Since I can’t get away from the topic of meetings I might as well give in and continue in the same vein. In answering a reply to Monday’s post I had a brain wave (or maybe it was a brain fart.) Whatever.
In any case, I wondered what would happen if we just eliminated internal meetings for some arbitrary period of time as an experiment. As necessity is the mother of invention, I wonder what new solutions people would come up with in order to meet the objectives that had previously been accomplished in meetings.
So here is your challenge. Try doing a way with meetings for a week and tell me what you did to get the same work done anyway.
After last week’s post on 10 ways to show lack of respect, I was asked a simple question. How do I gain someone’s respect? I pondered that question all weekend and am not sure yet that I have the right answer.
To gain respect, you could do the opposite of what I posted in Friday’s blog but I don’t think that is enough. I think the way to get and keep someone’s respect is to have empathy.
Empathy is a confusing concept, sometimes described as “intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another” and other times as “the capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another sentient or fictional being.”
There is a big gap between being able to recognize emotions to being able to identify intellectually with them to actually vicariously experiencing others feelings.
Let’s say then it is a continuum. On one end of the continuum you are a narcissistic psychopath. In the middle you are able to recognize and identify others emotions and at the far end, you are reduced to blubber on a regular basis because you spend too much time vicariously experiencing others feelings.
What is key, no matter where you are on the continuum is to actually take others emotions into account in making decisions. I think that will earn you immeasurable respect.
We all know how to show respect don’t we? Well just in case there is someone you want to piss off by showing a lack of respect, I thought I would give you a primer.
- Ignore their emails.
- Cancel meetings.
- Arrive late to the meetings you do attend.
- Try not to connect with them on a human level by asking about their life.
- Dominate the conversation.
- Don’t listen to what they’re saying.
- Make sure you get your own way.
- Nit-pick, criticize, belittle, judge, demean and patronize.
- Don’t do what you said you would.
If you get very good at this you’ll even be in the running for office bully.
If your thoughts used to be worth two cents (inflation adjusted from the days when people paid a penny for your thoughts) what are they worth now?
After all, two cents in cash exchanges will now be rounded down to nothing.
Obviously we need some innovation in trite expressions:
- All that glitters is not gold – Now it’s called bling.
- Born with a silver spoon – Who uses silver cutlery?
- Heart of gold – Maybe platinum is better now.
- Pay the piper – I don’t know any pipers.
- Diamond in the rough – Diamonds are now a dime a dozen.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
George Bernard Shaw
In case you’re worried about one of your plans turning into an epic fail, take heart, you’ll be in good company. Here are a bunch of epic fails.
- In 1899 Henry Ford started the Detroit Automobile Co. Unfortunately for Ford, its cars were too expensive and of low quality.
- Fred Smith, the founder of Federal Express fame tried to introduce an electronic delivery service, Zapmail, in 1984 to compete with fax machines. Zapmail was a total failure and cost the company nearly $350 million over two years.
- Walt Disney suffered from a number of major financial setbacks in the late 1920s and 1930s and by the early 1930s his company was $4 million in debt.
- What list of epic fails is complete without Steve Jobs. Fired from Apple in 1985, he founded NeXT a company that made a computer workstation for educators. With a high price tag and reports of numerous bugs, sales never took off and NeXT burned through hundreds of millions of dollars.
- In the 1970s, Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Traf-O-Data, a computer business serving local governments that automatically read paper tapes from traffic counters. The business became a bust when the state of Washington offered to tabulate the tapes for cities for free.
I think pencils are much like socks. You know the old problem of the dryer eating your socks. I think the dryer might also be eating my mechanical pencils. I just can’t figure out where they’re all going. I know I have about 10 of them but today I wasn’t able to find even one. The thing is, they seem to disappear one by one, only to reappear a while later one by one. So I’ll start with 10 on my desk and a few days later I’ll have none. Then lo and behold they start coming back and ending up on my desk. Where have they been? Were they on vacation or in the dryer? I try to be so organized about everything else, I can’t understand why I’m so disorganized about my pencils. If anyone knows of any good management techniques for dealing with errant pencils please let me know as I’ll build a whole training module on the subject. After all, I can’t be the only one having this problem.
Some remarkable statistics in the Globe and Mail last weekend got me wondering about productivity. While the technology revolution has been good for productivity, it may not be true that productivity has been good for the average worker. Right now, about half of the 14 million or so Americans who are unemployed, have been unemployed for more than 6 months. Furthermore, recent census statistics have shown that the median income for working-age households fell 10 percent between 2000 and 2010, even as women worked more hours. The real nail in the coffin is that the average real wage for working men is now lower than it was in 1973. I suspect that the technology revolution has really only benefitted a few of us and it has widened the income gap as it resulted in the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
While it has taken only 30 or so years to move from an industrial economy to the knowledge economy, the change to an industrialized world was not as fast as one might think. It took a long time for James Watt’s steam engine to catch on so that the move from a cottage style workplace to a modern industrial society took 100 years from about 1800 to finally reach fruition. The biggest change occurred because productivity increases depended much more on efficiently organizing processes than it did on individual skills. As opposed to the handicraft tradition of apprentices, with efficient production processes, one could take a relatively unskilled individual and turn him or her into a productive worker in a relatively short period of time. It also meant that since dexterity and small hands became important in a mechanized environment, early mills could profit from the employment of relatively inexpensive women and children.
Perhaps this is why we are leaving so many people behind in the move towards a knowledge economy. Our change is coming at a much faster pace while the transition to highly skilled knowledge work is very complex and time consuming.