Friday, 5 March 2010

Newsletter Issue 180, March 2010

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 180, March 2010
Hi guys,
As leaders we really have to think about how our message will be taken up by our followers in Good Television - Lousy Leadership.
When you go to ask The Salary Question or if you are asked it, it is always nice to know how to handle it. 
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Good Television - Lousy Leadership

Pitching your leadership message correctly is something you do have to think through; especially when you are granting privileges to employees. Carol Kinsey Goman published this following article in the US about the message being sent by the TV show "Undercover Boss", which she has kindly allowed me to share with you all.
Right after the Super Bowl, CBS will air it's new show, "Undercover Boss." But earlier this week Oprah featured "cast members" - executives and employees from the first two companies (Waste Management and 7-11). At the end, executives gave "prizes" to participating employees. A 7-11 truck driver received the keys to his own franchise (without having to pay the regular set-up fees), a Waste Management office worker got a promotion and a pay raise, etc. 
You can imagine the reaction from employees of those companies who weren’t on the series, but who watched Oprah: Why did that person get singled out? Why did one person in the same company get a much more lucrative reward than another? What about the rest of us who work here? We work hard too!
"Undercover Boss" is a British import and I assumed that the Brits probably handled things a bit differently. But to make sure, I checked with Stephen Martin, the Clugston CEO (and participant in the UK version of the show) whom I’d interviewed for the Washington Post article, "Would YOU be an Undercover Boss?"
Here is his reply:
Hi Carol, 
Wow – as you say things are certainly bigger over there in the US!  
The UK version of ‘Undercover Boss’ could be described as very low budget in comparison. 
However, I would comment as follows, as one with experience in the process.
I feel that there is a potential underlying friction between what the programme makers want to produce ie, an entertaining television show that guarantees great ratings and what I, as a company boss, want ie, genuine feedback from employees on what is and is not working within my business so that I can make positive improvements.
And here’s the rub - what makes great telly does not necessarily make great business and vice versa! 
Indeed, the producers of the programme wanted me to give out great rewards at the end of the programme after the televised ‘reveals’.  I, however, resisted on the basis that it would be grossly unfair to single out individuals for treatment over and above what I could realistically achieve with the rest of our workforce. 
Furthermore, I went undercover soon after I had made over 100 employees redundant and I felt that it would have been in poor taste to throw money around in such a sensitive business environment. 
In terms of ‘rewards and recognition’ for the three individuals singled out by me for the televised ‘reveals’, this is what I did: 
  1. Leon Bever - I gave him the opportunity to move to a bigger project where he had the potential to earn more money, as he would be site-based and, consequently, have to travel further and work longer hours.  I also gave every single person at his work site the same opportunity – some accepted and were moved, whilst others did not want to travel and accepted that they would earn less money but get home earlier every evening.
  2. Les Parker - I moved him from a temporary contract to a permanent contract. His wages and terms of conditions of employment remained exactly the same. This turned out to be a great morale booster for all temporary employees as they could see that if they worked hard they had the potential of gaining a permanent position with Clugston and all of our permanent workers were delighted that Les gained a place on our apprenticeship programme.  There was no pay rise or promotion.
  3. Dick Sutton - I asked Dick, alongside his normal duties, to undertake a mentoring role with our less experienced workers so that he could pass on his valuable skills to our next generation of workers.  There was no pay rise or promotion.
So, the joy of these three individuals cannot be measured in monetary terms - but in terms of being the people I chose to be representative of the hundreds of hard working individuals we employ up and down the length and breadth of the UK and deserving of praise directly from the top. 
 As I mentioned to you previously, I also personally visited everyone I met during my two weeks undercover afterwards for their own personal ‘reveal’ – the only difference being that this time the cameras were not rolling.
In terms of ‘rewards and recognition’ for our workforce in general, I threw a party for our entire workforce at a local hotel to celebrate and recognise their invaluable support and hard work for Clugston over many years.  This was the first time in our 73 year history that operatives had ever been invited to a party and was incredibly well received by all employees – so much so, in fact, that in December I threw the first ever Christmas party for our operatives too! 
What you say is correct in that I actually published what I learned from my undercover experience in the form of my "Top Ten Tips" which have been put onto our website for all employees to read and I also published extracts from the diary I kept while I was undercover so that employees, who were not directly involved, could learn more about what happened. 
So to ultimately answer your question, what I learned was indeed transferred into corporate-wide policy and not just individual reward for 3 individuals who became the focus of a TV programme
I think my response poses a further question though – how do you make compelling reality television while remaining true to both your own personal and company values?
Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., is an executive coach, author and keynote speaker who addresses association, government, and business audiences around the world. Her latest book and program topic is THE NONVERBAL ADVANTAGE - Secrets and Science of Body Language at Work. For more information, contact Carol by phone: 510-526-1727, email:, or through her websites: and

The Salary Question

Mark advises "One thing you never want to do is give a fixed number [as an interviewee]. Any number high or low will hurt you... high  [and] your interview process will end... low [will] cost you money. So if you can’t give a number, what do you do?
"You give the following answer; my reason for being here is to evaluate the opportunity just as you are evaluating my fit for your organization. If the opportunity is everything I want and I satisfy all your needs I’m sure the money will not be an issue."
If the employer presses you, Mark suggests that you answer with a question: "You know my background, skills and experience as well as your needs and pay range; what compensation do you feel would be appropriate?" to prevent yourself being boxed in.
One commentator on Mark's LinkedIn page suggested the one addition to that would be "I really don't know what 'the package' would be, if I were offered the position and I'd like to consider the whole package also". A very sensible addendum.
You can read Mark's entire article at 

Change the Shape of Clip Art

Have you ever wanted to change the shape of Clip Art in Word? There is a way to do it:
  1. Open an office document and insert an AutoShape that is the shape you would like to use for the clipart.
  2. Right click the auto shape and select "Format AutoShape.
  3. From the "Colors and Lines" tab select the "Color" drop down. Select "Fill Effects"
  4. in "Fill Effects", select the "Picture" tab
  5. Click the "Select Picture" button and select the clip art (or any other picture) that you would like to change the shape of.
Just like that. Thanks heaps to TechRepublic's Office Challenge series for that tip (read the original at;leftCol).

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • GW, Gross Weight. Total weight of an item including its packaging
  • NW. Net Weight. Total weight of the contents of the item, excluding its packaging
  • PLU, Price Look Up. A unique identification number products or services to make purchase and inventory control easier, faster and more accurate.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, we are take a look at all you can do in Office with the delete or backspace key:
  • Word "Undo the last action (NB: some actions, like Shutdown, cannot be undone)" Alt & Backspace
  • Word "Redo" Alt & Shift & Backspace
  • Word "Delete selected text or to delete the character to the left of where is positioned while editing" Backspace
  • PowerPoint, Publisher, Frontpage, Word "Delete one word to the left" Ctrl & Backspace
  • Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Frontpage, Word "Delete the selected item(s), or to delete the character to the right of; if items are files they will be moved to the Recycle Bin" Delete
  • PowerPoint, Publisher, Frontpage, Word "Delete one word to the right" Ctrl & Delete
  • Frontpage, Word "Cut" Shift & Delete

Hot Linx
A new idea in power generation if you are in a high-wind area is Yorkshire company's The Power Collective's "Ridgeblade" wind turbine. Check it out at
An oldie but a goodie. Just click on the link, click on play, leave the mouse, sit back and watch a piece of creative brilliance
For everything there is to know about interest in New Zealand, check out, including bank interest on-call and term deposit rates, insurance rates and much, much more.
To learn how to set up a simple timesheet in Excel, head over to TechRepublic and check out their step by step instructions at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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