Discouraged from Low Pay? Perhaps it’s Your Cynicism



Cynics – people with a distrustful nature and who appear to be selfish – earn less money than their co-workers, according to a 2015 study involving three large research projects in Europe and the U.S.

Such employees probably haven’t been popular in the workplace, either.

Frequently, they’re not cooperative and they’re defensive. They’re too worried about protecting themselves.

ID-10041353 AmbroThis disrupts their focus on their work and affects their performance.

Missed opportunities

This means they miss opportunities for personal growth afforded in teamwork and helping others.

“While previous research has associated cynicism with detrimental outcomes across a wide range of spheres of life, including physical health, psychological well-being and marital adjustment, the present research has established an association between cynicism and individual economic success,” says Olga Stavrova, Ph.D.

Dr. Stavrova is a research associate at the Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology, University of Cologne, Germany, and lead author on the study (“Cynical Beliefs About Human Nature and Income: Longitudinal and Cross-Cultural Analyses.”), which appears in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study included thousands of employees in the two continents. For example, 16,000 cynical German workers were shown to earn $300 less a month than they could have.

Altruism pays

Altruistic employees earned more. The link between cynicism and low wages was evident in nations that had the most altruism, less cynicism and lower homicide rates.

“For example, employees who believe others to be exploitative and dishonest are likely to avoid collaborative projects and to forgo the related opportunities,” says Dr. Stavrova.

There is a caveat in the research. Not all the employers in certain regions preferred less cynical employees. Ostensibly, cynicism is considered vital in those countries.

Researchers are hopeful workers learn lessons from their self-destructing.

“Occupational success and economic prosperity represent important life goals for many people and promote life satisfaction and psychological well-being,” says Dr. Stavrova.

“Our findings may help in achieving these goals by encouraging people to adopt a more benevolent and idealistic view of human nature and trustful attitude towards their peers,” she adds.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are tips to earn more money at work:

18 Tips for Productive Behavior to Win in Office Politics — Most people troubled by office politics are too focused on the behavior of their adversaries. Stop giving away your personal power. Don’t think or act like a victim.

Make More Friends at the Office with 6 Etiquette Tips – In many companies, good etiquette is nonexistent and office co-workers fail to make friends of one another. Lack of trust and turmoil is seemingly evident everywhere. You don’t have to like everyone, but it’s best to be respectful, and assertive versus aggressive. That makes for good office relationships.

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others – Do you know when you marginalize others? If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication. This is also true if you want to get a job. Savvy employers know poor communication skills hamper efficiency and productivity.

11 Tips for a Better Relationship with Your Boss — Whether you want a happier work environment or lay the groundwork for a raise, promotion or transfer, you must create opportunities for success. That includes, of course, being on good terms with your boss and often your boss’s boss. For a better relationship with your boss, take these 11 steps.

13 Tips on Coping with Change at Work – Conquer Your Fears — Fear can be a great motivator. But more often than not, fear is an inhibitor and a stress factor. Mahatma Gandhi provided the best advice: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

How to Grow Your EI for Leadership Success — Emotional intelligence (EI) is important for communication and leadership. A person who has EI is able to evaluate, understand, and control emotions.

“People won’t have time for you if you are always angry or complaining.”

-Stephen Hawking

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Workplace Bullies May Hurt Retention of All Employees



Victims of workplace bullies are less likely to quit than employees who observe the abuse, according to a study by a Canadian university. The 2012 research implies a costly threat to an organization’s teamwork and productivity.

“We tend to assume that people experiencing bullying bear the full brunt,” says a professor, Sandra Robinson, who co-authored the study at University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business.

“However, our findings show that people across an organization experience a moral indignation when others are bullied that can make them want to leave in protest,” says the professor.

Angry WomanTwo surveys were conducted among nurses at a large, unnamed “Canadian health authority.” The academic business school stated that bullying is widespread in the healthcare profession. Nurses are particularly affected.

The results indicate that all of the study’s respondents who witness the bullying of their coworkers are more likely to quit.

In turn, it’s not surprising that bullying adversely impacts productivity, says Professor Robinson, even if the bystanders remain with the organization. That’s because they’re uncomfortable working in such an environment.

“Managers need to be aware that the behavior is pervasive and it can have a mushrooming effect that goes well beyond the victims,” she says. “Ultimately bullies can hurt the bottom line and need to be dealt with quickly and publicly so that justice is restored to the workplace.”

Extent of problem

It’s a widespread problem in business and the public sector. If you Google the keywords, workplace bullying, you’ll see about 4,500 search results.

The Workplace Bullying Institute in Bellingham, Wash. conducted two studies – in 2007 and 2010 – that show the extent of the problem in the U.S.

If you Google the keywords, workplace bullying, you’ll see about 4,500 search results.

From the institute’s Web site, here are some eye-opening study results:

  • In Survey 1, Workplace Bullying was defined as “repeated, health harming abusive conduct committed by bosses and co-workers.”
  • In the single-question survey (Survey 2), Workplace Bullying was defined as “repeated mistreatment: sabotage by others that prevented work from getting done, verbal abuse, threatening conduct, intimidation, and humiliation”
  • 35 percent of workers have experienced bullying firsthand
  • 62 percent of bullies are men; 58 percent of targets are women
  • Women bullies target women in 80 percent of cases
  • Bullying is 4 times more prevalent than illegal harassment (2007)
  • 68 percent of bullying is same-gender harassment

Examples of workplace bullying – overt or subtle – can range from sarcastic managers picking on employees to constantly changing work guidelines.

None of the 50 states has workplace bullying laws.

Obviously, the data from Professor Robinson and the Workplace Bullying Institute is troubling. As a matter of organization policy, bullying shouldn’t be tolerated. Care must be given to the recruitment and screening of managers. Managers need professional training. Bullying victims should seek coaching.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related sources of information – for bosses and employees:

6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits — If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture. Be forewarned, changing a culture is a monumental chore because it will take strategic planning and super powers of persuasion. Usually, it necessitates an outside participant to assess your culture and to facilitate the changes.

18 Leadership Strategies to Profit from Employee Respect — Even though Wall Street gets ecstatic over productivity growth, merely slashing costs and jobs to create profit is not sustainable for profits. Investors mistakenly believe the earnings for such publicly held companies are good, but it will not last. Workers are realizing they’re not sharing in the wealth. Poor morale will cause profits to plummet, and consumer demand will continue to plunge.

Do You Have A Toxic Relationship With Your Boss? — This may be the 21st century with a cornucopia of management textbooks for bosses, but a significant number of employees still complain about their supervisors lacking in professionalism. That’s according to a study by Wayne Hochwarter, a professor in management at Florida State University.

How to Deal With An Oppressive Employer — In the private and public sectors, organizational performance is strong when employees are managed properly. In turn, employees perform well and they are confident in their employers. So it was disturbing when someone asked me what to do about an abusive boss.

“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.”
– Peter Drucker


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






HR Study: Challenges for Management in Teamwork, Culture and Diversity



Isues have come to light for managers who want profits by achieving maximum teamwork and workplace cultures. A human resources study shows 40 percent of men and women don’t want to work on projects with the opposite gender.

A three-year global study of 60 big companies by Innovisor, a Copenhagen firm, published its data in 2012 involving 5,000 workers in collaboration and influence.

People tend to collaborate with people they have a sense of similarity with,” says Jeppe Hansgaard,  the managing partner at Innovisor. “It’s human nature.”Unhappy Office Worker

Immediate supervisors weren’t included the study because they are most often men, and the majority of employees prefer not to work with their bosses.

The 60 companies were in 29 nations, which included the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, India, and the U.K.

Mr. Hansgaard makes an obvious point for managers.

He says they “need to be aware of the barriers that exist within their own organizations.”

“We prefer to collaborate with people who look just like us,” he adds. “That’s a management issue, because you want your employees to collaborate with the right people, not just people who look like them.”

He believes such employee biases aren’t obvious – they’re not observed by managers.

Bosses often don’t assign teams. The collaboration is decided by employee biases.

It shows a lack of employee self-esteem and no leadership strategies for employee respect.

That hurts business performance.

My sense is the study’s results indicate the need for employee-teamwork training managers to upgrade their skills and to implement a cultural change for profits.

Such companies should better manage collaboration and encourage more inclusionary diversity.

As a result, employee confidence will increase for the enhancement of teamwork and overall business performance.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more management tips:

20 Tell-Tale Signs – If You’re Under-Performing as a ManagerManagers can often struggle whether they’re new or experienced. Poor management, of course, leads to poor performance. As red flags, underperforming managers share one of two common traits with ineffective employees. Such managers aren’t fully aware of their shortcomings. Even if they are aware of deficiencies, they’re afraid to admit it.

Human Resources – Power Your Brand with Employee EmpowermentAre you investing in marketing, but not getting the anticipated return on your investment? If you’re disappointed by your ROI, remember marketing may or may not be the problem. Why? Consider there are two basic reasons for poor profits – again, that’s profits not revenue.

Human Resources: 4 Reasons Why New Managers FailBest practices guarantee success for new managers. Not to over-simplify, but there are often four reasons why new managers are unsuccessful – ineffective communication, failure to develop trusting relationships, weak results, and a failure to delegate. 

Strategies to Succeed as a New Manager – a Checklist Best practices guarantee success for new managers. Not to over-simplify, but there are often four reasons why new managers are unsuccessful – ineffective communication, failure to develop trusting relationships, weak results, and a failure to delegate. 

 Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.”

-George Herbert

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

6 Steps to Implement a Cultural Change for Profits



If your company is lacking in teamwork, morale is poor and profits are weak, chances are you need to change your organization’s culture.

Be forewarned, changing a culture is a monumental chore because it will take strategic planning and super powers of persuasion.

Usually, it necessitates an outside participant to assess your culture and to facilitate the changes.

Candidly, as a business-performance consultant, I really don’t have to look at the financials to see the problems. It’s possible to “read the room” by watching how employees interact with each other in teamwork, and with customers and vendors.

ID-100295804 stockimagesIn essence, the solutions:

Most cultures require change when there isn’t engagement – not enough listening. Get a snapshot of your situation.

Develop a listening plan of action for all stakeholders – employees, customers and vendors.

Determine a mission and the likely solutions, such as more employee ownership of the work, better processes or more accountability.

Include models of the desired outcomes, and then communicate what you desire in a new culture.

Your employees will have to learn why culture change is imperative.

They will have to be motivated to make needed changes.

Along the way, you’ll have to solve the customary political turf battles.

So you approach it like any marketing challenge – create centers of influence within your company – get key employees to buy into it.

Find ways to illustrate the problems facing the company. Show them firsthand.

Analyze your staff – whom is being left out? Understand that your managers are part of the problem – commonly, they probably ignore most of the workforce because they play favorites. Analyze your bench strength – an often-overlooked trait for sustainable competitiveness.

After all, you should strategize for a competitive edge.

Good employees want to be involved. They want to feel trusted. Show more empathy to employees by allowing them as much career/personal life balance as possible. You should focus on powering your brand with employee empowerment.

Create a new physical environment. Reorganize work station locations. Engage your employees twice a day – walk the floor asking open-ended questions. Show them you’re approachable.

Key HR training steps

Keep in mind the above ideas, and implement a human-resources communications-training program for a cultural change.

Remember your centers of influence? Supervisors are trained first, then the non-exempt staff.

Understand that your managers are part of the problem – commonly, they probably ignore most of the workforce because they play favorites.

Experiential training modules for employees should include:

  1. Transparency of the organization’s current financial picture and a forecast
  2. A SWOT analysis – the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the marketplace
  3. Assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the organization in dealing with all stakeholders – employees, customers and vendors
  4. Share solutions with all employees
  5. Show employees how to conduct their own confidential personal assessments, and how their roles affect the company
  6. Motivate them to be fully engaged

Because each situation is different, the priorities of the modules can vary slightly. This works in the public and private sectors.

As a result, a company culture improves for a happier, more congenial environment. Individually, employees increase their self-esteem by double-digit percentage increases. This leads to more profits.

Historically, about 10 percent of employees resist such training. Usually, they need alcohol or drug treatment. Of the two, drug addicts have been the most hardcore and are the most ethically challenged. So I advise the client such people aren’t trainable.

Employees should be referred to your employee assistance program, and be given a chance to improve via a progressive disciplinary process. Use the Golden Rule. Treat the employees as you would like to be treated – as a human capital asset.

Accomplish these principles, and you’ll enjoy more profits.

From the Coach’s Corner, here other HR resource links:

“Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they have – and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up.”

— James Belasco and Ralph Stayer


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Photo courtesy of stockimages www.freedigitalphotos.net

Profits: How and Why to Align Marketing with Sales



If marketing isn’t synchronized with sales, a company doesn’t enjoy optimized profits.

So why is it so many companies don’t align their marketing with sales?

A seemingly timeless report, a 2010 study by Northern Illinois University and consulting firm Miller Heiman reveals some noteworthy data.

ID-10078323 watcharakunCompanies that strategically align marketing with sales are more successful.

That was true, too, during the Great Recession.

Among 2,000 responding companies surveyed in Asia, Europe and the United States, about 33 percent orchestrated marketing and sales.

However, another 33 percent says their two departments are in a “state of neutrality.”

The remaining third did not align the two functions.

Profits from cohesion

In comparing 2oo9 results to 2008, the results are eye-opening for aligned companies:

— 12 percent stronger sales and 5 percent more qualified leads.

— 8 percent higher probability of conversion rates of 40 percent-plus.

— 29 percent conversion rate compared to only 24 percent for “low-aligned sales teams.”

— Aligned firms had a higher probability of success – 19 percent and at least a 5 percent sales increase. They also enjoyed a 3 percent growth in new business. But poorly aligned companies suffered from a .5 percent decrease in new business.

— In retention of customers, aligned firms were 11 percent more likely to enjoy 5 percent or higher success for highly aligned companies.

— In billing, their odds were eight percent higher for an increase and at least 5 percent higher than poorly aligned firms, which experienced a 3.5 percent decrease. Sales for aligned companies dropped 1.2 percent.

— In revenue, aligned firms were 4 percent more likely increase 5 percent. Lowly aligned companies had a 2.9 percent revenue decrease. Highly aligned firms decreased 1.2 percent in revenue.

… there are often turf battles. Marketing people often think they’re the only ones who are strategic thinkers … Salespeople feel marketers aren’t carrying their own weight in generating sales leads.

Marketing examples

But it isn’t necessary to examine financials to see missed opportunities.

Here are three examples:

  • Many marketing campaigns are perceived as ostentatious. The copy is clever but doesn’t appeal to the five value-buying perceptions that motivate people to buy. (The value perceptions are explained in this article, The Seven Steps to Higher Sales)
  • Marketing collateral boasts of professional salespeople, but salespeople fail to match the message in the marketing. When customers call to buy, the salesperson doesn’t fully understand the product, doesn’t develop a rapport, and is not enthusiastic. The salesperson fails to treat the occasion like it’s an event for the customer. If the customer doesn’t have a change of heart, in the end the salesperson fails to say thank you or to prevent buyer’s remorse.
  • Or note the lack of enthusiasm when marketing campaigns are introduced to sales staff – the salespeople appear bored or they’re superficially attentive.

Marketing and sales teamwork

In the three scenarios, profits aren’t optimized. Sometimes, it’s because the wrong people are on the sales staff or the marketing creates images that can’t be met by sales. But, it’s also safe to assume the marketing and salespeople aren’t on the same page. They often don’t speak the same language.

That’s ironic for professionals who are supposed to be good communicators. Instead, there are often turf battles. Marketing people think they’re the only ones who are strategic thinkers.

They think salespeople can only see to the end of their noses and are only concerned about their monthly sales quotas. Salespeople feel marketers aren’t carrying their own weight in generating sales leads. And so on.

The solutions:

  1. Everyone needs to get on the same page. Starting with the senior executive, there needs to be a commitment for collaboration. The chief marketing officer and sales managers need to meet regularly, especially over lunch. Good things happen when people break bread together. The philosophy must filter down both staffs.
  2. The two sides should continually work on talking the same language.
  3. They should proactively look for weaknesses and breakdowns in communication.
  4. Everything should be tested. There should be an agreement about prospect leads and quality.
  5. Establish an ongoing reporting dialogue – input and feedback between marketing and sales.
  6. Review and develop metrics for efficient accountability for both functions.

Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, for the above reasons by design, this Biz Coach portal combines marketing and sales into one category, where you’ll find hundreds of business-coaching columns, for example:

6 Rules to Keep Your Pipeline Full for Continuous Sales — It doesn’t matter what type of business you have. Even if your sales are great today, there will come a time when sales will crawl to a halt unless you take precautionary measures to keep your sales pipeline full.

5 Critical Fundamentals to Build the Best Sales Staff — The crucial question: How can a company develop a top sales crew? Short answer: Start with a premise — if it were so easy then everybody would be doing it. Long answer: Some companies are achieving stellar sales results in complex global situations by adopting best practices.

Checklist – Top 18 Attributes of the Best Salespeople — What’s needed to be effective in sales? Merely having a gregarious personality will no longer cut it in the 21st century. As a manager, if you want to improve your company’s sales performance, become a winning sales organization and review your recruitment techniques in hiring salespeople.

Critical Essentials to Develop the Best Marketing Formula — There are critical essentials for marketing, which includes the right channels and developing the right message. That includes the right branding slogan and logo. Unless your targeting upscale consumers, many consumers prefer value marketing — not cute, which doesn’t necessarily mean selling at a lower price than your competitors. Hyper-consumerism is history. Humor is great, but more importantly, traditional values with a purpose are in vogue. Why? Consumer attitudes are changing.

B2B Telemarketing: Building Trust Should Be Your Goal…Here’s How — Telemarketing is, of course, a challenge. You must create a favorable first impression in your initial approach. This means building trust should be your primary goal. Sure, it’s a nerve-wracking process, especially because you have just a few fleeting moments to engage your prospects. Yes, you’re calling to make sales. Again, you’ll greatly enhance your chances if you focus on building trust.

There’s no job too simple for me to complicate.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of watcharakun at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.