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Construction. The people side.

Whether your planning your own career or trying to hire the best candidates, some thinking around the people part of the industry.

METRIK Management inc.

PV Aug 2007 close_edited.jpg

Category: Time management, efficiency

With a title like that, you could assume I'm not managing my own brain, but please give me a minute. Why do cats chase string? A cat doesn’t want the string, it doesn’t eat string. Cats don’t wear string, so why chase string?

It’s in a cat’s nature to chase things that move, even string. The idea doesn’t have to make sense, the string just has to move. When a cat stops managing it’s brain, it starts thinking chasing string is a good idea. I think the unmanaged part of any brain is what’s in our nature. It is who we are. A few fortunate few are wired correctly and their nature is in line with a productive, healthy life. The rest of us are wired to be more self destructive.

My car is a waste of money. I enjoy good chocolate. I watch “Chopped” and “Iron Chef” both shows about people cooking gourmet food which nobody ever eats. And no matter how old you are, you still look at yourself when passing a mirror. That’s human nature and all the self improvement seminars in the world aren’t going to change it. We all suffer from an unmanaged brain.

I remember reading why you had to manage your brain. A nothing idea at first, but as it sinks in, I could see it everywhere in life! It’s why we use paper over plastic, it’s why the climate change science is based on number of votes, it’s why we fall in love!

Unmanaged brains explain all human problems! It’s about the gap between emotion and logic, feeling and thinking, ideology and pragmatism. Look around, who in the company is managing their brain? Who’s brain is in neutral? If you leave a brain alone it runs off the road in minutes, eats junk food, leaves an unfinished mess everywhere, gossips, speculates, it overheats until it breaks down.

In truth, an unmanaged brain is a big problem. To work and live productive lives we have to focus, plan, be disciplined, and have goals. Even a very smart brain won’t get you there. There are many smart people in prison only because they didn’t manage their brain. Be a good boss to your brain, it needs you.

Plan, work your plan, focus, and be disciplined. Your brain alone, won’t get you there.

Let’s build great companies by managing one brain at a time.

Thank you



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p.s. So why does a cat chase string? Because a cat’s brain is managed by a cat.

p.s. Overpopulation. Did you know that using New York city’s density, we could fit all the people in the world into the state of Texas?

p.s. Obama's resume is not what got him the job.


What do autocratic companies do when their employees have an opinion? In Russia, should you wish to protest the Olympics, they have a small park, under a freeway and a bridge, about 40 miles out of Sochi, reserved for you. The world's media will never find you, but it is very considerate. Protestors are not allowed to demonstrate anywhere else. Dictatorships like Putin’s government, tremble at the idea of grassroots conversations. The same holds true in many companies. Employees speaking out freely? Not allowed. If you have something to say, we’ve got a suggestion box for that. I’ve had situations where a group manager meeting, asking managers what employees need and think, have put me on the executive’s watch list as a possible trouble maker. It’s a bit outside my comprehension that in 2014, there are still companies willing to suppress any employee participation. Closed and controlled employee cultures are where low emotional engagement slowly drifts towards an organized workforces. Quoting one of my clients, “you wake up one morning and find out you’ve got a new partner in your business - the union.” Consider an employee opinion survey. They do a couple of things very well. If you respond to the results you will stabilize a workforce, find ideas to increase productivity, and be able to deal with pending issues before they become problems. Underneath the survey feedback you will identify management effectiveness. You’ll connect survey results to department managers. Be able to show managers how to develop their skills and become more effective for your company. Since immediate supervisory management controls emotional engagement, you can address issue of morale, absenteeism, lates, and initiative. Beyond that, retention issues, work flow and process design and destructive interpersonal relationships can be identified and managed. Much work has been put into determining survey effectiveness. Gallup tells us that a simple one page, twelve question form will get you more accurate information than those cumbersome fifty page interrogations. All you need to know to manage a profitable and productive company can be learned through a simple twelve question process. Some idea about opening up closed cultures . . .

  • Employee opinion forms with comment section. Anonymous.

  • Performance reviews Feedback.

  • Managers use face to face and less email.

  • Managers walk around, get out of their office.

  • Employee meetings, weekly by department, supervisor lead. Monthly meetings for the whole company

  • Fire people who don’t perform. Autocratic companies tend to keep poor performance secret. Participative companies make changes when managers don’t treat people well.

  • We hire for skills. We fire for behaviors.

Two things are required for a company to succeed. First, hire "A" talent. Second, expect all managers to become leaders. If we can help you build a better company, let's talk. Thank you Wolf Partner p.s If you’re employee opinion survey is longer than one page, you may need a different survey tool.

Category: Hiring decisions. Selection, observation

I like Lt. Joe Kenda, (Homicide Hunter), he’s a character. Hiring managers can learn a lot from a good cop. Victim shot dead on the floor, neighbor in shock and horror. “She was such a nice person. I can’t think of anyone who didn’t like her.”

Lt. Joe, “Really? I can think of one person who didn’t like her. The person who shot her.” You can’t beat that for clarity. The way Joe sees it is find the one guy who didn’t like the victim and you’ve got your murderer. The rest of us are befuddled and confused about who could have done it, while Lt. Joe already has the answer. Two people, given the same information will get different instructions from it.

Fast forward. I read an article in Discover about Cambridge researchers finding that City traders with longer ring fingers made more money than their short ring-fingered colleagues. They're also thought to be more aggressive, and more likely to take risks. Something Lt. Joe would have spotted.

Today, I watch everyone’s ring finger to index finger ratio. It may even replace psychometric testing. The lesson is, act on what you observe. Let the facts take you to the conclusion.

A few things to observe in an interview. We are what we defend. Watch where the candidate chooses to explain and speak That’s who she is.No matter what the resume says, immaturity will end up with bad behavior, and that’s where you’ll eventually fire this candidate.

Immaturity shows itself as a lack of respect for others, not age.People who insist on splitting hairs, or parsing words are difficult to work with. If they're difficult with you, they're going to be twice as difficult with your staff should you hire them. Do they follow through on things promised? Follow through doesn't improve after hiring. This is as good as it's going to get.Is the conversation about your needs or the candidate’s needs? The candidate you might not choose is the one who’s trying too frequently, to define what s/he needs. Once on board, the self centered mentality doesn't change. We hire people for skills but we fire them for poor behavior.

In today’s tight candidate driven market nobody is watching candidate quality as much as they should. Scarcity does that. We consider “B” candidates when we should be holding out for an “A” candidate. But, management requires pragmatism.

You have to keep it all going even if you have to compromise. Interview, observe, see. Would Lt. Joe make good hiring decisions? I think so. He sees everything.

Thank you

Wolf Partner

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