Alice’s Blog

How to Manage People

117By Dr. Alice Waagen
Founder and President

I have been teaching management skills for most of my professional career, and I consider it the most difficult job any professional can undertake. Here’s why:

1. Half a century ago, most of the work being done inside a corporation or government organization was routine and predictable. Peter Drucker’s 1954 hit, The Practice of Management, was the seminal book of the era, and in it he coined the term management by objectives (MBO). Despite considerable change in the workforce, nearly six decades later, we are still creating performance management systems that are based on MBO philosophy.


Total Quality Management: 20 Years Later

110By Dr. Alice Waagen
Founder and President

The 1990’s love affair with Total Quality Management (TQM) empowered work teams, process improvement, and other business buzzwords killed the professional manager.

Organizations flattened themselves, removing layers of managers, while distributing their responsibilities to key individual contributors.


Interview with Paige Rhodes: You’ve come a long way, baby


A Q&A with Dr. Alice Waagen and Recruiter Paige Rhodes

How — and why — we’ve come a long way, baby

“Ladies, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise — we’ve come a long way and at this point, there is nothing standing in your way,” says recruiter Paige Rhodes of the DC firm Rhodes & Weinstock. “Forget the glass ceiling — the sky is the limit.”

I couldn’t agree more. See my Q&A with Paige below.


Take charge of your business — and your life


By Dr. Alice Waagen

In my work and in life I am a huge proponent of strategically planning personal development. By planning, I mean more than just attending a sporadic conference or seminar. I advocate writing a clear and succinct development goal, which should be future oriented and closely linked with your business goals.


Feeling isolated and overworked? Here are some useful tips on how to manage workplace stress

94An interview by Dr. Alice Waagen with therapists Anne Lee and Jessica Kramer of Bethesda Counseling Associates

Alice Waagen: As we said in the main article of the newsletter, workplace productivity numbers are up but the workforce has been reduced. In my experience, I find that people are working harder and spending more time in fear of losing their jobs. Are you seeing the resulting stress and burnout in your practice?

Anne Lee: Absolutely. We have a client right now who is struggling with stress like you’ve described. She was hired three years ago to be part of a six-person team responsible for some highly technical and skilled work. The team is now down to three who are still handling the same workload they had with six. In order to get the work done, they’ve eliminated team meetings and collaborative efforts.


Is less really more?

90By Dr. Alice Waagen, president
Workforce Learning,

My background is in management, not economics or psychology, but when it comes to productivity and burnout in the workforce of 2010, I can tell you what I’m seeing: Everyone is working harder to stay employed and in business. And if this extra work and effort enables us to build a healthier economy, I am all for it.

But what price are we paying? At what point do the long hours, anxiety and stress result in burnout? You can only assess this for yourself, but I think every person at work needs to evaluate his or her levels of stress and burnout and set a course to find a healthier balance.


Are you feeling productive?

109If not, you aren’t alone. As we begin 2010, more and more of my clients are reporting that they are overworked, stressed, and they fear that soon their productivity will suffer.

But consider this: Just last November, in a Wall Street Journal article entitled, “Productivity Soared in Third Quarter,” reporters John Hilsenrath and Luca Di Leo wrote:


Chef Nancy Robinson on starting her own business


Chef Nancy Robinson on starting her own business: MRS. ROBINSON COOKS!

Nancy Robinson, owner and head chef of Mrs. Robinson Cooks!, is an entrepreneur who made a dramatic career change in 2003 when she left her job in industrial and organizational psychology to start her own firm. After all, she was on a solid career track working in the government and private industry.

But five years later, the entrepreneur told me she wouldn’t change a thing. Read on to learn more about how Nancy made the transition from corporate citizen to business owner.