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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Managing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (part 2)

There is little doubt that you will have the opportunity to “hone your managerial skills to a fine edge” at some point in your career.  It just happens to be a fact of life.  You may even be an expert by now.  But what do you do when someone calls in the future to ask for a recommendation for one of your prior less than stellar employees; try being a LIAR.

I hope you looked at the first post on this topic before reading this one. It will help put things in the right prospective.  While this post is more humorous by intention, it does have a bit of a serious side.  The ideas for the title came from real life employees in the past, believe it or not.  But the quoted recommendations below came from an editorial in The Washington Post March 3, 1987 titled,  Looking for Faint Praise? Try LIAR.” The info in the editorial contained excerpts from writings of Robert J. Thornton, at the time a professor in Economics at Lehigh University.  He invented a system he called LIAR.  The letters stand for “Lexicon of Inconspicuously Ambiguous Recommendations.”  I still have the editorial with a few of the quotes today and provide some below.

The first time a friend and I read editorial we laughed the rest of the day and quickly decided which of the key “recommendations” fit the personalities in our group.  I hope you have as much a laugh as we did.  I actually used a few of these in the past as to not provide bad information about prior employees and prevent someone from getting a new position elsewhere.

Quotes from the editorial:

·       About a person that is hopelessly inept: I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever.”

·       About a person that isn’t very industrious: “In my opinion you would be very fortunate to get this person to work for you.

·       About a person who isn’t worth further consideration: I would urge you to waste no time in making this candidate an offer of employment.”

·       About a person who simply doesn’t have the credentials: “I cannot say enough good things about this candidate or recommend him too highly.

·       About an ex-employee who had trouble getting along with his coworkers: I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine.”

·       About a person who is so unproductive that the position would be better left unfilled: I can assure you that no person would be better for the job.”

I hope you never have to use these in real life, unfortunately I did.  As I said in the first article, HIRE WELL.  But if all else fails, try one of the above or make  up your own.

Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon