Video: Why Mid-Managers Are The Lifeblood June 14, 2011Posted by Kevin Burns in build a better workplace, building a better workplace, business, business strategy, coaching, communication, corporate values, kevin burns, keynote speaker, leadership, management, management speaker, manager, middle manager.
Kevin Burns, Workplace Expert, says most middle managers get very little training and are thrust into a role that most are ill-prepared for. It is the most thankless job and the one with the highest “hassle” factor. Add to that, when the economy tanks, middle managers are usually the first to go. The truth is, I am on the side of middle managers. I want them to get better.
Video: You Call Yourself A “Professional?” June 8, 2011Posted by Kevin Burns in build a better workplace, building a better workplace, business, business strategy, coaching, communication, corporate culture, corporate values, high-performance, kevin burns, keynote speaker, leadership, management, manager, workplace.
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Kevin Burns, Workplace Expert, tackles the subject of being a “professional.” How can you call your people “professionals” when you only give them formal feedback once a year? Do you think Tiger gets one golf lesson each year? How about Kobe or Sidney Crosby? You say you run a “professional” organization but do you really?
Video: Managers Need Better Time Management April 27, 2011Posted by Kevin Burns in build a better workplace, building a better workplace, business strategy, communication, kevin burns, keynote speaker, leadership, management, manager, middle manager, time management, workplace.
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So managers, let me ask you this question, if only twenty percent of your time is spent actually managing, who is it that really needs a Time Management course? The truth is that Time Management is never about time. It’s about having clearly defined priorities. And it is the manager’s job to ensure that the clear priorities have been communicated to the staff. So how can the manager make that happen?
Video: Lessons Are Repeated March 23, 2011Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, attitude, build a better workplace, business strategy, communication, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, manager, workplace.
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Do you find yourself having to face the same problems and put out the same fires at work? Do you find yourself secretly questioning why does this keeps happening to you? Can I let you in on a little secret? It keeps happening because you’re just not getting it.
Video: Employees Are NOT Created Equal February 15, 2011Posted by Kevin Burns in acknowledgement, attitude speaker, boss, business model, career, corporate culture, engagement, hiring, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, management speaker, manager, middle manager, performance, results, speaker, survey, time management, workplace.
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Too much effort is spent in managing people into conformity. The truth is that too many managers want one employee to be just like another employee – one who models the traits and gets the results management likes. It’s counterproductive when managers start trying to manage their employees the exact same way. It’s worse when they expect each employee’s results to be the same.
Managers: How To Handle 100+ Emails/Day February 9, 2011Posted by Kevin Burns in advice, boss, business, business model, career, email, Employee Engagement, engagement, how to, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, manager, middle manager.
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Are you a manager who handles upwards of 100 emails per day? Well, the bad news is handling 100 emails a day is not management. That’s treading water. If you’re treading water as a manager, you’re doing it wrong.
Take The Christmas Party Away From The Office December 16, 2010Posted by Kevin Burns in accountability, christmas party, consequences, corporate culture, corporate culture turnaround specialist, culture, culture of high-performance, high-performance, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, management speaker, manager, morale, office party.
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You can’t erase a memory because once that memory has been committed to … uh …memory, it’s there forever. And that includes the Christmas celebration drinks at the office and the consequences and responsibilities that follow.
If you want to toast with your co-workers, pick a neutral location away from the workplace. Do not, under any circumstances, allow alcohol to cross the threshold of your workplace.
In addition to being responsible for the behavior of your people under the influence, allowing alcohol into the office makes you responsible for virtually everything that your people do between the time they leave the office and actually arrive at home. That includes how they get home. But host an event in a bar or hotel ballroom, and then the responsibility is on the host facility to ensure their guests don’t get too drunk and disruptive.
Do not host a party in the workplace. Your workplace is for working. Bars are for drinking. If you want to have your people enter into a high-performance mindset when they walk through the doors each day, don’t allow them to come out of that mindset while they are in the office by creating a memory of drunken or lascivious behavior fueled by alcohol. Focus.
Build your culture of high-performance by keeping focused. Assess every activity (including the Christmas party) to ensure that you are not sending your people mixed messages. Doing so creates difficulty for managers and hurts your Culture.
If you want to celebrate with your people, take it outside.
How To Finish Christmas Shopping 10+ Days Early December 15, 2010Posted by Kevin Burns in advice, corporate culture turnaround specialist, giving, goals, innovation, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, management speaker, manager, online shopping, planning, retail, speaker, stress, think.
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I’m finished my Christmas shopping altogether. In fact, I finished 12 days early and it took me all of a few hours to get it all done. Every gift was well thought out, well planned and the day went virtually stress-free. Did I mention that I’m a man?
Each person on my list will get an appropriate gift and gifts that have meaning for them. How? They told me what they wanted.
I carry a Blackberry and over the course of a year, I have many interactions with the people on my Christmas gift list. In conversation, they will usually give up some piece of information about something they’ve seen, heard about or just gotta have. I simply enter that information in my Blackberry. Then, come Christmas shopping, I simply pull out the Blackberry and purchase a few items from their individual lists. Hey, it’s exactly how Santa does it. You know the “making a list and checking it twice” thing. At the heart of it all is a list. Make one and you take away your stress.
Look you can’t manage Christmas or your family but you can manage how you find the perfect gift – pay attention all year long. Write it down. Get it into a list or a database of some sort. Then, in a few hours, after you’ve mapped out your stores geographically, you are done in no time.
The busiest and most stressful time of the year are the 10 days leading up to Christmas at the malls. Why, if there were a better way, would you put yourself through the stress year after year? You get to enjoy quiet times at home while others are losing their minds at the mall.
Now give yourself a daily reminder on your Blackberry starting December 26 to pay attention to the conversations going on around you. Don’t worry, once you start entering things into your lists it will simply come naturally.
Meanwhile, good luck out there. I’m home with my cup of tea, feet up, stretched out on the leather sofa watching the original Miracle on 34th Street on the big screen. Yes Virginia, there really is an easy way to be Santa.
Has Casual Friday Gone Too Far? December 14, 2010Posted by Kevin Burns in attitude, casual friday, communication, conversation, corporate culture, corporate culture turnaround specialist, culture, engagement, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, manager.
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The backlash has started. Companies across North America are fighting back and actually placing rules and stipulations on Casual Friday attire. The Reason? Apparently people can’t be trusted to make their own appropriate clothing choices. But more likely, managers have been completely ineffective at establishing and communicating a set of boundaries for staffers to operate in.
Some organizations are refocusing and re-naming their Casual Fridays “First Date Fridays” and encouraging their employees to dress as though they were attempting to impress a first date by wearing something appropriate and sophisticated. Others are banning jeans outright so they don’t have to deem one pair of jeans acceptable and another not. No flip-flops, no tank tops, no shorts, no halter tops and yes, underwear … always. Other organizations are offering their employees the chance to dress down (just a little) for a donation to a charity.
Right now the data is being gathered to determine whether Casual Day is leading to a slide to casual service, casual language and casual productivity. I will bet it does. If you lower the standard in one area of your workplace you end up lowering the standard in all areas. Casual is casual no?
The problem is that for the employee, Casual Fridays make the day all about the clothes (or lack of them in some cases) and not about the work anymore. If your people aren’t grasping the whole “dress responsibly” thing, it’s likely because you, as a manager, have been ineffective in getting the message across.
Casual Fridays is as much a test of communication and Culture as it is about wearing your comfy clothes for a day. If you want your people to dress appropriately, articulate effectively what you would like to see. Otherwise, you’ll be putting out fires from staff members who are offended by the dress of other staff members.
Casual Fridays can work but like the other four days of the week, there are standards that must be adhered to.
Oh, and for a chuckle, watch this short clip from CBS’s The Office about Casual Fridays.
When Managers Make People Wait December 9, 2010Posted by Kevin Burns in boring, boss, communication, corporate attitude expert, corporate culture turnaround specialist, Employee Engagement, engagement, initiative, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, management speaker, manager, middle manager, Tweak, waiting.
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Don’t you just hate standing in line? Banks have that long cattle pen (moo). Airports have the same line, even though you’ve already checked in AND put your own luggage tag on your luggage you still have to line up to give someone the bag. Huh. And now even stores like Best Buy make you line up like cattle (moo) if you want to return something to their store. It seems that buying is efficient – returning will eat up a good chunk of your life.
Organizations have become quite competent at making customers wait and you’re likely quite aware of how long your customers are forced to wait. But have you considered how much your employees wait?
Employees who are forced to wait, especially waiting for fellow workers, cause your people to think. When they think, they reflect on how bored they are waiting, When they discover how bored they are, they blame the job. When they discover how boring the job is, they disengage.
But you, as a manager, can Tweak™ the disengagement out of your people and get them to actively engage. Tweak™ing can identify problems and boredom before they become problems. Tweak™ Management creates dialogue between employees and managers.
Remove wait times for your employees and they actively engage. But only managers who communicate with their people regularly will be able to eliminate boredom. Otherwise, your people sit around waiting to speak with their managers about how long they are forced to wait.