Are You Losing Your Mind to Reactive Decisions?


I do it like everyone else. I open up my email and battle with the 50 or more messages I don’t need to or want to see. If I open up a browser, I am confronted with the same thing. I am now getting texts with all this junk. No matter how much I try to dodge them, these irritating nuisance messages appear before my eyes forcing me to delete, click away, move to junk or try to block the sender. You probably face the same thing.

Those who research these kinds of things will tell you that we make … Read the rest

React With Deliberation


I was cutting through an empty parking lot the other day and so was another driver coming in the opposite direction. As luck would have it, we were heading directly for each other, like a game of chicken.

I tend to yield in these situations, not because I am afraid of confrontation, but because I have learned to act with deliberation. So, I stopped, hoping that the other driver was paying attention and not looking at the screen in his hand. Thankfully, he was. But as he drove around me, he lowered his window, flipped me the bird and gave … Read the rest

Middle Manager Burnout Is a Real Thing


Slack Technologies conducted a survey a few months back that found 43 percent of middle managers feel burned out. You may be one of them. There were a lot of reasons given, but one of the biggest concerns was being caught between corporate return-to-office policies and the employees who complain that they don’t see the need.

As much as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has indicated that there seems to be a considerable shift back to office work since the beginning of 2023, this is not true across all industries. More important, it is not just about whether a … Read the rest

Are You a Victim of Infobesity?


In truth, we all are at times. As the name implies, infobesity is being unable to make decisions because you have too much information to consider. This challenge is nothing new. Social scientists were talking about information overload 50 years ago. Because of the “marvels” of digital technology, we now have it on steroids. Infobesity is the snazzy new term for it.

As you, every time I search for information on the Internet, Google takes .6 seconds to provide me with 4 billion possible links. This is part of the reason that 90 percent of people never look past the … Read the rest

What Do You Do If They Ask Why?


Are you struggling to implement a hybrid work policy?

Every conversation I have about this issue goes something like this: “We decided to call people back into the office three days a week. We thought we were being reasonable by trying to find a balance between their desire to stay home and needing them in the office. But instead of agreeing, they asked ‘Why?’ In other words, what will you have us doing in the office that we can’t do at home?”

Then some of them go on to complain about the cost of gas, the commuting time and the … Read the rest

The Magic of Form-Storm-Norm-Perform


Over the past 40-plus years, I have been involved with or observed countless groups, large and small, and how they function.

Most have worked effectively, a number superbly and a few abysmally. But regardless of whether I am participating or looking over their shoulders, I have learned that a simple framework identified in the 1960s is a great lens through which to assess how well each group accomplishes what it sets out to do.

This framework has been labeled form-storm-norm-perform. Some of you reading this may think, “I’ve heard this before” and want to find something more interesting to do. … Read the rest

Closing the Knowing‑Doing Gap


Perhaps you’ve seen it in the people around you. The purchasing agent who fails to act on a decision she knows is correct. The customer rep who spends too much time thinking through decisions that should come automatically. The supervisor who lets people slide in their performance rather than working to correct behavior.

When I was a new boss, I hired someone who listened intently to all the training. She had the smarts to do the job, but she couldn’t seem to act on any decision that involved an element of uncertainty. I thought she just needed more training, so … Read the rest

The Most Expensive Kind of Question Ever Asked


If you have ever supervised people, you have been on the receiving end of these questions. If you have ever been supervised, you have asked these kinds of questions. If you’ve had to answer these questions, it’s cost you time and focus, sometimes for hours every week. If you’ve asked these questions, you knew you were doing it, but it was so much easier than thinking.

What kind of questions? Lazy ones. They come in many forms. Some start out with, “Can you help me?” or maybe “I don’t know what to do.” Perhaps they end with, “I don’t want … Read the rest

Are You Burning Yourself Out Accidentally?


Who on earth would want to become a victim of burnout? I know, it sounds silly. But many of us do it because of one of three somewhat twisted beliefs. Stay with me here and I’ll explain.

Reason #1

We have a desire for success. Shouldn’t everyone have a desire for success? Of course, but not to the point that we sacrifice our physical and emotional health. When we develop a passion for what we’re doing, it is easy to become all-consumed. We think about it all the time. We spend all our extra time honing our understanding and skills. … Read the rest

Quitting Is the Best Decision You Can Make


Do you want to be known as a quitter? I do. In fact, quitting has been the best decision I’ve made on occasion. Contrary to popular opinion, quitting is what the best decision makers do regularly. Allow me to explain.

Life is full of opportunities. There are new people to meet, new groups to join, new projects to launch, and on and on and on. But there is only so much time in each of our days and only so much energy with which to navigate those days. When invited to participate in a new group or opportunity, most people … Read the rest

What Do You Do With Decision‑Deficit Disorder?


I have grown fond of coming up with self-explanatory appellations that describe some of the behaviors employers are now dealing with in today’s workplace. These include menu-driven thinking, safe-decision syndrome and now decision-deficit disorder. This week’s term was inspired during a conversation I had with a colleague who was lamenting the reluctance of many young people to take initiative and act independently.

Now, before the under-30 crowd goes off on me for making an unfair generalization, allow me to explain my reasoning. You see, I believe that the responsibility for decision-deficit disorder rests on the shoulders of the previous generations … Read the rest

The Attributes of an Empowered Employee


Every day, each employee you supervise makes hundreds of decisions in order to resolve problems and complete tasks. Most are routine and have been executed many times before. This repetition becomes the mastery that’s necessary to navigate the daily work. Then there are those unexpected obstacles that can disrupt your momentum. We all fear making a wrong decision at times, even though we pretty much knew how to react. Most of us possess the confidence to move on to a successful solution.

Some people, however, struggle to adapt. Some of this apprehension can be attributed to a lack of confidence … Read the rest

Managing Decision Fatigue: Sources-Symptoms-Solutions


You probably know the feeling — it’s mid-afternoon and you’re just tired of thinking. Or maybe you’re in the middle of a meeting and you’re beginning to zone out. Perhaps you’re in the sixth virtual conversation of the day and you’re paying more attention to everyone’s background than you are to the decisions being discussed. Maybe you’re in the supermarket staring at the toothpaste and wondering why all these choices are necessary.

Decision fatigue has become the new drain on today’s daily performance. Truth is, decision fatigue has always been around because it is the result of what happens when … Read the rest

The Importance of Transferring Knowledge


When you stop and think about it — most of us don’t know what we know — or at least we can’t recall it on command. Sure, we can remember what we need to know when a specific challenge arises. But how will we transfer our knowledge to a generation of employees who come to work with different attitudes and expectations about getting the job done?

On-the-job training will not be enough. Besides, emerging workers have learned to learn in ways that didn’t exist even 10 years ago. So how will you and your management team prepare for this critical … Read the rest

The Benefits of Listening


Franklin Roosevelt became convinced that people were so excited to meet him in person that they didn’t pay attention to what he actually said. So, he tried an experiment.

As he greeted people during a White House reception, he smiled and told each of them quietly, “I murdered my grandmother yesterday afternoon.” As he suspected, everyone in line responded with something like, “That’s great, Mr. President,” or “I’m glad to hear it, Mr. President.” This happened, until the last person in line, the ambassador from Bolivia. The ambassador hesitated and then whispered back, “Well sir, she must have deserved it.”… Read the rest

Where’s Your Happiness Set Point?


Why do people sabotage themselves when things get too good?

Over the years, all kinds of people have postulated about the reason this happens. My favorite explanation comes from psychologist Marc Schoen, Ph.D., author of the book Your Survival Instinct Is Killing You. He writes, “Scientists have found that we each have our own happiness “set point,” the genetic and learned tendency to maintain a certain level of happiness, similar to a thermostat for your mental well-being. We can say the same is true of our discomfort set point — the genetic and learned tendency to tolerate a certain level … Read the rest

Tips for Working With Millennials


In the November issue of Agency Sales, the subject of dealing with the Millennial generation in the work force was explored. Continuing that discussion, the following are several strategies to employ in order to better communicate instruction and content to that younger generation.

1. Set Clear Learning Objectives

Tell them what you’re going to teach them and why. Effective learning is all about context. Sure, I’ll learn something if you force it on me. But without understanding how it impacts the environment and how my doing it impacts others, I have little investment in the outcome.

2. Teach Them Read the rest

Things to Stop Doing When Managing Millennials


The blogosphere has been rife with experts, many of them Millennials, advising people about how to manage — Millennials. As with the Baby Boomers of 50 years ago, they’ve been hailed as “the next great generation.” But in spite of their demographic size, the Millennials are no more special than any other group. As with each cohort, they’re just products of the times in which they’ve come of age. So rather than the five things you should do when managing Millennials, how about the five things you shouldn’t do? Here goes.

Number One: Stop Thinking of Them That Way!

They … Read the rest