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Happywork TV Episode 21: Employees Should Challenge Each Other to Be Their Very Best

In Episode 21 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made jointly by employers and employees. It goes like this: “As employees, we will challenge each other to be our very best. Doing great work gives human beings the sense of significance they need and desire.”

In my work travels, I have found myself working with a melange of differently-talented people. Companies are full of superstars and clock watchers. Happy people and acerbic people. Glass-is-half-full people and glass-is-half-empty people (and some glass-is-totally-empty people, too). We all have different family lives, different goals, different backgrounds, and different motivations. We’re all REALLY different (one of the main points of my book).

Here’s an idea: it is US – the employees of an organization, from top to bottom – who should set the standard to live by. All of us – NOT just management. I will work hard, because I don’t want to let you, my coworker, down. It’s just how we live at Vunorri Inc. (the name of my fictitious company). We’re in this together. How does that sound to you? To me, it sounds like a powerful mindset. In most cases, losers (for lack of a better term) would self-select out of such a work environment. And winners would stay. We’d cooperate with each other more often, reaching company goals that much more quickly.

Instead of being forced by big bad management to perform at 150% capacity by using draconian management tactics, wouldn’t it be great if everyone came to work with a strong sense of purpose? Maybe expecting 100% attendance on this is far fetched, but there is nothing wrong with working toward perfection. It’s the journey toward greatness and the processes put in place during that journey, the camaraderie developed during the long haul, that really shape us and the companies we work at, and provide us a chance to feel fulfilled and happy.

What standard will you set for yourself? What standard will your organization set for itself?

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Watch Episode 20 here!

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IMPORTANT!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

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Happywork TV Episode 20: Do Not Be Jealous Of or Compete With Coworkers

In Episode 20 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made by employees to their managers/employers. It goes like this: “There is no need for me to be jealous of or compete with fellow employees. A work culture with employees helping each other benefits everyone. I will work in concert with my coworkers. I will compete only with yesterday’s self. My barometer is yesterday; I must be better today than I was the day before.”

I am not trying to scare away the conservatives in the room by bashing competition. Of course competition can be a wonderful thing. Target makes Wal-Mart work harder. Wal-Mart makes everyone work harder. Competing with other companies is awesome. You might compete so hard with an industry competitor that you wish harm on them; it would be great if you gained market share and they lost market share. You might even want to force them out of business! I can’t tell you to feel otherwise.

But what about employees within an organization? Yes, there might be two qualified employees and only one promotion available. Is that a competitive situation? I guess so. Should these two employees be competing so hard with each other that they’re undermining the other, not cooperating with them, and praying for their demise? No. In my book, that is not healthy for that company, or the human race.

It’s hard to suppress feelings of jealousy when a coworkers gets praise and you don’t. It’s difficult (and ill-advised) to not work your ass off for that promotion you want. Go ahead – work hard! I am asking you to work with all your heart, and to cooperate with your coworkers. Company success should be your number one priority.

Besides, jealousy is such an ugly emotion.

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Watch Episode 19 here!

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IMPORTANT!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

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And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 19: Give Two Weeks Notice, But Don’t Quit!

In Episode 19 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made by employees to their employers. It goes like this: “If I quit and give two weeks notice, I won’t quit on my employer. Keep in mind that I’m leaving for a reason, and may be eagerly anticipating my last day. So it’s possible my effort won’t be 100%. But I will try.”

I like this part of The Happywork Agreement because it doesn’t suck up to one side or the other with the simple answer. An employee will typically say, “F it, I quit, why should I care how my final two weeks go?” A hard-nosed, traditional-sounding employer might say, “Hey, if I’m paying you, put your nose down in it and do your job. Oh, and those projects you had committed to finish? Are they gonna get done?” And so on.

Notice there how BOTH SIDES ARE BEING UNREASONABLE. And that’s one of the main reasons human beings disagree and bicker and fight and argue!

Any demanding employer in the employee’s shoes – truly in their shoes, quitting a job – would act in much the same way as the employee. In fact, when they quit their VP and EVP jobs, they’re not always giving 100%. Sometimes they’re leaving without two weeks notice, and they’re taking company secrets with them. But knowing this (or maybe conveniently ignoring it), they still can’t forgive their employees for quitting. They take it personally, like it’s a girlfriend breaking up with them, and they hate how you can’t give 150% effort up until the last day. On the other side, how many times have you heard this from an employee who’s submitted her two weeks notice: “What are they gonna do? Fire me?” Ha! How lazy can you possibly be! Your employer doesn’t deserve your half-ass, slovenly effort. Get in there and show them how you carry yourself as a human being. Try!

The gulf between employer and employee frustrated me so much that I wrote a book about it! And this episode was about one of those intractable differences that keep human beings at odds. I hope we can change that.

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Watch Episode 18 here!

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IMPORTANT!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Your Words Matter

Brian Urlacher

One morning, I was watching Mike & Mike on ESPN 2, and they had former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher on set. He retired a few years ago, and his exit from the Bears was a bit messy. Urlacher and the Bears couldn’t agree on a new contract, but to hear him talk about it now, he was ready to take less money.

However, he didn’t like the Bears’ approach. Paraphrasing, Urlacher said the Bears presented their offer as:

“This is what we can pay you. Take it or leave it.”

But Urlacher would have rather heard something to the effect of:

“This is what we can pay you. We need you. Come back.”

Note that it would have been the same dollar amount, no matter what language Bears management used – strong-arm language, or more persuasive language designed to appeal to Urlacher’s heart. Perhaps the Bears didn’t really want him back, and that’s why they chose the former. But are we to understand that Urlacher would have taken the low-ball contract offer if the Bears had just been nicer? Yup.

Some will say, “Bro, it was the same amount of money! Who cares? Take it!” Nope, that’s not how human interactions really work.

When faced with a challenge, the most important question you can ask yourself is not, “How am I gonna do this?” Rather, it’s “What am I trying to accomplish?” Once you frame your challenge in that manner, you’re ready to answer the “how” question. In this case, if the Bears didn’t want Urlacher back, they won. If they were ready for him to take the offer and would have welcomed him back with open arms, they screwed up.

Your words matter.

Happywork TV Episode 18: “That’s The Way It’s Always Been Done” is a Clown Answer!

In Episode 18 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made by employees to their employers. It goes like this: “I will never answer a question with ‘Because that’s the way it’s always been done.’ That is a lazy, clown answer.”

This one takes me back to my auditing days. I spent over 15 years as a CPA, and started out in the auditing department of a public accounting firm. As such, I was sent to our clients on annual audits, and auditors have lots of questions. It’s our job. It’s not just about verifying the numbers, but understanding how the business works. The auditor wants to add value to a client’s business processes. For those of you who don’t know, being this kind of auditor is NOT like being an IRS auditor (with the fangs and the garnishments and the jail time), even though our clients sometimes viewed us that way.

So I’d roll into a client and ask lots of questions. I thoroughly disliked asking a question like, “Can you explain the reasoning behind XYZ procedure” or whatever, and getting an answer, “Because that’s the way it’s always been done.” Sorry, my stale friend, you’re going to have to try harder!

Do you know what that answer means? Those employees have never questioned WHY they do what they do, have probably never tried to improve things around the office, OR (and this is a huge OR) management has set the tone and you’re not to rock the boat. (sneak preview – my book has both such problems).

“Because that’s the way it’s always been done” is not the proper answer to ANY QUESTION ever asked. But, it’s almost certainly an explanation of why things are so sucky around the office. And every time someone cops this attitude, it sucks a little life out of everyone who heard it.

Here’s an idea – if a coworker (or outside consultant) asks you why something is done a certain way, and you really don’t have a good answer, you can say, “You know, to my fault, I’ve honestly never thought about it.” Then go get a good answer.

There’s nothing more unattractive or stinkier than workplace laziness. Don’t be that guy!

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Watch Episode 17 here!

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IMPORTANT!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

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And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 17: Ignore Your Job Description Every Now and Then

In Episode 17 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made by employees to their employers. It goes like this: “I promise to ignore my job description every once in a while. In other words, my employer will not hear the words ‘That’s not my job’ come out of my mouth.”

In other areas of The Happywork Agreement, I encourage employers to shoot their employees straight – to tell them what you want, and when you want it. I advise employers to not leave employees in the dark; don’t make employees guess what’s important.

Of course, life is complicated, with many shades of gray, and here’s some more gray. As is my now-customary question to you guys, HAVE YOU EVER WORKED WITH someone who sits on their hands during extreme times of need because the task at hand is not part of their overall job description? There’s a crisis – the company is in need! Do you know what that means? Your fellow employees are in need, too! Work sucks until this big problem is solved. All hands on deck! But it’s not part of your job. Thanks for the help, Brah.

The needs of a company and the needs of a team CANNOT perfectly fit into a written job description. Of course uniquely-shaped problems will present themselves. Whatever will we do? We’ll sick our talented people on it! Now, those people are going to have to bend a little bit. They’re going to have to tackle some big thinking, some team-building, and some duties that were not on that job description they were handed a few years ago when they were hired.

Be helpful to the team! Don’t marry your job description – yes do your job, but cheat on that description when duty calls.

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Watch Episode 16 here!

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IMPORTANT!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!

They Didn’t Quit, Even When Their Jobs Were Gone

I love this StoryCorps piece. An assisted living facility abruptly shuts down, and two employees remain behind to take care of 16 residents who would have never survived without round-the-clock care. Just incredible.

It speaks to me about courage – stepping up when no one else will. If there’s litter on the street in front of you, but you didn’t put it there, what’s your next move? My preferred attitude on this – I will pick it up, because if I don’t, who else would? And why would anyone else act in such a selfless way if I’m not willing to demonstrate similar behavior. Too often, we wait for the other party to do the nice thing, to make the first move. The world won’t become a better place unless you step up. You’re that person.

StoryCorps always makes me tear up.

TAKE A LISTEN HERE

Happywork TV Episode 16: Show Up To Your Damn Job On Time

In Episode 16 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made by employees to their employers. It goes like this: “I will show up to work on time, or will communicate when I can’t.”

That’s it! Freakin’ show up to work on time! Your employer does not deserve the shenanigans about alarm clocks that didn’t go off, car trouble, and all the rest.

If you have an extenuating circumstance, please communicate it with your superiors! For me, Happywork is all about work/life balance. I don’t just care about your work happiness; I want the entire user experience known as your life to be a great one. You want to be able to drop your kids off at school, and be at their parent/teacher conferences, and more. So there will be times you can’t make it to work on time – COMMUNICATE! I am hopeful your employer will understand. Create an open line of communication, and be reliable for your employer.

What of workplaces with flex time? They’re awesome. But, if you don’t work at such a place, and they tell you your shift starts at 8am, be there at 8!!!

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Watch Episode 15 here!

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Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 15: Your Job is Not a Right, So Stop Acting Like It Is

In Episode 15 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made by employees to their employers. It goes like this: “I understand my job is not a right, nor a privilege.”

For me, this is a matter of employee attitude. If your employer came to you and said, “You know, you’re lucky to have a job here at my company,” you’d be like “GTFO of here!” That’s not the lever of persuasion that an employer should be pulling!

So, when employees strut around with the attitude that the company is lucky to have them … that, without them, everything would fall apart and who would do their job and “I’m irreplaceable…” Well, you’re wrong. No one is irreplaceable, and the sooner you realize that, the better your attitude might get.

I was once removed from a job, and I thought to myself, “How are they gonna do this without me?” And, “Don’t they even want to know the password to my computer and the online banking and…” Guess what? They managed. It probably took a couple of uncomfortable phone calls and a few late nights, but they survived without me.

My biggest problem with this attitude of “My employer is lucky to have me” is the potential damage it can do to our work relationships. If an employer can piss off her people by copping a bad attitude, an employee can tweak their employer doing the exact same thing. AND that is a terrible foundation on which to build a team.

So that’s my issue – you can’t build great teams if you have employers acting like jerks, and you certainly can’t build a great team if you have employees strutting around like they’re entitled to their jobs.

This is about attitude.

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Watch Episode 14 here!

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Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

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And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 14: Owners May Be More Enthusiastic About The Business Than Employees

LOL HIT “PLAY” ON MY FOREHEAD!

In Episode 14 of Happywork TV, I introduce the next commitment contained in the work code of conduct I’ve created called “The Happywork Agreement.” (which is in the book! The Agreement itself was where the whole idea for this book started)

Here it is: “I will keep in mind that my employees may not be as excited about the organization as I am. This is natural, as this business is my dream and not necessarily theirs.”

Key in on the word “natural” here. As an owner or manager, you can wish all day that your employees had an internal motor that ran at 200% like yours does. You can wish it all you want, but it’s not often going to be so. You started the business; it’s your dream. Who could possibly be more excited about it than you?

By the way, when I was a marketing and communication consultant, I used to hate the question some prospects would ask: “Are you going to love my business as much as I do?” What are you, nuts? That’s just impossible, and a seriously lazy question. Ask better questions!

I digress.

If Mr Owner or Mrs Manager is wondering why their employees aren’t as excited as they are, they should first understand that it’s completely natural to have more energy, drive, and excitement for your business than your employees. And if you want to change that, work hard at it! Train your people. Coach them up. Give them a great place to work. Give them a reason to be excited to come to work! Don’t just sit there and wish everyone loved your business as much as you do. Work your ass off to make it so!

And, I would ask that you avoid making us employees feel guilty for not loving your business as much as you do. That’s what I’d call “coaching down,” and if you’re doing this, you’re going on the wrong direction.

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Watch Episode 13 here!

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Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!