BIG Difference Between Private and Public Sectors

Sword.jpeg

So I thought this was very telling today about the difference between the public and private sectors…


I was teaching a class and gave the students a challenging scenario and problem and asked how they would solve it.


The class was a mix of leaders and managers from the public and private sectors–this time weighted mostly on the commercial side. 


Typically, the students from the government usually provide answers in terms of lengthy analysis processes, negotiations, vetting and getting buy-in and approvals through many layers of bureaucracy and red tape, as well as getting people to understand the what’s in it for me (WIIFM) value proposition.


However, this time, one the students from the private sector said bluntly, the following:

We can either do it the easy way or the hard way!


So I asked, “What do you mean the easy and hard ways?”


And he answered:

The easy way is that we can try at first to appeal to people, but if that doesn’t work then the hard way is we just do what needs get done.


Again with great interest and curiosity, I inquire, “And how do you that?”


This time someone else answers, and says:

We do “rip and replace”–we pull up the truck in the middle of the night and we rip out the things we don’t like and replace it with what we do, period.


Then I ask innocently again, “So what happens the next morning?”


And the 2nd person answers again, and says:

Who cares, the job is done!


This reminded me a little of the old images of the mob gangster pulling up in the shadows of the night to someone’s door that wasn’t cooperating and applying the baseball bat to the knees!


Yes, it’s a very different and extreme way of getting what you want and when you want it, done. 


Quite a BIG difference between the private and public sector approach to getting thing done!


One one hand, we have the speed and execution of the marketplace versus the more lengthly thoughtfulness and inherent compromises of government and politics. 


What’s it gonna be–some bureaucracy, seemingly endless red tape, and horse-trading or the good ol’ baseball bat to the knees? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Trouble With Communication

Hearing.jpeg

So I remember this old comedy skit showing the problem with communication.


There is a deaf guy trying to communicate with a blind guy.


Boy, this is a real conundrum.


The deaf guy communicates with sign language that the blind guy can’t see. 


And the blind guy communicates by talking which the deaf guy can’t hear. 


So neither are getting any messaging across. 


This is sort of like every day life, where people communicate talking past each other. 


Each may only be concerned with what they feel, think, and have to say. 


They don’t really care to listen or understand the other person. 


It like the blind and deaf guy communicating and neither can hear the other. 


Most importantly, we need to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. 


To think from their perspectives, and to communicate having in mind to fulfill for the other person–what’s in it for me (WIIFM).


In Judaism, their is an important teaching that each person is an entire world unto themselves.


We need to be sensitive to their world and speak our mind, but definitely in their language. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Overcoming Resistance To Change

Resistance.jpg

So have you heard of the 20-50-30 Rule when it comes to change management?


20% of the people are open and friendly to change–they are your early adopters.


50% are fence sitters–and they hold a wait and see attitude. 


30% are resisters–these are the people that will be the roadblocks to change. 


_____


Total 100%


Some will resist openly and loudly. Others will disguise their resistance in a politically correct way.  And finally some may work subversively to block change. 


The keys to overcoming the resistance is by working through the head, heart, and hands model, helping people to understand the following:


Head (Intellectual) – What is changing. 


Heart (Emotional) – Why it’s changing (and what’s in it for me–WIIFM).


Hands (Behavioral) – How is it changing.


This means changing the mindset, motivating people, and shaping behavior to effect change. 


Change and resistance to change are facts of life, but how we approach it can either mean failure or amazing transformation. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

2017 Year Of The Customer

Customer Service.JPEG

So here’s a resolution for all of us for 2017…


How about this year be the year of the customer!


– Where we care more about doing a good job for someone than we do about what time we get off from work.


– Where we talk to and treat customers with respect, dignity, and ultimately to solve their needs, rather than it escalating to a yelling match and oh, did I accidentally hang up the phone on you?


– Where we make the customer feel good about dealing with us and our organization, rather than wanting to beg for a supervisor or cyanide please!


– Where the customer isn’t lied to, manipulated, and taken advantage of just so someone can make another quick buck!


– Where the quality and value is #1 and it’s not just a shinny veneer on a car that accelerates on it’s own and with fake emissions test results or smartphone batteries that light up on fire and explode


– Where we don’t cross-sell and up-sell customers, like phony bank accounts or other things they don’t want, need, and never asked for just to make our sales quotas, and accrue the fine bonuses and stock options that go with them. 


– Where we don’t oversell the capability of a product, like fraudulent blood testing devices and medical results, and instead deliver what’s really doable and as promised. 


– Where there’s no error in the charge to the customer or it’s in the customer’s favor, rather than always an overcharge in the seller’s favor, and the price from the beginning is fair and reasonable and not hiked up 400% like on critical medicine that people’s lives depend on. 


– Where items arrive on time and work the first time, rather than having delays, making excuses, and causing endless customer returns of defective items or those that didn’t fit, look, or work as advertised. 


– Where the customer is happy to come back to and where they feel trust in the people, products, and services offered–not another Home Shopping Network or QVC shoddy experience of “It slices, it dices…the only tears you’ll shed are tears of joy!”


– Where we solve genuine customer needs or problems and not just “build it and they will come.”


– Where rather than a pure what’s in it for me (WIIFM) mentality, we suspend our self-interest and greed for the moment and we do for others, because it’s not just a job and we actually have a work ethic and care about what we do. 

 

– Where we delight! and wow!, rather than disengage and disappoint, and we put the customer first, and like first responders, we run to help and not run away. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Boardroom B.S.

Gavel

So I had the opportunity to attend a board meeting recently and to see firsthand why most decisions are so flawed. 


– No Diversity–The board members were all from a single age group and color, and this clearly impacted their thought processes and decisions. For example, when others attending the meeting asked about updating some technology, the board members blankly felt that was not important even after almost a decade of the same thing. 


– Self-Interest–The board only entertained issues that they were interested in for themselves. For example, when someone stood up to talk about issues they didn’t feel were important to them, the board members tuned out, interrupted the speakers, actually scrowled at them, or just shut them down altogether. 


– Getting Personal–Board members frequently changed the discussion from substantive discussion to personal attacks. When one person questioned a recent decision, a board member started yelling about being called names (which never happened that I saw) or telling the speakers that they didn’t know what they were talking about. 


– Information Poor–Board members made decisions or committees recommended decisions first, and then put it up for discussion later (like at a subsequent meeting). Moreover, the board members referred to decisions being made over and over based on anecdotes of people telling them this, that, or the other thing (none of which could be verified) and not on facts or surveys of those impacted by the decisions. 


– Transparency Lacking–Board members made decisions without explanation for the reason or justification, and even without necessarily evaluating all the alternatives. When questioned, the board wasn’t able to identify costs of alternatives or even fully explore the other viable options. 


– Intimidating The Opposition–The board members actually seemed to challenge and turn to intimidation to stem alternate views from their own. Some people that had supported other voices in the room where turned or told that they hadn’t understood the issues properly to begin with. 


Despite some nice people personally and one or two that didn’t seem to go along with the shinanigans, overall it was a very disppointing show of decision-making, governance, communication, and leadership. 


No wonder people get turned off by the process, don’t participate, and lose confidence in those at the top. Maybe time for people to be leaders with heart and not megalomaniacs with gavels. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to CJ Sorg)

Poor Decision-Making Inc.

Poor Decision-Making Inc

(Click the image for larger size)

___________________________


There is a funny Organization Chart of Indecision by Corter Consulting circulating on the Social Media. 


This graphic (above) by me can be thought of as the corollary for Poor Decision-Making.


It is headed by the Chief, Bad Decisions.


Supporting the Chief is the EVP of Strong-Arming.


Reporting to the Chief are 6 VPs of:


– Haste


– Intuition


– Incompetence


– Misinformation


– Narcissism


– Corruption


Followed by 16 Directors of:


– Get It Over With

– It’s Too Hard


– Feelings

– Myths

– I Just Don’t Know


– Ignorance

– Ineptitude


– Lack of Data

– Bad Data

– Misinterpretation


– What’s In It For Me (WIIFM)

– Legacy

– Arrogance


– Fraud

– Waste

– Abuse


Hope you enjoy this Org Chart of Poor Decision-Making and I look forward to your comments on it. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

How NOT To Interview For A Job

How NOT To Interview For A Job

So I am at this place of business this evening, and I overhear someone trying to apply for a job.

Note, I feel bad for the guy who is looking for extra work, but the interview just is going all wrong.

– Easy-Smeasy – He asks “What is the easiest part of the job?” Ugh, didn’t sound exactly like he was looking for a challenge.

– Keep your head down – He exclaims, “And never do someone’s else’s job!” What about helping where the help is needed?

– Great facilities you got here – He ends with, “And when I work here, my kids are really going to love coming to use the facilities here all the time!” Not exactly, a what will I do for you strong ending.

I didn’t get to hear the whole interview dialogue, but this was enough to get the idea about some things not to do in an interview.

The funny/sad thing was, I think this gentleman really thought that he was going to get the job after all. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

What Would MLK say?

What Would MLK say?

Bloomberg BusinessWeek writes about how Congress orders NASA to complete a testing tower for rocket engines at Stennis Space Center that is no longer needed, since the rockets themselves were cancelled.

The price tag of this tower is $350M!

But not to worry because NASA caught in this muddle says they will maintain the tower in case it’s needed in the future at a cost of just $840,000 more a year.

Why does this happen?

Pork barrel politics, where the the Congressmen and -women (in this case of Mississippi) don’t want to lose out on the federal spending, so they make deals whereby they get what they want and others what they want for their home states–even if the taxpayers end up getting little to nothing.

Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal that while public servants are “expected to be less selfish than the average Joe…they are [actually] the locus of selfishness.”

She writes, “there isn’t a staffer on the Hill who won’t tell you 90% of members are driven by their own needs, wants, and interests, not America’s.”

Essentially what Noonan describes is a broken political system, where we elect individuals as politicians to represent us, but they take our vote of confidence and their elected office platform and instead use it to vote either for what they think should be done–not what their constituents think or want–or they work the system in order to make themselves look good and line up votes for their next run at office.

Either way, we don’t get representation of the people, for the people, with big picture strategic decisions for the future of the nation, but rather we get narrow thinking and voting driven by self-centered thinking of what’s in it for me (WIIFM).

Freedom is not free, especially when we make bad decisions to fund testing towers that are no longer needed or bridges to nowhere.

How we fix this is by having politicians with a genuine vision of where we need to go, anchored in the thinking of the people they represent and a foundation of integrity.

The leader can create a shared vision by explaining why, what, and how and building a genuine consensus around it.

Selfishness is not an inherent trait of politics–it can be replaced by selflessness when the greater good of the nation is placed above any one “I”–whether that be a person, party, state, or special interest.

(Source Photo: here)

The Nomination Effect

The Nomination Effect

For some people they say that flattery gets you everywhere and it can be true.

Who doesn’t like to hear good things about themselves and their work?

It fills the WIIFM need in all of us (What’s In It For me)—by providing for recognition and seeming purpose.

Some people know how to use this –how to take advantage of others by “cozying up to them” and telling them how wonderful they are.

As they say, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!”

This is one of the marketing techniques–not really ethical–being used by some “event planners” to lure people to their conferences, meetings, and events.

They do this by not only showcasing the events great speakers, relevant and important topics, beautiful venue etc., but also by telling people they’ve been nominated for some prestigious award.

And it’s hard to tell which are real and which are fake.

The Nomination Effect (my term) is when event planners tell multiple people that they have been nominated for an award simply as a way to get them to come to an event they otherwise would not necessarily attend.

This plays to the ego of some execs by saying “somebody nominated you”—but there are few or no specifics.

And because so many execs get beaten up all the time at work, it’s certainly great to hear something positive. Plus it could be an easy way for some to add a nice credential to their resumes.

It’s all fine and good when it’s true and deserved for a job well done!

But some event planners misuse this to lure people to events and try to get a “30 minute call” with you to pick your brains for the event—what topics are hot, who are some good speakers, do you know any vendors that would like to sponsor it?

But when it’s just an “in” with people who may never otherwise give them “the time of day,” because of the important work they do, their genuinely busy schedules, and frankly because they are people they just don’t even know.

But the idea of The Nomination Effect is to tell execs that they can win an award at the event and how great they are so hopefully they will be putty in their hands and shell out money, time, and information to perhaps unreliable people.

Part of the scam is that the award winners aren’t announced until the event itself, so you must come—and pay first!

They tell the same line to the other nominees—maybe 5, 10, 25, 50 other people—or everyone they want to sign up—who knows.

This social phenomenon is enough to reel in many to pay for and attend events that may not be all that intellectually or socially enticing otherwise.

Here are the things I look for:

– People that seem genuine and not like car salesmen.
– Those with an affiliation to a well-established organization in the field.
– Nominations for actual contributions or achievements, rather than vague undertakings.
– Something on LinkedIn and/or the web that shows credentials and successful events prior tied to advancing the field, and not just making money.

A well-deserved award for hard-working professionals is something for all of us to celebrate.

But that’s different than promotional events and false—yet flattering kudos to manipulate lots of busy people. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to PennStateNews)

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)