Nonsense At Work

#98: August 2015 MindShift

Nonsense just is,
but sense must be uncovered, grasped and held tight.The NonsenseAtWork Monthly MindShift

August 2015

Executive IQ Slipping Expert Trust

Penny wise, executive foolish

small-changeCan you relate to penny wise and pound foolish? Of course not. You use dollars, not pounds. And there’s the reason for the really low minimum wage in the USA.

If executives understood the idea of pound foolish, they will realize that we get what we pay for. Pay a really low minimum wage and you will get really low performing workers. Not because these workers are lazy or stupid, but because they know you don’t care about them. So why should they care about you and your cheap company?

Enough about workers. What about customers? Well, customers expect poor service from cheap workers. Customers know they get what you pay for.

So now you know. You get poor performance because that’s your implied strategy. And you get rewarded with cheap customers. And with workers who cannot spend.

So let’s modify that saying. Penny wise, executive foolish.

Protect your IQ today – ignore potted distractions

DistractionOkay, okay, I know you think I must be smoking something. (Else how dare I add my nonsense to the sensible income inequality discussions?) So let me ask you, which one causes more harm to your precious IQ, smoking pot or distractions?

According to clinical trials by psychiatrist Dr. Glenn Wilson of King’s College London University, the answer is distractions. Being distracted by emails, text and phone messages can cause you a loss of IQ double that caused by smoking pot.

Other research has shown that when you are interrupted, it could take you as long as 25 minutes to get back in full swing. Even worse, 40 percent of the time you are likely to end up doing something completely different.

It seems that the main problem is not the interruption, but what it does to your short-term memory. You simply forget what you were doing.

Not everyone is affected to the same extent. When interrupted, men showed a larger drop in IQ than women. Please don’t ask why. Let’s just blame it on pot luck.

When slipping on uncertainty, follow your heart

follow-heartOr we can blame it on Sigmund Freud. I am very grateful to Dr. Freud. He has helped me out of many a predicament by giving me a socially acceptable excuse. “It’s my mother’s fault. She didn’t potty train me.”

Of course, he has also gotten me into trouble by creating the Freudian Slip. I know he didn’t create it, but he should have kept quiet about it. At least he made up for that slip up by giving us the mother of all excuses. So Dr. Freud wins one and loses one.

However, he came up with a real winner when he suggested a method for dealing with uncertainty and decision-making. Here’s what he proposed.

All small decisions, if you know the facts, should be dealt with consciously. But in large matters, where facts are missing and things uncertain, you must follow your heart.

But then, it’s in following my heart that I make Freudian slips.

How to tell why you were hired as an expert

Expert AdviceIn spite of my mother and Dr. Freud, I have survived for many years as a management consultant and as an executive coach. And all the time I’m thinking, why are they paying me?

Wait! It’s not an odd question. It’s not about my lack of self-belief, but about the motivation of my clients.

Some CEOs hire a new clutch of consultants almost every year, until they find the ones who tell them what they want to hear. Some executives hire consultants as someone to blame when things go wrong. (Yes, I am paid to take the blame.) And there are nervous decision-makers addicted to outside opinion, even when not quite expert.

I have worked with these types, briefly, because I was not hired to hang around. Yet, as I’ve grown older, my clients have stayed longer. Because I’m smarter? Perhaps.

Mainly it’s because I finally have clients who know how to extract real value from my marketing promises.

You cannot destroy trust by listening too much

listen-too-muchBut now is not the time to become complacent, not with this question in the back of my mind: What takes time to build, but seconds to destroy?

Many things, you say, but did you remember that trust is one of those fragile things?

Building trust takes time, destroying it does not. That’s why you should know how to restore trust. Try these four steps:

View the trust break down as incompetence, not as dishonesty. Research shows that we forgive a trust break down more readily if we think it was caused by incompetence rather than by dishonesty.

Apologize. Even if you are not guilty, apologize (for whatever you might have done, might not have done, or might have done differently). Apologizing is not weakness. Apologies are powerful trust builders.

Communicate. Open and honest communication is not a cliché. It is critical.

Listen. Trust is often destroyed by talking too much, never by listening too much. (Which is probably the reason people trust their therapists so much.)

Would you like to distract your IQ?

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