Entries for July 2007

how to work across time zones

As a followup to my entry from last year about "how to use voicemail productively", I offer this entry about how to work productively and professionally with colleagues in other time zones.

1 - Inform your colleagues of your normal work hours, and if you anticipate the possibility that they may need to reach you outside of your normal hours, leave a clear message on your office voicemail about how to reach you outside of your normal work day.

2 - Be aware and respectful of your colleagues' normal work hours. For instance, do not leave a message after the end of business hours in your colleague's time zone, asking him or her to accomplish something by the start of business the next morning in your time zone. If your need is that urgent, you will already have your colleague's cellphone number. Keep calling till you reach a live person, and then apologize for intruding on their non-work hours.

3 - Be especially careful about calling a colleague's cellular or home phone in the wee hours of the morning. Aim to avoid this except in the most dire emergencies.

4 - Do not send emails about routine issues in the morning in your time zone, and then call three hours later asking why no reply has been sent to your email. It may still be the beginning of the work day for your colleague!

5 - Keep careful track of appointment times when you are tele- or video-conferencing. Make sure that each confirmation email lists the correct appointment time in all relevant time zones.

Without identifying the relocation company that has "helped" us "manage" our cross-country move, let's just say that they need to train their employees to follow these rules. Calling me at 7 pm my time to inform me that movers will be at my house the following morning at 8 am, and will expect payment in the form of a cashier's check -- that's *just* *not* *professional*. Likewise, calling my home number at 6:30 in the morning -- *promotes a *negative* *association* with your corporate brand.

You can read more of my rant about our moving experiences, focusing on the drama of dealing with "professional" unpacking assistance, over at Relocation: The Bane of Balance at Work-Life Chronicles (my new blog).

addressing unfair compensation in US companies

What were the managers at Goodyear Tire and Rubber thinking, when they continued to keep Lilly Ledbetter's salary lower than her 15 other peers, who were also front-line supervisors doing the same work, for years and years and years?

Apparently, they were thinking that the government would be on their side, because Ms. Ledbetter had not smelled the rat quickly enough. She did not receive any hints from coworkers until late in her career that she was not receiving fair compensation.

A jury found evidence of pay discrimination, and awarded Ledbetter back pay and damages. Goodyear appealed that judgment and it was reviewed this year by the United States Supreme Court, where it was overturned on a technicality by a 5-4 vote. The majority justices were Alito, Kennedy, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas.

On June 20, CA representative George Miller introduced a bill to remove that technicality for all future workers; it has already been approved by the House Education and Labor committee. His cosponsors in the House of Representatives included Andrews, Berkley, Capps, Clarke, Davis of IL, DeLauro, Farr, Hinjosa, Hirono, Hoyer, Kucinich, Loebsack, Maloney, McCarthy of NY, McCollum, McDermott, Nadler, Norton, Sanchez of CA, Shea-Porter, Slaughter, Van Hollen, and Woolsey. A press release from the Education and Labor Committee last month provides more details about the bill.

On July 22, MA Senator Edward Kennedy introduced the bill in the Senate as well. Cosponsors of the bill include Senators Boxer, Clinton, Dodd, Durbin, Harkin, Leahy, McCaskill, Murray, Mikulski, Obama, Snowe, Spector, Stabenow, and Whitehouse.

If your district representative and senator are not both on those lists, then I join with Law Blogger David S. Cohen in urging you to call the congressional members for your district and state to urge passage of the bill. If you happen to run across a chance to ask any other presidential candidate a question, ask them where they stand regarding pay discrimination -- with employers in covering up, or with employees in seeking protection within a reasonable time period after learning about potential discrimination.

More information about the case and the proposed law is available at CorrectTheCourt, along with an easy web form for contacting your legislators. Of course, a phone call or "snail mail" letter may have more impact than a form-based email.

Kudos for Lilly Ledbetter for continuing to combat injustice and to stand up for future generations who might face unfair compensation in US companies.

Weatherhead's Dean, Mohan Reddy, continues to impress

In case anyone did not have a chance to read the article that appeared in Crain's Cleveland Business earlier this week, I will underline some of the key news. The headline in Crain's was Reddy's Ready For Action: With much of Weatherhead’s turmoil in rearview mirror, dean aims to revamp its MBA program . Here are a few key excerpts:

"An enhanced executive MBA program and a revamped MBA program will roll out in fall 2008, he said. ... The second year of the program [will] incorporate specialties that would be taught across the curriculum, which would make Weatherhead stand out among other MBA programs, according to Dr. Reddy. Some specialties the school is considering are social entrepreneurship [and] business sustainability. ...

With Cleveland’s population and corporate footprint shrinking, Dr. Reddy said it’s important to create an executive MBA program that appeals to students from outside Northeast Ohio. He said he’s beginning to meet with faculty and advisers now to figure out how Weatherhead can accomplish that goal.In the meantime, he said he’s also in talks with universities in China and India to create joint master’s degrees in areas such as organizational development and science and technology."

As I wrote last December, Mohan is a powerhouse. Stay tuned for positive results in the next year.

reasons to pay for lunch with coworkers

Terrence Seamon has a fascinating recent entry about the word origins of "company" -- probably something like "con panne" in Italian, I guess. The image makes me wonder if a corporation becomes a completely different experience when the number of employees in any one group becomes bigger than your typical extended family, and it is no longer possible to all eat around the same table together.

I am delighted that Terrence Seamon found this blog, via my earlier post about managing change. Thanks also to Bill Harris, who pointed my way to the ideas about managing change in my earlier post!