As you may know, the folk tale The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen is the story of two dishonest weavers who convince an emperor that they can make him a set of clothes which can only be seen by competent people.
When the emperor and his underlings can’t see the non-existent suit of clothes, they pretend that they can, to avoid exposing their own presumed incompetence.
A young boy, who isn’t clear on the concept, sees the emperor parading around naked and cries out, “He’s not wearing any clothes.”
I worked my way through college waiting tables. At one place I worked, we had a cook who treated employee meals differently than customer meals. Customers received the standard fair. They got what they ordered. But when an employee went on break and ordered a meal, this cook had a tendency to “gold plate” it. If you ordered a cheeseburger, you were likely to get double-bacon cheeseburger. Side of fries? You would get a big honkin basket of fries.
It was a nice gesture, but we would often get much more than we could eat. Sometimes we would get something we didn’t even want. We could see that he was trying hard to get in good with his fellow staff members. But he was trying a little too hard. It was overkill. Continue reading How to Lose Business by Gold Plating→
We work in an environment of nearly constant change. Technology has not only changed the way we do virtually everything, the rate of change increases at a more rapid rate every day.
For those who work in technology, the job market is pretty good these days. Despite what are considered high unemployment numbers for the nation as a whole, if you work in technology, you’re most likely in high demand.
Imagine a scenario where you have a pipe that leaks under your kitchen sink. You may be an expert user of water and all things plumbing, but when it comes to the technical solution of fixing a leak, you know enough to turn to the experts.
So you call a plumber who comes to your house to investigate. You show him the leak and tell him, “That pipe right there needs to be replaced. How much will you charge to replace it?”
The plumber, by virtue of his title, knows a little more about plumbing than you do. He investigates the leak and determines that, in addition to the pipe you have pointed out, there is another pipe that needs replacing.
I live in the Chicago area and I love the city of Chicago. As an extension, I love the movies based in Chicago. From The Blues Brothers to The Untouchables to all of the National Lampoon Vacation movies (including that Marshall Field’s scene in Christmas Vacation), I always love the great movie scenes in Chicago.
One of my favorite Chicago-based movies is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. For the unfortunate few of you who have not seen it, I’ll give a brief synopsis:
Working from home is a growing trend in the business world. In an effort to cut back on office space and other overhead costs, many companies have set up their employees with the technology they need to do their jobs in their home offices.
The big issue that management has with WFH arrangements is trust. How do they know their employees are working if they can’t see them working? One could argue that perhaps they shouldn’t hire someone they don’t trust, but that’s a topic for another blog. Continue reading Why Do You Want to Work From Home?→
Sam was making good time. He was cruising down interstate 94 ahead of schedule to meet his daughter in college. If he could keep up at this rate, he would be there by six o’clock to take her to dinner.
And then it hit.
He saw up in the distance that cars were stopped, lined up for as long as he could see.
Have you ever worked so hard that you didn’t get anything done?
The elusive banana
The monkey’s dilemma is a well known story about how hunters figured out a way to capture monkeys in the jungle. They would place some food that appealed to monkeys, like peanuts or a banana, in a box with an opening in the top just larger than a monkey’s hand.
A monkey would come along, stick his hand in the box to grab the food and be unable to get his closed fist through the hole. Hunters would be able to catch the monkey because it stubbornly would not let go of the food even to save its life. Continue reading Pushing Too Hard and the Monkey’s Dilemma→
During the late 1990s, then Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan coined the term Irrational Exuberance to denote the absurdity of over-enthusiasm investors had regarding stocks – particularly dot-com stocks – at the time.
A management approach that I’ve observed that is probably more widespread and just as dangerous is Unnecessary Anxiety.