The More I Explored, the More I Found
One of the ways to truly understand the impact of the oncoming Gig Economy is to look at what’s driving it. I have touched down on some of these elements such as “The Cold Sweeping Hand” or “The Race to the Bottom”. Another thing I come across frequently is that workers are voluntarily leaving to seek other opportunities – escaping many of the traps that exist in the workplace. I decided to start digging around to see what I could find about the overall American work experience especially in light of some of the crappy things I’ve witnessed or have been through personally. If you take a moment to think about it, this topic is not short on subject matter. At first it seemed like a fairly simple task to start with a survey I’ve seen before, “Worst Places to Work“, expecting it to highlight the issues – in general – and then proceed to looking at some alternative solutions. It’s those “out of the blue” ones you stumble upon in email newsletters or side bar news where you didn’t expect to discover additional research resources that began to open this up more. Little-by-little a larger picture emerged that has now evolved into a series of articles exploring various dimensions of this topic. At first it may seem all a tad negative because that is the most prevalent, plus more are likely to complain than praise. Yet there are good companies out there as well, begging the question of ratios as I’m certain the Bad Ones outweigh the Good Ones.
What We All Want
If money makes the world go round which is then used for the exchanges of life’s goods and services et al, then it’s not much of a stretch to add that happiness be involved with this in that all any of us want is to at least slightly enjoy what you do (preferably more), earn a sustainable living per your life’s goals, have a family if you choose, a social life, etc.…all part and parcel of living a good and decent life. Life isn’t life without its ups and downs and bumps and grinds requiring an ever growing ability to adapt to the consistency of these engaging challenges; some may refer to this as stress. Yet when I look around at today’s work environment, this is not what the Status Quo is. Job Security is said to be eroding but in reality it’s a long ago thing of the past kept alive by old “Leave It to Beaver” ideals of “The Great American Way of Life”. What came out of this and other elements such as the eroding Middle Class resulting in greater challenges of Upward Mobility, is that some even go so far as to say “The American Dream is Dead” because you have to be asleep to believe in it; that’s why it’s called a dream. Yet the majority of us continue to plod along in an ever eroding employment environment never realizing the degree to which we adhere to these outmoded versions of a Stylized Working Life. Until one day, out of the nowhere, the eroding American Dream is suddenly interjected in our lives Continue reading
As a result of my extensive experience as a Metrics and Reporting Specialist I’ve come to understand or at least seriously question something about CEO’s. I would discuss this confusion with friends and perhaps associates yet I had never given it a name. I’m now calling it “The CEO Conundrum”. This may come as a surprise or even be shocking once I get into it and perhaps even irritate those in executive positions yet once I explain how it is I eventually came to this awareness it will be clear that I’m correct in what I’m saying at least from what I’ve experienced. Much of this comes from the fact that the higher you go up the corporate ladder the more accountable you are to multitude of various functions of the company with each level having some element of Direct Reports taking care of details at that level which the leader of that level cannot personally keep in touch with and therefore depends on those various direct reports to attend to those details.
How This Conundrum Unfolded
United Airlines Cargo was my first corporate job to support a monthly book for cargo service performance which eventually evolved into me creating the first weekly report in an effort to get the reporting closer to when the actual performance had occurred. Monthly and quarterly reports ensued. I was eventually tasked to build a reduced version of these metrics as guided by my manager. Other metrics from the division were added such as some financials. This was to be included in a distribution package that was used for meetings with the C-Suite. As I became more involved with reporting on the various levels of the division and then to the company at large, the higher up they went, the simpler they got. None of the upper level metrics included a lot of data. They had to be more simply expressed as meeting or not meeting a target and nothing else. This is where I came up with the phrase “Look and Go” in relation to these upper management metrics realizing if the person had to spend time analyzing what it said it was either ignored or rejected flat out. My first exposure to “metrics manipulation” happened here. The director of cargo would at times come to me with “recalculations” of the goals that were also used in the C-Suite report in order to assist them in meeting their goals so as to not be called out (aka embarrassed) for any lackluster performance in these round table meetings of all of the divisions of the company. Although the data reported was always very accurate, these “recalculations” were at times very creative as it was an attempt to avoid the embarrassment with peers. One in particular was where he asked me to remove the goal lines in the C-Suite version. I had to submit them to someone who aggregated them all into a single package. An hour later I received a call saying that the Senior VP who reported to the CEO noticed they were gone and requested them to be immediately reinstated. The director happened to pass by just as I got off of the phone and when I informed him of it his response rhymed with yuck.
My next Metrics and Reporting role was at Allstate Insurance in their application development division with the initial task of rebuilding a massive quarterly division report containing a lot of different metrics from financial to people to various ITIL based metrics. Upon completion the next task was to develop weekly and monthly reporting for the department. As I worked with the various departmental stakeholders I again noticed that these contained not just more metrics but also more detail than the executive quarterly report. I also worked on a variety of other reporting that depending on the audience would depend on the detail of the results.
The reports I created at my next role at Caremark were very similar to the Allstate metrics. I designed and created metrics that reported the same pattern of detail at the department level, less at the Director level and even more consolidated for the Vice President. Continue reading