ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Social Media - Just Learning

Last night I attended an interesting GABA and Silicon Valley-French joint meeting. The moderator was my friend Angelique Blendstrup who is very active in both associations. The topic was using Social Media for Business.

Although interesting, I didn't learn enough of what I need to learn in order to effectively use these tools. Most of the conversation was directed towards companies with products.

However, I met some interesting people, including a gentleman who was helpful in telling me that I ought to quote others in my blogs so that they will see me when they google themselves and will look for me. Great idea!

GABA's meetings are quite interesting. I'd love for JHTC (I'm on the board) and GABA to do some joint activities in the future.

Back to Social Media: For those of you who use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn - please find me and become my "friend" since I still don't really know how to find you. Thanks

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Form or Substance?

We all agree that the documentation is important - but should you be penalized when you make minor errors in documentation but your work product is superb? What do you think?

Sometimes it is the little things that bug us the most. Stupid little mistakes, things we fail to do, or don't do in the manner in which our boss wishes can piss him/her up beyond rationality and destroy our rapport - and credibility.

So, I think we all need to be more aware of the importance of the paper-work. ME TOO

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Working with or working at?

Management styles are fascinating. I work with two individuals who stylistically are so different. The first, we'll call him Nick works with you. By that I mean he sits down with you and shares his thinking, asks for your opinion and together you work out a plan of attack that works for him, the organization and me. The second, who I'll nickname Marvin does the opposite. He makes decisions that involve your time and other commitments and tries to force them on you. His way or the highway is how it feels to me.

In another organization, I am faced with a woman manager who thinks she is Queen Bee. She doesn't bother to communicate with us peasants, merely issues edicts. Since I am a volunteer in this organization, I might just quit - unless something changes. I've talked with her boss and am playing a waiting game.

Leadership and management to be successful over the long haul needs to include respect, courtesy, and cooperation. The old authoritarian style just pisses people off and causes a lack of trust. People quit. they don't respond well to being talked at or ignored. They want to be talked with....

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Monday, April 12, 2010


Multitasking - everyone is doing it and many think they are actually being more efficient in this manner. I wish to challenge that assumption.

Sure, if you are doing a mindless task, doing something else at the same time isn't too much of an interruption. You can wash the floor and talk on the phone. You can watch TV and text your friends - or twitter them if you choose.

BUT, if your mind is engaged in problem-solving or creativity, an interruption to think about something else actually sets you back. You need to take a few minutes to re-collect your thoughts to get back to what you were doing.

Let me tell you a story: I was attending a meeting of NACD (National Association of Corporate Directors) and the panel, consisting mostly of attorneys was having a very serious and important discussion. Most of us were taking notes.

There was a young man repeatedly distracted by his phone. It was on vibrate and he would walk out of the room to take the call, so he wasn't disturbing others. I noticed because I tend to notice most things going on around me (a strength and an affliction.) During a break, I teased him about it and asked how he could possibly pay attention to the talk when he was taken away so often by the phone. He admitted that it was quite difficult and that he was missing much of the information being conveyed by the panel.

"Why don't you shut your phone, or ignore it?" I asked. He replied, "I can't, the calls are all from my boss." "Who asked you to come to this lecture?" I asked. He replied, "My boss."

How dumb is that?

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Marketing Yourself - Service Marketing

Having taught marketing clases and helped numerous clients with marketing needs, how could I get into the position of having a long-term client not know the full range of the work I do? Dumb me, I took her knowledge for granted.

It is often the case when consulting that you establish a contract for one aspect of the work you do, and get known by that aspect. People put you in a box and fail to realize that it's only one part of what you do. How can you remind them of the full range of your services without being pushy or hard selling?

My client uses me frequently when there is a personnel issue to be resolved. She remembers that I was a practicing Psychologist for many years. However, for the last twenty plus years, I've been a management consultant and specialize in a wide range of "people and processes in the workplace" issues. I am expert on many aspect os Human Resources (HR) and most aspects of Organizational Development (O-D) as well as having a huge background in streamlining and process improvement.

How do you casually drop this information into the conversation? I'd love your ideas.

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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Transit craziness

I'm no expert, but...

Caltrain, operated by Samtrans is used extensively. Indeed, if there were more trains running, more people would probably use them. I for one would love to be sure there was a return train around 11:00 PM from San Francisco home. BART has lots of ridership.

So, Caltrain is broke. BART is in financial trouble. But there is money for a high speed rail, that few seem to want or express needing to use and VTA keeps soaking up money for the light rail which most of the time has hardly any ridership.

What's wrong with this picture?

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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Competence or Casper Milktoast?

There was an article int he paper today about education and the fact that Principals often select as their favorites teachers who don't make waves. Those who are competent, but have opinions that differ from that of the Principal (or Dean) are often the first to be marked down and rejected.

So, we wonder why our education system has become so mediocre. Students are expected to conform, not to be creative. To be quiet, not to speak up with their own opinions. Followers - not leaders.

Teachers need to follow the rules, blindly without questioning thinking or making suggestions for improvement. For to question is to threaten those in authority - and they punish you later.

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The average reader

Is the average reader really as dumb as some suggest? Can they only handle one thought at a time? Bullet points only? 5 questions, no more on a survey?

Have we become so lacking in patience and fortitude that everything has to be sound bites and in a rush?

I sure hope not.

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Training your Board of Directors

Do you work with a Board? Are you a member of a board of directors? If so, would you be willing to participate in a survey designed to establish best practices between board members and staff?

As you know, I've been training boards and holding strategic planning and team building retreats for many years. One of my CEOs recently asked if anyone had created a survey to determine current best practices. I decided to take it on....

I'd love your input. What should be in this survey?

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

Spitefulness at Work

How often have you thought about using your managerial power to hurt someone else just for spite because they dared to disagree with you? Is that ethical? In the best interest of your employer? In your best interest as it furthers your own career? I think not.

Yet, people who are rigid and have to be "right" all the time have a tendency to punish others for disagreeing with them. If this is you, you might re-think your misuse of power.

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