About Erika Andersen

Over the past 30 years, Erika has developed a reputation for creating approaches to learning and business-building that are custom tailored to her clients’ challenges, goals, and culture.

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Archive for November, 2007


Being a “Good Citizen”

Link: Management Craft.

Here’s a really great post from Lisa Haneberg at Management Craft, talking about how middle managers can team better with their peers. In Growing Great Employees, I talk about the core responsibilities of any employee, the things every person in an organization can legitimately be expected to do in order to support the success of the whole enterprise. One of these responsibilities – as I see it – is to be a “good company citizen.” Here’s how I define that:

Generally speaking, employees who are “good company citizens” don’t make it difficult for those around them to succeed; they’re honest, consistent and respectful in their interactions; they don’t try to accomplish their own goals at the expense of others. None of us are perfect, but to my mind, employees are responsible for making sure that they’re not doing stuff that makes others dread to come to work with them!

In the post above, Lisa offers eight very clear guidelines to help middle managers practice this kind of “good company citizenship” with their peers. In fact, I think she’s selling herself short — I believe these guidelines are useful for any employee, at any level.

Check it out!!

Posted in communicating


Giving Thanks

Since I’m not going to be blogging tomorow (going to be eating turkey, etc. with my family), I thought I’d take today to talk about gratitude.

I’m convinced that feeling grateful is one key to a happy life. If that’s true, how does one cause oneself to feel grateful? I mean, if you don’t feel grateful, you don’t feel grateful, right?


Let’s go back to some of our previous conversations about selk-talk. You can manage how you talk to yourself. For instance, let’s pretend that – at this moment – you’re saying to yourself some version of, “Grateful! My life sucks! What do I have to be grateful for?” That self-talk would definitely not cause you to feel grateful.

However, you could decide to say something to yourself that would still feel true, but that would open up the possiblity of gratitude. How about, “My life seems difficult right now, but there are a few things I’m pleased about. For instance, there’s ____ and ____.” Having that self-talk would probably lead you to feel very differently!

Basically, I’m telling you the modern, secular version of “count your blessings.” As a kind of exercise (as my mom used to say) in good mental hygiene, I’m recommending that every day you pause and simply acknowledge the elements of your life for which you’re thankful. Even if it’s just the fact that you’re alive.

In other words, sprinkle a few minutes of Thanksgiving into each day of the year.

And it’s not just a warm-and-fuzzy thing to do. Research shows that gratitude has all kinds of tangible positive outcomes: people who feel grateful tend to be healthier and more successful, and have a more positive impact on society.

What are you feeling grateful for today?

Posted in Work


Zen Blogging

Work haikus:

Having found the work
That makes my Mondays happy
I feel fortunate

If I think that work
Must be boring and stressful
It will be for me

Posted in Thinking


The Fit Factor

Link: Do you play well with others? You’re hired! – Your Career – MSNBC.com.

Nettie, my publicist, sent me this link, saying “Good article to blog on,” and – as usual – she was right.

The point of the article is that some companies are starting to look beyond candidates’ resumes to what sort of people they are – and, more specifically – how they’ll integrate with the rest of the team and the company.

I think this is very wise. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve seen people fail at jobs because, while they may have had the the necessary technical skills, they either didn’t have adequate social skills, or they weren’t a “good fit for the culture” — meaning their personal characteristics and qualities weren’t a match for the “DNA” of the organization.

Here’s an example. Let’s say there’s a company that makes lifesaving medical devices. No tolerance for error; very data and fact-driven; precise processes and systems. That’s the kind of company they’d be and that’s the kind of employee they’d need. What would happen if they hired a guy who had the necessary skills and experience, but who was loose, informal, creative – a “winging it” kind of person? He probably wouldn’t last very long in the job, and when they let him go, they’d say, “He just wasn’t a good fit for the culture.”

And in the social skills realm: some people simply don’t, as the article notes, “play well with others.” I’m glad companies are starting to recognize how important this is. We call it being a “good company citizen,” and count it as an essential employee responsibility. Here’s how I talk about it in Growing Great Employees:

I believe every employee has the responsibility to learn and practice a certain level of interpersonal versatility; to be a good “citizen” of the larger group. So, what’s the key difference between a good citizen of a group and a poor one? I find that the most useful place to draw the line is at the issue of others’ rights. Employees who respect others’ rights are aware of where they stop and the other person starts; they don’t habitually do things that undermine, inconvenience, or intrude upon others.

In the article, they mention a number of companies that are starting to have more in-depth interview processes, to try to get more insight into these “beyond the resume” qualities. Seems like a good idea to me…

Posted in Organizations


Person to Person

Link: tompeters! management consulting leadership training development project management.

I like this blog post a lot. It talks, in a very simple and accurate way, about the power of relationship as a competitive advantage. Not service, mind you, but relationship.


So, what is relationship? When you say you have a good relationship with people, what do you mean? The core of it, I submit to you, is that you trust them. You believe they will keep their word; you believe they will respect your privacy. You also feel they care about you, as a person, that they understand who you are and want the best for you. And finally, you feel that they have a positive influence on your life, vs. a negative one: they support, teach, help and/or entertain you…dealing with them is – to put it bluntly – a net gain.

Think of vendors, organizations, and service providers with whom you like to do business. Re-read the paragraph above. Are these the same qualities you look for in a business relationship?

They are for me. I think immediately of the guy who’s building our dream house. He’s not the cheapest, he may not be the fastest…but he absolutely is all those things I listed above. We trust him implicitly; he has demonstrated that he cares about us and wants the best for us in a whole variety of ways; being in relationship with him is hugely beneficial to us. We are totally happy with him, and loyal to him. If we ever built another house (or another anything) we wouldn’t even consider having someone else do it if he was still in business.

And I like to think that we, at Proteus, create that same kind of relationship with our clients. And I believe that it is our core competitive advantage.

How about you? Are you trying to create deep relationships of trust and mutual benefit with your customers or clients (internal or external)? I’d love to hear how it’s working for you…

Posted in News