:~:~:~:Boss Knots:~:~:~:

BOSSES! Go figure. Come share the Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Bosses and the people who make them this way.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Competitive? Me?

Topic: Simple Ethics
Industry: Aerospace
Location: East Coast

Ann and Fran are both executives at this very large company and Ann has issues with Fran. Each year during the United Way fundraisers a “Breakfast with the Boss” is hosted and served by the executives. People tip their favorite executive and the results are shared at the next executive staff meeting. While it is meant to be a fun fundraiser it seems to carry a particularly competitive threat for some folks, like Ann. Fran is very likeable and genuine and her tip jar was filling quickly. When it came time to tally the results, Ann informed the secretary counting the tips to ensure that she ended up with more than Fran. “I don’t care, just make my numbers more,” was the response given by Ann when questioned about the ethics of such a request. The secretary was understandably upset being put in a compromising situation and called Fran for advice. Fran took the higher road and told the secretary to let Ann win.
Isn’t it amazing how our ethical fabric is brought to light through the smallest of events?

Monday, April 14, 2008

An Inviting Place to Work

Title: Thank you Jack Welch
Topic: An Abusive Performance Management Process
Industry: Aerospace
Location: Heartland, USA

“Get your pound of flesh.” This was told a manager at a prominent company as they went into their annual performance appraisal time. Interpretation: Make sure you have 10% of your people identified as low performers and targeted to be fired.

Today's Quotable Quotes

By a senior financial executive in a Fortune 50 Company

Said to a staff member…

“I know I should say ‘thank you,’ but what I really want to say is “what took you so f***ing long?”

-or- said after a presentation was completed with others in the room…

“How can I put this nicely?...’Get the f*** out.”

Today’s Quotable Quotes
By a senior financial executive in a Fortune 50 Company

Said to a staff member…

“I know I should say ‘thank you,’ but what I really want to say is “what took so f***ing long?”

-or said after a presentation was completed…
“How can I put this nicely?...’Get the f*** out.”

Tailgate Inspection at Hilton

Topic: Customer Service
Industry: Hospitality
Location: Nashville, TN

“I have a job that was created by Conrad Hilton himself,” bragged the Customer Service rep to guests checking in; “I am here to ensure that any issues you have are resolved quickly and to your satisfaction.” My experience at check-out proved this position to be exactly like what it sounded…nothing more than tailgate inspection. Because the hotel was not certain that the guest experience was definable, repeatable and predictable they had to staff a full-time person to cover for system inadequacies. Take my check-out experience for example. My stay had been relatively pleasing and the room very satisfactory. “May I have a late check-out?” I requested of the front desk so that I had time to finish my presentation. “Certainly,” was the reply. My work now complete up to the room I go to collect my bags and prepare to depart. As I swipe the electronic key the door light flashes red. “Impossible,” I think. Swipe it again with same results. So down from the 7th floor I go to the front desk to get the key reset, where I am informed that the keys automatically shut-off at noon. “When I requested a late check-out it might have been nice to know this so that I wouldn’t waste my time with an unnecessary trip up to the room and back down.” The key was reset and back up I go, only to have the key not work! With two quality escapes now underway I decide to use the house phone on the 7th floor and have the front desk authorize room service who is next door to let me in so that I don’t have to make another trip to the lobby. Room service spoke no English and the front desk spoke no Spanish, so back down to the front desk once again where I now get to stand in the line with new guests checking in. Fifteen minutes have passed and I have not been able to get into the room for my “late check-out.” “Sorry,” is the reply as I am handed once again a recoded room key. Finally able to check-out the last words I hear are , “How was everything and is their anything I can do to help? My job was personally created by Conrad Hilton himself, you know.”

Monday, March 17, 2008

"Go tell him off!"

Topic: On the Job Training for Supervisors
Industry: Equipment manufacturer
Location: Texas

As a new supervisor, direction from the manager is taken seriously. Standing out on the assembly line in front of all the people the manager upbraids the supervisor, yelling at him with all sorts of profanity, instructing him to "Go tell off the worker." As a good soldier, the supervisor walks over to an employee on the assembly line and proceeds to yell at him with a string of profane words describing his incompetence at work. Shortly thereafter, the supervisor was pulled into a meeting with the employee, the shop steward and the manager. The manager informed him that his style was harsh and unacceptable and an apology was in order. Sensitivity training would also be required because of his poor style. In disbelief he apologized and latter reminded the manager he was only following his directions and example. The manager said, "I didn't really think you would do what I said." So off to sensitivity training the supervisor went.

Quote of the Month!

Topic: What Executives will say
Industry: Conglomerate
Location: Northeast

"Ideas...ideas are so distracting."

Said to a group of employees by an executive after asking them what they were thinking about.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Today's Quotable Quote

Topic: Say what you mean
Industry: Facility maintenance
Location: Northeast US

"The company president wants to visit with our group next week. I want this to be informal, no presentations and 'off the cuff.' Let's get together Friday for a dry-run."

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Executive Blow-off

Topic: Appearing to care
Industry: Aerospace
Location: Northeast USA

This is a brilliant move, demonstrated by a senior VP of HR in a $9B company. At the VP's direction, a long-standing employee was told they were too highly paid, they were not executive material and they had "no runway" left...but that they were really valued...and oh, by the way, the senior VP really wanted a special one-on-one meeting to share this message of importance. Immediately, the VP's secretary called and set-up a meeting in the coming week. As the time approached, the secretary called back to reschedule for a later date due to a conflict. A new meeting was scheduled for two weeks out. As the time approached, the secretary called once again for another reschedule. As imagined, this meeting never happened! The importance of the meeting was diluted with time until it just fell off the books. By then, the employee impacted had given up, sucked it up and mentally checked-out. And the VP? The VP got to send a "blow-off" message totally disguised as "I really care about you."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Who's the Alpha?

Topic: Positioning for power
Industry: Remanufactured components
Location: South Central U.S.

It is all about power. Heard the phrase "alpha dog"? It deals with which dog will be the dominant one in the pack. Mike's experience would say the same is true at work. Mike is in his late 20's and just became the supervisor of a machinist group. One of the men in the group is in his mid-30's and has assumed the stereotype "biker look." A loner with wild hair, tatoos, leather, rough beard, imposing attitude. It is a daily procedure in the shop for each person to do an examination of their equipment according to a checklist and then initial each item inspected. Mr. Biker did not initial his sheet. When Mike brought this to his attention, Mr. Biker marked through the whole page with a swing of his pen...saying in effect "this is stupid, I don't agree, and stick it." Mike drew a breath and then said, "Each item needs your initial." "You can write me up," was the response. Knowing that this was his moment of truth, Mike said "Fine," and proceeded to write Mr. Biker up for insubordination and presented it to him. Before shift the next morning, Mr. Biker shows up in Mike's office with head down. "I am so sorry for how I behaved towards you. I don't know what got into me. It won't happen again." After that, all if fine with Mr. Biker, no problems and he works hard. Go figure! When the line has been drawn in the sand, stand firm and do your job...it is amazing the results when you become the boss.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Pushed to Breaking

Topic: Group aggression
Industry: Remanufactured components
Location: South Central U.S.

Tom has been the leadperson in a group of 14 men for many years. He was asked to be the group's supervisor and after much consideration, agreed. Immediately the group turned on him and began challenging every decision he made. They argued with his direction. They put-up road blocks. They confronted him and gave him attitude any time he had to assign work. They made his life miserable. After many weeks of this struggle, Tom told his wife "tomorrow I'm resigning from this job." Before work he met with his manager and informed him of his decision. The boss encouraged him to hang tough a bit longer, knowing what was about to happen. Tom called his group together for the morning "tool box" meeting but before he could resign, one of the men said "we need to say something to you." "I'm sorry for how I've treated you," the first man said. "I am sorry for causing you so much trouble, " the next man said. Each of the 14 men individually apologized for their behaviors. Immediately, the performance of the group became the best in the plant and the trouble ended. So, the question is, why did these men behave so badly toward someone they knew, and a nice guy at that? Is it our animal kingdom ways or are people just fickle? Why was is necessary for the group to break Tom? So are the mysteries of supervising people. At least the group became civil and apologized in the end. Take heed if you supervise...groups can turn on you in an instant and demonstrate very ugly behaviors.

Fall in New England