Communication differences in the workplace

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. It’s true hahahaha. I took a class on management communication and learned a few things. BTW, I encourage everyone to take a communications class. All executives get some sort of training, so might as well start now and perfect it over time. Now about communication differences in the workplace. I’m going to list five characteristics and you guess which one applies to men or women. Remember, these are typical traits and may not be true for every man or every woman.

1. competition vs cooperation
2. asking for help vs not asking for help
3. details vs big picture
4. rapport vs invasion
5. empathy vs solutions

Alright, here are the answers: 1) competition=men, cooperation=women, 2) asking for help=women, not asking for help=men, 3) details=women, big picture=men, 4) rapport=women, invasion=men, 5) empathy=women, solutions=men. So what does all of this means. Well, the first one is how men and women typically interact with one another. The second one is pretty straight forward. The third one is how men and women tackle issues. The fourth one is not so straight forward. Basically, women like to build rapport with others whereas men consider building rapport sometimes as being invasive. The last one is how men and women respond to hearing other people’s problems. The takeaway here is leverage the typical men and women traits when you see fit, but most importantly understand the differences.

Zappos.com pays new hires to leave

An article on BNET talked about Zappos.com (online shoe website) and its onboarding (of new hires) process.  After a week of training, a new hire can opt to leave the company and receive a $1,000 peace-out lump sum plus one week’s worth of paid time.  How’s that for company loyalty.  I like really like the idea.  Don’t beat around the bush.  Get the employees who want to stay.  Boo-yah!  Read the article.

SWOT analysis is useful for topics other than marketing

If you have taken Marketing 101, you know about a SWOT analysis.   Basically, SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.  This works great for doing competitive analysis.  But, think about how this could be applied to other topics such as your team’s skills, your skills, or your work place.  The opportunities are endless.  Give it a try!

“Peopleware” is a must read for software managers

I’m reading an interesting book, “Peopleware – Productive Projects and Teams”.  Many say that this book is a must read for software managers.  There is a section which talks about the difference between the standard of quality that the market will accept (lower) and the standard of quality that the builder (e.g., programmer) wants to deliver to the market (higher).  A builder’s self-esteem is strongly tied to the quality of the product, so market-derived quality standard seems to make good sense only if you ignore the effect on the builder’s attitude and effectiveness.  Something to possibly consider in the future.  Of course, there is no right or wrong answer.  Check it out on Amazon.

To MBA school or not?

Some folks have asked me about whether they should go to MBA school. Well, by no means do I have the end all answer, but I can offer some things to consider. In general, there’s a lot of debate about the value of an MBA. There is no type of certification to signify that an MBA graduate actually knows a set of information. Think about medical doctors (licensing exam, board certification), PhDs (thesis), accountants (CPA exam), and lawyers (bar exam). My advice to replicate a certification like approach is to enter into a business plan competition. A business plan requires one to know a slice of information across most MBA subjects (e.g., accounting, finance, marketing, etc). If you place, wouldn’t you get some street cred? It would definitely help. Next, I am not so certain that an MBA would be very beneficial if a person’s undergraduate degree is similar to that of an MBA degree such as accounting, economics, or business. For sure, a person would learn something, but maybe not as much. Now for the good stuff. Networking is a blast. Imagine being in a classroom with people from all different industries, companies, and sometimes from other parts of the US. Also, sometimes the teachers are industry experts to give you the real world low down. Lastly, people like helping out students period. You can get conference discounts, meetings with people who wouldn’t otherwise meet with you (as a regular non-student person), product discounts, and tons of other opportunities. There are definitely a lot of advantages to be labeled as a student. The conclusion? Only you can control what you’ll get out of an MBA. Sorry, I can’t be of more help. :)

Creating custom one-off t-shirts is a good option for bare bones promotion

A few days ago, I was looking for a custom t-shirt website to make a few one-off t-shirts for fun. There are a lot of companies out there such as UberPrints.com and Zazzle.com. This is great for anyone who wants to promote his/her business without having to print up 100s of t-shirts at a time.  I’m stilling waiting for my t-shirt to come in the mail, so I’ll let you know if they are of good quality.  Then I happen to run into CNN’s website about t-shirts. You can purchase a t-shirt with a current CNN headline including the date and time of that headline. That’s pretty neat. Maybe I’ll buy one.

Get free work from 5-6 MBA students

UC Davis Graduate School of Management has this great program called the consulting project.  A company can submit a project proposal and have about 5-6 MBA students work on a real-life business problem at no cost to that company except for time for meetings.  It’s a win-win situation – students get real work experience, companies get free work from MBA students.  Check it out here.

What I learned at Women in Leadership Conference 2008 at UC Berkeley

 

(Author’s note: I found this gem while sifting through old posts.  Apparently, I was very good about protecting the privacy of the speakers.  So sorry that the names aren’t included, but I still think the takeaways are useful.)

Keynote Speaker #1 – President at William-Sonoma
1) Make your job personal
2) Be your best self
3) Hold the highest level of integrity
4) Stick with it (it could be job, career, company, etc)

Entrepreneurship industry breakout session
1) Make decisions quickly
2) Hire smart
3) Wear comfortable shoes

Keynote Speaker #2 – VP of Sales and Marketing at Nintendo America
1) What you know counts
2) Be true to who you are
3) Nice people can finish first
4) Embrace change
5) Watch your language
6) Intellectual curiosity is good
7) Treat feedback as a gift
8 ) Develop your own personal board of advisors (e.g., group of mentors)
9) Don’t be afraid to ask for help
10) Develop passions outside of work