Quit or Be Quiet: Examining Employee Behavior Using DiCaprio's "The Beach"...

We all know that any company isn't a match for everyone.  What's always been interesting to me is the power of the flock - your employees - being the best stewards of who fits and who doesn't.  When someone isn't a match for what's going on (across all factors) at your company, the most talented opt out and gone.  They come in, check it out and say, "this is not for me."  Then they get another job.  Simple as that.  No harm, no foul, they say a couple of things about having a great opportunity they couldn't pass up and everyone moves on.

It's the people who aren't a fit without many options that are often the bigger issue.  Because they fall lower on the talent spectrum, they have fewer options, and don't leave as quickly.  And if others around them are happy, they can serve initially to be a bit of a cancer but before long, the teammates around them just kind of get sick of their BS.  It's what happens next that is the key.

I was reminded of this dynamic in Shea Serrono's description of "The Beach" (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) as he relayed the feelings of San Antonio Spurs fans related to the Kawhi Leonard trade demands and ultimate trade this week.  More from the Ringer:


"Have you seen the movie The Beach? It came out in 2000. It starred Leonardo DiCaprio. He played a character named Richard, a young American kid out exploring culture in Bangkok. One day, he hears a tale of some pristine beach on some pristine island and so, using a rough map given to him by someone who says he’s been there, he heads out after it, eventually finding not only the beach but also a colony of people living there as a mostly self-sufficient community of beach bums. The_beach

The movie ends up being something like 85 percent fun and 15 percent terrible. (It was one of those movies where it felt like they got to where the end was supposed to be and just went, “Umm … what the f**k do we do now?”) But there’s this part in it that serves as a good analogy for this whole Spurs-Kawhi debacle.

While spearfishing one day, two people get attacked by a shark. The shark bites a large chunk out of one of the guys’ thighs and also bites him across his torso, killing him. The second guy lives but is severely wounded (he was bitten on his shin). And so now he’s there at the beach, screaming and miserable and in an unfathomable amount of pain. And he refuses to leave by boat to get medical help because he’s too afraid of the water now, but the leader of the beach community (a woman named Sal) (played by Tilda Swinton) won’t allow for anybody to come to the beach to help him for fear of the beach eventually getting turned into a tourist trap. So the guy, that poor bastard, suffers through it for a few days, just lying there with his leg bitten too far open to ever heal. And after a bit, everyone else on the island gets fed up with him, and the sadness they felt for him turns to frustration and anger.

Leo, narrating the scene, explains the setting, saying, “You see, in a shark attack — or any other major tragedy, I guess — the important thing is to get eaten and die, in which case there’s a funeral and somebody makes a speech and everybody says what a good guy you were. Or get better, in which case everybody can forget about it.”

Then the scene cuts away and we see a group of the people carrying the guy on a gurney into the forest.

“Get better or die,” says Leo, narrating again. “It’s the hanging around in between that really pisses people off.”

Then we see them set the gurney down on the ground, and the guy has a blanket and a tent they’ve set up for him, plus a few supplies. Then they turn around and leave him there to die. The camera cuts away again and we see everyone on the beach playing volleyball and smiling and laughing and having a very good time, same as they were before the shark attack. 


The Beach is your normally functioning company - not perfect, but not bad either.  They guy who died immediately from the shark bite is the employee who decides they're not a fit and gets out.  The guy with bad wounds that's impacting everyone else is the person that's not happy but won't leave.

The people around person #2 is your relatively happy employee base.  

“Get better or die,” says Leo, narrating again. “It’s the hanging around in between that really pisses people off.”

Your employee base can't carry person #2 into the forest.  That part is up to you.

It's knowing when it's time and having the guts to make a call that's the hard part, right?


"No Poach" Recruiting Agreements Continue to Fall Across Corporate America...

If you've been in the business world long enough, you've ran into executives at both small and big companies making agreements to not recruit other company's employees.  These agreements are a by-product of the good-ole-boy network and usually the result of one executive knowing another and agreeing to keep each other's companies "off-limits" to recruiting efforts.

It's called collusion, right?  Funny thing is, HR has never really had a voice in that.  Instead, we find out what the agreement is "ex post facto" and if we're really lucky, we get to ruin someone's life by retracting an offer due to these informal agreements - after that employee has already resigned at their current company. Trading places

It's always been stupid like that.  The good news is that the legal system is rapidly taking these agreements off the table.  First it was Silicon Valley and now seven fast food chains — including Arby's, Cinnabon and McDonald's — have pledged to end so-called "no-poaching" rules that have prevented employees from moving from one franchise to another within the same restaurant chain: More from CNN:

"Washington state's Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Thursday the agreement could end the practice at roughly 25,000 restaurants nationwide.

The move will mean fairer hiring practices for "tens of thousands of low-wage" workers in the United States, Ferguson's office said. His office also said it will take legal action against franchises that violate the agreement, and the companies could face civil penalties or fines.

The fast food chains included in the agreement are Arby's, Auntie Anne's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carl's Jr., Cinnabon, Jimmy John's, and McDonald's (MCD).

"No-poach" rules bar workers at franchise-owned restaurants from being hired by a separate franchise within the same chain.

Because such rules are usually laid out in company-franchise contracts, and not in worker agreements, employees have often been unaware they existed, Ferguson's office said."

Uh, yeah - the employees didn't know they existed because they are LITERALLY THE LAST THING ON ANYONE'S MIND IN THESE AGREEMENTS.

The no-poach agreement will continue to exist in pockets, but I've got good news for my HR leaders who are expected to enforce them.

You can now tell your company they are illegal as hell.

Score one for the worker.  I'm generally pro-business, but c'mon.  A no-poach agreement that means a counter worker at Arby's can't move to another Arby's?

This is why we can't have nice things.


Why I Had To Have The "There's No Crying In the Workplace" Talk With My Son....

When you read the title of this post, you might think I have sensitive sons.  Problems with emotions, crying, etc.

That's not true. I think they're pretty emotionally balanced, in the normal range, and generally OK.

I didn't have to have a talk about "there's no crying in the workplace" with one of my sons because I'm afraid his current behavior will transcend into softness in the workplace.

No - I had to have this talk with my son because all of the business reality shows feature business owners crying.  If not all the time, waaaaaay too much.

The worst offender is CNBC's The Profit. (also see Undercover Boss for crying in the show formula) I like this show, as it features a business investor (Marcus Lemonis) evaluating a business that's broken to decide if he can invest, take control and make money while he helps someone out.

The show goes through the process - Lemonis asks questions, challenges the owner and ultimately invests and takes control.  Along the way, there's always a shot of the owner crying, touting some hardship.

Now crying itself is not a bad thing. But if you were an alien evaluating how business gets done on Earth solely through The Profit, you'd make the assumption that the road to business success is making yourself vulnerable by crying.

Thus, the brief conversation with one of the Dunn boys who always is around and interested when I'm watching The Profit.  Here's what I was compelled to tell him:

  1. Normal people don't break down and cry when things get tough in the business world.
  2. PRO TIP - If you've got to cry, a nuts and bolts conversation about your financial statement isn't the place to do it.
  3. Instead of wanting to help you more, many people will believe you're unstable when you cry and treat you like you have a disease they can catch from you.
  4. Probably the only time its OK to cry in business is when you're showing empathy for other people.  In that way, it's acceptable and you'll be treated as someone who JUST CARES TOO MUCH.  An acceptable fault.
  5. Crying at any other time is risky.  And contrary to what this show illustrates, crying among business leaders is not common.  It doesn't happen every day - in fact, it rarely happens.
  6. PS - Man up.  You'll thank me when you're 30 for this advice.

I love The Profit featuring Marcus Lemonis.  But the crying thing might be teaching young folks things that can get them benched in life.

Clip of The Profit below if you haven't seen it.  Highly recommended for viewing with your kids with the above caveat made clear.


Uber CHRO Resigns Amid Whistleblower Allegations: Serves as Cautionary Tale for HR Pros at all Levels...

Uber's HR shop has always been a bit of a mess.  As is often the case, the company outgrew a capable HR leader who was overran by the personality of a founder with total power, and the company decided it was time for a change.  Uber brought in Liane Hornsey to bring mature chops to the situation.

It apparently hasn't gone well.  In addition to encouraging employees to hug during town hall meetings with the singular purpose of talking about harassment issues (WOW!), Hornsey has been accused of routinely dismissing racial discrimination claims.  Can't make this stuff up.

More from Engadget:

Uber's Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey has resigned after a third-party firm investigated allegations that she routinely dismissed internal racial discrimination complaints. She joined the company a month before former engineer Susan Fowler penned a blog post talking about the rampant sexual harassment and sexism she endured at Uber. As head of the HR department, Hornsey served as one of the company's top spokespersons on issues regarding diversity and discrimination throughout the upheavalthat followed. Bo Young Lee, the ride-hailing firm's first diversity chief, was even ordered to report to her instead of to the company's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

"Uber's Chief Legal Officer Tony West ordered a probe into the way she handles discrimination reports after a group of whistleblowers threatened to go public with their complaints if the company doesn't take action. The group, who told Reuters that they're Uber employees of color, also accused Hornsey of using discriminatory language against the company's Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Bernard Coleman. They claimed that she threatened former executive Bozoma Saint John, who joined the company from Apple Music with the intention of fixing its internal cultural issues, as well.

Uber's Chief People Officer Liane Hornsey has resigned after a third-party firm investigated allegations that she routinely dismissed internal racial discrimination complaints. She joined the company a month before former engineer Susan Fowler penned a blog post talking about the rampant sexual harassment and sexism she endured at Uber. As head of the HR department, Hornsey served as one of the company's top spokespersons on issues regarding diversity and discrimination throughout the upheavalthat followed. Bo Young Lee, the ride-hailing firm's first diversity chief, was even ordered to report to her instead of to the company's new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi."

Today's lesson for anyone reading this - HR or line leader - is that YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ENSURING that allegations of unfair treatment get the focus and attention they deserve. That means:

  1. listening with empathy
  2. taking action via investigation
  3. reporting back on outcomes to those who raised the issue.

It's HR 101.  It should be common, but it's not as routine as it should be. Wake up call - you've always been at risk when you fail to do the hard work associated with #1 through #3.  

In today's world, we're more at risk than ever as HR pros, as the Uber news shows.

Do the work.  Do your job, no matter how bogus you think the claim is.  

YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK.  

 


Are HR Pros A Good Fit to Start an Amazon Partner Delivery Business?

If there's one thing HR Pros know plenty about, it's recruiting, retention and everything it takes to keep a business afloat on the people side of the business.   That mean in some aspects of life, HR pros are the perfect people to start a business.  But there's one big thing missing for a lot of HR pros are thinking about starting a business.

Sales.

Yep, a lot of HR pros would be great at the staffing and employee relations side of the business, but they have nothing in their DNA to do the sales required to provide the lifeblood of revenue needed to put those people skills to use as an entrepreneur.  Too bad, right?

Wait - there's a perfect opportunity for HR pros to start a business and not have to sell.  Ready?

Amazon. Amazon shipping

That's right, Amazon.  The online force that's eating everything launched a new program last week that helps people in the United States start their own businesses delivering Amazon packages.

Hmm.  More on the Program from USA Today:

Amazon wants you to deliver its packages for them.

The online retailer launched a new program this week that helps people in the United States start their own businesses delivering Amazon packages. The move gives Amazon another way to ship its packages to shoppers besides relying on UPS, FedEx and other package delivery services.

Amazon.com Inc. says startup costs begin at $10,000, and the businesses created under the program would operate 20 to 40 vans and employ between 40 and 100 people.

Here's what else to know:

WHO IT'S FOR: Amazon says those with little or no logistics experience can apply. And existing package delivery businesses can sign up, too. If they are approved to join the program, Amazon says those businesses can continue to deliver packages for other companies.

HOW DOES IT WORK: Those interested first need to apply at its website,logistics.amazon.com. The company will vet applicants and figure out if they're the right fit. There's also three weeks of training, including a trip to Amazon headquarters in Seattle, which you'll pay for as part of the startup costs. At the training, Amazon says you'll learn about its shipping operations and spend time in the field with an existing delivery provider.

WHAT AMAZON PROVIDES: Amazon says it will offer support to the businesses, including discounts on insurance, technology and other services. Amazon-branded vans will be available to lease and Amazon-branded uniforms can be bought for drivers. But keep in mind that those vans can only be used to deliver Amazon packages.

WHAT TO KNOW: The new business would be responsible for hiring staff, and Amazon would be the customer, paying for the deliveries.

WHERE DO I HAVE TO BE LOCATED?: Amazon says opportunities are available near its 75 delivery stations across the country. A map is available at logistics.amazon.com./marketing/getting-started.

What I love about this for the right type of HR pro is what I have already described.  Many of you are great at the hustle it takes to get a business staffed up, dealing with employee relations issues of all types and generally grinding out the workday through the at times dirty business of people. 

What I hate about this opportunity for HR pros is that as good as you would be at this, the Achilles heel for most of you/us - sales - would ultimately come back to haunt you. 

Amazon is setting people who can't sell up for failure.

Amazon has the demand.  They need you to start this business.

They need you to contribute to the gig economy.  Not by being a gig employee, but by being an employer of gig employees.

No co-employment issues on their part.  You take those!  

Pricing power belongs to... not you - Amazon.  You get selected for the program, start your business and then the inevitable happens.  Amazon has a variety of partners, and you'll be asked to take a reduced price for delivery at some point.  Your margins and profitability will fall until - you guessed it - it no longer makes sense for you to run your (Amazon) Delivery Business.

Because you aren't a salesperson, you don't have a lot of revenue options and as it turns out - you're contributed to the further destabilization of the American workforce by creating a company that has jobs - but they're on-demand, gig economy jobs.

Meh.  Maybe you should just stay in HR.

To date, Amazon has largely steered clear of the criticism heaped upon WalMart related to destroying the traditional economy.  

That feels like it's about to change.  Mommas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys resistant/stupid when it comes to macroeconomic change.


The Self Driving Car Industry Illustrates The Reality of Today's Non-Compete Agreement...

A lot of people will tell you that non-competes aren't enforceable.  My experience with them says that the company with the most leverage/biggest checkbook can inflict a lot of financial pain on a smaller competitor that poaches talent (when there's a signed non-compete in play_.

The rules as I see them:

1.  Bigger companies can afford to write checks to enforce a non-compete when a much smaller competitor steals talent from them.

2.  Smaller companies can't do much to big companies who steal talent (where the past employee of smaller company had a signed non-compete).  They're basically starting a battle they can't afford.

3. Big company vs big company is more complex. Both have resources, so the considerations are more strategic - things like influencing others to not challenge non-competes comes into play, IP considerations, etc.

My experience is the biggest checkbook wins.  That means that while the non-complete may not be enforceable, there's still a leveraged play to be made to inflict pain or play strategic games.

But if you're interested in the actual legal merits of non-completes, movement in the self-driving car industry tells you they are DOA.  More from Tech Times:

"Apple is beginning to acquire high-profile employees to help develop its self-driving software project, which reports say is already behind schedule at this point.

The Information reports that Apple has hired Jaime Waydo, who previously worked as a senior engineer at Waymo and was involved in the development of one of NASA's Mars rovers. An Apple spokesperson has since confirmed the hiring but didn't reveal what she would be working on inside the company.

Waydo, who served as head of systems engineering at Waymo, is described by her colleagues as "instrumental," according to the report. She led safety verification for the company's prototypes and delivered input on when it was safe to launch on-the-road tests in Phoenix back in 2016. It's safe to assume she'll do similar work in Apple's turf." No driver

Think about that for a second.  An industry with max innovation going on allows creators to move between companies.  If that doesn't tell you that non-competes are dead (see my rules, you can still inflict pain, but we're talking here about the legal merits), nothing will.

Part of that is likely due to the fact that in the PRoC (People's Republic of California), non-competes face such a hostile legal environment that companies don't even try.

Which brings us to the the 4th rule of non-competes to add to my 3 rules at the top of this post:

4. The new way to enforce TAFNAANC (the agreement formerly known as a non-complete) is to make employees sign hardcore Intellectual Property (IP) agreements, with strong provisions not to transfer IP or infringe on IP created at your company.

How do you do that?  I don't know, but look no further than the alleged theft of trade secrets by a former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski—and the alleged use of those secrets by Uber—which was at the center of Waymo’s lawsuit last year vs Uber.  

It wasn't a non-complete that crushed Uber, it was the allegation that Levandowski used trade secrets at Uber developed at Google/Waymo.

For a lot of you reading this, you're thinking this is all a little bit deep when it comes to how you should consider non-competes - and you're right.  Continue to have narrowly drawn non-competes signed by sales pros and others that make sense if legal in your state.  They are a barrier people have to think about.

But if your product is IP heavy, consider re-looking at your IP agreements people sign when they come info the company.

Oh yeah - then put some golden handcuffs on people in the form of LTIPs so they have to think twice about leaving money on the table before leaving.  LOL.

Good luck!

  


Asians FTW: The 2018 Google Diversity Report...

The latest Google Diversity report is out.  The baseline is this - female, black and latino numbers still struggling, both in the overall workforce and in management ranks.

But Asians?  Doing just fine, thank you very much.

For context, I thought I'd start with how the overall numbers match up from 2014 to 2018 (email subscribers, click through to site for charts, you'll want to see these):

Here's the 2014 chart:

Google2014

Here's the 2018 chart:

2018

The downside - little progress overall in black, latino and women representation at the company.

But the upside - and if you're going to knock them for the downside you have to note this - is that Google is significantly less white than it was 4 years ago.

It just so happens that Asians took the majority of those gains.  So while work still needs to happen in the aforementioned classes, I'm always a little shocked that companies like Google don't get more props for their workforce representation of Asians.

If I react to anything in those numbers, it's this.  Daaaaaaaamn - Asians are kicking some ass.  For real.  If careers at Google are what you want for your kids, we probably need to take a look at the various nationalities that comprise the Asian category (a very broad catagory that includes Indian Continent as well as Pacific Rim) and figure out what they are doing right - even in American schools - to prep their kids for this type of work.  My kids are smart and actually decent at Math and Science, in advanced classes, but there's a couple of Asian kids that are the Michael Jordan and Larry Bird (threw in a white guy for balance - did you catch that?) of math at their school.

My kid was on the college bowl team for the stuff that didn't involve Math.  When a math question came up, all the other kids took their hand off the buzzer and just looked at the Asian kid I'll call "MJ" - as to say, "you've got this one MJ - we'll be over here reading TMZ if you need us to sharpen your pencil."

MJ's going to work at Google.  His family doesn't need Google to do anything to get him there.

I'm looking at the Google diversity numbers and resisting the urge to wag the finger.  Keep on crushing product and eroding overall privacy, G-town.  I'll give you a golf clap for the good faith efforts to build more diverse math and science pipeline, but then give a knowing nod to the people who are really crushing it in those numbers - the many nationalities that comprise the fictional, yet powerful, EEO category of "Asian".

 


TALES FROM A TRUMP STAFFER: How to Make a Narcissist Do What You Need Them to Do...

How many of you have worked for a narcissist?  Let's start with a definition of what that is to level set the rest of this post:

Narcissist (närsəsəst) - a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. Egostuff

I think smart professionals go through stages related to how they deal with narcissists as their manager:

1--They're shocked at the selfish behavior and general pathology of the individual.

2--They get sad about it and disengage a bit.

3--They get smart and start using with drives the narcissist to get #### done.

Know any narcissists in the news these days?  Regardless of your politics, you have to admit that Donald Trump is a bit of a narcissist.  Note that this isn't a political post, so both sides shouldn't blast me via email.

The recent summit with North Korea gives us a perfect glimpse of how to deal with your manager - if he or she is a narcissist.   More from the Chicago Tribune:

"Some of the most intense drama surrounding President Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un came not across the negotiating table, but in the days and hours leading up to Tuesday's historic meeting - a behind-the-scenes flurry of commotion prompted by Trump himself.

After arriving in Singapore on Sunday, an antsy and bored Trump urged his aides to demand that the meeting with Kim be pushed up by a day - to Monday - and had to be talked out of altering the long-planned and carefully negotiated summit date on the fly, according to two people familiar with preparations for the event.

Ultimately, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders persuaded Trump to stick with the original plan, arguing that the president and his team could use the time to prepare, people familiar with the talks said. They also warned him that he might sacrifice wall-to-wall television coverage of his summit if he abruptly moved the long-planned date to Monday in Singapore, which would be Sunday night in the United States."

You can hate Trump and his team if you want to.  I'm going to zig while others zag and try to learn something from his staff.  Pompeo and Sanders wrote a playbook for you related to how to deal with a narcissist as your manager. 

TL:DR - The best way to deal with a narcissist with an unreasonable demand is to tell him/her they won't get enough credit or attention if they don't follow your advice.

More notes on the best way to use this strategy with a Narcissist:

1--Everything should be presented as if you are their agent.  Make it about their needs, not yours.  

2--Focus on the Narcissist getting credit for the decision, even if you will share in those accolades.  Don't tell the narcissist anything about how you benefit.

3--Focus on the Narcissist getting greater amounts of attention.  Similar to #2, but it's not credit.  It's attention, which is subjective, but the narcissist loves it.  ("Don - let's make sure you get a bit of face time with Kim, because he's going to love you and once he meets you, things will just be better for us.")

4--When in doubt, go to the senior level of this play - Frame everything as if you are preventing them from taking reputational damage.  ("Rick, people are going to blame you for this instead of loving you, and I've got a better plan that gets us what we need and makes people love you for it.")

When dealing with a narcissist, the smart professional goes through the stages I outlined, then sucks it up and plays the game to get what they- and the organization - needs from the narcissist.

Good luck dealing with your narcissist.  Take on the role of being their agent and it will go as well as it can.  Try not to vomit in your mouth as you do what's required.


ASK THE CAPITALIST: Are "Acting" or "Interim" Titles Ever A Good Idea?

A reader asks...

Hi Kris -

Do you have an opinion on the use of “acting” in title?  A situation has come up where two ppl in an org would be made “acting”…one person – we’ll call her Abby - would be moving into here boss's role and the boss (Maggie) would be moving to a higher level position.  Maggie didn’t seek out the new role, it was offered to her when the position opened up.  It’s fair to say that Maggie has already been somewhat serving in the higher level position, but without the title or pay, which is why she is the CEO’s pick to fill the role.  As part of succession planning, Abby has been groomed for Maggie’s role for years.  The rub is that the CEO isn’t sure whether she’s the right person to take over for Maggie so he wants to make Abby “acting” and feels it would be cleaner if Maggie is “acting” too.  FWIW, the CEO asked Maggie to commit two years to the role and Maggie has agreed to one year and reevaluating at that time.  Any strong opinions on this?

--Sarah from Syracuse

----------

Hey Sarah - 

Well, you've got a lot going on, don't you?

Here’s my take on the use of acting in this situation. Lucy

1. “Acting” in any role is a crutch when you either aren't sure someone can do the job, or 100% know that it won’t work out, but you need the butt in the seat.

2.  In the scenario you’ve laid out, your CEO’s use of acting for Abby seems appropriate, but if the CEO is sure that Maggie is a fit, he should place her in the role without the interim tag.  She’s already got a commitment issue to the role you want her to move into, and the “acting” tag is going to allow her to bail mentally if times get tough.

3.  I’d put Abby into the “acting” role for a quarter and make definitive call at that time.  If you drag it out past that, odds are you’ll end up with commitment and employee relations issues from Abby as well.

4.  What happens at the end of the one year period for Maggie if she doesn't want to stay in the job? I’d avoid talking about periods of commitment for specific jobs, it just leads to the aforementioned commitment issues once that period is up.

5. Will you take care of Maggie if she’s key and it doesn’t work out?  Sure. I’m just not convinced that talking about a one or two year commitment is the right way to go.  Stalin had a 5-year plan – that didn’t work out well for him.

Bottom line – put Abby in the “acting” tag and make your call in 3 months, at the same time put Maggie in the higher role with no “acting” tag and stop acting like she has the ability to come back down the org, even if she secretly does.

It’s all Jedi-mind tricks and Doug Henning-like illusions in the show.

KD

 


"PRETEND WE'RE HAVING AN ARGUMENT": The Glass Office Everybody Watches You Go Into (From "Billions")....

Workplace Artifacts - objects or situations made by human beings, with specific cultural interest or meaning in the workplace.

-----------

You know it's official when I make up my own definition, right?  OFFICIAL...

I'm fascinated by the cultural and performance impact by a lot of the things we do in the workplace.  Sometimes we're aware of what we are doing, sometimes we aren't.  In both circumstances, the impact can be either positive of negative.

Take an executive calling someone into his or her office.  I'm not talking about setting up a meeting, I'm talking about asking someone in the cube farm to come to their office - in a public way.

Take a look at the clip below from the Showtime Series "Billions", where Bobby Axelrod asks an employee (in this case, "Dollar" Bill Stern) to come to his office and proceeds to fake a verbal fight in a soundproof office.  The clip is gold, so watch it and we'll talk after the jump (email subscribers click through to see clip below, be aware lots of language so earbuds required):

The messaging is obvious - every time you publicly ask an employee to come to your office (think, "John, can you come to my office" as you're walking by), you'll signaling multiple things:

1--You tone says it all.  If you're mad or even neutral, people think something is wrong and the person in question is about to get lit up.

2--Who you ask to visit speaks volumes.  Are you asking someone you would normally ask to come to your office or someone that doesn't usually have that access?  The less often a person is in your office, the more it means when you DO ask them to come.

3--Body language - Once someone is into your office, what does your posture say?  Two people standing is urgent in nature, which could be positive or negative.  Both sitting in a relaxed position is usually good.  The guest standing while the exec sits and looks angry is 100% bad.

4--What happens after the meeting is key.  Dollar Bill tells Bobby to go F himself, and that message is clear.  For most of the other meetings we have when employees are directed to visit your office, it's more subtle. Employee goes back to the desk and exec stays in office is neutral.  Exec inviting someone else in right after a short meeting with that employee - especially that employee's manager - is crushingly bad.  Exec doing MBWA (management by walking around) and being light hearted means it was all good.

Public requests for a visit to the office are (or should be) strategic in nature. Use them in negative ways as a manager on a regular basis, and you'll hurt your culture.  But if you need to send a clear message that someone f'd up, it's a tool whose power should not be underestimated.

Want to know what professional level, Jedi Mind Trick "come to my office" looks like?  When you use it to either deflate or create perceptions that you have favorites (deflate means you ask someone who is not perceived to be your favorite and break bread, and if you keep asking them, they become the new perceived favorite).

What's your favorite moment from the Billions clip?  Mine is the "I'm going to poke you.  Poke me back".  

Gold.