Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bad bosses and worthless workers

I too listened to the Walt Bodine show on bad bosses. If you missed it you can listen to it on podcast.

Lest we too quickly decide that Karl Marx was right - workers of the world unite and get rid of the bosses - let me say a word in defense of bosses. Bosses use capital and labor to create a profitable business. Without bosses there would be no organized industry, no job and no pay. Workers would be left to fend for themselves in a chaotic struggle for individual supremacy, solitary and starving. Somebody has to make the tough decisions: who works when, who does what, and yes, how much does one get paid over another.

What was lacking in the Walt Bodine discussion of bad bosses was a recognition that every business has to earn a profit. The recent financial catastrophe proves how quickly one business can go from success to bankruptcy. Citigroup only barely survived bankruptcy to get back on the profit bandwagon. Workers create product or service and thereby create success. Bosses owe their success to the workers who daily get the job done. It is that simple.Good bosses recognize this - they owe their jobs to workers.Workers should be encouraged, rewarded, and promoted when appropriate. Bosses who don't recognize this will never climb the latter of success.They are bad bosses and deserve to be fired.

Enough of bad bosses, what about worthless workers? What is a worker if he or she doesn't work? And by work, I mean "add value" to the organization. Add value means make money and earn a profit.Good workers improve the business, they make cars, serve meals, take tickets, pump gas, and a million other jobs that keep the economy humming along. And when the cars they make are bad, the meals cold, or they don't perform as needed, they the workers have worked themselves out of a job.

Neither are all bosses bad, nor all workers good. The bad need to be sorted out so that they can find a better fit for their talents. I once heard a saying that "A" employees don't stay with "C" employers. There is truth in this. Workers seek rewarding and challenging employment.Workers are creative, thoughtful, helpful and bosses need to recognize this. The problem with bad bosses is that they fail to recognize that their job is not to boss, but to manage. Peter Drucker the man who invented management theory is the guru of the subject. Bosses don't boss, they manage,  trying to instill corporate values in a diverse group of individuals and by encouraging their staff create an effective, harmonious, and profitable enterprise.

So, let's work together for a better America.

Oh no she didn't!: Oprah advises Views to tip less

I worked last night. I am a waitress at Paisano's Italian Eatery in Lawrence, KS. I am a purveyor of spaghetti, for the layman a waitress. Let me tell you folks, serving tables is not easy! It is dirty, messy, grueling, and the pay is unpredictable. I am paid 2.13 per hr. I survive on tips, which I earn but running the fifth basket of breadsticks to tables all with a smile.

As in anything you have good days and bad days. Last night was not a good one. No matter how much charm I slathered on it seemed I couldn't break a 10% tip. I then was made aware of a nasty rumor flying around the hospitality industry about Queen Oprah.

The first whispers I heard about lady O came from the cooks in the kitchen. Everyone knows cooks are horrible gossips and prone to exaggeration and conspiracy theories. I was waiting in the kitchen, looking at a dismal excuse for a tip a table of four, fat, happy customers left for me. One of the cooks leans over and whispered, "You know this is all Oprah's fault." I rolled my eyes and gave him a look that invited further explanation. Chris, the cook, went on to tell me about how Oprah had encouraged her viewers to continue dining out during the current recession but in order to cut costs they should tip less.

I was skeptical of Chris' claim to say the very least. Oprah would never turn her legions of worshipers against poor servers, the majority of whom are trying to put themselves through some form of schooling in order to better their lives. To my dismay Chris was correct, Oprah has in fact ordered a jihad on the service industry everywhere!

What are your thoughts? Here is some feedback found on the Oprah Website.

much love, First Born

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NPR podcast

Here is a link to the NPR podcast I wrote about in my previous positing. It aired Tuesday April 27, 2010, on the Walt Bodine Show. Listen and tell me what insights you may have. I think it is a piece we can all learn from.

Love, First Born

If You Want Something Done Right do it Yourself: A Response to Do I have to do Everything Myself

Just another blog
I was listening to NPR today while driving to and from errands. I forget what program was on, but the hosts and guests were discussing motivation in the work place. The day's dialogue covered management strategies, company policies, and personal motivation many people may be lacking in the current economic climate. These subjects have obvious curb appeal to business owners and individuals who occupy management positions. The greater lessons I took away from NPR's programming are worthwhile nuggets of wisdom and common sense anyone with a pulse can benefit from. I am specifically writing this post in response to Crank Old Man's posting "Do I have to do Everything Myself?" because hopefully he can take away worthwhile tips on motivating others as well as motivating himself, and for the love of god quite his bitching.
The first part of the program dealt with management strategies and company policy. The second half was dedicated to individuals whose careers would fit in perfectly in the major motion picture "Up in the Air." These workers felt trapped, too old to start anew, unable to change their company policy due to fear of losing their jobs, or people who had lost their jobs and didn't know how to reenter a hostile workforce at while entering their "golden years." For those looking to motivate others there are a list of do's and don'ts. Lets start with the negative and get it out if the way.
A major sign of incompetence is micro-management. According to the guest expert, micro-management is symptomatic of a lack of confidence in oneself and one's employees. Micro-managing is simultaneously patronizing and counter-productive. This style of management communicates to workers that a manager isn't confident in his employees or his overall business plan. A boss should hire people he or she is confident in. If they are given a task, respect the employee's capability to deliver. If a boss does not its speaks volumes to their confidence in hiring. Employees also feel stifled when micro-managed. Their accomplishments no longer belong to them, they are now the boss' compliments, and the employee is only a pawn.
This phenomena is also seen in children. Look at Tiger Woods, many would argue it was his father's drive, not Tiger's, that propelled Tiger to the level of success he obtained in the golf world. Tiger perhaps sought to reclaim his autonomy by pursuing his desires and impulses out at clubs and famously with porn stars and Perkins' waitresses.
What people ought to do to motivate those around them to increase productivity or to work towards a common goal is offer autonomy. Companies who allow employees to focus on goals saw huge increases in productivity. "Focus on goals" means to give an employee a task and let that worker accomplish it in his or her own way in their own time. Many employers fear work will never be done if its on the employee discretion when to work. When workers complete their work they are rewarded monetarily. Companies who employed these techniques reported high moral amongst workers and increased productivity. Never underestimate the power of ownership. When an employee feels they own the fruits of their labor they take pride in their work and produce a better product.
Finally the program addressed men and women who felt trapped in a job, too afraid to complain, or recently let go. The advice was rather similar to the managers listening. Don't blame others, take the horse by the reins and take actions. One caller commented that," No one has the power to make you feel bad about yourself, only you have that power." Employees who felt trapped, who didn't like a boss, or a boss' tactics were encouraged to empower themselves by putting themselves in their boss' shoes. Try and figure out what the boss' insecurities are, what they want to change, what their mandate is. Once an employee can figure out what a boss wants they can then assuage a boss' insecurities by taking proactive steps to let a boss know their concerns are being addressed.
Another woman called in, she had recently been let go from a job she held for 28 years. Instead of entering a deep depression this caller took this time to better herself at the ripe age of 65 she reenrolled in University courses.

Cranky Old Man, what I'm trying to say is... You gotta a problem with me? Then change yourself. The power is in your hands, the ball is eternally in your court. Insanity is trying the same thing and expecting different results. If you don't like the current results mix it up. Its fun and its keeps life interesting. Remember even the Cranky Old Man can be an eternal optimist. Isn't it nicer to be nice?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Do I have to do everything?

I sent you an invitation, and then I accepted the invitation for you.

You can now log in to blogger using your email and password and post blogs. Notice, that you can also create your own blogs. They are a great way to learn how to write. Practice, practice, practice.

Move three spaces ahead of the rest of your friends.

p.s. When you post, you have to publish your post. It is the orange button at the bottom of the screen.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Day One

What would you do if you knew for certain that today was the first day of the rest of your life?

I doubt that you would start a blog, but for me this is day one, so live with it. This blog is a dialogue with my two children, Hannah and Will. And if I had a picture of them, I would post it here, but I don't.

I do have a picture of a French packet ship. Packet ships were originally designed to carry mail, then later cargo and passengers. They were neither sleek nor fast. They were designed for efficiency; they got the job done.

The ship, the Rochambeau represents a beginning. For this is the ship that in 1919 carried my grandfather Ltc. James Madison Pearson and his new bride Marguerite Chevallier Pearson from France to the United States. The date was shortly after the end of the First World War. It was war in Europe with its death and destruction that first brought my grandfather to France as a soldier and then introduced him to my grandmother when he was injured.

Perhaps this blog will be like  the Rochambeau. It too represents a beginning - a new line of communication between my children and me. And, hopefully, like the packet ships of yore carrying messages back and forth, this blog will get the job done.