Grow a Business Newsletter #224: Managing workers, Too much free time, Staircats

Sales and marketing Newsletter

Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Ever wonder about the benefits of work? Psychologists say it’s social contacts, support, structured time, mental activity, new skills, personal achievement, and social status.
  • Ever wonder where a new manager should focus? Start by drawing distinctions between the best performers and the next best performers. Avoid best to worst comparisons, think about getting #2 closer to the top.
  • How do you teach managers to inspire remote employees? Start by focusing on reducing uncertainty. Explaining how to do activities and how you’ll check. Teach empathy to show concern for the listener. Last, explain the “why” behind activities, linking to the big picture.
  • Unless you’re on the front lines, you’ve been working remotely. Your people are developing some best practices on how to get things done. Have them share their best practices and level up the group.

Being Human – Too much time

“Work is not as boring as leisure.” – Charles Baudelaire


What are your people doing with their free time?

I used to look for evidence of work being a bad thing. It was part of my shtick with Mad Gringo, my tropical shirt company. Your inner mad gringo hates work, hates neckties, hates socks (the neckties of the feet), that kind of thing.

The problem with looking for evidence to support a hypothesis is you’ll find a lot of evidence against your ideas. This quote from an Atlantic article in 2015 seems appropriate right now.

“In 1989, the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Judith LeFevre conducted a famous study of Chicago workers that found people at work often wished they were somewhere else. But in questionnaires, these same workers reported feeling better and less anxious in the office or at the plant than they did elsewhere. The two psychologists called this ‘the paradox of work’: many people are happier complaining about jobs than they are luxuriating in too much leisure.”

Right now your people have a lot of free time due to remote work. Experts are predicting a move from the office cubicle results. Other experts are predicting the opposite.

Want to know which way your people are leaning? Check on how they’re dealing with their new-found leisure time. It may produce some surprising results.

Good stuff. (Leisure. Great word.)

Random stuff

“A cat pours his body on the floor like water.”
—William Lyon Phelps


In crisis, we reveal our true character or something like that. I’ve heard this a lot over the last month or so, followed by some super great thing (or super-bad thing) someone is doing. Before this crisis, I used this idea as an example of my default approach to management decisions. When the pressure comes, I default to sales person mode, agree to anything, and try to please. Others might default to controller mode, saying no, and buying time. There’s no right or wrong here, no judgement, just saying stressful situations tend to reveal glimpses of our true selves.

Most days I get up early enough that it’s dark in the house. I’ve learned to take cautious first steps because you never know what’s going to be underfoot. When the kids were little it may be a Lego, but nowadays it may be the new cat in our lives, Bianca. On this particular morning, she happens to be hiding on the first step of the stairs.

I’m a big guy and, as I head downstairs, all my weight comes down on some soft, furry part of poor Bianca. Instinct kicks in and I recoil my foot, flail about reaching for the rail, and slip down a few stairs. I make a huge noise, as does Bianca, and I end up on my ass, on the stairs, in the dark. Not moving. Wondering if this is how it ends. Taking inventory of body parts.

It’s a dramatic moment.

My lovely bride jolts awake and charges into the room.

“Oh! What happened?!? Is Bianca alright?!?”

Yep. First thing out of her mouth. Time of crisis. True colors.

It’s all good. I’m okay with it. At least I know where I stand. Just below the kids and pets, but still above the kitchen. (although there has been talk about remodeling. . .)


If you need to set up a time to visit, follow this link: