Local Machiine Operator Honored for his Work


By all accounts, Aaron Maddox is the kind of young worker manufacturers need.

Maddox, 28, a CNC (computer numeric control) machine operator for Lewark Metal Spinning Inc., was one of several area workers singled out for the inaugural Ohio treasurer’s “Ohio Strong” award Tuesday.

Six workers at Springfield’s Ohio Stamping & Machine — Akil Ragland, Craig Cattell, Dale Wells, Lenny Holbrook, Randy Littler and Tod Hines — also received the award.

The idea behind the honor is to highlight the need for young, skilled workers in manufacturing or any hands-on field that doesn’t require a four-year college degree.

“With a company like Lewark, there is opportunity,” said Maddox, a veteran of Delphi and other area manufacturers. He has seen one layoff and a tough economy for the past few years, but the Huber Heights resident said he feels like he could retire from Lewark, where he has worked for just four months.

Pete Hagenbuch, Lewark president, held Maddox up as an example for his co-workers. “He is of the utmost integrity.”

Josh Mandel, Ohio treasurer, lamented the shortage of skilled young workers seeking manufacturing job openings. He pointed to “liberal arts” graduates who are “serving coffee at Starbucks or working retail at the mall.”

“This is for the workers who have the tools in their toolbelt,” Mandel said.

Deb Norris, Sinclair Community College vice president, workforce development and corporate services, doesn’t agree that there are necessarily too many liberal arts students and graduates. But she agreed that manufacturers should do their best to attract future workers. For years, manufacturers have wrestled with ways to replace aging workers who are nearing retirement.

And Norris likes the idea of anyone in any field, including liberal arts, updating skills and credentials and embracing lifelong education.

“It’s about where the jobs are,” she said.

“They (manufacturers) have struggled for some time to show that industry is alive and well,” Norris said. “And also they have struggled to say, ‘It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile.’”

The unemployment rate for college graduates in 2013 was four percent, compared to 7.5 percent for those with a high school diploma, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For those who haven’t graduated from high school, the jobless rate was 11 percent.

Mandel said his staff “cold-called” Ohio manufacturers to invite them to nominate good young workers for the new award. The effort began Monday, with a stop at Toledo Metal Spinning Co.

Lewark, founded in 1993, offers metal spinning, producing and shaping metal products for automotive, aerospace, bakeware and other industries. About 40 workers are employed at the company’s Keenan Avenue plant.


When Email Isn’t Getting It Done. Time to Pick Up the Phone

In workplaces everywhere, digital has become the default communication method. Emails and IMs fly back and forth all day. But, sometimes, there’s just no substitute for picking up the phone.

Prefer a keyboard to a handset? Many people do. But phone aversion, even a mild case, might work against your career goals. There are simply times when having a phone conversation is more productive and appropriate.

Here are four situations where it’s best to pick up the phone:

Situation No. 1: You still haven’t resolved an issue after three emails
Some things are just too complicated to work out over email. If you’re still nailing down the details of that new project after several email exchanges, it’s probably time to pick up the phone and talk in real time. Often, you can clarify in five minutes what might still be cloudy after a dozen emails.

After you hang up, quickly recap any decisions or action steps with one final email. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and has a written record of what was agreed to.

Want to avoid this situation in the first place? Reconsider any email that stretches beyond three short paragraphs. Many people lose focus — or simply stop reading — after the first few sentences (what they can see without scrolling). Keep it to one point or question per email. And save more complex discussions for phone calls or meetings.

Winning phone tip: Some professionals view unexpected phone calls as an interruption. Try sending an email or IM to see if the person is available for a quick chat.

Situation No. 2: You’re hoping to develop a new relationship
In the business world, relationships matter, and it’s hard to grow strong ones by email alone. Face-to-face is best, but when you’re not in the same office or city, a few phone calls can be almost as effective.

Make a point to pick up the phone and talk to your new networking contact, colleague, client or vendor regularly. If you struggle to make it a priority, program an automatic reminder that pops up on your calendar.

Then use these chats to slowly learn more about what matters to the other person — everything from career and business goals to hobbies. You’ll discover a lot through tone of voice and conversation styles alone. And it’s easier to accomplish just about any business task when you have a strong relationship.

Winning phone tip: Try starting with a simple, “It’s so good to hear your voice. How are you?” before jumping into business. A little small talk goes a long way.

Situation No. 3: You need something ASAP
Technology makes all sorts of things faster, but when it’s truly urgent, a phone call can be the quickest way to get what you need. Think scheduling job interviews, hiring a new contractor or securing approvals on deadline.

Are you reluctant to pick up the phone? Know that it can cost you. You might miss out on the perfect job candidate if your email gets lost in that person’s inbox. Or you could blow a project milestone because you didn’t call the three people who needed to approve the new website copy.

Winning phone tip: No answer when you phone? Don’t rely on voicemail alone — many people are slow to check it. In truly urgent cases, leave a voicemail, then follow up with an email to double your odds.

Situation No. 4: It’s a sensitive topic
If you’re breaking bad news or discussing something sensitive, you’ll want all your interpersonal skills at your disposal. It’s much easier to convey tone with your voice than with words on a screen, and if there’s a misunderstanding, you’ll be able to address it in real time.

Pick up the phone to discuss HR issues, missed deadlines, negative feedback or general conflict. People respond better when you take the time to actually talk them through something. And everyone is less likely to get heated when they’re not hiding behind a screen and keyboard.

Winning phone tip: Nervous? Jot down your main points on paper and run through them before the call. Start with something positive if you can, but don’t drag out bad news by stalling.

Email is a powerful tool, but don’t let it become a bad habit. The next time you start typing a new message, stop and think about whether it’s the best medium for your message. Would a phone call work better? If the answer is yes, back away from the keyboard and start dialing.


The No. 1 Feature of a Meaningless Job

Ask people what they want in a job, and meaningfulness looms large. For decades, Americans have ranked purpose as their top priority—above promotions, income, job security, and hours. Work is a search “for daily meaning as well as daily bread,” wrote Studs Turkel after interviewing hundreds of people in a striking array of jobs. Yet all too often, we feel that our work doesn’t matter. “Most of us have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people.”


What makes a job meaningless? After more than 40 years of research, we know that people struggle to find meaning when they lack autonomy, variety, challenge, performance feedback, and the chance to work on a whole product or service from start to finish. As important as these factors are, though, there’s another that matters more.

Consider the following jobs. They all meet some of the criteria above, yet about 90% of people fail to find them highly meaningful:
• Fashion designer
• TV newscast director
• Revenue analyst
• Web operations coordinator
• Airline reservation agent
• Graphics animator

Why is meaning missing in these jobs? They rarely have a significant, lasting impact on other people. If these jobs didn’t exist, people wouldn’t be all that much worse off. By contrast, here are the jobs that are highly meaningful to virtually everyone who holds them:
• Adult literacy teacher
• Fire chief
• Nurse midwife
• Addiction counselor
• Child life specialist
• Neurosurgeon

They all make an important difference in the lives of others. Not convinced yet? Here’s a taste of the evidence on the link between helping others and meaningful work:
• A comprehensive analysis of data from more than 11,000 employees across industries: the single strongest predictor of meaningfulness was the belief that the job had a positive impact on others.
• Interviews with a representative sample of Americans: more than half reported that the core purpose of their jobs was to benefit others
• Surveys of people around the world: in defining when an activity qualifies as work, “if it contributes to society” was the most common choice in the U.S.—but also in China and Eastern Europe. On multiple continents, people defined work more in terms of contributing to society than as getting paid for a task, doing a strenuous activity, or being told what to do.
• Studies of people who view their work as a calling, not only a job or career: Yale professor Amy Wrzesniewski, widely regarded as the world’s leading expert on the meaning of work, shows that a core element of a calling is the belief that your work makes the world a better place.

Enriching the Meaningfulness of a Job
Becoming a neurosurgeon isn’t for everyone. The good news is that there are steps we can take to make jobs more meaningful—for ourselves and others.

In many cases, our jobs do have an impact, but we’re too distant from the end users of our products and services. Think of automotive safety engineers who never meet the drivers of their cars or medical scientists who don’t see a patient. By connecting directly with these end users, we can see our past and potential impact. When university fundraisers met a single student whose scholarship was funded by their work, they increased 142% in weekly phone minutes and over 400% in weekly revenue. When radiologists saw a patient’s photo included in an x-ray file, they wrote 29% longer reports and made 46% more accurate diagnoses.

This is why leaders at John Deere invite employees who build tractors to meet the farmers who buy their tractors, leaders at Facebook invite software developers to hear from users who have found long-lost friends and family members thanks to the site, and leaders at Wells Fargo film videos of customers describing how low-interest loans have rescued them from debt. When we see the direct consequences of our jobs for others, we find greater meaning. “The greatest untapped source of motivation,” Susan Dominus explains, “is a sense of service to others.”

Of course, some jobs are simply not designed to have a major impact on others. In these situations, people often make the mistake of treating their job descriptions as fixed, overlooking the fact that they can take initiative to alter their own roles. Wrzesniewski, Jane Dutton, and Justin Berg call this job crafting—adding, emphasizing, revising, delegating, or minimizing tasks and interactions in pursuit of greater meaning. For example, hospital cleaners who lack patient contact stepped up to provide emotional support to patients and their families, and technology associates began volunteering for mentoring, teaching, and training roles.

When people craft their jobs, they become happier and more effective. In an experiment at Google, colleagues and I invited salespeople and administrators to spend 90 minutes doing the Job Crafting Exercise—they mapped out ways to make their tasks and interactions more meaningful and contribute more to others. Six weeks later, their managers and coworkers rated them as happier and more effective. When they developed new skills to support more significant changes, the happiness and performance gains lasted for at least six months.

Like all things in life, meaning can be pushed too far. As the psychologist Brian Little observes, if we turn our trivial pursuits into magnificent obsessions, we gain meaning at the price of manageability. When the weight of the world is on our shoulders, we place ourselves at risk for burnout.

Yet most people are facing the opposite problem in their jobs, of too little meaning rather than too much. Against this backdrop, the chance to help others can be what makes our work worthwhile. “Suffering ceases to be suffering once it finds a meaning,” wrote Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search For Meaning. “Being human always points, and is directed, to something or someone, other than oneself—be it a meaning to fulfill or another human being to encounter. The more one forgets himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is.”
Adam Grant is a Wharton professor and the author of Give and Take a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller on the hidden power of helping others

Tips on Finding the Right Place to Work

There are a lot of things to consider when making a job change. Here at BarryStaff we pride ourselves in matching the right person with the right job where the needs of the employee matches the needs of the employer. Along that line, check out this essay on finding the right place to work.

By James Caan – “Serial Entrepreneur”

Moving onto a new job or a new employer is one of those decisions that should never be taken lightly. Here are a few areas which you should think about before moving to a new firm.

The very best companies always have the right people in key positions. It stands to reason that if you are ambitious and forward thinking then you have to have like-minded staff. If your prospective employer has the same level of ambition as you do for your career, this can indicate a good fit in terms of helping you move forward.

In this ultra-competitive world it is the companies that have the vision and the ability to think ahead of the game which stand out from the rest of the pack. You need to ask yourself if you are moving to a job where you are going to be constantly challenged and expected to perform at the highest level. Being comfortable and carrying out routine and mundane tasks can get very boring very quickly. What you are looking for is a company which wants to go places and expects the best from its staff.

Work is a very big part of all of our lives and there is no point in going somewhere that has no sense fun or enjoyment. We spend a large chunk of our lives within the office so you don’t want to be somewhere that makes you miserable and unhappy. The very best employers are the ones who can create the right atmosphere but at the same time remain highly productive. Remember culture is not just about Christmas parties and fun days out – it’s also about the people at the top being open to ideas from everyone. In my business, I have always encouraged people at all levels to put forward any ideas they may have. This is a great motivator, and shows them how valued they are.

There is nothing wrong with hard work but the most productive staff are the ones who get the work/life balance right. People need the opportunity to recharge their batteries. Sometimes you have to work harder and longer to get an important job done but a long hours culture where people are afraid to go home won’t necessarily mean that it is productive.

Big or small
The demands of work are often linked to the kind of business you work for. Smaller firms tend to need people who are prepared to take risks and work under their own initiative. They offer you the opportunity to take on a great deal of responsibility and be flexible with what you do. The downside is that there is much more risk associated with smaller operations; larger and more established firms tend to offer security and stability. It makes sense as an individual to check your skills and temperament matches the firm you are planning to join.


Seven Unvonventional Behaviors of Inspiring Leaders

By Ekaterina Walter – Forbes

There are very few great managers. And even fewer great leaders. Making your team happy by displaying behaviors that are expected from you as a manager is hard. But it is even harder to inspire people to follow you, especially if you don’t have direct authority over them.

Leaders are not always perfect. And, sometimes, they are downright quirky. But they display a set of behaviors that make them admired and loved. Let’s look at some of the rare ones.

 Great leaders:

 Play Devil’s Advocate
Have you ever seen a leader who continuously pushes you to look deeper and challenges status quo by regularly and passionately taking the other side of the argument, even if s(he) agrees with your point of view? My guess is your answer is no. Playing devil’s advocate and ferociously challenging your assumptions works well in scientific experiments, but we rarely see it in business.
Great leaders play the game of 10 “why?”s, asking the question over and over again to test their understanding of the underlying strategy. They defend the opposite point of view just to explore what else their teams forgot to uncover that may be critical to their mission or a project.
It is easy to think that we are right, it soothes our egos. But it takes courage to stand up to and challenge your own experiences, knowledge, ideas.

 Take the blame
If there is a blame to be had, great leaders take it on. If there is a credit to be given, they give it away to others. Granted, it’s a very rare behavior, but the one that truly creates a following. Exceptional leaders protect their teams and they are humble when it comes to owning up to the accomplishments.
Couldn’t care less about conventional wisdom
The more you say “it’s never been done” before, the more excited they get about changing that fact. And they build the teams around them that never take no for an answer. It’s hard to manage a team of rebels, but that’s exactly what’s needed to change the norm, to challenge the old, and invent the new.
And they don’t care about the failures, because they know that the only thing that matters is their response to those failures. Failures teach. Circumstances change. Pioneers stumble while shaping the path for others. And that’s okay.

Shut Up
Have you ever been in a meeting when the most senior executive in the room have not spoken a word during the whole meeting? And I don’t mean because (s)he would be on a laptop or a mobile phone doing email. No, rather sitting in the room intently listening to the very important strategic discussion. No? Well, I have. And I have to tell you – it is both a little creepy and awe-inspiring at the same time.
Malcom Forbes once said: “The art of conversation lies in listening.” Some of the best leaders make it a point to not have their opinions heard right off the bat, but rather sit back and truly listen to what their teams have to say, maybe occasionally asking a question or two. You can get some amazing insights and inspire some great ideas just by sitting there and not contradicting (or agreeing, for that matter) with the opinions of others. Those leaders tell me that it is very hard to do, but tremendously rewarding to exercise this every now and then.

Intentionally seek diversity
We’ve all seen managers surround themselves with “yes” people. We’ve all seen favoritism in our careers – after all, it is human nature to like those that look/speak/dress like us. But exceptional leaders go outside of their comfort zones in recruiting their teams, they intentionally seek diversity of opinions/ages/genders/perspectives/experiences. They don’t want to build an army of “yes” men and women, they want to innovate and evolve. And one can’t do that without the benefits of diversity.
George S. Patton said, “If everyone is thinking the same, then someone isn’t thinking.” That’s something true leaders try to avoid by building and developing diverse teams.

 Invite naiveté
Great leaders are also great innovators. And they know that curiosity and naiveté are critical conditions of innovation. They are humble enough to accept if they don’t know something and smart enough to constantly learn throughout their career.
But they are also sharp enough to know that times change and that no one person can know everything. They ask “why?” and “why not?” constantly, and are always open to reverse mentorship with younger generations realizing that there are some things younger professionals are just smarter about.

Understanding how critical it is to sometimes disconnect and reflect, extraordinary leaders will disappear for a while. They will do something else, change their routine, and learn something absolutely new outside of their professional interests. They are masters of creating white space in which creativity thrives. Not only that, they are masters of knowing their limits and when their energy levels need recharging to continue to operate successfully long-term.

What are the rare behaviors you see remarkable leaders display?