Saturday, November 17, 2007

Five Ethical Principles

  1. Thou shalt strive to understand the customers’ wants and needs and have the customers’ best interest at heart. This behavior demonstrates and protects the customers’ rights when they are purchasing our services.
  2. Thou shalt behave in an ethical manner regarding all things related to the business of this company. Ethical manner means those behaviors which are always respectful to others with whom you make contact, helping to build a reputation of quality and professionalism.
  3. Thou shalt practice professional behavior when addressing all things related to this business or company. Professional behavior means all human behaviors, including being well prepared for meetings with clients and site managers, and clean and organized presentations.
  4. Thou shalt adhere to legal and regulatory issues. This behavior is essential to provide and maintain a legal foundation from which to avoid potential legal issues.
  5. Thou shalt avoid all situations which places you, the company or business, or client in any situations which may represent a conflict of interest.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

One-Minute Elevator Speech

Hey Dr. Macy:
How are you?
Loving this cool weather. Isn’t it great?

Hey, Um, I was wondering, um if you had some time this week to um talk with me about um potential PhD programs. I have ah done some preliminary investigation, but I am concerned about my providing an impressive application, I am concerned about this…ah because of the competition. Also, I had a few um questions about direction and emphasis and um and so on. And research experience for applications…do I need more? Do you think you might have some time this week that we could get together and talk about this? What works best for you schedule wise?



I um, had to laugh, um when I read this, um!! Yikes!

The approach to this elevator speech was informal. After I taped and listened to the tape back, I was surprised by all of the “ums”, “ahs,” and fragmented ideas and sentences. The information I tried to provide my instructor with in a one-minute, unrehearsed blurb was relevant and perhaps complete by indicating I wanted to meet with him. It was accurate because it was a request for discussion about a topic of which I am unsure about, namely the best way to present requirements that I need to apply to the PhD program here and elsewhere. It was timely in that I gave him a time frame from which we could plan a meeting.

I don’t think I did a very good job of establishing credibility. I think my speech demonstrated that I have not done much public speaking or presenting or talking lately so I have not been verbally articulate and concise; however, how would my advisor know that? I think this example demonstrates that these are speech habits
that I can change. I think if I had prepared more for the speech, if I had known exactly what I wanted to say, and if I had practiced, my one-minute speech would turn out more professional and credible. This exercise provides you with a means to help prepare a better speech by implementing some of the ideas in our readings such as know what you want to say, prepare, practice, and practice some more.

I think the speech pattern demonstrates some of the information found in the Geddes article. While my intention for using the ums and ahs may simply have been as space holders as I thought about what I wanted to say, I may come across as someone who is unsure of what they are saying but in a non-credible way, such as what Geddes calls a stereotype of female communication. Also the fact that I state, I am unsure, may not have been the most positive way to state this request for info along with inflecting a question mark at the end of every comment, another observation by Geddes. Instead I could have stated, I have a few areas of interest that I would like to discuss with you. This sounds confident and more credible because it sounds as though I have already done some of the work required for such a meeting and I am not stating my request as a question. I think recording yourself a you speak is a valuable tool, one I have not tried before and will try again. This was a good section of the class.

When I did the one-minute listening exercise, I found myself looking and responding to my co-workers body language. If she seemed uncomfortable, I tried to take a supportive stance. I did not stare in her eyes, but I looked and watched for eye contact so I knew it was OK to make. I found myself scratching my head as I was listening, I think only to help me concentrate, and shaking my legs because I had too much coffee, which may have been distracting to her because she kept looking at them as she talked.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Disaster Recovery Plan

Overview of the Project Plan

The Disaster Recovery Plan for my company will document the plan for recovery if any or all parts of the business operations become unusable due to natural, technological, legal, and/or environmental disasters. We will document the areas in which we feel disasters may occur in a variety of areas, such as electrical, telecommunications, records, data, PC data, legal, and safety. We will document the current inventory and potential disaster and then ways to address those concerns.

Getting Started

First, we will form a planning committee that will compile a disaster recovery plan. Since the company is small, all employees will be involved in this process in an ongoing manner. Each employee will contribute ideas to their area of expertise and participate in brainstorming about other areas. The following list will be modified and updated yearly or on an as needed basis.

Assessing and Identifying Risks

Electrical: Power outages, backup power for lights, computers, heating, cooling, frig

Telecommunication: Telephones, fax machine, computer networks, printing

Records: Invoices, receipts, license, legal contracts, regulatory

Data: Data networks and backup

PC data: End-user pc, data backup, viruses, hacker, security

Safety: Fire, employs, and customers

Other: Theft, natural disaster

Building the Recovery Plan (and the interim plan)

For each of the assessments, we will brainstorm ideas on how address the associated risks so it has the least impact on the business. This information will be documented and recorded and maintained yearly and on an as needed basis with employee signatures and detailed information for each risk and implementation of its plan. The plan will be an electronic and paper file copy, and an electronic file at the president and VPs home computers.

The plan will address the following info for each of the above assessments and risks. For example:








Each item within each assessment will be further divided into its components parts and its risks will be further identified. The plan will then address the plan for each risk and the plan to be implemented to recovery from each risk. For example:






Electrical Fire Safety Rules,

limit power cords per outlet, Multiple fire extinquishers

Power outage


Determine if need power backup


Recognizing and Taking Control of Crisis

Once a crisis occurs, we will adhere to the following steps:

1. Contain the crisis

2. Be decisive and communicate

3. Resolve the crisis

4. Avoid blame

5. Learn from the crisis

Writing down and Testing the Plan

The disaster recovery plan will be written in an abbreviated but thorough table form using information mapping techniques for quick reference and in a text version. The plan will be tested yearly or on an as needed basis, such as when a disaster occurs, and based on what we have learned from the disaster, we will update the plan.


M. Wallace, and L. Webber. 2004. Disaster Recovery Handbook, American Management Association, New York. Amacon.

Harvard Business Essentials series. 2004. Manager’s Toolkit: The 13 Skills Managers Need to Succeed.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Termination Checklist

Employee is making work errors or exhibiting behaviors which are unacceptable. Investigate and define the problem, attempt to remedy the problem, and then monitor the employee for improvement. If the problems continue, consult and document disciplinary action or the appropriate policies at your organization. Review any policies to make sure you follow all procedures. Obtain a second opinion.

Continuing non-improvement leads down the disciplinary action path to suspension or termination. Based on policies, treatments of other staff, and severity of problems, determine if path leads to termination or suspension with the next step being termination.
If termination is the determined outcome, consult legal for issues, obtain a second opinion, consult severance package, benefits/cobra, letters of references, and address email and phone forwarding issues before termination date.

Schedule a termination meeting:

1. State reason for meeting.
2. Thank employee for his/her efforts.
3. State the decision is a company-wide decision based on the employee's current disciplinary action.
4. State that you cannot find other positions within company that would be more suitable.
5. Discuss the company policies on all items with the employee (severance package, benefits, COBRA, letters of reference.)
6. Obtain keys, badges, etc. from the employee. Inform employee when they can pick up their stuff.
7. Stand up and shake hands, stating Good Luck to you. Escort person out of the building.

Notify staff the next day in a brief email or at the next meeting.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Key Position in My Organization

Job Title: Landscape Architect
Education Requirements:

MLA (Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture or related)
Work Experience:

Work experience requirements are flexible; however, what is most important is that the applicant demonstrate analytical and creative problem solving abilities and practical thinking skills. This experience must be demonstrated through a portfolio of prior work experience in the field of landscape architecture or landscape design. The emphasis of our firm is on conservation and the American style of landscape design. However, we also design Japanese Gardens and other styles of landscapes.
Hiring/Report Manager:

Send resume and three portfolio sample photocopies to one of the following:
Maureen Dostert, 2 Lakeland Drive, Durham, NC, 27713
Fax: 919.444.5483
Phone: 919.490.8405

Job Summary:

This position requires the applicant to use tools x, y, z, and a. These tools will be used to demonstrate the initial problem and then show the steps used through to the final solution to address in the proposal. The use of these tools can be demonstrated through the portfolio. This position requires independent and group creative problem solving experience, incorporating the solutions into the drafts, and making the presentation to the customer. The applicant will be required to monitor site activity to confirm that the agreed upon solution is being implemented.
Compensation depends on experience, and is based on the industry standards and includes full benefits. Located in a renovated warehouse with walking trails and upscale eateries nearby. Hours, mostly day hours (9-5); however, flexibility is required and may include a few hours after work or on Saturday or an 8:30 am site visit.
Characteristics Required:

This position requires that the applicant possess analytic skills along with creative problem solving skills along with excellent writing and verbal communication skills. The applicant must be comfortable with a range of decision making styles, such as group consensus to independent decision making. Excellent interpersonal skills are required since the position will involve consultations and communications with a variety of people on a variety of levels. The applicant must be able to work positively with other team members and also independently. The applicant must be motivated and have a desire to creatively solve landscape and design issues in the best possible manner balancing creative processes and practicality. A positive can-do attitude is required along with a sense of humor because life demands it.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Assignment Two---Interview Report

I paired up with someone at work who humored me with this assignment. We interviewed each other for about five minutes each; however, I went over as the interviewee because I strayed off topic and was not as concise as I should have been.

Most of the interview questions were taken from the following website:

What did you learn? I used to be very succinct in interviews but I have discovered that I socialize too much when interviewing. When people ask why are you trying to get back into the writing profession or why are you making a switch from working in the hospital to information science or whatever question they ask, I give a long-winded explanation of the last six years of my life. I have tried to explain I never left. I had a bad car accident and there were massive layoffs in the park and I needed a job. I was able to find hospital work after a ten-year absence. I have had many people calling about writing jobs but I am not interested in short-term contract work because of the medical insurance issues. Since I knew the person I was interviewing with, I found I was able to be more concise and not feel I need to explain so much. I really need to work at addressing the question professionally and succinctly and to concentrate and not be distracted.

This leads me to ask: What is too much information and what is just enough? I think sometimes you and the interviewer are comfortable talking and well you start talking about life. And stuff happens. I didn’t use to be informal or casual in interviews. I think I have used this information to test the interviewer. Do I want to work for people who do not get it? I hopefully am to the point that it is just a sentence or two about why I didn’t work for a year and why I ended up working at the hospital.

I also use humor more than I should so the interviews become delightful discussions about the job and my experience and of course graduate school. However, I think I need to minimize the humor to make the interviews more professional.

I also learned that I would answer a question not asked as I am answering a question about other information. The interviewer then takes this question off of the list.

How much interviewing experience have you had already? I have had a fair amount of interviewing experience in the past but not a lot for the last five years. However, I have had three interviews in the last six months. It was interesting to read some of the interview information listed at the various web sites provided and to see how I used to interview versus how I interview now.

For example: One of the references I read mentioned something about trying to interview at a time of day for which you are used to functioning. I work 330 to midnight and so I told the interviewer during the phone interview that I am typically up until 4 am. So she schedules me for an 830 am interview that includes a presentation of my web pages in a conference room in front of a group of five people. I asked her if we could change it to later in the day and she said that was the only time she had. So I went into this interview for the experience and not with a plan to get this job. I knew no matter how much coffee I had it would not be my best.

Another reference mentioned the interviewer decides within the first five minutes if you are the one they will hire and after that the interview is just pleasant discussion about the job. How do you know if you are having a pleasant discussion about the job with charming people or that you are not even being considered?

If you have not interviewed someone else before this, how was it different from being the interview-ee?When I interviewed my coworker, I was probably too casual because I knew her. I took some of the general questions from the following web site listed on page 1. I kept the questions general and open-ended. I found as I listened to my coworker, I found myself asking questions out of the order listed because she would say something that answered an unasked question. In addition, at the end I had to go through my list and make sure I didn’t miss any questions because the interview path did not follow the list of questions.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Unit Two---Human Resources

What kinds of jobs are you interested in doing? How are you going to get there?
I am interested in information development ranging from educational materials, training materials to web development. This type of work will include using Google Analytics to monitor web page usage, info retrieval and metadata to make info more accessible to the users. In addition human computer interaction and user interface design to make the initial search more logical and accessible.

What laws influence this area, and where do they come from?

I really don't know the answer to this question.

What kinds of things do you want to see in an employee?
How do you find someone with those skills?

I want a positive, can-do, flexible work environment in which the employees are considered valuable assets and not commodities. I think most professional jobs have some sort of good faith in their employees and flexibility and positive behavior.

What do you do to keep your employees working and keep them from leaving?
Keep them happy, and this does not necessarily mean food!

When you have an employee who will not work, what are you going to do?
I would like to discover what the problem is. Are they overqualified, unqualified, do they have health problems?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Unit One

Date: August 25, 2007

My Organization

My organization is a Landscape Architecture and Design organization. The goal is to provide the most creative solutions to a diverse set of problems ranging from environmental to functional and purely aesthetic. The approach is a holistic approach to environmental design including many seemingly diverse considerations.

The organization approach is more holistic in nature and will follow the foundations of Follett. In addition, we will also use the Systems Analysis approach because of our need to problem solve and identify solutions. Since each project will be different, the policies and procedures will be written to allow room for change. Higher levels policies and procedures and considerations will be implemented for each project. However, there will be various procedures that must be followed. Contracts must be signed. Legal/environmental laws must be followed (no choice here). And all this will be done in the context of a systems approach to projects in a holistic work environment.


This organization addresses landscape design problems and issues from local governments, individual homeowners, developers, and businesses.


This organization has a web presence and a physical presence in an office/design space. The number of employees and contractors varies as the work allows. The employees all participate in most projects to add any ideas that the others may not have thought of and because the expertise of varying disciplines may be needed. However, the actual person managing the project is the one who is best fit to achieve the goals for the client.

The following list of employees may change as business evolves but are currently the employees of this company:

Attorney: Contract, environmental, government regulations

Environmental Engineer:

Landscape Architect: Owner, designer, web developer


History Questions and Answers

Which theory do you identify with the most?

I like the idea of set a procedures and rules to follow as with Webber and Taylor. However, their ideas lack the flexibility, innovation, and creativity that I require to thrive in a workplace. Gilbreths’ ideas are both great because their focus is on organization and efficiency. No one likes to feel that their short and precious time is being wasted.

I think I like Follett. I think her thinking was ahead of her time. He approach is the antithesis of the approach of her male counterparts from that time period. Her approach is holistic and focuses on the individual and the community while her male counterparts were autocratic, almost dictatorial in nature, with workers being forced to sacrifice individualism to conform to the work structure.

After looking at the linked articles, which theorist do you think was the most interesting?

I had to laugh when I read the information about the motion studies conducted by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. On a practical level, I relate to them very well. At my current place of employment, I am always on the lookout for better organization of materials for my workstation. Additionally, because this lab is very large and there is lots of walking to obtain supplies and etc., I always try to implement an “economy of movement”: More items within reach of my hands without having to walk here and there and constantly get up and down from my chair.

However, the more interesting theorist is Mary Parker Follett. She is the only female theorist mentioned other than Lillian Gilbreth. What interests me it the differences in theory development based on gender, specifically between Follett and her male theorist in the early part of the twentieth century. Their differences seem to be divided along classical gender lines and I find this very interesting and worthy of further study.

Which do you think are totally wrong?
I don’t feel any of these theorists are totally wrong. I think they all have great ideas. However, most of them need to make room for the fact that life as a manager is never black and white and sometimes the rules simply don’t apply or even work. I would say most managers and supervisors are unskilled in communicating with their employees or with even being concerned about it but are comfortable with the autocratic (and safe) nature of being the manager.

What would you like to work under as an employee? Mary Parker Follett

Which would be easiest for you to implement as a manager?
This is a hard question. The approaches of Weber and Taylor may be easiest to follow if I am unable to think for myself and take chances. There approaches are autocratic and rules based, so when in doubt, you can fall back on policy and procedure, even if they are wrong.

Which would be the most difficult for you to work for as an employee?
Autocratic rule based Max Webber. Reading about him was a bit scary because of affiliations with the 1930s German government. Taylor because of his focused “one-best way” thinking and his preoccupation with “enforcement.” Their views are just simply to patriarchal for me.

Saturday, August 25, 2007


My first discussion assignment for INLS585 will post here.