Posts Tagged ‘enhancing employee productivity’

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If you are ‘that-kind-of-manager,’ then you will must enjoy the following tips on how to burn your staff. And you do not have to worry about what other people would say or think about that, they just do not understand your style and how you think you are driving your staff to be big performers. And hey, you are ‘The-Manager,’ people have no right to question your ways of conducting business … and from there we start:

  • Keep reminding your staff, and everyone around, that you are The Manager. If they are working as your subordinates, then they should better understand it very well because there are consequences (read the next tips). You can remind them of your superiority in various ways: in meetings (e.g. start the meeting with something like ‘as the manager, I have decided’), in phone calls (e.g. you can say something like ‘tell them to do it because the manager said so’), and in emails of course (e.g. send emails saying stuff like ‘I have noticed, as The Manager, that …’).
  • Try to integrate some military practices into your style. Your requests should be treated as orders; do-first-ask-later kind of why (on the long run, they should be trained not to ask at all!).
  • Do not share your strategy, your plans, or the company strategy with them. They do not have the mental capacity to deal with it.
  • Take away these words from your dictionary and pretend that you do not understand them: overloading, logical arguments, and work/life balance!!
  • Do not allow them to discuss or circulate modern management articles; this is a place of work, not a university. And they have to understand that your abilities and experience exceed all that academic mumbo-jumbo.
  • Do not care much about processes nor scope of work. Let there be processes, but they should know that you have the power to overrule them whenever you like.
  • From time to time, ask them to do illogical or irregular stuff. Lists of things nobody cares about, check ups that do not make sense and alike. By doing so you are training them on obedience. You do not have to explain yourself, remember the tip about military practices.
  • Always, and I mean, all the time, give them a very tight time limits to deliver your requirements. If a certain study normally takes 3 days to accomplish, come at the last minuet and ask them to finish it before the end of the day.
  • Keep the sense of urgency and every-thing-is-a-priority way of work. They should know that you do not care about them because there are always bigger picture that they do not, and cannot, see!

So … do you have any more tips to share with us?


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Sometimes a phone call can serve the purpose of a series of emails and get the job done faster … and sometimes it does not!

I believe that each and every staff should develop his/her own style of communication and should know when to use emails, phone calls, or call for a meeting. Such styles, or skills, are built with training and experience. Eventually, a staff should have a sense of how to get the job done and in the most efficient way.

For that, I cannot really understand managers who shout things like ‘Why did not you call him? do not send more emails … call him!!’ or ‘send an email and after 10 minutes, follow up with a phone call.’!!

Help your staff build their skills instead of telling them what to do!!

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[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=money&iid=269646″ src=”http://view2.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/269646/people-holding-money/people-holding-money.jpg?size=500&imageId=269646″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]A very interesting idea about our relationship with money had been published in HBR March 2010 issue.

To get the feel of the study, imagine yourself in the following situation; imagine yourself counting money while one of your friends is counting papers. Now, if you both were asked to dip your hands in hot water, the study says that you, the one who have been playing with money, will report less pain.

Not only that, it will work in reverse as well. Now imagine yourself writing down your last month expenses while your friend is recording, say, the weather temperatures for the same month. In this case, the study says that you will report more pain because your were around the idea of spending money.

So in few words, the study conducted by Dr. Kathleen D. Vohs is stating that money gives us inner strengthen and can reduce our physical and emotional pain.

It is a really interesting idea. It is not that surprising that we all feel some way or another about money. And I am sure social and psychological scientists have a lot to debate about these findings.

The interesting part of the study comes in its recommendations. It is about using cash to compensate customers or reward employees. The examples used in the study go like this; if an airline would like to apologize to its customers for that 8 hours delay, it is better to give them cash. And when rewarding those customer service agents, do not given them bounces deposited to their accounts, give them cash.

I have to admit that although cash means a lot of things to us, thinking of it as a source of motivation or stress releasing incentive does not feel totally right. Management literature is filled with studies that actually refer to the contrary, to the fact that money could sometimes leads to dissatisfaction rather than satisfaction (check out Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory.)

More studies are still needed to determine when such claims can be found true and under which conditions. Because I am sure there are situations when money can mean nothing!

What do you think?

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It does not matter how highly you think of yourself or your abilities, you are not a superman (nor a batman, nor a hulk, nor anyone of those super heros for that matter!) And what goes for the men goes for the ladies as well, so ladies, there is no chance for you to be the bionic woman.


According to this interesting blog post on HBR, doing more than one thing at a time kills your productivity by about 40%. Our brain is not programmed to multitask,  it is programmed to focus on one thing, and one thing only at a time. So you cannot really drive and talk on the phone, you cannot be in a meeting room discussing something and checking your emails, and you cannot be liesetning to your wife and texting someone at the same time.

Now the strange thing is that we are always expected to multitask as if it is the normal thing to do! When your coworker just drop on your office while you’re working on an important report, he is expecting you to answer his questions right away! When your manager calls at any moment, he is expecting you to pick up the phone no matter what! He will call you three consecutive times on your office following that by a series of mobile phone calls! And what really pisses me off is when someone sends you an email and in 10 seconds, he is calling you to tell you that he just sent you an email!!!! Even if you started reading his email, you will be distracted by his call! As mentioned in the same HBR post, peopel living under constant distractions during the day could face a 10 points fall in their IQs, this is equal to losing a one night sleep, and more than twice the effect of smoking marijuana!

The disaster is that some managers who should be the ones maintaining and elevating the productivity levels of their subordinates, they are the ones who usually cause the performance of their teams to drop. Keep surprising the staff with unplanned meetings, always changing and coming up with new processes, and most importantly, disrespecting the staff off times are all playing a major role in pushing the performance to its lowest levels.

Sit back now, relax, and start thinking about your day … How many marijuana did you have today??

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Let me ask you something; what is the first thing that might form your first impression of a country that you visit for the first time? If you thought of those gentlemen, or ladies, sitting behind desks checking you up with sharp eyes while stamping your passport, then you are right; they are the immigration officers.

I am really glad to read this piece of news about the Saudi General Directorate of Passports (GDP). Its management is planning to provide its staff with intensive English and etiquette trainings. Now this is something really interesting.

Looking from unbiased eye, there is something that you should really respect and admire in these people, I mean the Saudi GDP officials. They want to develop and they are sweating over it. Compared to a number of government service agencies; I would choose them to be my favorite. For me, and I am writing this from Jeddah, they are the only government destination that I won’t worry so much about whenever I am obligated to visit. They have a process and everything there is clear and systematic. I am not saying everything is perfect, but it is somehow organized.

It is the only government agency, from where I see it at least, that adopted some customers service and branding principles from the private sector. They are the only government body that recognized its role as a service provider in addition to its main and official roles. They have gotten closer to their customers by being present in some of the finest malls in the country. They have run a powerful public awareness campaign introducing their new biometrics system. They have provided several and unprecedented electronic services such as Ishaar, Muqeem, and Passports Gate.

And as we are talking about marketing and branding, I really hope that they would change their location in jeddah. It is not that much when we talk ‘brand image.’ ‘Place’ is one of the 7 P’s of service marketing and creating a distinguished service experience, no matter how organized it is from the operational point of view, cannot be completed without a proper place, a proper environment.

Having said that, all the above mentioned services are still for citizens and those living within the country. But when we talk about the Saudi gates and how immigrations officials are dealing with visitors, mmm, the image is not that bright! So by recognizing the problem and working on solving it by providing the above mentioned trainings, I really hope the Directorate efforts will turn out to be a smashing success. After all, it is not only about their brand image, it is the whole country image.

Finally, my ‘free spirit’ statement; I do not know anybody working in the Saudi GDP, and this post has not been influenced by them in anyway 🙂

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[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=camera+flash&iid=5157847″ src=”0/5/7/8/closeup_of_a_2fbf.jpg?adImageId=10563356&imageId=5157847″ width=”234″ height=”168″ /]Al Eqtisadiah, the daily Saudi newspaper, published yesterday (in Arabic), the results of its yearly ‘Best Working Environment in Saudi Arabia’ competition.

The unbiased observer has nothing but to thank the newspaper for the idea and its apparent efforts in preparing the winning list. By showing some of the winning companies’ managerial practices, the newspaper is actually giving bright examples of open minded, modern, and well educated Saudi management. I particularly liked KPMG practices in enhancing its work environment in addition to its culture of providing all employees with the  opportunity to participate in their company’s major decisions. I also liked ABB’s intensive employees’ trainings and scholarship programs. And not to forget Bupa and its remarkable electronic training platform.

For those following this competition from the past years, some names are turning to be usual guests on the list, for example, ABB, Bupa, Panda, and KPMG. While on the other hand, big names such as Saudi P&G (Modern Industries) and Al Mara’ei are missed on this year’s list.

All in all, I have two main comments on this list. The first one is that when closely looking at the names taking over the first posts, you could not help but notice that most of them are international names working in the Saudi market. So it can be argued that their success secret lays in their well adaptation of universally tested practices. I do not mean this as a criticism; on the contrary, I am a big supporter of looking at what others are doing in the management field to be influenced by their best practices and experiences, and most importantly, to avoid their mistakes.

My second remark is that we should notice that this competition is only open for companies willing to participate and provide some data about their policies and HR practices. So its results can not be generalized without cautious. Big and known companies are not yet willing to be part of this competition, and that would only leave you to wonder …. why!!!???

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[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=customer+service&iid=5066730″ src=”f/0/b/c/Male_market_stallholder_2156.jpg?adImageId=8812254&imageId=5066730″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]I have been to Subway yesterday, the known food chain. I am not sure if you ever noticed what is written on the t-shirts of the gentlemen preparing the sandwiches, it is saying ‘I’m a Subway certified sandwich artist.’ Let me put it this way; isn’t that cool!!

Even if we can arguably say that anybody can actually make a sandwich, I still felt that this guy behind the counter knows what he is doing, he must have been through some kind of highly intelligent sandwich making training program (OK … this is a bit far!!).  In all cases, I believe this is part of the message the organization is trying to convey, it is part of their brand image that they want to stamp on the memories of their customers.

The other part of the message is internal to the organization. It is used as a way of motivation and loyalty fostering. It is about creating the feel of belonging, whether you are preparing sandwiches in Jeddah, London, Paris or New York, you are a subway sandwich artist.

Subway is not the only organization that has a naming system for its staff. Starbucks employees are called ‘Partners,’ and Apple stores have what they like to call ‘Geniuses’ (again … isn’t that really cool!!).

Quite the opposite, it is really sad to notice that there are companies that use the naming system in a totally different way. I’ve heard number of stories about local managers who like to shout in their subordinated faces with stuff like ‘punch of lazy morons’ and ‘herd of cattle.’

Now, do you have a naming system at your organization or at any one that you know of …

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