Every store should do this: allocate some spaces close to the entrance for families with young children and, by extension, expecting mothers.
For the last ten years, I’ve used Quicken to manage our finances. Last summer when I switched to a Mac, I discovered that the Mac version of Quicken is a much reduced version that is just not up to snuff. So rather than downgrading, I continued to run the Windows version of Quicken on my Mac via VMWare Fusion (which, in my opinion, is the best way to run Windows on your Mac).
This works well enough, but I still find myself wishing that I didn’t have to boot up Windows on my Mac just to manage my finances.
Here’s some possible good news: It looks like Quicken may soon be coming out with a much improved program for the Mac, called Quicken Financial Life for Mac. It’s due out this summer. The website states:
If you know your Mac, you know Quicken Financial Life. Designed from the ground up to unleash the power of the Mac, Quicken Financial Life for Mac brings you the clean graphics and intuitive functionality you expect from Apple software. Built for Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard and newer operating systems.
Hopefully this will be good. Although I don’t know why they didn’t just do it right the first time.
What financial management software do you recommend for the Mac?
As a graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Kurt Warner’s alma mater, I’ll be rooting for Warner in Super Bowl XLIII this Sunday when the Arizona Cardinals take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. I think I started the year after he graduated.
Conventional wisdom seems to suggest that the workplace is not a place for good friendships. One’s work life and personal life are best kept separate.
But as Tom Rath shows in his excellent book Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without, research by the Gallup organization over the last several years has revealed that friendships at work are actually a critical component of employee engagement and a healthy work environment.
In other words, if you have a best friend at work, you are likely to be more effective in your work, and your organization is thus going to be better off as well. Workplace friendships are an important factor in overall organizational success.
This can actually be quantified. Rath points out that a mere 30% of employees report having a best friend at work. But “if you are fortunate enough to be in this group, you are seven times as likely to be engaged in your job” (p. 53).
Seven times more likely to be engaged in your job. That is huge!
In fact, Rath continues, “our results also suggest that people without a best friend at work all but eliminate their chances of being engaged during the work day.”
Note that the Gallup findings pertain to those with a best friend at work, and not just friends in general. This difference is critical. For their early research indicated that “having a ‘best friend’ at work — rather than just a ‘friend’ or even a ‘good friend’ — was a more powerful predictor of workplace outcomes. Apparently, the term ‘friend’ by itself had lost most of its exclusivity (p. 52)”
Here are some other findings from their research:
- People without a best friend at work have only a 1 in 12 chance of being engaged in their job.
- People with at least 3 close friends at work are 96% more likely to be extremely satisfied with their life.
- Closer friendships at work can increase satisfaction with your company by nearly 50%.
What conclusions should we draw from this?
Organizations that discourage close relationships in the workplace “could be making a costly mistake.” Friendships are a critical part of a healthy workplace, and organizations should take steps to encourage their cultivation. This is first of all good for employees, and second of all it will be better for the organization. Organizations need to recognize that creating an environment that encourages the development of friendships at work is a key part of solving the problem of employee disengagement.
Rath concludes in this way:
While most companies spend their time thinking about how to increase an employee’s loyalty to their organization, our results suggest they might want to try a different approach: fostering the kind of loyalty that is built between one employee and another.
I recently picked up Tom Rath’s book Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without. It was an enjoyable, quick, and informative read. You don’t see many books on friendship, and I’ve never thought much about it before, so the topic really caught my interest.
My biggest take-away from the book was this: Different friends often play different roles in our lives, depending upon who they are and what their strengths are. Rath points out eight different “vital roles” that our friends play. Simply seeing these roles articulated was incredibly illuminating. They are:
“Builders are great motivators, always pushing you toward the finish line. They continually invest in your development and genuinely want you to succeed — even if it means they have to go out on a limb for you” (87).
“Champions stand up for you and what you believe in. They are the friends who sing your praises. Every day, this makes a difference in your life. Not only do they praise you in your presence, but a Champion also ‘has your back’ — and will stand up for you when you’re not around” (93).
“A collaborator is a friend with similar interests — the basis for many great friendships. … When you talk with a collaborator, you’re on familiar ground … you often find that you have similar ambitions in work and life” (99).
“A companion is always there for you, whatever the circumstance. You share a bond that is virtually unbreakable. When something big happens in your life, this is one of the first people you call” (105).
“A connector is a bridge builder. …. Connectors get to know you — and then introduce you to others” (111). Connectors are always inviting you to lunch and other gatherings where you can meet new people, and point you in the right direction when you need something.
“Energizers are your ‘fun friends’ who always give you a boost. You have more positive moments when you are with these friends. Energizers are quick to pick you up when you’re down — and can make a good day great” (117).
7. Mind Opener
‘Mind Openers are the friends who expand your horizons and encourage you to embrace new ideas, opportunities, cultures, and people. They challenge you to think in innovative ways and help you create positive change. Mind Openers know how to ask good questions, and this makes you more receptive to ideas” (123).
“Navigators are the friends who give you advice and keep you headed in the right direction. You go to them when you need guidance, and they talk through the pros and cons with you until you find an answer. In a difficult situation, you need a Navigator by your side. They help you see a positive future while keeping things grounded in reality” (129).
We need people in our lives that contribute all of these things. Many friends fulfill multiple roles, but to expect any one person to fulfill all of them is to commit the “rounding error” (which he talks about early in the book).
This even has implications for marriage, since friendship is a critical component of any marriage. In successful marriages, each spouse doesn’t expect the other to fulfill all of these roles perfectly. In unsuccessful marriages, you often have one spouse trying to “fix” the other to “do better” at everything and thus be more “rounded.” This doesn’t work. The key is to focus on what the other does bring to the relationship, not on what they don’t bring.
Vital Friends was filled with many other take-aways as well, including more detail on each of these roles and how to strengthen them. Tomorrow I’ll be posting on Rath’s findings regarding friendships in the workplace.