Articles

12 Oct

I’m better than my boss thinks I am!

Articles, Blog No Comments by Mareisha Winters

It is no secret to the working world that many organizations today are in turmoil. The recession has caused companies to have to downsize, reorganize, merge, be subjected to greater regulatory scrutiny, and in some cases go out of business.  These tumultuous events have put a new face on such things as organizational politics, dysfunction, and opportunities for advancement.  This month’s LTAW theme is: Work:  It’s a crazy place these days!

Depending upon your organizational cultural, taking a risk and making a mistake might be OK. Last week we wrote about different organizational cultures, if your company has an entrepreneurial culture you may be encouraged to step outside the box and try something new.  If you fail, so what, at least you learned something along the way.  Not all companies are so forgiving, especially older, more traditional corporations.  You may work for a company with a culture that never forgets.  You make one mistake and that mistake hovers over you like a cloud your whole career.

If you are in a situation where you just cannot seem to shake your “bad reputation”, here are some tips on how to get the message across that you really are a competent employee.

  1. Name the elephant in the room.  You know it’s there, they know it’s there, so just put it all out on the table. Talk about what happened in the past to cause this negative reputation to follow you and explain your side of the situation. Let your supervisor know what you have learned from that experience and how you do not want that situation to keep you from potential opportunities.
  2. Speak to your accomplishments. Since the time of your infamous mistake, you have probably achieved numerous accomplishments as you were trying to re-prove yourself.  Make sure that your boss and other colleagues are aware of what you have achieved since that time.  Keep a file of all of the good stuff that can be shared during your annual or semi-annual evaluation.
  3. Get feedback. Get an assessment of how others view your work by asking for feedback on your competence from your peers as well as your superiors.  Some companies do this formally through what is known as 360-degree feedback.  This type of feedback typically includes direct feedback from an employee’s subordinates, peers, and supervisor(s), as well as a self-evaluation. If your company does offer this type of assessment, consider obtaining feedback from your immediate work circle informally.
  4. Seek new opportunities. Seek out additional opportunities where your capabilities can shine.  Volunteer to be on a committee or a special project.  This not only allows you to showcase your skills, but it also shows that you are a dedicated employee.

The ultimate goal here is to change that negativity cloud that has been hovering over your career masking all of your positive contributions. 

Ride the waves of organizational chaos with ease and grace!

11 Oct

INFOGRAPHIC: 5 Signs of a Dysfunctional Organization

Articles, Blog No Comments by Mareisha Winters

It is no secret to the working world that many organizations today are in turmoil. The recession has caused companies to have to downsize, reorganize, merge, be subjected to greater regulatory scrutiny, and in some cases go out of business.  These tumultuous events have put a new face on such things as organizational politics, dysfunction, and opportunities for advancement.  This month’s LTAW theme is: Work:  It’s a crazy place these days!

When resources are not used effectively or fairly, when you have polarizing leadership and divisive management, or when barriers to communication cripple performance, you’re dealing with a dysfunctional company. An organizational culture consists of underlying assumptions, or unspoken/unwritten rules, that can lead to an unhealthy work environment.  The infographic below illustrates 5 signs that your organization may be dysfunctional.

Ride the waves of organizational chaos with ease and grace!

Is your organization dysfunctional? What are some of the telltale signs?

08 Oct

Everything Has Changed! Coping With A Merger/Acquisition

Articles, Blog No Comments by Susan McCuistion

It is no secret to the working world that many organizations today are in turmoil. The recession has caused companies to have to downsize, reorganize, merge, be subjected to greater regulatory scrutiny, and in some cases go out of business.A� These tumultuous events have put a new face on such things as organizational politics, dysfunction, and opportunities for advancement.A� This montha��s LTAW theme is: Work:A� Ita��s a crazy place these days!

How many of us actually like change? I have occasionally met people who s ay, a�?I love change!a�? and truly mean it, but probably very few of us seek out change. Entire fields of study have been developed around it. Bestselling books have been written on how to cope with it. And yet, while change itself is inevitable, how to control change remains elusive.

In this economy, one of the more common changes experienced in the workplace is the change brought on by a merger or acquisition. Of course, the actual merger/acquisition is just the beginning of the changes in the affected companies. The best case scenario is that it will not affect you in any way, having no change on your day-to-day routine. The best case scenario is rare.

So, what should you do if you are part of a company that is in the throes of a merger/acquisition? During times of change, ita��s important to focus on the only thing that we can control a�� ourselves. We cana��t change the situation, but there are many things we can do to cope with it. Below are just a few.

Assess your attitude
We can think of any kind of change as something that happens to us or something that happens through us. Look at the big picture. Ita��s natural to worry, a�?Whata��s going to happen to me?a�? but in the end, you are at work to do a job. Dona��t let fear paralyze you. Dona��t sit still. Keep up your performance, and dona��t participate in negative conversation. You may be reporting to a new manager, and like it or not, impressions count. A positive attitude can go a long way.

Assess the situation
Take every opportunity you can to learn about what is going on in the organization. Read communications carefully. Attend employee meetings. Understand the new structure within the organization. Most importantly, keep lines of communication open a�� both between you and your manager, and between you and people you manage. Identify the top 3-5 things that you should be focusing on during this time, and concentrate your energy there.

Assess your skills and interests
During times of change, there are often opportunities to learn new skills. Some basic tasks and requirements for your job may change. Learn them. Instead of focusing on problems, build the skills and knowledge necessary to work towards solutions. Identify where there might be gaps in knowledge in the new organization, and use your knowledge and experience to fill that gap.

We can look at change in a positive or negative light, but whatever attitude we take, the only thing for sure is that change happens. During a merger/acquisition, it is important to keep the big picture in mind while focusing on those things under our control. Develop yourself as the organization develops, and you may just discover a new and challenging role you might not have found had the merger/acquisition not happened.

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