A friend sent the following video on one misuse of cell phones. It is a funny, but succinct message about bad phone manners. Manners that distract from organizational goals. Perhaps it will lead you to think about other organizations and other situations where the same punishments should apply. Enjoy.
In the following video, Jim Edwards — writer, educator and marketer — talks about searching for good keywords for your content. As he points out, most folks use the free Google keyword tool. And it’s a very good resource. It tells you what people search for in general. But there’s a better way to find keywords that people search for when they’re serious enough to want to buy something.
Whether you are offering information, education, services or products, you benefit from using “buyer keywords” as well as “searcher” keywords. The buyers are not only more focused on your topic than most other searchers, they are more specifically focused on sub-topics you may not have thought to develop. So finding them helps you get better keywords and gives you more topic ideas as well.
The following video tells you about using Amazon’s keyword search and suggestion tool to find out what folks look for at the world’s largest online retailer. Free, easy and “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that?” obvious. It’s approximately five minutes. If you can’t get it to play on this page, you can find it on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do5IGzhIvdM
For the folks that have been following my site for a while, you may have wondered why haven’t I posted to my blog or uploaded articles to the rest of the site since August. I’ll make this the short version. Complete site redesign. Development of e-books, training and other products/services. Documentation of what I’m doing and how I’m doing it and development of tools to make it easier. Tools and documentation I will share with you later. One person doing most of the work. No time to think. No time to post. No good reason to continue doing everything I’ve been doing for the last 15 years before the Panda algorithm pretty much destroyed the site. Developing new ways to get traffic and links. Some of you might even be able to identify with that.
Anyway, I plan to post to this blog a little more frequently. Be prepared for a discussion of my first Kindle book upload. Coming soon.
Of course you don’t have a lawyer — who does?
One of the things I say in so many of my articles and posts is that there are scores of legal issues you need to think about in your work, your business and even in your personal online activities.
For example, not long ago, I wrote a series of posts about using only legal music in your videos. I mentioned that whether you make videos for fun or profit, you can get in serious trouble if you use someone else’s copyrighted material in your productions. And in my posts, I kept inserting disclaimers that said I’m not an attorney, so you should consult your own attorney about the issues I raised.
Now, I realize that most folks — including small business owners and entrepreneurs — don’t have attorneys and don’t seek them out unless they get threatened, ticketed, arrested or sued. After all, attorneys are expensive. And even people who have hired attorneys have probably once or twice used a specialist for a specific job such as writing a will or getting a divorce.
But just stop and think for a moment about what could happen if you innocently “pinned” a photo on Pinterest.com and found out that the image, while it was posted lawfully by the originating website through a paid subscription, was from a big provider who objects to having its images shared for free. Suppose you found out about it by getting a letter from the provider’s attorneys. Oops.
Suppose you thought that whistleblower laws would keep you from being fired if you went over your boss’ head to complain how he was bullying a co-worker? And you found yourself on the street without a paycheck.
Suppose you thought you had a right to see your personnel file, to protest bad reviews, to put your own information in your file. Good luck with that.
How the blue blazes do you keep up with what you can and can’t do? Who or what can and can’t hurt you? How can the average person even get an inkling of what he needs to know and do to be compliant with the law and avoid law suits and fines?
Fortunately, there are a number of websites that can help you with that. Through their various books, articles, blogs, forums, online forms to fill out, and referrals to attorneys if you need them, they can guide you through both general and specialized information you must have to stay as safe as possible. Much of the information they offer is free.
If you can’t find what you need to know or if you need help from a real person, you can always use these sites’ referral services. And perhaps, with this added information, you’ll get an idea of how complicated some of the issues are and when you actually do need to speak with a professional.
Here are the three best known sites for finding information and lawyer referrals (I have no relationship with them, other than having been a customer of one of them):
Nolo.com. Nolo has been around since 1971 as a publisher of law-related do-it-yourself books and forms. It has a sterling reputation for providing DIY materials that are easy to read and understand. As a website, it has expanded to include a large network of both legal and other professional sites that provide specialized information and referrals. I’ve personally purchased a number of Nolo publications over the years, starting well before the Internet became public. I’ve also continuously recommended its publications to friends and clients who wanted to try DIY before consulting attorneys. They have an extensive collection of free articles, more than twenty different general and specialized blogs, podcasts, a YouTube channel, books and software, and referrals to attorneys.
Legalzoom.com is more about helping you fill out the forms and go through the steps of routine legal necessities like incorporating, getting a trademark, making your will and so on. They have a nice collection of free articles and videos to add to your education about legal matters, both business and personal.
Rocketlawyer.com provides step-by-step online handholding in preparing the most usual documents you need to run your business or life. If you need more help, they’ll help you connect with a lawyer who specializes in your particular issues. And, they have a good collection of articles to help you understand the basics of the legals issues you’re most likely to need to know.
Also, if you want some ideas for getting low-cost or free legal services, see the video below from Entrepreneur.com (If the video doesn’t show up below, find it at http://www.entrepreneur.com/video/223541):
The Three Things You Have To Realize
1. Conflict isn’t about the facts, it’s about the feelings. If you are in conflict, you feel that you have been cheated, betrayed, victimized, helpless (disempowered), unfairly blamed, abandoned, unjustly penalized, ignored, marginalized, discriminated against or whatever. And you feel angry. Perhaps you feel hurt.
2. Most conflict is petty. It just doesn’t feel petty to the people involved. That is to say, the actual facts or cause of the feelings behind the conflict are petty. Most of the time, the causes of conflict are repeated annoyances by people who can’t get away from one another.
Conflicts usually involve things like offices mates who constantly talk too much or too loudly on the phone while you try to work. Or people who drop into your office or cubicle to whine and complain and waste your time. Or people who manipulate things so you end up doing their work. Or people who gossip about you. People who tell lies about you. Bosses who don’t back you or support you. Bosses who don’t listen when you report issues that affect your work. Bosses who ignore your expert advice, which you were hired to give them. Or senseless office rules that interfere with your work or your ability to perform your best.
Sure, there are plenty of things that happen that are serious. And you need to deal with those, too. But most the most common conflict you find at work is in the nature of what psychologists call simple “ego injuries.” You feel hurt and angry because something bothersome is going on that you can’t control and it makes you feel powerless and unimportant.
3. The person who controls his emotions wins the conflict. Because ending the conflict is winning. If you take charge of your emotions you take the power in the conflict. Regardless of rank, status or relative strength.
The Two Things You Have To Do
1. Refuse engagement or disengage from conflict — let it go. The conflict can only remain if both parties contend. You can let it go if you accept this one simple fact as truth: no matter what you do you cannot directly change (or fix) another person or another person’s behavior. (It also helps to realize that you can’t change his mind, beliefs or feelings, either. At least not directly.)
The conflict is about your trying to change someone else or his/her behavior. By some sort of force. That person is resisting. He thinks he’s right. He knows he’s right. He feels he’s right. It’s like trying to change someone’s religion or politics. Can’t be done.
But think about it for a moment. You, too, think you are right and that the other person is wrong. He can’t change you either. The real conflict in a conflict is each side trying to force the other to do something he doesn’t want to do. It doesn’t have to do with who’s right or wrong. It doesn’t even have to do with who is stronger. It has to do with how you get and use power. And the only real power to change is the power you use to control your own feelings and behavior.
You can change how you look at what is happening and change what you do. You can stop struggling to get the other person to change.
You can start doing things that make the other party have to change in response to your behavior. Or you can do something that makes his behavior irrelevant. For example, if the person is constantly annoying you with noise, you can simply ignore him and wear headphones with noise cancellation or earplugs.
Sure, he’s an inconsiderate pig. So what? Your real solution is to stop the noise, not reform the pig. You can go directly for the end result you want through your own power rather than through trying to force a solution on someone over whom you have no power.
2. Explore and plan for resolution of the underlying dispute — even if only you, all by yourself, work out the plan and create the outcome. Once you have accepted that the only thing you really have control over is yourself, you can get clear on how to solve your problem without involving the other party in the solution.
If you choose to disengage from conflict, the conflict is over. Almost instantly. Seemingly magically. And it reveals to you that, all along, you had the power you had to get what you really needed.
The following two YouTube videos have different perspectives and different issues involved in workplace conflict.
Depersonalizing Petty Personality Issues.
This video by Ed Trimnell is addressed to someone who is rather new to the workplace, but it works for anyone:
4 Magic Phrases.
This video by Daniel O’Connor of Power Diversity takes on the issue of how to respond to negativity in workplace communication. It’s both entertaining and helpful.
If so, do you sometimes — or often — find you have problems with your eyes like: redness, dryness, itching, burning and tearing when you close your eyes, tired/sore eyes, a sense of fatigue, tics, or perhaps even the same feeling of strain you get when you’ve over-exerted your muscles exercising?
Yeah, me too. It could be computer-related eyestrain. It could seriously hamper your performance and productivity.
You could even have worse symptoms, such as: headaches, neck aches, back aches, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision or double vision. And more.
Of course, you can’t really diagnose yourself. You need to see your physician — or at least your optometrist — because there could also be an underlying eye condition that’s more serious.
The good news is that if it is eye strain, you can easily treat it yourself with a few work-style and lifestyle changes. And you can prevent it from occurring in the first place or from recurring if you already have it.
The further good news is that you don’t have to give up computers, TV or video games. The bad news is that you have to modify how you use them and how long you use them at any one time.
The Mayo Clinic has a great multi-part article on eyestrain. It covers symptoms, causes, risk factors, tests, treatments and home remedies. It begins at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/eyestrain/DS01084. However, if you’ve already been reading stuff on eyestrain and just want the DIY information, you can skip to http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/eyestrain/DS01084/DSECTION=lifestyle-and-home-remedies.
How-to Geek also has excellent coverage of the topic at http://www.howtogeek.com/54872/how-to-avoid-computer-eye-strain-and-keep-your-eyes-healthy/ . It has a more extensive list of ways to modify your computer work habits for the better.
Here are some videos to give you more ideas:
1.This video from C|Net gives tips on reducing eyestrain:
2. Here’s another outlook on preventing eyestrain from computer monitors:
Stop waiting and suffering. If you have tired, sore eyes, see your optometrist and make sure your eyes are properly corrected. Ask about computer glasses. And start making some adjustments in how you use your computer — as well as other digital screens — to get immediate relief and get started on recovery.
What’s Your Belief About Luck?
First, I’d like you to think for a moment about what your attitude is toward luck. What do you believe about luck. What do you think luck is? Or do you even think there is any such thing as luck? Perhaps you hold with those who say you make your own luck. Maybe you have a few superstitions about luck. But one thing is fairly probable — you’ve thought about luck and you have opinions on it.
Attitudes about luck have a wide range, as is proven by the various sayings we have about it. They seem to vary from “Curse the luck!” to “Bless my lucky stars!”
How about these expressions: “Just lucky, I guess”…”Good luck and God bless”…”Having any luck with that?”…”Of all the luck!”…”Just my luck”…”As luck would have it”…”Luck smiled on me.”
Although I’ve heard it many times before, I particularly was struck by the poignancy of hearing the expression “You can’t beat luck” in an episode of the short-lived TV-show “Dr. Vegas.”
The gambling-addicted physician was doing a masterful job of winning game after game in a poker tournament. At the end, the odds were so stacked in his favor that even his opponent believed it was impossible to beat him. It came down to the turn of one card. And in a millions-to-one shot, the one card that could beat him turned up in his opponent’s hand. They were both astonished. And that’s when she said, “You can’t beat luck.” (She may have said “just plain luck.” I don’t remember the exact words, and I’m not going to try to find that episode online and watch it again just to be accurate.)
I agree that you can’t beat “luck” — if you are defining luck as random chance, an event completely out of your control and almost impossible to predict. However, some who write about luck and chance from the scientist’s point of view will tell you that you need to use your words more strictly if you want to understand luck and how to control it. You need to realize that there’s a difference between luck and chance.
Chance is random occurrences. Luck is “being in the right place at the right time for useful probable occurrences.” Luck is also “making the most of chance occurrences by being alert to them and their possibilities.
If you are careful about your definition of luck, you’ll appreciate the literature that explains how you control it and how you make your own luck. You’ll also react better to harmful and disappointing chance events, accepting that they are out of your control. But your reaction to those chance events is in your control and you can use that control to recover. You can even use your control to transform unfortunate chance events into opportunities for growth and profit.
Learning To Control Luck And Make Your Own Luck
In my research, I came across an excellent article by Daniel Pink, on the FastCompany website, “How To Make Your Own Luck.” If you want an outstanding and brief outline of how to change and control your luck, this is the article to read.
In this 2003 article, Pink interviews Richard Wiseman about the ideas in Wiseman’s book “The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles.” It’s a good, long interview and the four essential principles are revealed.
So much of the article, as well as the name of the book, sounded familiar. I researched further and found that there was an earlier book called “The Luck Factor” by Max Gunter. I was sure I had read the book and a search of my bookshelves turned it up. Re-reading it, I discovered that both books seemed to have many of the same ideas. Different stories. Different approaches to studying the ideas. But pretty similar conclusion and advice.
The Wiseman book is difficult to get in the U.S. I had to order a used copy and wait about a week. But Pink’s article intrigued me, so I wanted to know more. Especially since the writer is a fellow psychologist. The article tells the basics you need to know, but the book is good reading if you want to go to the trouble of trying to get a copy.
Gunther’s book The Luck Factor: Why Some People Are Luckier Than Others and How You Can Become One of Them is easily available here in new and used editions as well as on Kindle.
I’ll be back in a later article with more on luck and chance. Meanwhile, take a look at Pink’s article. (And, by the way, you may have noticed that this article was the result of luck. A friend made an observation by chance that I recognized as a good topic for an article, and luckily, I had already read and kept a good book on it. So, my research was made easier. Funny how that works out.)
Management By Walking Around
Management by walking around (or wandering around) is a concept that was popularized in the early 1980′s by Tom Peters in his book “In Search of Excellence.” The basic idea is that managers would actually leave the confines of their offices and walk around their departments. That way they would get a better picture of what was going on, who was who, and how the workplace actually worked in daily practice.
They could stop and talk with their employees in a relaxed, casual manner, encouraging more open communication. Setting the stage for discovering problems before they grew large. Giving the employees an opportunity to approach the manager without feeling they were storming a castle by fighting their way through secretaries and assistants to get into his/her office. Letting the employees see the manager was actually working him/herself.
There are many more benefits, but my article today is not about the benefits for management. This is about the benefits any employee can gain from following the same action plan.
Success By Walking Around
Regardless of your job level, you can practice the techniques of management by walking around. Just think about what makes the biggest difference in getting and keeping a job and advancing on the job. It’s communication.
Few people have gotten ahead by staying in their offices or cubicles and simply working and working.
You have to be visible and get credit for your work and contributions to the organization. You have to be seen as a candidate for moving up. Appreciated for leadership qualities. Known to — and liked by — as many people as possible in the organization.
It’s a lot easier than you may think.
Strategies You Can Use Right Away
For the ordinary non-managing employee — or low level managers with very few employees — success by walking around can be achieved by a few simple strategies. These strategies get you out from behind your computer, your phone and inter-office mail. They get you face to face with people at every level who can help you get ahead. Who will want to help you get ahead. Here’s a list of five great strategies to get you started. Maybe you can think of some more.
1. Hand deliver your work — in physical form, when possible. Don’t just send email attachments or pdfs. People who see you delivering the work associate your face with the work. They get to ask you questions. They get to feel that you have a personal interest in your work and in them. This works well for the same reasons that sending physical greeting cards gets a better — far better — response than e-cards. That which is tangible seems more real. You seem more real. More memorable.
2. Stop playing telephone tag. Stop replying by email and text messages. On important issues, go see the person who left the message, with a written reply in hand — and discuss the issues involved. For all the same reasons as #1 above.
3. Offer assistance to colleagues who look overwhelmed. The old adage “A friend in need is a friend indeed,” is true. Favors with no strings attached makes friends fast and endear you to both the person you helped and anyone else who finds out about them. Especially if you are very humble about it and make no fuss about it yourself.
4. Send personalized, attractive email within the office — when it looks like you’ve taken time and consideration in the message interface, you can make the message shorter and you’ll still be seen as attentive (another way of putting it is that if you are attentive to detail, you will be seen as attentive in every way — that’s the psychology of generalization.)
5. Get involved with company extra curricular activities — write a department newsletter, attend company sports team events and cheer for your team, participate in charity events. anything that shows enthusiasm for the company. Social involvement is social proof of value.
Do these techniques take time? Of course they do. But they are some great uses of that time and will pay off in greater benefits than alternate uses of your time. You can never be productive enough to make yourself well-known and liked. Performance and productivity are essential to doing and keeping your job. But it’s your visibility and likeableness that help you succeed.
If you want to read more about management by walking around, here are some good articles.
From The Economist: Management By Walking About http://www.economist.com/node/12075015
From IT Managers Inbox: Management By Walking Around MBWA http://itmanagersinbox.com/1687/management-by-walking-around-mbwa/
From AllBusiness.com: Are You Walking Around for the Right Reasons? http://www.allbusiness.com/management/management-theory/10887678-1.html#axzz1ycrCdYJt
You might also be interested in hearing Tom Peters explain how he discovered the concept of management by walking around. Here’s a video.
His talk does double duty. He shows the importance of facing the hard stuff in life head-on, resolving your anxieties and working your way through to solutions. In addition, he actually teaches some effective techniques in learning to be a good swimmer, speak a new language and dance the Tango (or any other kind of dance.)
While I applaud a great deal of what Ferriss writes in his books, I also take issue with an equal amount of his ideas. This 16-minute talk, however, is full of insights and tips that fall on the applause side.
(Besides, even when Ferriss writes stuff I disagree with or find ultimately inappropriate, I still find him interesting.)
So, here’s the video:
Being new on a job is hard in many ways. But the worst part is that you don’t know the people, the “rules,” the purpose of much of the work or the real expectations of your own work (which are all too often different from what you are told when you’re hired.) You feel like you’ve just been dumped into a pool of cold, dark water and you don’t know how to swim.
The “new job” experience reminds me of an amusement some of my family (of origin) members enjoyed at my expense. They asked me to sit down with their precocious child and play a video game. I never play video games. Computer games, yes. Particularly adventure games and first-person shooters. But this was a child’s game. No one even told me what the name of the game was. I didn’t know how it was played, what I could do, how the controls worked, what was the purpose, or how to perform any of the activities. So, my loving family stood around and laughed at my inability to perform up to the level of a 5-year-old. Luckily for them, the weapons I had my hands on were only virtual ones.
New jobs, even in the same company where you’ve worked for years, are unexplored territory. There are new rules, new purposes, new expectations and new cultures at every level and in every section or department of an organization. So, whether you’re new to the organization or just new to the job, you’ve got learning to do. Or maybe some relearning to do.
To help you out, I’ve compiled some general rules that seem to apply to every job, profession and business:
1. Rule number one is always this: Your job is what your boss tells you it is. Do what he tells you to do unless it’s harmful or unlawful. It doesn’t matter what your job description says. It doesn’t matter what you were promised when you were interviewed. It doesn’t matter what you’ve been trained to do. It doesn’t matter what the last person in your job did. It doesn’t matter if it’s fair. It doesn’t matter if it’s legal to require it of employees. Let me repeat: Your job is what your boss tells you it is.
Why does it work that way? Because the boss controls whether or not you keep your job, whether or not you get the good assignments, whether or not you get a raise, whether or not you get a promotion (or demotion), and whether or not you get a good recommendation when you leave. He controls who you can talk to above him in rank — just try jumping over his head and find out how fast you get fired. He hears about it if you complain to others behind his back. He does your performance appraisals and he can lie about you no matter how good you are. Or he can rave about your wonderful abilities. Whatever he puts on your record can follow you throughout your entire career.
If your boss likes you, he might mentor you. He might help you rise in the company. He might make your work life heavenly. If he doesn’t like you, he can make your work life hell.
Do what your boss says and be nice to him. As far as the organization goes, his powers are god-like. The organization always backs the boss. Even if he’s wrong.
And remember what I said upfront about doing what he says unless it’s harmful or unlawful? Even if it is harmful or unlawful, you may be fired if you don’t do it. Don’t do it anyway. You don’t want to work for a boss like that. You don’t need any particular job badly enough.
2. You need friends on the job. And it is highly likely you will find friends on the job. Job-friends will help you discover the organizational rules, expectations and culture. They will help you find other like-minded friends and colleagues. They will help you learn to fit in to the organization, the department and the groups of employees that will help you survive and succeed. They will help to protect you and help you protect yourself against your on-the-job enemies (and frenemies.)
Without a social support network on the job, your chances of survival and reasonable comfort level are very low. If you are shy or even a bit reclusive, get over it. I don’t care how you manage that. Get psychotherapy if necessary. A social network (both on the job and off) — albeit a small one — can make a huge difference.
However, for those of you who are not merely new to the job, but also new to the working world, here’s a word of caution. Making friends on the job takes more care and discretion than in your normal social life. You can’t afford to make friends with bad reputations: you will be judged by the organization with the same suspicions that they have for your friends. You can’t afford to have friends who are difficult to get along with. You have to see and work with those people every day and can’t have personal disagreements with them. You can’t afford to make friends easily with the first people who reach out to you — often they are busybodies, gossips or jealous rivals who want to undermine you. Be friendly and play nicely with everyone. Then, take time to choose on-the-job friends with greater deliberation.
3. Have a good satisfying life outside of work. Do you want to live long enough to retire? Get a life. Work/life balance is a popular concept these days. I don’t know if it is possible to have real 50/50 balance, but even if it is, I encourage you to skew the balance toward life outside of work.
In fact, for a healthy life, both physically and psychologically, work should probably hold no more than a one-third section of your life. Two-thirds or more of your life should be about yourself, your loved-ones and your interests. My favorite quote is “Nobody on his deathbed ever said, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.’”*
We all have a limited amount of time. If we follow the philosophers who encourage us to make the most of every day, that means we want to live the best we can in each twenty-four hours. Since we have to spend eight of those hours sleeping, that means we need a great home/social life and a work life that is as minimized and fulfilling as possible.
How to achieve that is well beyond the scope of a single article. For that matter, it’s beyond the scope of a single book.
Those are the condensed “rules” of working. There are numerous others, but if you understand and practice those three, they’ll serve you well. And you’ll end up with enough time to learn and practice your own set of rules.
Working can be an unhappy drudge or a satisfying, fulfilling experience. An amazing amount of how it turns out is in your power. Think about these “rules” and see what you come up with to make your work and your life go your way.
*(The original quote said “more time on my business,” but I like the subsequent revision better.)
They’re everywhere. Zombie employees. You see their listless, soul-less, “the-porch-lights-are-on-but-nobody’s-home” behavior. They do only what they’re told to do and then do nothing until instructed what to do next. They’re bored. They’re resentful of requests to do anything new or different. If they don’t know something, they don’t try to find out. If they do know something, they don’t share it. I could go on, but you know them. You’ve been a customer who’s had to deal with them. You’ve been a manager who’s had to try to get work out of them. You’ve been a co-worker whose projects are held up by them.
There are many theories about what causes employee attitude and behavior like this. Some assign blame to the lack of engagement. Or to lack of training. Or to lack of motivation. The possibilities seem endless.
Bill Jerome’s “Learn To Keep Your Company Free Of Zombie Employees” — http://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/print-edition/2011/07/15/learn-to-keep-your-company-free-of.html?page=all — covers the subject from the point of view of employers. Jerome offers a 5-question “zombie test” that assesses how corporate organization, management and culture might encourage or discourage zombie behavior in a company.
In “The Manager’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Employee Apocalypse” –http://blog.upmo.com/2012/05/03/the-managers-guide-to-surviving-the-zombie-employee-apocalypse/ — Merry Richter talks about the possible effects of the current recession and the traumas of unemployment, underemployment and overwork in the aftermath of radical downsizings.
Jeff Hunter speaks directly to employees who have been “zombiefied” by lousy or dead-end jobs in “Are You a Zombie Employee & Job Seeker?” — http://www.glassdoor.com/blog/zombie-employee-job-seeker/ — He suggests that choosing a better job, career or employer might be the answer for the individual.
All of these writers have good points. For decades, management consultants have been trying to help companies figure out how to transform unproductive, unmotivated employees. Many techniques have been developed. They’ve often worked. But no one’s ever found any real generally-applicable solutions. Solutions that can be repeated in most organizations and situations. Managers, co-workers and the affected employees themselves have to try various solutions to see what works. A good deal of the time, nothing does work.
And, it’s been going on from time out of mind. Whatever the status of the worker — employee, serf, servant, slave, monk, nun, bondsman, apprentice — and whatever the status of the boss — master, nobleman, landlord, employer, abbot, mother superior, master craftsman — the one in charge has often complained of the laziness and stupidity of the worker, and the worker has often complained of the unreasonableness or downright evil of the boss.
Even in domestic service there have long been books like “The Servant Problem : An Attempt At Its Solution” by “Experienced Mistress” (1899) — http://archive.org/details/servantproblemat00expeuoft — that tell the tales of woe in managing household workers.
There have always been plenty of worker “zombies” who want to have jobs and be paid, need to have jobs to survive, but don’t want to work. Don’t like to work. Never intend to do more than they absolutely must. Workers who will never improve, regardless of training, motivational programs, coaching, rewards or punishment.
The sad truth is that you have to be able to know well and assess each (yes, each) individual to see why he or she has gone “zombie.” Or if he has always been a zombie worker. You will have to decide how much work it will take to make him productive. Figure out if he can be made productive at all or if he will always be a zombie worker.
That means you’ll have to actually talk with him about it. Listen to what he has to say. Talk with others who work with him. Find out if he has a reason for his behavior and attitude, or if he’s just one of the kind who never wanted to actually work. Find out if you can accommodate his particular needs and still get the time and money value back that you need for your efforts. See if you think he’s worth it. If he is, great. It’s usually better for the organization and everyone involved if you can transform the relationship to a productive one.
But remember, much of the time it just isn’t worth the effort unless you know for sure at least half of the problem is with the organization and not the employee. Much of the time it’s just better to replace the employee. You’re not a social worker. You’re a business owner or manager who needs to get the work done and make money for the business.