When Your Values Require You to Take a Stand

When Your Values Require You to Take a Stand Sometimes, some situation really offends your values or sense of self. You feel the urge to speak up. But, if you can, spend a few minutes before you do so, deciding whether to go ahead. Who are you doing it for? There are a variety of reasons to confront a perceived wrong. Are you taking a stand on behalf of: The company? You may see or participate in some event which you know will damage the company’s reputation and, in the longer term, your job. Take a stand? It`s very noble of you to be concerned and every boss in the company would applaud you. Unless they already know of the problem and don`t want to fix it. Then you are in trouble. So, the question is, is it worth jeopardizing your job to safeguard the company`s good name? The company’s customers? You may know something about the company or its products which customers should know—financial double-dealing, unsafe products, etc. Take a stand? A judgement call. One of the criteria is probably how much hurt is inflicted on the customer. Threatening safety is one thing; paying a buck more on a…

The Wrong Way to Confront an Issue

The Wrong Way to Confront an Issue As I mentioned in the last post, sometimes you need to take to confront an issue. It takes guts to do so, but it also requires some skill if you want to minimize the damage to your career. Let’s take another example of taking a stand where You had the courage but not all the skills. The hot water way to confront an issue Josh: Erin, your report says the quality has dropped seven per cent.   You: Because it has.   Josh: In your opinion. Okay, so it’s starting. You: No, Josh, I told you—the tensile strength of the robo-bots isn’t high enough. He probably already knows this. Josh: So what? Our toys require parental supervision—it always says so right on the package. They’re safe enough.   You: But if a kid over 60 pounds stands on—     This argument can and probably would go on for a while. Let’s skip ahead.   Josh: Lookit, I’m done arguing. Change the report or else. He’s losing his temper. You: Or else what? So are You. Josh: Don’t mess with me, Erin.   You: You may not have any standards, but I do….

What is Taking a Stand?

What is Taking a Stand? In previous posts, I have discussed situations where taking a stand was an option. Whether it was trying to get a fair division of holidays (Intro), confronting a jerk boss (Power), refusing to maintain a lie (Lying), or trying to challenge groupthink (Groupthink), there can be times when you feel the need to speak up. Let’s do an example of what taking a stand might look like. What taking a stand looks like Amanda is your boss and you both work for an accounting firm. You are a Chartered Accountant as is she. Amanda comes into your office. Amanda: Ryan, I thought we discussed the Sanderson account. You: Yes, I know, but I just couldn’t find a way to not report the loss. Amanda: Oh, put it in a footnote, for god’s sake. You: I can’t do that! Amanda: Well do something. The client doesn’t want to highlight the loss. You: (a deep breath) Amanda, I know it’s important to please the client, but I just can’t do this. Amanda: Ryan, we’ve discussed your inflexibility before and I’ve had about all I can take. You: I’m sorry, Amanda, I’d like to accommodate the client, but…

Surviving in a Family Business

Surviving in a Family Business I want to reiterate that some family businesses are great places to work, even if you are not a family member. But some are not. A previous post gave an example of that. So You, as a non-family employee, can inadvertently be caught in these difficult dynamics. What can you do? It isn’t an easy situation but here are some Dos and Don’ts. The Don’ts Don’t try to mediate Being right in the middle of the fight, you might try to be helpful and offer a suggestion (“A sample run won’t take long and then you can decide”). Stifle the desire to ameliorate or fix what’s going on. First, it’s not your job to do so, and second, even if you were a mediation expert, it’s doubtful you’d be successful (because you would not be perceived as trustworthy by all parties). Don’t identify what’s really going on Avoid any comments like “Look, I can see that you and Martha are having trouble, so I’ll just come back—.” No, no, no. Bad family dynamics are often that way because no one’s willing to be honest about the problem. In fact, Martha and Carl might band together…

Challenges of Working in a Family Business

Challenges of Working in a Family Business The last post examined a family business not operating well. Did you pick out their problems? I’ll go over some. Nepotism Large companies are not always a picnic to work in, but usually the Powers-That-Be have realized the problems associated with hiring or working with a relative. Thus, it is usually forbidden. However, in a family business, it’s not only allowed but a foregone conclusion. Initially, family is probably needed because they might work at lower (or no) wages until the business takes off. And when it does, it’s only natural to extend employment to other family members. So, in our example, the mother, daughter and son are all in the business. But being family doesn’t mean having the marketing, finance, production, or organizational skills that the job requires. For a non-family employee—presumably hired because they did have what the job needed (like You)—this can be galling. And, as in any company, people who can’t or won’t do their work, make it more difficult for those who want to do a good job. Non-performing workers might be fired in a larger company, but, in a family business, the personal may supersede work needs…