Skip to main content

Eliminate Blame From the Equation

September 3, 2010
This is so powerful that this one single shift will catapult your efforts to improve everything from cost containment to business processes to personnel relations and teambuilding. From a Bang-for-the-Buck perspective, this change alone will give your life a healthy booster shot. Aside from shame and blame having a causal relationship to one another, they have several things in common. For one, blame is as pervasively (and fundamentally) woven into our culture as shame. For another, neither add any positive impact on or value to any problem solving process. What’s worse, they are actually...

How to Destroy Motivation, revisited: Using Shame

September 2, 2010
Unfortunately we have some very unhealthy fibers woven into the fabric of our culture—unhealthy from the perspective of untold damage with no rewards. Dating back through pre-colonial Puritan days, shame has been a large part of our culture. In a simplistic, black-and-white, childlike view, shame can be instrumental as part of the “good vs. evil” dynamic. If you are good, you will feel the glow of righteousness, if not, shame will be yours. If shame has any value whatsoever, it is only within the narrow framework of an internal “Evil Indicator.” That is to say, when you actually do harm/hurt...

Start Up a Conversation in Your Community!

September 1, 2010
This March, we were thrilled to be part of the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility . Through the President and First Lady’s leadership, the Obama Administration launched a national conversation on how innovative workplace flexibility strategies can help support working families and – at the same time – business’ bottom line. Indeed, the Forum echoed many of the same themes that Joan Blades and Nanette Fondas highlight in The Custom Fit Workplace . In order to keep this national conversation going, the Obama Administration is now planning a series of regional forums on workplace...

The Best-Kept Secret?

September 1, 2010
Front-line employees are the backbone of industry. Many are also parents. When a mother or father comes home from a workday, one or both make dinner, help the kids with homework, read stories at bed-time – all working parents know we have both the role of employee and parent to fulfill. The vast majority of us want to do both of those to the best of our ability. But in most traditional working environments, our confidence, stamina, and sense of well-being has been eroded during the 8-10-12 hour days. At home, we are looked up to by our children and sought for advice from friends and relatives...

We're Not Asking for the Moon

September 1, 2010
I have a friend in the professional services sector in New York, working in one of those pressure-cooker 24/7 type of environments I wrote about recently . In fact I have a whole lot of friends in these industries. They work insane hours and are, for the most part, remunerated very well. Most of them laugh at me when they hear what my blog is about. “When you get called in on a Sunday night to close a deal that for every hour it goes on the client is losing a million dollars, then they don’t care if your wife is sick, your kid is walking for the first time, or your grandma is dying. They are...

Recognize the Difference Between Counterfeit Power and Real Power

September 1, 2010
Recommended reading for really getting the most out of this exercise is Hanna Arendt’s essays on definitions of Power, Strength, Force, Authority, and the huge differences between them. You’ll be surprised at just how different they are. Building on the last exercise concerning conflicting/contradicting directives from management, and losing your “best and brightest,” I’d like to address a prime motivator behind much of this confusion: the pursuit of “power.” This isn’t innately an evil pursuit. Depending on your understanding of power, it is both necessary and nourishing to everyone...

Back to Work? Not So Fast...

August 31, 2010
Consider a headline story in the New York Times from July 31, 1910, exactly one hundred years and one month ago: HOW LONG SHOULD A MAN’S VACATION BE? PRESIDENT TAFT SAYS EVERY ONE SHOULD HAVE THREE MONTHS. I’m not making this up. Three months! President Taft! The conservative Republican President who was most famous for his appetite. “Two to three months vacation,” Taft was quoted as saying, “are necessary in order to enable one to continue his work the next year with that energy and effectiveness which it ought to have.” He suggested that men and women alike should have “a change of air...

But that’s impossible!

August 31, 2010
When I decided to leave my job of 25 years and move with my family to San Francisco, my husband told me he was going to talk with the Chair of his Board and resign a job he loved. I suggested an alternative. "Why don't you say, I am staying with the organization, but I'm moving to San Francisco?" My husband came back the next evening, clearly astonished, announcing that the Chair had okayed the proposal. And I thought: "Things really are changing." That was 2005. Now they'll change faster. The Custom-Fit Workplace, by Joan Blades and Nanette Fondas, provides managers with the tools they need...
Joan C. Williams's picture

How to Avoid the No.1 Cause of "Death" in Your Organization - the Death of Motivation

August 31, 2010
How many times have you heard the advice, “keep your eye on the ball,” or “don’t look where you don’t want to go?” In every sport that uses a ball, it’s common knowledge that a singular point of concentration— the ball—is imperative to successfully hitting that mark. What happens when two different balls fly over the net or the plate at the same time? Which do you aim for, or do you hit back and forth between the two, praying to hit one of them? What’s the most likely result? You guessed it: missing both. In every organization where I have witnessed unrest, staff turnover, bad morale, lack of...

Work Life Policy: Pipedream or Practical?

August 31, 2010
Ms. Winegar knows this first hand as she has had the unique opportunity of witnessing work life culture from across the globe. She dishes on her thoughts on legislation, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the vagaries of enforcement and even the daddy issue – the pipedream of paternity leave on a regular basis as you’ll watch in this week’s WorkLife Nation episode.

Pages