Party on, HR

party onDoes it strike you as odd that the July/August HR Magazine features a seven-page article titled “25 Fun & Easy Ways to Boost Morale?” On first glance, this looks pretty neat. The writer crowd-sourced ideas on social media and shared them in the article. The ideas range from movie tickets to time off to an ugly sweater contest. Each story exclaimed how excited the employees were with the activity.

Call me a spoil sport but the article hit me the wrong way. My first thought was….our profession has been trying for decades to get out of the role of party planner, so now our professional magazine is touting party planning?

And then I thought to myself, “You really are a grouch, aren’t you?(more…)

Please Don’t Take Me For Granted

Never take other people for granted. There is a point of no return in all relationships.”

trust_fall_distraction_400_clr_13592I love this statement by syndicated columnist Thomas Sowell. What a wonderful reminder of how quickly everything can disappear. Our safety. Our family. Our country. Our trust.

I think about taking things for granted sometimes when driving over a rickety bridge or walking down a street crowded with cars. I trust that the engineers who built and inspected the bridge did their job well. I trust that the cars speeding along the street see me walking and aren’t going to sneeze and veer into me at the exact moment of passing. (more…)

Can You Share Responsibility? I Wonder…

I had an epiphany!  Well, maybe it’s better explained as an out-of-body experience.  Well, maybe not quite that.  What it really was, was a personal experience that validated an old “management truism” for me.

figure_holding_up_rock_800_clr_14564I use “responsibility charting” a lot with my clients. This is a business process whereby responsibilities are assigned; subordinate tasks are identified, and each subordinate task is assigned to one person as “responsible.”  There are dozens of versions of this process with different names, but the basic premise remains the same:  there can only be one “R.”  I like the tool because it accelerates forward movement of a team, because of role clarity.

I have introduced this tool to many, many groups over the years, and I am asked routinely, “Why can’t there be more than one ‘R?’”   My response is always that two people cannot effectively (the operative word) own a task, and if you’re trying to assign a task to multiple people, your tasks aren’t yet sufficiently broken out.  That usually satisfies them.  Once they have struggled a bit, they realize that the task could actually be broken down into subordinate tasks. (more…)