Managers – Leave That Meeting and Socialize in the Cafeteria

If your business has a company cafeteria, my guess is that you have become aware of these mistakes that many managers make:

ONE: Thinking that they can’t get away from meetings for thirty to forty-five minutes, they continue to meet during lunch and have their meals brought into the conference room.

TWO: They walk to the cafeteria and get a to-go sack, bring it back to the conference room, and in this way only lose ten minutes of meeting time.

THREE: Managers show up at the cafeteria, but isolate themselves from everybody else at a table in the corner.

FOUR: Once in awhile managers sit with an employee, yet only because they have a business item to discuss with that subordinate.

What do these dining habits say about these managers? That they appear aloof, distant, and uninterested in building relationships outside the senior staff circle.

So when a corporation brings me in to assess the company’s communication climate, soon I will bring the discussion around to what the managers do during lunch hour. As you can guess, I recommend that they:

–Show up and circulate

–Sit with different people every day

–Avoid talking about business. Chat casually about community activities, sports, families, and other topics not related to work.

Managers who follow these recommendations will create an image of being approachable, personable, and no longer stuffy. Employees will stop referring to them as “The Suits.”

NOTE: Don’t worry, managers, about what you have lost by interrupting your meetings. You have gained much more by your interaction with those who want to know you personally as well as professionally.

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CEO Legends and The Realities Working Under Them

There has been a lot of talk about leadership styles in 2016, especially after Donald Trump won the election for President of the United States. Most people think his leadership is somewhere between the Art of the Deal (younger Trump) and how he says; You’re Fired! On “The Apprentice” number one reality TV show – and no matter what you think, true leaders, strong leaders can be difficult to work for – as they expect a lot out of their team. Perhaps since they lead by example, they expect the same effort from their generals and the rank and file as well.

How about other great leaders like General Patton, Ronald Reagan or GE CEO Jack Welch? Interestingly enough, I had an interesting conversation about Jack Welch not long ago from an executive who had worked under him. My acquaintance stated:

“I have read Jack’s books and I consider him a great leader and somewhat of a sage. Though as an end-user of his policies, it wasn’t always a good time. He was considerably better than Immelt however. GE left me with the impression that it was always about the bottom line and absolutely nothing else, which I firmly understand but did not enjoy working under.”

After listening to his comments I told him; Yes, I hear you and I’ve talked with other former GE employees who had said the same, mostly in the medical divisions, that they ran them like slaves, then cut them from the payroll as needed without remorse. Total demands of their being at all times, stressful, and tough. Also I’ve talked to Xerox people who said it was the same there too, where if they didn’t perform, they were basically gone, if they didn’t meet their numbers, they’d get someone who did, see ya! Little if any loyalty, only to the bottom line – and that’s the way it was.

IBM sales people had told me the same thing too. Not all divisions were like that in those companies but many were, during Jack Welsh’s reign they were of course. I hear you. I see what you saw and felt. I get it. I am not an idol worshipper – I know there is a reality check.

Everyone said Steve Jobs was a hard ass too, but he got all the glory and went out on top, they even made a US Stamp for him. And I suppose he deserves it, he changed the way America lives and works, communicates and has changed our culture forever. GE, IBM and other great companies under their leadership have as well. Donald Trump is now the leader of the free world, with a management style all his own – he will change the world – time will tell and history will judge.

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Decision-Making During Turbulent Times

Abraham Lincoln, the former American president, is probably at the epitome as a ‘decision-maker’. He led his decisions like he meant them. However, in today’s world things are way too different. Due to various factors like evolving markets, technology changes, socio-cultural events, etc. challenging decisions are forcing us into deliberation – this is where the problem lies; many employees and company leaders are afraid to assume a leadership role for fear of decisions turning out wrong.

Why Is Decision-Making So Stressful At Corporate Levels?

Decisions are easy to make when they are not ‘life-deciding’. However, when it comes to the corporate level, each decision comes with its rewards and ramifications. Sometimes, decision making may seem like an enticing proposition to some leaders, but others might try to pass on the baton to shun their responsibilities in most cases. So, how to reach a decision when no one is ready to own it up?

The power of a ‘Decision’

A decision can make or break a workplace. From tax cuts leading to union strikes, pay hikes leading to budgetary losses, firing employees without cause leading to litigation, etc., executive decision-making during turbulent times is a massive responsibility which usually lies in the hands of business owners, HR managers and compliance professionals.

The lack of leadership training is a major culprit. Very few workplaces train their staff on leadership skills. The biggest problem is that most managers and their superiors are so self-involved in their operational commitments, that they are stuck in a rut; leaving them limited scope to exercise leadership. When the sword finally looms on their head to make a decision, nerves get the best of them and such severe stress is the main reason for their ravaged physical and psychological health.

Overtime is another ally in this mishap, it leaves them no room for personal relationships which further impedes productivity. Chances are that even in your workplace, you might see workers either making hasty and often wrong decisions or mulling over decisions which are supposedly easy and straight-forward.

How to Overcome This Dysfunction?

Leadership is inherent in each and every individual – the only thing left to do is to tap into that potential. Lack of leadership is due to various reasons like time-consuming people, managerial attitudes towards their employees, staying in the comfort zone, etc. This can be solved!

Leadership Programs: People generally tend to shy away from a decision since they try to avoid getting thrust into a tense situation – basic human nature. Humans also have this tendency to challenge their decisions by asking themselves, ‘Was that decision any good?’ This is where leadership programs, inclusion initiatives and talent hunts can solve lack of leadership skills.
Openly Questioning Facts: The best way to reach a conclusion in a math problem is to solve it. Asking questions, problem-solving and weighing the pros and cons can hasten the decision-making process and also instill the notion that the wisdom of a decision was not by choice, but by tact and responsible action.
Active Involvement: A battle is won when you are on the frontline, not in your comfort zone. Similarly, if you do not take interest in the matter-at-hand, chances are that there will always be somebody else who will take the icing on the cake and take credit for the decision. If you want to assume better leadership at your workplace, it is time to take your job seriously, however mundane the problem may seem.
Advisory Panel: Criticism questions credibility and this is what matters while making high-profile decisions. An advisory panel or board will always eliminate the possible moot points. A recommendation like this will help you get concrete facts and soon a decision will be born.

What to Do When a ‘Leader’ Can’t Come Up With a Decision?

Leaders may not always be adept in decisions! Leadership is not a synonym to effective decisions. Leaders are good and bad, but decisions cannot be bad, they have to be good for the company’s survival. If your leader cannot make decisions ‘on the fly’ it is up to you to assist them in getting to the summit.

If you are the leader yourself, stick to a decision after weighing its pros and cons. If your decisions have negative effects in the future, arbitrary proceedings will decide what went wrong, but until then, at least you stuck to what you stood by. If you have the habit of constantly changing your mind, your decision-making skill set will never be taken seriously by your staff. Always remember that you have two images to uphold – your own and that of your business.


Decisions may not always turn out great – many people’s livelihoods matter upon them which makes them all the more strenuous. However, not wanting to make a decision is the ultimate poison that challenges and defeats a leader. Not wanting to become a part of the difficulty makes you resistive to decision-making and be perceived as a ‘no-good’ in the workplace.

Our suggestion is to stick with the litmus-test approach – maximize your opportunities to make decisions and see how they fare out. Always work in teams and remember that you do not have to reach the conclusion on your own. Companies are multi-tiered for this sole reason – a network of supporters to propel the entire business further. So, take chances, learn more and believe in yourself.

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Secrets of Project Companies: How to Make Your Project Successful

Project management is one of the most interesting and, at the same time, most complicated areas of business. Managing of employees in a project has its own specific features and differs from managing of full-time workers. It would be fair to say that only people can guarantee the success of any project. A project team plays the leading role in the future of a project. And the main aim of each manager is to organize working process as effectively as it is possible. Accurate documentation management, using of a time tracker and analysis of current results – all these things can help to make a successful project.

First steps. Nice to meet you!

In the very beginning of the work on a project there are several important things which should be under a manager’s control. They are:

· recruitment

· setting of goals and objectives

· discussing the ways of project implementation.

Very often employees are afraid of difficulties concerning the work on a project which they are to meet in the nearest future. A manager should discuss all possible problems and try to encourage a project team. People should be inspired by the great results which can be obtained!

But not only leadership skills and organizational qualities of a manager help to gain a result. Data from a time tracker can also help a leader to find out weak points of a team to make its work more effective.

Not only to support, but also to control

Nowadays every person tries to work effectively. No one wants to run idle. Most successful businessmen always analyze their working time and try to exclude the things which aren’t effective. That means that one more important objective for a manager who runs a project is not only to set a team for success but also to control its effectiveness.

One of the easiest and most comfortable ways of making time work on you is using of a time tracker. One can say that if a project team is under a time tracker control so that means that your manager doesn’t trust you. But the situation can be totally opposite. Following the data from a time tracker, a project team can see the things which can optimize their work and save them from useless activities. That is why time trackers are indispensable tools of effective business.

When everything is fine

If previous stages of working on a project passed successfully, the following step for a leader is not to let a team relax and to keep them up till the end of a project. The final part of project work is very important but still it is sometimes hard to motivate employees as it was before the project implementation. One of the best tools for this, again, can be a time tracker. It can help you to calculate compensation bonuses for those employees who made better results than the others and to motivate not very inspired or tired workers to finish their work more successfully. A time tracker software can help you to optimize your business processes and to make your work on a project as effective as possible.

We think that our method (time tracking) is necessary in business. It’s a good alternative to outdated business models and a great way to boost sales in large companies. After perusal the article you can understand how you should manage people in our companies, how you should organize correctly work time of your managers and office workers.

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Motivation and Your Achilles’ Heel

Most managers and leaders are very keen to learn what motivates their employees; and for a good reason. If we understand that then we might be able to reward and incentivise them appropriately and this could have – would have – a big impact on their performance and productivity. Less time, however, is spent on considering the factors which do not motivate or can positively de-motivates staff. More subtly still, the factors which Hertzberg, the famous researcher in this area, called the ‘Hygiene Factors’. As I have written before:

“Your lowest motivational score can be very revealing. The top three motivators are more exciting, but noting our lowest motivator can also give useful clues about improving our motivation and our life. First, ask the question: is my lowest motivator causing me a problem? We sometimes call this a hygiene factor, which means that the motivator does not motivate us, but its absence can lead to de-motivation.”

One of the really fascinating aspects of motivation is the idea of hygiene factors. It would be very easy to focus on someone’s top three motivators – or a team’s or whole organisation’s – and think one had the job done. But we must constantly be aware that all nine motivators are related in the psyche and so effect each other, whatever their rank order is. Indeed, the least important motivator in terms of its effect on our motivation is – paradoxically – vitally important for our overall welfare.

What Hertzberg meant by a hygiene factor was some aspect of the work that did not motivate the individual, but its absence might become extremely de-motivating. So, for example, people in an organisation, may not be motivated by tea/coffee or canteen refreshments, but the absence of their availability over time in the work place may seriously begin to demotivate the staff and lead them to take a negative view of management. This idea is taken a stage further when think of mapping motivations and getting a fuller picture of an individual. Perhaps the synonym for ‘hygiene factors’ that would best convey what exactly extra I mean is: ‘Achilles’ Heel’. That the absence of some motivators – in a given context, not in an absolute sense – may prove to be extremely detrimental to the performance (and so work well-being) of an individual (and also read team and organisation). In other words, it can be a very real weakness impacting performance at a profound level.

Some examples here might best illustrate what I mean. Take the ‘making a difference’ motivator. Making a difference is always for someone or for some group. The essence of making difference means having a customer/client focus. Suppose then that one is appointed to a role where customer focus is the very essence of the role, AND suppose that the making a difference motivator is the lowest drive in your profile. Problem? Well, the person may have the skill set, the qualifications, the previous experience to fulfil a customer service role, BUT – deep down – they don’t really get a buzz out of it. Hmm! Long term that will definitely prove to be a problem; and it may even be an issue short to medium term, depending on the severity of the issue.

Or take the being in charge motivator – the desire to control and manage – and imagine this being lowest in the profile of somebody applying for a management job? Or take the competitive desire for more money – and this being lowest in someone in a commission-led sales role? Or take the desire for freedom and autonomy – and the applicant applying for a desk job where every 10 minutes of their time has to be accounted for and charged out to a client? I could go through all 9 motivators and position them as number 9, the least important in someone’s profile, and then provide a job or role context in which that lack of drive might clearly be seen to have important implications for overall performance.

In this sense, then, it should be clear what I mean by an Achilles’ Heel; it is a weakness that can quite literally trip you up in the job you are doing, because ultimately you lose the desire, you lose the internal energy – the fire – that makes doing the role satisfying. One of the tragedies of work is that so few individuals understand this; if they did then they’d stop applying for jobs that can never satisfy them.

But we need to clear that seeking to map motivators isn’t just about analysing problems; it’s about providing solutions, and there are two solutions here that are extremely useful. One is to head off the problem before it arises: in other words, to use tools to map motivators in the recruitment process. Select more people to work in your organisation whose motivators match the roles you have available.! Sounds obvious but it will prove to be a wonderful and cost-effective way to help businesses head off the problem.

The second potential solution is what I call Reward Strategies. Organisations spend so much time doing a TNA – or training needs analysis – why not do a motivational needs analysis? And having done it also start compiling a list of creative and pointed ideas to compensate for the hygiene factor, and to enable managers to do the same. So, to take one example from above – and perhaps the most common – the ‘seeks control or to be in charge’ motivator as the lowest for someone in a management position? The key reward strategy here is to get the manager to accept that managing is not what they want to do and as a result to increase their knowledge and skill set in the one area that could compensate for ineffective or negligent management: namely, delegation skills. Even though one does not especially want to manage, if one has effective delegation skills one can become super-competent in this area. So that becomes the positive area to focus on.

Hopefully, as Hobbit Sam Gamgee says, “That’s a real eye-opener for sure!”

If you are a business coach or management consultant or people development or HR expert who wishes to grow your business, access unique and proprietary motivational technology, be able to recruit and retain sub-licensees, join a growing family of motivational experts across the globe, then speak to James Sale.

Motivational Maps have licensees in fourteen countries across the world – and are now in seven languages.

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