Treat Them like a Volunteer

Or at least, a little more like a volunteer. I participate in a couple volunteer organizations, and I’m frequently talking to them about treating their volunteers more like employees. Volunteer organizations sometimes have performance issues because they are afraid to hold people accountable: “How can we expect so much from them? They are just volunteers.” Frequently, you find them settling for whatever they can get.

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Today I sent a project status report. Shortly afterward, I received an e-mail informing me that while I had reported a task as complete, it wasn’t actually complete. The manager wanted to know where I got my information, and I let them know I heard it on the status call. The manager then informed me via an e-mail cc’ing the world (OK not really, but when you are being criticized, it can feel that way) that I should get information from a reliable source, and the manager named a few. It just so happened one of those “reliable sources” was the person who told me the task was complete. Graciously, that person stepped up, responded to the e-mail, and said that she was mistaken and had passed the bad information on to me. The manager then sent me an e-mail berating this “reliable source” for passing on bad information. While the task was not done, it would still be done on time.  Continue reading

The Blues

If it’s not hard, it’s not worth doing. On the journey of pursuing your goals and dreams, there will most likely be moments of feeling overwhelmed and a lack of progress. Here are a few tips to help get you through the slump.

Examine your actions. Sometimes we get lost in the trees and miss the forest. Our actions begin to misalign with the goal and get us off-track. Take a minute to re-evaluate the path you are on, and ensure it will lead you to the end solution. Continue reading

Fire Drill

Poor planning on your end does not constitute an emergency on mine. This is a paraphrase of a wonderful quote I heard from Rory Vaden. I have lived this at times. I’m sure all of us have been in situations where we had to pull together as a team and produce nothing less than a miracle to get a deliverable complete on time.

This can create a great sense of accomplishment and team work. However, when done on a regular basis, it induces quite the opposite. Asking teams to perform heroics day in and day out while compromising their priorities to make the next deadline (and the next and the next) is one of the quickest ways to have knowledge seep right out of your company. These employees tend to get sick, start producing lower quality deliverables, and eventually just walk out.
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