Job Stress

October 24th, 2009 by admin

Fortune Magazine has listed ways to help deal with stress at work. When you or your employees are too stressed they do not perform as well. Low performance equals loss of income for the business.

1. Clearly articulate your expectations. “Managers are often unaware of how they are adding stress to people’s workday by being vague about what they want,” says Bright.

An example: A boss will announce, “Let’s have a meeting Friday to talk about cutting costs.” That sets the rumor mill abuzz (are more layoffs coming?) and leaves everyone uncertain about what, if anything, they can bring to the table.

“If you say instead, ‘Let’s have a meeting on Friday, and I’d like each person to bring two suggestions for how we can cut costs,’ that is a whole different message,” says Bright. “Just by being a little more specific, you let people know what’s expected and how they can succeed at it.”

2. At the end of each meeting, ask someone to sum up what’s been said and who is going to do what. “Knowing they may be called on to do the summing-up cuts down on people’s BlackBerry use during meetings,” says Bright. “But beyond that, too many meetings are just general discussions, where everybody rushes off at the end without a clear idea of what comes next.” No one can succeed at something if they don’t know what it is.

3. Put a cap on hours. “If you have someone who puts in 60 hours a week, then make that the limit,” says Bright. What good does that do? “In many offices, nothing is said about constantly increasing hours,” she explains. “So people just keep putting in longer and longer hours, not because they really have to, but because they are afraid not to.”

The result, as you may have noticed, is that staffers get exhausted and irritable, and the quality of their work takes a dive. By contrast, “if you let people know there is a limit, and you set that limit at the number of hours they’re already working, it makes an amazing difference.”

4. Schedule some downtime each week. “One of the things that has everyone so stressed is that they never get a chance to catch up,” says Bright. “If your email inbox is overflowing and your office is a mess because you haven’t had time to get organized, it makes that out-of-control feeling just that much worse.”

So try announcing that, say, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays is “get-it-done” time, during which no meetings will be held. Giving people permission to clear away the background noise of tasks left undone “can be an enormous stress reliever,” says Bright.

5. Help people set realistic priorities. “If you ask people for a list of their priorities, they usually have so many that it is obvious where their frustration is coming from,” Bright observes. “So you can help them set goals they can actually achieve. Again, it’s a way of creating successes and regaining some control.”

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How Do You Think of Your Employees?

October 18th, 2009 by admin

I saw this other blog today and thought it fits appropriately with respecting your employees? Your employees can make or break your business and how it is considered in the community or across the US.

Chief Brain Officer 17 Oct 2009 01:08 PM PDT Evolving Excellence
Kevin Meyer
Regular readers know that one of my pet peeves is with how most organizations think of their people.  Yep, just a pair of hands.
This is driven in large part by traditional accounting that keeps that pair of hands on the expense side of the P&L and the liability side of the balance sheet.  So what happens when managers at traditional organizations look at those traditional financial statements?  The big light bulb goes off and they start running around trying to reduce that expense.  They begin to dream up ideas to make everyone work harder so they can reduce the number of hands, move operations thousands of miles across oceans to try to find cheaper hands, and perhaps try to find temporary hands to avoid paying benefits.
Fortunately there are some enlightened organizations that think a little differently.  In effect they zoom out a bit and realize something: there’s a brain connected to those hands.  That brain holds knowledge and training, is creative, and can come up with ideas that both reduce other costs and expand the top line of the business.
Not an expense, not a liability.  An asset worthy of investment.
That is how some companies can add labor cost and improve profitability at the same time.  And why companies like Toyota use robots only in situations that are dangerous or too difficult for humans, not to automate simply to achieve efficiency.  It takes a long time to fill a suggestion box in a room full of robots. When most companies must comply with using traditional financial statements, and are scrutinized by investors and analysts steeped in traditional accounting and focused on short-term results, it takes guts to choose a different path.  But some do, and they are becoming the winners.  They are the ones that aren’t lauded for “repatriating jobs” back to the U.S… because they never left in the first place.  They are the ones experiencing a surge in profitable business as fuel prices and political instability wreak havoc on far-flung supply chains.  They are the ones capturing new markets due to the ability to change direction on a dime without having to worry about language barriers and massive amounts of inventory on container ships becoming obsolete.
Perhaps part of the problem is due to terminology.  We’ve evolved from thinking of people as “personnel” and having a “Personnel Department.”  Most organizations now call it the Human Resources Department.”  Some are a bit further down the path and think in terms of “talent” or “knowledge.”  But those terms still convey a sense of expense and liability.  A resource, not an opportunity.

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Quality Down the Tubes

October 3rd, 2009 by admin

If you are wondering why I am writing about cars the Toyota organization has been know for starting the main process for having quality while being lean financially. They have obviously changed in one area to save money that has endangered the life of the driver’s. How far is your organization willing to go to cut costs? Do you learn from your mistakes or do you ignore the mistakes? The public expects quality and cost efficiency that will be passed on to your clients or the public in general. See Toyota’s mistakes below and do not follow in their footsteps.
Toyota’s Inexcusable Failure

Posted: 29 Sep 2009 02:34 PM PDT

by BILL WADDELL, Evolving Excellence

Many of us in the lean community – all of us long admirers of Toyota and ardent proponents of the business and manufacturing model they spawned – have had to make excuses for Toyota and rationalize some of their failings recently. The latest one, however, demonstrates just how far they have slipped from the principles that propelled them to greatness.

3.8 million cars recalled due to floor mats, of all things, getting caught up in the accelerator. What makes it so inexcusable is that it is not the first time. “Toyota recalled 55,000 Camry and Lexus ES 350 models in 2007 because of complaints of unintended acceleration caused by the mats sticking under the accelerator pedal. The NHTSA said consumers continued to report instances of uncontrolled acceleration in Toyota models after that recall.”

So much for quality, and so much for continuous improvement and learning.

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