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News and Views
Could you change when change really mattered?
Guess again—the odds are nine to 1
against you. Why is change so hard? A fascinating
article from Fast Company offers some surprising new
answers from science-and some ways on how to make
change easier. A long read, but worth it.
Tell your boss: a firm's investment in employee
training is the single most powerful predictor of future
financial performance, says Lauri Bassi. It's a
fundamental economic force, she says: We are in a
globalized economy where capital moves quickly,
technology changes rapidly and is rapidly replicated,
and commodities are created quickly. Firms that don't
take Human Capital Management (HCM) and training seriously are going to either go
out of business completely or just fade into irrelevance.
From the May 24, 2005, edition of ONLINE LEARNING
NEWS AND REVIEWS, an emailed newsletter.
If recent studies are any indication of what's to
come, more and more companies will be struggling with
turnover in the coming year.
More often than not
difference between keeping and losing an employee is
about relationships, specifically, the relationship
between employees and their immediate supervisors.
Ken Lehman's article in Winning
Workplaces is a good reminder
for managers who want to avoid the high costs of
turnover, and an important insight for everyone on the
importance of establishing positive relationships in the
ToolBox: Book Review of Survival Writing for Business
How can you not love a book that practices what it
Steve Gladis' new book, Survival
Writing for Businessdoes-and I love it. Here's why.
First, it's no-nonsense. Gladis tells it
straight up with chapter headings like these: "Use
Direct, Useful Verbs"; "Keep Sentences
Short"; "Structure Your Writing"; "Write with
Style"; "Keep Related Words Together"; and "Write to
Second, the book is full of practical
and tips from a writer who knows what he's writing about. If only all writers followed these two tips for
revising: "Read [your writing] aloud—by listening
you've written you often hear where the errors and
rough spots are. Another way [to revise] is to reformat
the text. If
the draft is single-spaced, then double space it or
place it in two columns. The visual difference helps give
you distance and an objective eye."
Finally, Survival Writing for Business
a fine example of the author
taking his own advice. The preface alone is worth
read: "To write well, keep it clear and concise. This
book should help." That's it—the entire preface
in two sleek sentences.
The chapter "Write to Your Audience" is
particularly useful for people who struggle with
correspondence. Gladis offers two focusing questions
as a sure-fire starting point, and then provides
on-target specifics for challenges like writing to
supervisors, peers, and subordinates.
Thanks, Steve, for this deceptively
profound lifeline to writing success.
For more information or to order,
Lu or call her at 703.536.1118.
NEW: WaterCooler Professional—The Miniseries
In 2005, "Making It Work for You" evolves to "WC
Professional," a miniseries of action steps to being your
own mentor. Follow this 12-month plan and by
January of 2006, you'll have taken a big step towards
being your own best advocate in the workplace.
June: Learn to toot your own horn by practicing the subtle art(s) of self-promotion.
Think your work should speak for itself?Sad to
it doesn't. Only work that gets distributed speaks for itself, says Kare Anderson, principal and founder
of Say It Better. Thus what some of us consider the
distasteful task of self-promotion.
But self-promotion doesn't have to feel slimy.
It's really about getting noticed in the
workplace—and is a key part of being your own
Getting noticed involves the following six key
1. Developing your leadership qualities.
2. Bringing your boss solutions rather than
3. Letting your boss know about your sucesses,
and sharing the credit when appropriate.
4. Creating relationships with people and being
a "good news" person.
5. Letting others know what you're up to,
especially the results of the projects you've been
6. Working from your strengths rather than your
weaknesses. In other words, volunteer for projects
that let you shine.
WaterCooler (WC) Personal: It's Not Bragging If It's True
If you're like me, you probably find "tooting your
own horn" embarrassing.
Probably it's because you've been taught to be modest
and not to brag.
But as the saying goes, it's not bragging if it's
Though at times I need someone to remind me to take
my own advice about mentoring, taking credit for my
accomplishments has become a little easier. Why? I
think it has to do with having taken risks, and realized
results. You have to risk failing to risk
I think it also has to do with putting into
practice some advice that's commonly given to writers:
Never tell when you can show.
In other words, put yourself out there and
someone see you doing (rather than just talking
about) what you do best.
One example of this is to increase your
visibility. You can do this by running a staff
training people in new policies or procedures, hosting
a "lunch and learn" activity at your workplace, joining
professional interest groups and then volunteering to
work on a committee, and even by (gulp!) speaking at
industry-related trade functions.
Why this works: because other
you in action and they end up praising your work for
you. It's essentially a third-party
endorsement—one of the best ways to convince others of your skills.
Two women who attended one of my book talks
decided to overcome their reluctance to toot their own
horns by brainstorming (together) how they could
increase their own (and each other's) visibility. I think
they're on to something.
Try this: if you're an extrovert, work
with a friend to brainstorm a plan for getting on
someone's radar screen, and put that plan into
practice. If you're an introvert, find a buddy and make
a pact to promote each other's work.
Surely you've heard the one about the two
naval graduates who made a pact to brag like crazy
about each other—and became the two
youngest admirals in naval history?
Mentor Me International
Mentor Me is now in Bangladesh,having been adopted in April 2005
as an in-house program, by USAID's Mission Management and
What about your organization?Could it benefit
from an in-house training program specifically geared to new
hires? Let's talk.