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Tag: Facts of Life

Photo Credit: Civility 2 (CC BY 2.0) by gabrieleventi
When Asking for Help, Be Super Courteous

When Asking for Help, Be Super Courteous

This is common sense, but I do not see it frequent enough. When asking for help, be extremely courteous and polite to the person who provides the help. I know this is a shocking thought but bear with me for a moment.

It is common for me to spend a significant amount of time in various technical forums. I do not believe in reinventing the wheel when it comes to resolving a problem. 95% of all technical issues are not new. I prefer to spend my time researching the problem instead of getting frustrated by doing random troubleshooting steps.

The anonymity of the Internet has never been known to bring out the very best in people. How people talk with others online is shocking. Why take frustrations out on the very people who are trying to help? Especially, when they are doing so at no charge. I was researching a problem with WordPress and was reading support postings for various themes. Luckily for me, the solution was found in about 30 minutes of searching. However, the experience left me disappointed at how many times I read users making demands, lashing out, and having unreasonable expectations of developers.

The developers are giving these products away for free. Again, these are free services. Why are people so demanding that developers turn code changes around in a day or two? They are not paying these people anything. Furthermore, the users’ attitude and demands lower the chances the developers will continue responding. Some of the threads had great dialogues where the developers were very active in their support. When the user became demanding, the developer simply stopped responding. I do not fault the developers at all.

If you want someone to do something for you at no cost, then extreme courteousness and politeness are needed.

Be accommodating to the support provider’s schedule. These people have day jobs, other obligations, and families. Remember, a significant number are doing the development work out of the kindness of their heart. Be nice, be thankful, and be appreciative of all the great work these developers do at no charge.

I would like to thank the developer of my theme, Falguni. It is excellent code, and she is super responsive in the forms. Plug-in authors Automattic, Michael Torbert, John Godley, Frederick Townes and Pankaj Jha, Thank You for all the considerable work!  As a member of the community, you do great work, and it is incredibly appreciated. Of course, none of this would be possible without the incredible job from the team of developers at WordPress.org.

Be polite, be courteous, and be grateful.

Photo Credit: "Conversation" (CC BY 2.0) by Sharon Mollerus
Dealing with Different Decompression Times

Dealing with Different Decompression Times

I do not often post about other articles I come across online. I prefer to comment on them, and if I like them, I will post them to LinkedIn. However, when something speaks to me, or it is a topic that is under appreciated by the masses, I will take the time to write a short post. I came across one such article today. Ed Batista wrote a piece on Harvard Business Review talking about the conflicts that arise between couples when they get home from work. This is a topic that many people in leadership do not fully appreciate or acknowledge the toll it takes on families and relationships.

We work diligently in our careers and all too often take home the stress we experience during the day. While it is not fair to come home in this mindset, I believe we are human, and it is hard to shake off a rough day in the typical 30-minute commute home. By no means am I excusing the behaviors of people, but I am just as guilty as the next when bringing home a bad day from the office.

Below is my comment on the article. In addition to the recommendations provided by the author, a little early communication between partners can go a long way to disrupting the conflict cycle.

I think this is underappreciated and recognized condition for many people in the professional community. It is incredibly tough to shake off a rough day at the office when we walk through the door to our home.

My wife or I will typically call each other on our way home to give and receive brief rundowns of our respective days. It is also an opportunity for us to understand each other’s current state before walking in the door. This way, we help each other cool down when we get home even if it means just providing some quiet space.

Photo Credit: freeimages.com/Tory Byrne
Screwed up at work or ??? A simple plan to help with the recovery process

Screwed up at work or ??? A simple plan to help with the recovery process

We all make mistakes and screw up from time-to-time.  As imperfect humans, we must accept that there will be inevitable errors. Instead of going into a panic mode after-the-fact, some focus should be spent on minimizing the opportunities for errors and developing a generic recovery strategy.

Preparing a generic and adaptable plan in advance allows the focus to be on the resolution and recovery processes instead of the distractions that arise from confusion, dodging blame, or a thinly veiled attempt at a C.Y.A. maneuver.

I tend not to make small or frequent blunders.  I save all the goodwill I generate from being a consistent performer for the bigger mistakes that I make from time-to-time.  Recovering from these errors provides me an opportunity to improve my leadership skills, learn valuable life lessons, and strengthen relationships through a sincere rebuilding effort.

When a serious misstep occurs, I follow a few key guidelines that reduce the damage while maximizing the chances for possible relationship gains.

Take Full Responsibility

  • Admit and Apologize: This takes the gas out of anyone attacking or seeking to play up the failure through a nefarious blame game. Most people consider it unfair to attack someone who has taken full responsibility and given a deep personal apology.
  • We must show authentic levels of remorse without giving excuses for the outcome or our conduct.
  • Accept the consequences of our actions with grace and maturity

Establish Open Lines of Communications

  • Complete an effective postmortem of the situation and your conduct. Bring in stakeholders and the concerned parties for private individual feedback sessions. Once complete, share the results. Open and honest communication is critical. Do not compound the problem by trying to keep things in the dark as it never works out in the end.

Correct the Mistake

  • Some errors cannot be rectified, but many can be made improved. This may take some creative thinking, but search out how best to make it right.  Remember, making it right must be from the perspective of the wronged party.  What is “right and fair” to you, may feel like a further wrong from their perspective.
  • If proper for the circumstance, compensate the affected parties.

Work to Reestablish Trust

  • Seek outside help and perspective from mentors and an executive coach to help deepen your understanding of the impact on others and how to address the personal underlying issues.
  • Create a mitigating plan that lowers the risk of a future occurrence. This even goes when the mistake is personal such a public confrontation. The plan should be shared as well. Keep people informed and close.  It helps greatly with rebuilding trust.
  • Be open to more feedback sessions as people may need to express their feeling multiple times before they are able to accept and forgive.

Even significant mistakes do not have to be the end of the world or a career. Obviously, this excludes things such as criminal conduct and huge moral lapses in judgment.  Most times when people have a lapse in judgment or make a mistake, it is recoverable.  How we choose to address these events and its impact on others is critical to our growth and long-term success.

Photo Credit: freeimages.com/Arjun Kartha
A New Beginning

A New Beginning

This last week, we took our eldest daughter off to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. This marks a significant milestone for both her and us as parents. She has total control of her choices with little required input from her parents. She will need to make the right choices at the right times. We will have more complex finances to manage among a myriad of family dynamic realities of a physically separated household. She may no longer be living under our roof, but our hearts, support, and thoughts will always be with her.

Going out to college with her, we saw so many eager young faces that were followed by parents who had a mix of joy and concern across their faces. It was amazing to see and experience. The whole process of getting her set up and meeting her dorm mates was entertaining and exciting. She is lucky to have such good people in her dorm room. I know this will be a tremendous experience for her.

ERAU is so well-organized, and they made all aspects smooth and trouble-free. ERAU welcomed our family and helped in numerous ways. Leaving the campus, my wife and I commented about how great it would have been for us to attend this school when we were her age. I guess we have become the parents who get to live a little vicariously through their children…well at least in this aspect.

We have to let go a little and watch as she continues to grow into the wonderful person that she is and will become over the next few years. We will never be far away when needed, but struggle allows growth. It pertains to the both of us. As parents, we have to struggle to let go, and she has to struggle to develop her independence, will and character.

Life is interesting; life is challenging; life is beautiful.