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Gonna take a break from “work issues” for one day and discuss political polarization briefly.

I’ll say this: some have recently called us “The United States of Nervous Wrecks,” and we’ve got research that this is one of the most socially-isolated, lonely times in American history. Even if you don’t vote — i.e. more than half of you — it’s hard to argue the 2016 Presidential election wasn’t a microcosm of all this. Each side was screeching at each other, there was hate/fake news everywhere, and ultimately the more-qualified candidate didn’t respond to the reality of the situation and lost to the lesser-qualified candidate. Now pregnancy is a pre-existing condition. …


In a new article on Harvard Business Review, there’s a funny story about the concept of a Chief Human Resources Officer:

Lucia Luce Quinn is Chief People Officer at Forrester Research. Earlier in her career, she left a position as SVP of business development and emerging businesses to join Boston Scientific in a senior line job. Upon arriving, she flatly refused the CEO’s offer of the CHRO role. He had to ask her four more times, including once on a conference call with the whole executive team, before she finally relented.

Basically, this woman turned down a Chief Human Resources Officer role four-five times, including once when she was backed into a corner on a conference call (classy play by that CEO, as an aside). Why? In her words: she thought she must have done something wrong. …


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Written a lot about bad bosses — 12 types, 7 more — and today we’re going to quickly discuss two faced people becoming leaders.

It’s pretty much a horrible, no good, very bad place for your organization to go — and yet, it’s increasingly normative.

Many C-Suiters are, by definition, two faced people. What do I mean?

To the company: Buzzwords, mission statements, no real information.

Behind closed doors with lieutenants: Bellowing about margins, market share, and essentially only financial topics.

So let’s say you’re a middle manager in Operations, right? You go to this all-hands meeting and you believe “Oh, this leadership team cares about people and their growth and all that. That’s good!” But then every iota of space between those meetings is “Too busy, got other stuff to do!” …


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Lazy coworkers are a relatively unavoidable concept. We all have them, have had them, etc. They come in all shapes and sizes, but among the most common would be “I am so busy even though no one really has any idea what I do.” That would be “Temple of Busy” employees, which are fairly common for a set of basic reasons:

  • For generations, we all worked in agriculture or industrial pursuits
  • That’s how we came to learn how to manage others
  • Industry/agriculture are very objective working conditions, though
  • You either produce the corn or make the widget or you don’t
  • Now we all supposedly work in The Knowledge…


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This topic — diversity hiring policy — is both tricky and relatively fraught with land mines, so I won’t spend a ton of time on it. I do think a few elements related to it probably need to be addressed.

Mostly when you talk about a diversity hiring policy, you mean hiring more minorities or females into key roles. That is awesome. I am definitely not against that, nor should anyone be. Some frame up diversity in companies as a “moral imperative,” and I would mostly agree with that. There are hundreds of studies, often from reputable organizations, claiming that diversity will improve the bottom line. …


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I think we all know the recruitment process — i.e. the hiring process, the process of recruitment, whatever you wanna call it — is a mess. It tends to be rooted in recycled job descriptions, low-context interviews, hair on fire hiring managers throwing HR under a train, and various other niceties. Ultimately, no one really does a post-mortem on the recruitment process because HR owns it, and no one really cares about HR because it doesn’t directly generate revenue. Then a bunch of “thought leaders” take to LinkedIn to write articles about “the rise of People Analytics,” i.e. …


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I’ve already written about social isolation in America and how nervous we all seem to be, so I won’t belabor the point around the phrase “I am so lonely.”

In fact, I’m going to shift the format of how I normally write blog posts and hit you with a money quote up front. This is from an article on “emotions as power” in handling chronic stress, which is relatively normative at workplaces these days. Ahem:

“The reason loneliness is important for us to think about is it’s right under our noses,” Murthy said. And it is a growing epidemic: In the 1980s, 20% of adult Americans said they were lonely, he said. Today, the percentage has doubled to 40%, “despite the fact that we live in the most technologically connected age in the history of civilization,” he said. “It’s because technology in some ways has been looked at as the solution to connection. We have a lot of social media platforms. …


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Been a few references in the past couple of years to inclusive prosperity. You can probably figure out what that term means, but in short, it’s the idea that more people can become rich.

Let’s level-set this for one second. In January 2015, John Cassidy of The New Yorker wrote an article about inclusive prosperity, arguing it would become a central issue of the 2016 Presidential election. It semi-did, but in reality Trump framing the issue as “us” vs. “them” changed the game there. Ironically, someone who’s a billionaire was able to cast himself as an outsider. Not sure how being a billionaire in a capitalism makes you an “outsider,” but OK. …


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Let’s talk for a few seconds about employee net promoter score.

If you’re generally familiar with the idea of net promoter score, or NPS — here’s a cool podcast with the guy who created it — it’s a management tool used to gauge how successful a company’s external relationships are. If you do a booth at a trade show and you send out a survey afterwards about the effectiveness of the booth, you might get an average “6” (1–10) as net promoter score. That means the partners who showed up at your booth kinda maybe thought it was good. …


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Since some white collar work is “akin to chimp rape” and no one communicates all that well, stands to reason we need a lot of conflict management strategies. Oh hey and also: work is largely about relevance and protecting your specific perch, so that’s going to lead to even more conflict.

The traditional approach to conflict management strategies is:

  • Kick it to HR
  • Hire some trainer
  • Bring in some consultant
  • Talk about breathing exercises, etc.

Some of these concepts are moderately effective, but most flop. When they flop, you have people who become six-year co-workers who essentially hate each other, are consistently forced to collaborate, and drag down the teams they get put on. No conflict management strategies here. Rather, it’s just passive aggressive BS to the core. …

About

Ted Bauer

Blogging, largely about work and how to improve it. How I make (some) money: http://thecontextofthings.com/hire-freelance-writer-ted-bauer/

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