Cutting Back...or Charging Forward?

By Ron Rosenberg

Business is slow; revenues are down; and people are panicking. But it doesn't have to be this way. Consider this excerpt from an article I just saw in our local paper:

A Raleigh advertising agency, founded nearly 25 years ago, has filed for bankruptcy protection and on Friday laid off 15 employees. As the recession worsens, they have seen a "significant reduction in our clients' marketing budgets for 2009," said their CEO. Clients also are putting off longer-term projects. "There was not enough to keep us afloat," he said.

Why is the advertising agency filing Chapter 11? Why are their clients' budgets being slashed? Why more...

I Hate This Thing!

By Ron Rosenberg

We're training at a new facility these days, the Rex Wellness Center. It forms the perfect "third point" on our triangle: our house, our office, and now our health club are all within three minutes of each other. Makes for very efficient planning of a day.

Of course, since the facility just opened about three weeks ago, everything is new - kind of like the fitness equivalent of that "new-car smell." And, in particular, it's nice to have new bikes for the indoor cycling ("spinning") classes. The best part about these bikes is that they all have a cycle-computer display on them, showing RPMs, more...

Passion Makes the Difference—James Taylor vs. The Who

By Ron Rosenberg

Being passionate about your work makes the day go by quicker, helps you be more productive, and generally makes you more fun to be around. When you lose your passion for your work, everyone around you knows it!

We can see an excellent example of this in the music industry. Growing up in New York City in the ’70s I had the opportunity to see many concerts. Two stand out as contrasting examples of passion. In 1975 I saw James Taylor at Tanglewood in the Berkshires and The Who at Madison Square Garden.

The Who was really at its musical peak, and the band’s leader, more...

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Random Acts of Kindness

Every so often, I see bumper stickers that say something like, "Commit Random Acts of Kindness!" To be honest, I normally dismiss these as a bit over-idealistic. The level of work we have to do—both inside and outside of our jobs—can leave us with precious little time to entertain such noble and altruistic thoughts.

But I had an interesting and encouraging experience a few weeks ago that helped to somewhat restore my faith in human nature.

My 11-year-old son and I will be riding in the MS-150 later this month. The MS-150 is a 150-mile bike ride to help raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. more...

How You Spend Your Time Demonstrates Your True Values

By Ron Rosenberg

To determine the true values of an organization, you need to look at where their senior leaders spend their time.

Do the leaders in your organization tend to say one thing, yet do another? When their actions are inconsistent with their words, it is difficult to know their true values.

On a flight back from Ottawa, Ontario, to Raleigh, North Carolina, I had an eye-opening experience about this concept. I was sitting in the aisle seat; the middle seat was empty; and a man was sitting in the window seat. We had our tray tables down and were both working diligently on the papers in more...

Overcoming Faith in the Old Ways

By Ron Rosenberg

A cartoon character helps to illustrate people’s reluctance to change in the workplace and how we can overcome it.

Sometimes there are areas that clearly need to change, but when you try to initiate the new approach, you meet with reluctance or even resistance from your management. To be successful in promoting change, it is important to understand what drives this resistance.

Sometimes the answers to the challenges facing organizations can be found in the strangest in cartoons.

There is a Bugs Bunny cartoon you may remember from your childhood—or perhaps from college—where Elmer Fudd has the shotgun pointed at Daffy Duck, and asks, "Should more...

Learning Makes the Difference

By Ron Rosenberg

Experience with a two-year old child shows us how to identify unique opportunities to learn something new.

To be successful in today’s changing environment, we need to broaden our skills and learn new ways to contribute to our organizations. In the heat of an argument, people often shout, "Stop acting like a child!" What they didn’t realize is that children exhibit certain behaviors that we would do well to emulate.

At a family gathering over the July 4th weekend, I got to spend some time with my niece’s two-year-old daughter, Kayla. She was adorable! She had an amazing vocabulary, spoke very expressively, and just seemed more...

Behaviors Demonstrate Your True Vision

By Ron Rosenberg

Your behaviors communicate your true values more than words in a newsletter or presentation.

Part of a leader’s role is to provide a vision for the organization—a set of long-range objectives and a set of values that indicate how these objectives are to be achieved. But the true values of the organization are determined much more by the actual behaviors the leader demonstrates.

Early in my career, during my days as a software engineer, I had the opportunity to work for an organization that was relatively small but involved in some very exciting development efforts.

One of the things I liked most about the organization was more...

Focusing on Team versus Individual Performance

By Ron Rosenberg

One manager’s unique approach to evaluating and compensating his employees leads to a greater understanding of teamwork and group responsibility.

One common roadblock to change is that organizations reward individuals, often at the expense of team accomplishments—or team burnout. To overcome this situation, try to set the example from within your own group and let others follow your lead. There are many different approaches to recognition that stress the work of the team over the contributions of the individual, and these can have a significant impact on group performance.

A former colleague of mine developed a novel approach to applying the organization’s employee evaluation process more...