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Sunday, August 17, 2014

What Do Employees Experience When They Walk In The Door?

Call it corporate culture or workplace environment, it all distills down to what do employees experience when they arrive at work? Are they excited to be there or do they wish they had hit the snooze button one more time? It often depends upon whether their work environment embraces engagement and productivity or discourages it.

The concept of "situational performance" comes into play here. Picture the world renown opera singer Sarah Brightman entertaining audiences at Carnegie Hall in NYC where she has all the support necessary to deliver a brilliant performance. In another scenario, imagine her performing on the tarmac at the nearby Newark Liberty International Airport at rush hour. Ms. Brightman can sustain her brilliance at Carnegie Hall throughout the entire performance. How long she lasts at Newark is questionable!

Employees looking to accelerate advancement of their careers will inevitably want to seek out companies who offer a supportive work environment which lets them demonstrate their best performance on a daily basis. Questions about the type of workplace environment a company offers are seeping into job interviews and are given serious consideration by serious candidates.

Business leaders struggling to carve out a competitive edge will want to look at the type of environment they have created either by design or default for their employees. The discretionary productivity of an organization's workforce often drives the distinction between success and failure in the marketplace.

There is every reason for management and workers to come together on this issue as it is commonly accepted that supportive workplace environments produce the most productive workers. This is good for workers, management, and shareholders alike!

Your thoughts on this current and important topic are welcome!

Fred Stawitz

Coauthor of Don't Run Naked Through The Office

Also visit

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Dirty Windshields, Squeegees, and Running Naked in Houston!

I ran across a homeless man cleaning windshields along I-45 on the North side of Houston a couple weeks ago. As he was squeegeeing my windshield he suddenly stopped having noticed a small sticker on the passenger side of the windscreen promoting my new book “Don’t Run Naked Through The Office” and exclaimed, “Wow, what’s that?!”

In the few seconds before the light changed, I explained to him that my new book provided guidance for people who were frustrated with their jobs. He surprised me with his sincere interest and the comment, “I’d like to read that!” My standard response kicked in, “It’s available on Amazon” to which he quickly glanced at his pile of belongings under the I-45 overpass. I got the message, “I’ll bring one by for you!” Just then the light changed and he nodded somewhat unconvincingly as he backed out of traffic.

This morning I made good on my offer to him as I stopped for the light at that same intersection. There he was with his half-smile, positive attitude, and ready to wash my windows! At first, I didn’t say anything as he was cleaning my windshield but then just like before he noticed the sticker and said, “Hey, I know you!” This time, I was prepared. I had a book in a plastic grocery bag wedged in beside the passenger seat waiting for him. “Here,” I said handing him the book. “I brought this for you.” He responded with surprise in his voice. “Thanks, man!” he exclaimed taking the book, “I mentioned this to my buddy.” Just then the light changed. “You’re welcome!” I told him. I’ll drop by again in a couple weeks. Would like to hear your thoughts after you’ve read it!” Someone behind me honked and so I moved on with the traffic.

All day, thoughts have been circling in my head. Where does he stay at night? Does he make enough cleaning windshields for a healthy meal? Does he have a family? Is he a vet with issues? Did he lose his job? Did he ever have a regular job? What path in life brought him to this intersection where he cleans windshields to survive another day?

 My book provides advice for people who are have a job or are looking for a job, not people who live under bridges. I explain the four types of workplace environments and how to navigate the challenges of each. I cover how to assess the risk of being proactive in a non-supportive workplace environment and the benefits of being self-managed in all environments. I lay out a clear process for refining a professional image and enhancing a professional foundation. I wondered if there were anything I had written in those pages that would be useful for him. Maybe back when he had a regular job, if he ever did, and the boss was yelling in his face about some inconsequential matter. But now, in his current situation, would he find anything that I had written of use?

I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again or if I’ll ever find out what he thinks of my book. I do know the cover and title caught his interest and even when I told him what the book was about he still wanted to read it. Part of me hopes he’s still under that bridge in a couple weeks, so I can hear what he learned from my book. And yet, another part hopes he’s found more suitable housing!

Your thoughts on this current and important topic are welcome!

Fred Stawitz

Coauthor of Don't Run Naked Through The Office

Also visit

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Where There's One Bad Apple ...

An article entitled "Why Your Horrible Boss Still Has a Job" was posted this week on LinkedIn by Executive Coach Lisa Tesvich, Ph.D. It addresses several reasons why bad bosses stay in their positions. The article covers a range of rationales explaining why business leaders higher up in the corporate structure may decide to keep a bad boss in a position of authority or fail to reprimand the bad behavior.

As those who have read "Don't Run Naked Through The Office" know, it doesn't matter why a bad boss does what a bad boss does. There's little or nothing the employees who have to tolerate that situation can do about it. And, let me now add, it doesn't matter why the bad boss's boss keeps the bad boss in a position of authority! The point is the entire environment is tainted by the bad boss's behavior and tolerance of that behavior by those with the responsibility to do something about it.

All the employees who serve under the bad boss can do is depart if they are in a position to do so and hope they can find a more supportive environment or adapt to the environment in which they currently find themselves. Keep in mind that 70% of workers are disengaged with their jobs most likely due to the high number of companies that tolerate non-supportive workplace environments. That means that finding a supportive work environment in the current business climate is around a one-in-four proposition, not exceptionally good odds especially for those not tuned to recognize the four types of workplace environments.

Business leaders who tolerate a boss behaving badly obviously have their own unresolved issues and most likely tolerate other equally egregious situations that negatively impact the type of environment all workers in the organization experience. It's certainly not a new phenomenon as indicated by the well-worn phrase "one bad apple ..." except where one bad apple in the proverbial basket is blamed for spoiling its peers, in this case, the string of spoilage runs up the ladder of authority driving the entire environment toward increasing levels of toxicity!

Your thoughts on this current and important topic are welcome!

Fred Stawitz
Coauthor of Don't Run Naked Through The Office

Also visit

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Who is the Boss of You?

The mantra “employees quit managers … not companies” has traction, no doubt because there is some truth to it but it may not represent the entire story. Let me suggest the idea that “employees quit non-supportive workplace environments!”

Bad bosses are often the face of those environments and a significant contributor to the turmoil simply because of their authority over and proximity to the employee. But even good managers can only do so much to mitigate the negative impact of a non-supportive work environment on the employees due to other factors outside of their control. Therefore, a good manager may not be enough to make some employees want to stay.

Unfortunately, many employees find themselves running from one non-supportive environment to the next in the same way as some people chase dysfunctional relationships. They do so, unfortunately, because that is where they are most comfortable. As one reader of our book “Don’t Run Naked Through The Office” stated, "If I had come across this book several years ago, I have no doubt it would have saved me from repeating the same mistakes as I moved from job to job hoping that things would get better simply by changing the address of my workplace.”

Many employees believe their only options are quitting or waiting in the hope that they will get a new boss. Until individuals develop the ability to recognize the four types of workplace environments and how to navigate the challenges of each, they are prone to repeat this error again and again. The truth is there are far more non-supportive workplaces than supportive ones and far more bad bosses than good managers.

Self-managed professionals have the best chance of surviving in any workplace environment and often have the latitude to depart for a more supportive environment on their terms not as a knee jerk reaction to a bad boss. A self-managed individual acts in a professional manner to provide guidance, access to resources, and support for her activities in overcoming obstacles to her productivity.

This is the same definition we use in “Don’t Run Naked Through The Office” to define a good manager. So in other words, if you have a bad boss, you have to be your own manager!

You have to manage your professional development, you have to assess your risk, and you have to prioritize your activities. You have to do it all because your boss is not your friend, your ally, your supporter or even a leader worthy of your allegiance.

In spite of the dysfunctional behaviors your boss displays, you are there to perform a job in the most productive manner you can. This surfaces the idea of situational performance which will be addressed in a future posting. Having a bad boss doesn’t give you a free pass to shirk the responsibilities you assumed when you accepted your job.

The bottom line is that if you work in a non-supportive workplace environment, you have to know how to successfully navigate the challenges of that environment while retaining your sanity. This means you have to be your own manager; otherwise, YOU ARE RUNNING NAKED THROUGH THE OFFICE!
Fred Stawitz
Coauthor of Don’t Run Naked Through The Office

Also visit

Friday, May 9, 2014

Employee Engagement IS Rocket Science in a Non-Supportive Workplace Environment!

The latest buzz circulating in HR circles is, and The Gallup Management Journal’s “Employee Engagement Index” confirms, that nearly 70% of workers are disengaged from their jobs!

Given the increased stresses placed on the workplace by a dysfunctional economy and the increased threat of unemployment, many people may have simply adjusted to the idea that having any job is better than the alternative. If workplace happiness and engagement in your job equate, and I believe they do, this means that you have slightly over a one-in-four chance of being satisfied with your current situation. While better than your odds of returning from Las Vegas a millionaire, these odds are still not desirable.

It seems reasonable that the characteristics which foster employee engagement have some tangible relationship with a supportive workplace environment while those characteristics that foster non-engagement bear a connection to non-supportive environments.

The Gallup Organization estimates that the 17 percent of employees who are actively disengaged from their jobs costs the United States economy from $300 to $350 billion a year with these figures holding fairly steady since 2002. This is why it is difficult to understand how corporate executives tolerate non-supportive environments.

Of equal if not more concern is the toll this situation levies on working people and their families who are struggling to keep afloat in a still uncertain economy. This already stressful situation is exacerbated by non-supportive workplace environments, and high levels of negative stress are known to have extreme consequences which can be devastating for workers and costly for the company.

It would seem there are two courses of action that lead to a remedy. First, corporate leaders could recognize that non-supportive workplace environments limit employee engagement and diminish productivity. Management teams could begin shifting course in favor of providing workers stronger support structures. As I often say, employee engagement IS rocket science in a non-supportive workplace environment!

Additionally, workers can take action to leverage more control while maintaining their value and options in the job market. This will help reduce frustration and allow them to better manage the stresses of the non-supportive workplace environments in which so many people now work.

Your thoughts on this current and important topic are welcome!

Fred Stawitz
Coauthor of Don't Run Naked Through The Office

Also visit

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Before You Trash Your Career ... READ THIS BOOK!

Welcome to the opening of our blog! Read our new book Don't Run Naked Through The Office and post your comments here. We will post our thoughts on a regular basis.