One Way to Address Employee’s Undesired Behavior

social stylesNow that you’re reading, let’s be real, sometimes employee behavior is just way out of line.  Some might call it bad.  We all have our moments, but there are always those employees who will keep pushing, leaving, misbehaving, arriving late, and wreaking havoc with other undesired behaviors.

Many years ago, I worked at a manufacturing company as a Manager of Shipping.  For those of you who know me, you might be asking why?  Long story for another time.

I had many employees who were responsible for packing international shipments of product.  These were high end products, in very large quantities that required them to crate.  These orders were often a problem since items were sometimes pilfered at their ports of arrival so these employees needed to be highly accurate and knowledgeable.

Jacob, not his real name, loved to draw cartoons.

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It’s Not What You Teach, But How You Teach

teach light bulbMy life is filled with anecdotes, and if you haven’t noticed I tend to make my point with stories.  It’s natural to me, even during a conversation, to slip in a short (and hopefully not boorish) story to illustrate a point.

I’ve been thinking about teaching.Not necessarily the ‘going back to school’ kind but the teaching that we encounter throughout our lives.  Whether learning from a paid teacher, friend, partner, business associate, corporate trainer or just every day experience, I’ve found that the method of teaching is far more important that the topic itself.

In keeping with that, here are some of the things anyone teaching should NOT do (and all of these have happened to me):

Point 1:  Don’t pull people’s legs out from under them.

  • When learning to swim as a child, I reached the minnow level.  That meant that I could swim two laps, tread water for 60 seconds and generally keep myself from drowning in the deep end.  The next level was ‘shark.’

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Business Reasons for Gamification

teach by being

Companies sometimes struggle with gamification since it’s often a ‘new and shiny toy’ in the marketing toolbox.  Once even hinted at being available, everyone wants it….the race car game, the puzzle, the ‘get a badge for visiting three consecutive booths at a convention.’

The last is my favorite. Not.

What is accomplished by visiting three booths at a convention consecutively?  Do we have any idea if the visitors stayed, engaged, spent enough time to get whatever message we’re sending?  Or did they have an almost pathological need to achieve that elusive badge?

Gamification, like every initiative or project, has some basic business components that are often overlooked in the rush to provide an awesome experience.  Let’s face it, companies love to provide awesome experiences but we must learn to PLAN for business value.

Some ideas:

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Puzzles, Games and Gamification

gamificationThose who know me professionally understand that I know just enough about gamification to be dangerous.  Well, not dangerous but certainly outspoken. I’m not a fan of ‘gamification’ as it exists today in corporate environments as it appears to emphasize form over function.

Games can be slick, fun, entertaining but when is the last time your company gave you funding for those reasons? Companies and employees want and need business value. Potential customers may want to have a great time or a cool gaming experience, but it can’t end there. Repetitive playing to up the ante and build scores accelerating to a leaderboard does not good business make. It may surprise you but……… Continue reading

Those who Lead, Follow


We’ve all read so many leadership ‘how to’ books, attended seminars, wished if only leaders would or could.  Here’s some practical leadership advice:

  1. Leadership cannot be taught in a traditional classroom or by reading, studying, or securing a diploma.
  2. There are leaders at every level of a company, regardless of their job role or title.
  3. “Sanctioned” leaders (ie executives) set the tone and culture by their action, and often inaction
  4. “Unofficial” leaders are the driving force of your workteam and often don’t consider themselves leaders.

Leading is not simply marching forward and expecting/demanding that everyone follow for the greater good.

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It was the Best of Times; It was the Worst of Times

find out who you are

Prophetic words.  As I close my fourth month of a self-chosen (or afflicted) separation from my fave technology company, I’ve learned a few things.

  • Choosing to leave a job is much different than being asked to leave. So this may not apply to all.
  • Work is not so much about the physical environment.  Although I was never a great fan of cubicles, they serve a purpose
  • Companies can worm their way into your life and become a focal point of who you are. If you let them.  Having some space and time is healthy (and to all of those folks who never take their vacation time, you’re doing yourself and your company a great disservice)
  • Satisfying work and awesome projects can keep you on a wildly careening roller coaster.  It’s all fun and exciting, but can become addicting if you’re not careful.
  • “Loving” a company is really nothing more than loving the people you work with, feeling valued (and not only via salary), and being offered opportunities to make tremendous contributions.

My time now is spent in artistic pursuits, and although I miss the ‘buzz’ of corporate life, I think I can manage to fill it with my own brand of self discovery until this little separation is done.

Then – who knows?!?!?!

At Lengthy Project’s End

project end

My last 18 months or so at work were spent on a project that had an ever-growing scope, stakeholders who multiplied like rabbits, interested parties whose only concern appeared to be that there issues were addressed even if to the detriment of the entire process, and – thankfully – a team who wA supportive and dare I say it about a corporate environment – even loving.

Never expected the level of near immediate success and adoption that we achieved. That failure to plan for success was, in my mind, our biggest failure.  We had contingencies for every contingency; staffing plans in anticipation of user upheaval but once the ‘switch was turned on,’ all went beautifully.

And that’s when I began to feel a bit badly.

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The Problem with Engaging Employees is that Employees Get Engaged

community engagement

Learned that all too well in my seven years of participation and three years of managing a global enterprise community for employees.  Oh, at first, everyone was tentative, afraid to post anything, not sure what they could or could not say and for the first several years everyone wanted a ‘handbook’ of guidelines.

As time went on and we evolved to a new version of our community platform, our employees were ‘stunned’ into a social environment where they somehow felt more comfortable, more sure of themselves, more engaged…..which had its funny moments.

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Communities are More than Marketing Machines

In many of the global communitycorporate communities that I regularly visit, there is a great deal of activity around corporate events, technical and/or company driven messaging, and  assistance re: products and services. That’s all good.

Many community members simply want to be able to speak with someone from a company, or to ask peers questions about product installment, optimization or whatever services are provided. These are your ‘one stop shoppers.’  They visit for a reason, ask a question, get an answer, and they’re out.  But is this community?

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