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The One-Minute Layoff

watchWe have a friend who was recently let go from a company for whom he had worked for nearly twenty years. The entire conversation with his supervisor took less than a minute.

To clarify the situation, he was one of twenty or so people who lost his job that day at the local branch of a large company. This scenario was repeated over and over again at all the branches of that company as they responded to low earnings.

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So here’s our first question:

Why do corporations treat humans inhumanely?

In most businesses, people are the most precious asset. So why do corporations act like they’re not. And let’s be clear here – corporations don’t do anything. They can’t. It’s humans who treat humans like this.

It’s the managers within those companies who are doing this. It’s probably their managers, or their manager’s manager, who insists that it be done.

Managers within companies are being asked to do more and more with less and less. So some people get laid off. In many, if not most cases, they’re good employees who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

They’re reasonable people who can understand that sometimes tough choices have to be made. They’ve cared for their employer; they expect their employer to give them the same respect.

Which leads to our next question:

Why do companies burn bridges?

We’re told from a young age that we shouldn’t burn bridges. We get upset when our employees fail to give us notice. We think we deserve that much respect.

Don’t our employees deserve respect too?

We also believe that you have to understand the bigg picture. These employees you’re letting go today may be your best candidates tomorrow – if you handle it properly.

These people may be customers, too. They may know people who are your customers. What are you doing to your reputation when you show no respect for your employees?

And what are you saying to the employees who remain? Aren’t you saying that people don’t matter? That the only thing that’s important is this quarter’s earnings?

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He deserved more

Doesn’t an employee who’s been with a company for nearly twenty years deserve more than a minute from his manager when he gets laid off? We think so!

We think he deserved a conversation at least twenty times that long! How about a minute for every year he devoted? Is that asking too much? We don’t think so!

We think he deserved a complete explanation about what was going on and why his position was being eliminated.

We think he deserved to be reassured that he hadn’t done anything wrong.

We think he deserved to know if it was possible that his position would be available again if the company turned things around.

We think he deserved his manager’s best guess about the likelihood of that happening.

We think he deserved to know what resources were available to him to find another job or career, even if the company wasn’t willing to pay for it.

We think he deserved a written letter of recommendation that he could use to find that next position.

We think he deserved to be thanked for all that he had done.

We think he deserved to be treated like a human being!

We think managing is a tough job. But don’t make it tougher by treating people inhumanely and burning bridges. Give them the respect they deserve. Otherwise, you’ll lose more in the long run, as a manager and as a human being. Oh, and one more thing, your company will lose even more than you do.

What do you think?

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Becoming An Entrepreneurial Employee

employeesBigg success is life on your own terms. Work is one of the five elements of bigg success. That’s our focus today.

Just a generation or so ago, entrepreneurs weren’t highly regarded. The thought was that they were people who no one else would hire.

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Now it seems that most people want to be an entrepreneur. People think that climbing the corporate ladder robs you of your individuality. You become a mindless worker bee.

People associate owning your own business with freedom. It can be liberating. Picture your typical day owning your own business …

You’re the last one in every morning. It’s not like anyone’s going to fire you. Of course, you’re the first one out the door at the end of the day. You’re the boss! You take long lunches. Most days, when the weather’s nice, you’re out on the golf course.

If only it were true!

The reality for many entrepreneurs – especially those with an early stage business – is you’re the first to arrive in the morning and the last one out the door at night. If you take lunch at all, you may eat it at your desk while you keep working. You’re not out playing golf most afternoons. In fact, you’re doing well when you can squeeze in a little play time over the weekend.

Do you remember the BTO song, Takin’ Care of Business? They said that self-employed people “work hard at doing nothing all day. Obviously they had never spent time with a start-up entrepreneur!

It can be very stressful, particularly when you take on employees and have to meet payroll. You have fixed costs to cover every month. There are so many hats to wear, so many things to do, so much to keep up on. It’s easy to feel like you’re buried in work.

Not exactly the fairy tale we often think about.

We’re purposefully painting a bleak picture. Owning your own business definitely has its upsides, but it isn’t for everyone. Some people are much happier keeping their day job.

However, we think there are synergies between the two. Here are six tips to become an entrepreneurial employee:

Select the right career

Bigg success is life on your own terms. It starts internally. Think about the three P’s – passions, preferences and proficiencies. We have a great personality test in The Bigg Success Store that will help you with this. It’s free!

Now you’re ready to look outside yourself. Entrepreneurs look at 2 C’s – customers and competitors. As an entrepreneurial employee, your customers are potential employers. Your competition is other people who do what you do. You’re looking for a mismatch – too many employers and too few potential hires.

Add value

Don’t settle for being average and ordinary. Set yourself apart from all the other potential hires by becoming an expert in your chosen field. Consistently deliver superior results and you’ll become invaluable.

Solve problems

Take on projects that no one else wants. Be positive. See solutions where others see only problems. If you solve problems, money will follow.

Work!

Entrepreneurs work long hours, especially in their early days. Entrepreneurial employees do the same. If you can’t work a little longer, work a little harder. Spend less time chatting and more time being productive.

Embrace change

Change creates opportunity. So welcome change. Continually reinvent yourself. Think about yourself at this time last year. If you don’t have any new skills, if you can’t add anything more, if you aren’t producing better results … why should you get paid more?

Retain earnings

Save means safe so save and invest. Entrepreneurs retain earnings to fund growth. You’ll save to give yourself the liberty to get out of a bad situation as a last resort. And to help you survive through the inevitable downturns and associated layoffs.

You can choose to be entrepreneurial in the traditional sense or by going the corporate route. You choose because bigg success is life on your own terms.

Do you think employees can be entrepreneurial?

Let us know by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

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Thanks for reading today’s post. Please join us next time when we’ll discuss a new trend that may affect your retirement. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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I Just Got Laid Off – Part 1

work This is the start of a three-part series on what to do if you get laid off. On the show today, we discuss what to do today before you leave the building. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll discuss Part 2 – what to do in the next couple of days and then move to Part 3: moving on – going for your next job. So please check back in!

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Getting laid off is one of the most stressful events anyone goes through. So before we get into details, take a deep breath. You can expect to feel a whole range of emotions, even if you weren’t completely surprised. It’s a grieving process. Psychologists have identified five stages that we go through when we lose something or someone:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

These stages don’t necessarily happen in sequence. You may feel more than one at the same time. You may jump around. You will feel it how you feel it. What’s important is to understand what’s going on within you. It’s only natural.

Your job may have been taken from you, but your talents haven’t been

Your unique skills are still yours. You still have that great personality. You’re still an incredible person. And you know it!

With that mindset, and knowing that you will bounce back, here are some things to do, and things not to do, before you leave the building today.

Don’t burn bridges

Life is funny. Things change quickly. If you show class, it will be remembered. So filter what you say.

There may be a temptation to lash out. Resist that urge, because nothing good can come from it. Sure, you may feel better at the moment, but that feeling will quickly fade into regret. It’s much better to conduct yourself very professionally.

COBRA

You will have to decide whether or not to extend your health insurance with the company. But you have 60 days to make this decision so don’t make it today. Talk to two or three insurance brokers who sell individual insurance. In almost all cases, you will find that you can get similar coverage for less money.

If you have one or more pre-existing conditions, it might make sense to sign up through COBRA. But first, check out comparable policies with several insurance brokers and get their advice.

Your 401(k)

Here’s another decision you don’t have to make today. In fact, there really isn’t much of a time limit on making this decision. A lot of people still have money in an account through an employer they haven’t worked for in seven years!

Resist the urge to cash out. You may feel stressed about money. We’ll talk about that more in an upcoming show. The Wall Street Journal reported that 40% of workers in their 20s and 30s cashed out their 401(k) when they changed jobs. As we discussed this on a previous Bigg Success Show, this may be a costly decision.

Before you decide what to do with your 401(k), you’ll want to investigate your options. Find a plan that offers the right combination of options and low fees. One thing you should find out, when the subject of your 401(k) comes up, is if there are any exit fees. This will be useful in your decision making process.

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Your final paycheck

If you get your final check today, be sure to verify everything. For example:

  • Were you paid the correct amount for the time you’ve worked since your last check?
  • Did you get the severance pay that you should have?
  • Were you paid for the vacation days you haven’t used?
  • Is everything in accordance with your agreement with your employer?

Other issues

You may be asked to sign releases and other documents. You don’t have to sign anything right away. Read the documents carefully. If you don’t understand something, ask. If you’re not satisfied with the answer, seek professional guidance from an attorney if need be.

Reach out

Finally, if you can muster the emotional strength, reach out to the people you worked with. Make sure you have their contact information. You never know when it might come in handy.

Thanks for reading our post today. We hope you’ll check in again tomorrow. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00324-020509.mp3

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How Honest Should You be with Your Employees?

questionsClinton Korver wrote a great article for Harvard Business Publishing. He talks about his experience running a start-up and why it’s especially important during tough times to share information with your employees.

He says that he went against the advice of his venture capitalists. They feared losing employees, customers, and other investors if the bad news got out. Clinton found that being completely forthright strengthened his relationships with his employees.

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marylynn One of my radio managers did that when our company wasn’t doing so well. I appreciated the honesty and how it put all of us on the same page.

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Honesty is high on most of our lists of core values. However, do we really think that we should always be honest?

For example, picture yourself standing with your best friend adoring her newborn baby boy. You think he’s the least attractive baby you’ve ever seen. She’s going on and on about him, when she asks you the dreaded question …

Isn’t he the best looking baby you’ve ever seen?

Would you tell her what you really think? Or would you pick your words carefully to avoid hurting her feelings?

Of course, this is a different situation than the first one presented – being honest with your employees, even when things are not going well.

But it illustrates that there can be a second value at stake – the desire to not cause undue harm.

Is there a reason to tell your friend what you really think? What good will come from it?

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georgeI’ve come to believe strongly in open-book management. As a general rule, I think the more you share with your employees, the better. Having said that, I have found you also have to know your employees. Open-book requires a higher level of maturity from your employees. If that’s not present, sharing more just creates undue emotional distress.

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The reason an ethical dilemma is a dilemma is because two or more core values at odds with each other. These situations flow up to the leader. You have to find a good solution.

It’s a personal decision. There likely will be disagreement on the best way to handle it. That’s why it’s so important to have a framework in place for these kinds of decisions.
This framework will help you:

  • be more efficient in making decisions like this
  • make decisions that are consistent instead of all over the board
  • build goodwill with all affected parties
  • respect the face you see in the mirror at the end of the day

We have a great resource that helps you set up the framework so when an ethical dilemma comes your way you’re prepared. It outlines the three steps to solving an ethical situation:

  • Know your core values
  • Select an ethical model that helps you apply those core values
  • Use a problem-solving process to work through the situation at hand

So we’ve presented an ethical dilemma today … should you share all news with your employees, even the bad stuff? What do you think?

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