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A Paint Roller Helps Manage Change

life on your own termsChuck e-mailed his bigg challenge to us. He’s starting a new job next week. It’s his third job as a manager. In the position he’s leaving, he feels he made too many changes too quickly. It created a problem with his directs. He’s hoping we can offer him some suggestions as he gets ready for his new job.

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As bigg goal-getters, we often want to change things too fast as leaders and even in our personal lives. We think we need to lose weight so we jump into an exercise routine and completely change our diets. It’s too much and we end up right back where we started.

We have to be especially careful with change when it affects others. Like in Chuck’s case, any changes he makes will affect one or more of his employees.

Two of our rules for change here at Bigg Success are:

“That’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t mean it’s the best.

“That’s the way we’ve always done it” doesn’t make it wrong.

Change is essential to make improvements in our lives and our businesses. We want to focus on the changes that will make the greatest impact given their cost. When we talk about cost, we mean your investment of time and money – two of the five elements of bigg success

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Get out the paint roller

We heard a suggestion some time ago from a person who had learned to manage change effectively. He said that when he takes on a new leadership position, the first and only change he makes is to paint a single wall of his new office.

He feels like he’s changed something. It relieves that pressure. Everyone around him can see that he changed something. In fact, they often ask, “Why did you paint that wall? Why that color? Why just one wall?” It makes them curious.

You may make a different, but similarly insignificant, change. By doing this, you’re really buying time to find out what is and isn’t working while subtly signaling that change will happen.

Once you find out what isn’t working, you can determine which changes to make in what order based on their impact on your organization … or your life!

What are your suggestions for Chuck?

You can share that with us by leaving a comment below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG or sending us an e-mail at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

Thanks Chuck for sharing your bigg challenge with us and good luck with your new gig! And we thank you for reading our post today.

Join us next time as we share a remedy for one of the most discouraging thoughts you can have.

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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Related posts

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Making Change Work

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(Image in today's post by anitasweb)

How to Deal with a Mean Person

balance We hear a lot about violence on television, in the movies, and in video games. When violence is discussed, it’s usually physical violence. USA Today cites a recent study at Brigham Young University that shows that seeing people being mean to others affects us as well.

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Participants responded just as aggressively, no matter what type of aggression they had encountered – be it physical aggression or relational aggression, as the study defined it.

We’ll call the latter mental aggression – seeing people being mean to other people.
We all deal with mean people, or at least people who can be mean from time to time. 

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marylynn Prime example – when I was a Production Director, which means I oversaw commercial production for a group of five radio stations, I implemented a new procedure that some of the sales people didn’t like. I was back in the sales area, with all the sales people in their cubicles, and one decided to call me out. He was rude and confrontational.

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georgeI remember someone we were grooming for management. He seemed to have all the right characteristics. However, when he faced a situation where someone was angry or upset, he only made it worse. As a leader, you have to learn how to diffuse situations, not inflame them.

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How to diffuse a situation

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marylynn Back to my story of being confronted by a sales person in front of the sales staff – it caught me off guard, but I stopped and collected my thoughts. Then I said, “I’d be more than happy to talk with you about this my office. But your sales manager signed off on this procedure. So if you really have a problem with it, I’d suggest you talk to him.

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Get away

When you feel your blood start to boil, get away before you say the wrong thing. If you’re face-to-face, suggest you take up the issue again in a little bit. If you’re on the phone, excuse yourself and let the other person know you’ll need to call them back. Even with e-mail, refrain from being too quick to reply.

Talk it out

Tell a friend, a colleague, or your spouse how upset you are. Get it off your chest, as they say. Let it all out. By talking to someone, you get to say what you’d like to say. Now you can start focusing on how to say it productively.

Write it down

If no one is available to talk to, write it down so you get the cathartic release you need. Don’t do it as a “Reply” just in case you hit the wrong key and the message gets sent!

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georgeWhen I get really upset, I feel sorry for my keyboard. I’m pounding away, but it gets it out of my system rather quickly. Then I get away for awhile. When I come back to it, I’m ready to construct a response that will move things forward.

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Report what happened

Show the other person that you understand their concerns. State it back to them in the way in which they should have stated it. When they know you have heard their concerns, they’re more likely to listen to your response.

Focus on resolutions

A great leader has to meet confrontation head-on, but also must always keep the bigger purpose in mind. Find a way to respond that doesn’t make the other person defensive. Move the conversation’s focus to solutions, not problems. 

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A recent study shows that eighty percent of all employed people want to start their own business. Next time, we’ll see if we can talk you out of it.

Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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One More Thing to Add to Your Schedule

balance We were at an event recently as was one of our friends. As he was leaving, he announced that he “had another thing”. Now he’s a really busy person; there’s no grass growing under his feet as the old saying goes. He’s into his job, which requires a lot of meetings.

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But his “another thing” remark got us thinking. What a great way to politely excuse yourself!

And that “other thing” could even be personal. He may have been going home for dinner for all we know!

It leaves a good impression – you’re a busy person. You like to stick to your schedule. It’s also a great way to excuse yourself, even from people who like to talk your ears off!

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georgeI’ve used this before. As a business owner, I had some flexibility with my schedule. I would go to a “lunch meeting” which sometimes meant I was meeting a friend. Or I’d sneak in a work out in the middle of the afternoon by saying I was off to a meeting.

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marylynn When I was in radio, we used to have a “Morning Show Meeting” once in a while. My co-host and I would get off the air and sneak out for some breakfast. It was a great way to bond, talk about work, and just get away for a bit. We found that sometimes we got more done by leaving the office!

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Now we’re not recommending that you use this technique to excuse yourself for a huge part of the day. But as a busy person, sometimes the best way to balance your personal and professional lives is to integrate the two!

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There’s a new study that shows mean breeds mean. Next time, we’ll discuss how to avoid the trap. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Related posts

Why Work Life Balance Doesn’t Work

Change Your Scenery For A Change

(Image by OmirOnia)

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.

Related posts

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(Image by w00kie, CC 2.0)

Who's in Control – You or Your Blackberry?

Have you ever been in a conversation where the other person never stopped looking at their Blackberry … or iPhone … or some other mobile device?

Maybe that person was you!

Today we’ll discuss the impression this leaves and how it affects you if you’re an offender.

Age matters
You should consider the age of the person with whom you’re meeting. When twenty somethings meet, there’s a good chance they’ll both be offenders, which means neither one will be offended! They don’t think anything of it.

A forty something might have a problem with it; a sixty something almost definitely would. But no matter what age the person is, if they don’t have their device in hand, you shouldn’t either!

The inbox on your desk
Let’s go back a generation or so. What would be the equivalent to meeting with device in hand?

Picture someone sitting in a meeting with you sorting through the Inbox from their desk while trying to conduct business or build a relationship.

How productive would that have been?

Why is it necessary?
You may think that, back then, there wasn’t the demand for immediate response like there is today. But customers have always been demanding.

We used to think that emergency meant “life-threatening”. Why do so many of us today have this compelling need to treat everything as if it’s an emergency?

You may say that you have to keep in touch constantly. You’re in a competitive business and you’ll lose customers if you don’t.

Let’s go back in time again. Back to the day when the primary means to communicate instantly was by landline telephone. If people then had the same attitude, they would have never left their offices because the phone might ring!

So people took turns answering the phone. Could something similar be done today?

What really important people think
There’s an old story about Richard Simon, of the famous publishing house Simon & Schuster. With his work done for the day, he shut off the lights in his office, grabbed his hat (hats were fashionable at that time), and headed for the elevator.

He was joined on the elevator by a young editor. The editor had a brief case in each hand and another pair pinned under his arms. Mr. Simon looked at him and in Tarzan-speak said, “Me publisher, you editor!”

We think that looking really busy gives off an impression that we’re really important. But as this story illustrates, really important people may think just the opposite!

These devices are useful tools. However, when anything gets in the way of giving people our full attention when we get the opportunity, we’ve missed the whole point.

These devises should help us keep in touch with people, not get in the way of connecting with them when we have the chance!

Get out your mobile device and connect with us!
Click on our Comment link below to share your thoughts 
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Our bigg quote today is by Richard Moss, who said,

“The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.”

Will you give that gift to the person you’re meeting with or to your Blackberry?

Next time, we ask, “Is your mind like a skipping CD?” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Pages

Collective Wisdom

By Bigg Success Staff
08-07-08

Career Builders

pm411_logo One great way to build team spirit is to get everyone involved in sharing their knowledge. We’re familiar with user-generated content, in the form of wikis and comments. Why not create an e-mail newsletter that allows anyone on your team to contribute?

Daniel Hintzhsche, a Technical Editor in Microsoft’s Office User Assistance group, had such an idea. He writes about how he started his department’s internal newsletter.

It’s a great post, ripe with tips on how a newsletter could help your organization, how to get newsletter started, tools you can use to create and distribute your newsletter, and how to encourage contributions.

Just be careful – Daniel suggested this idea and now he is Editor-in-Chief. Now that’s taking one for the team!

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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Bigg Fun 6

Just For Fun
01-04-08

You can't have Bigg Success without a good laugh from time to time.  You'll find fun videos here, jokes, humorous stories and more. Send your fun stuff to bigginfo@biggsuccess.com. We’re looking for funny videos, photos, e-mails, resumes, signs, jokes, or anything else that relate to work and life.

Video of the Week

"Paper Tricks"

 paper trick screenshot

This young man has an incredible talent with wadded up paper. The ending will crack you up! Click here to see the video.

Sign of the Week

"No Pushups Under The Vending Machine"

no pushups sign

New Year’s resolutions are in full gear. We all want to get fit. But do you really need to do your push-ups here?

E-mail of the Week

Here’s an oldie but a goodie. This is a true story that aired on FM 103.2 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As a commercial diver for Global Divers in Louisiana, Rob works underwater to repair offshore drilling rigs. Here’s his e-mail to his sister:

Hi Sue, Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you've been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it's not so bad after all. Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It's a wet suit. This time of year the water is quite cool, so what we do to keep warm is this: we have a diesel-powered industrial water heater. This expensive piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature. It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose, which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a darn good plan, and I've used it several times with no complaints. What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wet suit. This floods my whole suit with warm water. It's like working in a Jacuzzi. Everything was going well, until all of a sudden, my butt started to itch. So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. Within a few seconds, my butt started to burn. I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony, I realized what had happened. The hot water  machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. Now, since I don't have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn't stick to it. However, the crack of my butt was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into the crack of my butt. I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five other divers, were all laughing hysterically. Needless to say, I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make three agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression. When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet. As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my butt as soon as I got in the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn't poop for two days because my butt was swollen shut! So, next time you're having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your butt. Now repeat to yourself, "I love my job, I love my job, I love my job." Now whenever you have a bad day, ask yourself: Is this a jellyfish bad day? May you NEVER have a jellyfish bad day!!!!! Best regards, Rob

Bigg Fun 2

Week of: 12-07-07

Joke of the week

The Twins A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was their looks. If one felt it was too hot, the other thought it was too cold. If one said the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up. Opposite in every way, one was an eternal optimist, the other a doom and gloom pessimist. Just to see what would happen, on the twins' birthday their father loaded the pessimist's room with every imaginable toy and game. The optimist's room he loaded with horse manure. That night the father passed by the pessimist's room and found him sitting amid his new gifts crying bitterly. "Why are you crying?" the father asked. "Because my friends will be jealous, I'll have to read all these instructions before I can do anything with this stuff, I'll constantly need batteries, and my toys will eventually get broken." answered the pessimist twin. Passing the optimist twin's room, the father found him dancing for joy in the pile of manure. "What are you so happy about?" he asked. To which his optimist twin replied, "There's got to be a pony in here somewhere!"

Sign of the week

And now … the #1 sign you enjoyed your office party too much …
almost_naked_at_party

Change Your Scenery For A Change

By Big

By Bigg Success Staff
December 14, 2007

Career Builders

change_scenery

No matter where you work – in an office, a cubicle, or at home – you’re faced with interruptions and distractions. Phones ringing, interesting conversations, background noise, people stopping by, and so on.

When you find you’re facing too many tasks and not enough day, try this:

Get away!

Sometimes that’s all it takes. Find a place where you can focus on what you need to accomplish. Depending on the task at hand, it may be your favorite coffee shop, the library, a conference room, a park, or a bookstore. You can probably think of even more!

By changing your environment, you activate your brain. Motion creates momentum. Which leads to an aside.

If you can’t get away, take a short walk. Get your mind off your work for just a few minutes. Breathe. Take in the beauty around you. Relax. You’ll find that when you get back to work, you’re refreshed. You’ll be more inspired. You’ll feel better. You’ll get more done.

Keep your purpose in mind. You may need to be alone. If that’s the case, and this may sound bad, but there’s a good reason for it –

Don’t go to your regular haunts.

Try to avoid places where you’ll be known. You want to be anonymous. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a conversation that works counter to your purpose – to slam out some work.

So the next time you find yourself struggling to get everything done, change your scenery for a change!

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

(Photo by spcummings)

Review: The Answers

By Bigg Success Staff
December, 06 2007

Bigg Book Review

The Answers: All the Office Questions You Never Dared to Ask

Book by Lucy Kellaway

Lucy Kellaway is the “agony aunt” for the Financial Times. Her column, published every Monday, offers down-to-earth advice. Each week, she publishes an answer to a reader’s question, along with the question to be discussed the following week. That gives her readers time to offer their own suggestions to the questioner. Sometimes they’re brutally honest; at other times, they’re incredibly warm.

Now she’s compiled some of the most interesting situations submitted by her readers into a book called “The Answers: All the Office Question You Never Dared to Ask”. It’s a relatively easy read that you’ll find informative and thought-provoking.

If you’re looking for theory, you’re in the wrong place. This book gets to the down-and-dirty problems we all have from time to time. Kellaway has chosen questions about a variety of situations. Some won’t pertain to you, but we think you’ll find many interesting dilemmas.

You’ll learn about dealing with bosses, subordinates, and peers. At its core, this book is about people and cultural changes. More women in the workplace means more gender issues, including office romance. Technology creates its own challenges, like hitting “send” before you thought about it.

Reality TV is hot, because it plays to people’s voyeuristic tendency and makes them feel better about themselves by seeing some other pitiful creature. In this book, Kellaway highlights real-world experiences that you can learn from. They’re not planned, arranged, or rehearsed. It’s not about ratings – it’s just great advice!