Work: A Love/Hate Relationship

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We have a curious relationship with work. We jokingly refer to it as something we just love to hate. We tend to gripe about work in our conversations which are often grounded in negativity. We often view work as a necessary evil, the daily grind or just a job and something to pay the bills. It is to be tolerated until we can do something about it or find something better. We view work with a captive mentality. It is something that we do against our will, as if someone’s forcing us to do it. We complain about work when we are hired, fired, quit or retire.

There are statistics and anecdotal comments that reflect our ambivalence toward work.  70 to 80% of people dread going to work every day. According to the Gallup Corporation, only 18% are fully engaged in the workplace. Conversely, if we find the job we love, we are told that we won’t work a day in our lives.

The Hate Relationship

When we speak of the things we hate about our job, it is generally focused on the manager or the fact that we are underutilized or in the wrong job. Leadership is responsible for the culture, with assistance from our co-workers. We may not think we are able to positively impact environment, unless we are a manager. Therefore, we may elect to put our head down, shut our mouths and do our job. These are survival and coping techniques we use when we cannot leave the job and must stay on board for the sake of our family and future.

The Love Relationship

There may be a love side to work that is often not discussed. Rarely do we hear people say, “I love going to work, it is so fulfilling, encouraging and allows me to grow my skills to achieve my dreams. I love my job because it completes me; I cannot think of any place I’d rather be than at work.” We believe that the right job with the right manager and the right company, that fulfills our purpose, is out there, but we haven’t found it yet.

We should focus our attention to the overlooked facts that point to an affection some of us have for our jobs. There may be positive attributes that are lost in the stress and struggles from working in a toxic environment. If we look beyond the haze, we may see that work can amaze and provide us the opportunity to focus on personal dreams and enable us to acquire marketable and transferable skills. The workplace provides the option to network and meet people who will help us in our career development. Our socialization may be comprised of people we see at work.

Gratitude

It would be helpful to make a list of the things we love and the things we hate about your work. Find a quiet place and create a chart on a piece of paper or on your computer or tablet. Be very truthful and objective, as you complete these two columns. The nature of the job may fit into your strengths and your passions. For example, you may enjoy your manager and co-workers

After you have completed this assignment, study the items you have listed. Ask yourself the following questions;

  • How is this item contributing to my feeling about work?
  • How important is this item in my overall perception of my job satisfaction or dissatisfaction?
  • What can I do to increase or eliminate this as a concern?
  • Who should I talk to and explain my position?
  • How can I make the most of this concern to improve the overall development of my skill sets and career?
  • Am I honest about my assessment of these love-hate attributes?
  • How can I ensure that my response is benefiting the organization and putting myself in position to achieve my goals and dreams?

Where is the Love?

Gallup’s research also notes that people who are engaged at work usually have a best friend work. Early in my managerial career I noticed that certain managers surrounded themselves with people with whom they had a history. These individuals moved together from job to job and invariably brought these talented people with them. Apparently, they had cultivated a bond with these coworkers because of their talent and trustworthiness. There is a lesson we can learn from these relationships. They were an asset to each other as they climbed the company ladder. Therefore, work developed friendships and strategic relationships can benefit our careers. These individuals become investments and when they change companies, they can pave the way for us to join another organization.

My wife commented on how the corporate training programs enhanced my development. She knew me before I started working for the company. She saw me before the experiences and training programs and witnessed firsthand, my personal growth, development and transformation. When discussing difficulties at work, she would remind me to be grateful and express gratitude for the blessings I received.

Many companies have a list of direct and indirect benefits that they provide for employees. These benefits may increase the likelihood that people will love their jobs. Additionally, successful companies try to match people with the jobs consistent with their skill or potential. The direct benefits are pay for education through tuition reimbursement programs. There are vacation days, paid leaves of absence, company matching as a part of their 401(k) benefits. We may argue that companies must offer these benefits to be competitive in today’s marketplace. Yet, there are positive programs that we can use to benefit ourselves and family. Taking advantage of these programs could increase our positive perception of the company. We have a greater chance of loving work when we take advantage of these benefits. If we play our cards right, we can use the organization to develop the necessary skills to achieve our life’s purpose.

However, benefits alone should not anchor us to an organization that is tearing us down and burning us out. I spoke to a vice president recently who stated that she stayed with a previous employer because of their benefits, when there were no personal growth and career development opportunities. She indicated that she probably stayed there four years too long, when she could have grown and been better off in another environment, enhancing her career.

We have a love/hate relationship work, but we should mine for the valuable opportunities, benefits and resources we need to grow our portfolio, relationships and life experiences. When we step back and are strategic and objective, we observe and anticipate chances for skill development and financial security. We can accurately project the company’s potential value to us. And when this happens our love for work may increase, along with our level of gratitude.

Copyright © 2018 Orlando Ceaser

 

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The 4th Monkey – “Do No Evil”

I am reissuing, with a few modifications, my most popular blog post, for your consideration. The universal application of these age-old concepts is a tremendous value that should guide our behavior and interactions with each other.

We grew up with the story of the three monkeys. I imagine that many of us have the same interpretation of what they represent. We were exposed to pictures or statues. One monkey had his hands over his eyes, the second monkey with hands over his ears and the third monkey’s hands were over his mouth. They were see no evil (Mizaru), hear no evil (Kikazura) and speak no evil (Iwazura). There were actions and behaviors demanded of us based on the three monkeys, but nothing was said about the fourth monkey. The fourth monkey was do no evil (Shizaru).

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The stories of the four monkeys were popular in Japan in the 17th century. Their origin is between 2 and 4 BC in China. The Storyologer web-site (www.storyologer.com) has this account of Mahatma Gandhi who carried around a small statue of the three monkeys.  “Gandhi had a statue of three monkeys in three different postures. One was shutting his mouth with his hands, the other was shutting his ears similarly and the third one had put hands on his eyes. A visitor to his house became curious and questioned Gandhi about the various postures of the monkeys. Gandhi politely replied, “The one shutting his mouth tells us that we should not speak ill of anybody. The one shutting his ears tells us that we should not hear the ill of anybody. And the one shutting his eyes tells us that we should not see the ills of anybody. If we do so, we will have all goodness and nothing but goodness.”

Travelers will often find local markets with carved depictions or artwork featuring the three monkeys. My wife was able to purchase an angelic model of the same concept. There are three angels; one was covering her eyes, one was covering her ears and the other was covering her mouth. However, the fourth monkey was not shown. The 4th monkey, when pictured, is usually shown folding his arms (the body language of being closed) or covering his crotch to signify inactivity.

The different interpretations of the four monkeys is fascinating. In Buddhist tradition it meant don’t spend your time preoccupied with evil thoughts. In the West it relates to not facing up to our moral responsibility, for example turning a blind eye. But in my household, the monkeys were presented to us as a model of proper behavior. Our parents wanted us to identify with the images, to supplement our moral code.

See no evil (Mizaru)

We were told to pay attention to people and location(s). The idea was that if we were in the right location, we would minimize seeing trouble develop before our eyes. This was applicable in school and at work. We were instructed against being at the wrong place at the wrong time or the wrong place right. We were also told not to look for bad things in people or in certain situations. There are people who see bad things when they don’t exist, which could explain the manifestations of bias, stereotypes and profiling. We were not taught to be naïve, but to be careful and respectful.

Hear no evil (Kikazaru)

We were told to shield ourselves from bad language and bad intentions. We should stay away from people who spoke ill of others and gossiped. If we were not in the wrong place we could minimize hearing things that we should not hear. We were also instructed not to listen to foul or vulgar language. If we heard people language, especially regarding someone’s evil intentions, we could use the evil information to do good or to help others, that would be permissible.

Speak no evil (Iwazura)

Speak no evil was used to discourage gossiping or speaking ill will about someone. We were told to watch our language and to speak kind words. “If you can’t say anything good about someone, don’t say anything” was a part of this same philosophy. Adults told us that spreading bad news or malicious information could come back to haunt us. We should also, apply this same advice to the workplace.

There is a misconception around the concept about someone. This misconception has led people to adopt a code of silence in the workplace when a person is not pulling their own weight. We would rather silently complain or resign, before talking about an employee who was not working. We would not want to be labeled a snitch or a stool pigeon. In the streets people would say, “snitches get stitches”. To speak evil of someone means telling a lie, varying false witness or defaming their reputation. However, it is our responsibility to find a way to report injustice, illegal behavior and practices that undermine people and the organization. Our intention should be to speak the truth in love without malice or premeditated negative objectives.

One way to break the code of silence is by offering incentives to whistleblowers. These individuals are people who step forward and report unlawful activities in an organization. They are generally paid a 10% bounty if the measure goes to court and fines are levied against the lawbreakers. In neighborhoods where people know the perpetrators of violence, but fail to come forward, there are no such incentives. Residents may be afraid of retribution, as the rationale for their silence. We must also realize that justice requires telling the truth and this should not be regarded as speaking evil of someone.

Do no evil (Shizaru)

The fourth monkey’s actions are truly related to the others. The workplace is a common place for the four monkeys to be used as an operating system. Employee bullying and intimidation, sexual-harassment claims, the presence of racial discrimination, unconscious bias and sexually charged language and actions exists in many organizations. Where improprieties and liberties are taken with people’s rights in the form of disrespectful words and actions, there are laws in place to prevent and punish these actions. Employees, who adopt a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil mindset are not helping to develop a positive company culture or a respectful workplace

Do no evil is a perfect monkey to enforce the values of character and integrity. He reminds us of proper behavior and etiquette. Our choices have consequences and the more we can emphasize a positive corporate culture and a respectful workplace the more effective our organizations will be become. There is conduct and behavior norms which must be identified, emphasized and enforced vigorously. Character will minimize stress in the workplace and reduce the number of lawsuits and discipline related to improper behavior.

The do no evil mindset would influence our participation in the political process. Our dialogue in conversations around those who are different from us or have different opinions would be positively affected. If we operated each day thinking in terms of do no evil, we would be more empathetic in understanding of each other. We would put ourselves in the shoes of our neighbors and seek to understand their point of, listen to their words and lay the foundation for greater chemistry instead of conflict.

How can we create an environment in our workplaces, families and communities, where people are held accountable for their own unlawful actions and the private citizens who come forward can feel safe and protected? If the fourth monkey was modeled, we would have less of a cause to talk about Mizaru (see no evil) and Kikazuru (hear no evil).

Do no evil and speak no evil should be magnified and connected to many of our guiding principles of behavior.  The Golden Rule and its equivalent in many cultures advise us to treat people the way we want to be treated. The Platinum Rule which asks us to treat people the way they want to be treated. The 10 Commandments implores us not to do a series of acts which could be seen as evil, such as murder, stealing, etc. you are instructed to love your neighbor as yourself. If we began from a position of love it is easier to think in terms of speak and do no evil.

We must clearly outline expectations of behavior and the judgment related to them to improve the climate in our organizations, homes and places where people meet. Correct action is essential to achieving healthy results in our relationships.

The imagery and practices espoused by the 4th monkey holds the key to making this possible. I am hopeful that by emphasizing the fourth monkey, we can improve our behaviors, connections, interactions and relationships with everyone.

 

Copyright © 2016 Orlando Ceaser

 

 

The Core of More™ – Be Awesome from the Inside Out

There are crucial components to your development that must be examined to accelerate your progress. There is a core set of skills, values or principles which can be debated, but factually, these key ingredients build on your present state.

Let’s place four elements in this Core of More™. These elements confirm there is more in your core than you can imagine, yet you periodically ignore one or more components. They are Let it glow, Let it grow, Let it flow and Let it go. These ingredients will enable you to gain rather than regress and achieve surplus, that is not necessarily excess.

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Let it Glow

Your light, however you define it, must be allowed to shine. Your talent, skills, abilities, capacity and resources must be a beacon of hope, a living positive example. Your light must be an indicator of your presence, purpose and performance. As we sang in Sunday School, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.” When it shines, it has a glow, a luminescence that grabs people attention, pinpoints your location and potentially influences your behavior.

Let it Grow

Skill level and impact will expand and enlarge your contributions. Influence grows as your abilities are refined and increased. You will devote the time, effort, energy and insight received from teachers, mentors and coaches to improve knowledge and the quality of your work.

You will become a continuous learner and communicator, passionate about getting better in the priority areas of your life. Your light will get larger and brighter and more will take notice of you and more will be expected of you, as more are influenced by your presence. Your abundance will become a windfall to others, as you realize you are slated to get better, so others can benefit from your brilliance.

Let it Flow

As it glows and grows, it will flow in the execution of your skill set and in helping other people. Work will become easier and more natural. Executing your tasks will appear effortless, mainly because you are in your sweet spot and you are letting it flow. It is captured in an acronym SMILE (So Make It Look Easy). An athlete will comment that they let the game come to them or the game slows down for them as they improve their craft.

When you let it flow, you remove the barriers to your performance. Your actions are as a well-trained athlete, gliding through the race; a musician who makes playing the instrument look easy; a world class professional speaker in their comfort zone, delivering a powerful message. You are caught up in the flow.

Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi , has a concept of flow which is defined as follows, “In positive psychology, as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity”1. It is a state where skills are consistent with the challenges presented to you. In the state of flow, you lose track of time and you are consumed in passion”2. Simon Sinek says, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.”3 When you Let it flow, your passion shows, as you let it flow.

Let it Go

Along your journey, there are nouns you must displace. There are people, places or things that are excessive weight that must be discarded. As a hot air balloonist will tell you, if they want to increase their altitude, sand bags must be cast over board or they will hamper your ascension.

There are personal situations that try to hold you back and hold you down. In earlier articles I refer to them as the Hindre™ a person or spirit of negativity that attempts to hinder or restrict your progress. They must be released if you are to soar to the rightful heights of your achievement. You may know these impediments, or you must be open to people giving you a second opinion on people who are plotting against you.

You must let go of destructive habits, attitudes, the wrong crowd, the wrong mindset or other roadblocks that are impeding your progress.

Let it glow, Let it grow, Let it flow and Let it go, are part of the Core of More™. Apply these principles to help you achieve success in the professional and personal realms of your life.

Copyright © 2018 Orlando Ceaser

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
  2. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1998). Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life
  3. wordpress.com/2014/08/24/working..

 

The Hindre™ – A Secret Force of Exclusion

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The Hindre™ is a person whose purpose is to keep you down, drain your confidence, stunt your growth, hold you back, and prevent you from moving forward. They will hinder you from realizing your potential and living up to your expectations. They are stationed in households and organizations to thwart progress and stymie success by discouraging siblings and offspring from achieving their dreams. The Hindre™ will disillusion people who have the ability and talent to make a positive difference. (The illustration of the Hindre™ is provided by United Press syndicated cartoonist Charles Boyce, creator of “Compu-toon”).

We encounter this nemesis of negativity at various stages of our lives. This individual is responsible for creating a hostile environment of exclusion that says we are not invited, we are not good enough and we are not wanted. The Hindre™ are in businesses and other organizations prepared to sabotage individuals viewed as a threat. They are active when difference enters an organization, so that the status quo is maintained. They are people who place fear in your heart by making you believe you are inadequate and do not have the skills to succeed, unless given special accommodations.

A first encounter with the Hindre™ is during your youth. Exposure is at school or in the home. They may lash out against you in the form of a bully, to hurt your feelings. The experience may have left you angry, embarrassed or ashamed. As you grow in age and maturity they show up in school, relationships, family, and activities and on the job. They are sometimes subtle or bold, undercover or out in the open, covert or overt in their actions. However, they may seem to support you, while discouraging you from taking a risk and disparaging you behind your back to diminish what others think of you.

The Hindre™ show up when people and ideas are the weakest and most vulnerable. In school when you are forming your dreams and goals for the future, they bring their brand of sarcasm, laughter, cynicism and ridicule to shake your confidence, break your spirit and damage self-esteem.

At work they appear in many forms. They may seem harmless, objective and well meaning. But they use their credibility to tear down your ideas and cast suspicion and doubt on your performance. If you are highly regarded, they may use language behind your back such as, “you would think with their education and experience they would know better or perform at a higher rate.” These secret attacks are pervasive, persuasive and slowly reduce your standings in the eyes of peers and supervisors.

Talent will bring the Hindre™ to the surface. Talent activates their discouragement mechanism to hinder high performance. If you are silent and under performing they are dormant and content. But when you flex your creative muscles and express your skills, abilities and talent, they are pressed into action.

Exclusion at Work

In business the Hindre™ lurks in the hallways, meeting rooms and work stations. They are dormant until someone threatens the status quo with new ideas, especially if these new ideas come from the wrong people. The Hindre™ always looks for reasons why ideas will not work and how the ideas of others may work better. They allegedly have the interests of business at heart, when they shift focus and direct their critique to the flaws in your perspectives.

The Hindre™ is sometimes driven by unconscious and conscious biases and prejudices. They restrict access to employment opportunities, neighborhoods, certain groups, membership to exclusive clubs for women and resources to complete a project or proposal.

The work of the Hindre™ has cost companies and countries billions of dollars annually in lost engagement and productivity, revenue and innovation. New ideas are suppressed. People are not fulfilled. Opportunities are passed or missed as the company is deprived of the full richness of its talent pool. On a larger scale entire neighborhoods and countries are deprived of entrepreneurs, leaders and positive role models. The Hindre™ is the ultimate Devil’s Advocate, running unrestrained throughout our lives.

In meetings they shadow your comments. They come to life when their target begins to speak. When others speak they are relatively quiet, but when you talk, they are on the edge of their seats, ready to launch a counter offensive to pounce on your ideas. Many times, they will submarine your ideas as irrelevant and inappropriate, only to repackage as their own at a later date.  Therefore, you should keep track of your ideas, so that when they resurface you can claim credit for them.

When you are aware of the existence of the Hindre™, they are very predictable. Your mindset will to prepare excessively to ensure that your comments are well thought out, yet open for constructive challenge. You can use the presence of the Hindre™ to make you stronger.

The Hindre™ is known for discrediting groups of people and diminishing their accomplishments by saying that they are in over their head, they only got here through a special program and alluding that they may not be qualified.

In Talent Management and succession planning meetings the Hindre™ is present. They shoot down candidates with little objective information, but with a plethora of subjective innuendos. They have done their homework and will twist the facts or limit the admission of positive information that could benefit talent to the organization. The Hindre™ want to restrict your movement and limit and deny access to people, assignments and information that will make you successful.

What can you do?

We must develop the vision to spot them in a crowd and to know that they exist even though we are not sure of their location. Being hidden may give them power if they can catch you by surprise. Sometimes exposure and the knowledge that you know who they are can rob them of their strength. You can develop techniques to question their comments or answer them in a thoughtful intelligent manner. When you are skilled you can cast doubt on their motives, which can be risky, without the audience support. If rendered ineffective, they may go away, go underground and try to discourage others or think of an alternative way to stunt your development.

You must build confidence and surround yourself with people who are supportive, mentors, coaches, true friends and trusted allies. If you do not place this fundamental fortress of protection in place, they will cause you to doubt yourself, especially if no one is coming to your assistance. You must develop effective allies who have your back and will alert you to attacks from unsuspected Hindre™. Occasionally, someone may ask two questions which you should take seriously.

  1. How well do you know a particular person?
  2. What does this person have against you?

This may be a warning advising you to be careful around a particular person. Listen carefully to these comments as they are trying to tell you something significant about the Hindre™ in your midst.

Not every critical person or critique is from a Hindre™. You must subject the comments to a qualifying test. If they are instructive and productive, you would accept them. If their comments mean well and will make you better, you should welcome them. Try to determine the intent and motives of the person, the value and benefits of the comments and the potential consequences of action and inaction.

The Hindre™ may be powerful. We need to resist, but we may not be strong enough individually to withstand their fury. We need advocates and allies to jump to our defense. We need to cultivate teams of believers who will stand next to us when we are challenged inappropriately.

The Hindre™ is active, damaging dreams, poisoning relationships, restricting productivity and stifling the growth of communities, countries and continents. The Hindre™ undermine the joy we could experience without the persistent nay saying, negative nemesis that seeks to deprive us of our greatness. We must be aware of their existence, their presence in our environment and their mission to undermine our effectiveness. They are among the secret forces of inclusion in our environment. Therefore, we must develop tools to nullify their impact and cultivate allies to support us and fortify our positions.

Copyright © 2009 Orlando Ceaser

 

 

5 Self Restraining Tendencies (SRT’s) That Can Hurt You

We are human and therefore, have idiosyncrasies, nuances and eccentricities that come with our personalities. Many of these unique characteristics position us for survival and success. But some of these peculiarities are counterproductive and are detrimental to our growth. I will call them self restraining tendencies or SRT’s. They are not necessarily life-threatening, but they may serve as impediments to development.

SRT’s are indigenous to human beings. They may be formed by life experiences and thoughts and subsequently create insecurities. They may be pseudo-defense mechanisms to allegedly protect us. SRT’s may be categorized as bad habits that may hold us back, restrict growth or work against us. How do we know we have them? Self assessments and times of reflection can increase self awareness and reveal SRT’s, as we examine our lives and impact on others. Additionally, we may receive the gift of honesty from a friend through candid comments. Constant feedback from co-workers, parents and peers can also be useful by adding to our enlightenment. But, we must be objective, receptive and appreciative of their candor.

5 Self Restraining Tendencies (SRT’s)

  1. Procrastination
  2. Poor communication skills
  3. Negativity mindset
  4. Toxic people skills
  5. Lack of Integrity

1. Procrastination

It is interesting to learn that many people are struggling with procrastination. The act of postponing things until later is not intellectually difficult for people to understand. They know that something should be done immediately and to postpone will have consequences. But, nevertheless, they still will delay until later, that which should be done today.

We recognize that we may not feel like doing something right now or we have awarded a greater priority to something else. If we continue to kick the can down the road or delay the inevitable, we will continue to waste time and effort and increase the amount of stress in our lives.

Lisa was interviewing for a job as a pharmaceutical sales representative. She felt very comfortable with the interview. The interviewer asked her about her number one shortcoming. She responded, “I am a procrastinator. I get things done, but sometimes it takes me a while to get started.” Procrastination was her Self Restraining Tendency, but the interview may not be the right place to disclose this particular self restraining tendency.

2.  Poor communication skills

Communicating is something we do every day. It is the currency by which we interact with people in order to state our ideas, convey instructions and build relationships. Those among us, who communicate effectively, actually have an advantage at school, in our careers and in relationships. If we are hampered by poor communication skills, our effectiveness is restricted. This self restraining tendency, like the others featured in this article, must be identified and corrected.

Poor communication skills could be non verbal or verbal to include written, body language and group presentations. Ask yourself, “Am I plagued by poor communication skills? Are there aspects of my communication ability that are hindering my progress?” Conduct a self-assessment. Diagnose your communication ability to see if there is a deficiency. You may seek to solicit feedback from respected sources and trusted friends and colleagues to see if they can identify areas that require improvement. When the SRT is disclosed, a change management process should be initiated. However, rather than go through multiple steps to change we should go directly from denial to acceptance and put a plan in place to correct the SRT.

3. Negativity Mindset

People who have a negativity mindset are not necessarily the individuals who look at the pros and cons of every situation. I am speaking of the people who like to rain on the parade. When the entire group has decided to move in a positive direction, they are the naysayers who constantly focus on what is or could go wrong. They provide excuses rather than explanations. They seldom do anything but complain without the slightest contribution to positive constructive participation to change anything. 

4. Toxic people skills

The toxic people SRT is different from the poor communication skills mentioned earlier. Individuals prone to this tendency will use power to humiliate and intimidate in order to gain the upper hand or to create an environment of fear.

My son worked for an organization where the new boss actually said, “When I walk into a room I want people to fear me.” He wanted people to be intimidated by his presence. This attitude is supported by language and interactions that cause stress, a lack of trust, poor engagement and ultimately subpar performance. Individuals with toxic people skills may speak about people behind their backs, pit coworkers against each other and generate an atmosphere of tension.

People with toxic people skills may be cursed with the propensity to enter every interaction with a transaction mindset. They are constantly thinking what is in it for them, how can they beat the other person by any means necessary and how it can only help them succeed. This is prevalent in relationships where they only socialize or interact with people who can help them advance their position, today. 

5. Lack of Integrity

People with a lack of integrity are flawed in their relational and work performance. They utilize a winning at all cost or any cost approach to work and relationships. People with this tendency view the rules as an inconvenience, something for weak minded people, to be broken and circumvented whenever possible. Breaking rules is seen as a badge of honor, a necessary evil to give themselves the ultimate advantage toward victory.

Invariably, this SRT will cause the downfall of their career and reputation. Oftentimes, the integrity flaw does not manifest itself until well into a person’s career. Please find below a chart illustrating a natural career growth curve and the various points of indiscretion where a lack of integrity can doom a person’s career.

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If a lack of integrity shows itself at the end of someone’s career, a lot of their positive contributions can be discounted and shrouded in suspicion, nullifying their reputation. If a lack of integrity revealed itself early in someone’s career, they may never have the opportunity to make significant positive contributions or to realize the potential present in their talents and abilities.

Ideally, we should establish self restraining orders or SROs for those character traits which are limiting our joy and effectiveness. The five self restraining tendencies listed or others should be addressed if they are a problem for you. They have the capacity to limit your effectiveness and keep you away from realizing your full potential in every segment of your life.

Copyright © 2016 Orlando Ceaser

The Anatomy of Acronyms to Positively Impact Performance

 

MSU_CAcronyms are used extensively by writers, speakers, students and anyone who likes to communicate. Businesses, organizations and institutions use them to assist in the retention of a message, concept or name. They are used along with association, rhyming, and alliteration to help people remember things.

Acronyms have been proven as a simple way to help people recall information by breaking it down into manageable bits of data. An acronym, is defined by Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary as, “a word (such as NATO, radar, or snafu) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term.” Some of my favorite acronyms are; Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real, EGO is Edging God Out and when learning musical scales E, G, B, D, and F (Every Good Boy Does Fine).

Acronyms can work to inspire, motivate and improve performance. For example, years ago our sales region wanted to emphasize the value of asking questions. I came up with the acronym ASK, which stood for Acquiring Selling Knowledge. If our reps wanted to be effective they had to gather information by asking probing questions. When you establish the framework you can apply it to various concepts by substituting other words, such as spiritual, significant, etc.

The need and applications for acronyms are all around us. We had a feedback group known as VOICE to give us information on company policies, programs, products and procedures. One day the director of the program was asked if VOICE stood for anything. He replied that it was not an acronym. I walked up to the booth and suggested, Very Often I Change Everything. The director stood there in amazement. He looked back at the word and saw that it worked, for all of the words were there. It captured the purpose of the company changing some of our initiatives based on hearing the voices of our people.

There are organizations that can create acronyms for your organizations. You can search for acronyms at http://www.acronymsearch.com where over 50,000 acronyms are listed and you can even post your company’s acronyms to their database.

Acronyms vary across companies as each organization has their own vocabulary. Therefore, it is important to explain them to ensure you are communicating effectively. I was a part of the pharmaceutical sales organization and STD’s were sexually transmitted diseases. When I spent time in our human resources department, they openly discussed the rise in the number of STD’s which was disconcerting until I realized they were speaking of (short term disabilities).

The secret of a good acronym is to be simple, clear and catchy. In the 1980’s I was training sales reps and noted that several of them were trying to make up information during a sales simulation. I reminded them that their doctors had forgotten more about medicine then they would ever know. I suggested that they could not Make Stuff Up or words to that effect. Years later I found out this concept was the subject of a book of a similar concept.

If the acronym has too many words it may maintain its effectiveness by association rather than attaching each letter with a particular word. For example, the Jupiter trial for a popular cholesterol lowering medicine: Justification for the Use of Statins in Primary Prevention: An Intervention Trial Evaluating Rosuvastin.

When you hear the word you want someone to make a quick association. I speak to organizations about creating a climate where people can safely state what is on their mind. In my book Unlock Your Leadership Greatness; (available at www.OrlandoCeaser.com and http://www.amazon.com) an OASIS is described as, a place where people can be Open And Share Information Safely.

Acronyms are an art. Since I have a knack for acronym development I have been asked on several occasions to help groups in their efforts to create one. I would speak with them and solicit their intent, the word they are trying to develop (if they have one) and the placement of the word in their overall strategy. This information allows me to know what they are trying to achieve and gives me the insight to meet their expectations.

Has Anyone Been Inspired Today is a mantra  for HABIT to remind me to help people through positive and encouraging actions. When an expert in a given area or topic is performing their duties it looks effortless. Aga Karve, my spin instructor is such a person. When she is working on the bike she is smiling while class members are groaning under her strenuous workout. One day it struck me that She Makes it Look Easy, SMILE. So we can say Someone Makes It Look Easy as they are smiling and effortlessly performing their work.

Acronyms can be fun. They can build your vocabulary and creativity. When creating acronyms, please remember the following:

    • Acronyms can be designed as a memory device
    • They are more effective when they are simple, succinct, catchy and linked to the topic in a powerful way

 

  • Be observant and on the lookout for acronyms and do not be surprised when they appear
  • Keep track of acronyms in notebooks and computers

When you allow acronyms to incubate in your mind you can develop fascinating associations between the words and concepts you want to remember creatively and assist you in memorization and performance.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Authenticity – From Impressionist to Your Authentic Self*

Inconsistent

The path to understanding people will lead to greater personal awareness. There are 4 roles you may encounter during your developmental journey. Several contain character traits and skills commonly associated with actors and other performers. The 4 portraits can be seen as roles played that can influence personality styles and overall performance. They are the impressionist, impersonator, imposter and the authentic self. Knowledge of these images and the ability to adjust to them will enable you to adapt and survive in business and social situations.

Impressionist

The impressionist likes to imitate or model someone they admire. They may copy their speech patterns, mannerisms, key phrases, behaviors or routines. The television show Saturday Night Live garners huge ratings during presidential elections. Their actors do a fantastic job with impressions of the political candidates. Actresses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s impressions of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton were performed to perfection and rave reviews.

People may accidentally or intentionally model character traits that are synonymous with someone else. Some will select a person and duplicate the way they make decisions or perform their jobs. Individuals may stand like them or speak like them and conduct meetings the way they do. Additionally, they may be drawn to someone’s excellence and decide to emulate a particular characteristic in order to make it their own.

There is a danger in randomly and haphazardly imitating too many people. A person may lose their own identity. Rich Little a famous impressionist who made a living imitating famous entertainers once said, “I have done so many impressions I sometimes forget what my voice sounds like. It is true that we are a composite of many people but we must be strategic and systematic and how we inculcate their traits into our personality. We must be consistent with our true nature and not forget who we are.

Professional development can be helped by utilizing the appropriate impressions. In the early days of my career I worked in the Sales Department, where I had to make decisions when my boss was on vacation. I would ask myself, “How would John handle this particular situation or what would John do if faced with the same set of circumstances?” I would use the same wording and try to deliver messages with the same tone, emphasis and authority, as I imagined John would do it. My impression of John’s decision-making was instrumental in my growth and development.

We are all impressionable and prone to mirror and match behavior. We assume these impressionist tendencies to cope with our environment. This is how we survive and grow. One of the side effects of our impressions is that we may be accused of kissing up to management or trying to gain special favors by being the teacher’s pet.

Impersonator

An impersonator is an impressionist who is totally immersed in a role. They may temporarily abandon their identity and put on another persona. You have seen female impersonators, Elvis impersonators, individuals who impersonate presidents and other political figures. They may go to great lengths to excel and playing the part. We hired a guest speaker who was an impersonator of former president Bill Clinton. He looked like him, spoke like him and had the similar mannerisms. We wondered if he naturally looked like the former president or were enhancements necessary to project that appearance. It may take tremendous sacrifice to stay in character.

Impersonators may eat, sleep, think and act like the person they are imitating. They may assume the person’s name in public. They lose their identity and put on the image and character of another. They will conduct their daily activities from the vantage point of how would that person perform an activity or live their lives. They may give up their own ideas and opinions to become the other person, thus paying tribute to their idol.

Organizations have been known to promote clones of their top executives. This is the epitome of advertising to their employees, the value of impersonating and projecting the corporate image.

You must be careful. Do not surrender your personality to play a role. If you abandon your key traits and characteristics to assume the role of another you have denied yourself the right to fully express your gifts. You cannot fool people into thinking you are the original and you will deprive the world of your authentic self. Remember, a copy will never be a superior representation of the original.

The use of the impersonator style may be due to the image that is rewarded in the organization. People reproduce what is rewarded and what the organization really wants to see. Being an impersonator could also be as innocent as not feeling safe or appreciated by the company. The use of the impersonator style is typically designed to gain a personal benefit. It is often used to please someone in power with your ability to pattern your behavior after their professional image. You may be seeking a mentor/protégé relationship. You are hopeful that they in turn will generously lavish you with special favors or recognition.

Imposter

The imposter is based on misrepresentation. They claim to be someone or something they are not. They present an image that is inauthentic, false or misleading. This is easy to see on the movie screen or in television shows where the person assumes the identity of a dead person or through examples of identity theft, where someone assumes another person’s identity to steal their money.

However, an imposter is difficult to see in business and in your relationships, especially if we want to believe they are who they claim to be. Hopefully, we find out about their deception before significant damage is done.

The imposter in an interview misrepresents their personal history. They may assume the personality of someone they think the employer is wishing to hire. They may profess credentials, such as degrees, skills or connections that are nonexistent. They present themselves with high integrity and character which are far from their real values and personality. The imposter is a liar and will do anything to fool you into thinking their façade is their true image or actual position on an important matter.

Years ago one of our offices on the West coast hired a person they were pleased to bring on board. They said she was intelligent, beautiful and articulate with an electric personality. When she arrived at the office to sign up for the company orientation they were surprised by her calm, demure and low keyed demeanor. She was introverted and had little to say, which was a concern since she had to make presentations to physicians. They felt something was wrong, but they couldn’t explain it.

At the end of the second day of her orientation she mentioned that she was going to meet her sister for dinner. She introduced her sister to the group. You guessed it. It was her twin sister. She was equally beautiful, articulate and intelligent with an electric personality. They wondered if they had hired an imposter. Most cases of imposters are not this dramatic.

When an imposter is discovered, justice is usually swift. The person is confronted, embarrassed and fired. Their reputation is ruined and many people may be hurt in the process. If you are tempted to pose as an imposter, remember, the results are rarely positive. The masquerade is seldom worth the pain and embarrassment when you are exposed.

Authentic Self

The authentic self should be the desired objective or personality style. You should be vigilante and remain true to your real character and true self. The authentic self is who we really are. It is true that we may model some of our behavior after the three earlier models. However, this is done to enhance not to misrepresent your authentic self.

We are a composite a combination of many factors woven together to form a distinct creation with the potential to achieve phenomenal results. If we feel threatened we will be reluctant to bring our whole selves to work because it may be used against us. This fear is a challenge to authenticity and may tempt us to be an impressionist, impersonator or imposter to ensure our survival.

You will find out that there is no substitute to being authentic. The refreshing satisfaction of fulfilling your purpose will grant you the peace you need to joy the success of the life lived to the fullest with integrity.

*Excerpt from Unlock Your Diversity Greatness, release date 4th quarter of 2015

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Eight ways to alienate and frustrate your people

alienate

Inclusion is a key desire of all members of the human race, even in the workplace. We want to be included and welcomed into the inner circle, where we can enjoy all of the rights and privileges. Acceptance is another objective of the human heart, closely linked to inclusion. We have a desire to draw into the in crowd, where we are told that we belong. We want to be accepted and inclusion becomes the vehicle that can enable us to achieve a state of connectedness that makes everything worthwhile.

It is generally more productive to discuss how to become a better leader rather than focusing on the negative aspects of leadership. People want to know what they need to do, instead of what they need to stop doing. However, I would like to deviate from this pattern and construct a composite of everyone’s leadership nightmare. I wish to discuss the leadership attributes that cause followers to lose sleep at night, walk around in uncertainty during the day and distress about their future.

I began by exploring common pet peeves and comments made by people during my coaching sessions. It is not unusual for me to walk up on people who are complaining about leadership or lack of leadership within their organizations. These are the topics discussed at the water cooler, provided it is located in a safe location. The same conversations can be heard at the health club and where ever people congregate.

These are perilous times as evidenced by a comment from one of my neighbors. She said she would stare into her husband’s eyes when he arrived home each night to determine if this was the day he would lose his job. During his work day I’m sure he was dealing with some of the eight ways outlined below that leaders use to alienate and frustrate their employees.

My premise revolves around eight ways that a leader can really get under your skin, on your last nerve and drive you out of your mind. The curious thing is these attributes may not always present with the leader. Given the day-to-day stress and pressure of the job many leaders have transformed into the person they never thought they would become. If you were to ask them to list eight things that they could do to alienate and frustrate employees they would probably list some of the items presented.

Ineffective leaders display two or more of the eight qualities. They are so caught up in survival mode that they may not care that they are alienating and frustrating members of your team. The team members are the very ones they need to have fully engaged to accomplish their objectives.

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These eight ways are extracted from my book Unlock the Secrets of Ozone Leadership. The main character is about to experience a mutiny because his people have had enough of his fatalistic leadership style. This style had been very helpful in moving him up the corporate ladder, but at the same time leaving alienated and frustrated bodies in its wake. Finally, he has poisoned the atmosphere so badly it is about to be his downfall.

When the heat is intense, leadership must become as the ozone layer for its people. It must filter the non-essential and non-productive heat, so that the necessary warmth and energy is generated to achieve success. I used to say that I am an environmentalist, not that I wanted to save the spotted owl, but I wanted to create the climate where maximum productivity and people development occurs. The eight ways to alienate and frustrate your people are listed below. Please identify the ones in your current leadership team and decide which of these attributes apply to you. If they apply, you must immediately begin a course of minimization and elimination.

8 Ways to Alienate and Frustrate Your People*

  • You are unapproachable and unavailable, when they have a problem
  • You are intimidating and use threatening language and they are in constant fear of losing their jobs
  • You play favorites and have certain employees who receive preferential treatment, which includes special attention, assignments and favors
  • You do not offer career advice, unlike other managers who groom their employees for promotions
  • You are selfish and take credit for their ideas and successes
  • You seem more concerned about your career than theirs
  • You tell them what to do rather than teach them what to do
  •  You micromanage and are never satisfied with their performance and always find a way to say something negative
  • *Excerpt from the book, Unlock the Secrets of Ozone Leadership by Orlando Ceaser

These are at least eight surefire ways to cause people to be disengaged and paranoid in the workplace. If you want to ensure that the workers you hired or inherited are pushed to the edge, include as many of these dysfunctional practices, as you feel is humanly possible into your workplace.

Employees understand that corporations are in difficult circumstances. They want to play a role. They want to be an integral component in the partnership that enables an organization to lift itself from the quagmire of extinction. Companies are fighting for survival. Companies are competing to service their customers and to meet the needs of their clientele better than the competition. Allow employees to help the organization succeed.

Dedicated individuals are committed to help you achieve your objectives. They deserve the opportunity to contribute at the highest level. They deserve the best leadership has to offer. When they are inspired through effective leadership; when Ozone Leadership is put into action, they will have the necessary direction and energy that will allows them to do their best work. Success becomes an inevitable result of strong leadership at the right time with the right people.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

Informants in the workplace

Hammer

Information is an essential ingredient in the leader’s decision making arsenal. There are many established, credible resources at their disposal. There is everything from company databases, computer files, the Internet and consultants to the minds of employees. The information available in the minds of employees is critical. However, there may be situations where employees are reluctant to disclose relevant information for a number of reasons.

If the environment is not perceived as safe, people are reticent to step forward with their information. There may be employee surveys and numerous forums within an organization where data is accumulated. But, there is still a need to decipher the data and provide additional perspectives. These translations and interpretations can be provided by informants in the workplace.

An informant is defined by Webster’s New Riverside University dictionary as, “one who discloses information and one who furnishes cultural or linguistic information to a researcher.” Oftentimes, informants volunteer their services. They may be guided by a number of motives. One such motive may be a genuine desire to improve the culture of the workplace or team.

Secondly, informants may be driven by ulterior motives, hoping to be rewarded in some fashion. A pharmaceutical company discontinued their bonus program which disappointed a number of their representatives. A group of employees got together and complained and expressed their dissatisfaction. The most vocal member of the group became an informant and notified leadership of the various opinions expressed. The other members were chastised and eventually the informant was promoted. The moral of this story is to express your opinion in a situation where your insight is appreciated and the person can do something about it.

Thirdly, a leader may ask everyone to be an informant. They would like to create an environment where everyone can step forward and let them know the climate of the team. The leader would like to receive the word on the street regarding a new policy or procedure, directly from the employees.

Fourthly, there are situations where a leader may select a particular person or a small group of people, who have keen insight into the workplace. They may have the ability to articulate the feelings of the team.

Lastly, there are situations where a team may identify someone as a spokesperson, a group sanctioned employee. This person is an approved voice of the people.

There is crucial information that the company must provide to the employees or members of a team, in order for the company or team to be successful. This data is around the vision, mission and the type of organization they are trying to create.

There is also crucial information possessed by the employees. The employees have the perspectives and relevant data obtained by being closest to the customer. They must share or release this information to leadership, in order for leadership to recognize the impact of their programs and strategy. The release of this information from the employee may be through the informant.

There were numerous occasions in my career where I used an informant to improve the success of a strategy, program or my leadership effectiveness. In one situation I did not realize the tension that existed between my District Managers. One manager called me and asked if I noticed the discomfort in the room. Armed with the information from her call, I scheduled a team building session where they were able to play together and resolve their differences.

Additionally, there were another time when individuals were poisoning the environment I was trying to create. There was a time when I served as a healer to address a dysfunction within a team. I brought the team members and their manager into my office for a debriefing session. After the meeting was over, I received a telephone call from one of the participants. She stated that before their drive to their territory, she heard my voice in the back seat of the car. Apparently, one of the representatives had taped my entire session with the team. This informant made me aware of either the insidious nature of the team member for their lack of trust. I was able to satisfactorily handle the situation because of the courage of my informant.

Leaders have told me of situations where members of their team smiled to their face, but tried every effort to undermine their efforts, behind their backs.

The leader must create the environment where people feel comfortable enough to tell management what they think. The manager must create a culture which is an OASIS. The OASIS (Open And Share Information Safely) is an acronym describing a concept that I introduced in my book Unlock Your Leadership Greatness (available at www.OrlandoCeaser.com and www.amazon.com. This environment will have a direct them on the number of formats available in the organization.

Informants are critical in the lives of leaders who are new to an organization or new to the role of leadership. It is comforting to have individuals who can share with you and serve as a barometer for your policies and procedures. They can also let you know how your personality comes across to the group.

Informants do not necessarily have to be spies who infiltrate an organization to gather secrets. They can be legitimate information merchants dedicated to helping leadership make better decisions.

Copyright © 2015 Orlando Ceaser

4 Directives to Influence Behavior

Instructions since childhood were designed to teach and guide us. Over the years we have noticed remarkable similarities between the directives given in our youth and the requests made of us as adults. In retrospect, their effectiveness varied based on our circumstances and development level. The same is true at work. Leaders and managers give instructions using the same memorable phrases. The objective of these phrases is to elicit our compliance with their demands, commands or requests for action.

“Do as I say, because I said so”

People have used a variety of commands to get the kind of behavior they want. “Do as I say, because I said so,” is the classic power phrase of authority. Parents use it often. The power can be based on position, where they can administer rewards or punishment if someone fails to comply with their request. The sentence could easily end with,” or else.” The job, held by the speaker, confers position power. They are the boss, the parent, the person in charge and when they speak they want others to jump quickly into action. The person using this phrase does not wish to be questioned or challenged. People will also use the specter of fear, brute force, physical strength and threats to persuade people to fall in line. Threats may be physical or assaults to someone’s character or reputation.

Frustrated parents and managers have used this phrase when they run out of answers. When they are busy or in a hurry, they resort to this language to end conversations. They do not want to discuss the matter anymore. They want people to listen, obey and stay quiet.

“Do as I say, because I said so,” is a technique that can influence a number of people. When matched to the right individuals, it is very effective. It is useless when delivered to the wrong person.

“Do as I say, not as I do”

Some people adopt a hypocritical style to exert influence on others. They recognize that they don’t have the discipline or integrity to practice what they preach. Yet, they insist that others listen and obey their dictates and commands. This works in situations stated in example number one, however, the inconsistency and hypocrisy will render it ineffective in some cases. The resistant ones will not comply and they will use the leader’s hypocrisy as justification for refusing to follow their commands.

There is a certain amount of arrogance associated with telling someone to do something that you are not committed to do. The advice may be solid, but the absence of following your own advice, may compromise its impact. They may do what you say, but only when you are watching.

A powerful story was told about Mahatma Gandhi at http://www.witandwisdomstories.com. The blog post “Mahatma Gandhi’s salt less diet” contains the following story. “One day an anxious mother, along with her son visited Mahatma Gandhi. She told Bapuji, “My son is suffering from a kidney disease, Bapuji. I am really concerned. I took him to the doctor and the doctor has advised him to take food without salt.” She continued, “the problem Bapuji is my son refuses to follow the doctor’s orders, but if you tell him he will listen as he worships you and he will not deny you.” The Mahatma asked the mother and son to see him after a week.

After a week or so, Mahatma Gandhi called the mother and the son to his house. He took the boy aside and looked him in the eye and said” You are very important for your mother’s happiness and your health worries her. It is my wish that you follow doctor’s orders and stop taking salt in your diet.”

The boy who was in awe of the Mahatma was so pleased with the Mahatma worrying about him, agreed at once. He turned to his mother and said” no more salt for me Ma.”

The relieved mother stood puzzled for a while and asked Gandhi “But Bapuji, you could have told him this when we came a week ago, why didn’t you?”

To this Gandhi replied, ”But madam at that time I was taking salt in my diet and it has taken a week for me to give up salt myself. How can I advice your son to eat a diet without salt with a clear conscience? How can I tell someone to do something which I myself do not practice?”

Hypocrisy will not be tolerated in today’s climate of transparency and authenticity. Some will follow this request, but must see the benefit or fear the speaker.

“Don’t do what I did – Learn from my mistakes”

It is well-known that experience can be the best teacher. Rebellion is a natural part of the human spirit. Many of us have received instruction, but elected to ignore it to listen to our own voice or the voices of others. Going down the wrong path has caused us discomfort and ultimately we realized we were wrong. Armed with the experience, we wish to let others know the value of staying on the right path. We don’t want them making the same errors in judgment that plagued our lives. We therefore, become an ambassador for the truth. We say to people,” Don’t do what I did. Learn from my mistakes.”

This is sometimes seen as a tough love message or using scare tactics. Former prisoners have used a” scared straight” philosophy to convince youth to stay away from a life of crime. They feel that education on the negatives associated with criminal activity would discourage youth from hanging with the wrong crowd and making questionable decisions. They take the glamour out of disobedience and use their lives as proof.

Conversations in a corporation may involve older employees telling younger employees about the mistakes they made. These mentoring sessions or coaching moments are an effort to steer less tenured employees toward making better decisions on their career path. There is value in information sharing. That occurs when the different generations in the workplace tell their stories of arrival and survival within the context of the organization.

This approach also works on some people, but not on others. There will always be people who think they are too smart, clever, intellectual, lucky, cool or too good-looking to suffer the consequences of their actions. They will view the sad story, as something that only applies to others.

“Do it like I did it – Follow my lead”

This is normally a very potent approach. It is the lead by positive example model. People will look at you, your reputation and your execution and realize the value of your words and actions. Learning occurs through imitation or modeling behavior. “Let me show you how it’s done, makes “Do it like I did it ” even more powerful. Many times, “Do it like I did it” and follow my example, is not verbalized. Yes, there are many occasions where people will issue these words to give a standard to follow, but often its power is in seeing someone act out the phrase. It is the practice that occurs with or without the preaching that makes it work. It is the example exhibited on a day-to-day basis.

Most of the time, “Do it like I did it” and “Follow my example” are positive exhortations. But, it may not work in all cases. People will imitate and follow negative leaders and negative examples. If the culture of an organization is filled with intimidation and a lack of appreciation, individuals desiring to be leaders will pick up on the signals. They will emulate the same kind of insensitivity broadcast by their leaders.

However, leading by example does not work on everyone. Someone will find a way to discredit your work or assign your accomplishments to favoritism or inequality, they cannot duplicate. These 4 directives to influence behavior collectively have been used to get individuals and groups to act and follow orders. They are spoken to move people to action. However, individually, we have found that they may not work on everyone all the time.

Copyright © 2014 Orlando Ceaser