The “D” Word

Sometimes saying that you are disappointed is a very powerful statement.

Several years ago, I watched a hospital President speak with employees who messed up. It could have been a med error, tardiness for a shift, or poor treatment of a family member.

If an error occurred, she would invite the employee to her office and ask her what happened. After the employee explained the situation, she asked if there was something she had needed or help she didn’t get. They had a two-way conversation. Then she asked what she would do differently in the future and made sure the employee “got it.”

Then she would say she was disappointed…the “D” word. She didn’t say she was disappointed in the employee but in the situation and was assured the employee that she was certain it would not happen again. It generally didn’t. (more…)

Tootin’ your own horn

Do you toot your own horn? Maybe you should.

We’re taught early in life to not brag or boast about ourselves. And in general, that is excellent advice. Tootin’ our own horn – telling folks about our accomplishments – is bragging, no doubt about it. It turns others off and makes us look self-serving.

Sometimes though, it is entirely appropriate.  In the work environment, it is not only appropriate, but necessary.  As the old saying goes, “If you don’t tell them, who will?”

Why toot your own horn in the work environment?

Let’s start by defining today’s workplace. It’s different from the industrial environment where work was clearly measured by output and time. In today’s knowledge and service environment, much work goes unobserved. We work independently, and chances are the only time our boss hears anything about us is when we mess up.

And we will mess up – that’s how we learn. But it becomes only one half of the equation. Who is going to balance the equation with all of the great stuff accomplished? (more…)

Training Day @ Starbucks

Wasn’t there a movie called Training Day? Well, we could make another one today as Starbucks closes 8,000 stores to “train” employees in unconscious bias.

The article on MSN quoted the consultant who developed and will deliver the training as saying “the real work is for employees to apply what they learn in their everyday lives. She likened it to exercising a muscle.” I’m glad at least the consultant understands that one half day of “training” will not necessarily change behavior.

What about the leadership? Do they recognize that the cultural infrastructure also must change? What about the employees hired tomorrow and beyond? Will the urgency of the Philadelphia situation fade over time, and everything go back to “normal?”

What about a different approach?

What about developing the skill of leadership to hire, observe, coach and, if necessary, counsel their employees about appropriate behavior in front of customers. After all, every situation is different, and every situation has the chance of going south as the unfortunate situation in Philadelphia went south. (more…)