- About Cy
- Cy news
- Cy in action
- Cy store
- books, buttons, dvds, cds, and mem-cards
- contact Cy
- phone or email us
10/7/11 6 Ways to Leas First and Manage Second Web Article
Six Ways to Lead First, Manage Second
8/1/09 Are Three Martinis Three Too Many? The New York Times
Are Three Martinis Three Too Many?
Are Three Martinis Three Too Many?
By EILENE ZIMMERMAN Published: August 1, 2009
Q. You are new to the corporate world and not sure what to do at business functions or after-hour gatherings where alcohol is present. If everyone else is drinking - including your boss - should you drink, too?
Skip to next paragraph Chris Reed
A. For those new to the professional world, the line between a work event and a social event is often unclear. You may see all the trappings of a party - food, music, even dancing - but any gathering where colleagues are present is business and you should stay sharp and avoid alcohol, said Jody Queen-Hubert, executive director of cooperative education and career services at Pace University in New York.
"Don't be fooled," she warned. "You are always being scrutinized by colleagues, so professionalism at all times is a must."
Cy Wakeman, president of a human resources consulting firm bearing her name in Sioux City, Iowa, says that when it comes to drinking with colleagues, "the risk is very high that something negative will come out of it." She says that it's acceptable to have one or two drinks but that it is best to stop there.
"I even advise staying out of photographs with groups of people drinking," she added, "because it could wind up online somewhere, like Facebook."
Everyone you interact with while drinking has the potential to affect your career. A colleague today may be your manager six months from now and will likely recall any indecorous behavior.
If colleagues regularly have drinks after work, order what everyone else is having but sip it slowly. "Make it last all night," Ms. Queen-Hubert said. "Holding a drink without drinking is a way to feel like part of the crowd without compromising your judgment."
Q. How do you politely decline to drink, especially if others are urging you to have one?
A. A simple "no, thanks" should suffice, said Debra Benton, a career coach and author of "C.E.O. Material: How to Be a Leader in Any Organization." If everyone in your group is ordering a drink, get a soda or a tonic and lime.
You don't need to make excuses, she said, or give a reason that reveals personal information, like "I'm on medication." You can, however, give the reason if it is less personal - you will be driving, for example, or you need to finish some work when you get home.
If you are at a dinner where bottles of wine are ordered, you don't want to protest because it will bring unwanted attention, said Debra Condren, a business psychologist and president of Manhattan Business Coaching. "You want to fit in, and that might mean getting a glass of wine and having a few sips or just letting it sit there," she said.
Q. When you attend business-related social events with more-senior colleagues, they always seem to be holding a drink. Could your refusal to do the same draw attention to your youth and inexperience?
A. In some corporate cultures, having a scotch or bourbon is a way to build relationships, a way to take part, Ms. Condren said. "If you are at a high-profile event and all the executives are having a drink, you may feel you need one to be part of the club," she noted. "That being said, you can still drink very little of it or have one drink and then switch to water."
It's essential, however, to know your limits. If you're inexperienced in such situations and your clients or bosses are throwing back Johnnie Walkers, you can't follow their lead, Ms. Condren said. If you try to keep up, you will likely drink too much and act unprofessionally - definitely drawing attention to your youth and inexperience.
Q. If you wound up overdoing it at a company event, what's the best way to deal with it the next day at the office?
A. If you offended or insulted anyone you must make amends, but do so privately. Making an apology to the entire office or department is unnecessary and can seem self-indulgent, Ms. Wakeman said. "Talk to people individually, saying you drank too much and learned a valuable lesson and that it will never happen again," she said. "And remember that if it does happen again, you will lose your credibility."
Q. Is it acceptable to call in sick if you are suffering from a bad hangover?
A. No. Even if the culture is one of "playing hard," there is also an expectation you will work hard the next day, Ms. Queen-Hubert said. Use your trusted hangover remedy and soldier on.
If you are too sick to get out of bed, you will have to meet with your boss when you return and find some way to make restitution, said Dallas Teague Snider, founder of Make Your Best Impression, a business etiquette consulting firm in Birmingham, Ala. "Offer to work an extra day or take your sick day as unpaid vacation instead," she said. "Your boss may say you don't need to do that, but you should still offer."
Q. How can you tell if you have a drinking problem that needs to be addressed?
A. If you can relax at professional events only by having a drink, that could indicate a problem, Ms. Condren said. "If you are embarrassing yourself or sometimes don't remember your behavior," she said, "it's a good idea to seek professional counseling."
You may be using alcohol as a crutch when navigating uncomfortable social situations, Ms. Wakeman said. Rather than relying on alcohol, find a co-worker who is naturally adept at mingling and ask if he or she could help you develop those social skills, too.
5/15/09 Experts: Cross-Train Now for Business Continuity HR Magazine
Experts: Cross-Train Now for Business Continuity
While the risk of swine flu posing a serious threat to business continuity diminished in May 2009, employers should not become complacent, says Ann Brockhaus, senior occupational safety and health consultant with ORC Worldwide, a global HR management company.
"This is a great time for companies to step back and ask themselves how prepared they were two weeks ago to face a possibly severe pandemic. What would they have done if 30 percent of their workforce had been unable to come to work?"
Testifying in front of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor on May 7, 2009, Brockhaus said that while most large companies are prepared, many small businesses are not.
Pandemic plans often call for cross-training employees ahead of time to take over essential jobs during such a disaster. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that employers train three or more employees to be able to sustain business-necessary functions and operations.
This might be easy if companies are training an administrative assistant to answer incoming calls from customers, but if they need workers to drive a forklift or work with other heavy machinery they need to be careful.
Two Big Concerns
Employers need to be aware of at least two significant safety issues, says Pedro P. Forment, a partner in the Miami office of Ford & Harrison, LLP, a labor and employment law firm. Cross-trained employees who handle jobs tasks for people who are absent have to have the same extensive training (and certification) programs as primary workers, he says. Even if it is only for temporary coverage or for an emergency, the employer's obligations remain the same.
Don't stop at initial training requirements. If employees were trained three years ago to operate a forklift, they will need to keep up with retraining requirements.
"That's what OSHA requires," says Forment. "But more than that you want to make sure you are giving these employees a chance to sporadically perform those functions so they remain competent and don't pose a threat to themselves or their co-workers."
In addition, says Forment, employers need to follow wage and hour regulations in terms of cross-training young workers. Underage workers are restricted from operating certain machinery.
The second safety issue arises when companies are cross-training people to handle emergency preparedness. Employers need to make sure this person has the training to know how to respond to the situation. For instance, if they are responsible for helping people who become sick at work, they might need to be certified in how to deal with bodily fluids.
Forget to Cross-Train?
While OSHA training cannot be neglected, there are alternatives when employers are caught off guard.
Take two or three people out of every area of your workforce who will be essential for business continuity and put them together in core teams on separate floors, allowing them to use separate elevators and come in at different times, says Cy Wakeman, an HR consultant out of Sioux City, Iowa.
And for non-OSHA trained positions, she suggests using web cameras on computers to let employees make training videos that can be stored on the company intranet and used during a possible pandemic. They can be made quickly and kept for future use.
Nancy Hatch Woodward is a freelance writer based in Tennessee and a frequent contributor to HR Magazine.
3/29/09 The Art of Your Story The Wall Street Journal
The Art of Your Story
The Art of Your Story
For some, making the decision to change careers is the easy part. It's harder to convince others, especially potential employers, that you're doing the right thing.
During your transition, you'll often be asked why you've decided to move in the new direction. I've learned to communicate my story quickly, and more importantly, in a way that makes sense and puts listeners at ease.
Beth Zimmerman, the 46-year-old president of business consulting firm Cerebellas, experienced a similar challenge when she made the leap to brand management after 10 years in architecture. "If I was lucky enough to get an interview, I was typically met with incredulity as to why and how an architect could become a brand marketer," says Ms. Zimmerman. She knew she needed a story that showed how her transition was "a logical and natural application of the capabilities I developed during my architectural career."
Tell a Factual, Compelling Story
Ms. Zimmerman created an interview narrative that drew on her architectural background and related it to her new field. "I explained how architecture and marketing share many of the same core competencies -- process-oriented thinking, intensive discovery of a client's business and an ability to navigate between big ideas and the smallest details," she says.
She also focused on how her problem-solving skills could be applied to new kinds of challenges. "Coupled with a skills-based résumé, my story helped me draw the picture for potential employers." After just a handful of interviews, Ms. Zimmerman landed a job.
Whether your career change is your choice or not, you must carefully craft your story before heading out on interviews.
"I recommend writing down your story. Try to stick to the facts, and rather than sulking or blaming other people, put in positive statements about how you turned a challenge into an opportunity," says Cy Wakeman, a workplace expert. "Employers like candidates who reflect on and learn from their own experiences, take control of their lives, and show that they're bulletproof."
The more drastic your reinvention, the more persuasive your story must be. Make sure you've consulted with several contacts in your new field to find out what interviewers will be looking for. And have a plan that shows employers how you'll acquire any missing skills.
If a hiring manager expresses skepticism, don't argue with her. "You can say, for instance, that great leaders have a wide range of experiences, and that while you haven't done this specific task, you've compensated in other areas and are willing to work hard," says Ms. Wakeman. This is also a good opportunity to point out any work you've done in the new field, even if it was completed on a pro bono or volunteer basis.
Remember that your goal is to make a potential employer as comfortable as possible with the decision to bring you on board. Your reinvention may lead a hiring manager to suspect you're less qualified, so your story has to immediately address those concerns.
*This article can also be accessed if you copy and paste the entire address below into your web browser.
11/10/08 Fostering team spirit boosts morale, bottom line Omaha World Herald
BY STEFANIE MONGE
9/15/08 Group Therapy New York Post
By BRIAN MOORE
September 15, 2008
-- Just as there's no shortage of whining about meetings, there's a surplus of advice on how to make them tolerable - even productive.
Much of this expert guidance may seem like simple common sense, but that's often in short supply when it comes to conference room powwows.
Cy Wakeman, an organizational development consultant, says a big problem with meetings is that people have become too passive about taking control of them. "People don't see [running meetings] as a core competency. We teach people how to manage projects," she says. "We just don't value our time enough to be good stewards of it." Here's some seemingly obvious advice that could go a long way:
Have an agenda. Meetings aren't free jazz improvisation. They need structure. So set an agenda in advance, give people adequate time to review it prior to the meeting and make sure it's followed. "It sounds so pedestrian, so simple," says Todd Dewett, a management professor and author of "Leadership Redefined: Secrets of Surviving Cubicle Land." "Actually it's not."
Appoint an impartial facilitator. This is usually the person with the highest formal or informal authority in the group, says Dewett. The facilitator doesn't have to be the person who set the agenda, but he or she needs to be someone who can ensure that everything runs smoothly. Which means being outside of any debate or decision-making, says Charlie Hawkins, author of "Making Meetings Matter.""You don't take a position on issues if you're facilitating," he says. "You're neutral."
Flatten the hierarchy. It's a waste of time when the CEO and the mailroom clerk are in the same meeting. "If you have a power differential, a predictable thing happens: People on the lower levels shut up," says Dewett.
Let everyone speak - within reason. "We consider every idea that someone states is an idea worth considering," says Leslie Grossman, co-founder of Women's Leadership Exchange, a national business development and leadership company.
But don't let participants run their mouths. "The leader has to say when enough is enough," she says.
When in doubt, don't meet. Think twice about whether the matter at hand really requires space in someone's day planner.
"Eighty percent of the time the things that are discussed could have been disseminated by an e-mail blast or a voice mail blast," Dewett says.
By the same token, make sure there's a good reason for attendee to be there. Serve chow. "People really love food. It puts them in a good mood," says Grossman. "It sounds silly, but people are motivated by simple things."
Looking for a job? Click here for the Online Diversity Career Fair Page 1 of 2 GROUP THERAPY By BRIAN MOORE - Jobs - New York Post Online Edition - New ... 12/2/2005 http://www.nypost.com/seven/09152008/jobs/group_therapy_129129.htm
9/15/08 Bored Room Why 'Let's Meet' is the Most Dreaded Phrase in the Office New York Post
Bored Room Why 'Let's Meet' is the Most Dreaded Phrase in the Office
By BRIAN MOORE
September 15, 2008-- Decades ago in his corporate career, Gordon Hagler learned that ducking projectiles can be as important as effective communication when navigating a meeting.
His Monday morning conclave had gotten heated. The company's CEO was "ranting and railing and throwing his arms around," says Hagler, who's now the president of the DentalEZ Group, a manufacturer.
This being the good ol' days when smoking was allowed at work, the CEO happened to be holding a pack of Marlboros instead of a BlackBerry during his tantrum. In his ire, the butts accidentally flew out of his hand and straight towards Hagler's head. Hagler dodged the death sticks with cobra-like reflexes.
The CEO walked the length of the table and fetched his smokes off the carpet. "Never let intensity be miscued for anger," he told everyone. "Let's take a break."
The general sentiment among workers toward meetings could well be "let's take a break - forever." Given the number of endless, meandering conference-room gatherings the average office worker is forced to endure, "let's have a meeting" is among the most dreaded phrases in the workplace lexicon.
So why do people hate meetings so much?
"Because most of them suck," says Adrian Miller, head of Adrian Miller Sales Training, a Port Washington consulting firm, before rattling off a long list of reasons why.
When they're not coma-inducing drudgery, meetings are often nothing more than opportunities for relentless showboating, battlefields in annoying turf wars or anxious reunions of mildly dysfunctional corporate families.
"People have been abused by meetings. They're conditioned to hate them, and nine times out of 10, those conditions are met," says Karissa Thacker, a management psychologist with offices in Delaware and New York City. She adds that the "aggressive collaboration" - the give and take inherent in meetings - is unnatural for people. Still, they're ubiquitous, unavoidable and universal.
In a 2005 Microsoft survey, American workers reported spending 5½ hours a week in meetings, with a whopping 71 percent of them saying the meetings were unproductive. In another survey, by Accountemps, executives estimated wasting close to 8 hours a week in unnecessary meetings. Indeed, the sheer number of meetings workers are forced to attend has created a meeting glut. "It becomes so ludicrous that sometimes the biggest challenge of meetings is to find a time when everyone can meet," says Charlie Hawkins, author of "Making Meetings Matter."
One big problem, says James Hazy, a professor of management and entrepreneurship at Adelphi University's School of Business, is that meetings are often viewed as an end in themselves rather than the means to the end that they ought to be. In other words, they're a good way to look like you're achieving something when you're just blowing hot air on some inconsequential issue that could have been settled with 90 seconds of e-mailing. "Having a meeting is not an accomplishment," he says. "'We've had five meetings' is a lousy way to answer, 'What have you achieved?' " Flying blind There are a number of reasons why meetings seem nothing more than a collection of people failing to get anything done at torturous length. A big problem is haziness about a meeting's purpose, say many workers and workplace experts. A boss will call a meeting with a vaguely stated reason instead of a concrete goal or a set agenda.
"Ambiguity is the real cause of all meeting problems," says Cy Wakeman, president of an organizational development consulting firm. "When you have a clear goal, people can behave up to it." Meanwhile, she says, "a lack of clarity clearly causes meetings to get personalized." Wakeman knows from experience after refereeing a Crips vs. Bloods-like meeting between physicians and lab workers at a health care firm. The vague aim was to streamline the working relationship between the two groups. But with no stated, unifying goal, the meeting degenerated into a slugfest. The doctors accused the lab workers of putting money ahead of patient care, while the lab workers countered that the only care doctors were interested in was their own pay and having their butts caressed. "If you walked into that meeting, you'd never let a surgeon touch you again," says Wakeman, who solved the problem by getting everyone to focus on common ground - serving patients better, but with an eye toward being cost-effective - rather than conflicting turf. DO WE AGREE YET?: In addition to provoking brain-blasting boredom, meeting can become a battlefield for turf wars.
Page 1 of 2 BORED ROOM By BRIAN MOORE - Jobs - New York Post Online Edition - New York... 12/2/2005 http://www.nypost.com/seven/09152008/jobs/bored_room_129130.htm
4/1/08 Cy is in the Pink! Pink Magazine
Cy is in the Pink!
Sharon Carleton, President, Ervin & Smith and SheHive, said "I recently heard a great, national keynote speaker, Cynthia "Cy" Wakeman, who said: "Women are terrible quitters, especially when it comes to quitting jobs where we're not appreciated." I think this is true. If more women would leave jobs where their work and intelligence isn't taken into account as much as their gender, companies would have to start reevaluating their entire culture just to survive."
It’s in your power to begin creating a better place to work. Most leaders are no more than a few courageous decisions away from extraordinary success. When we stop judging and start helping, everything becomes possible.