Giving the Gift of Health (Post 3 of 3)

Happy-EmployeeBeing innovative to create more four-way wins—integration between your roles at work, home, community and self—involves six elements:

1. Being results focused

2. Resolving conflicts

3. Not being afraid to challenge the status quo.

4. Looking for new ways of doing things.

5. Being creative with change

6. Creating an innovation culture

If that list sounds daunting, Friedman provides tips and exercises to make them manageable. Scenario exercises help to focus on results, for example. They involve identifying a specific goal you want to achieve and then listing three alternative methods for getting there, including the resources you’ll need and the challenges you’ll face. He also recommends experimenting with new patterns of behavior (how and when you do things) and even crowd sourcing as a way to see new ways of doing things.

At Intertech, we’ve woven innovation and new ways of doing things into the very fabric of how we operate. For example, our annual FedEx Day gives employees the freedom to design a new product or process that they believe will benefit the firm as a whole. We also host an annual employee town hall, which provides opportunities for brainstorming and recommending new ways of doing things.

Personally, I spend time away every winter. The time away from the daily routine (and Minnesota winter!) is a chance to more deeply connect with my wife and kids. It’s also important time for me to reflect on every aspect of my life and to consider new ways of doing things or how to stop doing things.

I also advocate reading widely, attending well-chosen leadership development conferences, and participating in leadership networks. All of these activities help me to keep my mind open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

According to Friedman, “leading the life you want is a craft. As with music, writing, dance or any athletic endeavor, you can always get better at it by practicing.”

Giving the Gift of Health (Post 2 of 3)

Depressed-Worker-SmallWhen 1,500 workers were surveyed by the American Psychological Association, 1/3 shared issues with their supervisor as a source of work stress.

Canadian researcher Kevin Kelloway studied the effect of bad bosses and stated bad bosses can cause a human body to “pump out… stress hormones—just as it would if you were running from a tiger…”

So, what does the stereotypical bad boss do?  S/he:



  • Plays favorites
  • Is checked-out
  • Uses obscenity
  • Blames others
  • Is a sexual predator

So, what are the health benefits good bosses give employees?

  • A reduced risk for heart disease
  • Lower blood pressure
  • A healthy weight
  • Better sleep patterns
  • Improved mental well-being

What specific things can a leader do to give the gift of health?  Check out the final post in this series.

Giving the Gift of Health (Post 1 of 3)

GiftWondering what to give for the holidays?  How about health?

The Washington Post article “Does your horrible boss make you sick?” shares “stress-inducing, unsupportive management styles can harm workers’ well-being.”

It outlines the negative impact on health as a result of bad bosses.  Harvard Medical School professor Jonathan Quick co-authored the book “Preventative Stress Management in Organizations” and states bad bosses can worsen sleep, increase the chance of a heart attack, inflate blood pressure, and cause other ailments.  Ouch!

So, what boss behavior makes for good or bad health?  Check out the next two posts in this series!

Building a Winning Business – Patience with New Employees

Building-a-Winning-Business-BookWith introductions and administrative formalities out of the way, it’s time for your new team member to roll up his proverbial sleeves and get to work. Understandably, your expectations are high. You’re finally going to see this genius in action!

Take a deep breath,make a cup of tea, and repeat this ancient Chinese proverb three times: “He who makes no mistakes, usually makes nothing at all.”

With software and probably every other creative endeavor in the world, a poor first draft is almost a requirement. Just expect it. Actually, do more than that. Give your new employees support and encouragement—you know they’re capable of getting it right.

Tom’s Takeaway:  “Nothing of value is created without time and effort.  Be patient with new employees and communicate your confidence in their abilities. People usually live up or down to our expectations of them.”

Thoughts Since the Book:

  • Error on the side of “stepping in early” for employees who seem to need more help, training, or resources.  If you have a rigorous hiring process, it makes sense to support new folks 110%.
  • Similarly, for new employees who are “hitting it out of the park,”step-in  early and provide additional training and team members to help them increase their impact on the firm.
  • The $’s associated with a wrong hire are huge (10’s of thousands of $’s).  Treat it as such.