Monthly Archives: December 2014

Probation – The Scarlet Tanager Test

The male scarlet tanager is one of the most colorful woodland birds in America with a body of brilliant red and jet black wings. But like a new employee who interviewed well at first and looks at the start to be a super star candidate…well, as a Supervisor under me used to say, "a new broom sweeps clean."


At and in our management training programs, we use the following example as a parallel for probationary periods:


Ornithologists have studied the tanager’s mating and nesting habits extensively. A female selects a partner, they build a nest, they mate, and she lays a clutch of eggs. While the eggs can go without her body warmth for an hour at a time, she elects to stay on them, depending on her mate to bring her food. If the male fails to feed her for even as little as one hour, she leaves, abandoning him and the eggs before they hatch. You see, this is a test period. Once hatched, the nestlings will each need to be fed 3-4 times an hour. If the male can’t even feed the female, he surely can’t do the work of co-feeding an entire brood. In effect, he’s fired.


When you have an employee on a probationary period, whether as a new hire or as part of progressive discipline, it is critical that you commit enough time to properly assess their progress. In our management training courses, we cover this important process in the "Evaluation" segment. Once you let a poorly matched employee through the probationary period, it is that much harder to get them back on course, especially if the problem is attitudinal. But skill progress needs to be assessed too.


At the Management Training Institute, we suggest you follow the example of the female tanager. Cut your losses early (and support that person in finding work that is a better match than with your team).



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Ego at work

"If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue.  Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge.  Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time.  It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up."  – Deepak Chopra

Understanding the role of the ego and how to work with it is a key trait that effective leaders possess. Our ego is our judging mind, our comparing mind, our negative mind.  It can be self-limiting and destructive if we allow it to rule our actions.  However, we can learn to recognize our egoic patterns and overcome them with awareness.  Awareness and understanding are key traits of successful managers and leaders.  Our Management Training Institute offers a training on Emotional Intelligence that explores this innovative yet essential topic for the modern leader. 

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Invoke the Solution

There are lots of poor habits around that get us in trouble. As a manager, you are usually told that you are paid to be a "problem solver". The old adage "If you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail" applies. As a problem solver, you may have inadvertently trained yourself to be looking for "problems".


In the Management Training Institute’s Management training courses, Leadership classes and Executive Coaching Intensives, we show you how to adjust your thinking. If you look into your past, you will probably notice that 99% of the time, you and your team have come up with solutions.


So, if you start managing from the state of certainty that a solution will always be found, you can start a practice of "invoking a solution". Move ahead from that state (instead of pushing at "problems") and the journey can even become fun. Let The Management Training Institute show you the way to greater ease in being an effective manager.


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What are we wasting?

Our Amtrak train passed a group of people working on a side track. There was a man standing apart from the rest holding a poled sign reading "Men At Work".  Not only did our northbound express zip by him with no let up, but just then, a southbound train barreled by on the active track nearest the work party. There was no apparent reason for paying this man to stand holding up the sign. So I thought of "waste".


In your professional life, how many hours a year do you spend in meetings that have no significant relevancy for you (when you could be getting more important things done)? Waste! How many time consuming "cc" or "cc all" emails do you deal with daily, weekly, monthly…? Time you could put to better use. Waste! How much if your precious time is spent redoing even parts of projects because of miscommunication and misunderstanding? What a shame!


At Bold New Directions, we thrive in being of service in reducing these and many more kinds of wasted time. Our management training courses, business communication classes, resilience programs and more help you to get time back and reduce the associated stress.

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The Gift of Receiving

Remember when you were four or five years old. Christmas was coming; and so was Santa Claus. Joyous excitement and anticipation in the days leading up to the morning when gaily wrapped presents lay waiting under the tree – just for you. Unwrap them slow or fast; you most probably loved getting presents. Or perhaps they were small Hanukah gifts… Or your birthday…. But as an adult, I have heard people say, innumerable times: "It is easier to give than receive." What happened to the joyous receiving? Some people say it is selfish to want to receive. Another perspective is that it is self-serving to not openly receive. In order for you to give, someone has to receive. It’s not complicated. One needs the other. Whether it’s receiving a tangible gift or an act of kindness like someone holding the door open for you, perhaps the greatest gift you can give the gift giver is to receive with grace and appreciation. Happy Holidays Giving & Receiving!

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