segunda-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2011

Toxic Companies - Take 9


She wanted to be a leader
but not even to a manager she reached 


Not long time ago there was a media company. Market leader. Inside it there was a proofreading department with ten employees. The team had no direct manager for a year, that meant they had some remote leadership from the art director, a 55 years old respectable guy. But people seemed to be autonomous. They were managing everything, all the work processes and no one in that company complained about their work.
One day, a senior computer technician asked for job for his wife, a 26 years old lady, recently graduated in math and unemployed.

The lady started working and learning proofreading from scratch. The team helped her step by step. But the lady was a little bit moody, and many times she showed up upset, sad, worried, quiet. She was working very slowly and much of work had to be done by the rest of the team. People alerted her about the fact, but nothing happened. Why? Because the lady had protection from the art director.

Big problem. As the time passed, the lady became more lazy, got huge breaks to smoke, extra time to dinner and spent lots of time talking with other departament's colleagues. The team, somehow, got uncomfortable. There had been six months from the moment she had started. And then, something extraordinary happened. All of a sudden, the lady became the manager.

Well, big big problem. The lady knew less than necessary about all the workprocess, hadn't grammatical knowledge, hadn't rythm. What happened then?
The lady started to change some routines, giving strange orders, weirdly organizing specific breaks and groups to lunch and to snack. Moreover, she prevented people from asking work questions to the two most experienced members of the team. «You have to ask me, not to them» she said.

Situation: Suddenly, a question emerged. A team member asked her how to write or to correct something. The lady, manager, picked the dictionary next to her looking for the solution and later she answered. Absolutely ridiculous.

Dramatic finish: The three most competent team members left the company. Six months later, the company was sold to a media holding. The lady got depressed, affected psychologicaly. She got fired. The art director got fired too.

What can we get from the story? When companies get rid of the best employees, sooner or later have to fire the worst employees too. It's not a matter of destiny, but it is a kind of...

quinta-feira, 24 de fevereiro de 2011

What means «healthy people»?

Manfred Kets de Vries (INSEAD Professor)

«He who has health has hope,
and he who has hope has everything»
Arab proverb

When I first read Professor Manfred Kets de Vries books, about four years ago, a peace of text impressed me very much. The title was «The "Healthy" People» and, of course, he described what healthy people means. Why impressed me so much? Because I realized that I wasn't so healthy as I thought. Not in the usual meaning sense, of course. But take a look at his description, in four items:

«(...)
1 - Healthy people have a stable sense of identity and a great capacity for reality testing. In addition, when dealing with the outside world, they have recourse to mature defense mechanisms. They take responsibility for their actions rather than blaming others for stepbacks. They are resourceful and have a strong sense of self-efficacy. They trust their own ability to control the events that affect their lives.

2 - Healthy people have an accurate perception of their body image and body functioning. They do not suffer from cognitive distortions that lead them to engage in self-destructive activities. They experience the full range of emotions, live intensively, and are passionate about what they do. Their sexuality is fulfilling; they know how to manage anxiety; they do not easily lose control; and they are not given to impulsive acts.

3 - Intimacy and reciprocity. Healthty people establish and cultivate relationships, know how to use help and advice, and maintain a support network. They have a sense of being a part of a larger group and obtain a great sense of satisfaction about the social context in which they live. They feel connected.
Healthy individuals also know how to deal with issues of dependency and separation. When growing up, they went through the process of individuation in a constructive manner, without suffering developmental arrest. (...) Their strong sense of identity gives them the strenght to deal with the setbacks and disappointments that are an inevitable part of the trajectory of life. They know how to handle depression and have a great capacity to work through loss.

4 - Healthy people do not interpret people and phenomena in categorical terms, good ou bad, black or white. (...) Above all, they maintain a positive outlook toward the world. Whatever the circumstances, they reframe experiences in a positive way; they are able to construct a positive view of the future and retain a great sense of hope of what is to come. Finally, healthy individuals have the capacity for self-observation and self-analysis and are willing to spend time on self-reflecion. (...)»

After reading this I started working on and making improvements. What means changing some behaviors preceded by self-observation an self-analysis.

quarta-feira, 23 de fevereiro de 2011

How good you want to be?...

I've just finished a Paul Arden small book, «It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be». Excluding the creative layout and how easy is reading it, the content is quite inspiring. Paul (1940-2008) was a successfull creative advertiser and this book is about life design, where we can find really strong phrases:

- «If you think you're unable to work for the best company in its sphere, make that your aim.»
- «I you think you're incapable of running a company, make that your aim.»

- «If you think you're unable to be on the cover of "Time" magazine, make it your business to be there.»

- «Nothing is impossible»

Paul Arden's book invites us to get away from the shell, do something different, which means break the conventional. Doing things is better than start thinking on impossibilities, on troubles, on dificulties, standing still waiting for the next opportunity.

As Paul wrote:
«Don't look for the next opportunity. The one you have in hand is the opportunity. (...) When it can't be done, do it. If you don't do it, it doesn't exist.» So true.

terça-feira, 22 de fevereiro de 2011

Toxic Companies - Take 8


The invisibles or the avoidance phenomenon


A key factor in a dysfunctional environment. Considering others invisibles. Professor Robert Sutton, from Stanford University, in his book Good Boss, Bad Boss, also emphasizes this feature. I confirm it because I witnessed it and experienced myself.

Usually it happens with very competent people. Such people end up being a «threat» to the routine of the company. Having ideas or working well can be threatening for colleagues and for the boss. So, the first effective way to end the productivity or the brilliance of the individual is to make it «invisible».

Example: As the company was in economic and financial difficulties, one day, as a production director, I suggested to do some market research to find a printing company's lower price. The answer came quickly from the CEO. And strange: «Forget it, that is not worth it for sure! We're done»

However, I took the initiative to contact about a dozen printers, even against the odd suggestion of the CEO. And the surprise came: a printing company that charged less than $10,000 month. Something brutally significant according our size and revenues. CEO was stunned, but overjoyed. We changed anyway and the company breathed better. We got rid of the bankruptcy spectrum.

The outcome: From this moment, all of a sudden, I became a kind of «superhero»: the Invisible Man. A large number of colleagues of mine and peers started a kind of group action, avoiding me and across me as if I did not exist... Exceptions happened in a strictly professional situations. Some comments I heard was still like «You have craze you are good». Imagine so many hours spent in the company as if I were invisible to most people, and after taking a spontaneous initiative with a direct impact on maintenance of jobs and also the company.

In dysfunctional companies, efforts are punished, competence is a threat, the potential is punished, good work is punished.

The solution? What to do? Well, invest all you can, in effort, get the all you need, then flee from that company. Just run away from this environment that takes you, day after day, so valuable energy.

segunda-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2011

Empresa Tóxica - Take 8


Os invisíveis ou o fenómeno do Evitamento


Um factor determinante de um ambiente disfuncional. Considerar os outros invisíveis. Robert Sutton, no seu livro Good Boss, Bad Boss, sublinha também esta característica. Eu confirmo-a porque a testemunhei e a vivi.

No fundo, é a fase pré-prateleira, mas nem sempre chega a esse ponto. E acontece muito com pessoas competentes e com potencial. Este tipo de pessoas acabam por ser uma «ameaça» à rotina normal da empresa. Ter ideias ou destacar-se com trabalho bem executado pode ser ameaçador para colegas e para o chefe. Então a primeira forma eficaz de terminar com a produtividade ou o brilhantismo do indivíduo é torná-lo «invisível».

Exemplo: Vendo a empresa em dificuldade económica e financeira, um dia, como director de produção, propus ao gerente fazer uma prospecção de mercado para encontrar uma gráfica que imprimisse as publicações com preços mais baixos. A resposta veio célere e... estranha: «Esqueça isso, não vai conseguir algo que se veja, não vale a pena.»

Porém, tomei a iniciativa de contactar cerca de uma dezena de gráficas, mesmo contra a estranha sugestão da administração. E a surpresa chegou: uma gráfica a fazer o trabalho por menos 10.000 euros mês. Algo de brutalmente significativo atendendo à dimensão da empresa e ao volume de negócios. O gerente ficou perplexo, porém radiante. Mudámos de gráfica e os cofres da empresa suspiraram de alívio perante um espectro de falência.

Resultado: A partir desse momento passei à condição de «super-herói», tornei-me no Homem-Invisível. Uma grande fatia dos meus colegas e pares iniciaram uma espécie de acção concertada e deixaram de me falar, evitando-me e cruzando-se comigo como se eu não existisse... Só comunicavam comigo em contexto estritamente profissional. Alguns comentários que ainda ouvi foi do tipo: «Tens a mania que és bom.» Imaginem o que é tantas horas passadas na empresa como se eu fosse invisível para a maioria das pessoas e depois de ter tomado uma iniciativa espontânea com efeitos directos na manutenção de postos de trabalho e também da empresa.

Em empresas disfuncionais o esforço é penalizado, a competência é uma ameaça, o potencial é castigado, o bom trabalho é punido. A solução? Bom, invista o que puder, tire a maior aprendizagem possível e na primeira oportunidade, saia. Simplesmente fuja desse ambiente que lhe retira, dia após dia, energia tão cara.

domingo, 20 de fevereiro de 2011

Toxic Companies – Take 7


«Those guys up there!...»
When people blame walls


It seems that the open space was born of two needs. First, would create a more cohesive spirit not prone to the groups generation. Secondly, the cost of building divisions.
The last one, of course, is acceptable. But the first is debatable. In fact, the trend is the company to become a collection of bunkers. Each department is seen surrounded by «enemies» from whom must be protect.

The above behavior is preceded by a patterned speech. Each time departments have to interact often things like this are said (examples of a publishing company):
- «Those guys (dudes) up there think they are a priority.» The «guys» (dudes) are the reporters (colleagues).
- «But who the hell these guys think they are?» The «guys» are the accounting colleagues.
- «Send the pages like that, don’t worry with mistakes and with them, I don't care.» «Them» are the members of the advertising.
- «These guys make so many corrections, just to sand the work!...» Again, the «guys» are the fellow journalists.
- «These people are not doing anything here. They want only to put us in xeque, that’s it.» The «people» are our colleagues in the graphics department.

And this is the pattern, day after day, week after week, month after month, a toxic pace highly corrosive. However, despite acknowledging that geography and ergonomics lead to this type of communication, for me the problem relies always on leadership. Starting from the top. Without specific human resources policy there isn’t open space that will endure.

Do not blame the walls by the dysfunctional climate. The reason is not because of bricks or partitions. The problem lies in leaders.

sábado, 19 de fevereiro de 2011

Empresa Tóxica - Take 7


«Aqueles gajos lá em cima!...»
Quando as paredes têm a culpa


Ao que parece, o open space empresarial nasceu de duas necessidades. Primeiro, chegou-se à conclusão que criaria um espírito mais coeso, não sendo propenso à formação de grupos. Segundo, os custos inerentes à construção de divisórias autónomas.

A segunda, claro, é aceitável. Mas quanto à primeira razão, é discutível. A parte em que, por ter experiência do que são pequenos departamentos distribuídos por várias divisões e andares. Na verdade, a tendência é a empresa transformar-se numa colecção de bunkers em que cada departamento se vê rodeado de «inimigos» de quem tem de proteger-se.

O que precede o comportamento é o discurso. De cada vez que há coisas a tratar não raras vezes se ouvem coisas como estas (exemplos de uma empresa editora de publicações):
- «Aqueles gajos lá em cima acham que agora são uma prioridade». Os «gajos» são os colegas da redacção.
- «Mas quem é que estes tipos pensam que são?». Os «tipos» são os colegas da contabilidade.
- «Manda as páginas assim, eles que se desenrasquem». «Eles» são os colegas da publicidade.
- «Estes gajos fazem tantas emendas, só para nos lixar o trabalho!...». Mais uma vez, os «gajos» são os colegas jornalistas.
- «Esta gente não está cá fazer nada. Querem pôr-nos em causa, é o que é». A «gente» são os colegas do departamento gráfico.

E o registo passa a ser este, dia após dia, semana após semana, mês após mês, num ritmo tóxico altamente corrosivo. Porém, apesar de reconhecer que o espaço geográfico e a ergonomia empresarial potenciam este tipo de discurso e comportamentos beligerantes, para mim o problema reside sempre na liderança. Começando pelo topo, pelo proprietário, seguindo-se para a gerência e logo de seguida as direcções e chefias. Sem política de recursos humanos específica actuante na cultura e no clima organizacional, não há open space que resista.

Não culpem as paredes pelo clima disfuncional. Se não se sabe nem se tenta cultivar um ambiente produtivo, a razão não está nos tijolos ou nas divisórias. A origem do problema está nos líderes.

quinta-feira, 17 de fevereiro de 2011

Being good from the wrong side

The Toxic Companies takes I'm publishing show us what shouldn't be done. As a mather of fact, I learned a lot with them and I'm grateful for having witnessed all these toxic episodes. At first I got a lot of pain, but soon noticed there're great lessons to learn from the «wrong» side of the bank. Which means there's always a chance to make a choice. If you are working for a company with toxic characteristics, please listen to your heart. What do you feel?

What do you want for your life? Do you really want this type of atmosphere? Are you really felling good, healthy, energized? Are you improving, learning something new? What's your opinion about your colleagues? Are you sure about achieving something good in the near future? What are your chances anyway? Ok, imagine you aren't feeling well.
Final question. Do you really want to bet in your company, with this type of climate?

If you're feeling uncomfortable, if you don't walk energized for your workday every morning, if you dislike your job or what you are doing, if you hate some of your colleagues, if you dislike some of your company's politics, like relationship with employees or customers, probably you are in position to take a great decision: «I'm going to change my life, starting from today.»
Remember that all the negative things lead to a positive decision. In my humble opinion, that's the point. You can be part of the evil if you stay longer. Or you can be part of a something good if you decide better... today.

As Jim Rohn used to say: «It's simple, but not easy.» But you must start doing something about it... Today.

quarta-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2011

Create a company as a painting… Or how to build a great culture

Bill Witherspoon, the founder of The Sky Factory, has created a fantastic company with one goal: «Create a company as beautiful as a painting». This is really something. I’ve never seen someone saying something like this. What has Bill done to reach a energizing culture and a beautiful company? In a Inc. Magazine interview he made it clear. Here is some insights:

- «There is no hierarchy at The Sky Factory – no managers or supervisors. Leaders are those who, in a given situation, lead. We use facilitators for the sake of coordination, and those roles rotate every week. Every week, a different person runs our general meeting – we go alphabetically. People who see a job do the job, because they don’t feel constrained by their perceived place in the company.»

- «Where there is no authority, there is no fear, and people rise to what is required of them»

- «Secrets corrupt cultures. Secrets cause backstabbing and power plays.»

- «All information about The Sky Factory is right out on the table- with the exception of HR issues and salaries.»

- «There’re two type of service: One is: I do this for you, and I expect a return. For example, I provide good customer service, and I expect loyalty. The other kind of service is selfless. I do something for you without thought of a return. I hesp you spontaneously and without thinking about it.»

- «At most companies, people take courses because new skills make them more valuable, so they can get ahead. At this company, we value people learning new skills so they can help others.»

- «We reward based on performance – of the individual, of the group, and of the business. Every month, we distribute 50 percent of net profit to everyone.»

- «What is Fine Art: Building a Beautiful Company. We all viewed hundreds of images and discussed how every brush stroke, every chisel mark, every pixel is linked to every other. Nothing stands in isolation.»

What happens? It happens that The Sky Factory has great, good and engaged people who perform at high level.

terça-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2011

«Pampered» Customers

«Oh God, they're "pampered". This is what was missing me?»
or why it is so good to have «pampered» customers...

Oddly. I have at least two examples of this kind of management. One company was acquired by an holding. The other business has shrunk so that only hardly survives on the market, like a zombie beside his grave.

Situation 1 - The ad was being drafted in the graphics department. Suddenly, a customer's request came just to change the a detail in that ad. The manager says: «Oh, these guys (customers) are boring, they must be really "pampered". I won't do any change. Tell we've just finished the work and the newspaper is already in the printer. It was just what was missing?»

Situation 2 - The leader tells that the customer wants to make a change in the ad that is already inserted on a page. The employee mutters something like «A change! Now? But I did this for hours ago!... Can't we say no?» And the manager: «No, no! This time you have to open the page and make that change. We'll see after.»

From my point of view, I like «pampered» customers very much. They are a guarantee of revenue. They coming back all the time.
The service in a company should be around customers and services, of course, this is obvious, isn't it? Internal and external. A good services provider have a huge number of «pampered» customers.

Clientes «mal-habituados»

«Estão mal-habituados. Era o que faltava?»
ou porque é que é bom ter clientes mal-habituados

Por estranho que pareça, empresas líderes de mercado fazem destas coisas. Vivi duas situações deste tipo em duas empresas em que trabalhei. O episódio repetia-se tanto que só podia mesmo acabar mal. E acabou mesmo. Uma das empresas foi adquirida por um grupo editorial. A outra encolheu o negócio de tal forma que apenas sobrevive precariamente no mercado, qual moribundo que se arrasta junto à campa, sabendo que tem a morte agendada.

Situação 1 - A publicidade estava a ser elaborada no departamento gráfico, até que chegava um pedido do cliente para alteração do anúncio. E o chefe: «Ai, estes tipos (clientes) são uns chatos, devem estar mal habituados. Não faço alteração nenhuma. Diz-se ao cliente que o jornal já fechou. Era só o que faltava?»

Situação 2 - O chefe comunica a um colaborador que o cliente pretende fazer uma alteração no texto do anúncio que está inserido numa página. O colaborador resmunga um «Uma alteração agora? Mas eu já fiz isto há horas!... Não se pode dizer que não?» E o chefe: «Tem de se fazer, abre a página e faz lá isso». Colaborador: «Estamos a habituá-los mal»

Recapitulando, quando o cliente é bem servido começa a estar «mal-habituado». Só que a ideia deve ser mesmo essa, que é o garante de regresso do cliente. Eu gosto de clientes «mal-habituados», é sinal que estão lá. E que voltam.
O trabalho numa empresa deve gravitar à volta do cliente e da prestação de serviço. Serviço externo e interno. Se se impede essa tendência, abreviando-se a assistência, põe-se em causa o futuro. Pois o cliente irá à procura ou estará aberto a que outra entidade o «habitue mal».

Moral da história: Cliente «mal-habituado», retorno garantido.

segunda-feira, 14 de fevereiro de 2011

Success Magazine and happiness

I'm reading January's Success Magazine, which issue is dedicated to happiness. John Maxwell comes with a personnel development text. How to start something? Ok, start with you. As Mahatma Gandhi said, «Be the change you want to see in the world». So, take care of yourself, physically and emotionally.

Mel Robbins writes about battles we have to win and gives us the «recipe» for happiness, according to a recent British study. Here you are: «six hours of sleep, 20 minute commute, five home-cooked meals a week, a night out with friends or loved ones and regular exercise.» However, happiness depends on you. It is simply a feeling.

Kevin Harrighton talks about change and fear. Amazing insight: «If you do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.» and «(...) Believe in yourself and in your product. Don't worry about the millions of viewers.»

I liked particularly the «Deadly Fears of Entrepreneurship», where I highlighted some great ideas of how to overcome fears and start a business. «The antidote to fear is faith in yourself, your business, your product and your dream.»

In closing, from the Success CD audioprogramme provided free, I loved very much the Shawn Achor's interview. Once more, happiness. «Companies don't hire people in order to make them happy, instead, companies hire already happy people.»

Happiness «is not an over there, can't be posponed. It is not an if (fill in the blank) I would be happy. Great words of the publisher Darren Hardy. Today is the day... to be happy.

Anyway, another inspirational Success issue to read and... hear.

quinta-feira, 10 de fevereiro de 2011

The obedient that bows all the time

A true story. Surely not only...
Joseph is the secretary of the treasurer, who is about to retire. Joseph already sees his future as treasurer. That's what he wants to make. A career as treasurer. He’s there more than a decade, he’s obedient, responsible, obsequious. And he’s helpful, very much.

Then the engineer, chairman, calls him, and there he goes running, serviceable. He knocks and then walks, bowing, repeating «good afternoon, sir» at every step. So, he delivers, bowed, all the documentation, among whispers explaining «these are to sign, sir, and these are for you sir». And the sir, engineer, signs and returns it to Joseph. «Thank you sir», he sighs. And withdraws, retreating, bowed, moreover making a sort of successive bows, and slavishly whispering «thank you, sir, good afternoon, sir».

Joseph is known as reliable guy. And finally he gets the expected promotion and becomes treasurer. Joseph has now improved salary, rank, is important in the company.

Three years passed. One day is called a team of consultants to evaluate some discrepancies in the accounts of the treasury. Joseph, one of the chairman’s trusted men, three years before promoted to treasurer, flees to Angola. Shortly after landing in Luanda, is already known in Lisbon that the embezzlement is about 70,000 euros.

Moral of the story. Always be suspicious of those who make bows. And, by the way, of those who, out of context, commends the lot, you run your hands by the shoulders or the back. Be suspicious of whisperings and of... obedience. An obedient person is a dangerous person? I do not know, but my experience tells me that subservience is very expensive. Who is subservient is not reliable.

O cumpridor, o obediente, o que faz a vénia

Uma história verdadeira. Seguramente não será única...
José é secretário do tesoureiro, que está prestes a reformar-se. José já vê o seu futuro como tesoureiro. É isso que ele quer, fazer carreira como tesoureiro. Está há mais de uma década na empresa, é um indivíduo obediente, cumpridor, um «bom administrativo». É prestativo, muito mesmo.

Quando o chairman o chama, lá vai ele a correr, serviçal. Bate à porta, entra, e vai avançando meio curvado, repetindo «boa-tarde, sr. engenheiro» a cada passo. Entrega, curvado, a documentação ao sr. engenheiro e, por entre sussurros, vai explicando «estes são para assinar, sr. engenheiro, e estes ficam para o sr. engenheiro». E o sr. engenheiro assina e devolve ao José. «Obrigado sr. engenheiro.» E retira-se, recuando, curvado, fazendo como que uma espécie de vénias sucessivas, e sussurando servilmente «obrigado, sr. engenheiro, boa-tarde, sr. engenheiro».

O José é tido como de confiança. É promovido a tesoureiro quando o colega se reforma. O José tem agora salário melhorado, tem posição, tem importância na empresa. É a pessoa de confiança do sr. engenheiro.

Três anos se passaram. Um dia é chamada uma equipa de consultores para avaliar umas discrepâncias nas contas da tesouraria. O José, a pessoa de confiança do sr. engenheiro e três anos antes promovido a tesoureiro, foge para Angola. Pouco depois de aterrar em Luanda, já em Lisboa se sabe que o desfalque é de cerca de 70.000 euros.

Moral da história. Desconfie sempre e muito de quem faz vénias. E já agora de quem, fora do contexto, o elogia muito, lhe passa a mão pelos ombros ou pelas costas. Deconfie dos sussurros e da... obediência. Uma pessoa obediente será uma pessoa perigosa? Não sei, mas eu prefiro acreditar que a subserviência sai cara. Quem é subserviente não é leal.

quarta-feira, 9 de fevereiro de 2011

The importance of being nitpicking

And when people self-praise about negative qualities? Weird, isn't it? One of that qualities I have listened from the owners of some small companies can be summarized in a simple phrase: «You know, I am very nitpicking.»

They think they are stars because they can always find some changes to make in other people work. They have always something to say about a lost detail in the middle of everything. In their opinion, being nitpicking is like being rigorous. And what can be done? Nothing, they are the owners, they are the bosses, they set the rules.

Nitpicking, my God! Being nitpicking is a lack of the essential. Is keeping all the attention on minor details. It's like going to buy a car ignoring it main qualities, security, consume, etc., but ask something like: «... And the car has a horn?»

This quality of being «nitpicking» is really something. I can't believe there are people glad to be like that. As if nitpicking was synonymous of success, inspiration or fulfillment.

terça-feira, 8 de fevereiro de 2011

A grande qualidade que é ser «Picuinhas»

E quando as pessoas se gabam, se auto-elogiam, inumerando qualidades negativas? Estranho, não é? Uma dessas qualidades que ouvi algumas vezes dos proprietários de pequenas empresas resume-se a uma frase: «Olhe que eu sou muito picuinhas.»

Impantes, estes indivíduos acham-se o máximo, porque sempre encontram uma alteração a fazer no trabalho dos outros, um reparo, um pormenor perdido no «meio do mundo». Elogiam-se, apregoam esta sua qualidade de serem «picuinhas», que funciona também como uma espécie de aviso. Acham que ser «picuinhas» é ser rigoroso. O que fazer? Nada, eles são os donos, são eles que estabelecem as regras, são eles que mandam.

Picuinhas, meu Deus! Ser picuinhas é deixar escapar o essencial. E é prender a atenção com detalhes secundários. É como ir comprar um automóvel, ignorar as qualidades essenciais do dito, segurança, consumo, despesa, etc., mas perguntar «E tem buzina?». Mas vejamos alguns exemplos reais, que presenceei, ao vivo, nas editoras em que trabalhei. Ser picuinhas é:

>> É escrever «balisa» com «s», mas substituir «andar» por «caminhar». >> É pedir para «puxar o título mais para a esquerda», mas não ver no mesmo a gralha «oprações» em vez de «operações». >> É preocupar-se com uma conta de luz de 120 euros e pagar juros sobre 60.000 euros de dívida com uma gráfica. >> É exigir uma foto com 300 dpi em vez de uma de 250, mas ignorar o nome trocado do médico fotografado. >> É exigir que os colaboradores cumpram o horário das 9h, mas aparecer às 11h. >> É ficar irado/a com uma vírgula mal colocada, mas partir para uma semana de férias no arranque da empresa. >> É elogiar o produto sublinhando o seu sucesso, mas dizer ao cliente que «o mercado está muito mau, está difícil». >> É dever dois meses de renda do escritório mas comprar um cabide de 100 euros, um elefante esculpido de 150 euros e duas chaise longue de 700 euros para a sala de entrada.
Uff, Enfim. Acreditam que haveria bastantes mais exemplos a enumerar e sempre tão ou mais absurdos como os anteriores?

Esta qualidade de ser «picuinhas» tem que se lhe diga. E ainda há quem se elogie por o ser. Como se tal fosse sinónimo de sucesso e de inspiração.

segunda-feira, 7 de fevereiro de 2011

Toxic Companies - Take 6


«JOHN, COME OVER HERE...»


As Take 5, this is like a first warning signal. The manager is in his office. The door is open. Suddenly, «JOHN, COME OVER HERE...». The problem: this style quickly turns in a habit and calling other people loudly fills all the free space inside the company. This is all about obedience. «PAULA, BRING ME THAT NEWSPAPER THERE». In most of the times the «PLEASE» doesn't even happens.
And imagine that Paula doesn't answer to that call. Immediately, the manager calls again, even loudly, explicit and with a discontented tone:

«PAAAAUUUULA, COME ON! COME OVER HERE!»
What happens next? A kind of employees involvement in this important task that is calling Paula to the boss's office.
«SMITH, TELL PAULA TO COME HERE, PLEASE!»
«BARBARA, FIND PAULA, WHERE THE HELL IS SHE?»

And so on. The manager allows himself to interrupt everybody in the company in order to bring someone to his office. And the team is mobilized to this type of activity many times in a workday.

Well, a matter of obedience in a daily plot of power assertion

Empresa Tóxica - Take 6


«Ó JOÃO, CHEGA LÁ AQUI...»


Vem em sequência do post «Empresa Tóxica - take 5». Mas é o primeiro sinal de alarme. O chefe está no gabinete, tem a porta entreaberta. De súbito, «Ó JOÃO, CHEGA AQUI...». Problema: este estilo torna-se num hábito num ápice e gritar nomes passa a povoar o espaço da empresa. E tudo se resume a obediência. «Ó PAULA, TRAZ-ME AÍ O JORNAL». Se o colaborador não comparece no gabinete do chefe imediatamente, novos gritos se sucedem, com tons de inconformismo e sílabas vincadas.

«PAAAUUUULA, ENTÃO? CHEGA AQUI!»

A seguir, é mobilizar a envolvente no grande objectivo: a presença da Paula no gabinete do chefe:

«Ó MANUEL, CHAMA AÍ A PAULA, FAZ FAVOR»
«DIZ-LHE PARA CHEGAR AQUI...»

E assim sucessivamente. O chefe interrompe toda a gente, preenche o espaço com a sua «existência» e todos se mobilizam nesta sucessão de presenças no gabinete do chefe para tratar de coisas... a maior parte das vezes de somenos importância. Uma questão de obediência no teatro diário de afirmação de poder.

quarta-feira, 2 de fevereiro de 2011

Tolerance also causes violence

Being tolerant is a great virtue. A calm person, patient, peaceful, tolerant with others is something enjoyable. By rule, such behavior generates feelings and peaceful relationships.

But, in my humble opinion, tolerance may also leads to violence. Consider that much of the oppression and usurpation has its preferred field in tolerance. And if you are continuously very tolerant in a uncomfortable situation, violence will rise over you. While there is peaceful field, there will be space for more invasion. In a large number of companies, if you're so tolerant, what can happen is running out of work.

I have a bad example to tell you. It happened with a manager 10 years ago. He saw field to conquer in chairman's tolerance. And the more tolerance available he had, the more he engendered strategies of usurpation. For instance, he refused to follow directions, took initiatives in breach of company policy, became insolent. He did the same with his staff. Until one day when the situation became unbearable. He had conquered too much. And suddenly the chairman became less more tolerant. Not fired him, but changed the voice's tone, informed him in writing directives, and reduced at once the excessive freedom of action.

And the manager himself became a lamb, subservient, helpful, cynically cooperative.

Usually tolerance is seen as weakness, impotence, pacifism. The perception I have about this is that tolerance is something essential, but should be defined in advance. Like everything in life, a tolerant person must also learn to set boundaries. To protect the relationship with others.

A tolerância também gera violência

Ser tolerante é uma grande virtude. Uma pessoa calma, paciente, pacífica, tolerante para com os outros é algo apreciável. À partida, um comportamento destes gera sentimentos e relações de paz.

Mas, na minha opinião, a tolerância pode ser também potenciadora de violência. Vejamos que muita da prepotência e da usurpação tem o seu terreno preferido na tolerância. E se for muito e continuadamente tolerante, a prepotência passa a assumir contornos de violência. Enquanto houver terreno pacífico, há lugar a mais usurpação. E quanto mais tolerância houver, mais a violência crescerá sobre si. Em grande parte das empresas, se você for assim tão tolerante, o que poderá acontecer é ficar sem trabalho. Sentirá o seu terreno invadido, até à violência extrema de ter de sair.

Tive um exemplo muito mau, com um chefe há 10 anos. Ele via na tolerância do patrão terreno para entrar na sua área de actuação. E quanto mais tolerância tinham, mais ele engendrava estratégias de usurpação. Recusava-se a seguir indicações, tomava iniciativas contrárias à política da empresa, tornou-se insolente. Com os seus colaboradores fazia o mesmo. Até que um dia se tornou insuportável. Tinha ocupado muito espaço. E o patrão deixou de ser tão tolerante. Não o despediu, mas alterou o tom de voz, comunicou-lhe directivas por escrito, reduziu-lhe a excessiva liberdade de acção.
E ele tornou-se cordeiro, subserviente, prestativo, cinicamente cooperante.

Normalmente a tolerância é vista como fraqueza, impotência, pacifismo. A percepção que tenho sobre isso é que a tolerância é algo de essencial, mas deve antecipadamente definir-se até onde. Como tudo na vida, uma pessoa tolerante deve também saber estabelecer fronteiras. Para se proteger e para proteger a relação que tem com os outros.

A paz e o sucesso dependem de uma tolerância «calibrada».

terça-feira, 1 de fevereiro de 2011

What unhealthy people talk about?

Another day it occurred me something obvious. So obvious that usually we don't think on it. What unhealthy people talk about? No, there're not people in hospital I'm talking about. It is people chating on the «middle» of the street, on coffee shops, on supermarkets, etc.
Everywhere we can find people talking about their ills, their diseases. They talk about doctors, pharmacies, pills, pains, ills, other people's ills. And they repeat again and again each time detailing their suffering.
Uff, God, it is really a flurry of stories that often bother listeners, unless it is someone else... ill. But deep, deep down, it's understandable because people talk more about troubles and what bothers them.

Well, and speaking of people who work in «unhealthy» companies?
They talk about business «diseases» , dysfunctional management, money or lack of it, the end of the month, timetable, staff, colleagues, boring job, crisis, lack of opportunities, training, inertia, and lots of gossip.

And speaking of healthy people? What they do talk about?
Projects, friends, happiness, plans to the weekend, holiday, sports, meals, fun, healthy people...

And speaking of people of healthy companies?
Life projects, work projects, training opportunities, ideas, happy colleagues, holiday, recreation, trips.

Well, where does this take us?
If a large number of real unhealthy people have no chance to change for a better feeling reality, by contrast, a large proportion of unhealthy workers in unhealthy companies have their chance of changing the process. How? By creating a turning point. If you talk too much about company «diseases» or its dysfunctionalities and you are feeling uncomfortable, it's time to change... Now. Don't wait longer... until you become... unhealthy as your company. The turning point is up to you. Please get rid of unhealthy environments.