Why You Need to Be BORED

When was the last time you were bored? I’d be willing to bet that you can’t remember. If I’m right, it’s because, in 2018, no one ever has to be bored. That smartphone super computer you carry around in your pocket or purse guarantees it.

Don’t know what to do next? There’s always an Instagram feed to look at, a text to answer, an email to delete, a cat video to watch, a news headline to click on or a Fortnite game to beat. Thanks to technology, none of us ever have to be bored.

How great is that, right? Actually, it’s not so great. We – you, me, all of us – need to be bored once in a while.  That space between active thoughts is where we get our best ideas. Want to prove that to yourself? Answer this question. Where or when do you get you best ideas? (I’ll wait for you to consider your answer).  Got it? Here we go…

I’ve posed that question to thousands of leaders over the past several years. The number one answer is, “In the shower,” followed by “When I’m working out,” and “Commuting.” No one has ever answered, “At my desk in front of my computer,” or “Thumbing through my smartphone looking at Facebook.” You get your best ideas when you’re not actively engaging your brain with something else to pay attention to or think about.

This topic is on my mind because of a conference call I just had  with a group of executives.  We were having a random discussion while one of their co-workers was compiling some data. One of the women on the call mentioned that on the previous Saturday she noticed that she was actually bored. It was the rare day when she didn’t have a ton of family commitments to attend to or a presentation or some other project that she had to fine tune for Monday morning back at the office. She told us, “I actually didn’t know how to handle it when I had nothing to do.”

That’s because she’s been so used to having her foot on the gas that she’s become physiologically attuned to the feeling of always being busy or mentally occupied. That’s great for dealing with all of the stuff on your daily plate. It’s not so great when you need to get up on the balcony to process the patterns or look around the corner to consider what’s next. When you don’t leave any space or opportunity to be bored, you’re a lot less likely to make visits to the balcony where you can see the bigger picture or possibly come up with the next game changing idea.

So, how do you create the space to be bored? It’s simple really. Quit filling up your interstitial (Yes it’s a word, look it up if you like) moments with more input. Going for a run or cleaning out the garage? Take out the ear buds. Standing in line at Starbucks or Coffee Bean? Leave your phone in your pocket or purse. Driving home from work? Turn off the radio, let it be quiet.

Give your brain a break and allow yourself to be bored. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you come up with.

Don’t take the easy way out. Here is a lesson from history!

This is a very hard lesson for people to learn.  Society has made it so easy for people to take the easy road these days.  Parents, do yourselves a favor and do not give your kids the easy way out, teach them that hard work does pay off.  The world is a tough place, accept it and work to reach goals!  A lot of you out there know that I was a history major so I like to use it as a tool for coaching.

I believe history can teach us a lot. Throughout history, there are those who made good decisions and those who made bad ones. The former reaped the rewards and the latter suffered the consequences. In any case, there are useful lessons that we can learn from their experiences.

titleI will share with you a lesson I learned from the story of Alexander Severus, a Roman emperor from 222 to 235.  I became interested in this particular emperor because his assassination started the Crisis of the Third Century.

As it turned out, he was assassinated by his own troops. But how could that happen? Why did the troops kill their own emperor? Well, the short answer is that the emperor chose the easy way and his troops didn’t like it.

Germanic tribes invaded the Roman Empire during the time Severus was emperor. The emperor marched out his troops to meet the invaders. The troops were ready to fight and defend their land. But what happened? When they were near the enemy, the emperor chose to bribe the enemy instead. He tried to buy them off using the empire’s wealth. Instead of facing the challenge, the emperor chose the easy way.

The troops didn’t like it. In fact, they were angered by it. They looked down on him and eventually decided to kill him.

It’s tragic, but it also contains a profound lesson: don’t take the easy way. Don’t take shortcuts when you face a problem. It may look easy and attractive, but it’s not without its danger. What you should do instead is face the challenge and do the right thing. It might be painful and take a long time, but the reward makes it worth it. Here are two kinds of reward that you will get if you do the right thing:

1. Lasting success

By taking the easy way, you might seem to achieve your goal (peace, in the case of the emperor), but it won’t last for long. Since taking the easy way means you never solve the root of the problem, the problem could resurface at any time. On the other hand, if you take the more difficult route and solve the root of the problem, you will get success that lasts.

2. The respect of others

When those around you see the way you handle your situation, they will respect you. They will look at you as someone to learn from. You might even become an inspiration to them.

Doing the right thing is easier said than done, but it’s something we can all learn to do. Remember the story of the emperor: don’t take the easy way. March into your battles courageously and solve the root of each problem.

Workforce Planning…..Create the plan now

Workforce Planning

Workforce Planning is a core function of human resource management and it is related to the systematic identification and analysis of what an organization is going to need in terms of the size, type, experience, knowledge, skills and quality of workforce to achieve its objectives. It is a process used to generate business intelligence to inform the organization of the current, transition and future impact of the external and internal environment on the organization enabling it to be resilient to current structural and cultural changes to better position itself for the future.

A strategic workforce plan usually covers a three to five year period, aligned to the business needs and outcomes.  Before you can successfully create the plan you need to fully understand the goals and forecast of the business.  It focuses on identifying the workforce implications, current, transition and future business strategic objects and includes scenario planning.

Operational workforce planning usually covers the next 12-18 months and needs to align with the timeframe of the business planning cycle.  it is the process and systems applied to gathering, analyzing and reporting on workforce planning strategy.

Workforce Analytics Approach

An analytical approach is important as it provides a fact based method of understanding workforce behaviors. This analysis typically includes reviewing employee recruitment, promotion and turnover patterns. The analysis also uncovers the hidden causes of overtime, absenteeism, and low productivity.

Steps in Workforce Planning

There are fundamental activities that make up a Workforce Plan:

Getting Started
Establishing the team, building the business case; linking corporate, business, finance and workforce strategy; establishing communication plan to engage stakeholders; segmenting the workforce against strategic priorities; reviewing existing data; identifying information gaps; identifying future focused business scenarios.
Environment Scan
Environment scanning is a form of business intelligence. In the context of Workforce Planning it is used to identify the set of facts or circumstances that surround a workforce situation or event.
Current Workforce Profile
Current State is a profile of the demand and supply factors both internally and externally of the workforce the organization has today.
Transition Workforce Profile
demand and supply factors for the transition from current to future workforce.
Future Workforce View
Future View is determining the organization’s needs considering the emerging trends and issues identified during the Environment Scanning.
Analysis and Targeted Future
Once critical elements are identified through quantitative and qualitative analysis, the future targets that are the best fit in terms of business strategy and is achievable given the surrounding factors (internal/external, supply/demand) are determined.
Risk Assessment and Risk Mitigation
The process is about determining appropriate actions to manage risk assessment and identify risk mitigation strategies to deliver the targeted future.
Action plan to embed strategic workforce planning into business planning process.
Monitor and measure impact of strategic workforce planning on business outcomes.

Crap, I hired the wrong person!

I woke up this morning to a 6AM voicemail from a great client of mine with the following message, “FUCK MIKE!  I hired the wrong person, call me to discuss, I need help fixing this!”

This is a painful situation for a CEO. You’ve had a gigantic gap in your executive team, and you find someone you think is the answer to all of your problems – and then it hits you: You realize the person you’ve hired isn’t who you thought he was.  Now what the hell do you do?

Your new-hire does not posses the skills you thought. Perhaps he came from a larger company, and you thought he was capable of adjusting to your small business. Sometimes you may find the person isn’t a good culture fit, while other times they are just downright toxic to your company.

So, what happened? How did you miss the red flags during the interviews and ‘dating stage’?  Did you fail or did you choose to ignore certain things?

How do you find the right fit?

In order to avoid getting stuck with the wrong employee, you must interview the right way. I’ve seen executives (Yes I am talking about you)  glance over a resume five minutes beforehand, and ask questions solely based on the job description. You just set yourself up for disaster.

Instead, you need to put time and effort into devising questions that will help your company in finding the right personnel fit.  Take the focus away from work and education history.  Resumes list the previous jobs and education, and are usually written to show the best of each area.  Spend little time on the resume, that was the ticket into the door, now find answers to the following questions:

  • Does this candidate fit in with your company culture? – Write down or give the candidate your company’s core values. Ask the prospect how he exhibited one of your core values at a previous job.
  • What exactly does your company need the candidate to do? –Tell them to increase throughput by 10%, Improve OTD from 95% to 98%. Get specific, and make your goals measurable.
  • What has the candidate done in the past that can apply to the job today? – Get specific, and go deep! Ask the candidate what has she done that’s comparable to the work expected of her. Then, find out what her role was within the project: Did she come up with the idea? Was she the team lead? Did she perform the work? Don’t stop digging until you have specific answers.  The resume will state. “Increased throughput by 40% by implementing this that or the other.”  By digging deep you will find that they don’t know what the throughput calculation was before and that the 40% was a made up number.  That they weren’t really involved in the process, maybe they just oversaw that person.  Digging deep, gets you the information that you need.

You can listen to his thought processes during the interview and determine if the candidate would be a right fit for your team. If you don’t consider how he plays a role in the bigger picture and how he will interact with your current team, then you could end up with an employee who feels like a stranger.

The interview is just the beginning. You should also have an efficient onboarding process. Keep your eyes and ears open to see how the new-hire interacts with you and other colleagues. If you discover he’s not the right fit, at least you know immediately, and not months or years down the road.

The old adage for small businesses holds true: Hire slowly, and fire quickly. Small business CEOs/ owners can’t afford the luxury of carrying dead weight.

Give toxic employees the boot, quickly!

I’ve worked with a few CEOs who have fired people a few days into the job. One CEO shared a story on how a new-hire lied about meeting with a prospect the first week on the job. The new-hire was unaware the prospect was a good friend of the CEO, who informed the CEO the meeting never happened. A little white lie during the first week of employment violated the company’s core value of trust. Needless to say, the new-hire was terminated immediately.

Hiring mistakes do happen, even when you follow a good interview process. You can minimize a bad hire by asking questions related to your core values, and making sure the candidate understands performance expectations.

Dig deep in your questions to ensure your candidate has performed expected tasks in the past – or at the very least is able to articulate how she would handle similar situations she will encounter at your company. Hopefully, this will mitigate the chances of you asking her later on, “Who Are You?”

It’s Not My Responsibility!

When I am going to facilitate a meeting or a training session, I arrive nice and early to set up the conference room to create a positive environment for all of the participants.  At the conclusion of the day, I make sure the room is tidy for the next facilitator.  However, even if I use the same conference room multiple times a week, each time I show up, the room is a disaster.  Why does this keep happening?  Simple answer is: Because no one person is in charge.

When an organization does not take the time to identify and assign responsibility for every task, right down to the details such as who is in charge of the conference room cleanliness or putting the office supplies away, it wastes time and creates confusion and frustration for its employees.  Communication is the key to undoing all of this confusion.  Communicate clearly and clarify roles and responsibilities for everything; and yes I do mean everything.  Here are some examples where time can be wasted when the responsibilities are not crystal clear.  This should help get you and your organization started.

  1. A task will not get done if two people think that the other is responsible for doing the task. To ensure there is clarity, check with the other person to confirm that he/she is responsible for the task. Better yet, management needs to communicate the responsibility and clarify this directly with the person(s) to whom they have delegated the task.
  2. If two people think they’re both responsible for a task, the task will get done twice (or perhaps not at all). As in example 1 above, communication is the key to ensuring that this timewaster does not occur.
  3. If one person is assigned a task, but others who need to involved in the task are not aware of this assignment, the others may not cooperate. Think about projects. If resources are assigned to projects, but those resources (employees) are not aware they are to complete tasks on the project, the tasks will not get done. Again, communication is key. Assemble all those who need to be involved in the work and communicate and delegate responsibilities. Then clarify directly with the resources that they understand and will undertake their responsibilities.
  4. What occurs when more than one person is in charge? Confusion and, perhaps, conflicting instructions. This is similar to example 2 except that in this case, the task may get done differently twice.

If the above situations sound familiar, then get clarity about your role and what responsibility and authority you have for a given task. Never assume that someone else is in charge or that you are in charge. Overlapping or confused responsibilities serve only to waste time.

Do not let your employees say. “It is not my responsibility!”  If they do, FIRE THEM.  It starts with you as a leader.  Lead by example.

Gossip, Gossip, Gossip – Why can’t people just shut their trap?

Let’s face it, gossip runs rampant in just about every workplace, right?  I swear that sometimes it seems as if people literally have nothing better to do than gossip about each other.  They talk about the company, they talk about co-workers, and OF COURSE they talk about their managers.  They can frequently take something that is a partial truth and turn and twist it into a whole speculative truth.

One of my favorites is when employees gossip about the amount of money they are making, and more often than not, they do not tell the truth.  So, unhappy coworkers storm down to the Human Resources office asking about their pay and how to get more.

Let’s face it, you have to expect a certain amount of gossip; people want to know what is going on at their workplace, and they like to discuss work issues.  The key to this is to know when the gossip is out-of-hand.  You need to take action if the gossip is doing the following:

  • Disrupting the work place and the business of work
  • Hurting other employee’s feelings (We can go into a huge HR debate here but we will skip it….this time)
  • Damaging interpersonal relationships.
  • Injuring employee motivation and employee morale.

If you find yourself having to address gossip frequently, you way want to take a step back and take a hard look at your workplace to understand consistent themes in the gossip.  Is it possible that you do not share enough information with employees?  Is it possible that employees don’t trust you and that they are afraid to ask about important things?  Just something to think about before you completely fly off the handle.

If gossip hasn’t been managed in the past, the gossip tends to become a negative in your work culture.  With that being said, don’t let negative gossip go unaddressed.

Managing gossip is pretty simple, just manage it as you would any other negative behavior from an employee.  I encourage you to use a coaching approach whenever possible to help the employee improve their behavior.

But, when needed, gossip management starts with a serious talk between the employee and the manager or supervisor.  if the discussion of the negative impacts of the employee’s gossip has no effect on subsequent behavior, begin the process of progressive discipline…you know the routine – Verbal, formal write up, suspension, termination.

If you assertively deal with the gossip, you will create a work culture and an environment that does not support gossip.  It will keep more employees happy and on-board with you and your organization.

Keep this in mind…

“Who gossips to you will gossip of you.”

Stop being such a little wimpy butt…

How many of you can identify a constant complainer in less than 5 seconds? Ready, Set, Go!  Did you identify somebody?  Is that person your significant other?  if so, keep that part to yourself for the sake of your day.  But seriously you know who I’m talking about, the person who complains about everything under the sun. “My boss yelled at me, my job sucks, I’m so tired I worked overtime today, the house is dirty, and did I mention my life sucks?” You get it right?

You can google 1001 different inspirational blogs that will tell you to appreciate what’s good in life and to not dwell on anything else.  They will all tell you that things get better, you will have a good day mixed in there really soon.  That is all probably true, but will it get you to stop complaining?  We are all guilty of having a day when we are grumpy, irritable, and need to vent some things off of our chest.  That is ok, it is healthy.  We all need to vent, but there is a massive difference between the occasional venter and the constant complainer.

So what am I getting at?  Here is the deal. Stop being a wimpy butt, also known as a sissy la-la.  Yup, i said it.  Fact, there are going to be days when your boss yells at you, or you just have a terrible day at work.  Maybe you don’t land that big sale, the customer goes to your competitor, who knows.  And once something goes wrong, it ALL goes wrong.  The snowball effect has hit you like a ton of bad luck.  If you did’t have bad luck you wouldn’t have any luck at all!  Poor thing.

I have been around the block, and I am sure anyone will agree with me, failure makes you better as long as you handle it in the correct way.  Here are a couple options:

#1  You can continue to mope around all that you want.  Continue to be a wimpy butt, sissy la-la and let your boss, co-worker or whomever get the best of you!  (Clue:  This is the WRONG CHOICE)  The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows!  See video below.  It is a must watch

-or-

#2 Learn from it.  Get tough!  Be stronger than you ever thought you could be.  Dry your eye, wipe those tears away, and take some initiative to ensure that you succeed the next time.  Do NOT focus on what went wrong, focus on what you are going to do to make it better.

Sit down and think about this…

Where has all of your complaining got you? Anywhere?  Put all of that time and energy into being proactive, the possibilities for you are endless.

As I tell all of my clients, “Challenge yourself to be GREAT!”  If you do not know how or need help on getting yourself focused on what you are going to do to make it better call us.  We have business and life coaches that are here to guide you down the right path.  Our goal is for you to be the best that you can be.

This video is 100% what I am talking about.  THIS IS A MUST WATCH.