Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I recently received this "out of office" email response - and was inspired by the message it sends beyond the information it conveys:
"I am on a much anticipated Italian cycling vacation from Venice to Ravenna. I will limp back to my desk on Monday. I am SO looking forward to disconnecting from technology - so I will not be checking emails or phone messages. This means that you will have to lean hard on my able team: Jane Smith (email@example.com) or John Doe (firstname.lastname@example.org). Arrivederci!"
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
- move to a 4 day work week and have your pay reduced 20%
- take a sabbatical for a period of time this year and have your pay reduced 20%
- keep your job and pay exactly as it is today
Everyone effected was able to make the choice that worked best for them - time off each week, a longer respite to do other things, continuation of work and pay as usual. The result? The company attained their cost reduction goals and their management cadre felt as though they had been properly engaged in making important worklife decisions for themselves.
Giving people a choice is a powerful management tool, and - in my experience - extremely underutilized!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
But, honestly, I have personally seen a silver lining in all this. Sounds trite, but - if I'm being honest - it has been somewhat refreshing and satisfying to think about expenses and necessities with fresh eyes. At moments, I've looked around and thought - I really do have enough shoes and I really didn't need HBO on my cable. I am committed to living a good life - but I see that a good life might just be a little less cluttered than my old life. This paring down to the essentials is what I'm thinking of as the gift of difficult times. And for this gift, I am grateful.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Read more about them in this NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/26/education/26chorus.html
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Yesterday, a colleague pointed me to Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky's book "Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Leading." It opens with the story of a woman on an Native American reservation who, seeing how alcoholism was tormenting her community, founded an AA group. At first, there were no comers. She set up a neat circle of chairs each week and sat alone in the room. She told her skeptical friend, "I was not alone...I was there with the spirits and the ancestors; and one day, our people will come." After enduring years of being mocked because of how fiercely she was challenging her community's norms, things changed - the room was full, and the community was getting sober.
Where can each of us choose to take a quiet, powerful stand for good?