Friday, June 18, 2010

A Blog Birthday Celebration and a Contest!

It has been a full year since I launched this blog with my first post, A True Story. Seventy-five posts later, despite the fact that this blog was started largely as an experiment, there continues to be never-ending fodder to write about, and I continue to be amazed that anyone at all is reading.

I want to thank the 43 followers and 90 subscribers who visit here weekly, especially those who have been with me from the beginning, as well as the 200+ visitors who come here weekly via Linked In discussion groups and elsewhere. (After three decades of measuring and analyzing I just can’t seem to stop.) In total, more than 9000 readers have visited this site!

There’s a lot to celebrate, including the fact that some of my articles have been picked up by,, and the Huffington Post, and my weekly column now also runs at Work in Progress blog.

Many of you have given me ideas to write about with your 400+ comments, and at least 5 times that many comments have been left from you on Linked In forums, Facebook, on the Work in Progress blog, or via e-mail directly to me. Your interaction is what keeps this dialogue interesting.

Now for the fun part, blog birthday party time!

In honor of this blog’s birthday, I am giving away a hardcover copy of The No Asshole Rule. This highly rated book by Robert I. Sutton, advocates eliminating all assholes from the workplace – something I think most of you will agree with.

Here’s how to enter to win:

Option 1: Leave a comment on this blog post answering this question: What is one thing you would like to change in the workplace? Since we’ve already covered eliminating assholes, you need to pick something else.

Option 2: If you don’t like that question, leave a comment here answering this one: What is one thing you would like to see stay the same in the workplace?

Option 3: If you don’t like answering questions, leave a comment with a suggestion on a topic to write about for a future column.

Option 4: Heck, if you don’t like options 1-3, just leave a comment. Respond to someone else’s comment, send birthday wishes, talk about the weather, whatever… Just leave any comment on this blog post and you will be entered in the drawing.

The fine print:

Yes, you may leave a comment using a pseudonym or anonymously and you will still be entered. I will use the timestamps on the anonymous comments to identify the winner. (The winner will have to let me know a real name and address via e-mail.)

If you leave more than one comment you will be entered each time. This is mostly to make it easy for me to pick a winner, but also to encourage discussion.

For those who visit via Linked In discussion groups, please note that your comment must be left here to be eligible for the drawing.

You have until Thursday June 24th at midnight to leave a comment and qualify for the drawing. A winner will be picked randomly, and announced here on Monday June 28th.

While you are here, I invite you to sign up for the special announcements newsletter (see sidebar) to ensure you don't miss out on future contests. (If you want blog posts by e-mail please use the 'subscribe to posts via e-mail' button.)

Thanks again for being here with me!


Maurice Frank said...

Hi Collette,

The one thing I would not want to change about my workplace is the autonomy my manager gives me. We've worked together for 10 years. She trusts me to figure out what needs to be done and she knows I will get it done well and on time. I do not deal well with someone looking over my shoulder.

I really enjoy your blog and I check it every Friday morning.

TMary said...

The one thing I would like to see disappear is the Requirement in some companies that a certain number of employees will receive an average or poor annual performance rating, as in a quota system for performance ratings. I am not convinced there are many poor performers left (or even average,,today), and forcing this is a climate and morale disaster. Does not foster collaboration or teaming. Love your blog!

Rob said...

Happy 1st Birthday! I really enjoy your blog and I am glad I found it! It has helped me out by in numerous ways and I look forward to it every Friday.

I would love to see the "Big Brother" disappear at my workplace. We all have a common goal and believe in it. We don't tabs kept on us every hour to make sure we are fulfilling our commitment to making this business succeed. This makes for a very oppressive and toxic environment some days.

Looking forward to Birthday number 2!

Dave said...

Watching tony Hayward of BP fame get castrated by members of Congress makes me realize that the people at the top have absolutely no idea what the people at the bottom actually do.
Likewise I don't think the people at the bottom (me) really understand what those at the top do (or why they 'deserve' their often exorbitant salaries. Maybe that's a topic for a future post?)

So if I could change anything it'd be to try to find some way to bridge that divide and connect the top with the bottom more directly that it currently is.

Anon_e_mouse said...

What would I like to change about my workplace? Well, for starters, I'd like to have one... being laid off isn't any great pleasure. That aside, what would I most like to see disappear from the workplace? People who have limited skills and therefore feel the need to try and get ahead by bluffing, bragging, and outright lying. I've worked with several folks like this over the past 30+ years and, while they will inevitably slip up and eventually get caught, they make life miserable for the rest of us in the meantime.

Colette said...

Oh you all have some very good suggestions! I especially like TMary's suggestion to eliminate appraisal skews. I have seen that really take its toll on people.

Thank you all for the birthday blog wishes!

TMary said...

Hi everyone, the one thing I really like about work is the opportunity to work with, and learn from a very diverse, insightful, and smart group of people - every single day! I work with people all over the world mostly via conference call meetings and e-mail notes,,,and it is extremely interesting and challenging, all at the same time. I have been very lucky to travel at times, to meet several colleagues around the world - Wow,,, I never imagined this and this has been an incredible opportunity. It has also broadened my perspective, which is really the overall benefit. Plus my three children have a global perspective, having gone to China and Paris with me, I am lucky.

TMary said...

I would like to know if you have any information on anyone who has always strived for career advancement and has experienced a downside to advancing in their career. Do they regret going for the brass ring and wish you had stayed at their previous level? What are the reasons? Maybe you already wrote about this, please point me to the post, thanks.

Anonymous said...

A very happy first birthday and many more! I found this via the ForbesWomen group on LinkedIn (one of my favorites). What I would like to maintain and enhance in the workplace (and the larger outside world) is mutual respect and living according to the golden rule: do unto others as you wish they would do unto you (even if they don't) and don't do unto others what you find offensive. In other words, good old fashioned manners and consideration would make life smoother for all. And don't forget that a smile opens many doors!


Dave said...

Whilst I agree with the sentiment of the last post I have to disagree with the 'do unto others' bit. It should really read, "Do unto others' as they would like to be treated" since what is good for you may NOT actually be good for them.
What that ultimately means is that one has to have an empathy for the needs of others. Simply treating them they way you would like to be treated is no guarantee of harmony.

Colette said...

Sharon, welcome! I think you'll find lots of nice people here. And thanks for the suggestion. I do think Dave makes a good point about not everyone wanting to be treated the same. For example, Maurice's point about liking autonomy -- I like it too -- but I know that not everyone does. Some people like more direction.

SteveB said...

Happy 1st Birthday. Heard this one? "Seems like yesterday."
For the contest: Option 1/2 - the nature of the workplace, as I understand it, is to successfully deal with change - adapt and innovate.
Option 3: hoping not to steal copyrighted material but try something like this:

Eric said...

Evening Collette,

I would do away with the impersonal, employee evaluation, software that some HR guru with too much time on her or his hands thought up to supposedly make annual reviews standard across the board and "fair," no doubt.

Secondly, reduce, better, eliminate corporate email announcements/noticies/stuff that must make someone feel important. In fact, give the office back to bosses and employees and drop email period. No one talks to anybody anymore.

Now, having said all that, if we get rid of the corporate AHs, the above two items would most likely go away by themselves.

Just no subsitute for making the AHs go bye bye is there?


Colette said...

Some great suggestions here! Keep them coming!

Dr. Bob said...

Many of the problems of the workplace find their root in the philosophy of managing a corporation to maximize extremely short term stock price rather than the long term viability and value of the corporation.

If I were King, this would be banned. If I had a magic wand, there would be a bunch of executives turned into toads.

This myopic perspective causes companies to have an anorexic emphasis on slashing costs, which almost always means dumping the long term skilled employees that brought the company its success. Along with that it destroys morale, it causes the survivors to be overworked, it prevents working on strategic things in lieu of chronic firefighting.

To keep costs down, promotions become virtually non-existent, stingy quotas are put in place to artificially force low performance ratings so people can be dumped and pay increase minimized.

Can we say "toxic workplace"?

Many of the really great employees can quickly find much better opportunities and leave - sometimes to customers and sometimes to competitors - do you really want ex-employees mad at your company as decision-makers in your customers' shops and working for your competitors.

This short term focus on cost cutting and the brain-drain that ensues can result in a company being unable to make strategic investments in new products and unable to innovate.

In short - managing for maximizing the short term stock price is a steady way of slouching toward irrelevance and mediocrity, followed by extinction.

Colette said...

Dr. Bob - focusing on short term results has always been one of my pet peeves about the corporate workplace. What ever happenned to strategy?

TMary said...

I would like to see something about how others maintain and build skills for their job or a new job. What works well, what does not, how do people prioritize the time, distance learning vs. face to face, etc. I realize this is different for everyone of course - are others primarily reduced to on the job training and/or 'find it on their own training'? Wondered if you had insight on current trends.

Jim said...

Hi Collette and Happy 1st Birthday.

One of the most annoying actions that goes on within the workplace is the need for people to CC so many people on their emails. Even worst is to get multiple copies of the same discussion going back and forth and the whole topic is of no concern to me nor to most of the people on the CC list.

Dave E said...

I would like to outlaw workplaces from hiring people with the same name as me.
This would prevent me from receiving gazillions of emails because MY instance of my name pops up first in the list when you type in Dave E and people are too lazy to make sure they have the correct one before they hit send!
Alternatively I am prepared to change my name to Pinkenflop Flooplip on the grounds that Google has no hit on it, so far anyway.

Colette said...

The last two comments on e-mail really had me laughing. Jim -- so true about the cc lists. Just think how great it would be to only get the e-mail we wanted to read? And Dave -- the same name thing is so true as well!

Thanks to everyone who participated this week. The contest is officially closed. Check back on Monday to find out who won.

Colette said...

TMary, I want to followup on your question about striving for career advancement and then experiencing a downside. I haven't written an earlier post about this (could be a good topic) but I will say that yes, I have seen this happen to others and it has happened to me. But the problem usually isn't advancement per se -- it's usually either because the person accepted the wrong job -- sometimes it's with a boss they can't work effectively with, sometimes it's because the new job demands too much time or travel. I would suggest that you look closely at what makes a job right for you.

I have also seen examples where people have accepted a career-advancing job and then been 'downsized' or 'laid off' or whatever you want to call it. This can happen with new organizations or 'growth' organizations. Unfortunately this happens too often.

I invite readers to add their comments in response to TMary's question as well.