Dr. Jimmie Flores

Month: September 2014 Page 1 of 5

3 Ways to Make Your Point and Get Things Done 

Kool Derby

You can make your point in many different ways. However, you must be careful and avoid strong-arming another person to agree with you. Dale Carnegie once wrote, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Proving someone else wrong is far from an effective approach. In fact, it is counterproductive to getting things done. When you want to make a point, consider the other person’s perspective. What are the interests of this individual? How can you create a win-win situation?

Here are three strategies to making your point and getting things done:

#1: Consider the big picture.

Think about the end result. The recommended strategy is to win the war, and not the battles that fall in-between. Your long-term success depends on keeping everyone moving in the right direction, and getting caught-up with petty issues will slow down progress.

Think about the situation in which you and another manager are competing for a key resource. You need Jaclyn on your project, but her line manager will not release her to help on your initiative. Instead of escalating the issue, go directly to the manager and discuss the situation. Look for ways to compromise, and stress the importance that your project will have on the organization as a whole. When Jaclyn succeeds, the line manager will also look good. Think win-win.

#2: Avoid leaking information about how things will get done.

In some cases, managers will leak information to team members stressing how others must buy into the program, or get out of the way. In other words, it’s my way or the highway! This bravado is good while enjoying a beer during Happy Hour, but it falls short of convincing others to believe in your plan.

Great leaders have a vision that others are happy to follow. They will do whatever it takes to help the organization succeed. Focus on painting the picture of the new reality. By working together, you’re going to expand our market share, or you’re going to gain a competitive edge. Instead of spreading rumors, use a transparent approach in which others are clear regarding how they can improve the bottom line.

#3: Make sure to reward others for good work.

It’s surprising that many leaders still make the mistake of taking all the credit for work done by their employees. They are first in line for promotions, bonuses, and accolades. The hard work and nonstop effort from the employees is wasted.

I recall hearing a colleague, Amanda, telling me that she spent weeks working on a research project for her company pertaining to the construction of a new embassy. Her manager presented the results to the leadership team and was applauded for the hard work. Amanda was also in the meeting, but the manager never recognized her for her contribution. Unhappy about the lack of recognition, Amanda soon left this company and is now doing meaningful work for another employer.

The next time you want to make a point, and you want to prove you are absolutely right, think of this epitaph:

Here lies the body of William Jay,
Who died maintaining his right of way—
He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
But he’s just as dead as if he were wrong.


4 Ways to Look Stupid in Front of Your Boss

Kool Derby

It’s funny how many people think that their bosses are naïve. They make up excuses, exaggerate stories, and even lie to make themselves look better in front of their bosses. The fact is that most bosses are like human lie detectors, quickly determining when someone is less-than-truthful.

#1 Blame Technology for Failing to Meet Requirements

Invariably, employees will blame their computer for not submitting project work on time. We’ve all heard the “hard drive crash” story, especially the one that happens the night before the project is due. Since the assignment has been sitting on your desk for months, that excuse lacks merit.

#2 Blame a Team Member for Your Incompetence

“Bob, I have all my work ready, but Julie didn’t send me her part of the report, and that held everything up! I’m pissed!”

Not good enough!

Your boss could care less about Julie’s part of the work. It is your responsibility to get the information needed to complete the work. Blaming team members fails to make you accountable or accepting ownership for the work. If you want to be mediocre, keep using this one.

#3 Blaming Lack of Knowledge for Low Productivity

My guess is that you will have lack of knowledge for the rest of your life. You will never know everything necessary to do perfect work. I remember one college recruiter lamenting about her poor performance for a particular month. She was meeting with students, but many of them were opting to either delay college attendance, or go to a different college. Her excuse: “If I could only speak Spanish, my numbers would go way up!”

Nope! Not good enough!

Mind you this college is here in the United States. To my knowledge, classes are taught in English. Her manager nodded when hearing this excuse. Within a few months, she was no longer in that position.

#4 Show up Late or Miss an Important Meeting

Your boss probably does not care if you arrive late to work from time to time. However, you likely have at least one or two meetings per month in which your presence is required. You might be giving a presentation to top management, or perhaps you are the SME who needs to field tough questions.

You might have good excuses, including the common cold or a family event. Here’s my advice: find a way to re-organize your schedule. The work meeting should last no more than an hour or two. Once the meeting is over, you can leave and take care of the personal matters. Your boss will respect that you delivered on the job requirements despite the personal issues. That makes you different. It makes you a professional.


Instead of making excuses about poor performance, find a way to impress your boss. Remember that you are not an astronaut navigating a spaceship into outer space, or a neurosurgeon performing a delicate operation. You have wiggle room to make mistakes, but not excuses

7 Comments Often Heard from Winners 

Kool Derby

There are people on your team who are go-getters, those who constantly look to solve problems. When an issue becomes complicated, they step to the front of the line. While they don’t immediately have an answer, they understand that a solution does exist. When they lack the immediate knowledge to resolve the issue, they seek others with expertise.

Those who are climbing the corporate ladder are not necessarily the smartest, but they have the knowledge to identify problems, evaluate potential alternatives, implement the most viable option, and follow-up to take corrective action.

Here are comments you often hear from winners:

  1. “Yeah, that didn’t work too well. We need to first determine what the management team wants to see. In other words, they are both the customer and the final decision-maker. Let’s set up a meeting to discuss the requirements with them.”
  2. “The ideal solution is not good enough in this case. We have two months before the project is due. Let’s spend the necessary time to exceed expectations with this deliverable.”
  3. “In the first 10 minutes of this meeting, we’ve been complaining about the company culture, our bosses, and customers. I think we need to take a different perspective. Let’s review what we are tasked to do, and commit our time to doing that work.”
  4. “Look, I’m unhappy that I was passed up for the promotion. It doesn’t feel good, but that isn’t going to stop me from working hard and preparing for future opportunities. Just as important, I’m not going to have a sorry attitude. I understand that my time will come soon.”
  5. “The plan is to consider how we can build quality into the service we provide our patients. We need to avoid problems on the back-end. To do that, let’s make sure to verify the benefits before we perform any work. The point here is that the patient will be happy that we’ve taken care of the details, and our leaders will be pleased that we will be paid as promised by the insurance company.”
  6. “Andrea, I appreciate that you raised that point about the offshore team. I forgot to include them as a key stakeholder, and that is a mistake. I’m also glad that you mentioned your concerns during our project team meeting. I would like for other members to do the same. The more feedback we have now, the better final product we will produce for the customer.”
  7. “Mr. Martinez [VP of Marketing], I understand your desire to explore the Florida marketing campaign project. After careful review by our team, it appears that we need to re-consider this strategy. The opportunity is viable, and we support it. However, it appears that we do not have the resources to launch this effort by the March 31 deadline. However, my team has proposed that we move some resources from the California program, which is running smoothly. If it’s okay with you, I can provide a more detailed plan on Thursday.”

Winners are more than just the opposite of losers. These individuals understand that setbacks and problems are temporary, and they do whatever possible to meet the requirements. To join this group, you must avoid pettiness, and refuse to make excuses when problems arise. In short, a winner will keep a professional approach at all times, which allows him to resolve even the most complicated problems.

How to Lose Friends and Frustrate People

Kool Derby

I’m sure many of you know of Dale Carnegie’s popular book called How to Win Friends and Influence People. The advice provided by Carnegie has withstood the test of time, and those who apply the tips and guidance are reaping the rewards.
However, I decided to take a different twist to the title of the book, and describe ways in which you can actually lose friends and frustrate people. Of course, the goal here is that you recognize where you might be falling short, and take corrective action.

With this as the premise, here are ways that to lose friends and frustrate people:

#1: Think only about what is important to you.

Those who have children know that a parent must have unconditional love. You are sometimes surprised that no matter how much you do for your kids, they fail to appreciate it. Of course, as kids mature, they recognize the level of effort that you put into helping them succeed.

However, in the workforce, there is no time to be immature. You must avoid thinking only of what is important to you. For example, when your team performs good work, you should ensure they receive credit. If you take 100% of the recognition, you will alienate your team members. A smart leader understands the commitment and hard work of the employees.

#2: Forget where you started.

When working in my corporate jobs, I remember that some folks who were promoted felt they were “too good” to chat or socialize with those “beneath” them in rank. A promotion merely means that you are recognized for good performance, and not that you are superior a human being.

An excellent value I learned growing up in a migrant family is humility. You should respect everyone, and never think that you are too important. When you do, you lose touch with reality, and it will be only a matter of time before you tumble all the way back down. Of course, given your pompous attitude, you can expect a hard landing.

#3: Be nice only when things are going well.

It’s natural that you have a better attitude when things are going well. However, you must avoid a rude demeanor when under pressure or stress. The volatility of most of your workdays provides ample opportunity to treat others in an unprofessional manner.

Instead of barking at someone or even ignoring them, try the following: “Mary, I’m sorry I don’t have time right now to help with the project effort. There is something urgent that just hit my desk. Let me reach out to you this afternoon.” This approach makes it clear that you are busy, but that you respect the other person.

Winning friends and influencing people requires that you think about what is important to others. This doesn’t mean that you ignore what is good and essential to you. However, when you show respect and care for others, it’s only a matter of time before you yield positive results. Finally, when under duress, an excellent leader shows restraint, knowing that the problem will soon pass.

10 Stupid Things to Avoid Saying at This Year’s Holiday Party 

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You’re not too excited about the holiday party this year, but it seems like an obligatory event. Last year you made up an excuse that few believed, and you skipped it. This is a new year, and you are going to make the best of it.

Holiday parties provide a great opportunity to mingle with co-workers and with those running the company. In fact, it seems this is one of the few times you interact with the leadership team.

There is a downside to holiday parties, though. With the help of a little booze, you could end up saying something stupid. If you say it to the wrong person, someone who misinterprets the meaning, it could lead to the end of the road for you.

Here are 10 stupid things you need to keep to yourself at this year’s holiday party:

  1. “I have no idea how that idiot became the CEO. No wonder we’re failing.”
  2. “My plan is to be here another 6 months. After that, I’m outta here!”
  3. “I just sent you that hot picture of Yvonne! She looks even better in person!” [Sent from company-paid iPhone]
  4. “He looks ridiculous in that outfit. This is not a Halloween Party!”
  5. “Mr. President, I wanted to let you know that it’s not my fault that our department is doing poorly. I do my work, and I do it well.”
  6. “Is this a funeral?”
  7. [To department manager] “Deborah, this wine is making me feel so good. In fact, I don’t feel much right now. This might be a good time to tell you how I feel about your leadership skills. You see … at times, you come across sort of rude. Others tell me you have potential, but I have yet to see it. Keep working at it, and let me know how I can help you get better. I’m here for you. Be back in a bit … need another Chardonnay. Is that what they call it?”
  8. [To CFO] “Jack, how’s your work coming along? I’m sure you’re a busy guy. What’s up with the gray hair? Can’t handle the pressure? Look, the other day, we couldn’t figure out what to do with the excess $225,000, so I recommended to my manager that we add it to the ‘Consultant’ bucket. We’re going to spend it sometime in the future. Heck, we might even use it to award bonuses. You know how the system works [wink]. By the way, what is a bean counter?’”
  9. [To Director or Marketing – from Steve] “Wow, Stephanie! You’ve come a long ways. It’s hard to believe a woman can make it this big and become the Director of Marketing for a Fortune 1,000 company. I know you’re good at what you do, but undoubtedly there were some men who were passed up because the company needed to focus on diversity this year. Regardless, even if you weren’t the best candidate, you’ve got the position. I’m so proud of you!”
  10. “Wow! This is a great party! Why is it that we’re the only ones here?”

The point here is to be careful with what you say. If you’re going to have a few drinks, make sure you remain in control. In short, think of the consequences before making a stupid comment.

Here are 10 Reasons to Turn Down a Job Offer 

Kool Derby

In some cases, you need to walk away from a job offer. I understand that money can be tight, but assuming a job that you don’t like can cause more problems than it solves.

Here are 10 reasons to say “No” to a job offer:

1.When you interviewed, you felt some questions were answered vaguely, such as opportunities for growth. The hiring manager informed you that you will have your answers at the “right” time. You nod, but you are uneasy about the response.

2.During the lunch interview, you felt that management “coached” the invited participants how to act. They were going through the motions, and even felt scared to say anything that might scare you away.

3.The compensation package is different from the job advertisement. You are essentially applying for a position paying less. In addition, you are now told that the incentive plan is “under review,” and the decision will be made during the summer retreat.

4.You learn that moving up is far too difficult, and you might not qualify for several years, regardless of how well you perform. The promotion system is based largely on seniority, and many people have been here for ages. You are basically at the bottom of the totem pole.

5.The company has no processes or procedures. All the work is done ad hoc. While you can try to solve this issue, it will take too long, and getting buy-in is another story. In essence, everyone works his or her piece of the pie. You do your work, and they will do their work. It’s nearly impossible to work on cross-functional projects.

6.The work schedule is unpredictable. You might work 40 hours one week, and 70 the next. You are informed in the current week the number of hours required. In some cases, an announcement is made on Friday afternoon that full weekend work is required. The manager informs you that working the extra hours is important, and turning down these requests will “affect” your performance review.

7.You are informed that the professional development budget is non-existent. This gives you the feeling that the company is only interested in staying afloat, and not becoming competitive in the industry.

8.You have the feeling that you no one really cares if you take the job. If you turn it down, they will give it to the next “victim.”

9.During a private conversation with several employees, they warn you about the corporate culture. In fact, they are looking for a new job.

10.You have an inner voice telling you this is the wrong job for you. You need the money, but you know that you will be unhappy.

There are many more reasons to should turn down a job offer. The point here is to have a plan. Make sure you are making a smart career decision. Know where you want to go, and you will find a position that is right for you, even if you stay for just a short time before making a vertical move.

“I’m Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore!”

I don’t watch many movies, but I recently found myself on a long flight, so I decided to catch a flick. Network, a movie from the 1970s captured my attention. Howard Beale, the dean of newscasters at the United Broadcasting System is forced to retire because of poor ratings, but he is not going quietly.

“Kill Myself”

After learning that he has just a couple weeks left on the job, Beale informs his audience to tune in one week later because he is going to kill himself on the air. The network brass is irate that he made this comment, and immediately fires him. The next day, however, they were surprised that Beale’s newscast received a high rating, and there was new enthusiasm about the candid approach taken by the veteran newsman.

The decision was made to give Beale a new role in which he was able to discuss any controversial subject. In one episode, he asked the audience to go to the nearest window and shout: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Many of his viewers heeded his advice, and shouted the words into the open air.

What About Us?

As I watched the movie, I began thinking of what makes me upset, frustrated, and mad. Wouldn’t it be nice if I could make the decision right now that I will not take it anymore? For some, their work is too problematic, and they are in the fast lane to nowhere. For others, personal relationships are taking a toll, and it’s time for a change.

I remember a corporate job in which I reported to a micromanager. Before his arrival, the team operated without a manager. We knew what needed to get done, and largely self-managed. It wasn’t perfect, but we did excellent work, and each of us was accountable. The micromanager made it a priority to oversee all our work, and we were burdened with more admin duties that took us away from creative work. In essence, he was trying to fix a part of the business that was not broken.

After a few months of working with the micromanager, I decided it was too much for me. I was unhappy, and my performance was affected. I gave my notice, and was soon out of the company. Two other top performers followed suit a couple months later. Even though it was difficult to make the move, my situation is much better today.

Drawing the Line

Everyone has a threshold point. There are some who can take the punishment longer, and others who will flee quickly. Avoid quitting without having a backup plan. In the case of walking out of a job, you must have means by which to maintain your current standard of living.

My guess is that most people put up with more hell than they should. They stay in a tough situation far longer than they should,take more abuse than is necessary. They have a plan to make things better but fail to implement. It’s almost as if they think the problem will resolve itself.

At some point, you need to listen to Beale and not take it anymore.

2 Topics You Must Accentuate in Your Interview

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The job market is demanding today, and your responses in an interview impact whether you are going to land the job, or whether it will go to someone else. The “most qualified” person is not always the person who is given the job. While your work experience is important, your ability to accentuate several key points is critical.

#1: Reinforce that You Get Things Done

During an interview, you might be asked: “How do you define work success?” This is a tough question, especially if it catches you by surprise. However, if you plan for it, it can give you a chance to hit the ball out of the park.

Here is a good response to this question:

“I recently worked on a project that had many moving pieces. We were running low on funds, and we were short on resources. I made sure to work with the line managers to get the most qualified people on our team. I informed the managers that this project was critical to the success of the entire organization. By having the right people, and communicating the importance of our project, the project was a success. “

The interviewee is stating that she was able to overcome obstacles and get things done by working with line managers. She communicated the vision to the managers, which speaks positively about her leadership skills. As a candidate for a job, you need to focus on how we can overcome obstacles in a positive way.

#2: Put Teams First

Whether you like it or not, teamwork is very big in companies today. The fact is that work is complex, requiring skilled individuals to work together. An interviewer might ask the following: “Can you describe a situation in which you were part of a team? How did it go?”

These are open-ended questions, and you need to put a frame around it. The best approach is to use an example, such as:

“I recently worked on an important project for our company. The work effort required resources from different departments, and as the project lead, I needed buy-in from key people in different departments. Before moving forward, I called a meeting with key stakeholders, and we created a plan to satisfy the project objectives. We did this in a collaborative approach. By taking this approach, everyone was clear regarding expectations, and we met our goals.”

By using examples, you make the situation real. Hiring folks want to hear about how you have done something important. The discussion is meaningful when you specify how you made something happen despite obstacles. Make sure that you keep the conversation positive, and avoid blaming anyone. You are hired to get things done, and not to complain.

Successful job candidates need to keep a calm and confident approach. You should avoid canned responses. By having a professional and relaxed approach, you can focus on the message you wish to share. When you are confident that you bring so much to the table, you can expect the interview to go well.

3 Ways to Handle a Micromanager 

Kool Derby

We’ve all had micromanagers. They are so fun to work with, right?


Here are examples of what a micromanager might say:

  • “I noticed you left 5 minutes early for lunch. Do you mind staying until exactly noon in the future?
    “Make sure that you copy me in all your emails to the branch manager.”
    “Vacation requests are determined by me. Don’t make any assumptions.”

Over the years, I developed approaches when working with micromanagers. Some worked, and some didn’t. However, there are some strategies that can improve your sanity when working with these controlling and detailed-oriented managers.

#1: Make sure to get all the boring administrative work done.

A micromanager loves administrative work. They will review your timesheets with a microscope, over-analyze your emails, and use the most precise clock to determine if you met the assigned work hours.

A micromanager loves to catch you doing things wrong, which gives this person a feeling of importance. Make sure to meet all deadlines. If you agree to 5 p.m. CST to submit a proposal, don’t be even a minute late. If you are tardy, you will receive an email at 5:01 p.m. asking the status of the work. The micromanager will also notate in your employee file about your failure to meet agreed deadlines.

#2: Make them feel important.

In my experience, micromanagers enjoy receiving pats on the back. To survive in some work environments, I played the game. You tell them what they want to hear.

For example:

  • “Jennifer, I appreciate the details you provided for the project. I will make sure to get it done by Friday COB.”
    “Dan, you made it clear that we have to work until 8 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving. I will make sure we stay until that time, and even later if customers need assistance.”

The micromanager appreciates when you follow the policies and procedures. In fact, you might receive a promotion, even if you don’t want one.

#3: Reinforce to them that they have control.

There is nothing more important to a micromanager than control. In management and leadership, we study “position power.” That means that someone receives power or control based on his or her position. For a micromanager, his or her position allows him or her the opportunity to “tell others what to do.”

Remember that micromanagers don’t like to admit mistakes. In fact, many of these people are adamant that mistakes are made by other people. When you can, give micromanagers the benefit of the doubt. “Mark, you are right. I should have known to include the new logo with my emails. I’ll make sure to be more conscientious in the future.” By admitting this silly mistake, you avoid a drawn-out discussion.

Unfortunately, micromanagers are here to stay. A recent study by USA Today found that experienced people are less interested in management position. Therefore, many future managers will have limited talent, which means they will focus mostly on following the rules.

If you like where you work, it’s important to use the strategies provided here. If you are tired of being micromanaged, you will need to find employment elsewhere. However, it’s just a matter of time before you cross the path of someone who wants to know what you do every minute of the day.

Oh, well!

Definition: Incompetence: Not knowing that You Don’t Know: Example: Undergraduate College Student

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Every person and every business must be concerned about incompetence. I once heard someone define incompetence as not knowing that you don’t know. In other words, you keep moving forward, often making the same mistakes, but you are unaware that your approach is wrong. As anyone can tell, this is a problem.

Seeking Knowledge

As a college professor, I have the opportunity to work with many smart people. My colleagues are talented, and many of my students bring a ton of talent to the classroom. In fact, I often take the time to speak with fellow professors and students during breaks, after class, over coffee, and on the telephone. I’m amazed how much specialized knowledge they have, and I understand that it only takes a few tips to make a big difference.

Incompetence at Work

There are times, however, when I am surprised by someone’s incompetence. While we all make mistakes, and sometimes the errors arise because we are naïve, the point here is that incompetent people actually think they are right, despite the abundance of data to prove them wrong.

While grading a paper recently, which required references (or research), I observed a student typed the following on the page where sources are listed:

There are no references for me to list. I’ve been in business for more than 15 years, and no one knows this stuff better than me. I guess you can say that I’m the best person to know what goes on in my company, and in this industry. I guess I’m fortunate in that way.


When I read a comment like this, the best approach is to take a step back, and perhaps even give it a night before responding. Dan feels there is nothing more to learn. If so, why is he attempting to earn an undergraduate degree? If he is by far the smartest person on the planet in his field, why waste his time learning from others?

My Response to Dan

After taking the time to absorb his comment, it was important that I craft a response, and here it is:

Dan –

I had the opportunity to read your assignment, and I was impressed with the content. In fact, your professional experience is tremendous. You have many years in the fast food franchise industry, and many of us can learn from you.

In the Reference page, I noted that you did not include any sources. I understand the level of experience you have, but the requirement is to consider the best practices of other experts in the field. From my experience with franchise ownership, I know we can learn from others.

Failing to include the references will result in a 20% deduction on your paper. In future assignments, please make sure to follow the guidelines and study what others are doing in the market. I’m sure this will be a beneficial exercise for you.

I am here to help you. If anything comes up, please let me know.

Dr. Flores

Dan was not very happy with my response. In fact, he complained to his student advisor about my approach. As the issue escalated, Dan was reminded that education is a lifelong journey, and he should be open to new ideas. From what I know, Dan completed his degree program, and I hope the lesson he learned in my class was important. In other words, the goal was to move him from incompetent to competent.

For some, this transition is harder than for others.

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