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Article below by Tony Schwartz from the Harvard Business Review:
For more than a decade now, I’ve struggled to define what fuels the most sustainably productive work environment — not just on behalf of the large corporate clients we serve, but also for my own employees at The Energy Project. Perhaps nothing I’ve uncovered is as important as trust.
Much as employers understandably hunger for one-size-fits-all policies and practices, what motivates human beings remains stubbornly complex, opaque, and difficult to unravel. Perhaps that’s why I felt so viscerally the shortsightedness and futility of Marissa Mayer’s decision to order Yahoo employees who had been working from home to move back to the office, and Hubert Joly’s to do the same at Best Buy.
Here’s the problem: Employees who want to game the system are going to do so inside or outside the office. Supervising them more closely is costly, enervating, and it’s ultimately a losing game. As for highly motivated employees who’ve been working from home, all they’re likely to feel about being called back to the office is resentful — and more inclined to look for new jobs.
At its heart, the problem for Mayer and Joly is lack of trust. For whatever reasons, they’ve lost trust that their employees can make responsible adult decisions for themselves about how to best get their work done and add value to the company. Distrust begets distrust in return. It kills motivation rather than sparking it. Treat employees like children and you increase the odds they’ll act like children. You reap what you sow — for better and for worse.
As an employer, I stay focused on one primary question about each employee: What is going to free, fuel, and inspire this person to bring the best of him or herself to work every day, most sustainably? My goal is to meet those needs in the best ways I can, without undue expense to others.
In the end, I’m much less concerned with where people do their work than with the value they’re able create wherever they happen to do it. The value exchange here is autonomy (grounded in trust) for accountability.
As CEO, I myself work from home for an hour or two in the mornings most days because it’s quiet and free of distractions. I find it’s the best way for me to get writing and other high-focus activities accomplished, and I know that’s true for many other business leaders.
One of the senior members of our team is a 35-year-old woman with three children under the age of nine. She lives 90 minutes from work. I’d love to have her at our offices every day, because I enjoy being able to interact with her around issues as they arise. I also just like having her around as a colleague.
But to make that possible she’d have to invest three withering hours commuting each day — a huge cost, not just in time, but also in energy, for work and for her family. Demanding that she make that trip every day would only prompt progressive fatigue, resentment, and impaired performance.
Instead, we settled from the start on having her come to the office two days a week, which is when we schedule our key meetings. Those days also provide time for spontaneous brainstorming of ideas across the team.
Another one of our team members, a woman with two teenage kids, travels frequently in her role. When she gets back from trips, she typically works from home the next day — both to recover, and to have more time for her family.
Two of our other staffers — one male and one female — work mostly at the office out of personal preference, but also have young kids and work from home on some days when their kids are on vacation, or get sick.
Two younger, married team members recently requested permission to move to Amsterdam for eight months — for no other reason than they wanted to experience another culture. For a moment, I bridled. But since technology makes it possible for them to do their jobs from anywhere, we were able to make it happen. They agreed to work during our regular office hours, and to visit our office for a week every two months. So far it seems to be working seamlessly.
Every one of these people is highly productive. I do have moments when I find myself wishing all of our team members were in the office more, and even wondering what they’re doing when I haven’t heard from them.
When those feelings arise, I take a deep breath and remind myself that my colleagues are adults, capable of making their own decisions about how best to get their work done, and that all good relationships involve some compromise.
It gets back to trust. Give it, and you get it back. In over a decade, no employee has ever chosen to leave our company. The better you meet people’s needs, the better they’ll meet yours.
Article below by Penelope Trunk (from her blog http://blog.penelopetrunk.com):
I’m at my son’s cello lesson, thinking about this week’s Time magazine. Sheryl Sandberg’s on the cover.
I never used to write about women on my blog. I wrote for three national magazines about careers before I even acknowledged that I was a woman aside from saying
1. I got the column because I was a woman running tech companies. (Rare back then.)
2. I got a promotion because I leveraged the sexual harassment my boss dished out in order to climb the ladder (around him).
Other than that, I tried very hard to not mention women. I could see that women who had kids got very little respect at the office and I stayed away from them. I only hired men. Even after I had kids, I only worked with men.
Now I’ve downshifted, and I’m home with my kids. I tried to make it not a big deal that I downshifted. I kept saying that I was going to launch a new startup. But then I found myself literally scared to death of going back to 100-hour weeks.
I write that: 100-hour weeks, and I almost don’t believe it. Because it would mean that I was literally never with my kids. But it’s true.
One of the nannies I had during that period still sees my oldest son. She is one of those professional nannies—she always works for women with huge jobs, and she couldn’t stay with me after I cut back to 60 hours a week.
She and my older son are still very close. I was having ice cream with the two of them and she started talking about a family that had a bunny and the bunny was lonely and needed a friend, but they couldn’t just buy another bunny. You have to introduce the new bunny to the old bunny to see if they are friends.
So I said, “Did it work out?”
She said, “What? Don’t you remember? It was your house! The bunny was eating the carpet and right before we brought the second bunny, your bunny died.”
I don’t remember. I do remember that we had a five-bedroom house that I didn’t have time to furnish so we bought animals for each room: the bunny room, the cat room, the ferret room, etc. (You can see why I ended up with a farmer.)
What I am trying to tell you is that you really do not see your kids if you have a very big job.
So I’m sitting in a cello lesson taking notes on measure sixteen even though I don’t read music. And I’m terrified every time my son finishes a song ahead of schedule because it means we’re one day closer to having to make the eight-hour trip to cello lessons three days a week instead of two.
I can’t stop thinking about Time magazine. Sheryl Sandberg is such an incredibly aberrant example of women at work that I just don’t get how she’s on the cover. She is great. Smart. Driven. I get it. I am doing a life that she would hate. I thought I was a high performer, but Sheryl Sandberg has no time for people like me. I spent so many years working hard to get to the top, but the truth is that I’m not even close. I was never in the running. I am nothing like Sheryl Sandberg.
My friend sent a link to me about Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Actually, it’s about Jacqueline Reses. Mayer runs products and services at Yahoo. Reses runs everything else. So the edict for no telecommuting came down at Yahoo signed by both of them. Reses lives in New York City with her husband, Matthew Apfel, who has a big job at CORE Media Group, and her three, school-aged kids. And she commutes to Yahoo’s offices in California. Sunday night she goes to California and Friday she flies home. No telecommuting for her.
Which drives home to me that the women at the very top all do not see their kids. We just don’t hear about it. Why would we? Why would they talk about about it? It doesn’t help their career and it doesn’t help their kids.
I can’t get angry about these women. I just need to remember that I am not close to being able to compete with them. The high performers in corporate life are so much more focused than everyone else in the workforce that it’s time we stopped selling a false bill of goods; almost no one can be so singularly focused to get to the top of anything. Including corporate America. Yet we keep talking to kids and each other like anyone can do it.
Most kids cannot have huge jobs. They will be the workplace equivalent of intramural basketball players. When they grow up, they will find work that is fine, just like it’s fine to play on a team with the kid across the hallway even though he misses too many lay-ups.
Sheryl Sandberg gives up her kids like movie stars give up food: she wants a great career more than anything else.
You know all the stuff people write about how really skinny women in magazines makes girls feel anxious and not worthy? Do you know how women lose weight for the Oscars? They want to have a great Hollywood career more than anything else. That’s what seeing Sheryl Sandberg on the cover of Time magazine does to me. Do you know what I want more than anything else? For people to think I’m doing well. In my career.
You can kill me now. Because I hate when I coach women who tell me they want the world to see them as a successful in their career. I tell them, “Well, you’re not doing all that well, because you made choices that did not get you a very good career. But you have other things.”
I tell people this so easily on a coaching call. And many women cry. I understand. Respect is always relative. It’s like money, there’s always someone who gets more. There’s always someone who makes the amount you have look like nothing.
Most women are past the idea that they measure themselves by money. But women are instead using respect as our measuring tool, which is just as dangerous. Because respect is relative, we don’t control it completely, and it doesn’t come along with choosing the job of raising kids.
Some excerpts from Chris Christe’s powerful speech:
Let me be clear with the American people tonight. Here is what we believe as Republicans and what they believe as Democrats. We believe in telling hardworking families the truth about our country’s fiscal realities, telling them what they already know, the math of federal spending does not add up.
With $5 trillion in debt added over the last four years, we have no other option but to make the hard choices, cut federal spending and fundamentally reduce the size of this government.
Want to know what [the Democrats] believe? They believe that the American people want to hear the truth about the extent of our fiscal difficulties. They believe the American people need to be coddled by big government. They believe the American people are content to live the lie with them. They are wrong.
We believe in telling our seniors the truth about our overburdened entitlements. We know seniors not only want these programs to survive, but they just as badly want them secured for their grandchildren. Our seniors are not children….
Now, we believe that the majority of teachers in America know our system must be reformed, to put students first so that America can compete, that teachers don’t teach to become rich or famous. They teach because they love children. We believe — we believe we should honor and reward the good ones, while doing what’s best for our nation’s future, demanding accountability, demanding higher standards, and demanding the best teacher in every classroom in America.
Get ready. Here is what [the Democrats] believe. They believe the educational savages will only put themselves ahead of children, that self- interest will always trump common sense, they believe in pitting unions against teachers, educators against parents, lobbyists against children. [The Democrats] believe in teachers’ unions . We believe in teachers….
Make no mistake about it, everybody. The problems are too big to let the American people lose. The slowest economic recovery in decades, a spiraling out of control deficit, and an education system that is failing to compete in the world. It doesn’t matter how we got here. There’s enough blame to go around. What matters is what we do now.
See, I know. I know we can fix our problems. When there are people in the room who care more about doing the job they were elected to do than they worry about winning reelection, it is possible to work together, achieve principal compromise, and get results for the people who give us these jobs in the first place.
The people have no patience for any other way anymore. It is simple. We need politicians to care more about doing something and less about being something….
We have to tell each other the truth, right? Listen, there is doubt and fear for our future in every corner of our country. I have traveled all over the country, and I have seen this myself. These feelings are real. This moment is real,and it is a moment like this where some skeptics wonder if America’s greatness is over. They wonder how those who have come before the before us had in the spirit and tenacity to lead America to a new era of greatness in the face of challenge, not to look around and say “Not me”, but to look around and say “Yes, me.”
Now, I have an answer tonight for the skeptics and the naysayers, the dividers and the defenders of the status quo. I have faith in us. I know.
I know we can be the men and women our country calls on us to be tonight. I believe in America and her history, and there’s only one thing missing now. Leadership. It takes leadership that you don’t get from reading a poll. You see, Mr. President, real leaders do not follow polls. Real leaders change polls.
Peoples! This is a truly inspiring story and you absolutely must watch the video. It is moving to say the least!
“Not even a year ago, Richard ‘Steelo’ Vazquez couldn’t walk or talk.
Celebrity break dancer “Steelo” is best known for his spins, breaks and slides on “Dancing With the Stars.” The 32-year-old father was suffered a brain aneurysm, and has now made his way back to the stage. He was one of 6 million people who suffer from aneurysms every year. Forty percent of them die.
After a grueling dance practice last June, Steelo came home with a severe headache and was vomiting. Thinking he only had a tweaked muscle, he didn’t immediately go to the doctor. At church later that weekend, on Father’s Day, Steelo suffered an aneurysm.
Emergency brain surgery saved his life, but four additional ruptures took away Steelo’s ability to speak, walk and dance. During months of excruciating rehabilitation, Steelo never gave up hope that he could recover and return to the dance floor.
You can follow Steelo’s amazing comeback at www.steelo444.com” – KTLA.com
“Joy in the Congo” seems an unlikely — even impossible — title for a story from the Congo, considering the searing poverty and brutal civil war that have decimated that country. Yet in Kinshasa, the capital city, we found an unforgettable symphony orchestra — 200 singers and instrumentalists defying the poverty, hardship, and struggles of life in the world’s poorest country…and creating some of the most moving music we have ever heard. Follow Bob Simon to the Congo to hear the sounds and stories of the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra.
Beauty has a way of turning up in places where you’d least expect it. We went to the Congo a few weeks ago, the poorest country in the world. Kinshasa, the capital, has a population of 10 million and almost nothing in the way of hope or peace. But there’s a well-kept secret down there. Kinshasa has a symphony orchestra, the only one in Central Africa, the only all-black one in the world.
It’s called the Kimbanguist Symphony Orchestra. We’d never heard of it. No one we called had ever heard of it. But when we got there we were surprised to find 200 musicians and vocalists, who’ve never played outside Kinshasa, or have been outside Kinshasa. We were even more surprised to find joy in the Congo. When we told the musicians they would be on 60 Minutes, they didn’t know what we were talking about but, still, they invited us to a performance.
We caught up with them as they were preparing outside their concert hall, a rented warehouse. As curtain time neared, we had no idea what to expect. But maestro Armand Diangienda seemed confident and began the evening with bang. – 60 Minutes, CBS News