Too Many Meetings

by Mark Leonard

Meetings are essential in maintaining organizational lines of communication.  However, during intense operating conditions, too many meetings can seriously interfere with work.

During the drawdown of troops in Iraq in 2011, I was working on FOB Sykes in Northern Iraq.  We were notified that our base would transition to the Iraqi Army between June 1 and July 15.  As the Sr. Ops Coordinator,  I worked with the Site Manager to organize and complete the transition, which consisted of property inventories, property sign over to Iraqi officials, convoy coordination, final base cleanup, employee terminations/transfers, and a ton more.  We literally had a 50 page desktop operating procedure for base closure and transition; it was a huge undertaking with lots of moving pieces.

In the midst of the chaos of closing the base, our oversight at Regional hub Camp Speicher wanted to have daily meetings to receive status updates.  This meant that all of our supervisors had to drop what they were doing and meet in the conference room for an hour each morning.  It was understandable, the Regional folks were having to report status updates to KBR’s Middle East Headquarters, who in turn relayed the info to military command and KBR Corporate.  Still, it was too many meetings, and the interruptions in work were beginning to put us behind schedule.  Some tasks can’t be started for a couple hours, left for an hour, and then picked back up.

We eventually convinced Regional to receive updates from the Site Manager alone so everyone could get to work.  We were thankful when, five days prior to the final departure of employees, our communication systems were taken down and shipped out.  It was five days of peace and quiet, and the remaining employees, some of whom had been on the site for six years, were able to spend their final days in Iraq in peace.

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By mandybowling

Any News?

By Nathan Beavers

In chapter 13, O’Rourke details on how to best handle the news media. Overall, this is a very tricky subject. The public is greatly diverse; with everyone having his or her own past experiences, culture and background that shapes them into the person who they are. With all the different types of people in the public, it makes it tricky for people to effectively use the news media to reach a large audience, without trying to alienate or offend a group of people.

One issue that springs to mind that the company’s involved failed when the media found out, was the bailout hearings for the major car companies in the late 2000s. The issue was not what was said in the hearings, but how they arrived. Even though their companies were facing bankruptcy, the top executives at these companies chose to show up in their private jets. When the news media found out, it became a huge story and infuriated most of the public. The issue being that even though they were begging the government for taxpayers’ dollars, they were stilling living extravagantly while the companies they managed were in danger of going under. In response, the next hearing over the subject all of the executives showed up, driving the cars that their company sold, some even carpooling.

Dealing with media can be difficult, with anything being said might be construed as something offensive or distasteful. However, you still must be careful what you say or, in the case of car company executives, how you present yourself.

By mandybowling

Talking to the Media: Never Talk To Strangers!

By: Mandy Bowling

In Chapter 13, O’Rourke writes about how to deal with the media. The media can either be your enemy or your best friend… it just depends how you deal with it. The entire chapter is a great “advice chapter” on how to handle the media and covers the do’s and don’t’s. Out of all the sections, the area of the chapter that I really could relate t is the “should you or shouldn’t you” section on page 350. 

One of the most important rules to remember when it comes time to speaking with the media is NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS. Goes back to what you learned as a child. If you don’t know the person, don’t recognize them but they claim to know you or even if you don’t know what to say… dont’ say anything to them. That can just lead to bad news. Dealing with strangers is a high-risk proposition, especially in the news media. 

Working with athletics, I come across seeing people talking with the media and even dealing with the media first hand. It is important to remember that you are ALWAYS on the record. The media is a business…

There are times where reporters from TV or paper are at the games and stick around for interviews for the coaches. I standing near one of our coaches when he was getting interviewed during halftime of a game, and I could tell that he didn’t really want to answer the questions that were being asked and this wasn’t the “normal” reporter that is normally there. There are a few newspapers that come to the games, and the coaches begin to be familiar with who the interviewer is. The coach was smart and didn’t answer all the questions and didn’t really say much. It was smart of the coach because, even know we don’t know really what happened… but we didn’t see that reporter again… I am not saying that he wasn’t a correct employee or what… but the important thing is, that the coach followed the important rule but not talking to someone he didn’t know. 

As mentioned before, the media can be your friend or your enemy… it just depends who you say what too….

By mandybowling

Managing Difficult Employees

By Jazzmine Davis

Taking on the role of a manager, in any particular industry, can take extensive training to handle the different personalities of employees. Employees may sometimes not like the management style or feel as if the manager is not competent to have the position. I have personally experienced a situation where an associate has challenged the authority that came along with my 2nd assistant manager position.

I have worked for a small women’s apparel company, and taken the responsibility of a 2nd assistant manager for the store. We have about five employees total, and I am one of the younger people on staff. Well, one associate overlooks any tasks that I tell her to do, so I confronted her to have a discussion about our differences. O’Rourke has explained in Chapter eight of the text that listening is a key factor in making a problem stop. I listened to her situation and gave her reasonable feedback on how we could work things out, where we could all work as a team.

Overall, Management Communication: A Case Analysis Approach has covered every major topic that deals with becoming a successful manager. We have covered topics such as listening, writing, and conflicts—and this information will be useful in future situations, just as my learning helped in resolving the issue of a difficult employee.

By mandybowling