The Rossiter Report – Volume 3: Number 1 – “The Story of the Lovely Little House – A Cautionary Tale”

“The Story of the Lovely Little House – A Cautionary Tale”

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

The Lovely Little House

Once upon a time, there was a lovely little house set on a lovely little lot amid a lovely little garden. The owner worked hard to acquire the land, carefully plan the layout of the house and garden, and paid painstaking attention to detail during the building process. When the house was complete, all the other houses paled in comparison. For a long time, the owner put a great deal of effort into this lovely little house, increasing its value all the while.

After many years of the bliss that comes from careful attention to detail, the owner of this lovely little house began to spend less and less time nurturing his once-beloved asset. The owner began to focus his attention on other, newer acquisitions (of which there were many) that he felt would provide him greater satisfaction. These newer houses were bigger and had all the newest features. Naturally, they were more deserving of his attention, he told himself. Sadly, as the owner continued in his pattern of neglect, the lovely little house set on the lovely little lot amid the lovely little garden began to show the signs of being ignored. Eventually, the owner’s disregard prompted others to take an interest in the once-lovely little house set on the once-lovely little lot amid the once-lovely little garden. These others remembered just how lovely this asset used to be and began to work to acquire it for themselves.

One day, one of these others came along and acquired the once-lovely little house set upon the once-lovely little lot amid the once-lovely little garden (for much less than the first owner invested) and began to nurture it back to its former glory, adding personal touches along the way. He truly valued this asset as well as all the others he had acquired, treating them all with equal care. As a result of this care, the new owner never lost an asset he did not choose to give up.

Not so for the previous owner.  He spent everything he had trying to acquire new houses to make up for the ones he kept losing because they fell into his cycle of neglect. Sadly, contrary to what a wiser person would have done, he never longed for the lovely little house set on the lovely little lot amid the lovely little garden that had brought him so much pleasure and satisfaction in the beginning. Sadly, he never saw the value in his current possessions; therefore, he never maintained them. In the end, he lost them all.

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

The Rossiter Report – V2;N2 – “Breaking Out of the Chicken Farm”

The Rossiter Report – Volume 2;Number 2

by Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

Profile Picture

“Breaking Out of the Chicken Farm”

Chicken

Ginger: So laying eggs all your life and then getting plucked, stuffed and roasted is good enough for you, is it?

Babs: It’s a livin’.

Recently, I have been hearing a great many business owners expressing the dire need for employees who “think on their feet” regarding the jobs they were hired to do. These business owners are dumbfounded and frustrated at the fact that their employees (most of whom are long since out of high school) take no initiative and will not think beyond the immediate task at hand, as if they are working from a script and have no thoughts or words beyond that.

More and more, business owners are faced with a workforce who is looking to be told what to do at every turn. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the generations of children that have grown up being shuffled from one scheduled activity to another, constantly told what happens next, what to do, and how to do it are becoming the bulk of the people in the workforce at large. Perhaps it has to do with the way the corporate world has functioned for the past several decades – where employees are told that their input matters and are encouraged to contribute, yet penalized in a variety of ways when they do contribute. This experience leaves the workforce to interpret this message as proof that the only way to move forward is to put one’s head down and wait for the next instruction.

Battery Operated Toy Robot

Regardless of how we got this way, it is critical for us to break out of this prison, taking the initiative to risk change. With the economy in the state it is currently, people are afraid to make waves and risk losing their jobs. Believe me when I say, “I’ve been there. I understand”. The problem that arises because everyone takes this point of view is that things never stay the way they are, they only get worse. We simply get used to the new norm and tell ourselves that things are the same. This is what Ginger the chicken in the movie Chicken Run is trying to get her fellow inmates to see. The quote referenced at the beginning of this article was prompted by Ginger recognizing the signs that something much worse was on the horizon for them.

For those of you who have never seen the movie, I not only recommend you watch it (if only for the pure entertainment value), but I will summarize the plot for you. Ginger is a chicken living on a chicken farm that is run like a prison camp (think Stalag 17 meets Hogan’s Heroes). Ginger’s only thought is to break free of the tyranny and live a free life, beyond the hills – with grass and sunshine; with the freedom to live the life she decides, the freedom from fear, boredom, and abuse. Her difficulty, and challenge, is in trying to convince the other chickens on the farm that the way things are is not how they were meant to be – that there is a better, happier way of living. Ginger could easily escape on her own, she had done it many times, but she cares enough about the other chickens that she will not escape unless they all can.

In the quote above, Ginger is asking her fellow chicken inmates to think beyond the mechanical routine that leads to, in their case actual death. In the case of so many people in the working world/Corporate America, this life leads to a broken spirit and emotional death. Ginger is trying to connect with the thinking part of her fellow chickens to open them up to their reality as well as the possibilities that are available to them if they would only think about events as they unfold and take the risks necessary to obtain this new life of freedom.

So too the contemporary business owner.

This begs the question, “How does one get beyond this mentality in order to create happy, thinking individuals who take in the whole scenario, process it according to what is right to do in the situation, and take the initiative to go ahead and DO what needs to be done?”

Consciousness is the key.

As an employer, you have to be conscious of your own work habits and the example you are setting. I once worked for a woman who hounded her underlings (yes, that is how she thought of us) to be productive and would publicly scold and berate us if she walked by and we happened to be taking a breath because, in her eyes, we were slacking. Her behavior created extreme resentment in her staff because her workday consisted of nothing but slacking (i.e.; complaining about all of the e-mails she had to go through and that she had no time to deal with them. In the meantime she would spend 90% of the time she was not in meetings texting or telephoning her friends and family).  This same woman would consistently change the essence of the tasks she delegated without telling us, then berate us for failing at the task. The behavior that she was modeling was creating an atmosphere of insecurity and instability which resulted in our running to her for every detail and instruction so that she couldn’t say we didn’t do what she wanted. We stopped thinking for ourselves because, our manager’s behavior told us to, regardless of what words she used.

You also, as an employer, need to be conscious of the reason you are passionate about your business. Recently I spoke with a business owner who could not do this. He could not tell me why he devoted his life, sacrificing time with his family, to doing what he does (which he clearly loves doing). In order to be able to project your passion to your employees or colleagues, you must be able to express the Why behind the What. Oftentimes, employees do not care about their work because they cannot see the point to it. They interpret their boss’ passion as obsessiveness or inability to be satisfied. The result is that employees give up trying to satisfy their employers because their efforts will be wasted since their employers will let them know that the work should have been done better.

Another area employers need to be conscious of is the effectiveness of the training system in place. One business owner I spoke with recently had nothing in place beyond the functional aspects of the job. The new hires were essentially thrown to the wolves on the first day to be trained “on the fly” with all of their mistakes quite public. Additionally, since they were not trained in how to work with their customers, they had an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and humiliation so they, again, ran to the owner for instructions on the minutest task. The employees are afraid to remember anything because, “What if I get it wrong in front of everyone?” This business owner does not realize that he has created a system of failure for his employees because he has not given any thought to the type and style of the training he is providing to his staff. This business owner does not realize the effect that not caring about the training program he puts in place has on

  1. the morale of his employees (“He doesn’t give a hoot ‘n a holler about us so why should we care about him or his stupid job?”),
  2. the way they treat his clients,
  3. the cost of continually replacing employees (monetary cost as well as time and effort), or
  4. his Bottom Line.

As employees, you need to be conscious of not falling into the prison of numbing your mind and stifling your abilities. You need to be conscious of taking risks to make change happen. You need to be conscious of the most effective ways to communicate your needs to your employer or manager in order to clear away the barbed wire surrounding your workplace chicken farm.

Again, I know from whence I speak. I have been a culprit of each of these errors in thinking and have learned the hard way that staying silent, trying to adjust to a new level of abuse or dysfunction does not change any circumstance for the better. It allows, and in fact encourages, circumstances to get worse. Therefore, if you are unhappy in your job, ask yourself why. When you arrive at an answer, ask yourself why you feel that way. Continue asking yourself why until you reach the core of the problem. If there is anything you are at fault with and can improve on, do so. Once you know the core of the problem, you will be able to find a way to properly address the situation.

For example, if you find that the core of your dissatisfaction at work is that you feel that you are afraid to try or to think on your own because you have gotten the message that you will surely fail in the eyes of your employer/Manager(as in the case of the business owner above who was passionate about his work yet came across as impossible to please), then talk with your employer/Manager about this. By stating your case in terms that do not blame your employer/Manager, yet bring out the fact that you feel you are not able to perform to your best because of how you are made to feel and that you simply want to clear up any misunderstandings and expectations, you will go far in effecting the necessary changes that will allow you to do your best and love what you do.

If each person begins to make small changes, sooner or later great changes are made. I think you will find that sooner is sooner than you think.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

Blog Signature

Copyright © 2012 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS 

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Think Tank Tuesday – V1;N3 – Listening and Learning

MP900309610

Today we think about the critical role that listening plays in our ability to serve those around us. Take time today to think about how well you truly listen to what people are saying, remembering that listening involves more than physically hearing the words that are spoken to you.

Listening involves observing and processing the physical and environmental cues that are being sent to you as well as keeping yourself clear of any hidden agendas you may have set in place for the outcome you are hoping to elicit.

Listening involves learning from past encounters with a person as to how he or she processes information, or the manner in which he or she communicates. Perhaps a person needs only the critical pieces of information in order to come to a decision. Some people need every gory detail to arrive at the same conclusion. Others need time and physical space in order to process, while still others need to work out a solution on their own before to be certain that he or she had fully grasped the situation.

The list is as endless as the stars in the sky because there are so many factors that go into the communication between people. This means that each person needs to remember that what works for us most likely will not work for the person with whom we are communicating.

Finally, do not underestimate the power of your personal agenda for a particular communication to completely destroy effective communication. The presence of an agenda inherently denies communication because the agenda is, in fact, the outcome, therefore, there is no communication. Oftentimes we are not aware that an agenda exists, so when communication breaks down, we are dumbfounded and become frustrated, attributing the breakdown to the other person or people involved.

Paying attention, clearing out all ulterior motives, remembering what we have seen and experienced, and learning to work with the needs of the person in front of us will take the act of communication you are currently experiencing, to a higher level. 

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

Blog Signature

Copyright © 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Focus Friday – V2:N2 – Effective Relationship Development with Local Business Owners

Welcome to “Focus Friday”. You are here because you are looking to dramatically improve your Client Relationship skills and are looking for focus for the upcoming week.

MP900316768

As we reflect upon the week just past, and look to the week ahead, focus on where your relationships stand with other business owners in your area (or other department heads, etc.). Are your dealings with them cordial, frigid, or warm and friendly?  REMEMBER: How you interact with your colleagues and compatriots has a tremendous effect on your ability to do your job and move forward in your business. Keeping your relationships well maintained will catapult you to the success you desire.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

Blog Signature

Copyright © 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Think Tank Tuesday – V1;N2 – The Power of Leadership

Power vs. Leadership

In honor of the various Presidents whose Birthdays we celebrate this month, great men and great leaders who truly took their positions seriously, with a full understanding of tremendous responsibility that was placed upon their shoulders to lead an entire nation of people, caring for the welfare of each and all, I think it àpropos to take a solid look at the attitude we have regarding our own positions of leadership.

Are we truly trying to lead the people we are responsible for or are we more concerned about the power we possess? Are we striving to become truly great leaders, or have we become bullies who take pleasure in controlling others and showing our importance through blustering? As this newest February comes to a close in a few short weeks, let’s take this time to grow into our own, personal Oval Office being ever mindful of the privilege and the responsibility that accompanies it. If we feel as though we are lacking the skills or training to handle the responsibility, find a way to obtain the missing components. By becoming a great leader who is focused on bringing out the best in and providing the best for the people in our charge, we create a highly motivated, hard-working team who gives their all for the welfare of all. I can’t think of a more rewarding way to spend the day.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

Blog Signature

Copyright © 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Focus Friday – Volume 2;Number 1 – Passion

I hope this first Focus Friday edition of the New Year finds that you are well. In the wake of St. Valentine’s Day, our focus is on our passion for the work we do.

00447921

Whether or not you are in your Dream Job/Career, take some time between now and Monday to look closely at the work you do and write out the areas that you truly love working at, then write out why you feel this way. By doing this every day for the next week, you will begin to see your job in a different light and you will begin to reflect this change in the work you do.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

Blog Signature

 

 

 

 

Copyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Thank You Thursday

Candy Hearts

I hope this issue of Thank You Thursday finds that you are well. Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Today, let’s take the time to let our colleagues know the one thing we love about working with him or her. Perhaps you will make it a habit that goes beyond the confines of a single day, thereby changing the environment in which you spend the majority of our time.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

Blog Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

The Rossiter Report – Volume 2; Number 1 – “Soul Searching and Transformation”

The Rossiter Report – V2:N1

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

IMG_0484

“Soul Searching and Transformation”

Good Afternoon, Everyone. It is great to be back with you at the relative beginning of this brand new year. As St. Valentine’s Day is a mere few hours away, I am taking this time to talk about the importance of putting into words what it is that makes you so passionate about the work that you do.

As I was meeting earlier today with the owner of a small, but thriving, business (I’ll call him Marc) looking for a way to help him with his staffing issues, I was sensing a high level of frustration with the fact that his staff just does not take pride in their job or the work that they do. Marc is truly passionate about his business and has been so from the start. After twenty years in business, he is continually expanding and is focused on providing the best quality products and service to his customers (whom he views as welcome guests and family), yet he cannot understand why his employees do not see things the way he does, why they will not learn to do the simplest aspects of their job, and why they take no initiative in solving problems. My heart was breaking as I listened to Marc’s dilemma because I knew the solution was so simple (hard work, but simple nonetheless).

How many of you have felt the same way? How many of you wish you knew the magic formula for completely changing people’s attitudes? Well, fret no more. I give you the same advice I gave to Marc. The answer is simple. If you have not taken the time to write (yes, write it down) the reason you are so passionate about your work, your business, and what you envision for your business, then you will not be able to convey that passion properly. In Marc’s case, the unnamed passion turned to frustration at the sight of sloppily done tasks and the general lack of pride and connection he saw in his employees.

Oftentimes, until we dig up the root of our frustration, we actually communicate the opposite of what we intend. In Marc’s case, by not understanding why he is so passionate about his business, he is instead conveying to his employees that he is angry at them all the time. Without being able to articulate what it is he is angry about, his employees can only assume (and we know where that leads) that Marc is angry at them personally. This is a perfect example of why my Three C’s of Superlative Service are invaluable. Unless and until we become Conscious of the world within and around us, we will not develop the Compassion we need to get to the root or core of the person we are dealing with (the passion that is driving them at the particular moment we encounter them), therefore, we are incapable of Communicating the truth of the matter at hand. If we are incapable of communicating, the relationship breaks down.

Another effect of not taking the time to write out what it is you are passionate about in your business, along with the “why” and including your vision for your business, is that this lack of clarity is directly transferred to your employees. What Marc needed to see was that without any clear delineation of (to use real estate as a metaphor) your property lines, your employees do not know where to put their feet. Your employees are left without solid ground upon which to stand, therefore remain adrift and insecure about what is expected of them. This insecurity takes their focus off of serving the customer because they have no clear understanding of what that means in the context of your business.

As the day comes to a close, do yourself a great favor and set aside some time every day (in Marc’s case, someone who is struggling to find time in his day for everything, I suggested taking fifteen minutes each day) to put on paper what it is you love about the work you do and WHY you love each item on your list. The “what” is essential, but the “why” is critical. Without knowing why we do anything, we will never have a full grasp on the “what”. Having had decades of practice in this art, I am able to say with certainty that you will begin to see a change in the people around you and how they relate to you. You will be unconsciously communicating your passion in the proper manner, in a manner that people will finally be able to understand without you having to utter a word (although, once you have the understanding of your passion, you may not be able to keep quiet).

Until next time, I send you all my best wishes.

Blog Signature

Coppyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS. All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Applying Client Relationship Principles to Performance Reviews

The Rossiter Report -“Applying Client Relationship Principles to Performance Reviews”

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

This past week I have been in the process of cleaning out my stored papers and, in the process, have come across old performance reviews. In reading through them and comparing them to the reviews and evaluation process of today’s world I realize that not much has changed in the past thirty years in this regard. Employees are expected to evaluate their own performance and set their career goals at predetermined intervals. Managers are expected to do likewise, not only for their underlings, but for themselves as well – all with the merest cursory training and guidance along the way. My experience has taught me that this process is taken seriously in name only and that it is rarely used with any sense of honesty. Employees are never quite certain as to what to say because they simply want to be left alone to do the job they were hired for and feel that their manager should be paying attention to the quality of the job they are doing because this is the job of a manager (“How can he/she say that he/she is managing me when I have to tell him/her what it is I have been doing all this time?”). Managers all too often use performance reviews for their political motives, as well as to punish or reward particular underlings who they wish to control or to elevate (regardless of the actual merits of the chosen employee).

To evaluate something means, according to Webster’s Dictionary, “1: to determine or fix the value of,” or “2: to determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study”. In all honesty, I have rarely come across anyone (underling or manager) who carefully considered the significance, worth, or value of the performance they were to evaluate. The employees dashed off their self-evaluations at the last minute by simply copying and pasting the statements from the previous year. The managers, invariably, did likewise adding the necessary verbiage to substantiate whatever financial goals were imposed upon them by their superiors (or to substantiate whatever political goal they were pursuing with a particular employee). In the words of my favorite history teacher, Shady Ray as we affectionately called him, “The Golden Shovel Rule has run roughshod over your submissions”.

In order for performance evaluations to have any meaning, the mentality and processes surrounding them need to be overhauled. Thinking about the concept of evaluating performance as a whole, it is critical to understand that in order to evaluate someone you need to get to know that person. In order to get to know someone; you must enter in to a relationship with him or her. This is where client relationship principles come into play. Your employees are internal clients (this term is bandied about the corporate world with little real understanding of what this truly means).This means that, as business owner or manager of people, you must do two things:

  1. Get to know your clients (employees) beyond the statistical aspect. Managing involves directing, instructing, and guiding. In order to accomplish this effectively, you have to acquaint yourself with the person you are directing and guiding, otherwise, you do not know what he/she needs direction or guidance on, nor do you know the best way in which to guide him or her. Additionally, getting to know the people who help you run your business (and keep you in business) lets them know that you care about them and recognize the value that they (as individuals) bring to your company. This knowledge brings with it a sense of security which frees your employees up to honestly focus on the success of the company by working as a team, rather than focusing on saving their individual derrieres by making everyone else look bad (which only encourages and accelerates the cycle of sabotage). In this step Honesty and Sincerity are critical. Frankly, without them you are  wasting your time and everyone else’s. Employees can sense in-authenticity and are, in fact, on the lookout for it.
  2. In the process of becoming conscious of the people you have hired to help you run your business (or department), you are simultaneously becoming aware of their needs and desires. [Please Note that if you do not care about someone, it makes no difference how much you know about him/her]. When it comes to your relationship with your clients, once you have opened your eyes to their needs, and have worked hard to resolve their problem and fill their need, you now need to transfer the information in your head to them. Here is where communication comes in. Generally, this is the easy part because, in getting to know your clients (employees), you learn to speak their individual language and become a fluent speaker. As a result, you now begin looking out for opportunities to communicate with your clients by way of anticipating needs and solutions, researching logistics, and telling your clients (employees) about it.

There are times when, particularly when you are new to the concept of effective communication, you are absolutely challenged in getting your message across clearly. Oftentimes you will be completely blocked from communicating because of the emotional state your client is in at that moment (in the workplace this would translate to the prevailing morale). So, what do you do in this situation? If you find that your attempts at communicating are ineffective, downshift gears to First and get to know more about your employees. Ask questions that will help to clarify what the needs are and work together to determine the  best way satisfy your mutual needs and reach your goals together. This clarification process helps you to communicate more effectively with your employees and is, in itself, communicating that you are truly ready, willing, and able to help.

As you work your way through the above two actions you will discover that the performance evaluation process will become easier and more effective. You will begin to discover the process that best fits the refreshed corporate culture that will develop as a result of your efforts. By seeing your employees as clients and putting your honest effort in to treating them as such, with the vision to see that your employees should be pursued as readily as you pursue your clients because they bring tremendous value to your company, you will also begin to see the positive impact this new culture has on your bottom line. Remember, your employees become who you tell them they are to you

Copyright © 2012 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.