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Tag: Fear

Photo Credit: "guess who farted in the elevator?" (CC BY 2.0) by istolethetv
Refusing to Ride in Silence

Refusing to Ride in Silence

It is a morning ritual that a significant number of people experience every Monday through Friday.  No, not the daily Starbucks run, but the time we spend riding up to our offices in an elevator.  It seems like a good time to say good morning to people and exchange some basic pleasantries.  However, most of my fellow riders are engrossed in other things and avoid making any eye contact.  I honestly believe the smartphones that have captured all of their attention is a tactic to avoid the scariest thing imaginable, genuine real-life human contact.

Do not miss an opportunity to engage briefly with people while riding the elevator.  Most people do not expect it, and that is half the fun.  Be the one to break the silence and start the conversation.  The dialogue will begin to naturally flow from that point forward.

Every day, I make a point to say “good morning” to my fellow elevator occupants.  When I disembark, I politely wish everyone a pleasant day.  I smile and try to start my day off in a positive and upbeat fashion.  I do not want to be the cranky person that darkens the moods of my fellow office building citizens.

So far, most people are willing to engage in small talk, as long as they do not have to start the conversation. This morning I rode with a person whom I have spoken with six or seven times over the last two months.  I started the conversation, and we exchange pleasantries until we arrived at my floor where I disembarked.  I do not know if the feeling is mutual, but I think we had a pleasant conversation and a good start for the day.

It is possible that I am completely misguided. Maybe all these individuals whom I ride the elevator with think that I am just some nut job sufferings from an overabundance of morning enthusiasm.  I am quite convinced that my children believe this is the case.  I will keep chatting my way through the elevators to improve my small talk skills and to meet interesting people inside the building.

If you ever in Southern California and a strange guy is chatting in the elevator, it might just be me.  Take a moment and say “hi.”

Photo Credit: freeimages.com/Cory LaFLamme
Some Thoughts on Encryption

Some Thoughts on Encryption

The controversy regarding Apple’s resistance to decrypt an iPhone that was utilized by terrorists has created a national conversation about the role of encryption in modern society. This is a tricky topic that has been a long time in the making. Watching the cable news last week has seen political leaders, pundits, talking bobble heads and technical evangelists weighing in on the debate. Now, we have a court issuing its first decision that may influence the outcome of the disagreement between Apple and the FBI.

I deplore what the terrorists did in San Bernardino. There is no justification for their actions or any other person who engages or supports the attacking of civilians. I wish the government to use all legal means to bring any co-conspirators to justice and use their available tools to penetrate these evil networks.

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Photo Credit: freeimages.com/Alek von Felkerzam
Two Leadership Styles in Action

Two Leadership Styles in Action

Recently, I read a couple of examples of excellent leadership styles, and I took some time to think about the benefits of the style and how they overcame resistance to change. I believe that leaders are responsible for the success or failure of change initiatives within their organization. As such, they have multiple leadership styles to utilize in support of a change initiative. For example, leaders at any level may act as the change initiator and orchestrator; communicators and motivators; or the resources to support change.

Sanofi and Jon Fairest

According to Jon Fairest (2014), he took over as CEO of Sanofi when they were beginning a significant change initiative. The company was going to relocate their corporate headquarters and change the floor plan to an open workspace concept. Major organizational concern about the change was rampant throughout the leadership and employees. Communication was going to play a significant role in successfully changing the corporate culture.

[pulledquote]People are resistant to change primarily out of a fear of the unknown and loss aversion.[/pulledquote]Leadership as an interpersonal communicator and motivator helps to bring about change through the ability to build teams, motivate and engage employees, and communicate within the organization. Jon Fairest knew this would be a significant challenge to embark on as a new CEO. Employees needed to become comfortable with the new facility and approach to its floor plan. Mr. Fairest began a 12-month long campaign communicating the importance of this change and how it will improve the company’s culture, collaboration, and spur innovation while lowering employee turnover (Fairest, 2014).

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Photo Credit: freeimages.com/Anatoli Styf
Reduce Off-Hours Communication to Improve Work-Life Balance

Reduce Off-Hours Communication to Improve Work-Life Balance

Technology has brought about many changes in our world.  All-new industries were given birth or faded into history because of the information technology revolution.  However, the information technology revolution was not a panacea and did not resolve all the world’s problems.  It allowed businesses to become more efficient, improve operations and increase their competitive advantages (Porter & Millar, 1985).  However, the rise of mobile communications, email, text messaging, and web platforms has increased the intrusion of business-related matters into personal and family time (McShane & Glinow, 2014, p. 8).  It is becoming more commonplace for workers never to log off from work as the evening hours have become a new de-facto night shift (Butts, Becker, & Boswell, 2015, p. 763).  Furthermore, this new always-on work environment has altered the relationship between management and employees.

Employees may feel obligated to respond to peers and management regardless of the hour.  Management knowingly or unknowingly may be sending messages that establish these expectations with employees.  Additionally, management may mistakenly believe that employees will leave off-hour communications in their inbox until the following workday.

Management teams should discourage off-hours communications.  When this is impossible because of time zone differences or travel requirement, the utilization of a delayed send function is encouraged. At a minimum, all off-hour messages should clearly indicate whether the message needs a response before the next workday.  Again, the preference is not to send messages off-hours or use a delay send function since many employees will still check messages off-hours.

By taking these small steps, employers can help their teams improve work-life balance and lower employee stress levels without sacrificing productivity.  They might even find that employees are more efficient when they experience lower levels of stress.

References

Butts, M. M., Becker, W. J., & Boswell, W. R. (2015, June). Hot buttons and time sinks: The effects of electronic communication during nonwork time on emotions and work-nonwork conflict. Academy of Management Journal, 58(3), 763-788. doi:10.5465/amj.2014.0170

McShane, S. L., & Glinow, M. V. (2014). Organizational behavior (Third ed.) [Kindle].

Porter, M. E., & Millar, V. E. (1985, July 01). How information gives you competitive advantage. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/1985/07/how-information-gives-you-competitive-advantag