We don’t need to wait until January to set goals. We can start at any time. The trick is to make the commitment to change. That is what it is all about. Goals set us up to change. But it is turning those goals into action that determines if you really have the mind set to make them happen. Here are five strategies ending with a commitment to make them happen. They are not hard goals but they will effect real change in the way you go about your work and your life. If they are a fit for you seize the opportunity to make them happen because your personal growth and development matter.
Strategy #1: Set Achievable Personal and Work Goals
When people set goals conventional research shows they live longer. However we should write these goals in a way that shows action and measurement. Action means we will do something to make it happen. Measurement allows us to track progress along the way. Be SMART, when you write them. Be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Trackable. If goals are not SMART they usually will fall into the category of a wish list.
Let's take a couple of examples. At work you can write something like, "Complete the policy on the wellness program." A laudable goal, but not fully measurable or trackable. There is no timeline for completion, so you can say, "I'll get to it someday." And, behold it will be completed sometime. Maybe! A great incentive to procrastinate, don't you think?
If your goal is relevant to your work, you should ask: "How does it relate to my work? What priority does it have?" And if it isn't relevant then ask, "Why am I doing it?" If it is relevant then ask, "How important is it? Is it necessary and urgent? Is it urgent and necessary? Is it necessary but not urgent? Or, is it urgent but not necessary at all?"
Once you have answered these questions you can write a SMART goal such as: "I will complete a draft policy statement on wellness and present my leadership team for approval by September 30, 20XX."
Then you can break it down into achievable monthly tasks, such as:
We can use the same goal setting strategy for our personal life as well. Rather than saying "I'm going to lose weight this year," be more specific and write down; "I'm going to lose 30 pounds/kilos by June 31, 20XX. Then set out the tasks to achieve that goal.
When we know where we are going, ambiguity is reduced, progress can be measured, and our comfort level is heightened. In the end our stress level is reduced.
This month focus on writing five SMART goals that you can action.
Strategy #2: Accept The Givens
Often our anxiety level increases because we worry about things outside of our control. Worry doesn't accomplish anything except personal grief, and often grief for others. Here are a few for instances: we can't control time, but we can control what we do with it; we can't control the weather, but we can control how we plan for poor weather; we can't control how people will relate to us, but we can control how we relate to others.
We will have less anxiety if we control those things that are in our control and accept those things that are outside of our control.
This month focus on controlling only those things in your control.
Strategy #3: Take Energy Breaks
One of the hard lessons busy people learn is that their energy drains when they don't fuel up. They skip meals or skimp on meals, gobble down food while working the phone or their computer and eat junk food rather than nutritious meals. I knew all about eating well but I didn't follow my own advice. The result - quadruple heart by-pass surgery and that wasn't pretty for me or my family.
Busy people also learn that when they are at their computer long hours without ergonomic seating or when the monitor is too close, they experience strain and pain from their eyes, backs, shoulders and wrists.
Take heed when these things happen your body is shouting, "Take a break!"
Try these suggestions this month:
Strategy #4: Exercise Regularly
Our body is built to move, so move it regularly. We can be quite sedentary when we are working at our desk. Often, we are either standing or sitting for long periods. Overtime this takes its toll on our body and we find fat rolls creeping around our waist, back-end, and other places too numerous to mention. The antidote to this is exercise.
Get up from your chair and walk around, take a ten- minute walk in the morning, over the noon hour and in the evening. Find a buddy and go for a run. Take the stairs. If sitting, stand up and read or walk about while you read. Join a gym, seek a lifestyle coach or trainer. Do something, just don't sit and stand for hours on end.
Do one or two of these activities daily and you will find you have more energy. Make a commitment to exercise this month.
Strategy #5. Think Positively
Thinking positively means approaching challenges with a positive outlook. It doesn't necessarily mean avoiding things that make us feel uncomfortable or ignoring negative situations. Instead, it means approaching those situations in a positive light, or making the best of a bad situation. We can improve our ability to think positively by affirming or actuating the positive for ourselves and others. Rather than thinking "I can't do this," say, "I can do this!" Rather than thinking, "I can't get along with this person," think about the positive aspects of the person and affirm those within your mind's eye; rather than thinking, "This place is a lousy place to work," think about, "What I can do to make it a better place to work." Thinking positively is not Pollyanna, pie in the sky thinking. It is thinking that is realistic but tempered with a positive approach to life rather than a negative one.
Thinking positively works. According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking can lead to a longer life span, less stress, lower rates of depression, increased resistance to the common cold, better coping skills, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, increased physical wellbeing and overall better psychological health.
If your approach to life is more on the negative side, and you would like to change it take heart because positive thinking can be learned. In essence you are learning a new habit and as is the case of any change in habit you will need to develop habit changing strategies. In this case,
Turning goals into actions is not hard. Committing to goals and actions is the hard part. One way to ensure you are committing to your goals and actions is to write them down and place them in front of you as a daily reminder. Another way is to ensure that they are front and center in your daily calendar. That way they will remind you to work on them. Changing a habit takes a bit of time and some of us are more stubborn than others. If you are like that a stronger commitment and reminder are necessary. Turn to someone you trust who can partner with you and keep you accountable until you have ingrained the new habit.
Thank you for reading. Keep well. Stay safe. And, continue becoming the best version of yourself.
You may now be returning to the workplace after a long two years of absence. You may be pleased to get back to the office, or maybe not so much. You liked the flexibility of working from home but now you are called back. Whether you like going back to the workplace or not, you will experience the push and pull of change.
A quote by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus comes to mind. It is as true today as it was thousands of years ago, “the only constant is change.” Life changes, workplaces change, organizations change, sometimes slowly and sometimes very quickly. One of the keys to meeting change head on is to realize that is it not necessarily the change that happens that is important, but how you react to it. To cope effectively with changes, you need to develop key skills that will help you adapt and grow into your new reality. Below are seven ways to do just that.
Respecting change means accepting that change happens and striving to do what needs to be done to move through the change process. Finding balance and understanding between living with and adjusting your thinking to meet the challenges of change is a key coping skill.
Accepting changes shows your strength. You may not like the changes that are taking place but understanding what you can accept versus what you can’t control helps you cope. The next step in meeting changes within the workplace is finding your comfort zone. This usually means clarifying for yourself what you have control over and searching out how the change will help you become better at what you do. Most people don’t like changes, but they can push you beyond your normal boundaries and help you grow.
Give It Time
Forever is a long time. Most changes don’t last forever because another change takes their place. One coping skill to deal with change is to remind yourself that your current situation can change too. When you learn to respect changes, you build the skill of moving yourself through them to a new and better situation. It’s meeting Heraclitus’s philosophical dictum head on -‘the only constant is change”.
Both good and bad changes can happen slowly or unexpectedly. Either way, remember to frame the change as a part, not all, of your life. You don’t know how the next change will affect you, and it may be better. When you work on yourself to meet any kind of change, give yourself time to learn and grow.
Learn from Mistakes
There are a lot of stops and starts in organizational change. And, sometimes mistakes are made. You may be a person who wants to get on with it. Yet, the change may not go as smoothly as planned. It’s easy to become impatient when you want to make a change – or to adjust to change.
Another key coping skill is to learn from the mistakes so that you can construct a better way to handle it.
Don’t look at mistakes to find fault. And for goodness sakes don’t approach them with a mindset of failure. See them as mistakes that can be corrected. Use them to learn new skills and better ways of dealing with changes. Mistakes should be a teacher, not a barrier. Learning from your mistakes in the workplace helps you move past them and make better choices about how you will deal with future changes.
Practicing self-care is also a key coping skill to deal with changes. Self-care includes taking the time to focus, build, and balance your mental and emotional health. The stronger your mental and emotional health is, the better you will be able to deal with changes.
Self-care can include meditation, relaxing activities, or simply time spent pursuing hobbies and interests you have. Practices such as these outside of the workplace can help you deal with changes within the workplace. Even in the workplace you can slow your pace down by taking deep breaths and spending five minutes relaxing your brain with a quick meditation (see the 3 Minute Mental Break here). Taking the time to focus on yourself helps you build the mental and emotional strength needed to remain calm during changes and prepares you to make changes that will improve your life.
When you struggle through the change process and discover what you can control, you will also learn to understand that changes can be opportunities. These opportunities can help you reach your personal goals by increasing your knowledge, seeking help from others, or committing to a course of action. When you see changes as opportunities, you become grateful for the chance to move forward.
The skill of being grateful for even difficult changes helps improve your mindset. With a healthy, positive mindset, you will deal more effectively with changes now and into the future.
Scientists have studied the effects of humor on people’s physical, mental, and emotional health. Humor is a key coping skill for dealing with change. Laughing, smiling, and seeing the humor in situations can lower blood pressure, decrease stress, and boost your mood. Humor can put changes into perspective and remind you that not every change is as bad as you may think. Humor can also help you connect with other people who can support you during changes.
Stay Physically Healthy
When you are experiencing changes, you need to stay physically healthy. Poor health adds stress that can make changes more difficult. Needing to deal with health problems can steal your time and focus away from dealing with changes. Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising your body will help you deal with changes.
You can see by how this article unfolded that changes you face in the workplace are fundamentally how you deal with change in all aspects of your life. Approaching workplace change with a sense of respect, gratitude and humor, a recognition that it could really be a time for personal growth, an attitude of learning from setbacks and mistakes, and a need to keeping healthy and looking after yourself, will help you become the best version of yourself.
Use these key coping skills and it doesn't matter how big or small, good or bad the change is you can deal with it more effectively.
Thank you for reading and as always take care, be safe and continue your journey of self-discovery.
What is with this topic? It seems odd to talk about a workplace culture when you are running a homebased business with few if any employees. Lets talk about this.
Workplace culture usually means a collection of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that are found within a regular work environment and is normally found in workplaces outside the home. Healthy workplace cultures align employee behaviors with the vision, mission values, and goals of the company, while considering the overall wellbeing of individuals.
Thriving companies have work cultures that recognize employees successes and provide rewards when they do well. This suggests that they are led by leaders and managers who continually look for positive attributes of everyone within the organization and foster the use of their talents. When the work culture is positive everyone pulls together, collaborates, coordinates work, and has positive relationships.
Workplace culture is often described as the personality and character of the company. It is what makes the company unique in the eyes of the employees, those looking to join it, and the people it serves.
So how does this apply to a homebased solopreneur enterprise? Solopreneurs operate out of their home, often without employees, and are self-managed. Well there is more to this then initially meets the eye.
These days we have two major shifts taking place in our workplace communities as a result of the recent pandemic. First, we are seeing a more flexible workplace where employees split their work between home and the outside workplace; and secondly, there are a number of people who have left the corporate world and have started their own business from home. This article concentrates on the latter situation, the solopreneur homebased business. How do they create a homebased culture?
The Homebased Business Culture
For those who are operating a homebased business my personal research as led me to believe that the owners of these businesses need to take a hard look at how they approach their business from a business perspective. By that I mean they need to be clear about their own business vision, mission, goals and values. Many do not take the time to sort this out. They jump right into starting a business without clearly identifying where they want to take the business and how the business should operate. They lack systems, processes and strong time management skills.
Homebased Business Culture Problems
Here are six problem areas I have found when working with solopreneurs:
What is this saying to solopreneurs? It seems they are caught on a treadmill. They are busy but going nowhere. Not only that they are burning themselves out.
A Way Out For You
The only employee of a homebased business is most often you. You are the owner and the doer in the business. So if you are the only employee what are you doing to yourself? What kind of environmental culture are you creating so that you not only survive but more importantly thrive in your business?
We know that the solopreneur failure rate can be reduced when owners have effective training, coaches and mentors. This has been proven time and time again. Our firm has also proved this. Our experience showed that 80% of those who started a business were still in business after five years when they had access to business training, coaches and mentors.
It is clear that if you as a solopreneurs want to build a personal business culture where you don’t crash and burn then you need to carefully consider:
yes, solopreneurs can create an environment where they are driven by purpose and strategic direction based on meaningful principles and values. As they do, they will be seen by their colleagues and customers as leaders in their field of expertise and will travel on a path that points in the direction of success. And, they will have a more balanced lifestyle giving time for those things that are most important to them. They will be building a satisfying culture for themselves. If you find you and your homebased business is not progressing in the direction you would like then contact me for a free personal consultation to determine the best course of action for you. Just click the button below.
Thank you for reading and as always stay safe, keep well and continue becoming the best version of yourself.
It seems that adults are subject to stress no matter where they are at: on the job, at home, in social gatherings and even on vacation. Unfortunately technology is feeding into the stress meter. So much so that it is one of the leading causes of anxiety overload we experience on a daily basis. In fact we can now positively say that a slave attachment to social media can be addictive.
Recent studies are finding a direct link between productivity performance issues and the way people exploit social media worldwide. It may be fun to browse our friends’ posts or be tickled with the latest funny YouTube video or just taking a minute to glance at Tic Toc, but the truth is all that time spent on social media translates into lost productivity.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the positive impact social media can have, both on our work and business. What I am talking about is the misuse of social media in the workplace. Here are some examples.
Delaying Pending Work
There is no doubt many people put off meeting deadlines because of the work piled up on their desk or virtual desktop. We have a host of excuses as to why this may occur. Some legitimate while others not so legitimate. There are legitimate excuses that may relate to illness, children, and sickness within the family. Then there are not so legitimate reasons such as procrastination, lack of an action plan or lack of setting priorities. We fall to the favorite excuse of many, ‘there is just not enough time to finish the work.”
Several years ago we could blame other factors for delaying the work we do, however, technology has now become an example of how lifestyle improvements can work both ways: technology can help us get the job done more efficiently or postpone it for an incredible amount of time.
One of the first things we can do about this problem is to accept our responsibilities and acknowledge that social media does play a role in the way we deal with our work. Unless our job requires us to interact with social media we are wasting energy and that impacts the amount of stress we feel because we are not managing our time well.
Playing to Insecurity
Many people like to compare themselves to their friends. We used to call this “keeping up with the Jones’". Now we have social media which has opened the door to a large number of new friends. Some of whom we really don’t know, but we add them anyway to our list. These so called friends are nothing other than virtual acquaintances but their influence affects us anyway. Not only do we compare ourselves to the friends we know, we now compare ourselves to the friends we don’t know, setting the bar even higher than it was before.
In essence it seems we don’t want to appear ‘boring’ in comparison to our friends. We see them going on exotic trips, perhaps having more money than us they take extended vacations to places we can only dream about going to, or they post pictures of their latest purchase giving the impression that they are highflyers. The reality is, however, that many social media users portray a status they don’t have.
The bottom line here is not to accept everything you see on social media as fact and more importantly avoid comparing yourself with others. Recognize your own importance and self-worth and the merits of your potential.
Masking Mental Health
Some mental illness can now be easily diagnosed such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. People with these conditions are not defined by them but they are seen as an illness, just as a physical ailment doesn’t define the person who is physically ill.
There are mental health conditions that keep cropping up at different times in our history. Today, one of them may be a condition which we have masked as ‘shyness’.
Now shyness can reflect a quiet and withdrawn character trait but some people hide behind the term ‘shy’ or ‘shyness’ as a way to cover up a fear if missing out. FOMO or the “Fear Of Missing Out” is a term used in this connection.
What happens in cases like this is that people will tend to blame their lack of social skills by interacting with a growing number of “friends” online. This allows them to mask mental health issues by living in denial. In other words, since I interact with people online, I have no relational or social disorders such as “shyness”.
People in the medical profession are beginning to recognize a growing trend of people seeking medical help which is directly related to our current use of social media. Perhaps an antidote to this is to tune out online activity and tune into offline relationships.
The Results of Stress
When we don’t take stress seriously it can be the main cause of a long list of life-threatening conditions. The Stressology 100 Learning Guide – Mind, Body and Emotions, points out that stress can cause intermittent anxiety attacks to chronic conditions such as gastritis, heart diseases, diabetes, and depression. The list covers almost every aspect of everyday life.
Why does stress trigger havoc in our lives? The culprit falls to an imbalance produced by stressful conditions which in turn triggers massive amounts of cortisol – also known as the “stress hormone” – which directly impacts sleep patterns, elevated blood pressure, weight gain, hyperglycemia, and cognitive performance issues such as memory loss or disfunction; this is a cycle that repeats itself over and over again unless we decide to do something about it.
So, what can we do about it? Well the good news is there are ways to deal with deep levels of stress through therapy groups, individual counselling, and even self-help approaches. The first step is to recognize that one has a problem and then move towards a healing process. Now it may not be easy, and one should not expect immediate results. But when attachment to social media reaches the addiction level then like most addictions, it can be healed but it will take time to both deal with it appropriately and adapt to a more normal social outcome.
Awareness, Determination, perseverance and support are keys to resolution and the road to a more satisfying lifestyle.
Thank you for reading, and as always stay safe, be well and continue becoming the best version of yourself.
Anxiety and Social Media Use : https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/digital-world-real-world/202002/anxiety-and-social-media-use
What is Social Media Addiction, https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/social-media-addiction/
Stressology 100 and 200 – Stress Care For Today. And excellent resource for the cause and remedy for stress. Found in the FM Storefront.
Shyness and Social Media use: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S074756321930158X
It's Not Personal
It’s not personal article written by Sherry Knight, Dimension11
It's not personal! Really? When you hear someone say to you, “…, it’s not personal.” Does your brain automatically think, gee, this isn’t about me, it’s about the world at large? I doubt it!
It’s like when Sam says to Georgia, “It’s not personal, but your work is the pits!” Now tell me, are you going to hear that statement and say, “Oh, that’s not a slam against me?” Of course not! IT IS PERSONAL!
And that is because we are emotionally involved in our work – after all, it is where we spend a third of our day. Being emotionally involved makes you a great employee and if you aren’t emotionally involved in your work then you are in the wrong job or perhaps even the wrong organization.
This saying got a lot of attention in the film, The Godfather when Michael Corleone develops his plan to kill his rival mob boss and the corrupt police chief. Sonny, his brother, laughs it off lets Michael know that it’s business and he is taking it personally. Michael Corleone replies “It’s not personal Sonny. It’s strictly business!” Fortunately, we understand that Michael Corleone was wrong! Yes, totally wrong!
It stings, it hurts when that statement is used, and it usually is, to remind us that something is not right about us. And that’s the truth.
So, if you want to protect yourself around those words that you hear, consider this:
Whether at work or at home or in the community take the time to never allow it to be, “It’s not personal!” Everything is personal – everyone cares! Be sure to be the kind of friend and co-worker or manager that you want, not one that puts you down and makes you feel like you don’t matter.
Each morning, start with your own growth – a daily plan including: gratitude, meditation, exercise and a focus on what the result of the day is. Being emotionally strong allows you to let those who say, “It’s just business!” not leave an impression (on) your psyche.
In less than one’s normal lifetime we have experienced computers that filled walls to computers that fills the palm of our hands - a result of a paradigm shift of significant magnitude to mini eruptions.
It actually started about 60 years ago when clunky computers began showing up in workplaces. They were the big machines where numbers were crunched and bits of data were spun out. When Administrators and Systems Directors asked managers what data they wanted, the response was blank looks, or if they did respond the information they required wasn’t available. It was data that was produced where information was required. Computers and their output were a mystery to most office personnel.
In the mid-seventies I traveled to the IBM Research Centre outside of the San Francisco to learn about what might be coming down as we moved forward. That was my first introduction to how computers of the future could assist the business planning process. I was hooked. From that time on I have worked with organizations of all kinds to help them develop business plans, processes and action plans.
Then came the 80s’ when Steve Jobs developed one of the first friendly desktop computers. My first purchase when we opened our consulting and training business in the mid-eighties was a portable Apple IIc computer. By today’s standard it was a small (7.5 lb./3.4 kg) 128kB of Ram computer with basic Excel, Word and drawing capacity. That computer had just as much and often more computing power than the big machines I saw at the IBM research center.
Then society experienced an explosion of computing power. The Internet was starting to get off the ground and we were beginning to work in cyber space. Desktop computers were developed with more capacity, people were linking with other computers, first at the office then at home. The desktops were transforming into laptops. They were heavy but they were portable. And people started connecting back to the office from wherever they were through the internet.
The turn of the century 1999 to 2000 came the big Y2K scare. Computer dates were set to two digits rather than four. Would the computers turn over to the new century or would we witness the greatest crash in all of history? Will financial institutions fail? Will it trigger a world war? Low and behold when we got up on New Year’s day not much had changed except many of us had headaches because of the great parties that we attended the night before.
The next huge shift occurred in 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the first Smart phone – the iPhone. From desktop to laptop to a talking computer in our hand. And for the past 15 years we have witnessed more advancements in the cellphone industry. There are now and estimated over five plus billion cellphone users and for millions of people it has become their computer of choice. People now connect with others all over the world and information is literally at their fingertips.
Along with the advent of the Smart phone came the advancements in social media. Our connections with each other have improved and the way we interact with each other has changed. Some feel for the better and others not so much. Social media has been a blessing and a curse. It has given a platform for people who share information for the ‘good’ of people, while others cater to the underbelly of society and use it as a platform for negativity. Society has yet to come to grips with this new phenomenon to on the one hand to protect people from the harm it causes and on the other to allow people the freedom to speak their truth.
The next paradigm eruption is occurring right before our eyes and has its impetus from the COVID 19 pandemic. Because of COVID 19 offices closed, retail businesses started to fail faster than before the advent of the pandemic, people moved home to work, Google Meet, Zoom, Facetime, WebEx, and other computerized face-to-face platforms came into their own. The cottage industry – or home based business – which started at the turn of the 21rst century with a few courageous individuals now grows at a faster rate than ever before.
People are finding that they can work from home, industry is finding that people can produce from home and business measures work by individual output – the same as before but now different because of distance from the office. Workers are finding that the locus of control has shifted from outside themselves to inside themselves. They are now fully responsible and accountable to get the work done. In the main this too has not changed, but now the minder (read manager) is not hovering over them to motivate, encourage and in some cases prod to get the work done. Workers are now fully responsible and accountable.
Leaders and managers are trying to figure out how the new office will look like. They know that it will not be business as usual once people are called back to work. They know that some of their personnel will want to continue to work from home and that they will need to change the organizational structure, job descriptions, and the way people are organized.
Workers who work from home are also finding they need to meet with co-workers, they miss the socialization and teamwork that an office environment creates, and some just need a break from their home environment. At the same time they like the responsibility, accountability, and flexibility that working from home offers.
So the post pandemic office will change – it will be more people focused, flexible, less top down, more interactive and more loosely structured.
Coupled with the changing nature of the office is a growing homebased business spectrum. People are moving away from being tied to business minders to running their own businesses from home. They are taking their life into their own hands and forging new ways of earning income. Some are creators of digital products, some receive commission by promoting products and services, some are investors in products of services, while still others are finding ways to work part-time out of their home while at the same time work on their own home-based business.
In conclusion what we have experienced in the past sixty years is not one paradigm shift but a series of mini paradigm eruptions. We are now ensconced in the information age where we are conducting ourselves much different than we did in the industrial age. This is the macro paradigm shift. The other shifts that we have and that we are experiencing are micro eruptions within that macro one. We are moving with ever accelerating speed in time. Businesses and work in general needs to adjust with ever increasing flexibility which in turn will demand new ways of coping, responding and respecting each other as we encounter the next waves of change.
Thank you for Reading
Take Care, be safe, and continue becoming the best version of yourself,
Richard P. Fontanie.
Why Is Determination So Important?
This article explores five ways you can protect information you have on your computer screen from the peering eyes of others. You may be working on a sensitive document, drafting an email of a personal nature, responding to a performance issue, writing down your unfiltered thought process where you want to go back and edit later, or for whatever your reason you want to keep the information private.
So, what can do to guard against wandering eyes? Here are five suggestions.
1. Find a Private Place
Keeping things private may be more difficult when working from home and if you find this to be the case, you will need to sit your family down and explain to them the nature of your work. One thing you don’t want to do is have your children spreading information with their friends about what they read; and you may also need to have a discussion with your spouse about privacy issues and why you cannot share certain types of information with him or her. If you need to, move yourself from a central location in your home to a more private one, such as a bedroom or den, and close the door.
Another difficult situation occurs when you decide to go to a restaurant for a coffee. I have observed many folks working away at their computer sitting at the coffee bar with their computer facing outwards so that anyone walking by can see the computer screen. On other occasions I have walk by a restaurant window and saw people working away with great concentration with their backs to the window so that anyone walking by could observe their activity.
Guard against placing your back to doors or windows where strangers can peak in. You can do three things here: a) close your door; b) place an opaque covering over your window that lets light in but blurs the window from people looking into your space; c) situate your desk so that your screen on your computer is facing a wall and not the door or window. This will also prevent those who want to look over your shoulder.
Many people work in an open landscape office or have another employee seated next to them or close by. If you find yourself in this situation, make it difficult for people to see what is on your screen. You can place a privacy filter over your screen. A privacy filter is a low-tech polarized plastic sheet that works as an optical filter blocking out light from angles except the one right in front of the screen.
If you can, pick up your computer and move to a more private space. This could be a board room or a meeting room.
2. Watch Out For Those Who Are Listening
Be aware of those who want to eavesdrop on your conversations, even inadvertently. Remember people may be able to hear your conversations even when you are wearing earphones. So how do we deal with this in different office environments?
Earphones and headsets are getting better at blocking noise from the outside and keeping the conversation you are having with someone in your ear. I recently purchased wireless earbuds, Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, and found that they do reduce outside noise and the incoming conversation were kept private. Of course, when I spoke other people could hear me. (By the way I found the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 had great sound rendition and consequently I have really enjoyed listening to music, even while I write this article. But I digress!)
Some people lower their voice to almost at a whisper when they talk on a phone. Unconsciously or consciously when people hear someone whispering, they strain their ears to hear the conversation. What is going on here is something called “respect”. Respect for the person talking and recognizing that that person doesn’t want others to hear the conversation for whatever reason. It’s not proper nor acceptable to eavesdrop.
Now there are legitimate reasons to eavesdrop for instance for training purposes. In those instances, the person with whom you are speaking with needs to know that someone else may be on the line or that the conversation is being recorded for training purposes.
When working from home you may also need to have private conversations with other employees, your boss, supervisor, or customers. Again, it is important to have conversations with your family about the privacy of telephone calls and the need to close your door or go into another room. This is not about keeping secrets from your family. It is about maintaining trust with those you are speaking with and they knowing that the conversation you are having with them will not go anywhere except between the two of you. Also, depending on the conversation, the information that is being shared or sought, may be of a sensitive nature that it is in the best interest of your spouse or children that they remain protected from the conversation.
There is, what looks like a muzzle you can wear when speaking with someone. It’s called BLOXVOX. You put over your mouth and looks like something out of the “Silent of the Lambs” movie. I have never used BLOXVOX, but the reviews indicate that it is an effective tool for keeping phone calls private. How it works is that it blocks your voice to the outside world, and with a silencing headset your conversation can not be heard by others.
Now back to the restaurant, bar, or any public place for that matter, be careful about how you raise your voice. If you speak loudly by habit, you will need to learn to lower your voice, and remember if you have a drink or two your voice will tend to be louder when speaking. One other cautionary note, make sure your ‘speakerphone’ is off on your cell phone when speaking with others. You may not recognize that the speakerphone is on so check it before you answer. I usually have my earbuds in whenever I’m in public places and this mutes the speakerphone.
3. Lock It Down
When you are away from your computer make sure you lock it down. Many of us have a delay for several minutes before our screen locks out. My experience shows that often people walk away from their computer – sometimes they are off to a meeting and other times they are walking around to stretch their legs. And, while they are in a meeting or walking around their computer screen is showing their work for all to see.
Here is a neat trick protect your privacy. There is a lockdown key you can use – For Windows “Press Windows Logo Key + L or if you have a Mack Control + Command + Q. These commands will quickly lock your screen so others can’t see it. Depending on your privacy requirements use them when you walk away from your computer even if you are going to grab a quick bite to eat or to the bathroom. When you return just sign in again and everything should be back to normal.
Speaking of "Lock It Down" consider attaching a 'laptop lock' to your computer. A true story. When I was working out of my office in downtown Regina I had a meeting over the noon hour with potential clients in our boardroom. Sometime during the meeting someone came in a stole my laptop off of my desk. The good news is that I got it back. I notified the police. The thief tried to pawn the computer at a pawnshop. Fortunately I had a 8 digit password to open the computer. When the culprit attempted to open it at the pawnshop, he failed. The owner kept him busy while he notified the police. They came and picked up my computer, charged the young man with theft, and gave me a call that they had my laptop. I was lucky that day. Most people do not get their computer returned. From then on I double secured my laptop with a laptop lock.
4. Use Encrypted Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi encrypted with WPA-2 is more secure than Wi-Fi that is open for all to access. Know that all routers support encryption so make sure your home Wi-Fi network is encrypted. To find out your Wi-Fi encrypted security on Windows 10:
To find out your Wi-Fi encrypted security on a Mac.
5. Use VPN When Connecting to Your Work Network
A VPN establishes an encrypted tunnel for your network traffic to flow through and makes it more difficult for others to intercept your traffic. Many organizations have a Virtual Private Network (VPN) set up so that you can get resources, like servers, that require you to connect to your work’s network. Use it if VPN is available within your organization. You can find this out by checking with your organization’s IT personnel. The VPN helps provide a more secure connection and access to your company’s network and the internet when you are at home, at the coffee shop, library, or airport.
If you are use Window’s 10 make sure your VPN is on. You can do this easily by:
If you use a Mac here are the steps you can use:
I hope you found these security suggestions useful. Thank you for reading and as always remember your personal growth and development matters.
Stay Safe. Be Well. Be Kind.
PS. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying information.
One of the real problems we have when we work from home is how to deal with all the information at our disposal. Being connected 24/7 causes information overload.
Here’s the deal whenever we try to improve what we do or learn something new we turn to researching the topic. While we generally think that the information that is only a push-button away is a good thing it does cause confusion for us; too much information impacts our health, causes us to lose focus and distracts us from our goals.
To keep you from being overwhelmed from all the information out there here are 5 ways to help you prevent information overload.
1. Know When To Stop Researching
Whether it is researching for developing a product, searching for images that will enhance your article or e-Book, reading material for your copy, or surfing the net for anything remotely close to what it is you are trying to develop, it is quite easy to get caught up in gathering too much information. Information is for one purpose and that is for us to take action. Too much information often freezes us from taking action. And therein lies the rub.
When we are beginning to feel overwhelmed by all the information it is time to break away from researching material. It’s now time to take a few days off from researching and let the information gel in your mind. The old adage “sleep on it” applies here. In essence we need to ‘detox’ and regain our energy.
2. Know When To Take Action
When we have too much information we often procrastinate. We put off taking action. This is one of the worst things we can do. Whether we think we have enough information or not, it is best to start your copy, or whatever you are working on. The whole point here is we usually research and gather information to do something. So take action. Just by starting on your action plan relieves your mental pressure. It takes the weight off of your shoulders, so to speak.
When we start the ‘doing part’ we become motivated. We strengthen our confidence because we begin to see results. We can always go back to gathering more information when we come to a ‘blank’ or when we feel blocked or run into a problem we don’t know how to solve. Following this tactic allows us to gather the information we need yet keeps us moving ahead.
3. Find Trustworthy Sources
Certainly, we find that there is a lot of information out there. Some of it is poorly constructed and poorly sourced. We can overcome this by selecting sources that we trust and then rely on them for most of our information. So what should we consider as trustworthy sources? Here are a few clues:
4. Be Wary of Internet Forums
Use forums and message boards sparingly. Make sure the forums are carefully moderated and showing clear and straight forward answers to your inquiry.
The other day I was looking up something regarding an issue I had with my ‘Outlook’ app and searched the internet for an answer. One forum that recommended a solution was so confusing and disjointed that it gave me a serious headache. Not really but you get the point. The problem was easily resolved by another forum that gave me clear instructions to follow and the problem was resolved by a few clicks. Needless to say, I will bypass the former forum and go back to the latter one.
And that leads to this consideration: When you have found a trustworthy forum or message board bookmark it as your trusted source.
5. Take Time To Breathe
The internet has become both a blessing and a curse. It provides us with information at our fingertips. Yet, it does cause information overload so be careful in how you use it.
The internet is here to stay. We will not get rid of it, will it away or destroy it – although there are negative naysayers, scammers, poisonous viruses that cause damage to our processes and systems that give us heartache. These things are part of our internet reality and we need to find ways to deal with them such as using antivirus programs and pressing the delete button when necessary.
The point is the internet is here to stay and we have to watch how we use it and not let it abuse us.
So take a breather once and awhile. Eat right. Sleep right. Exercise right. Meditate. Take the time to breakaway from the virtual world and rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.
Hope this helps you.
Thanks for Reading and Take Care Out There,
COVID-19 has reshaped the entire way we now work. The office cubicle, coffee time with colleague and team meetings on round tables have become the things of past. Most organizations have already taken 'work-from-home' measures and established 'work-from-home' as their response to social distancing.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of distraction when working from home and some days those distractions test us and hamper the entire work flow. With a clear plan and dedication, you can stay away from those distractions and enjoy productive work when you're working from home.
Stick to your regular schedule:
We often are tempted to sleep in or do some household work before starting the work day. That can end up being harder for you to approach your work with the right attitude. So start your work in the same way or with the same mindset that you would if you were going into the office. Keeping a familiar schedule or routine always helps you focus more on your work and maintain the right work-life balance.
Enable Do Not Disturb Mode:
If you live with a family or a roommate, you need to set aside time when you will be able to concentrate on your work without being disturbed. Let your roommate and family member know when you want to remain 'in do not disturb mode' and when you are available for them. This way you will be able to set a disciplinary boundary for yourself.
You can use a visual aid, especially for your children. You can use a red and green sign. Red for "Do Not Disturb" and green for when you are 'Available'.
Put Yourself in Work Attire:
You don’t need to wear fancy jeans or formal dress. But, you do need to change your pajamas. Get dressed in something that you feel comfortable but not what you would wear when you want to hit the bed. You can wear a comfortable t-shirt and track-pant as an alternative to a formal dress code.
This may seem as small thing but it can bring you out of your comfortable zone and put you in work mode
If you still find yourself distracted, you should then put yourself in your normal work clothes. It gives your mind a signal that it’s time to get to work.
By the way if you want to wear your pajamas all day, do it on a holiday, I find it is a great break from the norm.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time:
Don’t let your meal time be your distraction. It takes time to figure out what you want to eat and then it takes time to prepare the meal. If you prepare everything ahead of time, including your snacks, you will definitely not lose anytime or get distracted from the work. Make your snacks in advance so that you can grab them and continue on with your work or use the time to complete priority chores, take a walk-break, or a needed break.
Turn-off Your Phone Notification:
Enabling silence mode is not enough as you still can see the notifications pop ups in your phone. Disable social media notification and anything that is not related to your work or assignment. This will help you avoid the temptation of picking up your phone. If you don’t require your phone for your work purpose, you can keep it in silent mode.
While your at it, turn off notifications for your e-mails. The message here is to answer your phone and emails at scheduled times rather than responding immediately.
Thank you for reading,
P.S. To understand some of the causes and cures of stress when working from home you may want to consider this resource.
Why write an article of this nature when most businesses are closed due to COVID-19. Perhaps this is a good time to reflect on your workplace culture practices and make suggestions to change the way you approach your organization and the people within it.
Brian Kristofek once said, “Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and great company.”
The success of your company or organization depends largely upon your ability to develop a positive company culture.
How you develop or adjust policies, procedures, and processes to meet the needs of a rapidly changing future has a profound impact on the atmosphere, values, structure, and morale of people within your organization.
So what can you do to foster a positive company culture? Well that is what The Workplace Culture video found in FORTIS MEMBERSHIP is all about.
This 30-minute video covers a wide range of topics that will assist you in developing a positive culture among your team and within your workplace. The following are five suggestions from that video.
1. Assess Your Current Culture
Assessing your company culture is easy when you are just starting out. After all, culture starts with the very first person you hire. You begin setting your company culture right away by setting out the type of person and values that suites you and your company.
However what happens when your company is already well established? What do you do then? How do you maintain and improve your existing company or organizational culture? Basically you will need to reassess and define your company culture if you want to see some improvements.
Here are some simple steps to understand, change and improve your existing culture.
a) Evaluate your on-boarding process. If your hiring and training methods are antiquated consider transitioning into more personalized, open and participatory processes.
b) Determine whether the leadership is fluid and agile. Your organization will have difficulty moving forward if your leadership team is static and resistant to change.
c) Review your organization’s recognition and rewards program. Give employees several options on how they want to be recognized and rewarded.
d) Assess the interaction among team members and the interaction among teams. The goal is to establish relations that will pave the way for effective collaboration.
2. Know and identify the values that underpin your business operations.
If you don’t do this it won’t be easy to identify what you want your company culture to look like. Some questions you should ask yourself when uncovering your company values are:
3. Institutionalize the culture
After you have identified the kind of culture you want and need, commit the policies and processes to reinforce the new culture. Make sure these policies and processors are scalable so that they can meet growth and change. You can do this by engaging a number of employees in the hiring process, essentially involving them in determining if a new hire is a good fit with the culture. Other things you can do are:
4. Build Trust
The foundation to every company success is employee trust. It is unfortunate that a lot of major companies have high levels of alienation and distrust among leaders and employees. Communication issues are often the culprit in this regard. The foundation to building strong trust within an organization is always good communication. Make sure you:
5. Reduce Micromanagement.
Micromanagement holds employees back. In smaller organizations bureaucracy and micromanagement can almost be eliminated. The barriers between management and owner in smaller organizations can be encouraged. A flat organizational model can work when there is a close connection between managers and employees. Bureaucracy is reduced when there is direct access to the leadership team or business owner. Make everyone feel that they belong and that they are capable of handling and finishing their own work. When employees own their own work they feel valued and have a sense of belonging.
Thank you for Reading,
PS. If you are a member of FORTIS MEMBERSHIP go to Masterclasses and Training. The video "Workplace Culture" is under the heading LEADERMANAGER. if you are not a member consider joining HERE.
There are several essential skills and habits you need in order to work well with others. It’s important that you develop proper habits early on in your work or career, as they do help you improve your relationships with your follow teammates, supervisors or managers. They also may be the sauce that gives you the opportunity to move into a leadership position. Essential skills and habits are extremely important in the workplace these days because of the number of people looking for work. If you don’t have them you can be sure others do.
Many of these habits may seem obvious to you but they are not so for everyone else they wouldn’t have to be listed. To be sure these five essential habits are not the only ones you need to exceed, but they give you a good place to begin. These suggested five are really easy to put into practice so there’s no reason to get excited thinking that you have to change your entire way of life.
If you look at essential skills separately, they don’t add up to much, but taken together they could mean the difference between keeping your job or getting fired. And very few people I know want that to happen to them
It’s always important to take responsibility for what you do, especially if something goes wrong, and things can go wrong very quickly. No one is perfect. Often people think they are perfect, but the reality is they are not. We all make mistakes. The best approach when you make a mistake is not to claim that it wasn’t your fault. Own up to the mistake and don’t pass the buck. That way you will be telling the truth and owning up to the fact that you were in control of the situation
When you take responsibility you will notice to important things: One, your co-workers will likely be more willing to help you correct the problem and thus help you to succeed. Number two, your co-workers will be more comfortable around you, as they will recognize your honesty and that you don’t get into the blame game.
Keep Your Mind Open
George know he was absolutely correct, but he kept an open mind. You see George was in a team leadership position and he knew that by keeping an open mind he gave his team members an opportunity to try something different and still succeed. You see when you come across as a know it all you don’t leave room for alternate ideas. And when you come across as a know it all you put others on the defensive and its downhill from there.
Practicing a bit of humility and concern about finding the right answer for every situation and problem, is more important than soothing one’s ego. You see there is more than one way to solve a problem and others just may have a different problem-solving process than you. Teamwork does have the potential to come up with alternative ideas much faster than working alone. And because the ideas and solutions have gone through several filters and perspectives the resolutions have a greater chance of being successful.
Honor Your Commitments
Those that succeed in life complete their tasks and projects in a timely manner even when the unexpected puts barriers in front of them. They learn to rise above the challenges, find a work-around or seek help so that they can honor their commitments. They also plan their projects well in advance, building in time to resolve the unexpected. It’s much better to give yourself more time to finish what you are working on, rather than underestimating the time to complete your assignment. This way you don’t have to be anxious about not meeting deadlines and disappointing your colleagues or your employer.
Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. Set your personal bar high, but not so high that you can’t accomplish what you have set out to accomplish. And follow up on commitments you have made to ensure that to ensure that your team leader and team members are satisfied with the result. This accomplishes two things. First it strengthens workplace relationships, and second you get needed feedback on your work giving you the opportunity to learn and grow as a person and colleague.
Turn Off Your Phone
It’s safe to say that almost everyone in the workplace has a cell phone these days. If you work in a large office – or even a small office – and your phone is not necessary for work, turn it off. Build in self-discipline so that you don’t check the incoming message when you are talking with someone, turn off the phone in meetings, keep your personal stuff separate from your work stuff, and deal with your personal stuff on your own time. Keep to these four habits and you will not be seen as rude by your team members and others, and you will continue to build positive relationships with all those in your workplace
Give Credit Where Credit is Due
One way to fall out of favor with your teammates is to steal their ideas and suggestions and spread them to others as if it were you who came up with them. The word” steal” may seem a little harsh here but think about it. When you take something that doesn’t belong to you, it’s called “stealing.” Well maybe that applies to ideas and suggestions as well. It’s is sign that you are working well with others when you give credit where credit is due. Your co-workers will come to respect you for it as they see you as an honest co-worker.
When you share credit when credit is due, you will build your reputation as someone who is unselfish and not someone who is out to sabotage everyone else in attempt to get ahead. Even if you get away with it without your co-workers complaining don’t waste your time celebrating or thinking that you have ‘pulled the proverbial “wool’ over their eyes”. In the long run truth usually prevails and in the end you may become isolated as your co-workers will guard what they say to you. They will begin to see you as someone who can’t be trusted with their ideas. And this is not conducive to you building healthy relationships.
You may wish to consider becoming a member of FORTIS for further ways to grow your relationships with others whether that be in the workplace or elsewhere. Want to find out more. Click here: FORTIS MEMBERSHIP
Flipping To Abundance Thinking
Abundant thinking is a form of positive thinking. It is about creating a mindset of positive values that allow you to perceive your life as one of abundance, not one of deficit. It teaches you to flip over your mental attitude from negative to positive and appreciate how much you have in your life to be grateful for.
However, it doesn’t suggest that our gratitude should cause us to stop striving for more and just accept our lot in life. Rather, it teaches quite the opposite: that by acknowledging how abundant our lives are already, our minds will embrace the concept that the good things in life are potentially unlimited.
Abundant comes from the Latin word “abundare” meaning abounding. It means to be richly supplied; to be plentiful. Just as the word abundant means plentiful so are the synonyms describing it. I counted over 30 of them including copious, ample, profuse, rich, lavish, large, generous, and bountiful. This means that we should have no fear of asking for more because we can be confident in its delivery. Abundance is a store that never runs out of its goods.
Abundant thinking is a philosophical approach to life. It isn’t just concerned with money, although there is a strong financial aspect that can be applied. Where money is the issue, it is viewed as a tool or a way to achieve a better quality of life– not just the material aspects, but most crucially the freedom to spend time doing the things that matter with the people that matter.
Similarly, being someone who is rich may not relate to money at all. It can even negate the willful drive for extra finances, especially where that works against the more important aspects of life, such as love and family. We all know of rich, unhappy people. We read about them every day in the news that flash across our telephones or pop up on our computers and we see them on the television; people who have a clear abundance of finances but do not feel satisfied or fulfilled. .
Abundant thinking is all about changing how you view your personal circumstances so that you can change how you view the world at large. It is realizing that you have been the cause of your sadness and struggle in life through your focus on what you don’t have, rather than on what you do have.
Here are some questions to ponder: How does the concept of abundance play out in the way you approach your work? How much of your attitude towards your work relates to your own negative thinking? Can you view things differently by turning your mental attitude towards more positive outcomes? Do you, through your negativism, feed into a toxic workplace culture?
Thank you for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie
Building Trust Within The Workplace
A team leader who strengthens the level of trust with his or her team is one who is skillful and effective. I think it is also true that a team leader who lacks trust with team members will have a difficult time, if not an impossible one, improving and expanding a trustful environment.
It’s not critical that team members like their leader, but they have to trust him or her. If not, she won’t be able to lead them and as a result members' motivation will wane and fall.
There is an old axiom that truth and trust go together. You could be honest for years, but one lie can destroy the trust you have built during all those years and no doubt that regaining that trust is very difficult. I liken it to breaking a glass window. A glass window works beautifully as long as it isn’t shattered. When it is shattered it is extremely difficult to patch up and most often needs to be replaced. So too, when a team leader loses the trust of his team he often needs to be replaced.
Team leaders have to be honest. Don’t say “I don’t know” when you do know. Be straight and say exactly what is on your mind. Of course you want to do that in a respectful way. When you say, ‘No” mean it. Again say it respectfully. There are certain times in the workplace when a ‘no’ is the appropriate response. The leader may not be popular during those time, but in the long run his truthful response is better than if he tried to fudge an answer or to lie about it.
In line with truth and trust is the willingness to accept criticism from both team members and colleagues. Sometimes it’s hard to accept comments – especially negative ones – but in order to lead effectively you will have to accept both negative as well as positive feedback. The key here is to listen to other ideas and suggestions without being defensive. In this way you encourage open discussion and engagement. Non-defensive listening doesn’t mean non-decision. Decisions need to made based on facts and these often come from critical criticism.
Show, as in demonstrate, is one of the hallmarks for trust. Saying “I trust you,” is important but not enough. Demonstrate trust by clarifying roles and responsibilities, communicating clearly and providing training, information and doing what you say you will do.
Another demonstration of building trust is recognizing a ‘job well done.’ Don’t be afraid to show appreciation when someone works hard and finishes an assignment successfully. Communicate your praise directly but don’t mix the praise with a negative ‘but’ – keep it simple and honest – and keep the negative comments for a private setting.
Building trust in the workplace is quite simple: Be truthful, say what you mean respectfully, be integral with what you say and what you do and be an example for others through consistent action. Building trust is all about carrying out the values of honesty and truthfulness and reflecting in your behaviour what you expect others to do. If you don’t do this expect trust to disappear and cynicism and negativism to grow in your workplace.
Thank you for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie.
A note before reading. Workplace shadows can reflect both positive and negative characteristics. Shadows used in this article reflect the darker or negative aspects found within workplaces. Read the other articles on the shadow: ‘The role of LeaderManagers in removing the shadow,’ and ‘Bringing Light To Our Own Shadow'.
All organizations and institutions be they business, not-for-profit, or religious, cast shadows. The shadow reflects the darker side of the organization. This article focuses on those darker shadows that exist in the workplace – those things that get in the workers way by stopping or slowing them down from doing good work. They cause serious vexing and discontent in the workplace.
Here are four of those things:
1. Poor communication. Communication is the grease that lubricates the systems and processes within any organization. It is one of the necessary nutrients that nurture relationships between colleagues, across boundaries and at all levels within any given company and institution. Sad but true, many leaders within an organization keep people in the dark. They don’t share needed information, encourage collaborative effort or cross boundary communication. One of the constant complaints I received during my work with organizations related to poor communications. I heard people say: “People don’t communicate here,” or “I’m not sure what I’m suppose to do. Nobody tells me anything,” or “We know changes are coming, but we don’t know how they will affect us. We’re kept in the dark.”
Poor communication causes anxiety, in-fighting, fear, discontent, relational difficulties, and sometimes public outcry. The poorer the communication the darker the shadow becomes, until employees start walking away or the quality of their work suffers.
2. Limited Engagement. Poor communication within the workplace often brings limited engagement. Workers, who complain that they don’t know what to do or are kept in the dark, are complaining not only about poor communication but also about their lack of engagement within the organization. Engagement brings light to the shadow. Disengagement fosters discontent. What does the disengagement shadow look like?
3. Lack of mutually established objectives. Concomitant with the lack of engagement and poor communication comes poor performance. Poor performance often is a result of not knowing what is expected and when that expectation is due. What frustrates workers is not that objective are set, but that they are set without their involvement. They are given to them and then told to achieve them. This is an easy way to encourage complaining in the workplace and a lack of performance because there is no ownership for the objective.
Another factor that causes frustration is when the objectives are not attainable or realistic. We live in a time where changes and shifting priorities occur rapidly. So setting timelines for the objectives that are too far into the future may not be realistic for today’s realities. In short order the objectives become obsolete and workers then wonder why they were set in the first place, and the shadow begins to darken.
4. Poor wages. There is a growing discrepancy between the wages of leadership teams and workers, especially within large corporations. It is hard for workers, and people in general, to understand the wide gap between highly paid CEOs, Vice Presidents and others within the leadership team and those on the ground floor.
Why do employees want higher wages? It’s simple. They want to care for their families, put food on the table and buy houses to make a home. My experience with business owners and their leadership teams is that they often have two complaints: taxes are too high, and they can’t afford to pay higher minimum wages. Yet, I see these same people driving big cars, owning cottages at the lake, living in large houses, and vacationing in exotic resorts. I also hear them say the highways need to be fixed, health services need to be improved, education costs are too high, and welfare programs are being abused. What is wrong with this picture?
The shadow produces a toxic environment, and unfortunately when workers criticize or complain about the darker side of the organization leaders grumble about the workers. Here’s the deal, just because workers criticize doesn’t mean they don’t like their work. What they seek is a more pleasant workplace where people get along, they want to understand the big “Why” of the company so that they can commit to it and they seek processes that allow for green tape rather than red tape.
When the shadow becomes too dark, workers walk with their feet to other places of employment. This is a recipe for high turn-over rates and in turn, higher costs; or, it results in workers organizing for higher wages, better working conditions, and improved workplace cultures.
Does your organization or place of business have a looming shadow? What do you think will happen when the shadow becomes too dark in your workplace?
Thanks for reading,
Richard P. Fontanie