Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Would a Shorter Work Week Benefit Americans?

Many Americans dream of working less, imagining how they might use the extra hours outside of the workplace—perhaps envisioning spending more time with family, taking care of more chores around the home, or devoting time to a new hobby, sport or even a new path in higher education. Lately, some pretty powerful people are thinking the same—and have some good arguments for why American businesses should move in that direction.
*Survey from YouGov.com
In general, the accepted 40-hour workweek has been set since 1938, when then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into place the Fair Labor Standards Act. In the decades since, some have predicted that technology would overrun our need to work long hours. Recently, some have compared our workweek standards to those of other countries and have wondered what the impact of reducing American working hours would be.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Rebuilding Trust in the Workplace

Embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is learning about it—the fallout that comes from losing trust. In his case, he’s losing it because of missteps, unclear responses to issues, and potential lies. But he’s not just facing the fallout from the football organization solely, he’s facing it from the true people who pay him: NFL fans.

Trust is the cornerstone of all good relationships, both inside and outside of the office. Notwithstanding, it can be human nature to make mistakes—inadvertently or even unknowingly at times. At which point begins the task of rebuilding employees’ confidence in worthiness and ability. It can be a difficult and long journey, but the good news is that it’s not impossible. If you find yourself needing to re-create a platform of trust with your employees, here are some things to keep in mind.

First, be honest and forthright. It might seem simple, but it can be difficult given the circumstances—especially if a slip of dishonesty is what landed you in the problem zone to begin with. However, honesty is one of the biggest components to earning trust. Start by admitting your mistake or lie and do so quickly. One of the reasons Roger Goodell was so scrutinized is because he didn't address the public soon enough to explain what was happening and what was being done to help resolve the issues. You don’t necessarily need to explain why, but at least own up to what you did. That can start to earn you some respect. 


Tuesday, October 07, 2014

5 Steps for Better Stretch Goals

Good leaders should want their employees to not only succeed but also push their limits and raise the bar. One way that can help employees get there, is through regular goal-setting. This can be challenging because often times, employees don’t understand the overarching vision and goals of a company or organization. So it’s important that all players are aligned on the corporate vision in order to effectively start with the goals process. With that firmly in place, a manager can try to push his or her employees by suggesting stretch goals—the type of target that may seem impossible.

There are differing views of the efficacy of stretch goals. Some feel that setting the bar too high can cause dejection, making people feel like they’re getting nowhere and that they’ll never achieve the mark. Some studies even suggest that, with impossible goals in place, people become more and more dishonest or even ruthless in their pursuit of results—which has been shown to cost companies billions each year. Others, however, feel that, particularly for top performers (who are already driven to achieve and succeed), stretch goals can be motivational, and a huge reward in and of themselves once they are achieved.

Leaders who feel the stretch-goal value outweighs the risks should consider the following as they work with their employees on goal-setting: