Crazy Busy and Proud of it

After much anticipation, my wife and daughter finally got their new kitten, Stanley.  Watching this ball of energy chase its tail reminded me of a recent article in The Harvard Business Review called “Crazy Busy: The New Status Symbol.”

In summary, Americans don’t respect leisure time.

In the old world order, leisure was a status symbol.  Today, according to research shared in the article a lack of leisure time causes “one to be held in high regard.” To me, this is backwards.  Poor organization, lack of delegation, not being surrounded by a top notch team, and/or not leveraging technology are common causes of a crazy busy life.

Michael Gerber, author of the eMyth, states “work should give life, not take it.” I agree.  Every year, we take an extended spring break.  When working, I have two standing days a week that I work from home allowing me to enjoy little things like lunch with my wife or talking with my kids while doing a school drop off or pick up.

There are times where I have “crunch time.” But whether for me or those who work with me, if crunch time is all the time, it loses its meaning.

Work smart!

Thoughts from The 100: Identifying Saints, Dogs, and Stars

 

The-100-Title-OnlyTo keep morale and motivation high, it’s essential to motivate your top performers as well those who need to improve and those who need to be shown the door. There’s a shorthand code for these three groups of employees:

Saints: those who may be a great fit with our culture but who are poor performers.

  • Dogs: those who score high on the performance scale but who are a poor cultural fit
  • Stars: those rare but wonderful individuals who are both high performers and a good fit with our cultural values. These folks are given extra incentives to remain long-term members of our organization.

Our response to saints and dogs is the same: shape up or ship out. While this may sound harsh, keeping employees who don’t perform or fit with your company values risks bringing down the whole ship.

As I note in my new book, “The 100: Building Blocks for Business Leadership,” most employees are not fired because they lack necessary technical skills. Most often they have poor emotional intelligence. In other words, their personality or people skills are a poor fit with our cultural expectations. Firing someone with top technical skills who alienates clients or teammates through arrogance or bullying is a no-brainer. Those folks, along with those kind souls who can’t seem to get anything done, are not organizational assets.

Once you’ve made a decision to let someone go, do so quickly and use the following guidelines to make the process as painless as possible (for you and them!):

  • Have two people from your firm present
  • Bring a legal separation (especially if severance pay is involved) agreement
  • Quickly pay the fired employee for all hours worked and for unreimbursed expenses and any unused vacation time
  • Be mentally prepared for the employee to promise he or she will change
  • Do not let the employee change your decision