Sunday, August 29, 2010

Management Skills which are not taught, but should be

Business school does not teach people some of the most fundamental skills which a manager will need. How to give a review, how to fire someone, how to interview a job candidate may be more important at times than the most complex strategic issues. In fact, dealing with people is an area where I suspect that the manager of today is not much better than the manager of 50 years ago even thought there is much more theory on motivation and rewards.

Some of the most simple and basic communication skills are missing in the workplace. I recently saw an example where a manager asked a subordinate to think about a promotion, but gave no timetable so that while the manager assumed a few days, the subordinate assumed a few weeks. When the subordinate did not respond within a few days, the manager assumed he did not want the promotion, which was not correct.

Friday, August 20, 2010

When older people rant against Facebook they make themselves look out of touch

I do encounter people over 40 who proudly declare that they would never go on Facebook. Yesterday I spoke at length with someone who pronounced Facebook as dangerous and responsible for the breakdown of relationships, corruption of innocents and many, many scams. Most young people and knowledgeable older ones, simply laugh at this and see it as proof that the individual is completely out of touch. I have often wondered how anyone can be proud of being behind the times. The reality is that change will happen, that technology is actually neutral, but that people decide how it is used. To argue against change is like King Canute trying to hold back the waves - doomed to failure and a sign of ignorant arrogance.

Friday, August 06, 2010

I hate "utilize"

One of the beauties of English is that it is an easy language in which to communicate. Since it typically has words with the same or similar meaning with Latinate or Anglo-Saxon roots, we have a choice. If we want to obfuscate, we can use the Latin word or if we want to be really clear, we can use the Anglo-Saxon one. We can inflame passions, or we can fire people up. It is often the mark of the somewhat, but not to literate to use long words when short words would be better. Announcements on aircraft are classics of the type. An example which is often found is use of the word "utilize," when "use" is easier, simpler and easier to understand.Perhaps some people would rather trade in good communications for the illusion of erudition.