The Common Sense Blog

23
Apr

Dressing for Decision Success

Keith, a colleague of mine, tells the story of going to work in a retail store where the staff seemed to wear whatever was most comfortable, regardless of appearance. After a couple of weeks of trying to fit in by wearing casual clothes, it dawned on him that doing the opposite might be the better strategy. Without saying anything, he

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16
Apr

Empathy and Smart Decision Making

Like most people, I have become wary of the customer service in most establishments these days. Maybe it’s because of our impersonal communication. Perhaps it’s because so many people feel overwhelmed with their own worries. Maybe it’s due to a lack of effective hiring and training. Whatever the reason, customer service has become more of an adventure. That’s why I

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10
Apr

“I Don’t Want to Look Stupid!”

Have you ever had that thought? Yeah, me too. Even in my early sixties, I can still get that twinge of fear that I might make a fool of myself. Last week, it was over approaching one of the tradespeople in Home Depot to ask a plumbing question. You know – “What if he thinks I’m dumb?” But then I

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2
Apr

What Do You Do with Decision-Deficit Disorder?

I have grown fond of coming up with self-explanatory alliterations that describe some of the behaviors employers are now dealing with in today’s workplace. These include menu-driven thinking, safe-decision syndrome and now decision-deficit disorder. This week’s inspiration was inspired during a conversation I had with a colleague who was lamenting the reluctance of many young people to take initiative and

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25
Mar

Let’s Make a $60,000 Decision in Twenty Minutes

My daughter, Erin, is about to graduate with a master’s degree in student personnel administration. She applied for a job at a Midwest university that will pay about $45,000 per year. With benefits and so on, it will probably cost the taxpayers in that state $60,000. If she remains in the position for three years, those making the selection are

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20
Mar

Empower Your People to Make Common Sense Decisions

One recent Sunday, my wife and I went out for breakfast at a chain restaurant that specializes in pancakes. Tammy, the young woman at the front counter, seemed to be doing everything – seating guests, cashing out checks, refilling coffee cups and clearing tables. It was obvious that more than one server had not shown up for the shift.  

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12
Mar

Don’t Own Other People’s Decisions

Allison, a young acquaintance of mine, works for a university in the Midwest. This past September, Lori, her highly-organized and somewhat demanding supervisor moved on. Lori was replaced by Tasha, someone so laid back that it’s driving Allison nuts. Allison is a hardworking soul who feels responsible for making sure things go well, even when those around her fail to

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5
Mar

How You Ask for Payment is a Matter of Trust

When it comes to professional services, how you ask for payment can have a tremendous impact on the trust between the client and the provider. Three separate experiences in the past ten days have brought this to mind. Two weeks ago, I met with a colleague and asked her to conduct some keyword research for our social media efforts. After

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26
Feb

The Cumulative Impact of Apathy

Dear Fast-food Franchise Owner: I want to thank you. I teach employers how to improve workplace decision-making and my experience this morning was a perfect example of how even small decisions can have a cumulative impact on profitability. I stopped by your restaurant at Belleview and Kipling at about 7:45AM for a small decaf coffee with two creams. The young

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19
Feb

Managing the Competition Between Intuition and Worry

Last week, I was in conversation with a colleague about whether to hire a new digital media manager. I said, “My intuition is to sign the agreement, but I’m worried that she’ll skip out the minute something better comes along.” “What is the difference between intuition and worry,” he asked. That posed an interesting distinction that we all tend to

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