Someone gave me some excellent advice yesterday saying “share your knowledge, not your need” sounds simple enough but its actually deep and profound! I think most of us go through our lives seeking out fulfillment of needs that weren’t met in their lives. Either their need to succeed, need for acknowledgement, need to be liked, etc. How all of this fits into the workplace is something I have always been interested in. I saw a post yesterday about what could be done with an employee with a bad attitude, could they be helped or were they a lost cause. From my experience the bad attitude comes from the top, the company culture; the bad attitude affects everything about peoples jobs and ultimately the bottom line of the company. I have worked in ‘Corporate America’ for over 20 years and the things I have seen are astounding. The recent incident at Goldman is what brought company culture to mind this morning, but for a different reason. My talking about it has to do with how you can make a company more productive and have employees enjoy their jobs more.
I mentioned some of the things I have seen in my experiences; most have specifically to do with people trying to get ahead or in recent years trying to keep their jobs. These people don’t have the company’s best interest at heart they have their own. This might sound obvious to most people. I think there is a way to have people have their own and the company’s best interest (profit) at the same time. Achieving this would take a very strong leader as well as one that was dedicated to changing company cultures. Its very simple actually, unhappy workers will be less productive than happy ones; how do you make workers happy? How do you use leadership to change a company’s culture, make employees happier, more productive and give them a clear path for success? I can tell you from many years of experience no one thinks of the big picture; no matter what company I have worked at the managers, directors, VPs, SVPs etc have never once shown an interest in making a more positive company culture. I think this is so serious it could severely reduce American productivity. Just like insurance companies like to have no cost ‘preventative’ treatments companies should do the same.
I have a million ideas on how this could be changed, in fact I one of the things I am considering is starting a business that directly addresses company culture. It has to start all the way at the top; and that person at the top needs to be smart enough to see the bigger picture of how a positive company culture will in the end be more profitable for their company.
I am the kind of person who does question everything, some people think thats a negative trait, I think its a realistic way to live. In my last job, selling print and digital advertising solutions for a global well known brand, the people in charge (mgrs) would always come up with new ways to cash in on our brand; a new section, a new insert, a new anything to get advertisers to spend more. I always asked why, why would such+such advertiser want to be in that section; instead of the normal response which would have been “why do you think that” or “lets talk it out” I was labelled as negative for even bringing up the fact advertisers wouldn’t like the section. The, for a double whammy when no one would buy into the section I would be told I wasn’t selling hard enough. In business always think like the end user, what will they want, and in your head ask why for them. Why is this good for them.
Others Whys; Why does Mitt Romney talk about bombing Iran and say that the President isn’t imposing tough sanctions on Iran. Then in the next breath he complains about oil prices. Does he not know that Obama has put in place the most crippling of sanctions on Iran ever imposed? Does he not know that threatening war with Iran will destabilize the oil markets, thus raising the price of crude oil and in turn raising gas prices. Of course he knows all of this, how stupid, or uninformed are the citizens of this country. How uninformed are we? Why don’t people know these things? Why doesn’t the media do their homework and ask him these questions? Why is Rick Santorum telling us he only has sex for procreation? He picks and chooses which of the churches doctrines to follow and which not to follow. Why would anyone want to discourage birth control or sex education for the young? This could cut down on single parents, poverty, and abortions. Family Values, why blame gay people, why not talk directly to the str8 people who make a mockery of marriage.
My ‘Why’ questions can, and do, go on forever. Like I have said before, I think most people in this country are lead around like sheep, living their lives as they were laid out for them by their parents or society. Its the very few people that question everything. People who question the status quo tend to be leaders. My question for this morning is Why can’t I find some sort of business venture to lead, to ask why. Anyone have any ideas?
For the last few weeks I have been actively participating in “social media” including my jobs/unemployment @GinsburgJobs and my political @AndrewSGinsburg, and of course this blog you are reading now. So far from what I have seen most people tweet tidbits of advice – the 5 best ways to succeed; the 10 things to remember in an interview. Most of this wisdom will link you back to a service that you have to pay for. I have a few thoughts on this, first, the question I always ask in every situation is “why” why are those good tips; if you aren’t yourself in an interview you probably won’t do well in the job. This takes for granted the common sense I would imagine most people have, firm handshake, look people in the eye, do research on the company you are interviewing for and so on. My second thought on all of this is what if you do actually get the job; all the tips here seem to be about what to do to get the job, or career coaches to help you do well at the job.
An issue I have brought up a lot on here is leadership: can it be taught or is it instinctual also and more importantly do companies even want to hire leaders. I have lots of horrific tales to tell about Corporate America, but lets just say the person who always asks “why would a client/prospect want that, why don’t we try this?” is not the most popular person in a corporate setting. I don’t think companies want leaders, I think they want followers. The CEO is the leader everyone else follows, period. This of course is devastating for the products and services and business practices of American Companies. No innovation, no contrasting points of view, this all leads to group think. Of course all companies are not like this, just the majority of them are.
So, social media has been fun, I am enjoying seeing what people have to say, seeing reactions from other people to what I have to say (thats the part I like best)! I have been told I communicate very well and am quite articulate. This is another big issues in companies, communication. Its very surprising for me that senior level people can’t communicate; how on earth would you expect things to get done if you can’t tell people what you want them to do. My questions about whether leadership and communication can be taught is yes and no. If you go to most of the trainers/coaches out there I would say you won’t learn either. If you worked directly with me I could, and have, taught people both.