Prioritizing Your Priorities

Productivity has become a huge focus for me in 2017.

Juggling multiple priorities for me is nothing new. However, as my responsibilities and team continues to grow, I have to be more organized in order to remain effective.

I also have to be more aware of how I invest my time and energy. I have to make sure the most important tasks and people get my time and attention — and that they get me when I am at my best.

This doesn’t change how many hours there are in the day. Or that despite my very best efforts, urgent situations arise and other items have to be pushed to the backburner.

When that happens, I have to adjust quickly or my productivity for the day  will be ruined.

When I have to prioritize my priorities, I ask myself 4 questions:

Where can I pass? The first thing I do is look for items I can delegate. While I would love to be involved in everything, I know I can’t. And it has become much more important to me that things get done than that I be the one to do them. Decisions we make are rarely permanent. I can always go back and fix something that the other person missed — or ask them to move the project forward so I can pick it back up later.

Where can I pause? Then next thing I do is look for items I can move lower on the list or to the following week. Usually, there are items on our to-do lists that can wait. When urgent issues arise, moving other items to a later date is a logical step.

Where can I punt? Once I have delegated and move items to later dates, I look for items I can delay for a greater period of time or permanently reassign. This is different than passing or pausing because, when you punt, you do not have intention on returning to the item for quite some time — if ever. Punting removes the item from your to-do list for 90 days or longer.

Where must I push? With items delegated, delayed and diverted, I am left with only the things I absolutely have to do. I can reset my priorities based on the deadlines and importance of those tasks.

Your time and energy are precious commodities that you only have so much of each day. Be sure you are giving it to the people and items that need it most.

If you can punt it, pause it or pass it, then it isn’t a priority. Fix your focus on the remaining things and push through!

Dear Pepsi, Your Apology Sucks

Pepsi released a commercial ad this week featuring model and Kardashian sister Kendall Jenner wandering into a protest and resolving the tensions by handing out Pepsi drinks.

The imagery was an homage to a popular #BlackLivesMatter photo.

And the world went awwwwwffffff!!

Pepsi faced immediate criticism and was violently, mercilessly and deservedly dragged on social media for launching this insensitive, racist campaign.

On Wednesday, Pepsi pulled the commercial and cancelled the remainder of the associated campaign. They issued the following statement:

Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.

Worst. Apology. Ever.

Let’s break this down.

Clearly we missed the mark and we apologize

  1.  “Clearly” is passive-aggressive AF. Much like “basically” and “accordingly”, it is a rude word masking as authority and sincerity.
  2. You apologize? Or are you sorry? Cuz there is a difference. Apologies are usually for people who are mad that they were called out. Sorrys are for people who have actual remorse.

We did not intend to make light of any serious issue

  1.  You didn’t??? Cuz it sure AF looks like you did.
  2. You didn’t make light of ANY serious issues, you made light of a very specific serious issue. And that issue is the murders of unarmed people of color by the police without appropriate review and justice. That is the very serious issue the carefully selected imagery you likely spent tens of thousands of dollars analyzing before you filmed, edited and launched this campaign very much made light of.
  3. If you weren’t intending to make light of the issue, what was your intention??? Inquiring minds really want to know. Cuz it looks like your for real were saying everything would be better if people would just drink more Pepsi and chill.

We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout

  1. That’s probably the only good thing you said … but the internet lasts foreverrrrrr tho. This isn’t going away just because the commercial stops airing.
  2. I can’t believe y’all admitted there was actually going to be more of this fuckery.

We also apologize to Kendall Jenner for putting her in this position

  1.  Kendall Jenner and her family have been profiting from the cultural appropriation of Black people for DECADES now. I used to really luh the Kardashians so I know this is true. The “position” that she was in is one she and her peoples are quite comfortable with. And I’m guessing y’all won’t be taking back the money you paid her so she gon’ be aight.
  2. Kendall Jenner is NOT the one you offended. She willingly performed work that you paid her for. Apologizing to her with more specificity than to the victims of police brutality or to their families or to the people who are on the front lines fighting for justice shows that you still don’t get it and likely never will.

Woosssaaahhh!! This is why we cannot have nice things!!

There are lots of people out there who think Black people and other people of color are too sensitive on these issues.

Ffff that bull$#%&, yo!

We have been too tolerant for too long. And we’re long overdue to speak up and speak out on the foolishness we see.

It is time for people and companies to stop giving lip-service to diversity, inclusion, sensitivity, caring, support and consciousness — only to turn around and do stuff like this then issue half-azzed apologies.

If you’re going to do stuff, use your whole azz! And if you don’t have an azz, get some padding or an implant or something. There’s all kinds of help out there if your azz is lacking.

Kendall Jenner and her peoples can help you out with that if you need it. They know a lot about using their azz and padding it as needed.

I digress. Woosah!

Just do better … Do better. DO BETTER!!

What does better look like??

Well, in Pepsi’s case, it would have been using all that brilliant market research not to do this in the first place. It would have been better to know that imagery associated with injustice and oppression should never be white-washed to peddle soft drinks.

But once Pepsi failed at that, it would have better to give a full explanation of their thinking and a sincere apology to the actual people who were hurt by police brutality and whose images were re-purposed for their narrow agenda … It would have been better to offer donations to the related causes …  It would have been better for Kendall Jenner to donate some if not all of her salary as well … It would have been better if Pepsi publicly committed to joining the fight for justice because of their error and used money from their sales to feed, bail out and defend protesters … It would have been better if Pepsi committed to working with organizations focused  increasing socially responsible behavior and understanding.

That’s what doing better looks like.

So the next time you find yourself making an egregious error in judgment along these lines, don’t just issue a half-azzed apology and move on.

Use your whole azz. And do better.

There’s still time, Pepsi. I hope you do better … cuz we’d hate to have to give up the sugary, bubbly deliciousness of your beverage and subsidiaries.

Do better, Pepsi. Do better, everyone. The streets are watching.

Addressing Gender Bias Complaints

Last week’s post discussed ways to show women the respect they deserve at work. One of the recommendations was believing women when they bring gender bias and discrimination to management’s attention.

When the issues are not blatant, it can be difficult to determine if a problem really exists … and more difficult to know what to do about it.

Inevitably, the woman is going to say something happened — but the man is going to say there is no issue and it is all in the other woman’s mind. That pesky discrimination dogwhistle is going to continue to blow — and your workplace will suffer and be at risk.

Count on it.

How do you get to the truth?

Look for patterns

Review communications for tone and timing. Also look at audience and escalation. If there is bias, you will find the messages have a negative, condescending and/or demanding tone. You will also find copying of unnecessary other people on messages and/or escalating issues to the woman’s supervisor which should be resolved a peer level … Compare these patterns to the handling of communications with male co-workers in similar positions and see if the same thing is happening. If not, gender bias is likely at play and it should be addressed.

Listen for buzzwords

Pay attention to how women are described. Girls, gals and females are words that can chip away at respect for women in the workplace. Some other buzzwords are dramatic, emotional, nagging, whiny, bossy and pushy.  Even worse are words like pussy and bitch … When traits associated with women or being a woman are used as negative adjectives to describe anyone in your workplace, it is wrong — and gender bias is likely at play and it should be addressed.

Learn from witnesses

Your employees are smart and they see what’s going on. Many are eager to share their observations and feedback. Utilize witnesses to gain insight into the issues. Ask what they have seen occur between the parties involved and what their own observations and experiences have been … See if they say the treatment for all is the same. If not, gender bias is likely at play and it should be addressed.

Gender bias is happening. Now what???

Gender bias in your workplace doesn’t mean firing all the men and replacing them with women. The goal should always be to maintain diversity, inclusion and fairness.

What it does mean sharing the feedback and taking corrective action with the men who show gender bias behaviors.  It means declaring what is unacceptable. It means outlining what is appropriate. It means providing one or both parties with training to improve communication and inclusion skills. It means not allowing these kinds of behaviors to continue.

That means following up with both individuals routinely to assess progress. It means resetting expectations. It means defining timelines and deadlines for improvement. It means checking in periodically to ensure sustained effort.

Because eliminating bias in our workplaces isn’t just a one-and-done kind of thing. It takes continuous, concentrated and committed effort. It is nothing to play with.

Don’t start the work if you don’t intend to finish it.


Give Women the Respect They Deserve at Work

Recently, a story went viral about a man accidentally sending emails as his woman co-worker.  The person he emailed argued with him about recommendations. However, when he clarified that he was actually sending them email, not the woman, they immediately changed their tune and began to comply with what was asked.

To see if the issue was a fluke, he kept sending emails as his woman co-worker for several more days. He learned it wasn’t a fluke. Clients and other co-workers gave him all kinds of push-back on issues when they normally would not. He found his advice was not followed. His recommendations were challenged. His data was questioned.

Meanwhile, his woman co-worker was having the best week of her career. Clients were more responsive. They accepted her recommendations almost immediately. She was not questioned or challenged on anything.

Because they thought she was a man.

Her co-worker thought she was less productive and effective because he had more experience than she did. He assumed she was less organized and not as strong at communicating.

He was wrong.

Women in workplaces all over the world are facing this same challenge every day. And it is a shame that it takes a man to experience the behaviors for society at large to believe it.

But now that the truth is out, what are we going to do about it?

  • Accept the fact of gender discrimination in your workplace. It is impossible for our world to be full of patriarchy, male privilege and rape culture … yet our workplace be clear of any of those effects. Impossible. It’s there. Face it.
  • Believe women. Sexist behaviors much like racist behaviors are very nuanced. It is another kind of dogwhistle. When women tell you that they’ve heard the whistle blow, trust that they’re being honest about their experience. Take them seriously and look into the issue.
  • Call out unacceptable behavior. When an issue is found, address it. Swiftly, directly and candidly. Put bad behavior on blast and make sure it is clear it will not be tolerated.
  • Demand respect. Women in positions of authority must be given support to do their jobs without insolence or interference. That support means not allowing others to undermine them or call their integrity into question without evidence. It means not allowing men to take credit for their work or to be the face of projects to make things easier or more comfortable. It means giving them unfettered loyalty.
  • Enforce the standard. Do not do business with clients or continue to employ people who show disrespect for women. Point out the behavior and require change — but if the person cannot comply, cut them loose. Continuing to associate with sexist people once you’re aware that they’re sexist means you are sexist too. If that isn’t true, you will remove them from areas of authority and influence in your organization and your life.

Hiring women and promoting them isn’t enough if you’re not willing to support them in overcoming the hindrances and obstacles that impact their effectiveness and productivity. Make sure they are given the respect they deserve.

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