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My Thoughts on Yahoo’s Decision to Ban Telecommuting

February 27, 2013 Leave a comment

My thoughts on the Yahoo! CEO’s decision to ban telecommuting –

Marissa Mayer’s perspective that building a strong culture of communication and collaboration is something that happens much more effectively when team members are physically in the same location is something I know from experience to be true.  “Water cooler” conversations have a big impact on the collaborative culture of a company. It’s a place where random conversations can generally turn into productive, problem-solving sessions; especially when working on a high-functioning team.  If the team is dysfunctional in this area it takes hard work to overturn the current culture in order to establish a new culture.

For several understandable reasons Mayer has issued a strict ban on telecommuting effective June 1, 2013. But, I do Telecommuter Malehope in time she will relax the strictness of the policy a little as Yahoo! begins to see the outcomes needed to remain competitive. Personally, I’m a Yahoo! fan; I prefer it’s interface, intuitiveness, and productive use much more than I do Google’s; but I cannot deny that Google is much more creative and innovative than Yahoo!.  These are traits you see in highly collaborative work teams. Perhaps this change will help Yahoo! in this area.

Considering all of Yahoo’s current product failures and it’s inability to hire and manage the talent needed to remain competitive, we’re short-sighted when we choose to see this ban as an all out attack on telecommuting. Clearly the rampant abuse and overall lack of oversight and performance management is a systemic issue at Yahoo. It’s killing the company at large. Someone with strong leadership had to step up and tighten the reins, to weed out problem employees and rebuild a functional workforce. Sometimes in the weeding-out process you lose valuable team-members. But to continue on the path to corporate self-destruction would be more devastating in the long run. They have many performance and management issues at Yahoo; this is just one step in cleaning up shop. I believe the ban will be lifted in time.

On the flip side, this move will cause a hardship on families. Anyone caring for children and/or aging parents have some difficult decisions to make. Most public education organizations and elder care facilities are working with tighter budgets, therefore requiring parents and caregivers to do more than ever. You have to wonder how much of our workforce even has the option of returning to an inflexible work schedule.

Perhaps Yahoo! will lose some of it’s top talent with this change. But perhaps it will also create a great pool of talent for the smaller, less known companies who are in a better position to offer telecommuting and home-life balance.  Seeing the challenges Yahoo! is currently facing is a clear indication that it’s time to manage talent more closely.

Now, without siting any sources, here are a few comments others have made.  I’m adding them here just to give a more well-rounded perspective on this hot topic.

  • I think it’s probably a wimpy way of making what the CEO claims are necessary staff cutbacks, since I’m sure many people will now have no other choice but to resign. However, as much as I want to disagree completely and say it was an insane decision, some of the CEO’s comments made sense to me in the context of the company’s history and the major reasons for its difficulties.
  • My question is, “What is the exact problem that led to this ban? And how can they address the exact problem without a complete ban on telecommuting?” It may be necessary in some instances but a blanket ban seems excessive.
  • It is a well known fact that there is a “un tapped” market of skilled professionals that are no longer in the job market because of the lack of telecommuting and remote work opportunities. I too had to leave a position that I loved when my daughter was born because of a new corporate initiative that required for all personnel to be on-site 5 days a week.
  • More and more studies and employees, CEO’s, and consultants are finding that when you recruit top talent and take care of your employees and don’t get in their way of being human (having lives, homes, needing to wait for the cable guy sometimes), then you win, period.
  • I’ve read several articles on this and have concluded that Yahoo had no better alternative. True, it’s not a great decision, but the alternatives (including leaving the current telework program in place) must have been worse.
  • If they had employees who were not trustworthy or not towing the line, I wish they could have addressed those individuals. Maybe they tried. It brings to mind the teacher who criticizes and disciplines the whole class because a handful of students are not doing what they are supposed to do. Maybe she felt that the issue was an epidemic sweeping through the telecommuting employees at Yahoo, and once again, I am not in her shoes.
  • I’ve been in situations before where a blanket approach, such as this, was used, and rather than weeding out the untrustworthy employees or developing them into better employees, it just brought everyone down, including the top performers, who quickly started finding work elsewhere. And any hope for new collaborating turned into employees collaborating about their complaints and their desires to work elsewhere…
  • There’s clearly some people at Yahoo! who have been able to hide their lack of productivity at home. Those are the real targets here. It won’t surprise me if the policy is reversed at some point, but they have to change the culture first. The culture has been the target of most of her moves up to this point, so I applaud her efforts.
  • …That is why Marissa is the CEO of Yahoo and not you. If everything in the world was run on basis of just books, anyone can run the companies, they would not need a person like Marissa and pay her millions. Let’s face it, Marissa brought in changes like iPhones to all staff, and we now know that change is working. The condition Yahoo is currently in, Marissa sees Yahoo has two choices – employees can come in to change the culture she likes to see OR employees can stay at home (as Yahoo will go down the drain, like many other before it).

So, what are your thoughts?

Giving and Receiving Feedback

February 19, 2013 2 comments

Feedback-TalkingNo matter what business or industry you may work in, you will benefit from networking, partnering, and supporting other like-minded business people.  One of the benefits of having this type of working relationship is that you can give and receive feedback in a non-threatening environment.  The key to taking advantage of this benefit is you must be free to speak constructively and be open to hear fully.

The other day I met with a fellow education manager who is trying, as we all are, to breath life into a limping system – the system that provides career education options for adults who are not a good fit for 4-year college programs.  At this meeting, she asked me for feedback on an assessment she gives to potential students. I shared openly and even showed her some example alternatives.  After our meeting, she emailed:

I thoroughly enjoyed our meeting and your mind extraordinaire.  You are indeed a wealth of knowledge and the most generous person I know – you’re a super professional to boot. Wow! Thanks for this information.  It’s obviously the way to go and I will revisit the other assessments.  Thank you so much for your candor.  I had others critique my assessments but no one made any suggestions. I really appreciate another set of eyes. – ones attached to an intelligent brain…

I also picked her brain for some dirty little details about our changing industry, making the meeting a win-win for both of us.  This is what real networking can and should do for us. Everyone should leave the meeting with some part of an issue or wondering resolved. It just makes good business sense.

This, in my opinion, is when networking is really networking.  Here’s a video clip from several months ago where I shared similar words with you.

~ All the best to you!

"Michelle

How To Choose The Next Idea or Opportunity to Pursue

May 18, 2012 1 comment

CLF bulb in grass Provided by iStockphoto

I get so many ideas and opportunities that I’m constantly mentally weeding through them to determine which to do and when. Kenneth Manesse shared this video clip in our Christian Micro-Entrepreneur’s FaceBook group, and I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it here as well.

One of the points Dr Shannon Reece makes in the video suggest the first step in determining whether to pursue a particular idea is to first ask: “Does this align with my (five) highest priorities?”  With this thought, I have taken time to identify my top five priorities I can use as my first line filter for weeding out opportunities and ideas to pursue.


These top five, in no particular order are:

  • Time – Will it completely take over my life?  Do I have time to commit to this? Is it worthwhile enough to eliminate something else from my schedule so I can pursue this one?
  • Christ-centered ethics and beliefs – Is there anything about this idea or opportunity that will conflict with my personal ethics and belief system?
  • Money – Will this idea generate money?  Will it pay for it’s self?  Will it make a profit?
  • Passion & Pathway – Does this idea or opportunity align with the institutions, industries, populations, and concepts I am most passionate about? Does this idea or opportunity help create and/or maintain the pathway I am currently journeying on?  Will it help me reach my goals? Does it keep me mobilized according to my purpose and God’s plan for my life?
  • Family & loved-ones – Will this idea and opportunity be something that is not only fulfilling for me, but also makes my family and loved ones happy to see prospering in my life?

These are my top five priorities, and I encourage you to create a list for yourself.  Having these points pre-determined will help keep you headed in the right direction when you need to make a quick decision.

So, what are your top five priorities? Don’t stop at only thinking about what these might be; document them, post them, and use them.