and for my family to hear all about the regular office battles, it would probably bore them fast and they would need lots of explanations to be able to appreciate the what and why and punchlines from the office stories.

You don’t have to be a total stranger to the colleagues, but providing them with a summary of your non-work life should be enough.

How is this for you? Do you feel you loose out too much if you don’t participate in the water cooler discussion?

Let us know at;  Communications@10pointsmanagement.com

Solving conflicts in the workplace

Accept Conflicts as part of life. Many people shy away from conflict both in their personal and business lives. Instead accept conflicts as part of your life. When personalities meet they will have different opinions and different views.

Only by passionately defending your views and exchanging views with others will your views develop and will you get to deeper insights in the issue at hand.
Life is full of contradictions, Hot and Cold, Big and Small, Yin and Yen, War and Peace, Go and Stop, Forward and Backward. You will not live your life to the fullest if you avoid exploring both and either stay on one side or try to balance safely in the middle.

We should not shy away for conflict. Conflict is healthy, or can be healthy.

For most people it is difficult to see that conflict is just part of your everyday healthy business life and career. The point is that you need to learn how to deal with it effectively. There are many books written about conflict handling and I encourage you to take at least one and read it. Here I want to go over some basic concepts and share some of my experience.

A first concept is to choose your battles wisely. When you run around your work place with a short fuse and start arguing about every small little details that you have an opinion about, you will bore or worst agitate your co-workers or associates and it will hamper productivity.

Ten tips for managing conflict concept for management improvement.

Ten tips for managing conflict concept for management improvement.

Always understand the conflict first before engaging in it.

  • What is the cause of the conflict
  • Who started it
  • Who are involved
  • Does it impact productivity now or in the future

The number one cause of conflicts in the company is lack of goal clarity or clarity of who does what, or is supposed to do what. People get annoyed when others seem to either interfere in their jurisdiction or don’t seem to help at all, with the projects at hand. Check it out, someone or all of them maybe confused about priorities, task division or ultimate goals to serve.

Who started the conflict is not always immediately clear because the one first talking about it can have been agitated for a long time by someone else not doing something or doing something that first was OK but now has grown to be an issue. The more important point is who all are involved. When you engage in a conflict remember that you are not only talking to the people directly involved in the conflict but also to the usually large population around them who have heard about it and who may be involved later in a similar way.

If the conflict doesn’t affect the productivity now or in the future think hard about getting involved. Some people just don’t get along and that is only natural, as long as they are professional about it you shouldn’t care if they invite each other over for coffee or a birthday party, only when the work suffers, you need to start making moves.

In my experience the best way to go about conflicts at work has been to discuss and re-emphasize and re-iterate the ultimate goals. This handles a lot of conflicts and chances are that all parties involved learn something. When personalities clash it is good to encourage some closer cooperation maybe in a different setting. Get them involved in a project where their normal office responsibilities not necessarily play a role. People involved in conflict situations tend to ignore all positive news about the other parties and demonize them. It’s a piece of the HORN effect. Once you start encouraging more contact such that they see the other parties in more than one small role, the perspectives may shift.

In any case, do not ignore conflict. Engage, don’t let it go, don’t be shy, don’t be intimidated. My experience is that most conflicts if left alone too long will escalate, another observation is that even if the conflict dissolves by itself, your inaction in a difficult situation will be remembered by all people involved. There are lots or resources where you can go for help, some companies have an employee assistance program where you maybe able to refer people to, you can consult with your Human Resources representative or with higher up management.

 

If you want to share your experience with handling conflict in the workplace, drop us a line at comments@10pointsmanagement.com