Finger pointing and excuses seem to make up part of most corporate culture. You often hear, it’s not me it was another person that failed to deliver. I waited for the other department to reply but they never did. In my consulting years here in the Philippines, I witness this behaviour from entry level employees to a number of high ranking executives.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover a simple approach to making people aware of their finger pointing behaviour. The approach was shared by the Managing Director of an ad agency. It is called ORA / BED.

The ORA / BED phrase has two parts. On the left side or on the top of the line we have ORA. ORA stands for Ownership, Responsible, Accountable. All positive traits of a successful leader, manager or employee.

At the bottom you have BED. This stands for Blaming, Excuses and Denial. They are all negative behaviours.

The way it is used is three parts. First, explain the meaning of ORA / BED. Second, have it posted on collaterals to serve as a reminder. Third, whenever discussions turn negative (BED), you just have to remind everyone to keep the discussion in ORA. Personally, I say ‘Hey guys let’s keep the discussion above the line. Let’s keep it in ORA.’ It helps people become conscious of their behaviour.

Since I started using this in the groups I manage and clients I mentor, the discussions I get are more positive and productive.

Try it. ORA / BED. It’s deceptively simple. It’s so simple that it works.

Where are you?

In recent years there has been a scarcity of high potential high performing employees. Why is that? Where have they gone?

Back in 1992, the largest commercial bank in Saudi Arabia did not have difficulty hiring hundreds of Filipinos to work for them. I was part of a batch of 200 Filipinos hired within a three month period.

Back in 2018, my clients had difficulty landing a range of employees from Executive Assistant to HR Directors. Three of my clients were all searching for a good HR Director at the same time.

Where are the good ones?

We have this premise that the good ones are currently employed. Hopefully, not happily employed so we can offer a better career.

We tried testing that premise. A clients LinkedIn posting attracted hundreds of applicants for a particular job opening. Over ninety percent had no qualifying experience on the job we posted. Despite the glaring shortcomings, they boldly applied.

Do they think that the recruitment staff are naive enough to paper qualify them with zero experience on a director role? Possibly? Possibly they are desperate for any job. Just any job would do.

What they fail to realize is that successful companies do not like hiring someone who just wants any job. Companies will pay a premium hiring a subject matter expert or a great manager. Better yet, hiring a subject matter expert who can successfully manage people.

There are two important things to consider when it comes to acquiring talent. First, in recruitment one size does not fit all. You need a sourcing strategy. Where does the particular talent you are hunting for congregate? Second, if you cannot find qualified talent, have you considered building it? Sometimes it’s a question of deciding whether to build or to buy talent.

Good talent is hard to come by. I strongly suggest that the managers of these people take very good care of them. The companies must develop and challenge them to consistently excel. If you don’t another company will come along and grab them.

After all, people join companies and leave managers.

Fighting Off Gossip in the Workplace

The basic principle of conversations requires a messenger, a message, and a recipient. Communication cannot happen when a piece is missing. When part of the message is lacking or changed, then the true message is lost. Inconsistency with the primary truth is the primary cause of gossip.

Our capacity to think before speaking is often forgotten when interesting stories reach us. The fire of gossip is often fuelled by individuals who are insecure, under-appreciated, or simply a malicious person that enjoys causing problems within the community of workers. Here are the steps on pursuing the hot flames of gossipmongers;

1. Knowing the Culprit

It is not an impossible feat to know who creates gossip in the workplace. Managers must be proactive in dealing with issues like this by constant reminder on zero-tolerance towards sharing unverified information. Such actions must be dealt with as soon as the perpetrator is singled out.

2. Fostering Positive Reinforcements

Beginning the day with uplifting remarks and positive insights from last week’s work will surely promote productivity. It is proven and tested over time that people are sometimes deprived of affirming statements coming from higher-ups. When these employees are triggered externally with problems like gossip, they do not have enough willpower to restrain themselves from judging others.

3. Practicing Accountability

For some, a culture of transparency is a total shock because of the confrontation that follows. When tracing back the source of gossip, it is best that the root cause is addressed and prevented.

It is also good practice to call into account the people that are gossiping behind each others’ back and have them deal with each other face to face. I used to call these people in my room and share with them what I heard from the grapevine. They will be forced to discuss their issues under the light of truth. It is often easier for people with issues to fight their war behind the scenes of gossip. Exposing them and the bad stories they spread will often prevent recurrence.

There is no benefit in entertaining gossip. It is malicious, negative and destructive. It also wastes our time. Often, it will come at the cost of the reputation of others. The best way to stop gossip is to kill it on its tracks. Do not bother listening to it. After all, you have better things to do.