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Relationships and the Dog Eat Dog World

dog_daysThis is the third installment of our five-part Dog Days series. Today we want to talk about relationships. There’s that old saying, “It’s a dog eat dog world.

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It reminds us of this exchange on Cheers:

Woody: "How's it going Mr. Peterson?"
Norm: "It's a dog eat dog world, Woody, and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear.”

Dog eat dog is a zero-sum mindset. In order for you to win, the other party has to lose. There may have been times when this mindset worked. If you were in a large city or you sold nationally or worldwide, you may have been able to get away with it.

But the world is getting smaller and smaller.

Man’s best friend

Thanks to the internet, more people are connected with more people. Reputations can be built or destroyed pretty quickly. So it really pays to think win – win.

Be man’s best friend. Build loyalty by being trustworthy. Win friends by being loveable.

Those attitudes win alliances today. Your network is the single biggest asset you can have. The value of your network is the sum total of the value of each and every relationship in it.

Call the dogs off

You build value in relationships by giving. So call the dogs off.

You’re seeing this so much now as more and more people start using new tools like Twitter. They follow you; you follow them back. Then you’re immediately greeted with an auto-generated sales pitch.

As we’ve said before, the problem is they’re not seeing people. They only see dollar signs, but the dollars don’t materialize because people are turned off by the initial communication.

Of course, you can be too laid back in your networking efforts. You have to think highly enough of yourself, and what you do, to promote yourself. If you don’t, why should anyone else promote you?

Find the balance between too passive and too aggressive.

“His bark is worse than his bite”

We’ve all probably heard these famous words uttered by a dog owner. Perhaps you’ve said them yourself.

Is it a problem if we as humans exhibit this behavior as well?

Of course it is! Because we lose credibility if that’s the case.

When you choose to elevate a discussion, you have to be ready to back up your words with actions.

Barking and biting can be tools if they are used carefully. If they aren’t, they’ll come back to bite you (pun intended)!

If you never bark or bite, people may think they can steamroll right over you. On the other hand, you can use these tools too much. Then people avoid you or just brush off the dialog without really listening. They also lose respect for you.

So it’s okay to bark, if you bark occasionally. When you do it occasionally, it makes the communication stand out.

And it’s okay to bite … if you rarely do it. Sometimes you have to confront an aggressor head on. It puts teeth into your words.

Relationships. It’s hard to fully quantify them. They don’t show up on your Balance Sheet. But nonetheless, they are the single biggest asset you have. So build relationships for your bigg success!

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Thank you so much for reading our post today.

Occasionally, no matter how hard you try, you find yourself in the dog house. Please join us next time when we’ll talk about how to get out. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image in today's post by mioawee)

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I May Have to Fire an Employee. Any Suggestions?

Bigg Challenge
Rick has been a manager now for about six months. He has an employee who is under-performing. Rick thinks he may need to fire this employee, but he’s never done that before. He says he would welcome any suggestions we can provide.

Bigg Advice
Do you remember the Cheers episode where Norm Peterson became the executive’s executioner – his job was to fire people. So he took them out for drinks and, by the time it was done, the employee who was being fired felt sorry for Norm. Because as Norm once said,

“It’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.”

So there’s one option, but not one that we necessarily recommend for the real world!

Company procedures
Look to your company’s policy manual for guidance on how to proceed.  Also, discuss this with your boss so you fully understand company protocol and precedents.

No surprises

Except for the most egregious situations, you’ve done something wrong if it’s a surprise. To make sure they’re not surprised, you should follow a process. For example, issue a series of warnings with repercussions for not correcting the performance deficiencies

Round and round we go

Sit down with your employee and explain the problem. Discuss what needs to be done to correct it, tell him or her when you’ll review performance again, and outline the consequences if it’s not corrected (e.g. a 3-day suspension without pay).

At the scheduled time, repeat this process. This time the ramifications have to be greater. (e.g. termination of employment). So if you reach this review and the situation hasn’t improved significantly, the result should be obvious to your employee.

You’re giving them a chance to improve their performance and also covering your liability because you’ll document this entire process and have them sign off each step of the way.

An example

George said that in his early days in business, he was managing his field staff. They worked without direct supervision because they performed work at the customer’s home or office. George had hired a young man who just couldn’t work without ongoing oversight.

George went through the rounds outlined above with little improvement. Finally, he let the employee go. He recommended that this young man get a job in a place where someone could watch over him.

He encouraged the young man come back and reapply for employment once he got used to working in a supervised environment. That never happened because the young man found that he liked working with supervision better.

Firing someone doesn’t have to be negative. Offer any help you can provide. Make suggestions. And realize that sometimes it’s just not a good fit – it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person, or that they couldn’t be helpful to any employer. It just means it’s not working out for both of you here.

Thanks, Rick, for sharing your bigg challenge. We’re sure you’ll handle it just fine.

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(Image by w00kie, CC 2.0)