September 29, 2009

Authority and Responsibility by Wally Bock

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:32 am by ctennert

I totally agree Wally Bock when he says authority works best when not exercised a whole lot.  We all have responsibilities within our jobs, and we look to people with authority to tell us what those responsibilities are.  We all know who our bosses are, with them using their authority every chance they get.  Low-Mach managers are much more effective leaders than high-mach ones.

September 24, 2009

Case Study: SWA

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:42 am by ctennert

Ok, we get it!  Southwest Airlines is an incredible company to work for!  Just like the HR experts who interviewed several SWA employees at the airport, I too was skeptical that an airline could be so exceptional in every important aspect of business.  They are the industry leader in profit and customer satisfaction, and they treat their employees with respect and dignity. 

Whenever I am searching for a flight, Southwest always ends up being my choice.  The reason is low price, and convenience.  After reading the history about how SWA came about, it further solidifies my choice.  This company sounds too good to be true, but it really does seem like they do everything stated in this case, based upon my experience flying with them dozens of times.  I kept searching and searching for a catch in this study, but there was none.  This reading really was enlightening, because there is hope out there for companies who treat their employees less than satisfactory.  (Note to all screaming managers out there). 

I would absolutely love to work for someone like Herb, as I am sure many people would.  It just goes to show that what you put into a company, i.e., the way you treat your employees, is what you will get out of the company.  Good in, Good out.  The HR Dept., or “People Department” is ideal.  It was interesting that they do not hire many MBA graduates, don’t condone additional training outside their own HR Dept., and that they prefer to hire people with no airline experience, vs. industry veterans.  SWA is more interested in hiring someone who is a good fit with the company, and meshes well with current employees, rather than someone who has extended schooling but could be an introvert, for example.  Whatever they are doing in that “family” is obviously working!

Jesica’s Story

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:34 am by ctennert

Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong with Jesica’s operation, did.  The poor thing wasn’t even given a proper chance at life due to all the mistakes and “over looks” her so-called support system made.  It wasn’t just one horrible thing that went wrong, but a number of mishaps that included a number of people and organizations. 

In more cases than not, when mistakes are made, the organization or system is to blame rather than any one person.  People are always wanting to place blame on someone or some group of people when a an unfortunate event happens.  Jesica’s death was explained as a “series of missed opportunities.”  All persons and systems involved in this case were not careful enough when overlooking Jesica’s condition, and this resulted in a girl losing her life.  In another reaction to this case, a surgeon from a different hospital stated that “We’ve done 600 and some lung transplants here and we’ve never had a problem.”  Just because problems are few and far between, does not mean you can be slack.  Organizations, especially hospitals dealing in human life, cannot assume catastrophe won’t happen.  The whole process seemed very “matter of fact” to me, like this procedure was no big deal.  It also felt very rushed. 

It is unfortunate that Jesica’s family wants to place sole blame on the surgeon.  Yes, the surgeon was a major player, but a series of precautions could have been made before the doctor even stepped foot into the operating room.  Hopefully, hospitals and organ donor representatives have tightened up their policies in light of Jesica’s case.  This particular case received a lot of media attention, but it does not mean this is the only case out there of it’s kind.

September 23, 2009

Get Healthy or Else

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:19 pm by ctennert

This is a tough topic.  I can see both the employees’ and the employer’s point of view.  It is a battle between privacy rights and the right to pick and choose your employees based upon good health for insurance reasons. 

I would recommend this company does not out and out fire anyone else due to the fact they smoke.  This could open the flood gates for many lawsuits to come.  However, I do think an employer has the right to not want to take on toxic assets such as smokers, who usually need more health care as the years go on, and tend to take frequent smoking breaks throughout the day when they should be at their desks working.  As an employer, I would not want to take on assets (employees) that could pose risk for my company,  just as in the stock market I would not want to invest in a company that is also risky.

On the other side of the coin, most people usually pay the base price for their health insurance, and if they need more assistance, they pay a premium.  Furthermore, if they are smokers and/or obese, it is not my business.  As long as they do their work and perform at a satisfactory level, we don’t have any problems.  What they do on their breaks and in their personal lives is no business of mine as an employer.

It is great how this article ended:  gaining momentum with the health initiative.  If businesses create healthy environments, more and more people will jump on that bandwagon.  Employees react a lot kinder to gentle nudging and encouragement rather than threats and firings to make examples out of people.  Some people are just not going to change for the better, but as long as they are not bothering me or my fellow co-workers, I don’t think it is anyone’s place to flat out tell them to stop. 

I will say, smoking and obesity aside, that my number one pet peeve especially during the winter months is people coming to work sick.  If you know you are sick, STAY HOME.  I am a healthy, non-smoker who never goes to the doctor for more than a regular checkup.  I eat right, work out, and live a clean lifestyle.  Last winter, two of my co-workers who are not so healthy, came in sniffing and coughing constantly (like they do every winter).  Finally, my poor body’s defenses gave in, and one morning I woke up underwater with a sore throat from hell.  I was so pissed, and felt very violated.  I actually felt bad for myself.  All my healthy eating, water drinking, working out etc. could not overcome my nasty co-workers’ bug.  What did I do… I STAYED HOME to get better, and went to the doctor for medicine, like we all should when we feel under the weather.  I am scared to see what happens with winter with all the hype about h1n1.  We shall see..

WSJ Article on Two Football Coaches have a lot to Teach Screaming Managers

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:27 am by ctennert

Leading by example is the best way to be a great coach or manager. In turn, great coaches and managers typically have great teams.  Hopefully screaming CEOs and managers are becoming less and less tolerated, because this is no way to motivate anyone when productivity is expected.  High turnover due to incompetent or fiery-tempered managers will surely lead to a company’s demise.  Constantly having to hire and train new employees is a great way to waste time when current employees could have been salvaged by treating them with common human decency.  Employees with seniority and longevity are great commodities to organizations, and should be treated with the utmost respect and professionalism.  I could not believe the story about the attorney actually throwing a heavy law book at an employee.  I’m not a lawyer, but, thank god he missed because that could result in a lawsuit?? 

Throwing tantrums does not belong in the workplace, no matter how heated managers or CEOs get over something that went wrong.  If anything, people in positions of authority should be the ones setting examples, not acting like teenagers.  Trust me, employees know who their managers are and respect their position without the managers feeling the need to scream as a way to establish authority.  And no, I do not think the average employee in any line of work expects to be screamed at by their bosses.

Building Better Leaders, One at a Time by Art Petty

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:45 am by ctennert

If we all employed your friend’s point of view, that would probably produce even more incompetient idiots! No offense to your friend, (because he does have a point), but I think excellence tends to rub off on people who are educated, open-minded and motivated enough to understand the importance of being a great leader, and the responsibility that comes with it. I believe a leader is someone who inspires people and ideas, among other things. To answer your question, I am: 1) Reading your blog for inspiration. and 2) Trying to lead by example by being a moral, honest and fair person in both professional and personal life every single day.

September 17, 2009

It’s All About the Relationships

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:09 pm by ctennert

I really like how Mary Jo simplies things, because coming from a professional, she is probably correct 99.9% of the time!  Leadership is definately more an artform than an actual science, with many ‘grey areas’ and things to be learned constantly.  New relationships are constantsly being cultivated and contimplated every single day.  I personally love meeting new people and making those bonds.  It keeps me on my toes, and learning all the time.  How boring if leadership and relationship-building were an exact science?  Relationship science=oxy moron.

Wall St. Journal Article Rules of Engagement

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:35 am by ctennert

This article explores failing teamwork on the grandest scale possible.  Currently, many NATO countries participating in the war in Afghanistan are regulated by various caveats, when they really should be operating uniformly and contributing equally under the command of NATO and the ISAF.    

The countries that have their forces operating under caveats claim they want to fight the war against terror in Afghanistan, but are very limited in what they can and will do while overseas.  The article states that this problem is “grave” enough that some countries have donated very little money for hardware, etc. that OTHER countries may use in Afghanistan because they can’t due to their current restrictions with the caveats.  So little money in fact, that the amount made no difference at all.  Obviously not that grave of a situation. 

This article proves that not all participating members of a team will all perform equally.  This could be due to lack of motivation, knowledge, skills or materials.  Whatever the case may be, (NATO countries working together to fight the war on terror in this case), it just shows that individuals or groups will claim they want to help out and contribute to the team, but when it comes down to actually doing it, or, the “nitty gritty” if you will,  a surprising amount of participants are not willing to put in the legwork and ‘fight the fight’ for the greater good.

September 15, 2009

Wall St. Journal Article UA Pilot

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:56 am by ctennert

United American should really commend this pilot for going above and beyond his job duties every single time he flies.  Even though Pilot Flanagan flies with one of the worst airlines for customer complaints, mishandled baggage, and not-so on time flights, he makes the best of the environment he can control when at work.

Capt. Flanagan’s attitude could be used in all aspects of business, not just the airline industry.  Everything we do can be improved upon, such as going the extra mile for a client with flair, putting additional research hours or thought into a project, or simply by treating people with care and compassion on a regular basis.  It is clearly not this pilot’s job to entertain United American’s passengers or help them recover luggage, but he does it anyway because HE IS HIS OWN BRAND.  He may switch airlines in his career, but his work ethic and good attitude will follow him wherever he goes.  For many of us, where we work does not define us.

September 10, 2009

Sutton’s Blog/Dweck’s Article

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:24 pm by ctennert

Can intelligence be learned over time, or are you born with most of your skill set?  A little of both, I believe.  Dweck’s research on fixed vs. malleable theory is spot on.  Her findings on the twins and the African American students really back up my theory that it is a mix of both fixed and malleable aspects that make up our personality and learning behavior.

Bob Sutton summarizes her research, and points out when people actually believe they can learn, and grow smarter, they do.  When people believe their cognitive ability is fixed, they do not learn or grow smarter, and actually dislike change. 

I was brought up with the belief that if you work hard, good things will happen to you.  Not going to college was not an option, and not being successful at what I do is not an option.  I am the way I am today because of my education, and life experiences.  If we all believed we were born with, or “hard-wired” with personality traits ONLY, and could not better ourselves any more in this life, we would essencially be robots.  How boring to go through life not constantly growing your knowledge base. 

I also believe we are born with certain behaviors, tastes, likes and dislikes, and the way we react to things, for example.  These can all be changed with learning and enviornment, however.  Our hard-wiring simply provides a palate for us to grow upon and expand as we go through life.

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