@Bagels and Business with CEO Hair Cuttery, Dennis Ratner

Hair Cuttery has 1,000 company-owned Salons in 18 states in the USA.  


Dennis Ratner, the founder and CEO is a huge success story.


– Puts people first. 


– Gives back to the community. 


– Believes in vision, planning, and execution. 


– Dennis said: “Effort = Reward” and to be “Relentless” in pursuing your passion.


– Great roles model. 


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Disability Stories And Resources

Disability

Just wanted to share this great site called Disability Blog where people tell about their experiences of being disabled and how they have overcome the odds. 


It is hosted by Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy.


And it is the official blog of Disability.gov where there is lots of information on “disability programs and services.” 


The blog site promotes the “full inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce and communities nationwide.”


Disability Blog posts guest bloggers on various topics and I read some of the recent posts and they were very good, including:


– Disability rights activism

– Small business loans and mentoring support with SCORE for a veteran with disability

– Resources and support from the Amputtee Coalition for a child that was hurt in a lawn mowing accident

– A courageous description of how someone lives with syndactyly (fused fingers).

– Options for workplace accommodations at the Job Accommodation Network


As someone myself who has had two total hip replacements, I encourage people to get their personal stories out there to increase disability awareness, rights, and resources and support to help them.


I used to dream about retiring one day and running along the boardwalk and ocean every morning in Florida, but I know that will not happen for me anymore (so thank G-d for swimming). 


Disabilities can happen to anyone. 


We all need to be sensitive to what it’s like to be different and have unique challenges, and to try and help anyone who does.  😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Abhijit Bhaduri)

Difficult Employees x 7

Difficult Employees x 7

So I was learning about some management best practices in terms of there being 7 major types of difficult employees:

  1. Challengers–employees that are oppositional; they resent authority, are disrespectful and confrontational.
  2. Clingers–people who are overly dependent; they are uncertain about what to do, fearful of making a mistake, withhold their opinions and may harbor deep resentments.
  3. Drama Queens/Kings–these folks crave attention; they can be found spreading gossip and rumors and making dramatic pronouncements both professional and personal.
  4. Loners–people who like to be left alone; they tend to hover over their computers and avoid personal interactions.
  5. Power Grabbers–staff that tend to get into power struggles with their boss; they ignore instructions and resist direction.
  6. Slackers–those who don’t do the work they are supposed to do; they tend to linger on break, calls, or the Internet or be out of the office altogether.
  7. Space Cadets–employees whose minds and discussion always seem to be in la-la-land; they tend to be off topic and impractical.

Obviously, each presents a unique set of management challenges, but one of the most important things a manager can do is focus on specific behaviors and the impact of those on the quality/quantity of work and on the organization, and work with the employee whether through coaching, counseling, mentoring, or training on how to improve their performance.

It should never be about the manager and the employee, but rather about the results and the outcomes. Keep it objective, be empathetic, document the issues, and work in earnest with the person to improve (where possible).

Difficult employees are not evil characters (or villains) like in the James Bond movies, but rather humans being that need inspiration, collaboration, guidance, feedback, and occasionally when appropriate, a change in venue–where a square peg can fit in a square hole. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dealing With Change Resistance

In leadership class, I learned that in performance management, there are two major types of issues–conduct and performance.

In conduct issues–people willfully do not follow the rules of the workplace. Conduct issues are those of “won’t.”

However, with performance problems–people cannot meet the expectations for quantity and/or quality. Performance problems are issues of “can’t.”

On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I wonder whether these same types of performance management issues apply to our lives as human beings and as children of G-d.

– Some people just won’t do the right thing, instead willfully choosing to lie, cheat, steal, and mistreat others. They prefer the monetary or egotistical rewards of doing the wrong thing over the spiritual and relationship hardships and challenges to do the right thing.

– Other people can’t do the right thing–they are too scarred by hurt, abandonment, loneliness, being told they are not good enough and can’t compete, and so on. For these people, sometimes, no matter how hard they try, they feel that they cannot meet expectations.

Of course, willfully doing something wrong is worse than not being able to do something right.

That is why for the first type of people–those with conduct problems–there is disciplinary action.

For the second type of people–those who have performance issues–we recognize their commitment and try to help them through things like coaching, mentoring, training, and counseling.

Performance issues may be linked to change resistance to change–and there are 3 dimensions of this:

1) Cognitive–“I don’t get it”–the person doesn’t fully understand and therefore agree with the rules.

2) Emotional–“I don’t like it”–a person emotionally rejects the rules of change, because they are afraid of the loss it will cause to them, personally and/or professionally.

3) Interpersonal–“I don’t like you”–when people are not resisting an idea, but rather they are resisting you, personally.

Great leadership is the ability to sense when any of these dimensions are off and help to course-correct them:

– When people don’t get it–we can inform, create awareness, and educate.

– When they don’t like it–we can listen to them and show empathy, get them involved in the process, and maybe show them the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM).

– And when they don’t like you (the most difficult one)–we can try to win people over by taking responsibility for the things we have done wrong, demonstrating over time that we are trustworthy, spending time together to better get to know each other and build the relationship, and maybe even give in on some issues, where appropriate.

Like on Rosh Hashanah, where we seek G-d’s mercy on us and ask that he work with us, so too, we can learn to work with others to try and help them, where possible.

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)

Moving Forward in Reverse

There is “more than one way to skin a cat” and there are those who take the high road, and others who take the low road to get to where they are going.The Wall Street Journal (28 November 2011) has two articles this morning on how how reverse is the new forward.“Reverse Mentoring Cracks Workplace” is about how “Top managers get advice on social media, workplace issues from young workers.” It’s a reverse on the traditional mentoring model where older, experienced workers mentor younger workers; now younger technology savants are teaching their older colleagues some new tricks.

According to the article, Jack Welch championed reverse mentoring as head of GE when “he ordered 500 top executives to reach out to people below them to learn how to use the Internet…fast forward a decade and mentors are teaching theirmentees about Facebook and Twitter.

Really this phenomen of learning from the young is not all that odd, when you think that many, if not most, of technology’s greatest advancements of the last 35 years came from college kids or dropouts working out their garages and growing whole new technologies, industries, and ways of doing business.

Another article called “Great Scott! Dunder Mifflin Morphs Into Real-Life Brand of Copy Paper” describes how Staples and Quill have teamed up to market a new brand of copy paper called none other than Dunder Mifflin (from the TV show “The Office” now in its 8th season).

Here again, we are in going forward in reverse. “For decades, marketers worked to embed their [real] brands in the plots of TV shows and movies. Nowadays, they are seeing value in bringing to life fictional brands that are already part of pop culture.”

This reminds me of when I started seeing Wonka chocolate bars–originally from the movie, Willie Wonker and The Chocolate Factory–showing up on store shelves.

Whether the young mentoring the old or fictional brands showing up in real life, changes that are the reverse of what we are used too, are not something to “bristle at”, but rather are the new normal.

There are many ways to success and we will find them through creatiity, innovation, and entreprenuership–any and every way forward.

(Source Photo: here)

Helping Employees Find The Right Job Fit

I have a new article in Public CIO Magazine (August 2011) on the topic of how to handle poorly performing employees.

Finding the right candidate for a job is much like finding a spouse — it requires the right chemistry. There’s a critical difference between having great qualifications and being the right person for a particular job, which is a concept that organizational behavior specialist refer to as ‘person-job fit.'”

When you see employees struggling, try to bring them up to speed in every possible way. If that doesn’t work, help them find a better position to continue their path of professional and personal development.”

Read the rest of the article at Government Technology.
(Source Photo: here)

>Fire In The Belly

>

Recently I read a classic article in Harvard Business Review (March-April 1992) called “Managers and Leaders,” by Abraham Zaleznik, in which he differentiates between these two frequently confused types of people.

Some highlights:

Leaders

Managers

Personality

Shape the goals

Solve the problems

Decision-making

Open up new options

“Limit choices” to execute

Relationships

Emotion-driven

Process-oriented

Risks

Prudent risk-takers

Conservative risk-avoidance

Sense of self

Strong and separate

Based on the organization

In my experience, Zaleznik was correct in observing that leaders and managers are very different. In particular, I have seen the following.

· Discipline: Leadership is more of an art, and management is more of a science.

· Orientation: Leaders focus on “the what,” (i.e. effectiveness) and managers on “the how” (i.e. efficiency).

· Aptitude: Leaders are visionaries and motivators, and managers are skilled at execution and organization.

· Ambitions: Leaders seek to be transformational catalysts for change, and managers (as Zaleznik points out) seek perpetuation of the institution.

Given that leaders and managers are inherently dissimilar, advancement from management to leadership is not an absolute, nor is it necessarily a good thing. However, many managers aspire to be leaders, and with training, coaching, and mentoring, some can make this leap. Those who can make their mark as leaders are incredibly valuable to organizations because they know how to transform, shape, and illuminate the way forward. Of course, the role that managers play is incredibly valuable as well (probably undervalued), but nevertheless, they support and execute on the vision of the leader and as such a leader commands a premium.

What I think we can take away from Zaleznik’s work, then, is that a leader should never be thought of as just a manager “on steroids.” Instead, leaders and managers are distinct, and the synergy between them is healthy, as they each fulfill a different set of needs. In this vein, when organizations seek to recruit from within the ranks for leadership positions, it would be wise for them to look at candidates more discriminatingly than just looking at their managerial experience. (In fact, counter to the conventional wisdom, the best leader may never have been a manager at all, or may have been a mediocre or even a horrible one!) We cannot just expect that good managers will necessarily make good leaders (although to some extent success may breed success), but must look for what fundamentally makes a leader and ensure that we are getting what is needed and unique.

So what can a person do if they want to be a leader? In my view, it starts with believing in yourself, then genuinely wanting to achieve a leadership position, and after that being willing to do what it takes to get there. Baseline efforts include advancing your education, hard work, building relationships and credibility, and so forth, but this is only part of the equation.

The truth of the matter is, you can go to an Ivy League school and leadership boot camp for twenty years, but if you don’t have passion, determination, and a sense of mission or cause that comes from deep inside, then you are not yet a leader. These things cannot be taught or handed over to a person like a baton in a relay race. Rather, they are fundamental to who you are as a person, what drives you, and what you have to give to others and to the organization.

Regardless of what role we play, each of us has a unique gift to share with the world. We need only to find the courage to look inside, discover what it is, value its inherent worth (no matter what the dollar value placed on it), and pursue it.