November 29, 2006 Vol. 5 No. 10


Stress Level Increasing?
by Barbara Metzger

The holiday season is here. Whew. How did it arrive so fast? I am not sure and I don’t think I am alone on this fast paced blur.

While the holidays are wonderful and bring more parties and thoughtfulness, it seems they also help point out how really busy and stressed our lives can get. For many companies it is also the end of the year in a little over a month and we know that month will go by very, very quickly.

I thought I would give you a few clues on what may increase the stress level in your work environment.

When anyone is working in an environment that needs them to be or do things outside of their natural behavioral style, it increases their stress level and takes much more energy. Such as a front desk person who has a natural low interactive preference and a good attention to detail. This seems like a good person for the position because they can get small detail work done when not on the phones. However, the phone will seem like a constant interruption of their planned work, they will lack warmth in their voice for your customers, and they will be very, very tired at the end of the day.

This same type of individual may have a detail job and lower interaction in their day. They need their own space to work in, without others bothering it. They may (not always) have trouble prioritizing, because everything looks like top priority. As the holidays/year end increase the number of things to achieve in a day, the stress increases because of their high need to complete every task.

Another example might be a outgoing, high energy person whose job includes many details. They do love the holidays – what a great time to interact with friends and strangers. And you might want to make sure there is a system to take care of the dropped details because there will be more than usual.

For the goal driven folks wanting to make good use of their time, energy and money, the holidays brings shorter fuses when a co-worker or customer seems to be wasting their time.

The closer to the holiday d-day, the more frantic the high energy person will get. Generally the quieter folks will have it taken care of or at least very planned out. The high energy is more a last minute person. Who is planning your businesses get together? The different styles will frustrate each other.

Of course I recommend making better hiring decisions, so we can match the motivators and behavior with the position. However, there may still be current employees who have job functions asking them to be outside of the natural comfort zone. Some of the duties will just take them longer or more effort and others may be tasks that don’t fall within a training category. Learning a phone system is trainable, learning warmth and energy is not.

If you can find a way to work with current employees to capitalize on their strengths and let go or reassign their weak areas, their stress level will go down and so will yours. If that isn’t possible, then pull out your patience hat and understand why the underlying tension may be increasing.

The holidays are here. Enjoy them.

If you want just a short conversation about an employee that is increasing your stress level, give me a call or send me an email or Call 512-278-1200

You Can't Judge A Test By Its Cover
by Dr. Ira Wolfe

Don't be fooled by claims of validity.

Any tool, technique or instrument including the interview must be valid. Validity means that the test accurately tests what you're testing. That might seem like a mouthful but it's pretty simple really. But just because a test is valid doesn't mean it's legal to use. To meet EEO guidelines, any assessment you use must be valid AND job specific to be legal.

For example, suppose you have severe chest pain and are rushed to the emergency room. But instead of checking your heart with an EKG, the nurses and doctors test your blood sugar. If your blood sugar results are normal (and you are still alive) that doesn't mean you are okay. The blood sugar test may be a good one and the results are accurate but you still could be having a heart attack. Right test, wrong reason.

The same thing happens in business everyday. The Internet is now clogged with hundreds and hundreds of inexpensive, easy to administer and quick to score personality "tests". The validity of many of these assessments is questionable and the reliability (will the results hold up over time) is doubtful.

To learn more about selecting the most accurate and reliable assessments, please be sure to write us at and please include your name, company, and best time to contact you.

Perfect Labor Storm Alerts #594 to #597

Fact #594: The 30% difference in coronary heart disease incidence between engaged and disengaged workers is is just shockingly important when you consider that Gallup research, which covers 4.5 million employees in 112 countries, indicates that fewer than one in every two employees feels strongly that they have a supervisor at work who cares about them as a person. And fewer than one in every three employees feels strongly that they have someone at work who encourages their development. (Source: Your Job May Be Killing You, The Gallup Management Journal, April 13, 2006)

Fact #595: The annual excess health care cost per employee with high blood pressure is $343. (Source: Journal of Occupational Medicine)

Fact #596: If an employee is admitted to the hospital for chest pains, the typical cost for an outpatient chest pain work-up is more than $15,000 including the stress test, cardiac catheterization, critical care observation and blood testing. (Source: American Heart Association)

Fact #597: If an employee has a heart attack, the typical cost is $150,000. This cost includes hospital charges for critical and intensive care, angioplasty, by-pass surgery, patient rehabilitation, worker replacement, and lost productivity. (Source: American Heart Association)

The featured article and labor storm facts are written by Ira S. Wolfe, founder of Success Performance Solutions, and is distributed here by MaxImize with permission