April 17, 2019


The 8020Info Water Cooler

  Highlights from the latest information
  for managers, leaders & entrepreneurs



In this 8020Info Water Cooler we discuss how to fix common onboarding mistakes, the benefits of adding walking meetings to your day, what your business card should look like, and we walk through three steps for change. Enjoy!


1. Improving Your Onboarding

First impressions count. Often the impressions we give to our new recruits at work are unfavourable. We can be sloppy and inconsiderate, as their big day gets little attention in our ongoing swirl, and they feel like an inconvenience rather than a valued new addition to the team.

Consultant Annett Grant, in Fast Company, highlights three common mistakes we make after hiring and how to fix them:

  • Going silent after the hiring deal is agreed to: “If the next time your new hire hears from you after accepting the position is their first day on the job, that’s a mistake,” she says. Email them a week before they start, saying you’re looking forward to working together and giving them an overview of what to expect. Follow that up the day before they start — they’re probably excited and anxious — with a brief itinerary of their first day.
  •  Not leaving time to celebrate: She suggests a brief celebration of their arrival, perhaps coffee and cake plus time sitting around a table with closest team members to chat. Don’t go overboard: Organizing a lunch outing with everyone on your team might take weeks to happen.
  • Info-dumping: Don’t expect the employee to learn everything about the organization on Day One. “While there will obviously be some administrative issues you need to take care of, try not to overwhelm them with too much, too fast,” she says.

This will set a positive tone, reinforcing the choice they made to join your organization.


2. Yes, You Need A (Top-Flight) Business Card

In a world of LinkedIn and Google, do you need a business card?

Yes, and it should be an actionable marketing document, according to consultant Donald Cooper. That means it should communicate the name of your business, your name and your title or position; what you do and for whom you do it (your target customers), if you serve a specific niche market; how you do it wonderfully or differently… and, how to contact you.

“More than 80% of the cards I see leave out some of this critical information.  Many of them offer no clue as to what the company actually does,” he says in his newsletter.

Business Card Content:

Job titles these days can be controversial, but he insists people want to know who you are and what your position is. And don’t make the title fanciful, like the person with a card listing him as “Chief Oyster Shucker.”

Include an address, even if you have a home-based business — after all, the Queen, Pope and president of the United States also work out of their homes. People want to feel comfortable they can find you if something goes wrong.

Have the cards professionally designed, ensuring the type font is big enough for easy reading and contrasts with any colours. Choose the best, heaviest card stock available, with a nice soft sheen.

“If your printer offers only the standard flimsy card stock, find another printer.  It’s your reputation that’s at stake,” he stresses.


3. “Wise” Sayings To Stop Saying

Business coach Dan Rockwell says some supposedly wise sayings are dangerous — either because they are half true, or they are comforting but ultimately unhelpful excuses. Here are three:

  • We did our best: That’s an opiate affirming poor performance. “Don’t console failure. Ask your team, ‘What are we learning? What will we do better next time?’” he advises on his Leadership Freak blog.
  • You can’t hit a home run every time: Again, he argues this is a loser’s excuse for accepting half-hearted effort, a permission to ease up. Instead, think about what a home run would be, who from your team brought the most value to the effort and who held you back, and what can be done differently next time.
  • A little knowledge is a dangerous thing: Yes, people with a little knowledge can make mistakes so there is some truth to the statement. But turn it around and think bigger: A little knowledge is the first step to a lot of knowledge.


4. Insert A Walking Meeting In Your Day

As the weather improves, consider turning one of your meetings each day into a walking meeting. Emily C. Johnson, deputy director of editorial content at ThriveGlobal, tried it after realizing that, while she works out and moves when not at work, it was a different picture for the majority of her day.

“It’s not uncommon for me to realize at 6:30 p.m. that I’ve only moved to go to sit in a meeting in a different room, to grab a snack from the kitchen, or to run to the restroom,” she wrote.

Actively changing the environment of meetings helped her colleagues to get moving as well and changed their conversations, which felt wider-ranging.


5. Zingers

  • The Energy Spreadsheet: Everyone has different peak hours. Do you know yours? Productivity consultant Chris Bailey suggests recording your focus, energy, and motivation every hour for three weeks on a spreadsheet. (Source: Trello)
  • What’s The Difference:  In a presentation, think about what you want your audience to do differently after hearing from you, says consultant Nick Morgan. (Source: Public Words)
  • It Helps To Ask:  How do you figure out what your client’s buying process is? Ask them, says consultant Colleen Francis (Source: Engage Selling)
  • Yes!  Entrepreneur Chris Dyer devoured business books, blog posts, and every bit of thought leadership he could find when his company was struggling, but found the solution in the most unlikely of places —  improvisational comedy. During a routine, actors must say “yes, and…” to any situation, which he says is the cornerstone of improv and unfortunately the opposite of what we do in the workplace. Be positive; say yes, instinctively and whole-heartedly. (Source: ThoughtLeaders)
  • Add Empathy To The Mix:  Mix empathy with data in your decisions and you will be a better leader, says Alphabet board chair John Hennessy. (Source: Leading Matters)


6. The List: Novels With Ethical Lessons  

Here are seven novels with lessons on Ethics, courtesy of management consultant Michael Wade on his Execupundit blog.

  • The Warden by Anthony Trollope: A Church warden finds himself accused of unethical behaviour.
  • War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy: Lessons about people, which invariably include ethics.
  • The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk: The film version misses an important part, after the court-martial, when the defence attorney opens up on his clients.
  • Life With A Star by Jiri Weil: The hero is trying to live decently while others are taken to death camps.
  • A Meal In Winter by Hubert Mingarelli: Some killers get a chance in the Holocaust era not to kill — will they take it?
  • A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd: The ending will surprise you.
  • A River Town by Thomas Keneally: Can you do everything right and still lose in a town infested with moral rot?


7. Around Our Water Cooler:
    3 Steps For Change

Recently a client mentioned a common problem for project managers — finding it difficult to build momentum and get past organizational sluggishness during the initial steps of a transition project.

An easy-to-grasp model for adaptation to change, developed by William Bridges, was highlighted by long-time Queen’s Professor Carol Beatty in her book The Easy, Hard & Tough Work of Managing Change.

According to this model, “change” is framed as any external event that has some impact on a person. In a work setting this could be a new boss, a new team, a new role, a restructuring, and so forth.

With a “transition”, on the other hand, Bridges is referring to an internal psychological process people go through to come to terms with the change.

A transition is a three-phase process whereby people gradually accept the new situation and the changes that come with it. Unless transition occurs, the individual will not adapt and the change will not work for him or her.

The three steps in the Bridges model are:

  • Unfreezing — first preparing for change, then “unfreezing” the status quo (of existing attitudes and behaviours) to allow change to occur, and generating support for the change.
  • Moving — implementing new systems and procedures, making changes in organizational structures and processes, and developing new behaviours/ attitudes.
  • Refreezing — reinforcing the changes that have been implemented as part of a new beginning and ensuring the new ways become habits, embedded in the culture.

The next time you face a transition, consider loosening the behavioural norms in your workplace before you try to move forward. As you complete your transition, lock those changes into your routine practices and organizational culture by “refreezing” the new habits.


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8020Info helps senior leadership teams and boards develop, clarify and build consensus behind strategic priorities. Our services support research and stakeholder consultations, strategic planning processes, change and marketing communications. We would be pleased to discuss your needs and welcome enquiries.


8. Closing Thought 

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.”

— Thomas Paine