TZL 932

THE ZWEIG LETTER | OCTOBER 24, 2011, ISSUE 932

F E E D B AC K

Are employees not grateful?

Reader reacts to Mark Zweig’s editorial.

owner/principal. Not being a princi- pal or owner myself and in “mid-level management,” from my vantage point I can see both sides of many company issues where senior management and staff perspective diverge. You point No. 5 is probably the most correct of the points you made in answering your ar- ticle’s question. For senior managers to think employees are going to fall over themselves to thank the firm that has reduced pay, cut benefits, and has mar- ginal if any future stability, just for hav- ing a job is unrealistic. Often they want to tell war stories of when they were coming up through the ranks and how employees today have it easier and are ungrateful – just as you said. What se- nior managers fail to recognize is it’s a different time, opportunities are few- er, the future is less stable for everyone and employees simply want to feel ap- preciated, wanted, needed, and yes – I’ve learned to try to look beyond the initial limiting perceptions of people. The second very unique issue was liv- ing through being a victim of a violent crime. About 20 years ago our home was invaded and our 5-year-old daugh- ter was attacked. Feeling how friends, family, and people we did not even know came to our support was amaz- ing and humbling. Through the difficul- ties of re-living this during the trials and through the recovery of our daugh- ter and mending of our family I learned to seek God and to be thankful for what I have. (And yes – our daughter recov- ered and is an amazing person.) Both of these experiences have shaped my faith in Christ. Both have also shifted me a bit from a personality focused on judg- ment and have made me more empa- thetic/focused on perception (at least to some extent). TZL: What question would you ask of another Hot Firm leader? JC: Where are you going next? TZL: What lesson learned would you pass along to a recent college graduate embarking on a career in the A/E/P and environmental con- sulting fields?

get as much compensation as they can. The problem is one of understanding and education on both sides. If you really want to give good insight into this, have someone do a poll of staff level employees. Just some thoughts for your consid- eration.

I n his editorial “Why your employ- ees are not more grateful” ( The Zweig Letter , Oct. 10, 2011) Mark Zweig offered seven reasons why this is happening in a difficult economy. Kendall Gee , senior project manag- er, DOWL HKM (Ankorage, AK), a 360-person planning, surveying, civ- il/transportation, and environmental services firm, wrote:

Mark Zweig responds:

Kendall –

Thanks for your thoughtful email. Please don’t think I am saying “this generation” is any different from the last. I don’t. That said, I meant what I wrote. And yes, management may very well be the problem. But management isn’t always the problem, either! I really appreciate your comments, though – thank you much for reading – and writing. JC: I am trying more and more to look at traits outside of our industry to develop within our industry. We con- sulting engineers and architects tend to look at other engineering firms (like the Hot Firm List) for comparisons and that is certainly valuable, but often the paradigm shifts are coming from oth- er industries. Other industries can be better at understanding marketing or implementing financing or operation- al systems that can be adapted to our business. Sometimes we seem to be able to do that more with project de- signs (adapting ideas from one appli- cation to another) than we do with our businesses. Anything else? “Supply is still more than demand and, as a result, competition can be fierce. It’s not un- usual for competitors to lowball fees. Generally, it appears firms are get- ting a little busier, but there are a lot of differences between firms regarding backlog. In many cases, backlog is not strong and often very sensitive to proj- ects placed on hold or dying,” Weh- rman says. forward , from page 5

Hello Mr. Zweig –

I enjoy reading The Zweig Letter and find a variety of articles insightful and informative. However, your lat- est article, “Why Your Employees Are Not More Grateful” was off-base and written with the attitude of a typical

TOP PLAYER , from page 3

was in my early 20s, I was able to see a lot about how to develop and grow with age from my father-in-law. I would also say a couple of my uncles influenced me a great deal when I was younger – by seeing their faith, morals and work ethics firsthand. TZL: What’s the one trait you most admire in people and why? JC: Faith in God. True faith can allow someone to be balanced in life in good times and bad. It allows a person to see beyond the immediate successes or fail- ures in business. TZL: Describe the most challeng- ing thing you have ever done/the biggest challenge you have taken on outside of work. JC: Two items come to mind. The easy answer – and it is true – is to raise a family. In our family we have a son with special needs, and that has been one of those hidden blessings. Most parents are humbled a bit by parenthood – kids can do that. But to see him and oth- ers grow up and develop with learning disabilities, and other physical needs, has been a true learning experience.

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