Sex, Lies and Video Tapes – Identify Bad Attitude Before You Hire It

This week’s read is not so much about the famous 1989 movie, “Sex, Lies and Videotapes,” as much as it’s about the behaviours of employees within the workplace.

As this is the political season on many fronts, it’s only appropriate to draw analogies of what may cause headaches for HR professionals and managers alike – behaviour that can get a company in hot water.

I won’t speak so much of NZ politics as I would violate the basic premise that in business, one should never talk about politics and religion. However, when it comes to BEHAVIOUR in politics, everything is fair game…

As managers, our fundamental principle is to ensure a profit (or least of which, ensure break-even for non-profit organisations) and protect the assets – plain and simple. Everything we do should be centred on this core mantra.

It amazes me how many times in business (and political) processes; this fundamental charge is ignored or even willfully violated.

In most Western business practices, the antics of leaders, and employees, has a direct impact on the health of an organisation. Example: I remember clearly how President Bill Clinton wagged his finger at the American people on TV – “I never had sexual relations with that woman…” Clinton’s folly had a profound affect on the Democratic Party and contributed to the loss of Senator Kerry – the legacy was too distasteful in some American’s minds.

As managers in charge, we have to be very, very clear about the ego states of our employees. We don’t have the luxury of politics. In fact, it seems that politicians are somewhat immune to the laws that we as managers must hold true, or face the devastating judgment of the Employment Relations Authority or – worse of all – Fair Go.

Employee attitudes (ego states) are learned behaviour. These attitudes are measurable and can be a good predictor of future behaviour. As a management consultant in North America, I was shocked at the number of transgressions I witnessed:

* I actually happened upon a client’s daughter, caught in a sexual encounter with the sales manager (found in the company supplies closet). The daughter was the general manager; the man was HER subordinate!

* Husband-wife owners (my client) of a successful garden supply centre in the States eventually divorced. The husband paid the wife $1.2 million tax free!! Auditors have just discovered that she had been embezzling over $100,000 each year for the past 5 years.

* The president of a very successful grocery chain in Los Angeles told me that on the application form for all front-line staff, the following was asked, “If a package fell from a delivery truck, would you put it on the delivery dock or would you put it in your car?” Over 60% answered that they would put it in THEIR CAR!! He said that he was so grateful that 60% of the workforce in LA admitting to being thieves!!

* And finally – one of the most shocking to me – the CEO of a drug testing centre in Sacramento, CA detailed how she tests almost all construction workers, commercial delivery drivers and other front-line staff in the area. The percentage of positive results to drug use? 85%!!!!! I mean, 85% of the truck drivers in the mid-San Joaquin Valley are on marijuana DURING THE DAY, if not on more debilitating drugs. They “counselled” the pot users. The heaver drug users were biffed out. Oh, that’s a relief…NOT!!

So, the moral of the story is, if you hear someone say that they smoked marijuana, but never inhaled (Clinton); or if they question the verb “is” with regard to what “is” sexual relations (Clinton again), then we have a serious breach of reality. And a former First Lady will never make it to the seat of the White House partially as a result of those types of indiscretions (among other things).

As managers, you have to ask yourself, “At what level of risk am I prepared to take with regard to protection of assets and the continuity of this business?” In essence, what part does “sex, lies and videotapes” affect your organisation?

I’m not one to pass moral judgment on anyone. Heaven knows I haven’t been an angel all my life. However, in the work place, I have to be a saint. As do all my reports. The laws are clear and ultimately I have a responsibility to the shareholders. Improprieties need to go out the door.

If attitudes is currently a problem within your organisation, then you must CAREFULLY follow due diligence to either rectify the situation NOW, or move that risk-point out the door – legally. Or least of which, you may have to legally install the use of surveillance cameras within your workplace – it can have a detrimental impact on morale, but it also let’s everyone know that they are “on deck” with regard to improper behaviour.

If bad or unlawful attitudes are potential risk-points within your organisation, then get some testing done as a condition of pre-employment. There are several quick, affordable and effective tools for pre-screening on sexual harassment, computer misuse, hostility, drugs, alcohol abuse and theft. Would an investment of around $45 be well worth saving the potential loss down the road?

If you want to protect yourself with future employee appointments, consider applying a validated pre-employment psychometric test. An ounce of prevention (attitudes testing) may be worth more than the pound of cure (lengthy and possibly expensive termination proceedings).

Sex and the City – The Movie – Coming to Theaters May 2008

If you are a Sex and the City fan, then hold on to your hats. Sometime in May 2008, the long anticipated Sex and the City Movie is planned to be released in theaters across the country. Over the last four years, talks about producing a Sex and the City movie have ended in a “no go” because Kim Cattrall wasn’t interested in doing a movie. However, once on board, the movie was a go, and it looks “sexy.”

The Sex and the City Movie Stats

Because I know fans want to know who will be in the movie, I am going to start with the cast list. You are going to be happy to learn that nearly the entire cast will be returning to play their star roles in the Sex and the City Movie. Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and Chris Noth will all be back. The characters Steve, Harry, Magda, Stanford and Smith will also be in the movie, played by the original actors.

The production team of this movie is basically the same team used for producing the HBO series. The writers for this movie were Candace Bushnell, who was the author and columnist of the real “Sex and the City” column and book, and Michael Patrick King. King and Bushnell also acted as producers, along with Sarah Jessica Parker, for the movie. With a modest budget of about $65 million, and the original HBO team on board, we can expect a movie that delivers what we all have come to expect from the Sex and the City series.

The Story Line…

While the exact plot of the Sex and the City Movie is still rather elusive, we do know that it will pick up the story line from the series. Let’s go back four years to recap what happened during the final season of Sex and the City the Series…

Starting with Carrie Bradshaw, we know that she went to Paris with Alexandar and Big came to her rescue and brought her back to New York with the renewed promise of a more open, loving relationship. Charlotte and Harry received news that they were going to be given a baby girl from China in six months. Miranda and Steve had moved into their new home, Steve’s mom came to live with them and Miranda was trying to deal with the new family situation. Finally, Samantha open up to Smith and they took that last step towards a “real” relationship, when Smith returned home from shooting on location to be with her, hoping her sex drive had finally re-blossomed…

Now, fast forward four years and this is where the movie is going to pick up…

Are You Having “Good Enough” Sex?

In a previous article, “Are You Having Enough Sex?” I wrote about sex through the lens of quantity.  Today, the lens is quality.  Are you having “Good Enough” Sex and what does that even mean?

I’m borrowing the term “good enough sex” from a concept by the renowned psychoanalyst, Donald Winicott, who wrote about the “good enough mother.”  This referred to the idea that a mother didn’t need to be perfect, only attuned well enough to sufficiently meet the child’s needs so that it could grow up and mature into adulthood.  I would suggest that sex can also can be “good enough” in that it will allow the couple to connect, bond and share themselves with each other sufficiently in order to sustain a mature, adult relationship.

Practically speaking, there is a natural variation in sexual encounters with your partner.  They might not always be satisfying.  Sometimes you might feel like the top of your head has exploded.  Sometimes you might feel disappointed, like “is that all there is?”  This is normal and yet many couples hold themselves to superhuman standards of perfection, that each time must be the best time yet.

I’m recommending that you take some of the pressure off of yourself and your partner.  Sometimes “good enough” sex really IS “good enough.”  Some would argue that this is settling.  I don’t agree.  I’m not saying that we shouldn’t also have “Fourth of July Fireworks” sex, I’m only saying that over the course of time in a relationship, we want to have a sexual connection that sustains our bond in a realistic way.

There are many types of sex.  There is “vacation/honeymoon” sex, there is “the kids are at the movies” sex, there is “quickie” sex and “new situation/risky” sex.  There is “married people” sex which begins at 10pm on the dot on Saturday night and consists of five minutes of kissing, ten minutes of foreplay, eight minutes of intercourse, an “I love you” and a snore.  You’ve all experienced different variations and can add many different types of sex as well.

What is important is some consistency and some balance between “quantity” and “quality” in the sexual arena.  The sexual connection between a couple is an incredible opportunity to bond, to share, to become closer in a physical/emotional/spiritual way.  And while the quality of the sexual connection varies from sex act to sex act, it truly is one of the major ingredients in the “glue” that keeps couples connected.  I encourage you all to commit to more consistent sexual contact and to do your best to eliminate your judgments about quality.

That doesn’t mean you don’t want to work to improve the sexual chemistry with your partner.  The research really does indicate that “practice makes perfect.”  So get busy and remember, when your heart is in the right place, it will be “good enough” !

And as always, I welcome your questions, comments and experiences.

Dr. Adam Sheck