Tuesday, July 27, 2021

#WorkFromHome or #WorkInACube: The Choice is Yours


Do you know how much the corporate BBQ, Christmas parties, and other events cost your company?  

Sure, it's nice to go see a baseball game or get to sit in the corporate suite for a basketball game...yet...consider this: 

Would you rather get dressed up, hear a band, eat good food and listen to an executive pontificate with a bunch of co-workers or receive a check for the amount your company paid for the event? (divided among employees) Maybe use that money to take your significant other out on a date.

Does your company sponsor a minor league baseball team? Why?  
Do you see your company's logo all over your "free" swag? How many copiers do you need to sell, in order to buy 14,000 logo'd coffee mugs?  Sure, vendors kick down funds in support - what's in it for them?

We've been trained to believe these events are acts of kindness or perks from our benevolent employers, and for the most part, we're all appreciative.  

But that was the old model, the pre-Fear of Covid way. Today is different.  Today, you are different.

I dare you to ask for the company's internal "entertainment" budget.

The point is this: you are a 'Resource'(go ask Human Resources) and resources are meant to be used to the maximum for minimum cost.  

There is nothing wrong with this model, it is revenue-cost=profit and what we sign up for when we work to support somebody else's dream. (No shame)

It's just that now we can recognize the manipulation - this is a "Red Pill, Blue Pill" situation. 

Blue Pill: Buying into the dogma and believing the narrative you’ve been lead to believe is the truth.

The Red Pill: The Truth
The choice is yours.



The Blue Pill:

There's nothing wrong with buying into the corporate structure, finding your place in the hierarchy, and climbing your way up.  

The Red Pill:

You see the influences you hadn't seen before and decide not to be part of that system, instead, you seek out like-minded groups of people.

There are no bad choices if you choose for yourself.

Indeed, in the movie "The Matrix" those who took the red pill ate nutritious, tasteless mush, while blue pill people dined on make-believe steaks and fine wines.  

Ignorance is bliss, truth is pain.

In the post Covid/fear age, you have the ability to move to companies that value their resources, understand happy employees are more productive and the old ways should be abolished.

You also have the freedom to return to the cube and enjoy a blissfully happy and ordered existence.

The choice is yours, make it an informed one.

#wfh #workfromhome


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Working From Home Is A Battlefield




I received this message in my LinkedIn box, a few weeks ago:
"Thank you for pressing the #WorkFromHome influencing messaging. Many of us out here can't say it and don't react to your posts because we're afraid our companies will see us advocating for something that can be construed as self-interest rather than company interest. Makes us targets if we do. You're blazing the trail for all of us.  KEEP IT UP PLEASE”
Pretty cool, eh?  I've been remote for just over a decade, outside sales is conducive to working at Starbucks, and parking lots - it was the beginning of work from anywhere.  Indeed,  I was cold calling businesses, on my Nextel, from the beach in SoCali back in 2003.

Consider this rudimentary timeline:
  • Data(files) were always at the office; everyone had to be under one roof just to be 'on the same page'
  • Fax machines allowed us to send copies around the world
  • Email helped us share bigger documents with prospects and clients 
  • Laptops made us more mobile; I could now bring my files home to work on over the weekend
  • Pink phone message notes were the standard until numeric and alpha-numeric pagers became the rage
  • Cell phones replaced pagers
  • Smartphones let us connect to email from the palm of our hand
  • Ubiquitous WiFi gave us the ability to conduct online meetings from hotel lobbies and poolsides
  • Today, with data in the cloud and apps on phones, the CEO can track revenue, sales reps can monitor delivery schedules from the 9th tee or pontoon.
Who wouldn't want to be free to work from anywhere?


Here's why the establishment doesn't want you working from home:

Economics

Gas stations, parking lots, parking meters, bars, restaurants, car dealerships, toll roads, bus lines, subways, delivery services, logistic companies, commercial real estate firms,  entertainment establishments, hotels, and coffee shops all derive taxable revenue from the 9 to 5 world.

This 9 to 5 infrastructure is huge and financed by big institutions, which is why you're seeing most banking concerns forcing employees back to the cube.

Ego - the Old Way

I compare current cube farms with the cotton fields of history - mid and upper management act like plantation owners, standing on the porch watching work progress in the fields. 

Mid to upper management has always believed "out of sight" equals zero accountability.  Of course, this is incorrect. Also, decreased productivity, one of the biggest fears associated with work from home, proved to be baseless as productivity rose during the lockdowns.  

The status quo includes Casual Fridays, company BBQs, walk-around management, cube farms, fruitless meetings, and 2.5% pay increases.  Working from your den, with a view of your backyard, is better than 1,000 Casual Fridays.

Middle Managers

This is the killer app of Work from anywhere: When we work from home, we don't need managers.  

The Work for Anywhere environment is about outcomes, not adherence to policy.  Is one of your tasks managing and updating HR profiles?  When you complete your updates, the results are what is important, not you were able to complete the duty between 8:30AM and 7:00PM under the gaze of an overseer.

Management doesn't manage people they manage policy and adherence to procedures.  I'm not suggesting all managers are useless - I am saying we will need fewer managers and more "coaches".

"...Manager tells sales force in a video meeting that if they want company-provided leads they need to come into the office more often to get them. That's the kind of logic trap that results in bridges built over potholes..." - actual account from the field.

Work from Anywhere = Work for More than One

"...we're afraid our companies will see us advocating for something that can be construed as self-interest rather than company interest..."

The work from anywhere movement is not about a new business model environment, increased productivity, or happier employees it is the discovery of your purpose. 

This sounds a bit new age, but it isn’t. 

People are quitting jobs in record numbers. Sure, working from home is a big reason for the exodus, but I suspect there is something deeper. The fear of Covid forced us to look inside ourselves, to narrow our vision from the global to a few blocks. We were forced to figure this new way of work all on our own. 

Corporate HQ didn’t have a plan. Management pushed you out of the office and told you to figure out how to work from the kitchen table. Nobody had ever been there before. You put plans together and worked the best way possible under great stress and a belief that you were helping your company stay alive. Your loyalty demanded this response. 

Zoom meetings with upper management parroting a seemingly heartfelt, “We’re all in this together,” lie, became ubiquitous. During the past few months, the Universe revealed ‘Loyalty’ to be a one-way street. Employees are re-evaluating their return on investment for long commutes, late hours, missed soccer matches.

The "math" is not adding up.

Here's the new evolutionary path:
  • Covid sends everyone home
  • We determine how to work from home
  • We like it
  • Covid scares the crap out of everyone, we begin to look at life differently
  • The Covid fear recedes
  • Businesses start asking employees back to the office
  • Employees quit en masse, across all sectors
  • Employers dictate a return to the office
  • Employees resist
  • Employees seek out remote and find jobs
  • Employees figure out how to work multiple remote jobs simultaneously, move to 1099 
Like the plantations, major changes were a result of radical social upheaval. Covid is a catalyst for so many changes it will be up to historians to document. 

One thing is certain, we are at the precipice of either the greatest shift in business models or a tumble into oblivion.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Gift of Covid19 - Unshackled Employees


So you worked from home. 
You figured it out, built office space in your kitchen, second room, or closet, with no guidance from HQ.
You learned Zoom. 
You became more 'self-managed. 
You weren't considered 'essential'.  That high standing reserved for the antiquated accounting department and even more old-fashioned mailroom. 

And now, today, the taskmaster wants to look out upon a sea of workers toiling away in the cotton fields of the 21st century - the cube farm. 

Managers hope we don't figure out how obsolete they've become - they fear for their jobs. 

The most fearful are in the C-Suite. Those "Killers of Passion" who command their complacent, easily replaceable, and 'loyal' chattel back to the stalls. 

It's worse.  Upon return to the office, everything you learned and did 'for the company' during Covid is to be forgotten or suppressed - the hierarchical, top-down rules of management must be enforced to maintain order.

They entice and seduce:
  • Friday is blue jean day.
  • Group outings to the baseball game.
  • Free cappuccino's in the luxury kitchen; beer.
  • Catered breakfasts, corporate BBQs, and Christmas Parties.
  • 401k's, healthcare, and 2.5% yearly pay increases.
Ignore the 45-minute commutes, and missed recitals.
Enjoy the useless, mundane, and mindless 4PM meetings that inevitably and predictably run over by 60 minutes - "this could have been an email."

Don't forget co-worker personalities and hostile environments - HR is not your friend.
"Some simply refuse to schlep back and forth to an office, taking two-plus hours a day commuting into a crowded, dirty and crime-ridden city. Insurance and financial services giant Prudential conducted a study that found “one in three American workers would not want to work for an employer that required them to be onsite full time.” - Forbes
People are quitting jobs more than ever.  

Here's the nasty and silver lining:  Covid19 and remote working opened our eyes to bigger possibilities.  We can pursue our passions and our passion is not a 9 to 5 prison.  Sure, there are great advantages to working for somebody else from anywhere.  The big, huge transformation will not be technology-driven, it will be powered by passion your passion, unleashed.

This is a great fear the establishment denies - workers, once unshackled, will move away from the establishment and towards their personal, unique dreams.  Maybe that dream is to be the best Events Manager in the industry - why would the best work for one company?  Better yet, why wouldn't she work for herself instead of Big Brother?

Fascinating...the possibilities are endless.

Gambling man rolls the dice, workingman pays the bill
It’s still fat and easy up on banker’s hill
Up on banker’s hill, the party’s going strong...
Down here below we’re shackled and drawn

Monday, July 5, 2021

New to Copier Sales: Sales Lessons Learned in the Last Year




I’ve been saying for almost 12 months that virtual selling and remote work is the wave of the future. I’ve also predicted that few people will go back to the office to work — which as you know will greatly affect your ability to sell copiers.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m prepared to say that I was wrong with my prediction on how few people will come back to the office because some major corporations have announced a back-to–the-office policy. Companies like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and T. Rowe Price are announcing policies, and predictably, so are large commercial property firms. Any company with an interest in commercial real estate, office space and financing encourages everyone to come back to the cubicle.

This is counter to what happened over the last 12 months. Revenues for companies that operated during the pandemic went through the roof.  Productivity for work-from-home employees increased by double digits. Employees were happier, reconnected with their family, ate fewer cold dinners, and never missed a soccer game.

However, this didn’t bode well for people who make a living renting office space, running parking lots, or selling copiers.

People will be coming back to the office, but does this mean they will be buying more copiers?

Probably not. But the gift ...read the rest here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

"Nobody Wants To Work."




Maybe, if you treated employees better when they were working for you, they'd come back to you today.

"We can't find any good employees and we're just starting to come back."

"People do not want to work and who blames them? They can stay at home and make just as much as I would pay them!"

Well then, maybe you should pay them more.  Maybe you should have valued them more when they did work for you.  Maybe, you shouldn't have demanded they stay late, and miss their kid's soccer game.  

"Our employees don't want to come back to the office.  They are the least engaged."

Could it be that after nearly 100 years of office working, everyone is recognizing that engagement with a corporation is a one-way escapade?  

That corner office, 401k, and 12 days of vacation are all part of the trap.

Companies have convinced employees that long commutes, cube farms, terrible co-workers, hostile working environments, company policies that defy logic, 2.5% pay raises, over time, water coolers, ping-pong tables, and company half-barrels are worth the cold dinners, missed little league games,  red-eye flights, brainless managers, and corporate disloyalty.

They've convinced you that your worth is determined by who you work for, how many hours you put in, and how loudly you tow the company line.  They had you believing that if you worked anywhere but under the florescent sting of an open floor plan, you wouldn't get anything done.

Remember the companies who just 12 months ago were saying, "We're all in this together.  We want what's best for all our employees." and are now treating the same employees like nothing happened you are shameful.  They worked in a completely unfamiliar environment and learned more about technology, human-to-human communications, getting things done than a dozen of your "corporate training sessions" could ever muster.

Your revenues went through the roof.  Company travel costs approached zero - no client visits, no hotel, dinner, or drinks on the expense reports - FOR A YEAR.  Sure, bigger companies still paid rent - but utility costs tumbled, and what about all those government loans?

Every one of your employees who worked at home deserves a HUGE increase in salary, a bonus, or both and you know it. 

Additionally, the mantra, "Everything has changed because of the fear of COVID19." is true - so why are you going to manage your workforce the same way you did in 2019?

But if we let our employees work from anywhere, we'll lose that personal touch and will kill our corporate culture."

Personal connection in the business world is a fallacy - it does not and can not exist.  Any bond established under the influence of business transactions is by definition, impersonal.  All the relationship-building, all the dinners, lunches, and drinks spent with a client or prospect are designed with one goal in mind, get their money into your pocket. 

Don't play the "personal touch" card in an effort to force employees back to the cages. 

By the way, work from anywhere doesn't kill the corporate culture, it IS corporate culture.

The argument for returning office workers back to the office revolves around:
  1. A need for centralized management built on mistrust and insecurities.
  2. The Luddite view of "getting back to normal".
  3. An effort to bolster commercial office space return on investments.
We are witnessing the struggle between indenture and freedom; between value and being unvalued.

The good news is that your skills are transferrable to organizations that want to be part of the future and understand monolithic structures of management are part of a bygone era.  Find those companies and go work for them - from anywhere on the planet.

Cheers!





Friday, May 14, 2021

The Age of the Introvert Salesperson



Sales has changed. You remember how it used to be, right? Waiting in the lobby for that big appointment. Impersonal boardroom meetings.  You sat across the table from each other; you didn’t tell him too much and he didn’t give you any clues as to what he was thinking.

You bantered and built trust through non-verbal communication techniques — the ones you read about in the sales book du jour.  Or maybe during a sales meeting, one of the more seasoned professionals imparted you with knowledge. “Pace your prospect,” he told you. “When he leans in, you lean in. When he crosses his arms, so do you.”

Your presentation skills involve walking the room, waving your hands, smiling, nodding, looking people straight in the eye. All this comes easy for you, doesn’t it? You are an extrovert.

Back in school, you were the center of attention.  You have no fear of attending parties by yourself. Peers, prospects, and colleagues consider you outgoing and engaging. You’re boisterous, lively, energetic, entertaining, maybe charming.

Friends and family have been telling you for years, “You’re such a people person, you should go into sales.” So one day, you took their advice and jumped into the sales profession.

Read the rest, here.