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Here are the top ten things I take with me when I travel to conferences.
The “bag”.I will admit, I rarely carry the official conference bag. But I do bring with me a backpack or tote that will sufficiently hold my conference stuff. It needs to be comfortable to walk around with and durable. I have a classic black Vera Bradley tote that holds up well and just recently purchased a Hershel backpack that’s nice to carry. PRO TIP: If you’re new to conferences, let me tell you . . . you don’t have to take everything a vendor wants to hand you. Ask them to scan your badge and send you the information you want. Trust me, they will.
iPhone and iPad.I like having the flexibility of more than one device. Especially if I’m planning to do a lot of typing. The smart cover for my iPad is terrific. Oh, and make sure you download the SHRM conference app ahead of time. While there will be WiFi at the convention center, it won’t be like your home or office WiFi.
Charger, cords and plug. Yes, I know this is low-hanging fruit, but I’m amazed at the number of people who don’t do it. They have the cord, but no plug. Or the charger and no cord. I just purchased an Anker portable charger which does a great job. And I love this Belkin rotating plug. It allows me to share an outlet with friends.
Business cards. Sometimes you meet someone at the event don’t have time to chat but want to stay in touch. Grab their business card then connect with them on LinkedIn. Always, always, always have a handful of business cards available. PRO TIP: Don’t have business cards? There’s still time to order a nice MOO Card with your contact info and they will arrive in time for the conference.
Pens and highlighters. There’s nothing better than writing with a nice pen. That doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. It just means nice. ‘nuf said.
Water bottle. In an effort to be more eco-aware, I try to take water bottles with me versus buying bottled water onsite. It’s also great for my budget. My new go-to is S’well or those like it. It keeps beverages cold and has a secure lid.
Insta-beverages. You guys know I’m a tea person and good tea is hard to find on the road. So, I bring tea bags with me. I also stocked up on matcha chai singles during Teavana’s close out sales. That way when I want some caffeine, but the coffee shop lines are too long…I’m covered.
Snack. Along the same line of having a beverage option ready, I also try to have some sort of snack. If the lines are too long for lunch or the lunch options don’t appeal to me, I’ll have a protein bar or some trail mix for lunch. It takes off the edge and I’ll just have an early dinner.
Something to pass the time. There are moments when I’m just waiting – maybe before a general session, or for a bus back to the hotel, or I just want a few moments to myself. I try to have something that serves as a little distraction. Something fun like Sudoku or Neko Atsume. There’s no rule that we have to learn all the time.
Going to conferences is educational, inspirational, and at times, just plain fun. But it helps to be prepared. SHRM Annual is a large event. This isn’t one of those, “Oh, I forgot that…let me pop over to my room and get it.” So, plan ahead and have a wonderful time.
Earlier this month was Teacher Appreciation Week. You might have seen some hashtags with #ThankATeacher on Facebook and Twitter. At least, I hope you did. Education professionals, like teachers, play an important role in our personal and professional lives. Many of today’s teachers go far above and beyond the job description to make sure that students get a good education along with the tools they need to learn.
But like so many “established days of recognition and appreciation”, we should support and thank teachers all year long. That doesn’t mean I’m anti- Thank a Teacher Day. Quite the contrary, I’m all for it. I would just like to see us do it more often.
In addition, I’d like to see us recognize all of the informal teaching that happens every day as well. Let’s not take anything away from education professionals. However, since HR Bartender is a workplace blog, I’d love to talk about all the teaching that takes place inside organizations.
Every day, we learn from buddies, mentors, supervisors, managers, etc. Employees learn company rules and policies. Coworkers teach and employees learn how to complete tasks and improve skills. Supervisors and managers at every level of the organization teach employees the right and wrong way to do things through their actions.
Often becoming a good “workplace teacher” comes from our early years and school teachers. Some of us are very fortunate to have teachers with passion and patience. We have family members who challenge us to study hard and teach us the value of that effort. And regardless of where you went to school and how much school you’ve completed, teachers can help us develop a natural curiosity and desire to learn.
While I’m a little late with my blog post for Teacher Appreciation Week, my gratitude happens regularly. My teachers have helped me become the person I am today. And hopefully, the skills they’ve taught me allow me to pay it forward so others can learn. I can’t help but think that’s the greatest compliment you can give a teacher. Be a good learner so someday, whether it’s in a school classroom or a corporate training room, you can be a good teacher to others.
While we’d like to think that employers are aligning educational requirements with the job duties, I think we can also see the logic. During the Great Recession, when companies would post a job opening and hundreds of people applied, they had to figure out a way to select candidates. As a result, companies upskilled positions – meaning they added criteria to the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs)needed to qualify.
Fast forward 10 years to today when recruiting companies post job openings and get a handful of resumes. To get more applicant flow, organizations have to reevaluate the KSAs for the job.
But I don’t believe organizations have to lower their standards and downskill job requirements. If organizations want employees with a certain skill level, they need to make investments in employee training and development. Here are a few things companies can do:
Consider cognitive aptitude testing. Assessments can provide organizations with information about an employee’s ability to learn. Companies can use this information to understand if they hire an employee, will the person be able to quickly pick up concepts and skills. So instead of hiring employees with a skill, the company can provide them with the skills needed to be successful.
Enhance the employee onboarding experience. If an organization hires an employee with the idea they are going to fast-track their development, it’s important to add some of this process into onboarding. New hires know starting Day One how they are going to gain those additional knowledge and skills. They can feel confident that they will be successful in the role they’ve been hired to do.
Invest in more employee training. The idea of hiring employees and helping them gain the skills they need to do the work isn’t new. It does involve allocating resources toward training, but when those dollars are well spent, the increase in the training budget could be offset by the decrease in cost-per-hire. And that doesn’t include the positive sentiment associated with investing in an employee’s success.
When recruiting, organizations don’t have to simply settle for candidates that don’t meet their job requirements. First, employers need to make sure the job requirements are essential to do the work. Then, consider whether some of those requirements could be learned after the employee gets the job. It’s a win for employers that want to hire the best talent and a win for employees who want a job.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby just off Duval Street in Key West, FL
No matter where you are, you’ve probably seen some mention of the General Data Protection Regulation (aka GDPR). The aim of the GDPR is to protect all European Union (EU) citizens from privacy and data breaches in an increasingly data-driven world. It’s an extension of a 1995 law from a time when, I think we’d all agree, technology was vastly different.
Some readers might be saying to themselves, “I’m not in the EU so this law doesn’t apply to our organization. I’ll just skip today’s HR Bartender article.” Well, not so fast. The GDPR does have implications for organizations that have customers or employees in the EU, regardless of where your offices are located.
Just as a reminder, Tom is offering general information about the new regulation, not legal advice. If you have any specific questions about how GDPR impacts your business, you should contact your friendly neighborhood counsel.
Tom, can you give readers a brief description of GDPR.
[Wetherill] I would describe GDPR as an enhancement of current data and privacy legislation. Essentially, it harmonizes the privacy laws that already existed. An important distinction, though, is the shift from directives that could be translated into law, to a regulation, which requires more-strict adherence to the terms and carries high penalties for non-compliance. It also expands individual’s rights.
If I’m based in the United States, why should I pay attention to GDPR?
[Wetherill] Globally, the European Union is looked to as a leader in data and privacy law, which means other countries and regulatory bodies are likely to move in this direction. Companies looking to ensure they are well-prepared for changes to regulation, and who want to uphold the highest data and privacy standards, would benefit from learning more about the GDPR, its provisions and possible implications.
At Unum, our U.S. teams went through the same processes to map our data, and preparations for the regulation as our U.K. team did. The GDPR does bring new territorial scope to those entities that are situated outside of the European Economic Area (EEA)and offer either goods of services to EU based residents, however, this has minimal impact on Unum Group.
Importantly, too, industries that aren’t regulated would experience a massive change with a similar law because they aren’t required to have systems and controls in place. Consider the implications now and put some processes in place to protect your company and your customers’ information.
Why would this regulation be of particular interest to human resources professionals?
[Wetherill] Human resources professionals should consider how data, particularly personally identified information (PII), is captured, stored and used at key moments for their employees, such as pre-employment data. In the U.K., HR professionals will also need to understand how individual rights have been expanded and timelines reduced and know that we are required to evidence what we do.
For example, employers will be required to more quickly provide personal data records for customers upon request. A concept that would also be of interest to HR employees regardless of geography is data minimization – which in principle means working with no more data than necessary, storing and removing it appropriately and using it for the reason it’s provided.
At Unum, this attention to trends and commitment to integrity means we’ve been preparing for a likely shift in this direction for some time, which will be a benefit to our staff as we prepare for the May implementation date.
Are there consequences if our organization doesn’t comply?
[Wetherill] Yes, there are absolutely consequences. The max penalty is 4 percent of profit for non-compliance, but the details depend on the company size and other variables. Equally damaging would be reputational risk of not complying or of suffering a data breach after having failed to take the required protocol and steps to prevent one.
Is this an opportunity for HR to partner with their Marketing department in developing a policy? Why or why not?
[Wetherill] Many of the policy implementation will rest in operations and legal, but human resources would be wise to work with marketing to ensure policies – new and existing – are clear to employees and customers alike. Likewise, it could be an opportunity to provide customers helpful resources, materials and answers to the top questions coming from the market.
Last question: When faced with implementing a huge regulation (like GDPR), what are 2-3 things that organizations should keep in mind?
[Wetherill] I mentioned earlier the preparations that the Unum UK and U.S. teams have done. Some of the things we kept in mind:
Support from every level of the business. There should be a commitment from leadership down to ensure laws like this are a top priority and that compliance is encouraged throughout the organization.
Understanding of your business and culture. You’ll need to understand the inner- workings of your operations, then undertake projects with a mind to be both comprehensive and proportionate. Look at everything but build controls and processes for the most important variables and enhance existing ones rather than ‘re-invent the wheel.’
Constantly monitor and anticipate change. Stay on top of trends and keep stakeholders informed so that by the time an implementation date arrives, you are well prepared to meet the requirements.
I want to thank Tom and the team at Unum for sharing their knowledge on this subject. I’m confident we are going to hear more about GDPR in the months to come. And if you have a moment, be sure to check out Unum’s WorkWell blog. It’s filled with articles that you can share with employees about health, wellness, careers, etc.
Today’s reader note is a long one, but it’s also a subject that’s come up more than one time in my career. What do you do when you’re passed over for a promotion? The story has a few nuances along the way as well.
My employer has been asking me repeatedly to accept an assistant manager position. I’ve turned it down multiple times because I wanted to go back to school. Unfortunately, school hasn’t happened yet. Now, I have a new manager (someone that I trained, BTW) and I’ve been asked again to become the assistant manager. This time, I agreed with the condition that if I get info school that I will give notice, so they can find another assistant.
All was good, I passed my background check and was ready for the title since I was already doing most the work for past months. My manager told me that when I returned from my pre-scheduled vacation that we’d start my training. While I was away, I received a text from my manager saying that she had reconsidered her decision and wasn’t going to promote anyone. She was just going to do it all herself. I thought to myself, “Whatever…that’ll be short lived.”
I just received a copy of the schedule. There is a new employee and below their name it says, “assistant manager in training”. How should I handle this? I am so angry and ready to explode for obvious reasons like being lied to, feeling betrayed, etc. There must be some kind of rule to prevent them from being able to do this especially since I have not had any disciplinary action against me. Please advise what steps I can take to stop this!! Thank you!!!
We all know there’s probably more to this story that what we have here, but I do think there’s a disconnect worth exploring. I can see both sides.
The Employee’s Side: The company has been asking repeatedly for them to consider a promotion to an assistant manager role. After much discussion, the employee decides to do it. They go through all of the paperwork, getting ready to start, and the role is pulled from them. Then, they find out it was given to someone else. They feel like their manager lied to them with the whole “I’m not going to have an assistant. I’ll do it myself.” comment. The employee was doing the company a favor by taking on the promotion to this role and now they’re angry.
The Company’s Side: We’ve pressured an employee who really doesn’t want to be an assistant manager into the job. They are going to resign the role when they sign up for school, which could be at any time. We like this employee and they do a good job, but we really need an assistant manager who is going to be in the position longer. Since the employee never really wanted this role anyway, we’ll give it to someone else and they’ll be relieved that they don’t have to do it.
You can see how these types of situations occur. Both the employee and the manager thought they were doing the right thing. Hopefully, they can take steps to resolve the matter. Here are three things to consider:
Both the employee and manager should make sure that their disagreement doesn’t impact the work of the new employee who has been given the assistant manager role. We don’t know who this person is and their skills, but they’re not a part of this.
The employee needs to decide if they really wanted this promotion or role. And if the answer is “no”, then think about whether they can move past this. Regardless of how it was communicated. I agree that the company could and should have done a better job communicating, but the bottom-line is the employee didn’t want the job.
The company should acknowledge to the employee that they communicated this all wrong. If they wanted to make a change, that’s fine – but treat the employee with respect and let them know the reasons for the decision. They still might be a little unhappy, but they do understand.
Sometimes organizations must make unpopular decisions. No one likes it. But treating people with respect is an important part of communicating the message. I believe employees can accept disappointing news when it’s delivered properly.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the SHRM Annual Conference in Washington, DC
This post has been a long time in the works. I think it’s fair to say that #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have changed us – both individually and organizationally. While so much progress has happened in a short period of time, there are still many conversations that need to happen and a lot of action to be taken.
At this year’s WorkHuman Conference, pioneered by Globoforce, there was an incredible panel moderated by Wharton professor Adam Grant that included journalist Ronan Farrow, actor Ashley Judd, and social activist Tarana Burke. My two-cents is the panel said some things that human resources professionals, and the organizations they’re a part of, need to take very seriously.
As HR pros, we know that we have a role to play in making sure our workplaces are free from harassment. And anti-harassment policies are only the beginning. HR needs to develop the institutional courage to drive cultural change. While the comment received some laughter at the time, no one should have to tell an employee to put their penis away at work. (And just in case you’re wondering, yes, that does happen.)
It’s societal change that will address this matter. And for human resources that means doing our part in changing company culture. Because if this type of behavior is considered acceptable inside organizations, it will be considered acceptable in society.
And while I understand that movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are about more than sexual harassment, I do believe that organizations need to review their policies and make sure that they are clear. According to a new survey from Xpert HR, more than half (53 percent) of respondents said that sexual harassment policies and training would take on a greater concern in 2018. However, while most (92 percent) have a formal sexual harassment policy, only 38 percent plan to update their policies in 2018. It makes no sense to drive a change in company culture if the basic principles that employees are supposed to follow aren’t in place. We can’t just change policies after the fact.
This is a lot to process for HR professionals. They must sort out their own feelings while helping the organization navigate through their own change. Here are some resources that might help get conversations started.
Workplace Fairnessis a nonprofit organization that provides information, education and assistance to individual workers and their advocates nationwide and promotes public policies that advance employee rights.
Finally, I want to share with you a different type of resource being developed. I must admit that I wouldn’t have initially given this idea the time of day, but Tarana Burke said something during WorkHuman that really stuck with me about the positive role that pop culture can play in our lives. There’s a Kickstarter campaign going on right now calledDefine the Line – Comic Book – Sexual Harassment Training. Before dismissing the notion of a comic book, check it out. It could be a resource that resonates with people.
And that’s what matters. We must start resonating. I don’t claim to have all the answers here. But I do believe that we need to start talking and listening more. And holding ourselves and others accountable.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the 2016 MBTI Users Conference in San Francisco, CA
“Tell me one of your weaknesses.” is a classic interview question. Of course, no candidate wants to answer with a weakness, so they often come up with a weakness that can also be considered a strength. Like “Oh, I work too much.” Or “I have perfectionist tendencies.”
The same holds true for companies. During the interview process, no organization wants to show off their weaknesses. Like “The CEO is a bit eccentric.” But today’s candidates want a realistic job preview in the organization they’re applying to. Maybe they’re okay with an eccentric CEO.
That goes double for the job they are interviewing for – they want the good, bad, and ugly. Just like companies want to learn the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate.
A realistic job preview is an opportunity in the recruiting process to give candidates a sense of what it’s like to work at the company. They are not only designed for the company to see how the candidate handles certain situations but for the candidate to understand what working conditions are like. An example of a realistic job preview activity is the inbox or in-tray exercise.
With technology, companies are doing some innovative things to provide a realistic job preview to candidates:
Photos and video tours of the office environment
Video of internal meetings (here’s an example from Google)
Testimonials from current employees
Social media sharing (via Facebook pages, Tweets, LinkedIn company pages and Instagram)
Consumers today are doing research prior to making a purchase. Obviously, there are many ways that finding a job is of much greater importance than a purchase. It makes no sense to spend 5 hours reading comparisons between the iPhone X and the rumored Samsung Galaxy S10 to then spend 30 minutes checking out your next future place of employment.
Smart companies are looking for ways to share the employment experience before a person ever decides to apply. And it doesn’t mean sugarcoating the work. Finding a candidate that embraces the company (warts and all) is key to creating engagement.
P.S. Speaking of hiring employees, I’d love to see you at one of the upcoming seminars I’m facilitating for the Society for Human Resource seminar on “Talent Acquisition: Creating Your Organization’s Strategy”. Seminars are available in person and virtually. And they’re approved for recertification credits. If investing in your talent acquisition process is part of the company’s goals this year, you might want to consider checking it out.
Many of us can relate to today’s reader note about ethics. What do you do when you discover that someone has stolen one of your ideas and made it their own?
Can you write a blog post on intellectual integrity and ethics? I recently became aware of a situation where a senior leader in a position of trust overheard and borrowed someone’s idea and passed it off as their own. The leader also rushed to get it out before the other person could say anything.
What type of person does this? Is this becoming more common? How should the person who created the concept respond? I believe it’s reprehensible and primarily speaks to the flawed unethical character of the senior leader.
I don’t want to take anything away from this reader’s note. We all realize that there might be pieces of the story we just don’t have. But this note is a great reminder about ethics and the need for us to demonstrate ethical behavior in the workplace.
If you look at the ethics statements of several professional organizations, you’ll find that there are common themes to ethical behavior in terms of being truthful and not having any conflicts of interest. But there are also differences. Which makes me wonder (or assume) that ethics can vary from organization to organization. And, that they can also evolve over time.
It’s also possible that organizations might choose to have ethical guidelines that are stricter than industry or societal norms. An example would be accepting gifts. In some organizations, accepting any kind of gift, regardless of price, is considered inappropriate (or unethical). Other organizations set an amount of $25 or $50. Other organizations are fine with a different dollar amount. None of them are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It’s the ethical standard that the company has set.
Organizations that place a value on ethics can do several things to create and maintain an ethical culture.
Create an ethics statement. Think about the ethical behavior that you expect of others and craft some sort of statement that tells people who do business with your organization what they can expect. The statement can be posted on your company website for candidates, customers, and employees to see.
Include ethics in employee communications. If your employee handbook doesn’t include ethics, it probably should. Talk about ethics in new hire orientation and onboarding. Ethics shouldn’t just be an “HR thing”, it should be a company value. Make sure that managers are comfortable talking about ethical behavior as well.
Record senior management talking about ethics. Speaking of employee communications, look for an opportunity to shoot short videos of senior management speaking about ethics. The videos don’t need to be high-production quality, in fact, it might be better if they look / feel more casual. Ethics should be viewed as something that is discussed regularly.
Ask employees about ethics. Consider adding a question to your regular pulse surveys or annual employee engagement surveys about ethics. Make it a benchmarking question so the organization can notice trends over time. Do employees regularly rate the company as being ethical? Or does the company see their scores heading up/down?
So, what should an employee do if they feel their ideas have been stolen by someone else? Well, I believe the employee needs to ask themselves a few questions, starting with “Is this worth it?” And what I mean by that, is the idea worth confronting someone over? I’ve had my ideas taken and know the sting that it creates. But many of the ideas weren’t worth getting upset about.
And in the situations where having the idea being labeled as mine was important, I would have a second decision to make. Should I speak with my manager or human resources? Or have a conversation with the person. If it were a serious matter, I’d take it to HR or my manager. A less serious situation, I would speak with the person directly. I would tell them that having a good working relationship was important to me and ask what happened. Sometimes the individual had a perfectly logical response. Sometimes they didn’t.
Which leads to the last point…
If you find out that a person has taken credit for one of your ideas, the company isn’t willing to help, AND the person can’t explain why, THEN you’ve got to decide if you want to work for a manager or a company that you feel has done something unethical. Honestly, I can’t answer that question for you. It’s a very emotional and difficult decision. Especially if you really enjoy the work you do, your compensation and benefits, and like the other people you work with (who act in an ethical fashion).
Have you ever had someone take credit for your ideas? What did you do? Leave us a note in the comments.
You guys know that we’re experiencing a candidate-driven job market. This means that the conversations we’ve been having about employment branding, realistic job previews, and the candidate experience are significant to our future recruitment efforts.
As much as we might be tempted to label the term “candidate experience” a buzzword, we have to resist the urge. The candidate experience is important. But it’s made up of many touch points: from the moment a person learns about the organization to their rejection or arrival on their first day of work. One touchpoint that is sometimes missed is the job interview.
Many pieces of the hiring process – like background checks, applications, etc. – are maintained by human resources. Multiple people from multiple departments get involved in the interview process. It’s essential that everyone who is a part of the interview process understands their role in the candidate experience.
I was having lunch with a friend recently who was sharing her job search stories. We’re both in HR, so we know how these processes are supposed to work. She shared her amazement at the organizations that have forgotten the value in the small details.
So I thought it might be a good time to share a refresher about job interviews. Even when we’ve been doing something for a long time, we forget the details and need someone to remind us, “Yeah, that’s important. I used to do that. I need to get it back in my routine.” If you haven’t audited your interview process lately, here are seven things you might want to review:
Have an application process that’s easy to use. By now, you know that mobile-friendly websites are being given preference in internet search. If your career site isn’t mobile-friendly, well it’s time. Candidates are finding and applying for job opportunities using their mobile devices. And they are sharing great opportunities with their friends using social media on their mobile devices. If your career site isn’t mobile-friendly, then you’re missing out.
Define the purpose of the initial screening interview. Organizations have access to technology tools to help them screen candidates, which is terrific, and they should be fully utilized. The question is what is the purpose of the initial screening interview? Is it to identify culture fit or confirm basic qualifications? I don’t believe this question should be answered solely by the human resources department. HR should work with hiring managers to determine the best definition.
Make candidates feel welcome. When scheduling the screening interview, give candidates a sense of what to expect. For instance, if you’re using video technology for initial screening, let candidates know how to test their equipment, what to do if they have technical challenges, and a what to do if things just don’t work. Good interviews are about conversations. Not about worrying that the technology won’t cooperate.
Create a good first impression. When it comes time to schedule the in-person interview, tell candidates what to expect. Share the small stuff. We always told candidates when they were interviewing on “jeans day” that they were welcome to wear jeans too. We didn’t want them to be surprised and feel uncomfortable. The way candidates are treated the first time they come to your facility speaks volumes about the way they will be treated as an employee.
Choose the right interview format. I’m a big fan of collaborative hiring. Not because managers can’t make decisions, but because the candidate gets to speak with multiple employees during the hiring process. Then when they start, they know more people than the HR director and their manager. In fact, we told people our philosophy during the hiring process. Every company has to choose the right interview format and process.
Tell candidates what to expect after the interview. If a candidate doesn’t ask the question, make sure they know when a final decision will be made, the best person to follow-up with, and how to stay in touch. Candidates don’t want to pester companies. Organizations don’t want to be pestered. The best way to avoid it all together is by setting the expectation at the end of the interview.
Give the process closure. Once a final decision is made, let all of the candidates know the outcome. Even when they don’t get the job, they respect knowing the outcome. It’s possible the organization will be interested in a previous candidate for a future position. Keep the door open by letting candidates know what’s happening in the process. They’re more likely to consider other opportunities or give referrals because they were treated well in the past.
Always remember that candidates are consumers. They can purchase your product or service. Or they can recommend it to others. The candidate experience has a direct impact on the consumer experience. You never want to lose a candidate and a customer at the same time.
P.S. If investing in your talent acquisition process is part of the company’s goals this year, you might want to consider checking it out a seminar I’m facilitating for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on “Talent Acquisition: Creating Your Organization’s Strategy” We will be covering every touchpoint in the recruiting process. Seminars are available in person and virtually. And they’re approved for recertification credits.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas, NV
I’m a huge introvert, which means that I need quiet time to recharge. So, I’ve been known to ask questions like, “Do I need to make that decision right away?” or “Can I sleep on that?”. These are ways for me (the introvert) to find time to process information. It doesn’t mean that the answer would be negative. It just means I need time to think.
Another comment that people might make to buy themselves some thinking time is “Let me check my calendar and get back to you.” Today’s Time Well Spent from our friends at Kronos made me smile. Is that guy several floors up on the construction site an introvert like me?
Or is that guy lost because he doesn’t have the benefit of technology? It made me wonder. Do we need to be clearer about our intentions?
Ask when decisions need to be made. When I first started consulting, I (mistakenly) assumed that every client wanted a proposal immediately. I was making myself crazy trying to keep up. I finally started asking the question, “When do you want a proposal?” Some clients would answer tomorrow, but the clear majority would say, “Sometime next week is fine.” Don’t make assumptions about when decisions need to be made. Ask the question.
Negotiate your thinking time. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we are all faced with moments when we want to think over decisions. Again, that doesn’t mean that the questions (or answers) will be negative. Sometimes big career decisions like a promotion, transfer, relocation, etc. warrant some extra time to plan. No one should feel pressured to make a quick decision.
Use technology to help organize information. If that guy in the cartoon really does need to go down to his office to look at some papers on his desk, maybe it’s time to take advantage of what technology brings to the table. Think about those moments when technology can help and find a device or app that can bring your desk to you. You don’t have to do it for everything – I’ll admit that I love my Erin Condren life planner – but I don’t need it for every decision or answer.
It’s not necessary to answer everything right away. Organizations have the opportunity to create cultures that establish decision-making norms – not only how the decision-making process will take place but the time that individuals and teams will be given to get their thoughts together.