The Old Man and the C(+(+))(*)

Believe me when I tell you that when blood and mud mix in the corporate world, just like that other context, it’ll be the people who are ready, willing, and able to “step up” that will lead the followers “out of the sh*t” and into prosperity.

During a discussion about technology evolution in American business, a subscriber on GaryNorth.com made a statement in passing. The subscriber is a professional software developer by trade:

“Corporate America does not love old people. Their loss.”

From https://www.garynorth.com/members/forum/openthread.cfm?forum=21&ThreadID=281000#281279   (Website subscription required.)

It would appear that this viewpoint is prevalent within the rank and file of American industry. But is it valid? Or to be more accurate, to what extent is it valid?

In response to the subscriber, I offered the following opinion…

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Skill Development At Its Foundation

Discipline as well as its parent, respect, cannot be taught. They can only be learned.

April 22, 2020

A subscriber on GaryNorth.com queried for potential solutions to an immediate skill development problem for his young-adult son:

My unmarried sister has gifted my 17 year old son $1500 in a Schwab account of which I am custodian. I’d like this to be a learning experience for him but I’m in the dark as to how to proceed. My son has inherited from me a lack of self-discipline in financial matters as well as propensity for poor judgements regarding the future. He understands that he is not to touch the money for 5 years, so there’s a little time to work with. I’m not so much concerned with great returns as maximizing the growth of his character & life skills. Any suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks.

From https://www.garynorth.com/members/forum/openthread.cfm?forum=1&ThreadID=280337#280337 (Website subscription required.)
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High-Level Performance Requirements

The high level performance requirements germane to a “business professional” are supported by general and specific interpersonal, customer, community, and technical skill requirements. These requirements include:

Professionalism

The original concept of professions and professionals had general and specific characteristics which differentiated them from technicians, vendors, and non-professionals. The characteristics are special or unique competence in special tasks and services; competence defined by a comprehensive and self-governing organization of practitioners.

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Selling Productivity By The Hour Versus Selling Results

“I want to know what to do if an employer increases your work time or load and continues to pay the same hourly rate for your additional time worked? Should you still try to limit your employment work to 40 hours?”

You’ve asked three related questions in the context of a fixed hourly rate. That is, three questions based on supplying resources by the hour:

1. “…if an employer increases your work time” (Applying more “productivity” resources, using per hour measurement for the resource.)

2. “…increases your work…load” (Requiring the resource to do more. That is, to be more efficient.)

3. “try to limit…to 40 hours” (Limiting – fixing – the supply of resources at 40 per week, using per hour measurement for the supply of the resource.)

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The View From nn,nnn Feet

…because he’s in an organization, it’s the management components – accomplishing predetermined objectives through others, that constitute the largest growth opportunity, and will carry him to 10,000 feet over time.

This was posted recently on GaryNorth.com:

“Have you defined more specifically what you mean by the 5,000, 10,000, and 40,000 foot metaphors in another thread?”

The purpose of the analogy is to engage a sense of perspective that is at once micro, macro, and more expansive; and to promote a symbolic viewing of contexts (or components) as part of a larger, whole, and interrelated system: the system of one’s career.

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Perspective

…it matters little what perspective others have; yours is the perspective of paramount importance vis-a-vis your career plan. You may choose to adopt another/different perspective; then again, you may not. Same choice for everyone else.

This is part of a dialog recently posted on GaryNorth.com:

“How common is it for anyone to have a 40,000 ft perspective?”

per·spec·tive

[per-spek-tiv]

noun

  1. a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface.
  2. a picture employing this technique, especially one in which it is prominent: an architect’s perspective of a house.
  3. a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista: a perspective on the main axis of an estate.
  4. the state of existing in space before the eye: The elevations look all right, but the building’s composition is a failure in perspective.
  5. the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.

From: <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/perspective?s=t>

Perspective is a human trait, in all humans, exercised to a greater or lesser extent in any individual as the individual chooses. Those that choose to step back and consider a broader (or another) perspective in any particular context will; those that don’t, won’t.

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Turnover Planning

The Turnover Plan serves many purposes beyond turning over a job to a successor. The basic value in publishing the plan is understanding the job in detail.

The following was posted to GaryNorth.com recently:

“If I decide to leave my job in the next several months, how should I plan to hand off my job to a successor in a professional manner?”

I suggest you publish a Turnover Plan. The ostensive purpose of such a plan is to “turnover” the job to a replacement, whether present or not. But, there are more strategic reasons for you to publish the plan, as indicated by the benefits. Publishing the plan:

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Exit Strategies

A carefully prepared exit strategy considers both leaving the current organization and entering the next.

The following question was posted on GaryNorth.com:

“What is the framework for formulating/evaluating exit strategies, as well as related tactics?”

Background: Military Context

In the military context, the purpose of a breakout is to save the remnants of a fight from total annihilation, so that they may be reapplied elsewhere at another time. Essentially, the force breaking out either evades or fights its way out using a series of deliberate tactical actions designed to preserve resources, deflect any opposition, and get to a place of safety; it doesn’t turn and run pell mell, as that is generally suicidal.

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Dealing with Workplace Incidentals

Can you accomplish one or more of your objectives within this system? Keeping in mind that this system is not unique, but pervasive; and differs only in detail at other firms…

A series of statements recently posted on GaryNorth.com indicate an employee is trying to work through an understanding of his employment environment:

“I had told my wife I could try a dramatic approach, if needed, to try to get what I wanted (which included acting like I was quitting), but I told her the risk/reward potential of that approach wasn’t tilted in my favor in this situation.”

Nothing personal, and no hard feelings, but I suggest you act business-like. “Business-like” as if that next employer was watching. What image would you like him/her to see when you discuss your current behavior at that job interview? Let your preferred image guide your action.

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Part 1 – Performance Appraisal Framework

…establish a true picture of performance first, and don’t ever let compensation concerns affect the view of performance.

Recently on GaryNorth.com, a member asked about how to approach his upcoming six month performance appraisal, and for a framework for the appraisal.  Here is a detailed response:

When I accepted my job about six months ago we agreed that I would have a performance review every six months…

Excellent.

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