Archive for the ‘Human Resources’ Category

The Emotionally Intelligent Manager

I recently shared with the Accountant at our firm that it might be good if she was in a negative mood while working. While I said this in jest, there was an element of truth behind my remark. I made this comment shortly after reading The Emotionally Intelligent Manager by David R. Caruso & Peter Salovey. Negative moods, I discovered, can be productive—particularly for those who are engaged in deductive reasoning problems, such as checking financial statements for errors. Positive moods, they contend, are more helpful for inductive problem solving where generating new and interesting ideas is needed. According to this line of thought it would be best to be in a positive mood if you are working on a new marketing plan and to be in a negative mood if you are Continue reading


Talking Trash and Health Care Reform

There is an uproar in Gwinnett County, Georgia. We, as county residents, were informed by letter that there would be changes in how our trash is picked up from our homes. Where previously we could choose our trash hauler, we are now being assigned a trash hauler—based on the zone in which we live. Furthermore, instead of paying the new garbage hauling company directly, the costs of our trash pickup will be added to our property tax statements. “Ouch!” I just received the Notice of Taxes from the Gwinnett County Tax Commissioner.

I, along with most county residents, received the notice of the impending change early last month. A few days later my new rolling trash can was delivered to my driveway. After sitting several weeks on the side of my shed awaiting the predetermined date when my new hauler would begin servicing our family and our neighbors, it has now been placed into service and has functioned in its purpose a couple of times.

The mandated change determining who would be hauling our trash has not been embraced by all county residents. Instead, some have responded with a fervor not seen around Atlanta since Michael Vick’s dog fighting activity was exposed. Why the tumult? Is it because so many of us don’t like the new plan? Or, is it more about the difficulty we often have with change? Answering these questions not only exposes the driving force behind much of the outrage in the county, but it also exposes the reasons why some Americans cannot fathom embracing any significant health care reform. Continue reading

Who is Defining What it Means to Be Pro-life?

What does it mean to be pro-life in the current health care debate? From my observation, most pro-lifers get the answer to this question wrong. We get it wrong because we are letting the wrong people tell us what it means to be pro-life.

For many, interjecting a pro-life stance into the American health care debate means refusing funding for abortions. Therefore, it is this one issue that propels many pro-lifers to reject any health care reform proposal. Yet, are these same pro-lifers taking the time to consider how health care reform intersects with fundamental tenets of what it means to be pro-life?

T. R. Reid, in his book, “The Healing of America,” shares a disturbing fact: “The American health care system ranks dead last [out of 23 countries in 2006 Commonwealth Fund study] when it comes to keeping newborns alive. Our rate of infant mortality is more than twice as high as Continue reading

QT Nails It! (Little Things Matter)

What could a gas station and convenience store teach an employee benefits firm about how to do business? What could they teach you? You may think it’s a silly question. Yet, recently in a staff meeting, I used a gas station as a model of doing things right. The theme of my lesson was The Little Things Matter. A local chain of fuel centers and convenience stores served as the perfect example.

They don’t always have the cheapest gas, yet, they have my business.  As someone who appreciates systems, service, excellence and execution, I find this chain of stores to be remarkable in their Continue reading

Say What You Need to Say

Could it be that your organization is prevented from moving forward because of a lack of communication? If so, could it be that the lack of communication is born out of a desire to respect authority? Like many young Americans, I was taught that we are to respect those in authority. I still believe this. However, I now know “showing respect” doesn’t mean I idly keep silent and allow someone to blindly fail. For example, take the 1982 Air Florida plane crash outside Washington, DC.

The cold January crash provides a poignant illustration of how the errors of teamwork and communication can have devastating results. On takeoff, the 737 came down directly on top of the 14th Street Bridge, crushing four cars and killing 5 people. Of the 79 people on board, only four passengers and one Flight Attendant were pulled alive from the frigid waters of the Potomac River. These are the horrid facts, but why did this accident happen? Continue reading

To Validate

I never had the aspiration to be a parking attendant, yet I do want to be more like a fictitious parking attendant I was introduced to recently. I shared his story with our staff.

I am responsible for leading the staff meetings at our office.  A short time ago I turned to YouTube for the short film, Validation, to begin one of our monthly meetings. This 16 minute film is about a parking attendant who goes well beyond validating parking tickets—he validates the individual. This fable accurately tells the story of how our encouraging words can not only brighten someone’s day, but change their life.

The day after I showed the film to our staff, one of our employees shared with me how she had successfully applied the lesson Continue reading