Archive for February, 2007|Monthly archive page

Can You Spare An Employee?

For the past couple of years I’ve read various reports forecasting there will be a shortage of workers in the American marketplace as the Baby Boomers start retiring en masse. Yet, in the workplace in general, I see and hear very little acknowledgement, at least so far of this possibility.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics in her report  titled It’s the year 2010…do you know where your workers are?
Here’s the reality. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of available jobs is projected to increase by more than 22 million by 2010. The civilian labor force, however, is only projected to increase by 17 million. This suggests we will be approximately 5 million workers short of keeping up with job growth over the next 10 years.”

Those are jarring statistics. Matuson uses the analogy of a Perfect Storm in her article and gives some good suggestions for keeping the workplace of the future afloat. Employee appreciation and lessened workloads are stressed.

There are others who say that this forecast is somewhat exaggerated. This is based mostly on the premise (and some valid surveys from groups like AARP) that a lot of workers will choose to retire later, rather than sooner. And, that others will look to return to work, at least on a part-time basis after their initial retirement.  

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I think it emphasizes the value of employees – no matter what their age. Companies need to be willing to make adjustments to make the workplace safe and hospitable for the senior set. The  senior set, in turn needs to recognize that younger workers can move up and assume leadership at a faster pace; that responsibilities can be shared with their underlings along with knowledge. It may be the only way to spare all employees from future workplace chaos.

Teamwork

When a leader does a good job, the team works – works in a way that gets the job done and in a way that moves everyone forward. What happens when a good team doesn’t have a good or well-prepared leader?

This article by Maureen Moriarity from Seattlepi.com, Apprentice 101: Teamwork can offset ineffective leadership illustrates two such cases. Both Project Managers of the two competing teams proved to pretty ineffective as leaders on this week’s mission. Despite this, one team rallied and directed themselves to victory in the SueBee Honey challenge.

They did it through teamwork, and perhaps because a few of them were leaders in their own right. So, they were able to be informal leaders who compensated for the project manager’s weakness and indecision. Unfortunately this happens too often in business settings. One would like to believe that the ineffectual leader would be found out soon enough. That may be the case in The Apprentice as soon as the next challenge. Is that a reflection of how it works in real life? Or can it take longer, all the while dragging the team down?

In the end, Teamwork always wins out. A smart leader pays attention and participates; if not it could mean their time is up! 

Freeze Tag

No, this doesn’t refer to a new version of one of those silly (sorry, no offense to all you prolific linkers out there) tag memes that pop up across the blogosphere. The subject comes to mind more because I live in the Northeast, which is suffering along with other parts of the country in a deep freeze. This is not all that unexpected this time of year, but compared to one of my recent posts Weather… or Not, it is a major change.

Most of us don’t welcome change, especially change that we didn’t initiate. But, when change comes, sooner or later, we need to do something to either accept or counter it. To deal with winds ranging up to 50 mph and temperatures ranging below zero, we can crank up the thermostat, put on another layer (or two) or increase our intake of hot cocoa, tea or coffee exponentially. Those would be choices of acceptance to the change. Staying inside or leaving town for a warmer climate at the first indication of freezing temps would be choices to counter the change.

Accept or Counter – both are good tools to employ with change. Many are eager for change, thinking it’s a good thing. Sometimes it is, sometimes not. We need to do an assessment before we decide which action to take when dealing with change in the elements. Likewise with personal, political or business changes.

There is a third action, or I should say inaction to take when confronted with change  – freeze, do nothing.Freeeze  Sometimes that is a good thing, more often not. Think of the childhood game of freeze tag.  When were you most likely to get tagged and then frozen in some uncomfortable or awkward position? While you were caught up in a frenzy, running in circles trying to keep from getting tagged, that’s when! That is not a good thing, and usually happens in its adult manifestation when we neglect to assess the change or strategize to accept or counter. While we’re whirring around in blissful ignorance or indecision, that’s when the deep freeze can strike.

There’s help for anyone who has either been tagged into inertia by the howling winds and dipping thermometer or metaphorically frozen on the playground of life’s choices and changes. Fresh thoughts, creative suggestions and  reconstructed advice are abundant if you want out of the freeze.
Here’s some fuel to keep your inner fires fueled up:

Phil Gerbyshak of Make it Great fame shares some positive actions in his 5 Ways to Change the World. Hugging came in at #6 – not sure if it was an after-thought or meant to be climactic, but it’s a guaranteed deicer.

Kent Blumberg reminds us of these 15 Essential Leadership Tools that are prerequisites for any strategic maneuvers  – be it freeze tag or a major organizational change.

Steven Aitchison at Change Your Thoughts challenges us to Change your life with a computer and a headset. He even offers to check in with you every day by email. This could be the one that will spur you to turn on the defroster.

Kammie at Passion Meets Purpose lends emotional support and prompts us with the question, “What sets your soul on fire?” 

Finally, Brendan O’Keefe has developed The Intention Engine which he shares with all who want to focus their dreams into actual reality. This will activate your mind, and calls for forward motion. No room for freeze tag there.

If you know of other sites to help us keep from freezing up, please add them. 
Stay warm!!

Outstanding

Original SOB Button   Snowy PloverSuccessful and Outstanding – two great leadership qualities!  Liz Strauss at Successful-Blog definitely displays them. She is a leader in the blogosphere, who exudes boundless electronic energy and thought processes in keeping not one, but three Blogs constantly fresh and updated.

One can tell that Liz cares about her fellow bloggers and readers. She readily shares knowledge, introduces the the latest blogging technology and/or buzz, steps up to promote causes and adds a touch of humor when appropriate. That explains the naming of the SOB award. (Oh, did I mention she’s a bit of a marketing genius, too?) On Tuesday nights she hosts an Open Mic Night. When I first participated, I found it great for networking, informative, and even  entertaining. Little did I know what an outstanding resource I had found.

So, with apology to my staid upbringing, I proudly display my SOB award. I have been inducted into the Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Hall of Fame Liz’s words best explain,” They take the conversation to their readers, contribute great ideas, challenge us, make us better, and make our businesses stronger. I thank every one of our SOBs for thinking what we say is worth passing on. Good conversation shared can only improve the blogging community. “

I thank Liz for the recognition. I am honored to be included. I didn’t start this Blog looking for awards, but it’s an incentive to continue on the path I am taking. My plans were to share my thoughts and insights as another means of establishing my credibilty for potential clients or interested acquaintances. (and of course friends and family, if so inclined) I never realized how many smart, like-minded (and sometimes different-minded) people from all over the world I would encounter in such a short time. I am grateful that Liz Strauss, the Chief  Successful and Outstanding Blogger makes herself so accessible, and that she is such an outstanding leader in the electronic universe. I am proud to be a part of the SOB community!