Why are extra-credit projects being treated as requirement? Let’s locate missing brownie points while enjoying a hard-working chocolate treat and ponder how to keep discretionary efforts from being discounted, mislabeled and under-appreciated ever again.

Brownies

With the ubiquity of work-like-an-owner slogans, companies appear desperate for donated work, but can they manage those gifts when received? Discretionary effort, over-and-above job requirements generously gifted, is dangerous territory becoming potential demotivation without transparent expectations and rewards. Further, programs become disastrous without tools for assessing ebb and flow of discretionary efforts as employee’s interest in extra assignments vacillates. If premature turnover of A+ performers is a pattern, mismanagement of elective contribution may be a culprit.

For all the Antony and Cleopatra’s, this story celebrates the end of our trip down DeNial so you may find your true inner pharaoh and avoid being bitten for ineffective leadership. Cleopatra’s pound cake is filled with a chocolate r-asp-berry filling. 

Vanilla Pound Cake

Be it known that we, the greatest, are misthought ~ Cleopatra

Perhaps in our case however, we are not exactly the greatest yet and could use a bit of leadership coaching to elevate our game. An inconvenient truth is that we often enable sub-par performance by managing ineffectively. While everyone would wholeheartedly agree in theory, many leaders are in denial regarding their own management short-comings and assign blame to a variety of scenarios and subjects. Believing I was protecting my team, I was once overly meddlesome impeding progress out of fear of failure. Of course, this only hastened the outcome that I was so diligently attempting to avoid. If you are struggling with leading your team, then you may be overdue for the valuable lesson of getting out of the way.

Your buttercream is currently under surveillance. The competition just ate your lunch and has come back for dessert. The question is are you going to let them have your chocolate cake and eat it too? Let’s talk tough about keeping your adversaries at bay.

Competition, what competition? Banish this phrase from your professional lexicon evermore and assume that rivals are lurking everywhere. We are probably all guilty of letting our guard down due to being either disinterested or completely naive about the strength of a competitor thereby giving up market share for easy grabs. In short, we were temporarily oblivious allowing the opposition to get the better of us.

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Pink Panther Cake

You have worked hard to earn your current position, having scratched and clawed your way up to the bottom of the middle. You are important-ish. Just look at your inbox overflowing with…well, unorganized stuff. Today we are exploring our email communication style while we enjoy a chocolate treat that has been aptly named an InBox Cake in honor of the nostalgic box cake with pudding in the mix, of course.

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Your email inbox is out of control. It seems that everyone, regardless of position, is receiving hundreds of emails a day. What is all the excessive communication really about? You are likely being cc’d to oblivion, drowning in mind-numbing minutiae and perhaps participating in a few inefficient habits yourself. This is an exit strategy to escape the dark abyss that is currently your inbox.

The deceptively humble muffin is an excellent choice for a lesson in being underestimated. Nonchalant on the exterior but buttery, cakelike and bursting with the dynamic flavor combo of your choice on the inside, this recipe is for a delightful cake in disguise. You may be a little muffin today, but you are on your way to splendid notoriety and nothing can stop you. Except over-mixing the batter (which will only prolong the misperception about your prowess, baking or otherwise) as rubber, while awesome for tires, is an unpleasant consistency for cake.

So, you’ve been underestimated and overlooked. It happens to everyone but that is no solace to your smarting feelings. It sucks; however, by tapping into the craftier part of your personality you can find the advantage in the situation…in every situation really.