Everyone’s got one…

July 27, 2009

… a client who thinks that their need is more important than your effort.

Sure, client needs are important. Delivering quality, expertise, convenience, customized service, turnkey solutions, great products — that’s bread and butter for most companies. But especially in tough times, it’s easy for people to forget that we aren’t here to serve each other’s needs: we’re here in an exchange of value for value, and meeting needs is the primary way that humans make that kind of exchange. My work for your money. My money for your product. My love for your love. My financial support for the services your nonprofit provides to a community I care about. And so on.

Whatever the specifics, in order to be sustainable, our relationship has to be based on mutual acknowledgment of the value. This video makes the point brilliantly. Have a laugh; spot your own “I’m so special” client in this mix; and then please make sure you’re not ever one of these clients for someone else.
 

 
And here’s a notion: what if instead of clients and vendors, we think of managers and employees? Please, make sure that as a manager you’re not placing your “I’m so special” needs above the value of people’s work. Don’t ask them to give so you can take: instead, support them in creating and receiving value. Everyone wins that way.

What shall we do with the young people?

July 20, 2009

The radically changing workforce demographic can be a source of stress for any organization. It’s more than just an “age difference” — it’s the meeting (sometimes the collision) of widely different worldviews, values, technological experience and expectations of what “work” should be and how it should feel.

Differences can’t be executive-memo’ed or or human-resourced away: they have to be engaged, explored, and integrated into your workplace process if you want your workplace to be effective.

Here’s one organization that’s doing just that — read this long and thoughtful article about the strategies Swedish Hospital is using to integrate and engage younger workers.

It means that when 25-year-old ICU nurse Talina Silbernagel comes to work at 7 p.m. for a 12-hour shift three nights a week, she has lots of duties but also a support network to keep her from slipping through the cracks or feeling helpless when things get rough.
 
For her, “What do you need?” is about the best question her bosses can ask.
 
— from “Seattle hospital thinks young for its workers” by Tyrone Beason

You’ll find much more good advice in the article.

Power Talk

July 13, 2009

Power Talk offers brief ideas and good basic suggestions for communicating more authentically and effectively in personal and business situations, and to groups. Pamela Ziemann offers a variety of perspectives ranging from the spiritual to the pragmatic — check out Power of Speaking with Intention and Notre Dame Speech, my favorite line as examples.