Jul 07 2009


Get your hidden agenda


out of the closet!

  • CLIENT or BOSS or PROSPECT: Here’s a project we’d like you to do. Please tell us how you would do it, how long it would take and what kind of budget you’d recommend.
  • CONSULTANT or MANAGER: Who’s the project for? What’s the purpose? Who or what’s being targeted? When do you need it done? What’s the budget you have to work with?
  • CLIENT or BOSS or PROSPECT: Don’t worry about that stuff. We’re not sure of the target and we have no due date or budget; you tell us what you think.
  • A WEEK LATER: “We’ve reviewed your proposal and we don’t like the target you selected, we think it should be done quicker and it’s too expensive.”



     Every business or organizational group works on two levels: The level of the task represented on the surface, and the level of the “hidden agenda” — the undisclosed needs and motives of individual group members.

     Personal goals, values, attitudes, and fears impact the ways that individuals react to or respond to the group’s surface task. Hidden agendas siphon off valuable energy that can be used to accomplish the task at hand.

     People play power games by withholding information. By not telling the person(s) on the receiving end of an assignment, what the parameters are for a particular project, the CLIENT or BOSS or PROSPECT undermines prospects for success. By assuring him or herself of increased personal control, she or he is simultaneously dooming the project to failure.

     Hidden under the surface, you’re likely to find many individual conflicting pushes and pulls. Group members (according to a University Associates Handbook for Group Facilitators) have personal and subjective needs for belonging, acceptance, recognition, self-worth, self-expression, and productivity.

     The needs of one disgruntled or over-zealous or manipulative or misdirected individual can block the needs of another, or of the entire group, or the entire project. These blockages can be resolved in a minute, or drag on for years…in some rare instances, a lifetime.

     The Pfeiffer & Jones Group Facilitator Handbook suggests:

I wonder if we have said all that we feel about the issue. Maybe we should go around the table and ask for individual comments so that we can open up any further thoughts”

…as being the kind of statement a leader might ask anytime that hidden agendas appear to be threatening progress. 

     When you detect a hidden agenda, get it out of the closet!

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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May 28 2009


Mind Over Undermine


     At some time or another, every business and professional practice boss discovers a hired or inherited employee or group of employees whose sole mission appears to be to undermine operations—from manufacturing to customer service/patient care to administration to sales.

     Sometimes it’s vindictiveness, jealousy, bitterness, resentment…all good stuff, right? Sometimes, though, it’s naivety, ignorance, immaturity, misplaced loyalties, or just plain stupidity. While the reason might be important to uncover, what’s most important is to act on the discovery before it has chance to fester.

     If it’s too late to contain the infection from spreading out and affecting others in your organization, it may require you to rise to the confrontative occasion and call for all the cards to be put on the table. This, however, is not always the best solution.

     Why? Someone who may have been undermining you or your business or practice may be truly innocent of premeditation, or was perhaps unwarily acting out someone else’s issues. In that situation, you could be pulling the plug on someone who is a valuable potential asset to your operations or reputation.

     This may be the right point, instead, to pull in a professional to facilitate differences and/or re-train problem employees, or to counsel you on how to do it, or to force the situation to a head on your behalf. At any rate, it’s certainly worth the time to discuss the circumstances with an outside consultant before making that decision. 

     Prepare a short bullet list of issues and individuals involved with your own assessments of how effectively each performs in the roles for which they/he/she were/was hired. Try to keep your comments as objective as possible so as not to prejudice an outsider’s opinions, but articulate your issues and concerns clearly.

     Make your mission clear, and make your goals for each position that’s involved clear ones. In the process, look to your self as well, and question what (if any) contribution your own statements or behaviors may have contributed. Ask your consultant for a straightforward, unvarnished opinion and recommendation.

     Decide when, where and how to act, and what to say. Be receptive to whatever responses you provoke, and assess those in private. In the end, you will have given enough time and energy to the situation to justify moving forward from the point of implementing your decision. Then move forward.     

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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116 

 Open minds open doors.

 Thanks for visiting.  God bless you. 

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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May 21 2009


You’re boss for the day,


in charge of the zoo.


Whaddaya say?


Whaddaya do?


     Even when you think no one’s around or paying attention, everyone IS. It’s hard to run your own business on stage in the spotlights (especially in some of the larger more public theatres), but “on stage” is where you and every other boss perform every day.

     You may even need to drop the curtain (or close your door) every once in awhile for a few minutes privacy just to sniffle, pick, scratch or gargle without an audience. But–even then–remember you are still the chief muckity-muck and (like it or not) you’re a parental figure to those who work for you.

     You probably don’t think that your employees are anywhere near being neurotic. You may be astounded to learn that many of them (if not all) measure your every move. They all watch TV. So they all know how to observe, scope things out, size things up, and “case the joint.” It’s rare that anything you say isn’t repeated over and again both on the job, and at home, as well as to neighbors, friends, teammates and bar buddies. Your community and industry exposure is as public as a professional athlete’s is to her or his sport.

     Odds are pretty good that your people want to butter you up, or do you in, or simply not make waves. An exclusive small handful are self-actualized enough in the work they do to enjoy doing the work they do with no greater agenda. But this is a very small fraction of the total. None of them will do their jobs with the conviction and commitment that you have. None will do things exactly the same way that you would.

     But this is why you get the big bucks. It’s not your job to get things done. It’s your job to get others to get things done. Bottom line is that bosses who treat employees as underlings produce underlings. Underlings don’t sell. Underlings don’t innovate. Underlings don’t take initiative. Underlings hate their jobs.

     Bosses who treat employees like partners produce partnerships and employee teams that believe in what they are doing. These are the people who will strengthen the organization because they are granted the respect that renders them not afraid to step up to the plate, nor to challenge the status quo.  

     As Boss, the best, most productive and motivating thing you can do is to take the time and trouble to learn a little bit more than you presently know about what makes each employee who works with you “tick”…what kinds of dreams, desires, wants and needs does each have.

     You needn’t be a shrink to do this. Simply open your eyes and ears more. Tune in to the kinds of things people do and say. When you can reward behavior with rewards that really matter to each individual, you are cultivating long-term commitment, ongoing loyalty, and exemplary performance. 

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 Hal@Businessworks.US or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. 

Go for your goals, good night and God bless you!

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Nov 23 2008



Well, let’s see, in just this one single week, for the recap benefit of those who have been kind enough and masochistic enough to visit my bloggerings regularly, we have:

  • slept with the boss

  • gotten physical, occupational, speech, and psycho therapy

  • ordered $100,000 worth of astronaut tools for Christmas

  • Read firsthand witness reports of NASCAR-finalist dump truck drivers on the NJ Turnpike, and been outmaneuvered on the road entering downtown Wilmington by two multi-tasking champion bimbettes, and . . . 

  • Re-visited the whole outrageous idea of authenticity! 


What more could you ask for? 

And in the middle of it all, we still managed to continue the increasingly infamous 7-word story [See note below the # # # if you’re not familiar with this ongoing challenge to the clever-witted young-at-heart literary community out there, seeking a publishing venue for their talents] 

Now if ever there was an exciting week down in the blogmines (blogmires?), this has to have been it!  I mean where else can you get all that in one fell swoop, so to speak? 

And where does that leave us off for NEXT week?  Well, I could always suggest, for the more automotive-minded among you, to check out the blog site I do for my friends at I.G. Burton car,  truck, and bus Dealerships in Milford and Seaford Delaware. 

It’s http://blog.igburton.com for all the best and latest new and pre-owned Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Blue Bird Busses to be exact.  In fact, the post before tonight’s for them was offering a FREE MERCEDES!  Now sit there and tell me you could pass this up.  Anyway, see y’all tomorrow with new and exciting stuff!  Off to watch “24”!   halalpiar

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Check out and contribute to the daily growing 7-Word Story started 75 days ago (inside a coffin).  Click on the link to the right, or go to the “BOOKS” tab at the top of this page, then to the top headline link.

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