Thursday, May 28, 2009


I was in a strategic session one day when we became bogged down on a technical point. It so happened my IT head was out that day; so, I asked his bright intern to join us. I asked the intern to clear up our confusion. He answered our inquiry and we went back to work. The next day my IT head visited me early. His intern had called him the evening before and told him about his visit to our session. The intern was nervous because he was not sure he had given us a correct answer to our inquiry. In fact he had given us an incorrect answer which caused us to waste an entire afternoon of work and cause unnecessary expense due to travel. I asked my IT head why this had happened. He remarked the young man was afraid to admit HE DID NOT KNOW. His fear was dealt with but his reputation was seriously bruised!! If you don't know when asked you must answer,"I DON'T KNOW"!!

Friday, May 22, 2009


I had a young Manager Trainee whose first assignment was as a member of a project team that was charged with designing a new product. One day the project manager came to me to complain that this trainee was difficult because he would sometime disagree with the consensous of the team. I asked the manager if the trainee would work toward the next goal after voicing his opinion: even though, he disagreed. The manager said he did. I made it a point to sit in on a few of the team's meetings. On one occasion I made a suggestion concerning changing a feature of the product. Everyone agreed with my suggestion except for the Trainee. I asked why and he explained that originally he had disagreed with this feature but the team adopted it. He said that as it turned out the team was correct and the product feature was imperative to the success of the product. He went on to explain his thinking and he was right. I thought how interesting! I made a suggestion that everyone should have disagreed with (given the history) but the person who did disagree had changed his mind and supported the team decision. When I spoke with the trainee later I commented on how impressed I was with his BRAVERY. He was surprised. He did not feel he was BRAVE. He felt it was his responsibility to be CANDID and steadfast in his opinion. I learned something that day. BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR ACTIONS IS REQUIRED FOR SUCCESS and it can be misconstrued for BRAVERY! Oh, yea I gave the implementation Assistant Project Managers position to the Manager Trainee( his first management position in a career of successful management). BE BRAVE!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Keep your ears on. You will LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY if you simply pay attention and LISTEN to what is going on around you. The only RULE TO LISTENING is to always CONSIDER THE SOURCE! If you hear something you don't understand STOP and ASK FOR CLARIFICATION; not only have you learned but you are more comfortable in your environment. ALWAYS LISTEN TO CRITICISM AND COMPLIMENTS--LISTEN CAREFULLY! If someone criticizes you listen for a suggestion on how to change. If you do not hear the suggestion ASK for one. If there is no suggestion--move on. You have heard to never take criticism personally but some of IS PERSONAL! If you can't help but think the criticism is personal IT PROBABLY IS. You should always learn from COMPLIMENTS; as well.CONTROL YOUR EGO! Ask your self about the COMPLIMENT. WHY was what you did good? STORE the moment and use this action again! You will never know it all or even come close unless you actively LISTEN EVERYDAY!!

Monday, May 18, 2009


OK we are all busy and our daily planning schedules are packed. We are members of a team with talented "players". We want to distinguish our self; so, how? WE GO AGAINST THE GRAIN! WE VOLUNTEER FOR ANYTHING THAT COMES UP(as long as we have time)!!! Forever we have been told to never VOLUNTEER.but let someone else take the risk. GUESS WHAT that person who took the risk most likely learned something you don't know. I was always interested in team members who ASKED for NEW CHALLENGES. I was equally interested in those who tried to hide when I asked for someone to step up. It is very interesting to me now as I see where all my young subordinates have arrived. Most all of those who have "made it" were always interested in taking on fresh challenges. THEY LEARNED MORE THAN THEIR PEERS and were better prepared for success. DON'T OVERLOAD but BE HUNGRY TO LEARN!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


We will get to the fine art of leadership but let' s cover FOLLOWING first. The best way to learn leadership traits is to follow someone who displays these traits. You should never be a blind follower or compromise your integrity or belief system: therefore, you should feel comfortable with the skills of your leader. FOLLOWING is a skill in its own right. Following requires; LISTENING, ASKING QUESTIONS, REQUESTING HELP(when needed), OFFERING ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS(when appropriate), SUPPORTING THE PLAN. You should feel comfortable with a LEADER who is a GOOD LISTENER, is OPEN TO OTHER OPINIONS, displays PASSION FOR THE CHORE AT HAND, is FLEXIBLE, SETS THE EXAMPLE of putting the TEAM FIRST, and DELEGATES DUTIES to team members. ALWAYS BE A DEVOTED FOLLOWER and you will always be on a winning team.

Common Sense @ Work Career Blog

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


We have covered the importance of working a daily PLAN. This is critical for everyone but especially critical for PROCRASTINATORS! If you are a procrastinator YOU ARE DOOMED TO BE A LEAF! You will lose control of your destiny and end up wherever the wind may take you. Your list will never get done and your inability to manage your time will become apparent to peers, subordinates, and superiors. I have come to believe that procrastination is a predisposed condition. It has little to do with energy and less to do with ability. I once had a very talented subordinate manager who excelled at all facets of his charge but was always having trouble meeting deadlines. I called him in and we discussed the situation. I told him that this factor of his performance not only reflected badly on him but made the work enviroment for his subordinates intolerable. I challenged him to focus on daily planning and keep a diary/ list of THINGS I GOTTA DO TODAY. He was embarassed and concerned. I offered to discuss this factor with him at any time he needed help. He took our conversation to heart and made an amazing turnaround. Procrastination became very real to him; as a condition to be dealt with daily and as a condition critical to his success. If this is a trait that you deal with it can be cured. IT IS UP TO YOU!!

Monday, May 11, 2009


STAY AWAY FROM TEAM POLITICS!!! Taking sides in a team skirmish is not the way to move up the career ladder. YOU DO NOT WANT TO TAKE SIDES! Remember : TEAM( TOGETHER EVERYONE ACHIEVES MORE). If another team member voices concern or dissatification concerning any team"business" encourage them to TAKE IT TO THE BOSS and YOU SHOULD DO THE SAME! Do not create poison. It is the LEADER'S responsibility to insure team harmony, NOT YOURS! Creating sides tears a team apart and the product produced suffers. WHO WANTS TO BE APART OF THIS TYPE TEAM? HOW DO YOU SUCCEED HERE? THINK TEAM ALWAYS!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009


If you are going to survive the CAREER BATTLE YOU CANNOT BE A WALLFLOWER. You are new to the job but you can't be timid. You can't be obnoxious but it is probably worse to be timid. You have to SPEAK UP! You must be noticed. It may be true that you are new and feel intimidated by how little you know(we have all been there) but there are two times when you can be an active paricipant in any business discussion 1. When YOU ARE WELL VERSED IN THE SUBJECT AT HAND 2. WHEN YOU ARE NOT WELL VERSED IN THE SUBJECT AT HAND Always take the opportunity to display your knowledge. Agree with other participants. Share different perspectives(respectfully).Answer questions asked by participants. Just as important as displaying your knowledge be sure to ASK QUESTIONS WHEN YOU DO NOT HAVE HAVE A KNOWLEDGE BASE> People will be impressed with your courage and confidence. AND you will LEARN and GROW. REMEMBER JUST DON'T SIT THERE! YOU DON'T WANT TO BECOME INVISIBLE!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Unless you are an actor, in the military, police officer, fireman, etc. you will not wear a uniform or pretend to be someone you are not. DON'T FORGET THIS---ALWAYS BE YOURSELF! I remember the first manager I worked for. He was a real "hardass" at work. Very stiff and harsh. After working with him for a couple months I ran into him at a mall. He was with a guy I knew from a sports league I was involved in. They were neighbors. My boss was very quiet while my friend and I talked. It so happened that my friend and I had a game to play the next evening. When we saw each other the conversation turned to my boss-his neighbor. All I heard was what a great guy my boss was. How whenever anyone in their neighborhood needed help my boss was there to help. How my boss was very active in his church and manned a homeless shelter 2 nights a week. My HARDASS, STIFF,INTOLERANT, LOUD BOSS was a SAINT!!!! For the rest of the time I worked for this guy he never changed. It was strange. I knew he was a great guy away from work but was held in high regard by noone on the job. Never talked about his family; never ask anyone about their family. As I moved along in my career I always paid close attention to people(associates, superiors, and subordinates) who were never ALWAYS THEMSELF. You must be the same person at work that you are accross your fence, at your child's school function, with your spouse or special person . If you are not you will not be happy and your comrades will not trust you. It will be difficult for people to relate to you; they will be confused! CLUE--IF YOU CAN'T BE YOUSELF AT WORK YOU ARE AT THE WRONG PLACE!! You will succeed in your career only when everyone knows WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Plan everyday---DON'T BE A LEAF

"So, what's the plan for today?" or "How was your day?"Odds are you will get both of these questions nearly every day of your career journey. If you do one simple thing you will be able to answer these questions. PLAN YOUR DAY. There is an old saying "People don't PLAN TO FAIL THEY FAIL TO PLAN_How true! Without a plan we become a Leaf. We end up where the wind blows us. We have no control of our destiny. The first consideration of the MANAGEMENT PROCESS is PLANNING( a latter time). But we are leaving the house for work. WHAT IS YOUR PLAN? As you climb "the ladder" you will have busier days and you will polish your organizational skills but even on your first day you should have a plan (eg meet the boss, meet the team, human resources, lunch, etc). A lot of stuff. Planning your day is as easy as keeping and maintaining a "list of THINGS TO DO TODAY" The listfor tomorrow begins with what you did not get done today and new assignments. You simply record these chores then prioritize them in order of importance. You now know what you will be doing the first thing tomorrow morning. This discipline will help you not commit the unforgiveable sin- FORGETTING! You will never get it all done. That's why you cross off what you accomplish, add new chores, and prioritize daily. SIMPLE, right? SIMPLE? Yes SILLY Hell no! Start out doing this daily and you are on your way to that position where you will have an admin assistant doing this for you. "So, what's the plan today"? Now you know! "How was your day"? Lay it ouy for them! YOU KNOW WHAY? SIMPLE IS ALWAYS BETTER!!MOST PEOPLE WHO CONSIDER SIMPLE WAYS AS SILLY END UP FEELING SILLY!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

So you got the job! NOW WHAT?

There are no rewards for showing up every day! Noone gets to THE TOP for doing a GOOD job! There are MINEFIELDS everwhere(most of them are HUMAN). You have to have a PLAN(everyday!!). You have to PAY ATTENTION(to people; as well as , your work!). You have to be a good FOLLOWER in order to learn how to LEAD! You must be LOYAL(to YOURSELF!!). YOU MUST BE BRAVE( don't fool yourself, your career path will be a BATTLE)!!OH, there are so many books on this subject. What I hope out of doing a regular blog on this subject is that maybe I might help one person on their trip through all the frustrations and terribly lonely moments that are involved in this crusade. I made a lot of BAD TURNS and GOOD TURNS in my 38 years of CHASING THAT DREAM. I met a lot of BAD PEOPLE and GOOD PEOPLE! I will share real life stories and lessons. Hope it helps.