Just Say No

No headed business man with NO thought bubble.

Image courtesy of Pakorn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When we talked about individual differences in my OB class this semester, I tried to stress the importance of self-awareness to the self-management process, which in turn leads to better people management skills. Visiting the Harvard Business Review website, I noticed the article “Nine Practices to Help You Say No” which I thought would benefit the students in their self-management practice. I also have a tendency to avoid saying no, so this article seemed like something I might benefit from, too.

Most of the tips are familiar. Until today, I’d always thought of myself as someone who says yes because I like to “be nice.” I’d never thought before how much of my over-commitment stems from not wanting to miss out. Being harried, of course, creates its own type of missing out in the form of burnout and distraction, but at the moment the request is conveyed, it’s hard to say no to all the possibilities that can arise from the opportunity.

My Month Has Been Made

One of my students from Organizational Behavior and Management dropped by my office this afternoon. He told me that during his summer job, the concepts we talked about in class really became real to him, and he reflected on the class more than any other he’d had before. With great frankness, he mentioned he was the kind of student who crammed at the last minute and then often forgot about the content, so he was even surprised he retained so much from the course.

What a nice way to begin the semester!

Money for Nothing

Recently, I was visiting the blog “Clearly, You’re New Here” where I found a post about Zappos, the online shoe juggernaut. I like Zappos because they make it easy to search for vegan shoes, but also because they pay for shipping–even on returns, which makes the prospect of buying shoes online less risky.

Harvard Business Publishing Blogger Bill Taylor interviewed Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, and learned about their Offer. New employees, after a month of working at the company (at full pay) are offered their month’s work pay plus $1,000 to quit. Because jobs at the high-growth company are demanding and the atmosphere is chaotic, if gratifying, the logic is that employees who don’t fit with the culture or who are not committed to the organization will take the money and run. The $1,000 is less expensive than the long-term costs of having an employee on the staff who fit poorly with the organization.

When I worked with Dr. Tsui, we primarily wrote about fit, and it is true that poor fit, on any number of dimensions, can provide negative consquences for the organization or work group, including low morale, decreased productivity, higher turnover intentions, and greater job dissatisfaction. However, ensuring fit can also weed out individuals who may have demographic differences (e.g., race, age, gender, religion).

Zappos’ policy is an interesting one, though, and a bold move to ensure the positive elements of fit for the organization.

HB Publishing Interview