Is it time to change?

The-Rol-of-Good-Communication-Skills-While-Introducing-Change

With nearly 200,000 books on “change” for sale at Amazon.com you can bet people are trying to understand change in their lives.  Whether it’s a new job, new boss, your first child, a different diet or a ruptured disc, chances are someone somewhere is trying to understand how it will affect their life.

Some companies spend years and countless resources to avoid change.  They operate under the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” model.  This mindset stifles innovation and simultaneously sends a message to employees to not try new things.  Sure we can all agree that New Coke’s introduction in 1985 was a miss.  It resulted in a drop in market share and ultimately ended in 2002 as Coke brought back the “classic”.  New Coke however represented a change.  It represented innovation regardless of the outcome.  Think about it.  Steve Jobs introduced the first PDA, Newton, in 1993 and just 5 short years later it was discontinued.

So when should you change?  Is change mandated by a timeframe?  Does your competition drive when you change?  Does your boss require you to change, or a merger that results in a new management teams arrival force a change?  Is it a measure of market share?

There’s no one way to advise someone, or a company, when the right time is to change.  My belief is that it’s better to change before change is forced upon you.  However, if you have a change mindset chances are you view change as a learning experience.  A way to grow.  A chance to expand your horizons.

In the movie, The 100 Foot Journey, Helen Mirren’s character, the owner of a one-star French restaurant who is in relentless pursuit of her second star, asks Manish Dayal’s character, a chef, why he changed a 200 year old recipe.  His response? “Maybe 200 years was long enough.”

Don’t change for the sake of change.  That’s silly.  Change because the thing you are altering, modifying, or adjusting will become better as a result of the change.  Perhaps the true result indicates the change wasn’t worth it.  I’d suggest to reevaluate a few weeks, months, or even years later.  When Steve Jobs was asked why Newton flopped yet the iPod took off, Jobs said the world simply wasn’t ready for Newton.  The infrastructure, specifically referring to the iTunes store, wasn’t ready.  Sometimes a change made today doesn’t make sense today, tomorrow, or next month.  But with time, an open mind, and a beginners attitude we can learn from all of our changes.  They instruct us, inspire us, and lead us to better outcomes.  Without change we become stagnant, static, irrelevant.  And who wants that?

7 Traits of a Great Boss. Do you have one?

bad-bossIn the movie Horrible Bosses, Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis find themselves working for truly horrible people.  The movie, a fictional story, offers some very funny moments as these 3 employees ponder ways to be rid of their bosses.

Let’s face it we’ve all been there.  We’ve all worked for someone less than honorable, less than respectful, or less than human!  Unfortunately these bosses are everywhere.  Finding a great boss is no easy task.   It starts with you having a clear understanding of what attributes or traits your ideal boss would possess.  If your definition is incomplete, or worse, not formed at all, you will find it nearly impossible to end up with a great boss except by a total stroke of luck.

So what makes a great boss great?  Focus on the 7 traits below as you assess your current boss to decide just how great they are…or aren’t.

  1. Intellect.  I’m not talking about their GPA or MBA.  I’m referring to their ability to absorb information, assimilate it, and apply it to the work at hand.  Are they broad thinkers?  Do they have opinions that they can defend or support with data, healthy debate, or other validation points?
  2. Common Sense.  Does your boss make decisions solely based on data or can he augment his decisions by infusing common sense?  Great bosses (leaders) can look at the data at hand but use common sense to make quality decisions.  I suppose the folks at Coca-Cola had data suggesting people wanted a different tasting Coke which in turn led to the launch of “New Coke“.  It was a colossal failure and one that Coca-Cola had to walk back quickly.   Common sense could have save millions in wasted resources.
  3. Intuition.  What is your bosses background?  Have they been around or is this their first rodeo?  Intuition, unlike instinct, is formed through experience and thoughts as opposed to those things that tie back to our DNA over tens of thousands of years.  Intuition suggests an evolution or development.  Great bosses have strong intuition as to their decisions and direction.
  4. Humility.  Who wants to work for a glory hound?  Someone always seeking the attention and limelight.  A boss that operates with arrogance and egotism will always act to ensure their own personal status and self-preservation.  Often times a boss who is not humble creates a work environment that is overly aggressive and can border on hostile.
  5. Vision.  People want to follow a leader.  But people will only follow if they believe in the direction you are heading and embrace that direction.  Great bosses provide their employees with a strong vision as to where they are headed, why, and what it looks like when they get there.  Jonathan Swift said, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”
  6. Gracious.  How kind and courteous is your boss?  Does she say good morning when you come in?  Does he thank you for the work you’ve done?  Is she giving of her time when you need help, or do you feel the clock is always ticking?  Great bosses are kind, courteous and generous.  This does not mean they are soft or weak, but fair and gracious.
  7. Humor.  When was the last time you laughed at work?  Better yet, when was the last time you laughed in a meeting at work or just in talking with your boss.  Great bosses have good senses of humor.  They’re not simply jokers or pranksters but possess and overall good sense of humor.  Having the ability to laugh at work is the difference between a productive workforce and one that’s burned out.

If your boss has all 7 of these traits then you have found yourself a pretty great boss.  No one is perfect but it’s those that are still comfortable and confident with their imperfections, skills and critical talents that make for a great boss.