sexta-feira, 29 de abril de 2011

Have you a purpose for your life?

Don’t allow a time table, a chart, doubt, fear, insecurities, attitude, perception, your thoughts or anyone else’s thoughts to deter you from planning to live out each day with purpose

Stacie Harris, that I'm following on Twitter, has posted in her blog a wonderful post defining purpose. I couldn't resist publishing it right here. Having a purpose means you have a vision, a focal point, so you have a goal, then you have to make a plan and afterwards take action to achieve your purpose... With patience, persistence and perseverance.
Purpose (noun) has several meanings
1. (Your) reason for existence
Why are you here? Do you understand your reason for existing?
2. Desired effect
Knowing your purpose or learning your purpose is not enough by itself. You must be DETERMINED to LIVE with purpose, on purpose.
3. Determination is to intend or to determine to do something
Determination is also the desire or the resolve necessary to accomplish a goal

Well, what is a goal?
1. A target area (a place or space that one must go to acquire a desired result)
2. Focal point (a distant place or space you see ahead and aim to reach by all means)
3. Successful end of a plan created to obtain a specific outcome
To live with purpose, it requires:
a. Knowing your purpose
b. Accepting your purpose
c. Operating, Functioning; Living in your purpose
Knowing, Accepting, Operating, Functioning and Living in your purpose all lead to a Purpose-filled life!

However, they all involve «Acting», which requires you to DO something. Acting requires movement from you. In this instance, purpose becomes a transitive verb. It (purpose) becomes action.
- Don’t just exist (be a bump on a log… moving through life routinely).
- Don’t let life or outward circumstances dictate the purpose of your life.
- Be intentional to search yourself each day. What are you searching for? You are looking for those things that are in your heart. What makes you happy? What brings you joy? What brings you excitement? What brings you peace? What brings you satisfaction? What makes you feel that you are fulfilling your purpose?
- Is it your job? Is it serving others? Is it creating (art, songs, music, stories, plays, sewing, knitting, painting, collecting cars, riding motorcycles, cleaning, typing, working with children, playing the piano, cooking, planning other people’s special occasions… and the list goes on and on)
- Whatever it is, your heart knows your purpose even if you try to deny it. Your heart is connected to your purpose. Let your heart lead you to your purpose.

Operating in your purpose requires you to plan and planning means setting goals and setting goals takes patience, persistence and perseverance. Don’t allow a time table, a chart, doubt, fear, insecurities, attitude, perception, your thoughts or anyone else’s thoughts to deter you from planning to live out each day with purpose.

terça-feira, 26 de abril de 2011

What drives us?

I'm reading now a great book, of Dan Pink. «Drive». It's a book about motivation. How it works.
So far, the main idea is clear: Motivation is an intrinsic process and hardly works effectively with rewards. All the creativity and innovation capacity fall down when we are offered an external reward. What drives motivation? Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. That can be killed by any kind of reward. What is proved in several surveys is: what is work isn't joy.

So, scientists diveded what we do on the job or learn in school into two categories: Algorithmic and Heuristic. «Algorithmic task is one in which you follow a set of established instructions down a single pathway to one conclusion. That is, there's an algorithm for solving it. A heuristic task is the opposite. Precisely because no algorithm exists for it, you have to experiment with possibilities and devise a novel solution. Pretty much the same thing over and over in a certain way. Creating an ad campaign is mostly heuristic. You have to come up with something new.»

Only the algorithmic type of work can be successfully rewarded, because tasks belong to the area of logical conclusions, so are processed by the left-side brain. On the other hand, «for more right-brain undertakings, those that demand flexible problem-solving, inventiveness, or conceptual understanding, contingent rewards can be dangerous.»

Concluding, intrinsec motivation comes from inside of us, from true inspiration and joy. It's a inner energy that can't be activated by external rewards. Moreover, rewards are motivational killers.

Toxic companies – Take 15

Bullying! What means that?

In toxic companies what we have is a bullying atmosphere. Most of the times we don’t know what practices can be considered as bullying. Recently, Career Builder Study Finds has made a study that has cleared some doubts.

«Looking at age, 29 percent of workers age 55 or older and 29 percent of workers age 24 or younger reported they had been bullied on the job, the highest among age groups. Workers age 35 to 44 were the least likely to report feeling bullied at 25 percent.
The most common culprit is typically the boss, according to the survey. Fourteen percent of workers felt bullied by their immediate supervisor while 11 percent felt bullied by a co-worker. Seven percent said the bully was not their boss, but someone else higher up in the organization while another 7 percent said the bully was their customer.»

Now take a look what is considered bullying by workers:
• My comments were dismissed or not acknowledged – 43 percent
• I was falsely accused of mistakes I didn’t make – 40 percent
• I was harshly criticized – 38 percent
• I was forced into doing work that really wasn’t my job – 38 percent
• Different standards and policies were used for me than other workers – 37 percent
• I was given mean looks – 31 percent
• Others gossiped about me – 27 percent
• My boss yelled at me in front of other co-workers – 24 percent
• Belittling comments were made about my work during meetings – 23 percent
• Someone else stole credit for my work – 21 percent

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 5,671 U.S. workers (employed full-time; not self-employed; non government); ages 18 and over between February 21 and March 10, 2011»

Then, something that surprised me a lot:
«Although bullies can be intimidating, nearly half of workers (47 percent) said they confronted the bully about his/her actions. Of these workers, 43 percent said the bullying stopped, 13 percent reported the bullying became worse while 44 percent said the bullying stayed the same.»

In all of my work experience, I noticed that bullying became worse after a confrontation. I never saw an improvement after a confrontation. Bullies always do what they do intentionally. Anyway, this survey brings us something more detailed and useful.

quinta-feira, 21 de abril de 2011

As you think, you will be

«As You Think», a James Allen's book. The effect of the thoughts in our lives from jorge dias on Vimeo.

This book is maybe the first seed we had of self-development theories. It is a great book, a reference, and speaks about the strong effect of our thoughts in our existence, professional and personal life. We can change, we can choose, even excluding all the circumstances. Let me tell you should read it.

quarta-feira, 20 de abril de 2011

The four forces of motivation

A friend of mine, Paulo José, is now studying at Harvard Business School and he's been telling some friends about a few learned theories. Here is an example, about four main forces of motivation, from a paper published in Harvard Business Review in 2008.

1 - Drive to Acquire - The drive to acquire physical goods or experiences that increase our sense of well being. Food, clothing, money, travel, getting a promotion. It is relative (we always compare what we get to what others got) and insatiable (we always want more).

2 - Drive to Bond - The drive to connect to others or to the organization. When this drive is met it is associate with strong emotions such as love and caring.

3 - Drive to Comprehend - The drive to understand the world around us. We like to give meaning to things, and are invigorated to work out for answers. In the workplace it is the desire to make a meaningful contribution.

4 - Drive to Defend - The drive to defend ourselves, our property, our accomplishments, our family and friends and our ideas and beliefs against external threats. In the workplace it is a quest to create institutions that promote justice, that have clear goals and intentions, and that allow people to express their ideas and opinions. The drive to defend tells us a lot about people's resistance to change.

Understand this can be a step to self-development and to take action in a different way

Cooperar ou... ter pena

Em sequência do post anterior, sobre as pessoas que gostam de ajudar, ocorre-me completar a ideia com estas palavras:

«Ter pena é baixo, é miudinho, é picuinhas, é rasteiro, é limitado. Ter pena é a fraca auto-estima a disfarçar-se de uma compaixão mesquinha.
Ter pena é como ter um poder de recurso. Aliás, pena é ser invejoso e ser ciumento.
Pior do que ter pena é gostar de ter pena, numa pretensão de superioridade patética sobre o objecto da pena. Gostar de ter pena é querer a fraqueza permanente do outro, sob pena de o/a esmagar com inveja e ciúmes.
Ter pena do outro é como ter pena de si próprio pelo que só consegue bem-estar quando se sente superior e... tem pena.

Gostar de ajudar. Quem procura dar ajuda, procura quem gosta de ser ajudado, quem quer que tenham pena. Quem se queixe.»

Fuja deste tipo de pessoas e destas situações. Prefira a cooperação, que não se baseia na submissão, na relação poder-submissão. Cooperação abraça a participação e a realização.

terça-feira, 19 de abril de 2011

«Eu gosto muito de ajudar as pessoas!»

Arrepios. É aquilo que sinto quando alguém anuncia publicamente que «gosta de ajudar pessoas». Pois bem, parece ser uma atitude superior, mas encerra algo negro.
Para mim, quem gosta de ajudar, quem é gregário, não o anuncia publicamente. É reconhecido pelo comportamento, não pelo anúncio do tipo «Eu dei-lhe a mão. Eu ajudei-o/a.»
Por norma, as pessoas que «gostam de ajudar» fazem-no, mas condicionadas. Ajudam até ao ponto de manutenção da ajuda. Portanto, mantendo o ajudado nessa condição. E para que tal aconteça, há que fazer o seguinte:

1 - Prejudicar para ajudar; 2 - Perseguir para ajudar; 3 - Estragar para ajudar; 4 - Zangar-se para ajudar; 5 - Desprezar para ajudar; 6 - Armadilham para ajudar.

Já presenciei muitos destes episódios, em empresas, claro. Primeiro pratica-se o mal, para depois poder ajudar. É tudo uma questão de poder. Talvez seja o subconsciente a dizer: «Eu quero que tu estejas mal, para te ajudar depois.» Gostam muito do «ajudado», mas assim que o «ajudado» ganha autonomia, passam a odiá-lo e a persegui-lo... Para ver se o conseguem ajudar numa sucessão de sentimentos de compaixão e complacência.

Portanto, cuidado, tenha muito cuidado com as pessoas «que gostam de ajudar». Tenha a certeza que não vai ter coaching. Não haverá crescimento pessoal ou profissional.

segunda-feira, 18 de abril de 2011


In his book «Tribes», Seth Godin talks about... GRAZE. What means graze for people? Well, the old era is about to finish, because, according to Seth, people has been grazing for many years and this activity don't feed people anymore.

How Seth defines graze? People that were trained to be obedient in order to do idiot work and feeling enough fear to stay in the line. Companies hire graduated people to be peacefull, consistent and keen on acceptance through fear of being fired.
Employees are not guilty, but they suffer the consequences of belonging to a herd. Just because they were trained to be sheeps.

Have you noticed human sheep don't do work with passion? As Seth says, they go on holiday for two weeks trying to forget the rest of 50: Isn't so sad seeing the receptionist of a company standing still there, year after year, answering some phone calls and spending the rest of the day reading magazines, with her thoughts, waiting and waiting. And then the downsizing day came, cruel, punishing that inactivity, punishing the sheep for doing the work the company wanted her to do.

This situation happened in a company where I worked. Three receptionists were fired after twelve years of service. They had never had any opportunity of growing, of training. The company only had «granted» them that position of receptionist. And, because they didn't do anything to change their situation, the situation came to them, all of a sudden. A sad story for employees just because they believed in the idea of being quiet sheeps.

Final sugestion: Don't be a sheep. You don't have to belong the herd

quinta-feira, 14 de abril de 2011

Toxic Companies - Take 14

Delayed payments

This is quite obvious, but is a strong feature. Because, in a large number of companies this is a question of culture. Let me clear something, this is a kind of exclusive acting in small enterprises. Called «familiar», with twenty or thirthy people.

The owner (and chairman too) starts giving the idea of lack of money. Why? Ok, one day, the owner of a company where I worked told me something interesting: «Jorge, we can't give the idea of abundance, of success to all these people. You see, even if you get a good money, we have to tell people that the reality is not good and the future is not shiny. You don't have enough experience to understand this, but I can tell you that people become frightened and will work a lot. What will happen if you tell them the newspaper is selling well and the company is getting profits? You will have all the staff asking you for salary rises. Do you understand?»

This type of a paternalist lesson stuck in my memory. And I could see the results of so «wise» strategy. Salaries were paid always one, two or three days after the end of the month. People got afraid of what that meant. As the time passed, company staff got tired of so much scarcity, and slowed down their commitment, retained the knowledge they could and spent all the time talking about the situations in a negative way.

Today, the company still resists but as a zombie in a predatory market and with only a few people, because the rest were gone. I no longer work there for two years. I had to find projects, my own project of life and feel again hope and a meaning in my work life.

If you work in a company with this culture, it's better think on going away

quarta-feira, 13 de abril de 2011

Is the lion really the king of the jungle?...

... What means, can leaders really change?

This is the question professor Manfred Kets De Vries asks in chapter 10 of his book «Reflections on Groups and Organizations». He gives the answer telling a story.

«The lion was completetly convinced about his dominance of the animal kingdom. One day he wanted to check whether all the other animals knew he was the undisputed king of the jungle. He was so confident that he decided not to talk to the smaller creatures. Instead, he went straight to the bear. "Who is the king of the jungle?", asked the lion. The bear replied, "Of course, no one else but you, sir".

The lion gave a great roar of approval. He continued his journey and met the tiger. "Who is the king of the jungle?" The tiger quickly responded, "All of us know that you are the king". The lion gave another roar of pleasure. Next on his list was the elephant. He caught up with the elephant at the edge of a river and asked him the same question, "Who is the king of the jungle?" The elephant trumpeted, lifted his trunk, grabbed the lion, threw him in the air and smashed him into a tree. He fished him out of the tree and pounded him into the ground, lifted him up once more and dumped him into the river. Then he jumped on top of the lion, dragged him through the mud, and finally left him hanging in some bushes.

The lion, dirty, beaten, bruised, and battered, struggled to get to his feet. He looked the elephant sadly in the eyes and said, "Look, just because you don't know the answer, there's no reason for you to be so mean-spirited about it".»

And Kets De Vries ends his idea about this story: «Some leaders are like the lion. Reality testing isn't their forte. They are not good at making sense out of feedback. Instead, they create their own reality, wanting to see only what they like to see. They are not very open to change.»

terça-feira, 12 de abril de 2011

Toxic Companies – Take 13

Compel people to have concerns

It’s a common detail in all toxic companies. An atmosphere of concern. Fostered by top and middle management. Concerned people are easy to «lead». They do what management wants. They are more likely to engage internal wars in order to survive, fostered by managers. Why? To blame system and some employees.

Concerned people launder manager’s incompetence, allowing them to blame the team and circumstances. It’s an old strategy I witnessed in some companies I worked for. And this strategy only means the fear the middle management feels in their position. They think the only way to keep their position is fostering an idea of chaos and lack of skills and communication from their co workers («subordinates», in management’s terminology).

According David Sirota, doctorate from University of Michigan and engaged in behavioral research for over 30 years, here you are a kind of a companies picture. What happens when managers have fear and foster concern in organizations?
1 – They convey the idea that work is only a way of get the salary. So, nobody have real purpose of life while working.
2 – They don’t recognize good work and the main idea is «I don’t have to thank for the work they are paid for»
3 – Foster a command-control atmosphere, killing creativity and innovation
4 – They are against workers development. No comments
5 – There’s a lack of communication. Lack of data leads to a low commitment, performance and motivation
6 – They don’t solve problems of low performance. They prefer to blame
7 – They don’t foster team work, which means lack of performance and results
8 – They are awful listeners and avoid work and team involvement

I have to add some others features, like expressions «Company doesn’t have money»; «Probably company has to sack some people»; «The boss is furious, I don’t know what is going to happen»; «I don’t know what to do to protect you guys»; «Probably next month we will have some problems with salaries payment»; «Don’t think too much, ok?»; «Remember I’m in charge here!»; «I was called to a meeting and something is going to change here. But I can’t tell you».

sexta-feira, 8 de abril de 2011

Toxic Companies - Take 12

Invoking boss's name

«The chairman wants this like that from now one»
or «The CEO told doesn't want you to do this as usual»

This is the type of situations that happen in toxic companies where we can find managers don't taking responsibility of their options. The fact is in most, to not tell all, of their decisions they always tell employees it was not them (managers) but the chairman or the CEO that took the decision. And they spend all the time saying the responsability of this or that change is not them (managers) but them (bosses).

The exception is when something is positive. Then here we are a pretentious manager.
Lack of accountability is a desease in our organizations. Starting in state institutions, that give themselves the luxury of repeating errors and mistakes, and making disastrous «investments», spending money with no balance. We all know there is not their money they spend. But they spend to much time in TV, in public speeches, telling people the fault is from markets, is from banks, is from international crisis, it's the price of gas.

Have you ever noticed that there is not a single situation of taking themselves the responsibility? They are allways the victims. Victims of the system (that is an entity with no face), victims of external events.

Politicians always invoke the system's names

quinta-feira, 7 de abril de 2011

The For Free and the sparrows

What can sparrows teach to For Free companies?

What's the matter with the sparrows? Well, nothing. Everything is going according the Mother Nature. Ok, and what's the matter with For Free companies? Everything. Why? Because is a humankind creation. Against Mother Nature rules.

Let me explain, if I can sell you this idea. Let me try. So, everyday, just in the morning, sparrows land in my kitchen's window sill, chirping. They land and stay. Guess why they stay?... I use to put there some bread crumbs in order to see them, graciously picking the pieces of bread. The story almost ends here. It's very simple to understand. When the sparrows don't have any bread in the window sill, not worth to land, not even stay. They have more to do, to survive, than just give me the pleasure of seeing them... for free.

Let me give you another example. The Circus. Have you noticed that animals in circus make stuntsfor something in return? If a monkey receives a peanut to making a flip-flap, everything goes well. But if the guy doesn't give him the peanut, maybe the monkey, confused and hopefull, tries again and again. Three times, maybe. Then, if he doesn't have the peanut as reward, no more flip-flap can be expected.

As we can see, production only can happen with rewards. If we don't have rewards, the only thing we can do is keep seeking for them.
Have you read «Who Moved My Cheese» book? Well, people, like everything alive in this world, are looking for a cheese. Nobody stays in a place with no cheese. The For Free is like making an agenda of slow death.

I'll finish this post with a question: What kind of future can expect companies that ask for people to working for free, even calling them trainees?
Companies in Portugal are weirdly defining trainees people skilled on 4, 5 or 6 softwares and with a huge range of emotional qualities. This is not a trainee, this is a real experienced professional.

I like sparrows

quarta-feira, 6 de abril de 2011

Toxic Companies - Take 11

A blaming atmosphere

«Who has done this?»
«Sorry, but it's not my fault. This happened because they haven't given me the text well»
«I have nothing to do with that?, Why didn't he check all the stuff?»

It's a type of a label in toxic companies. Blaming and don't take responsabilities for anything. Starting from the boss, who allways seeks for a guilty in all situations, with a «WHO (fill in the blank)?»

How this happened? And what can we do to make it no happen again? What can we do to not repeat this? Something have to change in work process in order to make things go right.

Precisely, this type of question doesn't exist in toxic companies. What is important is allways finding a guilty, while the problem remains the same. I think this kind of culture is intentional and fostered by bosses in order to get rid of responsabilities and for make them the victims. Victims of incompetency of their co-workers. So, they feel better and they seem better than they are at the eyes of the board. The only problem is they are surrounded by incompetents and careless people. The board often accepts this reality, so the board keep accepting blaming activities...

That, really, are not solutions at all. It's only a way of keep going with the old habits, going till the disaster. Two posts ago, I did a videolog talking about the words that can change the reality: How and What. A powerfull way of achieving something successfully. See post toxic companies - take 7 too.

In toxic companies, much of the questions start with an WHO. Let's change this...

segunda-feira, 4 de abril de 2011

Toxic Companies - Take 10

The whiners

One of the toxic companies labels are the whining atmosphere. All the people have a complain about something. They blame co-workers, they blame peers, other departments, the boss, the manager.

I havwe worked about ten years in a small company with this type of climate. Seemed everybody didn't have any responsability for anything. What happened? Produts have lowered their quality, profits have fallen, some people were made redundant in a «quick fix» downsizing, facilities have been degraded. Coffee was no longer provided by company because of lack of money, as well as toilet paper. It's not a joke. I'm serious.
The company produced newspapers and magazines. The solution provided by the CEO was only based in this kind of statement: «Well, the market is very complicated at moment. People don't have money to buy so much newspapers as before, unfortunately, there are other publications in the market. So, the only solution I'm seeing to solve the problem for now is to increase the price of our newspapers (there were two) and reduce the number of pages. Let's cut four.»

This guy of 55 years old had been minister of media communication. And he started a kind of drift that was repeated in time. Increasing prices, reducing pages. The effect: well, they had to sell the company some years after several mentioned decisions.
Even facing this reality, people kept the complaining style, whining about the world and the market. Anyway, they had «captured» the CEO and chairman styles. Instead of thinking of adding value to produts, they prefered whining. Of course they didn't felt responsable for the events.

So, if the atmosphere of your company is complaining
and whining I assure you don't have any future there

sexta-feira, 1 de abril de 2011

The Question Behind the Question


Hi, first time I'm making a videolog. I think written words can be boring, so, I've decided to make some kind of change. Hope you enjoy it. The book, QBQ, is really a great master piece. John G. Miller writes clearly about two types of people and the way they make questions.