The Common Sense Blog

15
Aug

Well Intentioned But Tuned Out

I was sitting in a booth at a fast-food restaurant grabbing a bite to eat. The store manager was in the next booth with five of her employees, holding a staff meeting. She was going on and on though the topics she needed to cover. It appeared to be a list of about ten items – “This policy has been

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7
Aug

Don’t Fix the Cat’s Leg

Deanna is my hair stylist. She is a sweet twenty-something who sometimes overshares as she gives me a trim. Last week, she and another colleague were going back and forth about how to raise $4000. Ask friends? Create a go-fund-me campaign? Beg your parents for a loan? My curiosity got the better of me and asked what the $4000 was

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31
Jul

Teach Your New People the Top 15

It happens all the time. A new hire arrives for the first day of work. The supervisor rattles off a list of responsibilities and resources. The newbie nods over and over. The supervisor says, “You got that?” The newbie answers, “Yup.” And the supervisor says, “Good. Let’s get to work.” Then the newbie bombards the supervisor with endless questions for

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22
Jan

Have Your Young Professionals Learned How to Fail?

Yes, you read that correctly. As I speak with employers every week, one of the concerns they mention is the apprehension many new graduates display when compelled to make a decision for which there is no right answer. Sometimes this apprehension takes the form of endless questions. Sometimes it appears to be a lack of urgency. Sometimes it looks like

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2
Jan

Are You Wrapping Your Kids in a Burlap Blanket?

My wife and I and our friends, Bill and LuAnn, were sharing stories about our twenty-something kids. As we discussed the normal trials and challenges these young people face, we wondered out loud about the balance between saving them and teaching them to “sink or swim.” “We’ve always tried to wrap our kids in a burlap blanket,” said Bill. I

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18
Dec

Where is Your Locus of Control?

One recent morning, I was standing next to a woman in a local café. She appeared agitated, but I didn’t really think about it as I added a bit of cream to my coffee. A few seconds later, one of the staff approached her. “I’m sorry for the delay,” he said. “We’ll have the order ready in ten more minutes,”

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5
Dec

Making a Game of Repetitive Work

Like anyone, there are times when I am saddled with a repetitive task. Whether it’s raking the lawn, stuffing envelopes, or painting the kitchen, it can be tough to make the time go by. But I  have learned to re-frame this boredom by making a game out of it. So have most of those who grew up before the digital

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29
Nov

Get Your Front Line Thinking About Your Bottom Line

I love my kids, but they leave the lights on. They’re both in college now, but when they returned for the Thanksgiving break, I found myself following them around trying to save electricity. How about your kids? Chances are, they do the same thing. What about your employees? Turning off lights is nothing compared to breakage, the small mistake on an

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21
Nov

Are You Learning from Your Mistakes?

A long-time contractor recently told me of taking charge of a building project when he first got started. Having just graduated with a degree in construction management and feeling full of himself, he began by telling the masons that he would now order their materials since he knew how to budget the job in a more efficient way. When they

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14
Nov

The Blessings and Curses of Conveniences

Dan, a senior executive, recently told me of driving around in his prized 1977 Chevy pickup with his 16-year-old grandson. “Hey Grandpa,” the young man said, while holding a latte, “Where are the cup holders?” “We didn’t have cup holders forty years ago,” answered Dan who then added, “Roll down the window. Let’s get some air in here.” It took

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