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Are There Cassandras in Your Organization?

June 14th, 2017

 

 

 

Are There Cassandras in Your Organization?

 

 

By: Don Phin

(read on site)

I listened to a fascinating podcast interview with James Altucher and R.P. Eddy, co-author of the book Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes. Co -author Richard A. Clarke has written many what I will call disaster or warning books. While I’m not big on being a pessimist (it’s too damn depressing) it makes sense to move forward with eyes wide open. Essentially Cassandras (named after the mythological figure who could foresee future disasters but nobody would believe her) are people who have been ignored when it came to HIV, Katrina, recession of 2008, Fukushima and other disasters. Current concerns include pandemics, the rise of AI, nuclear winters, sea level rise, meteor strikes, vulnerability of the Internet of Everything, and more. Again, I know these things are out there…and so do you. It may be my foolish choice but I’m not going prepper any time soon. At the same time I won’t be reckless and will take any reasonable steps. But…I am fascinated by the idea of the Cassandra. They remind me of the Whistle-blowers (mostly engineers) I represented in my career. Question: Are you paying attention to these people in your organization? According to Altucher’s summary, J.P. says (with my notes in parenthesis.)

  • Cassandras are data driven. Everybody in our book who was right was a proven, technical expert on the topic they were speaking about. (Who are those wonks at your company? What are they saying about things?)
  • They are questioners by personality. They ask hard questions and doubt what most believe. (Which means they can be a real PITA. “Do you have to question everything I say?”)
  • They have an off-putting personality…not always, but it’s common. (Engineers are good at this. So are lawyers. Ever tried arguing with either one?)
  • They have a sense of personal responsibility. “When they walk into a restaurant and the fire alarm goes off, they’re the one who says to everybody, ‘Let’s get out of here,” R.P. Said. “These guys think of themselves as sheepdogs. … it’s their job to protect us.” (Which means they can be trusted but controlling.)
  • They have high anxiety. “Let’s go back to our fire alarm example. These are the guys who look for the fire exits when they walk in. They’re the people who pull the fire alarm when they smell smoke. And when you think about personalities, a lot of people don’t do that.” (Making them great as risk managers and horrible travel companions.)
  • (And I will add- they are not just men.)

I not only litigated whistle-blower cases, I also created company ethics programs and reporting structures. I recommend companies consider Employee Confidential. You want to encourage people to come forth. In my experience, the only people who don’t buy into that approach are those who have a reason to fear exposure. I have zero empathy for them. I also listened to a podcast of the annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting. I was once again impressed by the intelligence of all who spoke but most impressed about the openness of Buffett and Munger to the doubters. To the Cassandras… be they reporters, shareholders or other experts. They wanted that challenge, that feedback, that dialogue. And in public in front of tens of thousands of people where there is no place to hide. Because there is no place to hide. Would you be so bold? Warning: when you are not open to the Cassandra’s input you will be the last to know. And you will pay the price.

 

Don Phin, Esq. 619.852.4580 cell 3200 Fourth Ave., Suite 208 San Diego, Ca 92103 www.donphin.com www.greathr.com www.hrsherpas.com

HR News – Tears and Anger

June 14th, 2017
You are receiving this because you subscribed or you know an HR Jungle “Guide.” You may unsubscribe any time using the link at the bottom of this email.

 
Tears and Anger

“I have an employee who gets very emotional whenever I let them know they’ve made an error or try to tell them how to do something better. How do I deal with someone like this?”

Your HR Survival Tip

Dealing with emotional employees is often stressful for managers. It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting tears or anger, the emotion makes it hard to get your point across to the employee.

Often the employee is so wrapped up in their emotion, they have stopped listening to you. This means the problem is likely to occur again instead of being corrected. How do you get past this so you don’t end up repeating the situation time over time? There are two things that can help. The first thing is you stand up.

CJ Westrick at HR Jungle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Labor and Employment Alert: Changing Coure: Department of Labor Withdraws REcetn Guidance on Independent Contractors and Joint Employers

June 8th, 2017

http://www.vorys.com/publications-2001.html Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it is withdrawing two Administrator’s Interpretations on joint employment and independent contractors that were issued under the Obama administration. Both interpretations had the potential to increase employers’ liability for misclassification and for wage-hour penalties for being deemed a joint employer. In 2015, … Read more of the article here: https://peocompass.com/labor-employment-alert-changing-course-department-labor-withdraws-guidance-independent-contractors-joint-employers/
Posted by PEO Compass

Who is Doing What?

June 7th, 2017

“A couple of my employees don’t finish their tasks or miss deadlines fairly frequently.  They always have a reason they’re aren’t to blame.  How can I get them to take responsibility for their job?”  CJ Westrick @ HRJungle.com

Reasons for Termination

May 31st, 2017

“I want to fire an employee but would rather just say he’s being laid off.  How do I explain it to him/her?”

http://blog.hrjungle.com/

Good information as usual from our friend CJ Westrick.  If you have any staffing needs or questions please do give us a call.  Judy Lawton CEO, The Lawton Group  858-569-6260

 

When Not To Pay Employees

February 28th, 2017

“This recent storm resulted in a loss of power at the shop so I closed early. I need to know whether or not I have to pay employees for the full day when it wasn’t my fault they couldn’t work.”

Really great Questions to ask in every job interview!

November 15th, 2016

Repost from  http://www.businessinsider.com/questions-to-ask-in-every-job-interview-2016-10

It’s important to remember that every interview is a two-way street.

You should be assessing the employer just as much as they’re assessing you because you both need to walk away convinced that the job would be a great fit.

So when the tables are turned and the interviewer asks, “Do you have any questions for me?” take advantage of this opportunity. It’s the best way to determine if you’d be happy working for this employer, and whether your goals are aligned with theirs.

“The very process of asking questions completely changes the dynamic of the interview and the hiring manager’s perception of you,” says Teri Hockett, a former CEO and career strategist. “Asking questions also gives you the opportunity to discover details that you might not have otherwise unveiled.”

Amy Hoover, president of TalentZoo, says there’s another reason you should always prepare questions. “It’s expected — and if you don’t ask at least two questions, you will appear disinterested, or worse, less intelligent and engaged than a prospective employer would like.” You should have at least four questions prepared, though, in case your original two are answered through the course of the interview.

But, Hoover says, don’t just ask questions for the sake of it. To actually benefit from them, you’ll need to think carefully about what you want to ask.

“Your questions can, in fact, make or break an interview,” she explains. “If they’re not thoughtful, or if you ask something that has already been addressed, this can hurt you way more than it can help. Asking smart, engaging questions is imperative.”

Luckily, there are plenty of smart ones to pick from.

Here are 29 questions you should always ask in a job interview — if they weren’t already answered — to help you get a better sense of the role and the company, and to leave the interview with a positive, lasting impression:

1. Have I answered all of your questions?

Before you begin asking your questions, find out if there’s anything they’d like you to elaborate on. You can do this by saying something like, “Yes, I do have a few questions for you — but before I get into those, I am wondering if I’ve sufficiently answered all of your questions. Would you like me to explain anything further or give any examples?”

Not only will they appreciate the offer, but it may be a good chance for you to gauge how well you’re doing, says Bill York, an executive recruiter with over 30 years experience and founder of executive search firm Tudor Lewis.

If they say, “No, actually you answered all of my questions very well!” then this may tell you you’re in good shape. If they respond with, “Actually, could you tell me more about X?” or “Would you be able to clarify what you meant when you said Y?” then this is your chance for a re-do.

2. Who do you think would be the ideal candidate for this position, and how do I compare?

Hoover recommends this question because it’s a quick way to figure out whether your skills align with what the company is currently looking for. If they don’t match up, then you know to walk away instead of wasting time pursuing the wrong position for yourself, she says.

3. Who would I be reporting to? Are those three people on the same team or on different teams? What’s the pecking order?

It’s important to ask about the pecking order of a company in case you have several bosses, Vicky Oliver writes in her book, “301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions.”

If you’re going to be working for several people, you need to know “the lay of the internal land,” she says, or if you’re going to be over several people, then you probably want to get to know them before accepting the position.

4. How has this position evolved?

Basically, this question just lets you know whether this job is a dead end or a stepping-stone.

5. How would you describe the company’s culture?

Hoover says this question gives you a broad view on the corporate philosophy of a company and on whether it prioritizes employee happiness.

6. Who do you consider your major competitors? How are you better?

This question is not for the faint of heart, but it shows that you are already thinking about how you can help the company rise to meet some of its bigger goals, says Peter Harrison, CEO ofSnagajob.

7. Beyond the hard skills required to successfully perform this job, what soft skills would serve the company and position best?

Knowing what skills the company thinks are important will give you more insight into its culture and its management values, Hoover says, so you can evaluate whether you would fit in.

8. Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications?

While this question puts you in a vulnerable position, it shows that you are confident enough to openly bring up and discuss your weaknesses with your potential employer.

9. What do you like most about working for this company?

Hoover says this question is important because it lets you “create a sense of camaraderie” with the interviewer because “interviewers — like anyone — usually like to talk about themselves and especially things they know well.” Plus, this question gives you a chance to get an insider’s view on the best parts about working for this particular company, she says.

10. Can you give me example of how I would collaborate with my manager?

Knowing how managers use their employees is important so you can decide whether they are the type of boss that will let you use your strengths to help the company succeed.

11. Can you tell me what steps need to be completed before your company can generate an offer?

“Any opportunity to learn the timeline for a hire is crucial information for you,” Hoover advises.

Asking about an “offer” rather than a “decision” will give you a better sense of the timeline because “decision” is a broad term, while an “offer” refers to the point when they’re ready to hand over the contract.

12. How would you score the company on living up to its core values? What’s the one thing you’re working to improve on?

Harrison says this is a respectful way to ask about shortcomings within the company — which you should definitely be aware of before joining a company. As a bonus, he says it shows that you are being proactive in wanting to understand more about the internal workings of the company before joining it.

13. What are the challenges of this position?

If the interviewer says, “There aren’t any,” you should proceed with caution.

14. What have past employees done to succeed in this position?

The main point of this question is to get your interviewer to reveal how the company measures success.

15. If you were to hire me, what might I expect in a typical day?

Obviously this shows your eagerness about the position, Harrison says, but it also gives you a better idea about what the job will be like on a daily basis so you can decide whether you really want to pursue it. “A frank conversation about position expectations and responsibilities will ensure not only that this is a job you want, but also one that you have the skills to be successful in,” he advises.

16. What type of employee tends to succeed here? What qualities are the most important for doing well and advancing at the firm?

This question shows the interviewer that you care about your future at the company, and it will also help you decide if you’re a good fit for the position, Oliver writes. “Once the interviewer tells you what she’s looking for in a candidate, picture that person in your mind’s eye,” she says. “She or he should look a lot like you.”

17. Is there anyone else I need to meet with?/Is there anyone else you would like me to meet with?

Hoover says knowing if they want you to meet with potential coworkers or not will give you insight into how much the company values building team synergy. In addition, if the interviewer says you have four more interviews to go, then you’ve gained a better sense of the hiring timeline as well, she says.

18. How do you help your team grow professionally?

Harrison says this question shows that you’re willing to work hard to ensure that you grow along with your company. This is particularly important for hourly workers, he says, because they typically have a higher turnover rate, and are thus always looking for people who are thinking long-term.

19. When your staff comes to you with conflicts, how do you respond?

Knowing how a company deals with conflicts gives you a clearer picture about the company’s culture, Harrison says. But more importantly, asking about conflict resolution shows that you know dealing with disagreements in a professional manner is essential to the company’s growth and success.

20. Will I have an opportunity to meet those who would be part of my staff/my manager during the interview process?

Getting the chance to meet with potential teammates or managers is essential to any professional interview process, Hoover says. If they don’t give that chance, “proceed with caution,” she advises.

21. How do you evaluate success here?

Knowing how a company measures its employees’ success is important. It will help you understand what it would take to advance in your career there — and can help you decide if the employer’s values align with your own.

22. What are some of the problems your company faces right now? And what is your department doing to solve them?

Asking about problems within a company gets the “conversation ball” rolling, and your interviewer will surely have an opinion, Oliver writes. Further, she says their answers will give you insights into their personality and ambitions and will likely lead to other questions.

23. What’s your timeline for making a decision, and when can I expect to hear back from you?

This one tells them you’re interested in the role and eager to hear their decision.

“Knowing a company’s timeline should be your ultimate goal during an interview process after determining your fit for the position and whether you like the company’s culture,” Hoover says. It will help you determine how and when to follow up, and how long to wait before “moving on.”

24. Is this a new position? If not, why did the person before me leave this role?

This might be uncomfortable to ask, but Harrison says it’s not uncommon to ask and that it shows you are being smart and analytical by wanting to know why someone may have been unhappy in this role previously.

If you found out they left the role because they were promoted, that’s also useful information.

25. Where do you see the company in three years and how would the person in this role contribute to this vision?

Asking this question will show your interviewer that you can think big picture, that you’re wanting to stay with the company long-term, and that you want to make a lasting impression in whatever company you end up in, says Harrison.

26. I read X about your CEO in Y magazine. Can you tell me more about this?

Oliver says questions like this simply show you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the company and its leaders.

27. What’s your staff turnover rate and what are you doing to reduce it?

While this question may seem forward, Harrison says it’s a smart question to ask because it shows that you understand the importance of landing a secure position. “It is a black and white way to get to the heart of what kind of company this is and if people like to work here,” he says.

28. Is there anything else I can provide to help you make your decision?

This simple question is polite to ask and it can give you peace of mind to know that you’ve covered all your bases, Hoover says. “It shows enthusiasm and eagerness but with polish.”

29. Is there anything we haven’t covered that you think is important to know about working here?

Hoover says this is a good wrap-up question that gives you a break from doing all the talking. In addition, she says you may get “answers to questions you didn’t even know to ask but are important.”

Author: Jacquelyn Smith

Jacquelyn joined Business Insider as the careers editor in 2014. She previously worked as a leadership reporter for Forbes. She is the coauthor of “Find and Keep Your Dream Job: The Definitive Careers Guide From Forbes.

Jacquelyn holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Arizona and a master’s degree from Hofstra University. She lives in New York City and can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

 

 

 

Vivian Giang and Natalie Walters contributed to previous versions of this article.

Harassment is a BIG deal and can land you in very hot water!

September 30th, 2016

Read the rest of this entry »

Do your sales incentives help or hurt your organization?

September 29th, 2016

https://hbr.org/2016/09/wells-fargo-and-the-slippery-slope-of-sales-incentives

Reprint from the above….

Wells Fargo and the Slippery Slope of Sales Incentives

Andris A. Zoltners, PK Sinha, Sally E. Lorimer

SEPTEMBER 20, 2016
In early September Wells Fargo agreed to pay a $185 million fine and return $5 million in fees wrongly charged to customers. The settlement stems from the bank’s employees allegedly opening more than 2 million bank and credit card accounts without customers’ permission. The CEO of Wells Fargo, John Stumpf, apologized in front of a congressional panel Tuesday, saying in a statement, “I accept full responsibility for all unethical sales practices.”

That speaks to why they did this in the first place: To meet sales quotas and earn incentives.

This is certainly not the first time that a high-profile sales scandal like this has hit the press. In the early 1990s Sears sought to restore its reputation with $46 million in coupons because some employees of its automotive repair division (who were paid a commission on sales of parts and services) had allegedly enticed customers into authorizing and paying for needless repairs. In 2005 the world’s largest insurance broker, Marsh Inc., paid $850 million in fines in the aftermath of accusations that it had received kickbacks from insurance companies for steering business their way — a scheme at odds with Marsh’s commitment to finding the best deal for customers.

Beyond the fines, Wells Fargo has fired at least 5,300 employees for “inappropriate sales conduct,” and the bank is making changes to its quota system. Stumpf said in an earlier statement: “We are eliminating product sales goals because we want to make certain our customers have full confidence that our retail bankers are always focused on the best interests of customers.” Politicians, predictably, have railed against the leadership at Wells Fargo and have called for Stumpf’s resignation. One of the intriguing facts to come to light is that the fraudulent account openings continued even after the bank was aware of it and had fired employees for it starting in 2011.

That suggests that firing employees was not enough to curb the actions. Will eliminating sales goals do it? Before answering this question, it is useful to understand why and how such sales practices begin and spread within an organization.

In these and many other similar (but often less high-profile) cases, much of the blame gets placed on the sales goals and incentives. Salespeople are offered a large monetary reward linked to the achievement of sales goals — goals that employees perceive as excessively high. Sales managers, too, are rewarded for goal achievement, so they put pressure on salespeople to deliver. Salespeople are enticed by the promise of the large reward, or perhaps they are fearful of losing their jobs. Either way, they do whatever it takes to make sales goals.

But large rewards tied to challenging sales goals do not have to be a deadly combination. Many companies have great success using incentives and stretch goals to motivate the sales force and drive revenue. The culture in such sales forces may be sales-oriented and even competitive, yet salespeople still behave ethically and remain focused on meeting customers’ needs.

What differentiates sales teams that play by the rules from those that break them?

Large-scale unethical sales practices often begin with minor ethical compromises. Things escalate and spread from there. Consider the following sequence:

A bank account manager, under pressure to make a sales goal, pushes a customer to add a credit card, even though the account manager knows it’s not in the customer’s interest
Still short of the goal, the account manager asks his friends and family to open accounts. (The accounts are to be closed shortly thereafter.)
With the goal still not achieved, the account manager opens accounts without asking customers and transfers a small amount of money. (The accounts are closed shortly thereafter and the money is transferred back.)
As soon as the account manager gets away with the first unethical act, it’s not a big step to the fraudulent ones. The justification moves from “it’s legal” to “no one is harmed” to “no one will notice.” When such practices are tolerated, they escalate in severity and spread throughout the organization.

To prevent that, the sales culture has to stop the first level of compromise, because the slippery slope begins there. As Wells Fargo has discovered in the last five years, even a strong compliance function — one that began firing people in 2011 — can’t counteract a compromised culture. When things escalate to such a scale, the problems won’t stop with salespeople. Managers and leaders may be looking the other way, or aiding and abetting the behaviors.
What’s most insidious is that managers and leaders may be engaging in similar behaviors in their spheres and domains — in how they deal with other people inside the company, with partners, and with suppliers. Often, bringing about change requires going right to the top of the sales organization and bringing in a new leader who isn’t connected to the history of what’s happened. This individual can build a new culture based on appropriate values and the right workstyle.

Though not a question for customers and regulators, companies such as Wells Fargo have to ask how they can succeed in a sales world without heavy reliance on goals and incentives.

In 2011, about the same time that Wells Fargo began firing employees for questionable sales practices, we wrote a piece for HBR.org addressing that very issue. We called it “Is Your Sales Force Addicted to Incentives?” As we wrote back then, the key to success will be a new culture built around a more balanced approach to managing sales. This new approach will require using tools other than incentives — for example, interesting work, enhanced processes for selecting salespeople and managers, training and coaching, information sharing, empowerment, teamwork, manager assistance and supervision, and improved performance management systems — to motivate salespeople and guide and control sales behaviors.

If the bank is successful in transforming to this balanced sales culture, then perhaps the money it once used for employee incentives can instead go to customer incentives — for example, a no-fee credit card or a better interest rate for opening a new high-balance account. Other companies would be wise to take the time to examine their own sales culture and ask whether incentives might be clouding otherwise good judgment.

Andris A. Zoltners is a professor emeritus at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois. He is also a cofounder of ZS Associates, a global business consulting firm headquartered in Evanston, and a coauthor of The Power of Sales Analytics.

PK Sinha is a founder and cochairman of ZS Associates, a global business consulting firm, and a coauthor of The Power of Sales Analytics.

Sally E. Lorimer is a marketing and sales consultant and a business writer based in Northville, Michigan. She is a coauthor of three books on sales force management.

Protected: “Every career move—even the ones that don’t work out—will teach you something about who you are and what you want.”

September 21st, 2016

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