Executive Matters
December  2003

"Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute." Gil Stern

In This Issue

SELF-ASSESSMENT—ARE YOU A WORKAHOLIC?

THE "TOP 10 ALL-TIME WORST MANAGERS"

READ EXCERPTS FROM AMA'S 80TH ANNIVERSARY LEADERSHIP FORUM

THE HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY:
9 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU GO

A GUIDE TO ASSESSING EXECUTIVE CHARACTER

TAKE THE AMA MEMBER CHALLENGE—YOU COULD WIN A FREE SEMINAR!

SOLVING BUSINESS PROBLEMS "THE WRIGHT WAY"

TAKE THE AMA 2004 JOB OUTLOOK SURVEY

CREATING A GREAT PLACE TO WORK

LATEST SAVINGS DEALS FROM AMA

MEMBERS-ONLY BOOK OF THE MONTH

 

red dot  SELF-ASSESSMENT-ARE YOU (OR YOUR BOSS OR YOUR SPOUSE) A WORKAHOLIC?
Workaholism is the only addiction that is rewarded by most organizations, even though in the long run, it can lead to physical, emotional and economic pain. Use this quick quiz, from Barbara B. Reinhold, Ed.D., to see if you or someone close to you is a workaholic. Answer "yes" or "no" to each description:

  • Arriving early, staying late, doing more than what's required to do a good job.
  • Failing to delegate tasks.
  • Perfectionism.
  • Inability to take time off when sick; unused vacation days.

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THE "TOP TEN ALL-TIME WORST MANAGERS"
Do you work for a "Task Monger," "Limelight Taker" or "Waffler"? Chances are that you've come across at least one or two of the ten worst manager archetypes described by Gary S. Topchik in his new book, "The Accidental Manager" (AMACOM 2003). Here's a sampling:
  • The Non-Communicator: Unsociable, not interested in exchanging ideas, thoughts or opinions. Secretive and impossible to read. Has a closed-door policy, avoids holding meetings and may walk past people as if in a trance. Verbal responses are one or two words delivered with a hurry-up, "get this over fast" attitude.
  • The Limelight Taker: Likes to be the center of attention. Enjoys taking all of the credit for good work. Brags to other departments or upper management about how well the group is doing because of her. Wants everyone in the company to believe that disaster would occur if it weren't for her.


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READ EXCERPTS FROM AMA'S 80TH ANNIVERSARY LEADERSHIP FORUM
Nearly 150 CEOs, presidents and senior executives from around the country attended AMA's 80th Anniversary Forum on "Meeting the Challenges of Leadership." The two-day event, held at AMA's New York Executive Conference Center, brought together today's foremost thinkers and practitioners to engage in a rich exchange of ideas about leadership in turbulent times. Leadership awards were presented to management guru Peter Drucker and to Wyeth. Click here to read summaries of presentations at this unique and powerful event.

red dot THE HOLIDAY OFFICE PARTY: NINE QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU GO
Don't underestimate the importance of the word "office" in the phrase "office party." Prepare yourself before the big event by asking yourself these key questions from business etiquette expert Lydia Ramsey.

  1. Do I have to go? Don't even consider NOT going unless you have a justifiable conflict. The office party is part of your job.
  2. Do I need to know who will be there? Find out who else has been invited. If you assume that it is just your department or your work team, you may not be prepared to interact with everyone else. Any sort of mixing and mingling event requires advance preparation.

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A GUIDE TO ASSESSING EXECUTIVE CHARACTER
No organization can afford to hire an executive whose integrity isn't beyond reproach. Executive search firm Berkhemer Clayton has created a comprehensive guide to assessing a prospective leader's ethics and values that provides invaluable advice on how to select the right person for the job. For example, during a job interview, the guides suggests that you:

Ask tough questions that venture outside the "comfort zone:"
  • "Have you ever been fired? If so, tell me about it."
  • Is there anything missing from your resume that I should know? Is there work related information that I should learn from you now, rather than from someone else later?"
Get to the heart. Ask questions that will help determine a candidate's ethical values:
  • "All of us are different and desire different things from life. What drives you?"
  • "Tell me about a major decision you faced with others, one that would impact customers, employees and/or shareholders in a significant way. Were there philosophical differences among the decision-makers? If so, what were the issues and how were they resolved?"

red dot TAKE THE AMA MEMBER CHALLENGE--YOU COULD WIN A FREE SEMINAR!
Congratulations to our November FREE seminar winner, Dale Wallace of Wolters Kluwer Health. Ms. Wallace answered all five of the Member Challenge questions (based on current business events) correctly and was then chosen at random from the total number of respondents who answered all of the questions correctly. Why not take the December Challenge? Simply answer the questions and complete the entry form.



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SOLVING BUSINESS PROBLEMS "THE WRIGHT WAY" 
Today's leaders can learn a lot from the Wright brothers, who exactly 100 years ago this month achieved what had been considered impossible--giving man wings. In his fascinating new book, "The Wright Way: 7 Problem-Solving Principles from the Wright Brothers that Can Make Your Business Soar" (AMACOM 2003), Mark Eppler shows how the Wright brothers' methods can be adapted to address today's business challenges. Here's an excerpt from our exclusive interview with Eppler:

"Many people studying the Wright brothers for the first time are surprised to learn that the two men often engaged each other in thunderous arguments. Wilbur called these encounters 'scraps,' and said they served to 'round off the corners' of their theories and ideas. For the Wright brothers, arguing was a creative process that left no residue of bitterness or resentment. They did not argue to win; they argued to uncover the truth. It's a problem-solving aid that is largely lost in business today."

red dot TAKE THE AMA 2004 JOB OUTLOOK SURVEY
Ho do executives view the coming year regarding job creation/elimination, raises, bonuses and promotions, product development, etc.? Help us find out by participating in our annual Job Outlook Survey.



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CREATING A GREAT PLACE TO WORK
The best way to secure the commitment of every person on the payroll (one of the best things a company can do for its bottom line) is simply to create a great place to work. Here, from BellSouth's "Surviving & Thriving in Today's Economy" booklet for small businesses, are some ways employers can motivate workers and boost morale without spending a lot of money:
 

  • Keep expectations for extra work reasonable, and never let your employees outwork you, the manager.
  • Eliminate everything that gives the appearance of extravagance. If you have to scale back, get rid of the corporate jets, toys and executive retreats before cutting jobs, benefits and employee amenities.
  • Give supervisors autonomy to give appropriate rewards at their own discretion, without having to get permission or adhering to a corporate "rewards program."


red dotLATEST SAVINGS DEALS FROM AMA
TWO WAYS TO SAVE ON AMACOM BOOKS:

-Save $ on AMACOM's Holiday Book Collection
Celebrate the holidays by curling up with some good books. Select $100 worth of books from AMACOM's specially selected Holiday Book List and pay only $75 (plus shipping & handling). Offer good until December 31, 2003. Click here for a listing of included titles. Then call 1-800-250-5308.

-Go to Amazon for Super Savings on AMACOM
A selection of 15 "must-read" sales titles from AMACOM are now available on Amazon.com at substantial discounts--for a limited time only. Titles include "The Accidental Salesperson" by Chris Lytle, "Proactive Selling--Control the Process, Win the Sale" by Skip Miller, "How to Mind Read Your Customers" by David P. Snyder and many more. Buy some for yourself, some as gifts.

-Save $150 on Seminars
Register for any AMA seminar between now and December 31 and save $150 off your registration fee! Call 1-800-262-9699 and use discount code XAVL. This offer cannot be combined with any other promotions.

-"Three for Four" is Back and Better Than Ever
Here's a way that you or your organization can save up to $2,000! Send us advance payment of $4,000 and we'll send you three registration coupons. Each coupon is good for attendance at any AMA seminar in the United States that's from one-to-three-days long. Choose from 150 seminars and over 1,000 sessions offered coast to coast.

Use all three coupons yourself, or share them with your colleagues. Coupons may be redeemed for sessions scheduled through June 30, 2004. Call 1-800-262-9699 for more information. Restrictions may apply.

-Save Up to 50% with "Last Minute Seating."
Now you can attend selected sessions of some of AMA's most popular seminars at savings of 50%, $500 or more. Review the attached list
and then call 1-800-262-9699 to register. But hurry. Space is limited and seats fill up fast.

red dot MEMBERS-ONLY BOOK OF THE MONTH
"How Great Decisions Get Made: 10 Easy Steps for Reaching Agreement on Even the Toughest Issues," by Don Maruska (AMACOM 2003).

Maruska presents a time-tested, 10-step process for helping business people reach consensus and commitment--no easy task. He explains how to take the guesswork out of decision making by uncovering the real issues behind disagreements, laying out all options and gathering the right information. We also include a link to a sample chapter from the book.

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EXECUTIVE MATTERS is a monthly newsletter created exclusively for Executive Members of the American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, New York 10019. Editor: Florence Stone

Copyright 2002: American Management Association. Material in this issue may be quoted free of charge provided the following reference is given: 'Source: American Management Association,' http://www.amanet.org, 800-262-9699.

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