Do Looks Matter for Success? When it comes to my book, I think they do.
- Greeting everyone you meet before they greet you.
- Holding doors for others
- Smiling at everyone you pass
Mother’s day is almost here. Wondering what to get that career mom who is working all the time, and wishes she could have more time with the family without quitting her job? There is no reason why a woman can’t have a career she loves and at the same time a fulfilling home life. Here are five books that can make it happen.
Build Your Community: Part 12
The The Harvard Business Review tip of the day: People who are overloaded by work should “create rituals—highly specific behaviors, done at precise times, that become automatic and no longer require conscious will or discipline. For example, go[ing] to bed at the same time every night [ensures that] you consistently get enough sleep.”
As a baseball fan, I’m all over rituals. This year during the SF Giants World Series run, I listened to the first two playoff games (losses) on the radio, and then I watched next three (wins) on tv. It was a bummer, because I was afraid to turn the radio on for the rest of the playoffs, lest The Giants start losing again. Unfortunate, because Jon Miller and the other local radio announcers are so much better than the various clowns broadcasting on tv. But what could I do? I didn’t want The Giants to lose on my account.
My silly-but-true example illustrates something important about human behavior: much of what we do is driven by emotion, not reason. And while my turning on the tv was not a ritual per say, rituals serve the same function: emotional comfort from the sameness of an activity.
Rituals are one of the ways that corporate culture is perpetuated. A primary example is the quarterly company meeting, when all employees gather to hear senior management go through a scorecard of performance, talk about what is coming up, and try to inspire employees for the future. Employees at dysfunctional companies sometimes refer to these as “cool aid sessions” while companies like Google and now Yahoo use weekly all hands meetings as a way to build a culture of transparency and trust among employees. (For more check out this interview with Laszlo Bock, Google’s SVP of People Operations on Thinkwithgoogle.com).
This tip from HBR is spot on, although I disagree with the overt suggestion to use rituals as a means to maintain a work-first mentality.
“Sebastian Tate,” who we met in Chapter 7 in this post, uses the ritual of the male-bonding camping trip to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Chapter 8: Build Your Community Part 9
The last post ended with the no layoff policy at Southwest Airlines. For the vast majority of companies however, layoffs are a reality. I’ve been through multiple layoffs in my career, although only once was I let go. (As I’ve written previously, I was thrilled when it happened.) Being of the survivors was much harder. I felt like one of the walking dead, wandering the halls morning those who were no longer there.
The personal connections at work often feel like friendships, and sometimes they are. But sometimes they aren’t.
“Giorgio Danza” learned that lesson the hard way. Giorgio moved to San Francisco after college because the city was friendly to his lifestyle. Giorgi has a hearty laugh that matches the intensity of his personality. Think Polo, panache and perfect. His hair is dark brown, short, and perfect. And his sunglasses are amazing, and never the same.
Giorgi worked for the same company eighteen years after college, ten as a laboratory technician, and then eight in product management. I asked him if the company felt like his community.
“Oh God yes, absolutely. I prided myself on having great relationships with people, from shipping to manufacturing. I think people saw me as very knowledgeable, experienced, knew how company worked, how to get things done. I stepped in [to the company] as a kid, literally as a child, and didn’t learn stuff about politics that maybe I would have learned better if I had life experience outside of the company. ”
I asked Giorgi about the layoff. “It was devastating. I did not see it coming.”
Giorgi’s story continues in the next post.
Chapter 8: Build Your Community Part 2
The changes I made in my life would have been much harder without the support of my wife. First, I made changes in my identity to start putting people first. And there were implications – it was possible that I could get promoted more slowly because I wouldn’t jump up and volunteer for the extra project that would require that I work over the weekend. And then one day, on a drive home from Yosemite National Park, I announced that I just wanted to resign and stay home with the kids.
We planned my exit from the corporate world for two months, looking at the finances primarily, to see if we could pull things off with only her salary to live on. What was key, however, was not the raw numbers per se, but our shared values. We decided that reducing the stress in our lives was the top priority. And we were fortunate that we’d gotten a big stock windfall earlier in the year. Rather than make a big purchase, we used the money to buy freedom. If our values required a new beamer every two years and expensive shoes every month, I would still be working to maximize our income.
It was amazing how much less money we spent after I became a stay at home dad. Off the top, we saved money on childcare, gardening, lunches, eating out, and dry cleaning. But we saved even more money on big ticket items that we didn’t really need. We’d be in Costco, and buy something expensive on a lark. Looking back on it, I think these purchases were a palliative for stress.
And while not everyone has a family, as we shall see in as the chapter progresses, everyone has the ability to grow a community of people who share their values.