Saturday, September 25, 2010


New Blog Entries are now appearing on my

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

HR Execs are Stressed

There is a great article on Human Resource Executive Online today entitled What’s Keeping You Up? It describes what is on the minds of today’s top HR executives. Accompanying the article is a detailed survey on the various workplace issues HR execs are dealing with. No one will be surprised to find that 80% of their respondents report that their stress has gone up in the last 18 months, that employee morale is down, and it is harder to keep people engaged and motivated.

We have written before about the productivity problem, and that people are so overworked they will respond quickly when new opportunities begin to appear in the job market. In this article, HR Execs express their agreement by indicating that employee retention is a top concern, even in this kind of market.

Another interesting point is that a key stressor for HR Execs is the inability to take action on key issues. One example mentioned is wanting to develop people to aid in retention, but not having the budget to do so.

HREO is always full of interesting articles, so take a look when you get a chance.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

How to Resign

If you are about to accept a new position, you probably made your decision with logic and reason. If you are currently employed, you may be on the brink of the emotional roller coaster.

Resigning from your company can be accomplished in one minute (as you will see in the script below). Most people take 45-90 minutes, and the conversation beyond the first minute is usually not pleasant for the departing executive. Follow my advice, and keep it short, simple, and close out any possibility of a counter-offer – if you are interested in a counter offer, you shouldn’t be resigning your job! (See my previous article called The Dead Meat Theory)

Here is a potential script for your resignation. You should put this into words you are comfortable with, and rehearse it the day before in your mind, so that it comes out naturally for you. The important thing is to be definitive – don’t leave any room or provide any invitation to negotiate, counter, or argue with your decision.

I want to let you know that I will be making a change. I’ve had a very enjoyable and successful time here, and I’ve decided to accept another opportunity. It is important to me to leave you in good shape, and transition my work over in an organized way, so I’m giving you two week's notice. My last day here will be: __________. It is also important to me to depart on very good terms with you, so I want you to understand that I’ve thought this through very thoroughly, came to the decision with great care, and I’m very comfortable it is the right thing for me. I’m not seeking a counter offer, as I don’t believe that is ever wise, and I hope you’ll accept this and wish me well so we can part on the best of terms.

Allow your boss to express their thoughts – you are under NO obligation to give details about your new company, except to say it is not a competitor. If you are so inclined, you can reveal just the basics – it is a VP position, with great potential in a company you expect will grow substantially, and where you can have a big impact. Don’t disclose your new compensation package. If your boss indicates that they intend to counter or want to come up with something, say:

With all sincerity and respect, I appreciate what you want to do, but I’d ask that you respect my decision, and to make sure we have no hard feelings and part on good terms, let us not go there.

Reiterate if needed. Stand up. Don’t go to lunch with your boss. Prepare your transition out. Stick to your plan.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Guilty Pleasures - 10 Good for You Vices

Thanks to Lou Adler for pointing out this CNN article today entitled: America's Healthiest Pleasures: 10 'Vices' That are Good for You (original article here on 

Balance is really important in being effective at work, so if these "guilty pleasures" can keep me in balance, I'm all for it!  A healthy mind, body, and high emotional IQ make people more productive.  So, engage those brain chemicals and make them work for you!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My 3 Most Important Books

There are several books that I would consider to have been life-changing for me. Here are the 3 most powerful books I've ever read, and the lessons I learned from them.

3. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – by Deepak Chopra. I read this book in the mid 90's, when life was pretty intense. It seemed like an easy-going self help book, UNTIL I got to the most shocking thing I've read in the last 20 years – a chapter called The Law of Detachment From Results. The very title of the chapter knocked me back in my chair. Detachment from Results? Un-American! We have to be driven to results, right? This chapter came right after The Law of Intention and Desire. When I read the two together, I got it: All your thoughts and actions must be in alignment with what you want to have happen, then when you have done everything you can do, whatever happens, happens. This allows me to be in the present, and greatly reduced my anxiety level. It is hard to do – I don't say that following this is easy, but it is totally worth it. It is the serenity prayer: Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. When you can live this, you can have peace in your life.

2. Man's Search For Meaning – by Viktor Frankl. Written in 1946, this book is the chronicle of Frankl's experience in concentration camps. He was incredibly lucky, and went through absolute hell, losing most of his family. Frankl was a Psychiatrist, on par with Freud, and reopened his practice after the war, mostly counseling other victims, who were hard pressed to find meaning in their lives after the horrors of the holocaust. I read this book in the late 70's, and it taught me forgiveness and tolerance of other's foibles. Nobody is perfect, and it is a blessing to see everybody as perfect just the way they are. Learning to fully accept people as they are, warts and all, is one of the greatest gifts I have ever gotten. Again, this is hard to do, but I try every day to be better at it. I'll never be perfect, but who is?

1. Tao Te Ching – by Lao Tzu. The basic philosophy (not religion) of Taoism. This book is about 2500 years old, and is attributed to an author that we don't even know truly existed. It is 5000 Chinese Characters, 81 chapters, and you can read it in an hour. It is the most important book I've ever read. I own many translations, including a beautiful poetic one by Ursula LeGuin, but if you are just starting out, the Stephen Mitchell translation is good, even though scholars say it deviates from the original too much. The Tao teaches balance, the concept of Yin/Yang. You cannot understand beauty without understanding ugliness. You cannot understand good without evil. We can sometimes get as much done by doing no-thing as some-thing. The Tao is exquisitely simple – even simpler than Zen, but very hard to embody. I try to give a pocket copy of this book to everyone I know well, because it has brought so much comfort and meaning to me.

Well, there they are. Who am I to pontificate about these books? Just a seeker who found brilliant lights on the path along the way.

Drucker’s Most Important Lesson

If you read my newsletter, you know that I have written in the past about valuable lessons from Peter Drucker.

I got an e-mail today from, which has really good articles, written by Dr. William Cohen, one of Peter Drucker's earliest students, and an expert and author on Drucker. Cohen's article, just published yesterday is entitled Uncovering Drucker's Most Valuable Lesson. This terrific article points out a number of Drucker's key teachings, like doing the right thing, not overpaying executives, focusing on customer perceptions of value, staffing for key strengths (not assuming "well-roundedness" about execs). Ultimately, Cohen answers the question: What was Drucker's most valuable lesson? He taught us to think and ask questions.

I love reading about Drucker, because he was a common-sense visionary, and his ideas are timeless. Cohen has many articles and books about Drucker. Take a peek at some of Drucker's ideas, and I am sure you will find something that you can apply this very day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Employee Recognition and Motivation Week (not actually a real holiday)

I received an e-mail promo with this heading, and thought, gee, wasn't that in March? It isn't actually about a real holiday week. The promo is for a Training Course by Workplace Training Center, and they are simply calling the week-long course by this name. This made me think, it isn't such a bad idea for employers to be thinking about recognition and training more than one-week per year!
There are detailed descriptions of each day's program. Just reading about the individual one-hour daily courses is enough to increase your awareness:
  • Is your Employee Recognition Program working?
  • The Levity Effect: Why It Pays to Lighten Up
  • Why You Want to Be Known as a Great Place to Work
  • Motivating a Demoralized Workforce: Getting to the Source of TRUE Motivation
  • Bud to Boss: How to Motivate the People Who Used to Be Your Colleagues
WTC is offering this on CD and Live, next week. I have no idea how good the course is, and I'm not specifically endorsing it, but if you do visit their site, whether you take the course or not, you will remind yourself what you need to be doing every day to keep your employees productive, happy, loyal and motivated.
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