Showing posts with label sustainable companies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sustainable companies. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Shedding the Light on Gas Lighting

Shedding the Light on Gas Lighting

My husband came home at noon on a Wednesday with an announcement, a resolution more like it; "I want you to look for a job out of town! I am tired of you getting into work situations and then getting abused." A legitimate complaint from a loving husband, to the woman he feels he is assigned to protect, I suppose.

But I explained to him that the problem wasn't our city or even the organization I had been working for at the time. The problem is, people take advantage of other people in all places.

It happens in small towns, big cities, the military, big organizations, medium sized businesses, franchises...we justify it by calling it culture, old school, good old boys networking. Here in Cheyenne, some people call it "cowboy culture." This is the most offensive of all, because it just isn't true. True cowboy culture is gracious, united and courteous. If you are misusing this term this way, please stop.

Sometimes this behavior seems more prevalent in certain places, and I believe it can be, because we justify it and allow it to happen. We candy coat it rather than facing facts, and calling it what it is. We say, "oh that is just Anderson, Cheyenne, Indiana, Wyoming, Arizona, (your organization here)..." I have watched business owners do it to other business owners and call it "competition."

No organization is immune, I have seen it happen in educational institutions, law offices, hospitals and churches.

It is called gas lighting.

Gas lighting is a form of manipulation that often happens in abusive relationships, but also in politics, office environments, clubs and social groups. The term gas lighting references back to the days before electricity when a light could be dimmed. It is a form of dimming one's perception of reality, and in the beginning the person who is gas lighting will often seem kind, helpful and knowledgeable, but in the end, they are a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Signs and symptoms of gas lighting are...

People who gas light tell lies, especially "white" lies and gossip profusely - They will exaggerate and repeat the stories often.

People who gas light make promises that they don't keep; if you challenge them they often deny or lash out even when there is evidence. They might say they are going to put your topics on a meeting agenda, or pass your idea off to the boss, but it never happens.

People who gas light cut your ideas off at the knees in front of other people and sabotage your work.

People who gas light will often be seemingly positive people and even encourage you. They give you just enough encouragement to confuse you and then set you up for another gut punch.

What do gut punches look like?

Gut punches come in the form of character assaults. You or your ideas might get called outright "stupid." When you speak out against the assaults you will be referred to as sensitive. Gut punching might also attack or downplay your strengths. Maybe you are patient, and the person gas lighting paints it like a weakness instead of a strength. Sometimes it is in the form of non-verbals and body language, such as eye rolling, abrupt interruptions, and body blocking during conversations with important people and higher ups. Gas lighting may take the form of an abuser changing meeting times without telling you, or rewriting your reports or curriculum at the last minute.

The end goal of gas lighting is to dominate and control you and whatever project or team you are working on. Sometimes a person who gas lights has aggressive career goals, but not always. Sometimes they are just looking for social power.

What to do...

Follow your gut intuition.

Don't ever confront the person that is gas lighting.

Do not retaliate with the same behaviors. While most of us who have been gas lighted will not usually retaliate with the same verbal behaviors, sometimes we are un-aware of our body language and we fall into the trap of mimicking the abusers non-verbals and para-language. Stay aware and be extra mindful of your actions. If someone body blocks you or interrupts an important conversation, your first instinct will be to jump back in, don't do it. Stand tall, show confidence, and be patient for your moment to speak calmly and show that you are the voice of reason in the room.

Keep a journal if you need to. Do whatever you need to do to reaffirm yourself, because gas lighting is an attack on your self esteem.

Most importantly, this is a situation where you need to stay consistent, document your work and let your true character be reflected. Let your high moral standard and your established reputation speak for itself. Stay on your best, and always take the high ground.

Should you change jobs, clubs, churches, etc.?


Sometimes the culture in an organization or group is so bad that you just have to move on, however don't ever think that leaving will stop gas lighting from happening to you again. You must, become aware of the decease and build up an immunity to it or it will happen again. And sometimes, you need to stay and "be the change."

Becoming immune...

Again, first you must learn to recognize the signs of gas lighting, and recognize them early.

Second, be very mindful and aware of your own behaviors and responses. When you can recognize and respond early on, it is a real game changer. It allows you to feel empowered in the situation.

Lastly, do not ever let your self esteem begin to slip. If you allow your self care to slip in such a way that your self esteem begins to dip, you allow yourself to become a vulnerable target to a gas light predator. There really is something to be said for taking care of "you" first. It is very important to do the things that make you strong no matter how good or bad life gets.

Make no mistake, I am not saying the problem is with the victim. Abuse is always on the shoulders of the victimizer, but you don't have to be a victim again. Now that we know what gas lighting looks like, together we can stop the cycle of abuse in our towns, cities, businesses, educational institutions, clubs and churches.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What is Servant Leadership and Can it Work?

Servant Leadership
Servant Leadership
Putting people first does not have to correlate positively with low profit margins.  Companies like Starbucks and Southwest Airlines have put people first in their business models with generous employee benefits and education and gained a remarkable profit margin.  Servant Leadership is a leadership model that can and should be deployed in all companies, large and small, for-profit and non.  Servant Leadership is socially responsible and promotes employee satisfaction.  Servant Leadership promotes a sustainable profit margin as well as community but the question remains can a for-profit organization put people first?  Servant Leadership can be applied to large for-profit companies in fact it can provide a sustainable profit margin. Servant leadership promotes stakeholder loyalty and stakeholder loyalty promotes community.  Businesses must be people focused to sustain for generations.  Large companies impact diverse people groups, the social structure of these communities as well as their environments.  Large companies are constantly shaping our world.  Servant Leadership can be applied to large companies such as the for-profit universities and is a topic that deserves further exploration.

Servant Leadership as a Business Model
Companies such as Starbucks and Southwest Airlines are deploying policies that are Servant Leadership friendly from the birth of the business with great success.  Southwest Airlines is creating a Servant Led culture that marks the organization as well as society.  Large non-profit companies such as Fuller Theological Seminary, Habitat for Humanity and the Southern Baptist Convention have run successfully on Servant Leadership for Generations.  Fuller Theological Seminary was founded in 1947 and has a rich history of servant leadership as well as a working community that functions on collaboration with social responsibility being a core value.  The business model of Fuller Theological Seminary will provide an example of what can be done when Servant Leadership is made the end goal of a large organizational model.  Habitat for Humanity was founded in 1976 and serves as an excellent example of how a company can grow and expand to all corners of the globe when a business is built on people rather than profits.  Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit that has seen enormous growth from a small start in Georgia and now to over five continents.  Although large non-profit companies are different from the large for-profit companies in the goal of making a profit this is really where the contrast stops considering that all companies, both for-profit and non, do have a bottom line.  Large for-profit companies can indeed learn from large enduring non-profit companies in terms of sustainability.

Decentralization: The Key to a Servant Leadership Culture
An important component of the Servant Leadership Culture is the decentralized organizational model.  An excellent example of this can be found in Starbucks.  According to Ferrell, Fraedrich & Ferrell, a decentralized organizational model is prone to unethical behavior; however Starbucks is a model that can be used to argue against this theory as it uses its decentralization to encourage its managers as well as individual employees to look for ways in which they can exhibit ethical behavior.  I would argue that the decentralized organizational model, when used properly, encourages ethical behavior.  Not only does Starbucks give its managers freedom of philanthropy, it encourages employees both new and old to contribute suggestions to the company on a regular basis, publishing these suggestions, even the anonymous ones in the company newsletter.  This method of publishing the suggestions affords a form of corporate accountability that encourages ethical behavior.   

You may also enjoy reading Considering frugal Starbucks Ethical Pic or my whole list of Ethical Company Reviews.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Considering frugal Reviews Fry's Electronics

fry's electronics review
Fry's Electronics is Not Considering frugal
Need a new laptop, Xbox, or TV? Best Buy is your best bet; they are in fact a sustainable company. We recently purchased a brand new laptop from Fry's Electronics, not a sustainable company, and our experience was well....I predict Fry's Electronics will declare bankruptcy sometime in the next five years if not sooner.

The Initial Purchase

We bought what we believed to be a perfectly good new, not used, laptop. It was a Dell Inspiron, 15 inch with an Intel processor. We purchased the service agreement and it seemed to work just fine for the first two weeks with exception to the weak Wifi card. Around day 16, we noticed a message when shutting down and because we had purchased the service agreement we decided we would wait for our other laptop to be returned before taking it in. Around day 31, we ventured to Fry's Electronics with our laptop prepared to have it fixed. (insert scary music here)

The Interrogation

We waited in line at the service employee looked up the computer and took us to another line at another service employee spent an hour (literally) explaining to us what our purchased warranty would not cover and interrogating us as to whether or not we dropped, spilled or otherwise damaged the computer in anyway. The employee finally checked in the laptop advising us that if they found that we had dropped, spilled or otherwise damaged the laptop in anyway we would be liable for the damaged product. We were advised that our computer would be mailed to Dell for repair and it would be 6 to 8 weeks. (FYI, purchase a computer directly from Dell and you can have a service tech come to your house at no extra charge). The employee proceeded to give us a "loner" laptop for which we had to produce a deposit and sign an agreement to fix that laptop if we dropped, spilled or otherwise damaged it. We proceeded home with the laptop to find that it had NO MICROSOFT OFFICE!!!!! Um, I believe it is common knowledge that if someone needs a loner laptop they would likewise need Microsoft basics. We returned the loner as we did not want to be responsible for it only to find that our computer had not yet left the store.

Fry's Idea of Service

Flash forward three weeks....a Fry's Electronics employee calls and leaves a message that the laptop was not repairable and it would be "RTOed." We called the number they left three times, first it was faxing, then it was busy, finally we got through. The employee that answered the phone had never heard of the employee that called us and they had no idea what an "RTO" was. We asked for the store manager and after connecting with two more employees we were finally given the store managers name but told that he had left for the day. We called back the next day and asked for the store manager by name, the employee that answered the phone did not know who the person was, we advised them that this was the store manager. We were put on hold for another manager who tried to assist us and we asked for the store manager again...the phone was disconnected. We finally left a message for the store manager who would not take our call and he did not call back.

Store Credit No Cash Back

So, we went to the store in person...We waited in line at the service desk where we were told that we would be issued a store credit for $659.00. We produced a receipt for nearly $900 and requested our money back. This is when we first noticed the terrible disease that the supervisor was carrying, he had a horrible case of "my hands are tied." He explained that his hands were tied and although the business is full of computer geeks not one knew how to override the computer and tell it to give us our money back! So then, after several minutes we decided to take our store credit and go find the manager whom we were told was in. We proceeded to the next service desk to pick up our credit and that is where we asked for the store manager yet again. The unwitting young lady behind the counter said she would gladly go find him herself. She walked confidently to the front of the store but promptly came back in tears because she was chewed out by the two supervisors that stopped us. Wow! Do these employees not know about American labor rights???!!!

So then, the supervisor finally came back without a word and issued us a store credit for a fraction of what we paid without a care in the world that we would never be back!

While shopping at Fry's Electronics might save you money in the beginning, it is not a sustainable company which means that in the long run you may be out of luck. The number one rule to running a sustainable business is customer service. If you do not service the customer, you cannot stay in business and thus you will not be sustainable!

Read about some of the companies I have found to be sustainable.

Update: The following evening, after we had spent the partial store credit the manager did finally return our call. He offered us an additional $75 in credit, still a fraction of what we paid.

How I became Considering frugal

Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

Legal Disclaimer

While it is true that I am working on a PHD in Psychology and very smart and frugal, I am not a medical doctor, criminal, personal or accident lawyer. I do not sell insurance nor am I an accountant or mortgage advisor. While some of my posts may offer good ideas on home, health and business solutions, I am not personally responsible nor is Considering frugal for any advice, ideas, recipes or menu plans that you decide to use. This blog is intended to be helpful and fun. Any products you purchase from my Amazon store or any other retailer advertised on my blog must be returned to them. I may sometimes endorse a product that I love. This is simply my opinion, you must try all products at your own risk. While I personally do not use tracking cookies or share information, my affiliates are third parties and they may do so. Please click, travel and purchase at your own risk.

frugal advice

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask." Matthew 6:8