Note: Blog post subject matter is discussed in more detail on the Athalonz Podcast.
I’ve been working since I was nine years old. I started with a paper route, then a draftsman, then a technician, then an electrical engineer, then a patent attorney, and now a patent attorney managing a law firm and managing Athalonz. Whether I enjoyed a job, hated a job, or was somewhere in-between was primarily based on the work environment. For me, my work environments were a direct effect of how management treated people and, in particular, how they treated me.
My various work experiences helped shape the work environment I want to work in and strive to provide for the law firm and for Athalonz. I have four fundamental rules that I follow and expect all who work with me to follow as well.
Rule 1: The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would want them to treat you.
In my opinion, most people want to be respected, valued, trusted, and feel like they are an important part of something bigger; that what they do matters. I know that’s how I want to be treated.
Rule 2: Before picking the splinter out of someone else’s eye, make sure the log is out of yours.
It’s so tempting to find fault in others and/or blame others, but, if we do, it really undermines this rule and rule 1. This rule is about accountability and constructive self-analysis without shaming. We are human begins. We are going to make mistakes. If we follow this rule we can learn from our mistakes and grow as individuals and as members of our work environment.
Rule 3: Give a person a fish, they’re fed for a day; teach them to fish and they’re fed for a lifetime.
To me, this is about self-sufficiency versus dependency. I believe each person should be given the training and tools he/she needs to do their job, the boundaries of his/her job should be clearly defined, and then given the freedom to do their job. Freedom creates an independence, a self-sufficiency, which promotes individual growth. Micro-management, on the other hand, wants to control every action of an employee, which creates dependency, which stifles individual growth.
Rule 4: Communication is a two-way street and requires active listening.
How we communicate with each other dramatically effects the working environment. In a communication, the first three rules are important for the speaker and active listening is important for the listener. In this regard, active listening includes concentrating on what’s being said, allowing to speaker to complete a statement without interruption, and responding as a speaker in a manner to acknowledge what was said. The acknowledgement may be an answer to a question, a question to clarify what was said, a summary of what was said, and/or simply, “I understand”.
These rules are especially important when dealing with undesired outcomes (e.g., missed sales targets, missed a deadline, etc.), conflicts, and/or mistakes. For most of these issues, the cause, or causes, have to be determined so that remedies can be created. Rule 2 is especially important in determining the cause(s). Once the cause(s) are determined through accountability and without shaming, people can more freely and confidently collaborate to create the remedies.
I am the CEO and Founder of Athalonz, LLC., I am a founding partner of the patent boutique law firm of Garlick & Markison, I am a survivor of child abuse, and I am an inventor on over 300 patents.
Athalonz is a technology company based on Mesa, AZ. It develops and sells athletic footwear, which incorporates its patented technology that leverages the laws of physics to improve athletic performance. Website: athalonz.com
Garlick & Markison is a patent law boutique firm that assists clients in building a patent business within their business using proprietary tools and techniques. Website: texaspatents.com
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