Saturday, March 24, 2020

News and Views: March 24th 2007

One stress: many cures . . .

It seems that everyone has an idea about causes for stress. According to The Canadian, it’s laughter. The British Psychological Society reports on the benefits of a stable relationship. But the Belfast Telegraph of Northern Ireland wins the prize with no less than 10 ways to beat stress. Take your pick. [link]

Benchmarking stress . . .

It’s all very well knowing that stress exists in the workplace, but how can you tell if it’s a problem where you work? Here are 10 helpful indicators. The author says: “Corporate leaders and managers sometimes erroneously manage stressed people by using increased demands and closer supervision. Instead, you should use stress-reducing techniques to manage the stressors.” Sound advice. [link]

How about a change . . ?

Enough about stress. What about changing things first. Not so easy, according to Management Issues, though it does offer you a series of fairly conventional ideas on how to bring change about. But what about “The cosmic egg of change” as an idea? According to Max McKeown, “change management models, frameworks, four steps, seven steps, and so on, don’t tend to worry about what happened before. They start as though everything just ‘was’.” He points out how convenient this is as a way of suggesting that all the problems came from nowhere, so today’s managers can’t be blamed for any of them. All they have to do is instigate change to be absolved from all responsibility for the mess that they are changing. Neat! [link]

Spartan training—literally . . ?

Wayne Turmel has a great piece about the new blockbuster movie “300”, about how 300 Spartans held out against impossible odds. It seems some macho managers are already seeing this as justification for their “tough guy” style. They ought to know better than take any Hollywood movie as remotely close to historical truth. As Wayne correctly points out, the Spartans were a group of people whom you wouldn’t want to join. Their militaristic culture made even Nazi Germany look liberal. They had totally enslaved the original population of their land and so lived in constant terror of a revolt. Their response to this was the ultimate in siege mentalities, coupled with constant, brutal suppression of their slaves. Their leaders were, I guess, the products of such a system: egotistical, ultra-macho thugs who had been born to the idea that they must never show any weakness or human feeling, and only death in battle was a suitable end. Umm? Did I say it wasn’t a film about modern management? Perhaps I was wrong after all. [link]

Those Brits are obsessed with sex . . .

It seems that British HR professionals have found a new way to grab people’s attention and get them excited (sorry!) about the problems of stress. They are pointing out that workplace stress can ruin your sex life. According to Personnel Today, “There is a growing body of evidence that workplace stress affects sexual health, which in turn makes employees even more stressed and unproductive. The problem is at its height in the US, where doctors report that a failure to switch off from work is putting pressure on patients’ sexual relationships. One female patient asked her doctor if it was normal for her husband to put his Blackberry on the pillow while they made love.” I won’t steal the writer’s thunder any further. You’ll have to read it for yourself. [link]

What is Generation X anyway . . ?

It’s always amusing when the media strike up a bandwagon, then others wade in to claim it’s nothing but hot air. Start with this piece, claiming a “revolution” in workplace attitudes from the so-called “Generation X.” Then try the rejoinder. [link] As a "Baby Boomer," I can say that I don't believe in generational stereotypes anyway. How are they different from gender, race, or any other kind of stereotyping?

Men, it seems, are making heroic gains in the battle for balance. How did I miss that . . ?

According to this writer, research finds that men are making headway in the herculean struggle to balance work and family. He rather spoils the effect of this amazing statement by then claiming that: “we’re also feeling more harried.” Seems he wants it both ways. And I guess he has something of a gender bias when he points out that: “Women get all the sympathy for being sandwiched between nuclear family and aging parents, but a third of the 93 million Americans who take care of two, three, or more other people are guys.” So what? Stress is stress, regardless of whether the person stressed is male or female. I’m afraid I don’t buy the “let’s all feel sorry for guys” message. [link]

They would say that, wouldn’t they . . ?

According to research sponsored by a teleconferencing company: “British managers waste £17 billion a year on unnecessary face-to-face meetings and lose the equivalent of 23 working days a year traveling to and from business appointments.” Hmmm. I agree that many of meetings are unnecessary, most are a waste of time, and such benefit as they do provide could almost always have been gained another way. But isn’t teleconferencing just a way of having a meeting via the ether? You’re still stuck in a room, listening to windbags polishing their egos. Only now you have to stare at a TV or computer screen, instead of being able to see the idiot who’s talking live. Teleconferencing may save some travel, but it’s the meetings that are the problem, not how you get to them. [link]

Yet another entry in the category of “surveys that produce the most obvious findings . . . ”

How's this? "It isn't inadequate processes, strategy or technology that lead so many organizational change programs to run into the sand. The main reasons for failed change are all about people." Wow! [link]

Mini stress busters . . .

I started with workplace stress, so I'll end with it too. How about "Ways to rejuvenate during your workday" as an idea. You could take a hike, go to the gym, do some breathing exercises, or listen to bird songs. If any of these appeal, this is the place to find out more. [link]

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Anonymous said...

I found an excellent way to beat the common stress but - but more-so if you are athletic. My personal trainer turned me on to a new DVD called the rower, which mixes high-intensity training with advanced yoga techniques. I suggest to the highly active out there that you do a little research at and then you'll see why I actually spent these five minutes to pass it on!!

7:29 PM  
Carmine Coyote said...

Fortunately, I am now too old for such strenuous exercise, but I'm sure it would be helpful for the young and fit.

Thanks for the tip.

9:32 PM  

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