Posts Tagged business

Kids These Days…

The MINES Team is excited to share our latest article from one of our very talented administrative assistants, Tanya Paulson. Titled “Kids these Day… How to Work with Millennials”, Tanya helps bust some of the assumptions around Generation Y and gives tips on the best ways to synergize with them in the workplace.

The issue can be viewed here starting on page 16: https://goo.gl/ajn6ZB

Tanya’s as well as the rest MINES publications can be viewed here: www.minesandassociates.com/about_staff_publications.html

 

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities and the ADA: The Legal Side of Psychological Wellbeing at Work

December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and this year’s theme is “Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all”. Transforming workplaces so that they foster resilience among all employees is a worthy goal – one that both MINES and I share with real passion.

Fortunately, most employers now generally understand the links between employee mental health, productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. This is real progress. Unfortunately, only 15% of supervisors and managers are actually trained in how to recognize and respond to employees who may be struggling. This is a problem that MINES and I are taking steps to remedy through our work with our clients and by offering training and consultations to supporters of campaigns like Colorado Mental Wellness Network’s Mental Health Equality at Work.

Employers do not generally associate the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family Medical Leave Act with psychological or mood-related conditions. This knowledge deficit can be problematic because more often than not an employee will reach a point of crisis before exploring potential job accommodations. By that time, it is often too late to save the employment relationship and everybody loses.

This common pattern of “waiting until a crisis” may partly explain the recent surge in depression-related employment discrimination claims filed with the EEOC. These filings increased by 56% between 2003 and 2013, and the EEOC issued written guidance for employees with mental health conditions, as well as their health care providers, for the first time in December 2016.2016

I train supervisors, managers, and HR staff in how to create psychologically healthy workplaces, how to use accommodations as everyday management tools, and how to comply with the ADA and FMLA. Managers are always happy to learn about low- or no-cost accommodation tools they can use right away, instead of making their employees wait for a crisis to occur before requesting them. And, they are relieved to learn that the ADA does not require the elimination of essential functions – a common yet erroneous assumption.

One of the areas I partner with MINES on is training supervisors how to have the early conversation with employees who may be struggling. This is a skill that does not come naturally to most of us – managers don’t want to pry, say the wrong thing, violate an employee’s privacy, play the role of therapist, or step over a legal line of which they’re unaware. MINES personnel have truly mastered this skill over the years.

Another exciting area of partnership with MINES is providing highly specialized mediation and case management services for the toughest ADA and/or FMLA cases involving mental health conditions. Most ADA requests are not challenging to manage. However, some cases are so complex they require the expertise of seasoned psychologists to provide case management guidance and support. Examples include rare diagnoses, some types of personality disorders, and difficulty in finding the right medication or treatment plan. MINES plays an indispensable role in guiding these cases to a sustainable path forward for both the employee and employer.

Lastly, MINES and I collaborate in providing outsourced disability and absence management services nationwide. When we take on this role for our clients, we are truly in the best position to transform workplaces to foster resilience among all employees.

In closing, I hope everyone will celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities with us, by taking proactive steps to accommodate employees at all levels of cognitive, emotional, and social functioning.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Judge (Ret.) Mary McClatchey

MINES Consultant

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Psychology of Performance #52: Managerial Hierarchy, Accountability and Authority

I have blogged before about managerial hierarchy and accountability. It is worth another look at Elliot Jaques classic book, Requisite Organization, as new generations are coming into the workforce, technology has created the opportunity for virtual teams, and performance is still relevant for any organization to sustain itself. The following information comes directly from Dr. Jaques’ work. I encourage you to read his work in its entirety. This blog was generated out of the organizational psychology and human resources consulting MINES does with its clients. Time after time, accountability and authority are unclear in an organization’s structure. This often happens when marketing titles are given that imply authority when, in fact, there is none. Accountability for results may be unclear and personnel layoff decisions are made only to be repeated with the next employee group as the underlying system issue has not been clarified. This blog provides Jaques’ perspective and the results of over 50 years of his body of work.

Assumptions (Based on Organizational Theory of Managerial Hierarchy):

The basic business unit consists of a manager, one or more supervisors, and front-line producers.  In the discussion to follow, “manager” is used to describe the role, accountability, and authority of both the manager and supervisor (a subordinate’s boss).  In function, the manager is working on systems issues while the supervisor is working on quality assurance and work assignment(s). In the following discussion Manager and Supervisor are used interchangeable as the discussion is about hierarchy not role/level. Think about this discussion as related to an employee’s “direct boss.”  In reality, a manager has a longer decision time span than a supervisor and has different functions.

Manager-Subordinate Accountability System

Accountability and authority establishes where people stand with each other.  They determine who is able to say what to whom, and who under given circumstances must say what to whom.  They establish who can tell who to do what, especially, in the managerial hierarchy, if one person is being held accountable for what another person does or for the results of what the other person does.

Accountability and authority define the behaviors that are appropriate and necessary in the vertical relationships between managers and their subordinates, and in the horizontal cross-functional relationships between people.  The vertical relationships are those by means of which the work that needs to get done is assigned, resourced, and evaluated; and the cross-functional relationships are those by means of which the flow of work across functions gets processed and improved through time.

Key questions:

  • What are the accountabilities of managers, or of individual contributors?
  • What authority does a manager have in relation to subordinates?
  • What authorities do employees who work together have in relation to each other?

Managerial Accountability and Behavior

It is absolutely imperative that organizational leaders be clear not only about their own decision-making accountability, but they must also make it equally clear for each and every manager below them in the organization.  All of these managers must also meet regularly in two-way discussions about major issues with their immediate subordinates, in order to get their help in making decisions for which the manager alone must be accountable.  In discussions between managers and subordinates, it is always the manager that is ultimately accountable for decisions.  Even when the subordinate has more knowledge than his or her manager on a given matter and tells the manager what he or she thinks should be done; if the manager accepts the subordinate’s view then it becomes the manager’s decision. There will be times in an organization’s growth or life span when a manager may have multiple roles/levels that they are accountable for. The manager may be a level three, two, and one on a given day if the department or work group is small enough or does not have the resources to accommodate separate levels and roles. This is a situation referred to as “down in the weeds,” ”wearing many hats,” or “collapsed strata” (also known as time span within which one operates). This is not ideal; however, at times it may be the best we can do.

Who should be accountable for results?

Two basic principles:

First, all employees, including managers, must be held accountable for the continuous exercise of full commitment of capability (doing their very best) in carrying out the tasks assigned.

Second, managers must be held accountable for the results of the work and working behavior of immediate subordinates.

Definition of a Manager

A manager is the incumbent of a role in which s/he:

  1. Is assigned accountability for doing his/her best to use assigned financial, physical, and human resources (the human resources comprise subordinates under contract to do their best).
  2. Is accountable for deciding how best to get optimum short-, mid-, and long-term results from an assigned functional area (e.g., a production department, geographical area, or a customer category).
  3. Is accountable for maintaining a team of subordinates capable of doing the necessary work.
  4. Effectively applies all managerial leadership practices in relation to subordinates.
  5. Adds value to the subordinates’ work.
  6. Is accountable for providing necessary trainings, materials, and support to both supervisors and all subordinates.
  7. Says what they are going to do. They do what they say they would do and when they can’t (as infrequently as possible) they explain promptly.  They expect others to behave the same way.
  8. Creates clearly defined goals because without clarity it is difficult to be held accountable
  9. Keeps consistent priorities.
  10. Documents agreements.
  11. Creates performance measures and evaluates progress or lack thereof.

In addition to managerial hierarchy, cross-functional relationships also need to be clearly defined.

My hope is that this information will allow you to evaluate your role and function in your organization and if there is room for improvement, to have a blueprint to help you and your colleagues proceed.

 

Have a day filled with compassion!

Bob

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist

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MINES Attends MHAC’s 2nd Annual “Improving Lives, Transforming Minds” Event

Hey all,

On June 11th, members of the MINES team including Dr. Robert Mines, Dr. Richard Lindsey, Dr. Dani Kimlinger, Whitney Stone, Ryan Lucas, and Patrick Hiester attended Mental Health America Colorado’s 2nd annual “Improving Lives, Transforming Minds” event held at the new Green Spaces venue in Downtown Denver.

MINES was a prime sponsor of this event which honors important organizations as well as individuals that advocate for mental health awareness and support the research, development, and innovation that drives the behavioral healthcare industry. The event also focuses on the proactive efforts undertaken by MHAC including education, prevention, and outreach programs. Major thanks to MHAC and their new President and CEO, Andrew Romanoff, for all the great work they do!

Check out some highlights in the video below, or head on over to http://bit.ly/1Kah4MI for more great pictures and a rundown of the great people and organizations that made this event possible.

 

 

To Your Wellbeing,

– The MINES Team

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Generations Training Onslaught: Part One

At MINES, we have recently received an influx of generational trainings from workplaces of all sizes and industries. These trainings range from, “Appreciating Generational Differences in the Workplace”, “Here Come the Millennials”, and “Best Practices in Leading and Managing Multiple Generations”.  Interestingly though, even though we have had a number of requests, we have a number of participants in our trainings which are rather skeptical about the need for these trainings. No, no, it’s not just Generation X, the skepticism is articulated by individuals in many organizations.  Are you skeptical? If you are, you are not alone. Some embrace this topic and find it absolutely essential in the workplace, this is demonstrated by comments such as “I can’t believe how entitled my millennial employees are, they expect to be able to work from home and move up immediately.” “I don’t understand why my Gen X colleague prefers to work alone rather than with me.”  “Why do those baby boomers get along so well with the Gen Y’s?” These questions are just a taste of the questions that we hear while delving into this topic.

Typically, the initial intent behind offering these trainings is to ease the tensions between the different generations.  These trainings offer the premise that although there are theoretically generational differences, there are just as many differences between generations as there are within each generation. This is important to note! Why is that? So that we don’t put others into a box! The guidelines of what incentivizes a Gen Y vs. a Gen X are very helpful! Additionally, what the core values are of each generation are is also important to note!

Even more than looking at “what does” and “what is,” “why” is an important question! Let’s look at the questions above…

“I can’t believe how entitled my millennial employees are, they expect to be able to work from home and move up immediately.”

Millennials have, as a generation, had supportive parents who have pushed them to succeed and put a lot on their plate in the process. That is, as teens, many Gen Ys were involved in college prep courses, soccer, dance lessons, and community service efforts, the more the better! Guess what? It served them well! They were able to accomplish so much in so little time and had great support behind them. Now, just what about that working remotely? Can you imagine Gen Ys being confined to a library or desk to study for their exams?  That’s highly unlikely; they were more likely studying on the bus to their dance meet or in-between their many after school activities. Did “where” they were studying hinder them? Not from what we can tell!

“I don’t understand why my Gen X Colleague prefers to work alone, rather than work with me.”

Gen X has historically been known to be the “latch-key kid” generation.  Many X’s had both parents working and therefore they had to learn to be self-sufficient early on. One rub that is clearly in play in this statement is the Generation Y’s desire to work with others in a team environment and Gen X’s independence. Many Gen X’s are only interested in what the end game for the initiative is; they would like to paint their own journey.

“Why do those baby boomers get along so well with the Gen Ys?”

Baby Boomers and Gen Y’s tend to be a natural fit for each other. The Gen Y’s are looking for teamwork, mentorship, and to make sure that everyone is included. The Baby Boomers want to mentor; they are hopeful and want to be part of a team that values their skills and all that they bring to the table.  While the Gen X’s tend to be more independent, the Ys and Boomers enjoy the collaboration.

Exposure to expertise about generations can increase both understanding and appreciation of what all generations bring to the table! Diversity is often said to be a key ingredient to success. Generational diversity should be embraced!

 

-Dani Kimlinger, MHA, PHR, Human Resources

 

 

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Marcia’s reFrame #1: The Ten Percent Rule

It’s hard to believe that February is almost already over! Those of us that made bold New Year’s resolutions may be realizing we’re hitting up against some gaps between our good intentions and the choices we’re actually making. Here is where the Ten- Percent Rule comes into play. I’m inviting you to consider that…

                   Ten percent of something is better than ninety percent of nothing!

When we get locked into perfectionist thinking, our choices become ruled by rigid, all-or-none thinking. See if you can relate to any of these examples:

  • If I can’t work out for an hour, then it doesn’t count.
  • I didn’t eat “perfectly” today so I might as well completely indulge and have that Ben and Jerry’s pint of ice cream that has my name written on it!
  • I know I was suppose to stick to my budget BUT I couldn’t resist the sale and ended up buying 3 pairs of shoes – after all, they were fifty percent off!
  • I forgot to take my vitamins today so I might as well have that third glass of wine and drink to a better start tomorrow.
  • I know I said I was going to aim for eight hours of sleep and it’s already 10:00pm, but I just want to get on Face Book for ten minutes. (We all know how that ten minutes can magically become an hour and ten minutes!)

The next time you’re in a situation where it’s clear you have competing interests for your resources (time, money, energy) see if you can apply the Ten Percent Rule.

  • I know I wanted to exercise for an hour AND since I only have twenty minutes, I’ll take the dogs for a walk. Or, I’ll do at least thirty minutes on the treadmill which is better than doing nothing at all.
  • I know I wasn’t impeccable at lunch today, so I’ll skip dessert tonight or eat a lighter dinner.
  • I forgot to take my calcium supplements today so I’ll make sure to eat something rich in calcium.
  • I am going to set the computer on a timer for twenty minutes when I get onto Face Book since I tend to loose track of time once I start looking up old friends.

As a dear friend reminds me, “it’s not about perfect, it’s about doing something better”, and, “once you do something better, you can do something a little better from there”.

I hope the Ten Percent Rule allows you to move towards accepting “better” as a great place to be. It brings with it less destructive self-talk and more opportunities to celebrate the successes that 10 percent of something will bring you. The cumulative effect of making better choices and doing 10 percent of something to reach your goals will definitely have an impact on getting better results!

To Your Health and Wellbeing,

– Marcia

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Drug Abuse Prevention

I recently attended an annual dinner/forum for a local non-profit group which focused on Drug Abuse Prevention. We’ve all heard, or experienced first-hand, the devastating effects of drug abuse on family, employment, education, and just about every other facet of human life. What we don’t always hear about are the amazing efforts by some making an incredible impact on prevention. By taking small steps to identify risk factors, especially for our youth, we can have a tremendous impact. At the forum, one of the panelists made a great point about how parents and doctors don’t ask the difficult questions, and often times because they are afraid of the answer, or maybe they are suffering themselves. Why do our doctors have no problem asking us about our diets and suggesting cholesterol screenings, but very seldom ask us a simple question like, “How are you feeling emotionally?” or, “Does your child seem to be fitting in, and participating in a healthy way?” When we look at diabetes and heart disease compared to major depression or substance abuse disorders only a small fraction of those suffering from behavioral disorders are actually being diagnosed and treated compared with their medical counterparts.

As the prescription drug epidemic continues to rise we need to do more in the area of prevention. Here are some wonderful resources for prescription drug abuse prevention from our friends at Peer Assistance Services:

http://www.peerassistanceservices.org/prescription/drugabuse_materials.php

Ian Holtz,
Manager, Business Development

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Psychology of Performance – 35: Attachment to the Status Quo

In over 35 years of working with people on making change, improving their performance, and living more fully it is still interesting to me how many people persist in doing the same self-defeating actions over and over despite saying they want to improve, grow, or change for the better (whatever that means). So the following are four questions worth asking yourself if you want to improve your performance in some area of your life.

  1. Situation Questions – Tell me about your life? How is it working now?
  2. Problem Questions – Can we be specific about what is not working? Are you concerned about your current quality of performance?
  3. Implication Questions – What happens if you don’t do something different?
  4. Need-Payoff Questions – If you act and it improves – how does that impact your life?

Take time to reflect on these questions, write down your answers, and be curious about where this may take you. If you find yourself resisting the questions or process, look more deeply into that instead.

It’s up to you….as they say “no one can do your push-ups for you.”

Exchange love and happiness with everyone you meet today.

Bob
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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Psychology of Performance – 32: Nutrition, Depresssion, Alcoholism and Performance

I ran across some interesting information on the role of niacin, depression, and alcoholism in performance at www.doctoryourself.com. It is well documented that depression and/or alcoholism may negatively affect performance across just about any domain one can perform in. In the treatment of depression and alcoholism there are very effective cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy interventions. In addition, exercise and medication may add additional therapeutic effects. The role of nutrition may have further potentiating influence.

According to this site, Bill W., the founder of AA, was successfully treated for depression with 3,000 mg of niacin a day. Unfortunately, this information has not been widely discussed or published in the media. I would be interested to hear from any of you who have used niacin as a means of treating depression or alcoholism and what your results were. Please let us at MINES know.

Have a day filled with mindfulness,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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Psychology of Performance – 30: Difficult People and Systems

Dan Siegel, M.D., has described a system as an integration of energy and information. In his lectures and recordings, he goes on to say that this is the one time in his life he was able to get 30 academicians to agree on something.

This definition has significant implications for the psychology of performance at the individual as well as the organizational level. If difficult people in our organizations are those whose behavior, cognition, or affect interfere with the integration of information and/or energy, then we now have another schema to interpret the situation and the impact on the system. For example, if someone is depressed, their energy is lower. How does this present itself in the work group and what effect does the lower energy have on the group’s energy as a whole? We know from the social psychology of comparison, emotional contagion, and the neurology of mirror neurons that the other team members’ energy will be lowered and therefore the productivity of the team may be lower. The converse is also true. In this situation, what if there is too much energy going into the system? If there is a workaholic team member, the team will experience stress, potential energy overload, and subsequent burnout or turnover.

How does information affect a system? Information is central to a system self-regulating – whether it’s the pace and flow of patients through a medical facility, financial information, or any set of data incorporated into a dashboard. If the information is late, corrupt, or in any way not accessible performance can suffer significantly. What if there is too much information? In this case, there is an extensive body of research on choices essentially stating that the more choices a person has beyond 3-5; the more inefficient they will be in making a decision – up to and including not deciding at all. In most of the organizations we consult with, the leadership has to make complex decisions regarding ill-structured problems on a regular basis. The quality and quantity of the information just keeps flowing and the decision makers may not have the opportunity to step back and evaluate what they really need to lead the organization while finding themselves in analysis paralysis.

Take the time to step back and evaluate your organization or individual performance from this perspective and see if it provides you with some new insights. Let us know what you discover.

Have a day filled with love and happiness,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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