About this Blog

The Curmudgeon's Office blog is a spin off from my personal blog, Too Young To Be A Curmudgeon, which is full of random rants and thoughts I have on a whole host of topics. In an effort to be more organized, and also to attract a specific niche of followers, I decided to start a separate blog for my professional postings. At this blog, I'll post my tips, rants, and random thoughts on a host of professional topics from setting up a home office & office gadgets to 5S practices & time management.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Communication Breakdown

One of the worst things about my day job, and I’m sure many of yours, is that there is a companywide communication breakdown. Important information and direction is not passed along. Poor communication can cripple an organization. Efficiency is decreased, employee morale is affected, and customers and vendors can be lost because of poor communication.

There can be several causes for poor communication, such as the structure of the company or the abilities of the leadership. But there is no excuse for it to exist in the workplace. In order for a company to strive and excel, it needs focus, direction, a solid plan, a united team. And the glue that holds all of that together is communication.

The company I currently work for easily has the worst communication of any place I’ve been. People are hired, fired and quit without anyone knowing about it. One department manager was leaving voicemail messages for another department manager for a week before he learned that the other manager quit. Outraged he asks our HR manager why she didn’t let anyone know. She didn’t know. That’s right. The person in charge of HUMAN RELATIONS was not told that a manager quit for over a week!

While that is a rather extreme example, smaller communication lapses can hurt a company, especially when it comes to personal changes. When people are hired, there should be effort put into letting people throughout the company know. Have a brief meeting with all company team members. If the company is too large for that to be practical, send a companywide email, or have each department leader tell their team.

The same effort in communications needs to take place when someone leaves the company for any reason, or if there is a position change. Few things will point out there is no communication like people missing or in a different office.

Here’s another example from my day job. Recently there was a change in positions and two people basically switched roles and switched offices. Since two were switching offices, the General Manager thought it made sense to move three other people to different offices. I guess since the guy from the phone company was going to stop by to switch two lines; he might as well do some more.

This change took place on a Friday. There was no company announcement. In fact one of the managers didn’t even bother to tell his team about the move! Since I work in the area, I had to tell people for the next week that so and so moved to a different office. Including people looking for their own boss!

It seems some leaders just make the assumption that people already know. Sadly there are also some leader who just simply don’t care or even get a power trip because the know something the rest don’t.

Effective communication is simple and requires very little effort. Good leaders will make the effort to make sure it is done correctly.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Great Advice From Chris LoCurto

Here is some really great advice from Chris LoCurto. I just subscribed to his YouTube channel.

Chris is the host of Dave Ramsey's EntreLeadership podcast. I highly recommend you check the podcast out, if you don't already subscribe to it.

Friday, August 9, 2013

There’s No “My” in Team Either

I come from the mindset were a well-run business or organization functions as a team. Not just with the mindset that all members work together for the goal of the organization, but there is as little separation and division among the members as possible. Mainly the leadership members of the origination lead by example, being shoulder to shoulder with their team members as much as possible.

One word used often in business that bugs me is “my.” You hear it all the time in meetings & phone calls and see it often in emails. For example, you’ll hear phrases like “my engineers are working on it now”, “the PO will be issued by my accounting department this week.” You’ll even hear that from sales reps and customer service people who are not even in a management roll.

For me, it's even more annoying to here that from a person who is not in a leadership role refer to anything in the company as "my" except for possibly their desk. Almost as annoying as the 24 year old intern say "back in the day."

I worked with a person who does this all the time. We have a weekly conference call with another company we are teaming with on a new product. He is constantly saying “my” this and “my” that. I really projects an arrogant image of him to the other is in the meeting.

Doing this gives the image of a company with ownership or a management team that is removed from their employees. To me, it appears as company without a soul; that treats its employees as mere parts in the corporate machine. While the company model of having the leadership separate from the rest does work, I strongly feel a true team structure is much better.

I’ve worked at companies that follow both methods of management. The places with the highest employee morale and the lowest employee turn around had the “hands on in the trenches with the rest of us” type of owners and or managers.

"To be truly effective, soldiers must bond to their leader just as they must bond to their group. Shalit notes a 1973 Israeli study that shows that the primary factor in ensuring the will to fight is identification with the direct commanding officer. Compared with an established and respected leader, an unknown or discredited leader has much less chance of gaining compliance from soldiers in combat." ~ Lt. Col. Dave Grossman

I came across the above quote today and it made me think “that is what true leadership is all about.” That mentality does not just apply to soldiers, but to any group that has a leader. Whether it be in the workplace or other group setting, a hands on leader will motive and get results.

One key thing to remember is to be a true hands on leader, not a micro manager. There is all the difference in the world between rolling up your sleeves and joining in the work, and standing over one’s shoulder to make sure they do the work.

Being a true team in the workplace is something that really can’t be faked. So if this doesn’t come natural to you, it may be something that you need to work on. But it will be worth all the effort you put into it.