Patra Says


Lessons from Japan.

The news was shocking to wake up to – a huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The images fill my days since. I am amazed by the strength of the survivors.

We tend, of course, to think it could never happen here – but other disasters could and will. And the Japanese have a very strong disaster preparedness program in effect as well as a culture of people helping others.

What should you and your business take from this tragedy?

1. Do you have a personal emergency plan at home? A business continuity plan at work? Do you understand sheltering in place? Are you prepared at home and at work to do so?
If not, see these resources:
Personal Preparedness



2. Do your plans assume the use of much technology? What other options could you use?
Cell phones and web access failed in 9/11, power failed in Snowmaggedon — as well as Japan.

3. Community preparedness is critical. What are your state and local governments doing? The federal government?
What will you do to influence or assist in needed efforts?

4. ‘IRL’ is still critical. Before the emergency, how strong are your connections to family and community?

It is not just about emergency preparedness, it is about the personal and community connections which help us all cope and thrive.

Send a donation, say a prayer for the Japanese. And then decide what you can do for yourself, your business, and your personal world.


Quick Links…

SHR Website
LinkedIn – Patra’s info

Recently the New York Times wrote a widely cited article on internal research Google had done on what it’s employees expected of a ‘good manager’. Like so many of the technical and government contracting companies I have worked with, Google’s executives had always assumed that deep technical knowledge was the most critical aspect of managing well.Wrong! Wrong at Google – and so many other organizations! Their employees really wanted managers who connected on an individual basis, provided help instead of answers, and were accessible. While Google has the size and profits to do this research effectively, you can learn from it.First, so often we just toss people into management jobs and expect them to be OK — which rarely happens. New managers need training or coaching as well as mentors and support. Too often, we have some generic expectations of managers which may – or more likely NOT – be relevant to the culture and needs of our organization. Also, performance expectations as a manager are not defined or communicated or measured.Need some ideas to start thinking of what your managers should know and do? Common Competencies

I have worked with managers who were about to be fired and within months were seen as greatly improved by their staff — you can ensure that in your organization too. Or better yet, create the conditions to avoid the problems first.

What’s going on in your world? What could you to do ensure better management and greater success?

New York Times article on Google

Women’s History Month

Women’s history was long ignored — thus much of it is clouded in earlier history. I remember when job ads were posted by gender and, yet, was still surprised recently to see how few federal jobs even in the 1970s were open to women. Think of the implications still today. When we first were expanding the opportunities for women in non-traditional careers in the Air Force, I taught men how to work effectively with women; often resulting in funny stories – shall we talk about flight line bathrooms (Officers, Men – which one do you suppose I choose?)

Sadly, many organizations still face issues of sexual harassment and discrimination — and few realize it until they are in trouble. If large companies can be sued for pay and promotion issues, what are you doing about the risks you face? Too often we consultants get business because a firm has received notice from a state or federal agency or a lawyer’s letter that they have an issue.

While women have become the majority of college graduating classes recently, we still have far too few in the STEM disciplines. Are you actively involved in organizations seeking to increase women in the technical or scientific fields you need?

Today we know that companies with more women in executive, board, and management roles have significantly higher financial success. Those with diversity in their employee population in general do better financially.

Tomorrow Comes

Sure you know you need to plan for the future. But few small to mid-size organizations do strategic planning. Short-term business plans are more common although even these are often skipped. Any formal planning is shown to help organizations succeed.

So what do you do? Start by thinking of the future of your industry. What are you reading? What professional events or seminars do you attend regularly. The reading, talking with others, and hearing speakers can all expand your ideas about your future.

Don’t make complicated plans. But do plan! Keep it simple and clear – define your vision and goals. Include a SWOT analysis and its implications. Define how you will use and communicate this plan.

I worked with a great company that was guided by a strategic plan that was 7 pages long. It was excellent. And used for decision making consistently. And once a year, it was updated with employee and executive input.

Need ideas or resources? Send me a note or give me a call and I can send you a page that will help.

As always, SHR does not share your information with anyone else. If you wish to be removed from our newsletter list, just send me an email and say so. You are welcome to share information from this newsletter with others so long as you include proper attribution. And feedback or your ideas for topics are most welcome!

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