If you are just starting your business this track is for you. Build your business right the first time with the BRANDING STRATEGY TRACK. This track is also for business owners that can’t seem to figure out how to articulate their why who, and how! This track is typically 10 weeks.
This track is for business owners that need clarity in tying their marketing to their business goals! We’ll break down your business goals and objectives into a marketing strategy and actionable tactics. This track is typically 6 weeks and is best for solopreneurs that need to scale their current efforts and income.
Once you are clear on your business goals and your marketing strategy we break down tactics and develop a strategy for the social media platforms you should be on. We go deep into identifying the content that will help you meet your business goals and what platforms are the most profitable for your business. This track is typically 6 weeks.
Many business owners fail at developing their Ideal Client Avatar. Even if they do it’s tucked away somewhere or they do it so superficially that it doesn’t serve them. In this track get ready to know your audience, how to sell to talk to them and how to sell to them. This track is typically 6 or 10 weeks & many more….
We’ve all dealt with co-workers who are bad at their jobs, but very good at making their incompetence your problem—from the boss who over-promises, (only to expect you to do all of the work) to the co-worker who can’t quite do their job, (but is all too happy to pass their work off to you).
This habit of feigning incompetence at a task, so as to make it someone else’s responsibility, is called “weaponized incompetence,” and can show up at work in a number of different ways. Sometimes the co-worker may be genuinely incompetent; other times, they are capable of doing the work—they just don’t care to. Either way, their refusal or inability to do the work properly ends up becoming your problem as you are blamed for their failures or forced to take on work they will then take credit for.
How to recognize (and deal with) a boss’s weaponized incompetence
One major sign of weaponized incompetence in a boss is when they seem clueless about what it actually takes to finish a project. They might assume a particular a task takes 2 hours to complete, rather than the more realistic 12 hours. Or they don’t having a good sense of what their employee’s workload actually looks like.
For some bosses, this cluelessness may be genuine. For others, this incompetence is strategic, as they’ve learned they can make a whole bunch of big promises, the hard work of which will get passed off to their employees, who then have to scramble to get the job done, which the boss will get credit for pulling off, when in reality, they offered very little support.
This then turns into a self-repeating cycle, where the incompetent boss will make promises, force their employees to carry it out without offering much support, and then reap the rewards of their accomplishments, counting on the fact that they’ll be promoted into a different group before higher-ups realize just how little they did.
“The higher and more powerful someone is, the easier it is for them to get away with not doing what they should, often because they don’t want to do it and know that they can get away with it,” said Daphne Jones, a breakthrough career coach and author of the book Win When They Say You Won’t.
There is strength in numbers when dealing with a boss like this: “Their kryptonite is having their targets discover each other,” West said. If people can get together and show a pattern of incompetence, it’s easier to show upper management what is really going on, and how it is affecting productivity. “Widespread problems are scarier to a boss than one-off conflicts between two people,” West said.
How to recognize (and deal with) a co-worker’s weaponized incompetence
Similarly, if a co-worker can’t (or won’t) carry out a number of tasks that would be expected of them, given their position, that is a red flag. “In certain positions, people are expected to have certain broad or specific capabilities and competencies,” Jones said. “If you have them, your coworker likely should, too.”
If they don’t have these skills, they could either be in an ill-fitting role or their incompetence could be their way of passing off these responsibilities to others. When it comes to dealing with co-workers like these, Jones recommends assuming good intentions, but to try and find a way to address the situation, either with your co-worker or with your boss. “It starts with good communication,” she said.
If your relationship with the co-worker is good, you can try asking them if they are aware of any blind spots they might have. If not, it can help to bring up your contributions with your boss, as a way of ensuring that you are receiving proper acknowledgment for your work. “Let [your boss] know in a matter-of-fact way, not as a complaint, of the status of your project achievements and also how you assisted the other person who has deployed weaponized incompetence,” Jones said.
Incompetence means different things to different people, but generally it denotes the inability to do a job to a satisfactory standard. If an employee completes a task on time, without errors and the way he was asked to do the work, the employee is considered competent. If the final product goes beyond what was asked of the employee, the employee is more than competent. Signs of an incompetent employee include work being submitted late, over budget, with errors or requiring considerable help from others.
A common cause of incompetence is laziness, which can lead to errors, lateness and other problems. Not double checking your work is an example of incompetence, since anyone can do that. If you include typos in written communication, these can lead to making your company look unprofessional or can cause other departments to make mistakes. Not bothering to check the status of a project you are managing or not asking for commitments in writing are other examples of sloppiness and carelessness, since you can easily do these.
Just because you give someone instructions doesn’t mean you’ve done your job, says India Employer Forum. Signs of an incompetent manager include a trail of incompetent employees. A competent employee asks coworkers or clients if they received the message, if they understand it and if they can meet the request.
Waiting until deadline to learn that a project won’t be delivered is another form of incompetence – you should check in with key stakeholders during the course of a project to evaluate its status. If you are not able to properly and clearly communicate your thoughts or your superiors’ instructions to others, leading to problems at work, you are not competent to work with others, no matter how good your intentions.
Lack of People Skills
Companies need to attract and retain customers and employees to stay in business. Examples of incompetence at work due to a lack of people skills include being tactless, overbearing, rude, unclear, upset or not inspiring confidence in the people with whom you work. Driving away a key employee because you only point out his faults and never praise him is an example of managerial incompetence. Trying to acquire a potential customer by telling her she is doing something wrong and making her feel stupid is another example of incompetence.
Lack of Training
Through no fault of your own, you may be given a task for which you have no training or experience. For example, an excellent salesperson can be promoted to a sales manager position, coordinating the activities of the sales department. If that person has no experience creating departmental budgets, setting sales goals, determining prices based on a company’s costs and the market demand and supply, designing commission plans, developing sales materials and otherwise operating as a manager, he could fail. According to Russell HR Consulting, training is one of the main causes of incompetence in the workplace.
As the pandemic threat recedes and more employers call workers back to the office, new data from a survey of 10,000 workers describes a “troubling double standard” in the realities that employees and their bosses face, with non-executives showing much steeper declines in measures of work-related stress, anxiety and work-life balance.
Future Forum, a research consortium on the future of work launched by Slack and other partners, released on Tuesday its latest Pulse survey of 10,000 knowledge workers globally. The consortium, which also spearheads a working group of executives to discuss future workplace issues, found that non-executives are nearly twice as likely as top managers to work from the office every day, and their work-life balance scores are now 40% worse than executive respondents. Workers also reported more than twice the level of stress and anxiety as top bosses.
There was also a sharp divide between the employee experience scores of workers who have full-time in-office mandates and those who have hybrid or remote options, with declines twice as steep for full-time office workers when it comes to work-life balance and 1.5 times as steep for scores on stress and anxiety, the survey found.
“Executives are embracing flexibility while they’re telling everybody else to come back to the office,” says Future Forum vice president Sheela Subramanian. “What we’re seeing is just a lot more rigidity, more top down mandates happening and executives are not necessarily setting that model from the top.”
Meanwhile, Subramanian says, the overall declines in employee experience scores since its research last quarter come as some companies are requiring workers to revert to pre-pandemic approaches to office attendance. The new survey found that 34% of knowledge workers have gone back to working in the office daily, the largest share since the consortium began its research in June 2020.
Yet recent weeks have seen a wave of companies launch their hybrid returns to office, with many introducing policies that range from a few days a year to a few days a week onsite. At Overstock.com, most workers’ in-office mandates will be limited to a few days in the spring and late summer. Apple is easing workers in with a requirement of one day a week, which will grow to three days a week starting in May. Google has also said it expects workers to be in the office three days a week.
At Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which officially reopened its offices April 4, about 80% of its workforce is designated as hybrid, with no mandate for the number of days they should be in the office. These employees, as HPE CEO Antonio Neri wrote in a recent blog post, will be “working primarily remotely but encouraged to come into the office for collaboration.”
The company’s chief people officer, Alan May, says that HPE is doing more to articulate when those collaboration times might be. For instance, the tech firm asks leaders to meet with their employees every couple of months for targeted career, strategy and performance-metric discussions.
“We’re encouraging all of those to occur face-to-face where possible, in the office,” May tells Forbes. Collaboration events, meetings with customers and meetings designed to recognize workers should also be done in person, he says.
Yet at the same time, there’s “certainly not an edict or a quota on the number of days people have to show up,” he says.
Still, May says, they’re trying to make the office a draw, with a new headquarters in Houston that includes make-at-home meal kits to take home, large outdoor screens for movies, onsite health and fitness facilities and a pop-up “makerspace” with equipment like 3-D printers for workers to dabble in their own projects or attend workshops with peers.
Of the “makerspace,” May says, “it’s an additional amenity that I think, frankly, is a lot more thoughtful than just another foosball table.” People are excited to be back on the new campus together, but that doesn’t mean “they suddenly jumped back in five days a week,” he says. “I think those days are gone.”
“Actually I don’t think you come together to work. You do the work remotely. You come together to build social bonds.”
Future Forum’s Subramanian agrees being flexible doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no role for the office. Despite all the focus on where people will be working, their new survey showed that when employees are expected to work may be even more important to workers than where. While 79% of respondents say they want location flexibility, 94% say they want to be able to choose the hours they work.
When making plans for coming together in person, she says, companies should create team-level agreements for a set of core hours and be “really intentional about why you’re getting together—rather than ‘you need to come into the office so I know that you’re working and responding to my messages quickly.’”
“Intentional” is exactly the word Scott Farquhar, Atlassian’s cofounder and No. 123 on our 2022 billionaires list, used when describing his software company’s strategy recently. In an interview with Forbes, Farquhar said details are still being hammered out, but he expects the direction to be that employees who don’t live near one of the company’s offices will travel about four times a year for what he calls “intentional togetherness.”
He says he doesn’t call it working together “because actually I don’t think you come together to work. You do the work remotely. You come together to build social bonds.” When people come together, “I think it does look much more like a conference you go to.”
At Atlassian, the company allows people to work anywhere as long as three criteria are met: They’re legally allowed to work there, the company is legally allowed to employ them in that location, and the time zone works for their team, wherever people are based. Farquhar said about 10% of the company’s U.S. employees have moved states over the past 18 months, and 44% of its new hires in the U.S. in the past year live two or more hours from one of its main office locations.
Subramanian says it’s critical for companies with hybrid policies to set “behavioral guardrails,” as it’s “very easy for things to become inequitable.” That goes for executives, too. Ben Langis, head of workplace of the future at State Street, which has announced a hybrid work plan, says the giant asset manager has asked senior leaders to model the expectations it has for employees around working hybrid, and offers managers training on this new approach to work. “Everyone has to realize this is a large social experiment,” Langis says.
At Atlassian, where its Trello team has always had a remote-first approach to Zoom calls, if one person is remote, everyone else is join calls that way, too. That includes Farquhar: He once flew in from Australia for a town hall meeting at Trello’s offices but conducted it from a phone-booth sized room since some employees were dialing in remotely.
“I call it the Brady Bunch mentality,” he says. “Everyone has their own little box.”
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where an individual tries to gain power and control over you by instilling self-doubt. Allowing managers who continue to gaslight to thrive in your company will only drive good employees away. Leadership training is only part of the solution — leaders must act and hold the managers who report to them accountable when they see gaslighting in action. The author presents five things leaders can do when they suspect their managers are gaslighting employees.
“We missed you at the leadership team meeting,” our executive vice president messaged me. “Your manager shared an excellent proposal. He said you weren’t available to present. Look forward to connecting soon.”
In our last one-on-one meeting, my manager had enthusiastically said that I, of course, should present the proposal I had labored over for weeks. I double-checked my inbox and texts for my requests to have that meeting invite sent to me. He had never responded. He went on to present the proposal without me.
Excluding me from meetings, keeping me off the list for company leadership programs, and telling me I was on track for a promotion — all while speaking negatively about my performance to his peers and senior leadership — were all red flags in my relationship with this manager. The gaslighting continued and intensified until the day I finally resigned.
Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse where an individual tries to gain power and control over you. They will lie to you and intentionally set you up to fail. They will say and do things and later deny they ever happened. They will undermine you, manipulate you, and convince you that you are the problem. As in my case, at work, the “they” is often a manager who will abuse their position of power to gaslight their employees.
Organizations of all sizes are racing to develop their leaders, spending over $370 billion a year globally on leadership training. Yet research shows that almost 30% of bosses are toxic. Leadership training is only part of the solution — we need leaders to act and hold the managers who report to them accountable when they see gaslighting in action. Here are five things leaders can do when they suspect their managers are gaslighting employees.
Believe employees when they share what’s happening.
The point of gaslighting is to instill self-doubt, so when an employee has the courage to come forward to share their experiences, leaders must start by actively listening and believing them. The employee may be coming to you because they feel safe with you. Their manager might be skilled at managing up, presenting themselves as an inclusive leader while verbally abusing employees. Or they may be coming to you because they feel they’ve exhausted all other options.
Do not minimize, deny, or invalidate what they tell you. Thank them for trusting you enough to share their experiences. Ask them how you can support them moving forward.
Be on the lookout for signs of gaslighting.
“When high performers become quiet and disinterested and are then labeled as low performers, we as leaders of our organizations must understand why,” says Lan Phan, founder and CEO of community of SEVEN, who coaches executives in her curated core community groups. “Being gaslighted by their manager can be a key driver of why someone’s performance is suddenly declining. Over time, gaslighting will slowly erode their sense of confidence and self-worth.”
As a leader, while you won’t always be present to witness gaslighting occurring on your team, you can still look for signs. If an employee has shared their experiences, you can be on high alert to catch subtle signals. Watch for patterns of gaslighting occurring during conversations, in written communication, and activities outside of work hours.
Here are some potential warning signs: A manager who is gaslighting may exclude their employees from meetings. They may deny them opportunities to present their own work. They may exclude them from networking opportunities, work events, and leadership and development programs. They may gossip or joke about them. Finally, they may create a negative narrative of their performance, seeding it with their peers and senior leaders in private and public forums.
Intervene in the moments that matter.
“Intervening in those moments when gaslighting occurs is critical,” says Dee C. Marshall, CEO of Diverse & Engaged LLC, who advises Fortune 100 companies on diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. “As a leader, you can use your position of power to destabilize the manager who is gaslighting. By doing so, you signal to the gaslighter that you are watching and aware of their actions, and putting them on notice.”
If you see that a manager has excluded one of their employees from a meeting, make sure to invite them and be clear that you extended the invitation. If a manager is creating a negative narrative of an employee’s performance in talent planning sessions, speak up in the moment and ask them for evidence-based examples. Enlist the help of others who have examples of their strong performance. Document what you’re observing on behalf of the employee who is the target of gaslighting.
Isolate the manager who is gaslighting.
If this manager is gaslighting now, this likely isn’t their first time. Enlist the help of human resources and have them review the manager’s team’s attrition rates and exit interview data. Support the employee who is experiencing gaslighting when they share their experiences with HR, including providing your own documentation.
In smaller, more nimble organizations, restructuring happens often and is necessary to scale and respond to the market. Use restructuring as an opportunity to isolate the manager by decreasing their span of control and ultimately making them an individual contributor with no oversight of employees. Ensure that their performance review reflects the themes you and others have documented (and make any feedback from others anonymous). The manager may eventually leave on their own as their responsibilities decrease and their span of control is minimized. In parallel, work with human resources to develop an exit plan for the manager.
Assist employees in finding a new opportunity.
In the meantime, help the targeted employee find a new opportunity. Start with using your social and political capital to endorse them for opportunities on other teams. In my case, the manager gaslighting me had a significant span of control, and my options to leave his team were limited. He blocked me from leaving to go work for other managers when I applied for internal roles. I didn’t have any leaders who could advocate for me and move me to another team. I was ultimately forced to leave the company.
In some cases, even if you can find an internal opportunity for the employee, they won’t stay. They will take an external opportunity to have a fresh start and heal from the gaslighting they experienced from their manager. Stay in touch and be open to rehiring them when the timing is right for them. If you rehire them in the future, make sure that this time they work for a manager who will not only nurture and develop their careers, but one who will treat them with the kindness they deserve.
During the “Great Resignation,” people have had the time and space to think about what’s important to them. Allowing managers who continue to gaslight to thrive in your company will only drive your employees away. They’ll choose to work for organizations that not only value their contributions, but that also respect them as individuals.
It’s become a parlor game in Washington, on Wall Street, and in Silicon Valley to figure out where U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler stands on cryptocurrencies. Industry lobbyists tune in when he testifies before Congress. Lawyers parse his speeches. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. wealth advisers recently boasted in a research report about looking for clues in 29 hours of the Blockchain and Money course he developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
That’s an arduous but perhaps not novel undertaking, since videos of the classes have garnered millions of views online, something that amazes even Gensler. In his first extensive interview about the digital money craze, Gensler signaled that his deep interest in the subject doesn’t mean he’s simpatico with the hands-off oversight approach that many enthusiasts would like to see.
Policymakers have struggled with how to respond to the mostly unregulated $1.6 trillion market, which has seen explosive growth and wild price swings. Gensler is contemplating a robust oversight regime, centered on establishing safeguards for the millions of investors who’ve been stocking their portfolios with tokens. “While I’m neutral on the technology, even intrigued—I spent three years teaching it, leaning into it—I’m not neutral about investor protection,” says Gensler, who on Tuesday will give a speech about crypto at the Aspen Security Forum.
“If somebody wants to speculate, that’s their choice, but we have a role as a nation to protect those investors against fraud.” Gensler has asked Congress to pass a law that could give the agency the legal authority to monitor crypto exchanges, but he says the SEC’s powers are already broad. There’s been much discussion over the years about which kinds of digital assets fall under the SEC’s purview.
Some such as Bitcoin that act like currencies are considered commodities, not securities. But there are thousands of other coins, and Gensler believes most are unregistered securities that must comply with SEC rules. Broadly he noted that technology has sparked economic progress throughout human history, and he sees a similar boost from digital assets. That may only come, however, with strong and thoughtful regulation.
As an analogy, he says the automobile industry didn’t fully take off until governments laid out driving rules. Speed limits and traffic lights provided public safety but also helped cars become mainstream. “It’s only with bringing things inside—and sort of clearly within our public policy goals—that a technology has a chance of broader adoption,” he says.
Hester Peirce, a Republican commissioner on the SEC known for her advocacy of light-touch regulation of digital assets, says she’s eager to work with Gensler. “A lot people just want more clarity,” she says. “I come from a perspective that people should have the maximum freedom to engage in transactions they want to engage in voluntarily. Society needs to have that discussion about what is the right regulatory framework.”
Gensler didn’t give a timeline for any SEC action. He has a to-do list that includes 49 non-crypto policy reviews that could slow progress on cryptocurrencies. Many are high-profile and time-consuming efforts, like responding to the GameStop Corp. trading frenzy and the blow-up of the Archegos family office. The SEC is also working to impose new rules that would require companies to disclose carbon emissions and other environmental risks, a Biden administration priority.
Nor would Gensler comment on the potential for approving a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, a decision that many in the crypto world are eagerly awaiting, because it would provide an easy on-ramp for investors. A Bitcoin ETF would invest in the cryptocurrency and then trade its shares on the stock market. So far the SEC has balked at permitting such funds, citing concerns about the risk of fraud and manipulation in the Bitcoin market.
Gensler has spoken positively about the ETFs during his days at MIT, giving advocates hope that he’s a supporter. Peirce says it’s “high time” the SEC approved a crypto ETF. Behind the scenes, Gensler has pushed the agency’s staff members to take a look at an array of potential policy changes. He says there are at least seven SEC initiatives looking at different crypto issues: initial coin offerings, trading venues, lending platforms, decentralized finance, stable value coins, custody, and ETFs and other coin funds. “I’ve asked the staff to use all of our authorities anywhere we can,” he says.
Gensler says he thinks regulating crypto exchanges is perhaps the easiest way for the government to get a quick handle on digital token trading. But he’s also concerned about new ways people are getting into crypto, such as peer-to-peer lending on so-called decentralized finance, or DeFi, platforms. If firms are advertising a specific interest-rate return on a crypto asset, Gensler says, that could bring the loans under SEC oversight. Platforms that pool digital assets could be seen as akin to mutual funds, potentially allowing the SEC to regulate them.
Gensler was chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) during the Obama administration, where he was responsible for bringing federal oversight to the huge market for derivatives known as swaps after the financial crisis. Patrick McCarty, who teaches a class on cryptocurrencies at Georgetown University’s law school, says Gensler’s understanding of digital assets means he will give the industry a “fair hearing,” though he will likely disappoint many proponents.
“When the crypto people say they want legal certainty, they don’t mean that—they want to be unregulated,” McCarty says. “That’s never been Gary’s point of view.” Christine Trent Parker, who focuses on crypto assets as a law partner at Reed Smith in New York, says that although new SEC rules would bring more certainty to the industry, they also could divide the policing of the market more starkly—with the CFTC focused on markets linked to virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and the SEC handling much of the rest.
“Right now the lines are fuzzy because we have speeches and enforcement and court orders,” instead of bright-line regulation, she says. “If the SEC has sort of a broad framework that pulls in all of the other digital assets, then you have this bifurcated marketplace.” Others have argued that new token developers need some regulatory flexibility to encourage innovation.
Gensler also sits on the Treasury-led Financial Stability Oversight Council and the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, which recently held a meeting on the impact of stablecoins. These are crypto tokens that are supposed to be backed by traditional currencies such as the U.S. dollar, and they’ve become a huge part of the crypto trading system. Regulators worry about what could happen if some stablecoin didn’t turn out to be worth what it was supposed to be—prompting an exodus akin to a run on a bank or a money-market fund.
Gensler’s views on the panels carry weight, people who follow the issue note, because unlike, say, the Treasury secretary or Federal Reserve chairman, he has real crypto cred. His understanding of blockchain and digital assets comes largely from the several years he spent at MIT. Along with creating the cryptocurrency course, he’s been a frequent guest at industry conferences—sometimes speaking 30 to 50 times a year—mixing with deep thinkers and entrepreneurs.
He quotes writings of Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, from memory and knew some of the core developers of the digital currency. The 63-year-old former Goldman Sachs partner traveled an unlikely path to becoming one of the government’s foremost cryptocurrency experts. It started in 2017, when as chief financial officer of Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential campaign he had the lonely job of closing up shop, paying off the final bills, and deciding what to do with the abandoned computers and office supplies.
Like many of his shell-shocked former colleagues, Gensler was looking for something to do—and somewhere to sit out Donald Trump’s presidency. The answer came from economist Simon Johnson, an MIT professor who encouraged Gensler to come to Cambridge, Mass., and teach. Looking to nurture a long-held interest in the intersection of technology and finance, Gensler jumped at the opportunity.
Although he didn’t know much about digital tokens, he connected with people who were part of the university’s burgeoning Digital Currency Initiative and even audited a course in crypto programming. When he suggested MIT teach more about finance and digital money, he was given the job. Little did he know that in a few years he’d have a chance to put his academic studies to real-world use. “Life sometimes is a bit of serendipity,’’ he says.