Working Wounded Blog: Making a Resolution

Adecco Staffing did a survey that asked, "What is your New Year's Resolution?"

The top responses that they reported:

      Get a raise, 24 percent
      Be more productive, 17 percent
      Get a new job, 13 percent
      Get promoted, 9 percent
      Get to work earlier every day, 5 percent

Maybe my world view is skewed, after all, my column is called "Working Wounded: Advice that adds insight to injury." But after responding to more than 50,000 e-mails from bosses and employees, my take on New Year's Resolutions is slightly different.

If we could get people to be really honest, I'd predict their resolutions would look more like this:

      Play more solitaire on my computer during work hours, 24 percent
      Figure out who is stealing food from the company refrigerator, 17 percent
      Get back at the boss (without the boss figuring out who really did it), 13 percent
      Shop more from my fast Internet connection at work, 9 percent
      Watch more ABC TV shows, 5 percent

OK, I'll accept that mine do tend toward the cynical. But before you scoff at my list, take another look at the list at the top of the page. "Get to work earlier," "Be more productive" -- come on, who writes these surveys anyway?

I suspect that the participants in the Adecco survey may have been less than truthful in their responses. Why? Because if management is reading, it sounds a lot better to say you're going to show up early than to suggest you'd like to maximize your slacking time.

I think this survey proves the point that organizations have turned sucking up into an art form. Organizations are all about telling "The Man" what he wants to hear. And it is to all of our detriment.

Organizations function best when people show up, act real and speak the truth. This eliminates our blind spots and creates meaning. Yet, I've found that most organizations destroy any hint of dissent, and most worship at the alter of group-think. Don't believe me? When was the last time you heard someone at work say something that challenged the status quo and live to tell the tale?

I recently saw a survey that proves my point. It was by Booz Allen Hamilton. It asked a very simple question: "Is your organization healthy?" It got 50,000 responses. Fifty four percent of senior executives reported that their organization was healthy. Before we start feeling too good about ourselves, that means that 46 percent admitted that their organization wasn't healthy. Ouch.

For middle management, the health level dropped to 33 percent. And for non-management employees the response was below 30 percent.

To steal the famous line from "Cool Hand Luke," what we have here is a failure to communicate. Most organizations can't communicate, and what better example is there of this than their lame New Years Resolutions. To me, this is proof that the workplace isn't going to improve anytime soon.

Which leads me to my resolution for 2006 -- to be more real. Try it. Maybe it will make your office a better place to work.

Quote of the Week

"Corporation: an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility." -- Ambrose Bierce

Blog Ballot Results

Here are the results from a recent Working Wounded Blog/ABCNews.com online ballot:

When you are being interviewed for a job, how much of the time do you spend interviewing them?

   0 percent of the time, 7.2 percent

   20 percent of the time, 61.8 percent

   30 percent of the time, 16.3 percent

   50 percent of the time, 14.5 percent

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author, an internationally syndicated columnist, popular speaker, and a recent addition to the community of bloggers. He welcomes your comments at bob@workingwounded.com.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

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