I have had a couple of days to think about this blog and what I would like to do with it…
I have decided that this blog will be dedicated to fun stuff and musings about life, cookery, golf, wine and other ‘tribbles’ as they crop up.
For everything marketing, I have another blog over at dhtmarketing.co.uk. Drop by sometime for tips, tricks and insights by me and other B2B marketing experts.
I’ve kind of lost my way with this blog. It has been about cooking and recipes, marketing, working in B2B tech, playing golf and my family. I haven’t blogged for a long time as I had a feeling this was becoming a rather shouty, rant about everything negative.
I read through some of the more ‘focussed’ posts recently and really enjoyed some of the memories that they brought back. So, now’s the time for me to think through what I want to use this blog for.
Whether you’re working for a new company and have that nerve racking first day ahead of you, or you’re part of an established team awaiting the arrival of new colleagues – the road ahead can be a minefield. New personalities. Skills. Moods. Contribution. Fit.
How do you work out the dynamic between you? How do you establish working relationships that count?
Teams of people work eight or so hours a day, relationships build quickly and common ground is established. You might even start to build trust between you and those colleagues, giving you a deeper understanding and empathy within the team. But, trust must be earned, as must respect. They are not given lightly, nor are they something to play with.
But, how do you know if trust is mutual? How do you know if someone is genuine? At what point do you ‘relax’, get back to ‘normal’ and do the job at hand, without distraction? Do you simply ‘trust’ your instincts and feelings?
There are people in life who are simply not genuine. People who are centred on themselves. Who think of themselves, before others and about securing their position in business. These are the people who tell you to (face to face) ‘I’ve got your back’. The same people who think nothing of calling with their woes and worries; a review, an issue with the spouse or kids or even a team member. So, what do you do, and how do you handle it when your trust is betrayed? Confront them? Ignore them? Get on with your job regardless? But, what happens when their actions have a serious impact on you, both personally and professionally? Where do you turn when the person you thought you trusted has betrayed that trust?
Karma really is a beautiful thing. The only thing you have to do is wait.
We live in a world that’s changing. Networks are expanding. Lives don’t move on and it’s difficult for people to make a clean break or a fresh start in any area. I’m not saying it’s wrong (or right) but, I do think it gives pause for thought.
Facebook allows us to reconnect with old friends, or those we’ve lost touch with over the years. It gives us licence to chat, post updates about our lives and tell others what’s going on. It allows people to keep up the happenings of far away friends, but at what point does it become a little bit ‘intrusive’? Or voyeuristic? Do you really want your entire friends list knowing what you had for breakfast? Or that you’re a bit drunk and threw up on the train?
And LinkedIn? The ‘professional’ network…? I have noticed recently that my profile gets a lot of attention from ex-colleagues – people that haven’t actually spoken to me in recent months. What do they want? Is it to know what I’m doing and where? Or another reason?
I’ve had a Twitter account for many years, but recently, my use of Twitter has changed. Is what I say interesting enough to warrant a post? Are my followers really interested in my life? What do I enjoy from the people that follow me? And why?
Are we creating tools and environments that allow people to satisfy curiosity or are we giving people windows into our lives that they normally would not have? Is it stalking? If it’s not stalking, at what point does it become stalking?
That’s what we’ve got where I work. People are always trying to cover their backs and keep their heads down, to stay out of the line of sight. It’s not pleasant at the best of times. For me, I report directly into the ‘c-team’ so there’s no hiding for me. It makes me a little bit cautious when discussing things in a ‘public’ forum. This week I had the less than pleasant task of running a meeting at the request of my c-level boss. It was always going to contain frustrations, strong views and some frayed tempers, but I didn’t quite expect it to get personal the way it did.
With a number of people coming from far away, there was much discussion about improving communications, and getting things done in a more collaborative manner. That’s no issue at all. I think we would all welcome improvements across all of the team, no-one’s denying it. The difficulties arrived when during a heated discussion fingers were pointed at specific people, comments such as ‘you’re to blame’, ‘it’s your fault’ and ‘you should have done more’ were mentioned. It became very personal. Very. Trying to steer things in a neutral way didn’t help either – it seemed to escalate the level of frustration among the attendees.
There’s no denying the facts. Business isn’t what it once was. But it is just that – business. Don’t make it personal. Don’t point fingers. Yes, we have a culture of fear, but don’t try to score points on a personal level. You never know when it might backfire in your direction.
I believe in karma, do you?
I wrote this a while ago…
It’s been a turbulent year. I’ve decided that 2011 is turning into one of those years that we’ll need to either grab by the short and curlies or just forget. Which is it to be?
Work has dominated so far this year – predominantly the roller coaster ride that is my company. In October I got a new boss. It took the best part of six months to adjust to his up and down/hot & cold manner. He’s brash, he’s pushy, he’s demanding and more… But in the past few weeks I’ve come to understand just how much he’s fought for the team and to take away all of the road blocks that hamper the day to day running of the department.
It’s taken a lot of time for the team to get used to him and to start to buy into what he’s been trying to do, but they were getting there. It was starting to feel like we were achieving an awful lot in a short space of time.
And, we had a leader. Someone fighting for us at the highest level. In with the other big cheeses – fighting the politics and shouting about the things we need to get on with an achieve.
First, there was the ‘potential acquisition’ notification. Then, the CEO was let go. And, most recently my boss was let go. Ooooomph!
It was such a shock to us all. There were many unhappy people discussing how it would mean to them and what would happen next. Our ‘new CEO’ (our Chairman became the Exec Chairman) announced we would all report to sales management. Such a step in the wrong direction.
So, the roller coaster starts running even faster than it did before.
Work is going from bad to worse at the moment. With questions over brand, CMS, ‘best-of-breed’ agencies and upheaval, it’s no surprise that morale has reached an all time low. We’ve had two resignations in the past week. Correction – I have had two resignations in the past week. Two of my longest serving (longest suffering) team members are stepping down from the role and from the company.
It’s clear they’ve both had enough of the constant change and upheaval and that both are looking for new challenges. It’s clear that everything is different already. But, what of the company? What will be done to rebuild? Anything? Everything? Nothing?
I shall miss my team – as it once was. These changes are as a result of decisions made back to February. Changes were set in motion at that point, and here we are. This week’s news is a direct result. My question (rhetorical): why am I still here? what is there for me? where does this mis-guided sense of loyalty come from? what’s next? will I ever find the elusive ‘work/life balance’? and, losing my team members…what’s next?
Answers on a postcard, please.
I use the term the boss to represent the person we report to at work. I’m now on my fifth boss at my current company – the second this year. I like the rest of my team wonder when this person will show us the way forward. When this person will lead. Today, I find myself doubting that that will happen.
We go to work every day. We offer a certain amount of time to our companies in return for a wage. We build relationships with the people we work with. We talk, we discuss, we argue, we debate and we do what’s necessary to get our jobs done. And then, at 5:30 we go home. But it doesn’t actually end there. Often, we work late because we don’t want to let anyone down. Because we want to do a good job. Because there’s a tight deadline and it’s an important task. We don’t get paid to do it. We do it through our good will. On the promise that our company will take care of us, treat us well and show respect.
In recent weeks, my company has used up the good will of most of my department. It has used up the good will. It has ground people’s humour down. And it’s squashed the life out of some people. Why do companies (or the people running them) think this is good or acceptable?
Today, I took several (blows) pieces of ‘bad’ news about my ‘role’ and what I do for the company. Here we go again. The question is, can I find any tiny bits of good will to see me through? Or…what is the or?
It’s no secret that work is a bit of a challenge at the moment. It doesn’t help that the boss has told several people who work for me that he’s ‘piling on the pressure to see who jumps first’. I had a major meltdown again last week. Haven’t had a melt down so far this week, but it is only Monday. I’ve come to the conclusion today that even if I resign tomorrow, I’ll not be the first. We’ve lost someone already. One. Of. The. Good. Guys.
It’s the risk you take with that particular ‘management style’ (the pressure style, the weed out the weak style). The risk is that you lose the good guys and get stuck with the ones you’d really hoped had gone. The question is…what am I? One of the good ones or one of the ones he wants to keep?
Am I paranoid? Can I really get 2 + 2 = 4? Or am I just imagining the worst? And seeing the very worst there is?
I’ll move away now and take my conspiracy theories to bed with me. Night night.
A couple of weeks ago my company issued its IMS. In the statement we missed our EBITDA contribution by a few percent. In the same announcement we also announced a restructuring charge of between $14-18m. It sent shivers down the spines of all colleagues that have lived through such ‘restructures’ in the past.
On Friday it began.
Mid afternoon the whispers began in the office. The Skype messages went back and forth between colleagues worried for each other. And the rumours about office closures, and numbers of lay-offs spread like wild fire.
Today, I took a phone call asking whether the restructure had happened in our office, that it was rumoured to be happening today.
Unfortunately, it didn’t. I say unfortunately, not because I’m being flippant, but because I’m already mopping up the tears of my team members who are worried, no, distraught at the impending changes and over losing their jobs. I’m in no different position. I face being put ‘at risk’, just like all of them. None of us know. None of us have any clues. It’s the not knowing that is upsetting people. People add one and one and make three.
The atmosphere sucks. It’s oppressive in the office. It’s difficult to concentrate. It’s like waiting for the guillotine to fall.
So, here I sit, not looking forward to tomorrow. But, I’ll get up in the morning. I’ll put my face on and I’ll drive the 40 miles to the office. You never know, I might be home again soon. Then again, maybe it’ll be tomorrow evening before I’m back.