Feedback: How to give — and get — more of it

(MoneyWatch) Over the years, I've noticed three things about feedback: 1. Constructive feedback is incredibly useful, and 2. More is better than less, yet 3. People are remarkably stingy with it That last point was driven home once when I was on a panel exploring different generations' work styles. I spoke positively about Gen Y's seemingly constant need for feedback, noting that I can post instant reviews of any products online. Why should I only get feedback at work every six months, if that? A fellow panelist swooped in to offer a counterpoint, arguing that many of the projects she managed ran longer than six months. How ridiculous to offer feedback more often! But I'm not sure that's true. Not all managerial feedback needs to be a formal "360 degree" evaluation -- or even an official report. There are lots of ways to offer and solicit feedback more informally. You can: -- After a presentation, discuss what worked and what didn't, criticizing yourself first -- Compliment a new hire on a salient point she made in a meeting, and explain why it worked -- Advise a young employee that people would take him more seriously if he said "like" less, and set up an accountability system to each other to get you to stop a bad habit, too -- Coach a direct report on how to cold-call someone -- Ask team members to watch clients' faces during a presentation and cue you in later on when their attention wandered -- Ask someone whose writing you admire to edit a document and tell you what you can do better. I think we sometimes shy from giving too much feedback because criticism is hard to deal with. But done right, it's really a gift. It's easiest just to ignore someone. Taking the time to try to improve performance -- and see your own performance improve -- means you care enough to make it happen. What to do when you're getting nothing done Tame your work week Find work-life balance, even on the road I've been grateful, recently, for some honest feedback. At my personal blog, I Continue Reading

How to Remotely Control Any Windows PC

Last Updated Apr 1, 2009 2:04 PM EDT Ever wish you could take control of another PC? For example, maybe there's a salesperson in the field who needs help resolving an Outlook problem. Or you need to connect to your own system to retrieve a document, but you're working from home today. Whatever the situation, remote control is the answer. PC World explains how to control a remote PC from anywhere using capabilities built right into Windows. Well, not all versions of Windows -- but there are third-party alternatives available to everyone. You also get the scoop on virtual private network, or VPN, solutions, which add an extra measure of security to your VNC. (Yeah, there's a lot of alphabet soup here.) Finally, there's info on some third-party VNC solutions, including my longtime favorite, LogMeIn. Definitely some worthwhile reading if you're looking to get set up for remote computing. Continue Reading

How to Give Performance Reviews That Make Your Company More Valuable

Last Updated Feb 3, 2011 4:40 PM EST It's performance review time at my company. I don't know about you, but I look forward to giving my staff reviews. And unlike at a lot of companies, I'm pretty sure my employees like them, too. Reviews are not a once-a-year affair at; they're a continuous process. I think of them as a way to improve my people, beat our competition, and more generally, positively transform the entire company. If you dread or even fear giving annual performance reviews, read on.1. Time - If you don't have the time to give reviews, you simply don't see them as a priority. They are. 2. Fear - You're afraid of hurting people's feelings and lack the technique for giving candid, constructive feedback. 3. Lack of process - Your company has a form to complete, but it has not been designed for your needs. Essentially, the form is boilerplate and worthless. 4. Lack of content - You don't know what to say in a review, which means you didn't have a good plan last year or you didn't document interim reviews. (What, you don't do interim reviews?) Now here are some suggestions for you to get the most out of reviews and view them as an effective way to make your company far better:1. Prioritize - If you want people to change, don't expect them to read your mind. Secretly wishing for improvement won't make it happen. Have you ever known someone who's passive aggressive over something that ticks them off, but does nothing about it? That causes resentment, is unhealthy in a relationship, and will sabotage communication and ultimately execution. 2. Candor - Jack Welch, as he writes in his book, Winning, believes that the single greatest problem in business is a lack of candor. You must be clear and not sugar-coat what a person needs to hear. Glossing over issues will make people believe that they don't need to really work on them. So be polite, respectful, but brutally honest. 3. Expectations - If people are to perform at a designated standard, then they Continue Reading

​Bill Gates asks Twitter users how to give away $50K

Bill Gates is asking his more than 16 million Twitter followers for advice on how to give away $50,000. The world's wealthiest man and co-founder of Microsoft (MSFT) is also a major philanthropist, creating the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in the 1990s and giving away billions. While $50,000 might seem like chump change to Gates, his question was apparently aimed at drawing public attention to an unusual task given to Northwestern University students this year. The university's course on philanthropy requires its students to analyze and investigate nonprofits that could benefit from a $50,000 donation, The New York Times notes. Other top universities ranging from Harvard to Yale have also created philanthropy-related classes, which are seen as ways to learn how to work in the nonprofit arena (where the students would eventually be soliciting donations from patrons) or how to give away their own funds. So what types of suggestions did Gates receive? Those ranged from donating the funds to programs for school meals to helping organizations that provide safe spaces for LGBT youths. At the same time, Gates has been slowing his charitable giving, according to The Times. After donating $24.6 billion in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he trimmed that to $3.7 billion from 2002 to 2012. Nevertheless, he and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett sparked the idea for "The Giving Pledge," which is a "moral pledge" made by the world's wealthiest to give away half their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes. Overall, the country's biggest donors are giving more money to charity of late, with the top 50 giving $7.7 billion in charitable gifts in 2013. While that was a 4 percent increase from 2012, it lags the increase in the Forbes' 2013 billionaires' personal wealth, which jumped 17 percent from 2012. Continue Reading

Screens stole your family? Here’s how to regain control

1 of 2 View 2 Items Close up of smartphone used by young blonde woman in plaid shirt SALT LAKE CITY — When Naomi Schaefer Riley was 2 years old, her parents rushed her to the hospital for an asthma attack. There, between breathing treatments, her father worked hard to entertain her. “There would be bad jokes, stories from his childhood, stories from his mother’s childhood, lessons about the American Revolution," she remembers. Some 30 years later, when Riley had to take her own daughter to the ER, she found the job of being a parent much easier since “Dora the Explorer” was cavorting on a television screen in the room. "In an instant, Dora relieved me of my job of making funny faces, of assuring Emily that everything would be fine, of lying to her that no one would need to stick her with a needle." Television and other screens have made some aspects of parenting easier, but at a tremendous cost to our children, who have been involuntarily enrolled in a “large uncontrolled experiment,” says Riley, author of the new book “Be the Parent, Please: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat.” James Allen Walker Naomi Schaefer Riley is a mother of three and the author of six books, including "Be the Parent: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat." Riley's concerns are shared not just by conscientious parents, but also some leaders in the field of technology, including Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive who recently said, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works.” And Sean Parker, Facebook’s first president, who has said, “God only know what it’s doing to our children’s brains.” Meanwhile, a group of former employees of Facebook, Google and Apple have formed the Center for Humane Technology, to warn about technology addiction and advance solutions. Riley, who Continue Reading

Family in town for the holidays? Here’s how to give them a tour of San Francisco along 49 Mile Drive

By Amy Graff, SFGATE Published 10:57 am, Friday, December 15, 2017 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-10', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 10', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-15', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 15', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-20', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 20', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-25', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 25', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-30', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 30', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-35', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 35', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-40', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 40', target_type: 'mix' }); Continue Reading

How to give to charity without busting your budget

As the holiday season ramps up, Americans increase their charitable giving. Here are five ways to give to others while still staying on budget: 1. Adopt a family. Instead of family members giving gifts to each other, “adopt” a family and use some of the money you’d normally spend on presents to get make sure a family in need receives items such as outerwear, clothes and toys. You can usually find a local organization or group that puts programs together to adopt a family over the holidays; some even offer the opportunity to deliver the gifts to families. Soldiers’ Angels is a national organization that helps military families. Other organizations include Christmas Family Adoption Foundation and Families First. 2. Beware of scammers. Unfortunately, scammers use goodwill to their advantage, so be on the lookout for anything shady. Research charities before donating to confirm their legitimacy through the Better Business Bureau or Charity Navigator. And remember to never click on a link or open an attachment in an email or text, even if it appears to be genuine, and never wire money or send cash. Use a credit card instead as it provides more protection. 3. Check for matching funds. If you work for a large company or organization, see if they offer matching donations funds. Additionally, some charities offer special promotions during the holidays to match donations if they get a corporate sponsor or are trying to generate additional contributions before the end of the year. 4. Declutter for a cause. If you have a closet stuffed with gently used clothing, toys your kids have outgrown or books you no longer need, use this as a win-win by cleaning out and giving it to someone in need. Facebook marketplaces also allow you to give away the items to other local families — although you’ll want to make sure you meet in public places and protect yourself with any online sales or transactions. 5. Donate while shopping. You can give Continue Reading

With tax reform, you might want to donate more this year. An expert weighs in on how to give wisely.

Given the large increase in the standard deduction in the tax reform bill just passed by Congress, some Americans may be less likely to itemize for charitable deductions in the 2018 tax year — a prospect that has some nonprofits worried that donations will go down. You might want to donate more this year, before the new rules take effect. But how can you be sure you’re giving to the right cause? We talked with Charlie Bresler, who thinks the way you donate money is probably all wrong. Bresler left his job as president of Men’s Wearhouse several years ago to dedicate his life to philanthropy and the concept of effective altruism, which means maximizing the overall social good instead of giving to a charity you may have an emotional connection to. He is the volunteer executive director of The Life You Can Save, a charity that encourages people to donate to certain nonprofits that save and improve lives in the developing world. Bresler talked about wealth inequality, and why he advocates for the concept of using your head sometimes more than your heart when you donate your money. There’s a calculator on the website that allows you to select a dollar amount and see how far it can go. For example, if you give $30 to the Against Malaria Foundation, it will buy 12 bed nets to protect an average of 18 people from malaria for three to four years. Q. Are we actually donating our money wrong? What does that mean? Bresler: Yes we are definitely donating our money massively incorrectly, and we can do a tremendous amount of good by shifting how we give. Of the $250 billion given by individuals on an annual basis in this country, 94 percent of that is domestically and just 6 percent is overseas. Think about how much more good you can do in the developing world where the dollar goes a lot farther. We give to ineffective charities all the time. Only 35 percent of people do any research before they give. People will generally Continue Reading

How to give the gift of travel

Trips can produce memories for a lifetime, which makes the gift of travel one of the most meaningful you can give. It’s also one of the most complicated. Here are some options to consider. How to buy a tripPurchase ticket now: Your first inclination may be to pick a destination and buy a ticket. But unless you know the recipient very well, this can be a dangerous move. Do this only if you have heard the giftee say, “I really want to go to London in the second week of February for four weekdays.”Purchase a ticket later: This makes lots of sense; simply hand your loved one a card telling them what you’re giving them then make good on the promise later when the two of you have time to map out the journey.Suggest destinations: Think about your budget, the kind of places your loved one would like to see, and the time of year they are free to travel. Many desirable destinations have good prices year-round, but if you can fly in winter (while avoiding expensive spring break periods), you can travel for a small sum. Here are some suggestions:• Domestic: Denver, Boston, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and often Seattle and San Diego• Europe: Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and in recent months, deals to London and RomeBuy gift card from the airline: Carriers like American and Delta sell both traditional plastic cards shipped via delivery service or virtual gift cards that arrive via email. Alaska sells certificates. All work the same way: You book a flight online but instead of using your credit card you punch in the card number or certificate code. Cards come in a variety of denominations with Southwest’s going for as little as $10, Alaska starts at $25, Delta’s minimum is $50.Buy gift card elsewhere: We’ve seen Southwest cards on Amazon and advertised by Walmart.Look for hotel and flight deals: Check out airline vacation packages for deals, which are fairly common for Hawaiian destinations and popular resorts like Las Vegas and Continue Reading

How to give and get help this holiday season

 Here's how to give and get help as the holiday season approaches.  Donate foodDrop food into a Kroger bin. The supermarket chain hosts Dare to Care collection boxes at store entrances. Every Jefferson County public school also conducts a food drive this time of year, according to Dare to Care. GiveDonate online at or send a check to Dare to Care Food Bank, P.O. Box 35458, Louisville, Ky 40232  For more information, call 502-966-3821.While you shop online, you can help the hungry. Amazon will donate one-half percent of eligible purchases to Dare to Care via the Amazon Smile program. To get started, visit Buddy delivers packs to 4,000 local school children each Friday in 40 schools with easy-to-prepare meals selected by a Dare to Care dietitian, as well as Blessings In A Backpack. One way to support this effort is to purchase the cookbook, "A Recipe to End Hunger," produced by WAVE-3 news anchor Dawne Gee. Visit to donate. All proceeds from the sale of the $27.95 paperback on benefit hunger relief. Volunteer timeIndividuals and groups can lend time sorting food, working in the office or staffing special events. To register, visit Show up - Bobby Ellis Memorial Candlelight VigilWalk a half mile on Thanksgiving Eve at 21st St. and Muhammad Ali Blvd., where 9-year-old Bobby Ellis died from hunger that day in 1969. Walk back to Catholic Charities, 2234 W. Market St., to hear community leaders recall the death that resulted in the founding of the food bank and the continuing challenge. The event begins at 7 p.m. For more information, call 502-966-3821. Other ways to helpBased in Louisville, Blessings in a Backpack sends school children home with convenience food to stay them through the weekend. While this program has spread Continue Reading