December 30, 2013
As has become tradition at I Just Work Here Inc., I'm going to end the year and start a new one by turning this space over to some of the fine workplace experts I interviewed in 2013, allowing them to share advice for the months to come.
I thank you all for reading and for tolerating my jokes, and wish everyone good fortune in 2014.
Here, then, is some advice from some very smart people (i.e., not me):
Anne Kreamer, author of "It's Always Personal: Navigating Emotion in the New Workplace":
"Make a resolution to widen your network of contacts. Research has proven that we don't find our next job through our closest set of acquaintances, but rather through loose, more distant networks of people. Plan to attend industry events that you might have resisted in the past with a 'who has time?,' 'I'm shy,' or a 'I'm sick of these people' kind of excuse. But don't stop at industry gatherings. Make a point also of getting to know someone outside of your immediate orbit — a supplier, a competitor, someone who does work that appeals to you. You'll invigorate your mind, broaden your Rolodex of resources, and perhaps identify a new career path."
Adam Waytz, assistant professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management:
"One thing we can all do better at in the new year is manage conflict. How often have you wanted to respond to an antagonizing email with every single reason the other person is wrong, every single reason that you are right, and an assortment of self-satisfying insults thrown in for good measure? The problem is that any sentence you write and any point you make simply prolongs the conflict by offering your antagonist a chance to refute, disagree or disconfirm. The solution here is to focus on what the critical point is and stick to that point only."
Chris Yeh, vice president of marketing for PBworks, a California-based company that helps businesses operate more effectively:
"The most important thing a worker or job seeker can do in 2014 is to define the terms of her alliance with her manager. Every job should be a mutually beneficial relationship, where both employee and employer have something to gain.
"Work with your manager to define the following:
1) Your mission objective for the next year or two
2) What the company gains when you accomplish that mission
3) What you gain when you accomplish that mission
"By making the terms of the alliance specific, employees and managers achieve better alignment and better results."
Tyronne Stoudemire, senior diversity consultant at Mercer, a global human resource and financial services consulting firm:
"We celebrate the ascending contributions of women as we leave 2013, ending the year on a high. In January, Mary Barra takes the wheel at General Motors as the first female CEO. Her history making appointment shatters the glass ceiling for the automotive industry and makes her the 23rd women to lead a Fortune 500 Company. Although we've come very far in the embrace of gender parity we have a ways to go. Women account for only 4.4 percent of all Fortune 500 CEOs. For African Americans, 1.2 percent are Fortune 500 CEOs of which Ursula Burns of Xerox Corp. is the sole female African American.
"As the momentum of gender equality surges, we must continue to press and challenge leaders for greater gender partnership at all levels of the organization. Gender equality is not about parity; but more about providing an environment that fosters growth and prosperity."
Dan Schawbel, a workplace expert and author of the book "Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success" :
"Companies need to focus on finding talent that fits into their corporate culture more than ever before because turnover rates are increasing. Their culture should be more flexible, entrepreneurial and open so they can attract the emerging worker, Gen Y. They should measure the success of an employee by the results they deliver instead of how many hours they spend working. Furthermore, they should have a better feedback mechanism in the recruiting process because research shows that applicants who have a bad impression of the process are more likely to go to a competitor."
Josh Shipp, author of "Jump Ship":
"Identify five people that you work with closely and whom you respect. Send them an email asking them to fill out a 100 percent anonymous survey about working with you.
"Make sure you set the stage up front: 'Please be brutally honest with me because I want to improve on my weaknesses in 2014.' Then ask them the following: 'What am I the best at? What am I terrible at? What's the thing I need to change that no one wants to tell me?'
"These responses will likely make you cry. Good, you're human. But they will also make you better. If you'll wipe away the tears a2nd get to work on applying their advice. Remember what's bad for your ego is good for your character."
TALK TO REX: Ask workplace questions — anonymously or by name — and share stories with Rex Huppke at firstname.lastname@example.org, like Rex on Facebook at facebook.com/rexworkshere and find more at chicagotribune.com/ijustworkhere.
Copyright © 2015 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC