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25
Jan

Firing an employee for wearing a Green Bay Packers Tie?

Sports can raise emotions. It can also lead to poor decision making.

Wrongful termination? Insubordination? Firing a high performer?

Were other sales people selling as many cars? Was there a dress code?
Did the Chicago Bears organization complain? Should you take all directions from your boss?

It is clear Mr. Stone refused a directive from his boss. That may be a termination offense. Yet, in today’s workplace, perhaps context and performance should be included. Were customers complaining? Has Mr. Stone broken other rules? All we know from the article is he is a high performer.

I may have used the issue for publicity to draw more customers. “Come buy a car from our ONLY Green Bay Fan!”

It is advisable to make these decisions after the heat of the moment has passed.

Contact us at DrBrian@DrBrianGrossman.com about leaderships and communication solutions at your company.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
24
Jan

Your boss decides to cancel a project that you had been working on for weeks.
Frustrated by her decision, you snap back in an email to a colleague, calling it an “idiotic” decision.

Of course, it’s forwarded to your boss, and she writes: “I don’t appreciate being called an idiot!”

And in your defense, you re-frame what you said. “I didn’t mean it was idiotic. I’m sorry you read it that way. It just wasted a lot of my time, and I felt it was well….thoughtless… to cancel the project…”

“So are you saying I’m thoughtless too?” she asks.

Better stop the email conversation right there before you dig too deep a hole.

When we’re angry, we tend to snap and write things we regret afterwards because it’s hard –at that very moment—to envision the consequences. (We’re so buried in the emotion.)

So if you say something unfortunate — what do you do?

You can immediately apologize. “I am so sorry I said that. I was upset and please forgive me.”

But, it might be too late.

The boss will not forget what you said, nor will she ever trust you again.

“Sometimes you just have to say what you’re feeling,” a client told me recently. “You can’t just keep sidestepping the issue.”

Calling people names, however, is what three years old do – and that kind of adolescent behavior in business has dire consequences, especially when we put it in writing.

It’s there forever.

The email can be put in your file.

It can be forwarded to others.

And it can be used against you.

Even if you survive it, people treat you differently when they think you’re prone to misjudgments and verbal tantrums.

This doesn’t mean we have to say absolutely nothing or spend weeks searching for the right word or words.

But, we shouldn’t be Trigger-Happy either. Here are five rules to follow:

1. Never write when you’re angry. Put that emotion in your back pocket. It’s like playing poker. Don’t show your cards.
2. Filter your own emails. Develop a healthy sense of doubt. Check for words like “need” and “should” and “must.” If someone needs criticism, do it live — make it a conversation.
3. Avoid BIEs (Beer induced emails).
4. Always include some personal kindness in an email. Use “hi.” Sign your emails with “Thanks” or “Best regards.” Be engaging, not dismissive.
5. Never put anything in writing you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of your local newspaper.

When dealing with emotionally charged issues like the cancellation of a project, acknowledge your feelings. “Truly, I worked a whole week on it, and I’m disappointed that I can’t finish it.” Discuss this in person, and if necessary follow up with a written summary of the meeting. Most importantly, find out why this project was cancelled before you rush to judgment. Often we react badly because we don’t ask the right questions or don’t understand what’s behind the decision.

“Could you tell me why the project was cancelled,” might be nine words that can save you from sabotaging your job, perhaps even your career.

Tune in this week to Dr. Brian and Dr. Gary’s Insultant/Consultant show, Sunday January 30, 2011, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consultantinsultant to learn some tips for avoiding this misguided behavior.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
18
Nov

 

It is holiday time!  Office parties, formal corporate events and other spontaneous activities.

Business parties can help you be promoted, or they can lead to being remembered for a mistake until next year, or being fired.

Below are some quick tips to have a fun, successful experience at business holiday events:

  • Show up! Do not pass up an invitation.
  • Who is invited? Is it just employees or are family members invited?
  • Be on you your nest behavior. Remember, even though it is a holiday party, you are being observed.
  • Network and schmooze with people who can influence your career.
  • Great tip: Keep your right hand free to shake hands. Now you avoid the wet handshake.
  • Avoid talking about your accomplishments. This is not the time to boast.
  • Meet and greet as many people that you do not see day to day.
  • Keep your communications positive and upbeat.  People do not want to “Talk Shop” at a holiday party.

Make sure your company has a plan for designated drivers and/or a cab service.  These tips can help you have a fun, successful holiday party experience.

Dr. Brian offers coaching and training to help you communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime! E-mail Dr. Brian at DrBrian@DrBrianGrossman.com

 

 

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
31
Jul

You’re standing around the water cooler, and everyone’s talking about the Mel Gibson audiotapes that have been broadcast on TV.
(You don’t watch TV. You didn’t hear any of the tapes. You could care less).

At lunch someone asks, “So what do you think about Snookie on Jersey Shore?”

Who?

Then, a questionnaire is passed among the staff asking what is dubbed the question of the week: Who should be the next Judge on American Idol now that Ellen has left?

Ellen? Ellen who? American Idol? Never watched it. Why bother me with this trivia?
What are you guys crazy? Get back to work! Stop wasting my time!

Most offices in businesses across America thrive on cultural gossip. For whatever reason – it relieves tension, it inspires laughter, even brings employees from different departments together for a common interest. Whether it’s a discussion of why a particular football player defected to another team – or should this celebrity dump husband #4 – gossip in the workplace thrives.

How do you feel about that? Ever feel like a cultural idiot? When people talk about these TV shows, do you feel included? Left out? Alienated? Superior? Inferior?

Does it waste our time at work, lowering productivity, or does it build teams and keep the atmosphere light and friendly during these challenging times?

Tune in this week to Dr. Brian and Dr. Gary’s insultant/consultant show, Sunday August 1, 2010, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consultantinsultant to learn some surprising insights from two different points of view. Call in and share your opinion. You never know what one of them might say.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
24
Jul

This week the Obama administration accepted full responsibility for the hasty firing of Shirley Sherrod, State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture.

After an excerpt of her address to a March 2010 NAACP meeting was posted on the Andrew Breitbart Big Government website July 19, both right wing and left media commented on what seemed a blatant act of reverse racism.

Was Sherrod declaring she had misgivings about helping a farmer keep his farm because he was White?

In truth, Sherrod, a black woman, described her understanding of the situation and her struggle to make a decision that would help the white farmer. Her speech was about racism – and not racist.

White House spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, said,

“I can’t speak for everybody involved, but I think we live in a culture [where] things whip around. People want fast responses, we want to give fast responses, and I don’t think there’s any doubt that if we look at this, one of the great lessons we take away from this is to ask all of the questions first and to come to that full understanding.”

As a result Sherrod’s ousting and the subsequent media blitz, the entire week seemed devoted to sidestepping, apologizes, angry vindictive against the left and right media.
And though a majority of politicians and journalists slammed the blogger for “jumping the gun,” Ann Coulter defended him. “He’s the victim!” she screamed.

The time and money spent to clear up an issue that might have been dismissed in seconds is symptomatic of our need to say things quickly without thinking them out first.

As a manager or supervisor, do you ever jump to conclusions? Have you ever fired anyone too quickly? Do you look at financial figures and immediately cut jobs cut marketing, cut inventory without carefully poring over the numbers?

What’s it take to change the way we think so we avoid making hasty, unfortunate decisions?

Tune in this week to Dr. Brian and Dr. Gary’s insultant/consultant show, Sunday July 25, 2010, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consultantinsultant to learn some tips for avoiding this misguided behavior.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
3
Jul

“She is smart, “declares the Christian Monitor. “She is learned in the law. And she has the ability to function well under extreme pressure. She’s also funny.”
What Elena Kagan is not, apparently, is someone who talks too much, divulges secret agendas, and discloses her views on undecided issues that may be facing the Supreme Court over the next few decades.
This suggests a strange yet interesting dichotomy for most of us who communicate every day at work. What do we disclose when we are interviewed for a job? How much information do we share with co-workers on controversial policies or procedures? When do I state my opinion? And when is it better to do the side-step shuffle – as many senators describe Kagan’s behavior. She is accused of choosing ones words too carefully, saying just enough about a point of view without telegraphing how she might vote in the future.
Have you ever faced a similar dilemma at work?
Many decades ago when I running for chairperson of an English department at a Los Angeles community college, I had to vote on a particular controversial issue. Hard to believe this caused a fist fight at a senate meeting, but here was the battle: Should we ditch the one year grammar program and replace it with a tutorial writing program that would eliminate the use of grammar exercises and instruction?
In other words, do we seal the fate of two instructors who built this program from scratch and taught it for over a dozen years? If their program disappears, they will have to teach other classes, transfer to another college, and/or retire
The vote naturally impacted my future because I was up for re-election as chairperson. If I voted in favor of keeping the traditional grammar program, many teachers would boycott my nomination. And if I voted against the program, two very valuable and sometimes brilliant instructors would probably do everything in their power to undermine my authority, once I was elected.
Yes, it was a secret ballot, but as you know, in small departments, there are no secrets.
Do I side-step the issue and do a Kagan-esque dance that would keep me neutral (and keep my department guessing)? Or, should I make my views known so I establish my perspective, risking my future as a college administrator?

What do we learn from these recent Supreme Court nomination proceedings and how might this influence the way we communicate with our boss and our co-workers?
To find out what I did – and hear Dr. Brian’s reaction – (we rarely ever agree) —- tune into the Insultant/Consultant Radio Show this July 4th at 9:30 AM (PST) Sunday morning on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consultantinsultant

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
11
Jun

This week the 89 year old Helen Thomas, a reporter who covered the administrations of ten presidents in a career spanning nearly sixty years, resigned after apologizing for her remarks about Israel.

She said Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and should return to Germany, Poland and the USA.

One critic felt it was not the sentiment but the rough language that caused the controversy. Had she said, “Get the heck out of Palestine,” would the reaction have been different?

Frankly, the thoughts themselves are quite ridiculous: Go back to Germany? What was she thinking? If one puts it in perspective (she’s old, cranky, and near retirement), why blame her? She simply stayed on too long and should have been given Happy Acres contract years ago!
Nevertheless, it has initiated an International incident.

Interesting how one comment can instantly label one of the most revered reporters of our time a traitor, even an enemy of the state!
Loose lips sink ships, my mother once said, and this is a classic example of that…

In an age where TV, radio, twitter, facebook, and even marijuana induced memories cause us to record everything that is said on this planet, we have to be especially carefully about the words that fall out of our mouths.

One need only look at the comments from Toyota, British Petroleum, AIG and numerous other companies to realize words can haunt you…

Tune in this Sunday to discover some ways to see whether or not your employees have the lips that sink ships.

Do you have a Helen Thomas or a Carly Farina on your staff?

Did you just hire someone whose words fall out of her mouth like gumballs?

Let’s face it. No company can afford the loss of income, the law suits, let alone the political/social consequences of a very badly worded message. The good news? It can be avoided through some technology and techniques Dr. Gary and Dr. Brian will share with you this Sunday in a show that can’t be missed!

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
6
Jun

A Three-Part Phone Conversation with the Insultant/Consultant Team of Dr. Brian and Dr. Gary

Imagine you’re in the travel business – in 2010 – and not only are people cutting back on their entertainment expenses, but every day another airline is announcing more restrictions, delays, up front costs, and security problems.

Oil now threatens to destroy beach travel all across the South.

Even new political changes and scandals (AIG, immigration laws) cause entire companies to boycott having conventions or conferences anywhere outside their warehouse.

And to make matters worse, the whole of Europe with its economic turmoil turns potential European tourists into stay-at home-vacationers.

“Why bother? I’ll just take my two weeks, stay at home with my family, and barbecue,” one client told me.

“This summer? We’re hiking, biking, and museum hopping at home,” said another.

How do you inspire and motivate a staff to wake up every morning and feel like making wildly profitable cold calls when your clientele is shrinking and the world around you seems to be on the edge of default?

Tune into their greatest challenge ever: Motivating the Unmotivated.

This Sunday, Dr. Brian and Dr. Gary start a three part series about staying motivated during trying times.

June 6 Part One: Learn how to distinguish yourself from other companies and other employees. How do you uniquely create your own niche through better email communication, better phone calls, more energized spirited positive messaging so that you go beyond the proverbial weather issues (the economy, competition, attracting customers, environment)

June 13 Part Two: What can companies and employers do themselves that will inspire this positive attitude the moment the employee steps into the door? In fact, is there a test to see if you’re even capable of developing this distinguishable attitude? Tune into for some surprising tips on interview questions and systems you can institute to assure you’re hiring a “positive” person.

June 20 Part Three: In honor of Father’s Day, Dr. Brian and Dr. Gary have a real surprise for you. What influences did your father or mother have on your ability to be motivated at work? Are some employees just simply better at this because of their upbringing? What can families do to inspire their children to develop a natural affinity to bounce back? Be positive? Be self-motivated?

You can’t afford to miss this opportunity to hear two experts (the sickeningly tell it like it is Dr. Brian and the gleamingly glass-too-full Dr. Gary) to discuss new ways to deal with everyday employee problems and dilemmas.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consultantinsultant

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
14
May

Ever say something and get a blank stare from your listener? Or you’re talking at a meeting and somewhere in the audience you hear a “Whoa” sound. You can just feel this knot incubate in your stomach, realizing that you said something you know stepped over the line.
It happens every day, of course, to famous people all over the world.
This week, one crucial situation provided a great example of stepping over the line. The CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, was perceived as handling a major oil spill crisis in a proactive manner. But his comments offended all of his potential supporters and the government by stating “It wasn’t our accident,” he told the Today Show on Monday. Pressed by anchor Meredith Vieira, Hayward claimed: “The drilling rig was a Transocean drilling rig. It was their rig and their equipment that failed, run by their people, their processes.”
That statement, blaming others and taking no responsibility himself, caused an outcry from Gulf States suffering from the oil spill.
In fact, Hayward’s arrogance could easily characterize the tone of many CEOs in this era of financial collapse and ethical misconduct.
Will Hayward (or managers at Goldman Sachs or hundreds of other CEOs in financial institutions across the land) win back the faith of the American people?
Once people at work (or home) change their perception of you, or if you are perceived being aggressive, it’s difficult to gain back trust or change the perception. The fact is, one year of perfect behavior/communication, followed by one mistake, can reinforce people’s negative perception of you.

Whether you are in the public eye or not, here are some quick tips for staying on the assertive rather than aggressive side of Smart Communication:
• Prepare notes, and refer to them during meetings or presentations.
• If possible, record your ideas and play them back to yourself. How would you feel if you were the recipient?
• Talk to a trusted source before you have to speak at the meeting or with a boss or client.
• If you are put on the spot, or speaking off the cuff, take a deep breath and think for a moment. It’s okay to say, “Please just give me a moment to think, or could you repeat the question?

Nobody at work or home expects you to speak like a professional. However, if you practice simple, Smart Communication techniques you can quickly be perceived as an excellent, Smart Communicator. Tune in Sunday morning when we talk on Blog talk Radio, the Consultant/Insultant at 8:30 AM http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consultantinsultant

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
6
May

Celebrities, business leaders, politicians are often respected for “speaking their mind.” Often we get hired for being clear, assertive and “pulling no punches.”

Often times we are unaware when we step over the line and become perceived as insensitive unless a friend, colleague or boss let’s us know. The more you “get away” with risky communication, the more risks we take. Often when speaking in seminars, until I get the blank stare, or “Whoa” sound from the audience, or I receive evaluations, I may not know if I stepped over the line.

This week, two crucial situations provided great examples of stepping over the line. The CEO of BP, Tony Hayward who was perceived as handling a major oil spill crisis in a proactive manner, offended all of his potential supports and the government by stating “It wasn’t our accident,” he told the Today Show on Monday. Pressed by anchor Meredith Vieira, Hayward claimed: “the drilling rig was a Transocean drilling rig. It was their rig and their equipment that failed, run by their people, their processes.”

That statement caused an outcry from Gulf States suffering from the oil spill to call for more government oversight rather than rely on expert BP employees.

Tuesday, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, commenting on Erin Andrews’ outfit on Dancing with the Stars said: “In light of what happened … and as inexcusable as it was for that horrific guy to go in and try to peep on her in her hotel room … I mean, in some way if I [was] him, I [would be] like, ‘Man! I just could’ve waited 12 weeks and seen this — a little bit less — without the prison time!’” On May 5, 2010, Hasselbeck apologized on the View and privately to Erin Andrews. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Hasselbeck has been told, even by her show co-hosts that she was insensitive and “way over the top.” Assertive communication is saying what you mean. Aggressive communication is when you harm the rights of others.

Once people at work (or home) change their perception of you, or if you are perceived being aggressive it’s difficult to gain back trust or change the perception. The fact is, one year of perfect behavior/communication, followed by one mistake, can reinforce people’s negative perception of you.

Whether you are in the public eye or not, here are some quick tips for staying on the assertive rather than aggressive side of Smart Communication:
• Prepare notes, and refer to them during meetings or presentations.
• If possible, record your ideas and play them back to yourself. How would you feel if you were the recipient?
• Talk to a trusted source before you have to speak at the meeting or with a boss or client.
• If you are put on the spot, or speaking off the cuff, take a deep breath and think for a moment. It’s okay to say, “Please just give me a moment to think, or could you repeat the question?

Nobody at work or home expects you to speak like a professional. However, if you practice simple, Smart Communication techniques you can quickly be perceived as an excellent, Smart Communicator. Tune in Sunday morning when we talk on Blog talk Radio, the Consultant/Insultant at 8:30 AM http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consultantinsultant

Category : Uncategorized | Blog