Friday, May 20, 2011

One For The Old And Jaded

This is probably another case of "Dave, where the hell have you been" but I only recently got turned on to a site called 1.00 FTE whose tag line is Impressions of a Corporate Life, and man are they!

If you are looking for at least one smile a day from your current or fomer life, I suggest you check out the site here, and if some of what you see doesn't remind of places you've been (or are) then you may well have a flat EGK.  Very cool, at least in this writer's opinion.

Once you get done laughing it will likely also serve to remind that we  laugh because we know it is (sad to say) based on truth and often it is those truths that can destroy what many have worked so hard to build.

I would give more credit where it is due, but I can't even tell  you who the clever and imaginative person is who comes up with this stuff on a a daily basis, other than he goes by Stuart - that's him up there to your left.

No reason to hide Stuart, you should be out there taking a bow!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

If I Had A Nickel

Everyone knows the "If I only had a nickel..."  phrase, and I know we all have dozens if not hundreds of situations where we have thought of those famouns words as we sat frustrated over one thing or another.

The most recent instance for me actually wasn't one of frustration but rather was much more positive, although it didn't necessarily start out that way.  So why did the "If I only had a nickel..." phrase run through my mind? 

Essentially, it did because ever since I moved from an "us" to a "them" in the management world, I have been fascinated by the books that seem to be published every other week by professors, consultants, and current or former CEOs - all of which promise to answer my every prayer in terms of managing, leadership, and overall organizationall effectiveness.  So, it was pretty natural to think, "Here's another one" when I picked up Workarounds That Work by Russell Bishop.

All that turned positive, however, after I had been fortunate enough to have him join me on a weekly call that I do with ExecuNet members; we it call Six Figure Hotline, and members can raise questions on any subject they want, be it career related or business related. 

At the time of the call, I only knew of Russell by reputation as an editor and columnist for Huffington Post and a consultant with a long history of success. I was anxious to have him on the call, however, because logic suggested that his experieince and success was likely built the same way it is for most of us - by dealing with one person at a time, and if his approach worked for organizaitons, it probably would work for those who make up the organizaiton.

I am not reviewing it here - you can go to Amazon for that if you like. I bring it up on this blog only to say that while I cannot begin to bring Russell's experience as a consultant or his skills as a communicator to this space, I can and do think any executive who feels the need for some insights into trying to figure out the workaround situations that face us almost daily, would do well to check out this book.

And there is another reason as well, and which is, of course, the real reason as to why I am so thumbs up on this book: because much of what the book suggests makes me feel my own theory about organizational issues has been vindicated by a source that has real credentials. Now I can say: "If you don't believe me, then see what Russell Bishop has to say and then tell me I'm nuts."

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Work Life Balance: The Oxymoron of the 21st Century?

A number of people, both on our staff and off, who have stopped by my office over the years have often remarked about the fact that I seem to have an awful lot of pictures for such a small office. Indeed, they say I have a lot of them even for a big office! I guess I never noticed or thought that it seemed like picture overkill, although now that I look around I guess I see what they mean. I just counted them and there are 25. That's practically enough for a one man show for Pete's sake.

I guess the behavior gurus would say that all the pictures (wife, kids, vacation spots, grandchilden, etc. are supposed to give off vibes as to my "warm and fuzzy" MBTS profile. What they would say about the one with me dressed up in a court jester costume I have no idea. (We dress up at the office on Halloween, but that's another story) I guess they would just think to themselves "I hope he has outpatient psychiatric coverage" and move on.

In any case, when I look at these pictures now, as much as anything else, they serve to remind me that I undoubtedly spend and have spent, far too much of my life in my office focused on the care and feeding of "my job" than physically being with and caring enough about the people and places those pictures represent.

They remind me too of a profile of ExecuNet that was in the NY Times some years ago. One of the labels they pinned on me in that article was "workaholic". Not exactly my proudest moment.

As the old saying goes, you have never seen a tombstone that says "I wish I had spent more time at the office." However, I am of The Organization Man generation but on reflection, even that feels more like an excuse than a chronological factoid. I’ve learned that work and time with family are not mutually exclusive, but the tipping point is difficult to find, and it is different for everyone. 

What many find encouraging is that over the years, our annual Executive Job Market Intelligence Report survey has revealed that more senior level executives are moving toward simplifying their lives. While certainly 9/11 had much to do with this trend starting, it has not gone away either.

While salary remains the biggest motivator, many respondents also report that relocation, personal growth potential, improved work/life balance, and corporate culture were key factors in job acceptance.

It is going to be interesting indeed to see how these trends develop, particularly as technology continues to make it easier for us to work outside our physical office space.

If this combination really flies, there are a lot of us type A's who will probably think they had found the universal solvent. Or will they?

Are you a teleworker, and if so, what are you finding from the experience that you like and/or don't like?