Posts Tagged ‘Performance at Work’

 I like Seth Godin. I subscribe to his blog and just today received his posting called The Paralysis of Unlimited Opportunity. It made me think about all the distraction we face in our work lives and wonder how many of us are compromising productivity due to a lack of focus. How many of us possess the drive, ambition, know-how and desire to succeed but are distracted by a million little nothings in our day? You know what I mean; web-sites, phone calls, text messages, family, and life in general. It is easy to get pulled in a million directions. How many of us spend too much time sifting through email that adds no value to our lives? Are you spending more time waiting for opportunities than creating them? Are you flogging dead horses even though you know you are not Jesus Christ and cannot give life to the dead? Is this the paralysis of unlimited opportunity or just the paralysis of having a distracted and undisciplined nature? Maybe you are just spending too much time tuning into the white noise of being busy doing nothing.

Here are some tips to help you get around this:

1. Know what you are working toward. Have a very clear purpose, write it down and decide what exactly you need to do to achieve this. Failure to do this will result in your swirling in a sea of white noise for eternity.

2. Turn off the white noise at the end of every day and make a list of priorities for the following day. Your day isn’t done until you’ve accomplished them and written out new ones for the next day.

3. Find someone to hold you accountable. Having a friend at work or even outside of work who can participate in this with you is very effective. Your friend should also be setting goals and reporting to you. You can’t meet every week and have none of your goals achieved; it’s way too embarrassing! Mutual accountability is great for helping you move things along.

4. Read books that motivate you. Filling your head with fluff will result in your being less productive. A commitment to reading or listening to books that inspire you to achieve more, develop important skills and increase your expertise will allow you to become much more productive.

5. Hire a coach. I do provide private leadership coaching to my clients, and it is not terribly expensive. There are many ways to access coaching with the technology that exists today. If all of the above isn’t helping you, consider hiring someone who specializes in working with others to enhance performance.

Taking action to  overcome your white noise will be the difference that gives you an edge and will allow you to be all that you can be. Do something. As Seth Godin says in his blog post, just don’t do nothing.


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Most people hate performance reviews. I often hear complaints that review time seems to be the perfect opportunity for your boss to kick your rear end into your front end. What really drives people crazy is that many times the poor review just seems to come out of nowhere! What could possibly drive your boss to give you such unexpected grief? Here are a few possibilities to consider:

Your Boss is Disorganized: If you have never or have rarely met to discuss progress on your objectives prior to your most recent review, your boss doesn’t have her priorities straight. A course in Time Management would do her a lot of good!

Your Boss is an Abysmal Communicator: It’s always possible your boss never really learned how to give a proper performance review and doesn’t have a natural ability to communicate effectively.

Your Boss has a Hidden Agenda: Your boss may have decided it is time to restructure and needs to unload a few people the cheap way. If he can make you miserable, you might quit. In other words, you could be the victim of a constructive dismissal. This is a dangerous game for employers to play, but it is still pretty common.

You Make Too Much Money: Your boss may have been told to limit the salary budget for the upcoming year. If your annual raise and bonus is dependent upon the results of your performance review, then dinging you on your review would be essential. If you are at the top of the pay scale for your position, and your boss has been mandated to cut costs, you are going to be the primary target for a negative review. You may as well start updating your resume. You will probably be restructured out of a job.

So, what should you do if you’ve just received a rotten review?

  • Don’t sign anything you don’t agree to and issue a rebuttal.
  • Ask for empirical data to support the claims against you.
  • Emphasize your achievements and provide supporting data.
  • Ask your manager what type of support you will be receiving from the company to help you overcome your challenges.
  • If you feel you are being constructively dismissed, let the big people in charge know. Send your rebuttal to HR and the CEO, or your manager’s boss and tell them your thoughts on the subject. If you’re going down anyway, you may as well expedite the process. You’ll be handed a severance cheque within days. If you let them force you to quit, you will only give them the fuel to treat others this way (and add unnecessary stress to your life). Inconvenience them and make them pay you to go away.

A Note for Leaders:

Constructive Dismissal is a form of bullying. Several American states have been working on passing legislation that would ban bullying in the workplace and force employers to pay heavy compensation to victims. There is a realization that anti- harassment legislation needs to protect everyone, not just women, and racial or religious minorities. This is likely because according to studies, 40% of Americans claim to have been bullied at work.

Canadian courts are more recently taking a dim view of bosses who bully employees, particularly when the employee ends up becoming sick, taking stress leave or starts taking anti-depressants to cope with the pressure of the continual harassment. There is an emerging trend where judges forced the employer to compensate the employee as much as $1million. Subway, Honda Canada and Xerox are just a few companies known to have received such judgements.

In 2004, the Quebec government brought in legislation to protect employees from being victims of psychological harassment at work. Their definition of psychological harassment is, “any vexatious behaviour in the form of repeated and hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures, that affects an employee’s dignity or psychological or physical integrity, and that results in a harmful work environment for the employee.”

That means that yelling at your employees, swearing or name calling, threatening to fire them or harm them in any way, could get you into very hot water. Anything you do to shatter the self confidence of your employees could be considered harassment. Read my book, Engaged for Growth, to learn more about this subject and to develop healthy workplace practices that engage your people and drive the best results!

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