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tv   Bay Area Focus With Susan Sikora  CW  January 30, 2011 8:00am-8:30am PST

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if co-workers make your job a nightmare, hear how to beat the workplace personalities driving you nuts. theaters ground breaking angel in america is on exhibit in san francisco. that's on bay area focus next.
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hi, welcome to bay area focus, i'm susan sikora. if you're working and you know folks who are not, they probably told you you're lucky to have a job. but if that steady paycheck come with a daily dose of co-workers, who are overbearing, annoying, people that make your teeth itch, you may believe, especially now, you're just stuck. but you're not. these authors tell you how to kick loose from these jerks at work, in their book "i hate people." >> good morning. >> where did you get that title?
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it seems a little harsh, doesn't it? you don't hate people. you seem like nice guys. >> i wrote a book about innovation about the 10 faces of innovation. it was a positive book. mark and i were working together and sharing an office, and mark would say everyday, i hate people. >> it is still my mantra. >> you seem like a nice guy. you seem friendly. i assume you don't go into the workplace cranky telling people you hate them. >> you can't. >> you have to keep it in? >> you can share it with certain people, like john. i can share it with john. >> you can tell him i hated other people. >> what if you hate john. >> i tell other people. >> then it gets around. >> and then we have an office together. the word got out. >> we'll break this down a little bit. right now unemployment is high and jobs are scarce. is this the time to go in being
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cranky, and being intolerant and by the way, i don't like this whole team-playing kind of thing. >> it is not about having to suck it up and take it, it is how to sort of make your way around these people in various ways. depends on the severity of the person in terms of their behavior. you can confront some of them directly. >> is that a good idea? >> it can be. it depends how many other ways you've tried. >> other thing is that we do modelling. we'll talk about the 10 least wanted. these are the people that are out there. and we all know these are trouble people. once you recognize them, you know, you know, that is a spreadsheet. he always sees things in numbers. and you know who that person is. i think there is a liberating force in beginning to categorize these people and then have strategies to deal with them. >> don't hate me, but some of the stuff is not new in the sense that we heard -- one book
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they called them fire hosers and you called them people who just basically say you can't do that. every way -- whatever new idea you have they'll tell you three reasons why it won't work, or more. >> sure. >> let us go through some of the others. the minutemen. these people zap your time? >> they take your time, a minute at a time. they have questions, how do i work the copier, can you help me with this? you bear with it for a while but then it starts to get to you. we talked to somebody who is a p.r. person at a major resort and she said i have one of those person working for me. i tell him to e-mail me. and tomorrow i'll have all of the answers for me. >> interesting. lot of those people are not organized to know what all of the problem will be that day. >> we did research about interruptions and minuteman applies to that. people get interrupted at least
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70 times a day. >> 70? in an eight-hour workday? >> right. with social networking it is probably 170. so recognizing the minuteman and recognizing the interruptions you can sort of strategize that you will have your interruptions certain times of the day and then you can do concentrated work and become the soloist which is what we all want to be. >> we'll get to that in a minute. we talked about the stop signs. the no-it nones. >> the noah-it none. like michael scott at the office. people that seem to have a lot of information. people that live on wiki peed ya. >> what is wrong with that? >> some of the information is not right. they will spew facts all day long and oftentimes they'll bet the horses on that information they have.
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>> this group has to be multiplying like rabbits because now we have the internet. you don't know whether somebody credible wrote it or somebody who decided to start a blog last night. >> right. >> and is just putting down his or her opinions as fact. because who checks this stuff now? >> it is sort of like new products or something. this is just sort of like features, features, features. going crazy with details and you just want to get your job done. >> and the fourth of the 10 types we'll cover, is the liar. >> liar, liar. the liar has tells, maybe he does this, or does this. or looks sideways. all these "tells" that a liar has. and if you recognize who they are, you know bob here in accounting is lying. i actually have this money. i can get this budget. and we have strategies for dealing with these people. >> there is also people, i think, they'll tell you one
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story here and one story there. and if youtube -- you two match up your stories, the facts don't add up. >> research shows people lie at the office. they lie quite a bit. and even in surveys they'll say they lie at least once or twice a week. others show that people lie a dozen times a day. so it's -- >> it is a way of life. >> one of the executives we talked to said he purposely used a desk chair in his office when he did new-employee interviews because it had a squeak in it. and the more the chair would squeak as he was interviewing the person, he would go, all right, you lied about that and you lied about that. >> and you know someone is lying if they don't look at you. if they start to sweat it is not very hot, that is not a good sign. >> one question before we go to break and then we'll come back and talk about dealing with these folks and how do you be a soloist. how do you know you're not one of these 10 types?
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>> that is the bugaboo. all of us at certain times send to be of the 10 least wanted at least in little bits and pieces. >> we're human beings. >> not me. >> the better you get at recognizing the elements of the 10 least wanted, you can weigh it against the other types of the 10 least wanted. if you know somebody and can manipulate them by telling them a lie and they're looking for the signs of you lying, you can be very obvious about the fact that you're lying. >> getting dirty. no wonder everybody hates people here. >> when we come back, we'll talk about how do we work around these people. and also, how do you become a soloist or start to solocraft. you are your own player and don't want to be a team player. i thought team player was the big deal. but how you get around that when we return. never in my lifetime
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welcome back. my guests are jonathan litman and mark hirschman. they co-wrote a book. it is called "i hate people." and you're negotiating your way around the jerks at work. don't say you don't have them because we all do. okay. tell me briefly, people will say what qualifies these guys?
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you named the blackberry, didn't you? >> been involved in naming a number of products. in doing that have dealt with a number of fortune 500 companies and the corporate super-structure. and it really gives you a chance to see the machine in motion or non-motion depending on how things are moving along in the process. >> jonathan? >> different background. i've been a journalist and author and spent sic years writing books about innovation with idio, a san francisco company. and this was all about positive, about how -- last one was "10 faces of innovation." these are the positive characters on a project that can help you get things done. you know, we talk about -- >> the ensemble? >> no, this was the collaborator, and so forth. but in doing that work i realized when you're on a project you have people who can be a drag, who can hold things
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back, and that's how we've drawn to mark's idea. >> since you had the silicon valley background here, do you think that because we're so busy on machines and we e-mail and we use the phone, that the face-to-face stuff is going away and our skills are becoming lost in at area, and maybe feeding into this i hate people because i have to look at them? >> mike will have the contrary opinion. i think there is huge advantages in technology. huge advantages in collaboration and i'm collaborating with people in india and in hong kong. you know, skype. >> break down the waulgs. we get all that. what about the personal, though? >> i think that if you're spending your day leaning over and looking at tiny screens, you must be losing something. i don't think we figured out what we're losing yet and i think it is a huge experiment in mankind. >> you also see people, by the way, who i will be having lunch with you, and i get a phone call
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and i'll take the phone call and make you wait. and the truth is, i think i owe my courtesy to you, you're here. that person is there. i'll get to you later. unless it is an emergency. >> we would hate that person. >> put him on the list. okay. and the competing viewpoint here? >> i think the technology is all so new that we're really feeling our way through it. eventually it will become very much organic to the way we deal with each other, and deal with our information. but right now it is all growing pains. and people aren't sure how to deal with any of it because it is changing so quickly and so rapidly. that until things start to settle down, which i assume they will, we're feeling our way through it. >> let's talk about avoiding these people, because if the boss puts you and me on a team together for a project and i hate you and you hate me, it is going to get in the way of the project, isn't it? >> yeah, it certainly can. >> but he made us the team. now what? >> different ways to do it.
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a, can i identify you as one of the 10 least wanted? there are certain ways to deal with you based on your behavior, like there are ways to deal with me. >> what now? >> it is a combo platter. >> sounds like a menu. go ahead. >> it becomes an opportunity to isolate yourself a little bit. that is what a soloist does. you take a quick 10, 10 minutes to get organized. once you get the ground rules set down, people will say, oh, yeah, he has his 10-minute thing going on. gradually you can stretch that time out, make it 10, 15, 20, or whatever you need. it minimizes our contact and we begin to look forward a little bit to actually to the times we do get to work together as opposed to constantly being in each other's face. >> i would add if i were to determine that you were a spreadsheet and stop sign, that was your combination and i
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realize, okay, i have to give you some things that make you happy with that spreadsheet. >> you spin the numbers in a more positive way. >> i have to throw some bones there. i realize that you're going to stop-sign and i will anticipate your stop-sign and i will allies to in a subtle way circumvent the barriers you'll throw out. >> which sounds like it could advance the project's progress? >> absolutely. >> and there are uses for stop-sign people at a certain time in the process. at the beginning of the process when you're trying to get new ideas, you don't want somebody putting up a stop sign. >> you talked about solo crafting. let us go back to the one of the things. if there are people you want to avoid but you don't want to seem unfriendly, you don't want to seem arrogant or cranky or unfriendly, can you compartmentalize, in other words , i looked for every reason to avoid you at work, if i can, however, lets have a drink after
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work, let us go to lunch, let's sit next to each other at the meeting. would that balance it out? >> i would. what better way to avoid somebody to offer to buy them a cup of coffee and then disappear to the cafe for the next 30 minutes and come back with each you had a half hour away from them and you brought them a cup of coffee. >> let us get to solo crafting. that is where you say, look, i can do this on my own, i don't need all these hangerson, to keep me back, or whatever. you say break off the pack. i thought we had to team players. you hear this all the time. you got to be a team player. or put that in the interview, say you're a team player. >> there was an engineer the last century and he did this test with a rope string where you pull like a tug of war on a rope. one person would pull hard, two
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would pull not so hard. eight wouldn't pull half as hard as an individual. he found that once you have more people on the team, people look over and say he's pulling it. he starts slacking off. >> you wait for them to finish the work. >> once you get past three or four people in a corporate environment, that is the same effect. >> the more people you throw at a problem, the less contribute. you say a lot of people are in the workplace are there to socialize, that is where their friends are. give me two things quickly that we can do to solo-craft without becoming arrogant pie in the sky. >> ensemble, that is the anti-team. that might be one or two other people who are talented that are sole e. sew lowists. they might be the designer, one might be the writer, and one could be the sales, marketing person and suddenly you have a team, real team. it will be three or four people.
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>> another way? >> oftentimes you will be assigned a team so you have no choice. break that team into bite-sized pieces. say you four will start, rest of you go back to your regular gig, and then you come back together at the end. and everybody has done their part. >> lot of good stuff in here. "i hate people." don't let the title put you off. it is how to handle overbearing jerks at work and get what you want 8 of your job. you can catch mark and jonathan at the silicon commonwealth club on february 3. there is a website on your screen. go to that and find out more, and you can also read the book. jonathan and mark, i don't hate you, it is so nice to have you. >> thank you. >> thanks. >> stay with us. more ahead.
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welcome back. 20 years ago playwright tony kushner debuted angels in america, a fantasia on national theme. the work confronted aids, ran seven hours in two parts and won a pulitzer prize. it became an hbo film staring meryl streep and emma thompson and later an opera. it is set in new york city. it is on stage in san francisco's eureka theater. angel in america has since fofshed into an exhibit and is now in san francisco where you can see it and we'll give you a preview of that and here is brad rosen stein, he's a curator at
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the the san francisco museum for design. welcome. what an idea to have an exhibit on this. let us talk about angels, first of all. most of us heard of it. you couldn't miss the award especially after the hbo. it won pulitzer, it won the best play in the tonee's. >> they opened in different season. only play in history to do that. it contronted aids and the closeted approach to being homosexual. what do you think in the material made it so cutting-edge? >> it is incredible. it works on so many different levels. tony kushner is a master of language, first of all and the language of the play is extraordinary. going back to the plays for these exhibition i was bowled over with what a brilliant writer he is. how many ideas he can pack into a simple exchange between the characters. he was talking about the politics at the time. he was talking about the fears
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at the time. he was talking about an endemic hoeb mow phobia in -- homophobia. it is about being an american. >> also al pacino's role in there, the lawyer who was mccarthyist, went after people, ultra conservative, judgment mental, was homophobic and hated gay people, it seemed. and he was gay himself. >> and jew, who was anti-semitic. >> he died of aids and it was told that it was liver cancer. confronting all of that, it comes up today. >> one thing that struck me, a scene that i didn't recognize before, it is about truth-telling. almost every scene in the play is about people making a bargain with the truth. what does that mean about me? what does that mean about our relationship?
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what does it mean about the country? >> comparing it to other material that came a couple of years, long-time companion on film, "philadelphia." >> "angels" took it from the most private and intimate to the most national and all-encompassing. >> it was set in new york city but how did it get to the eureka theater in san francisco. >> it started in san francisco. >> why? >> tony had his first play got picked up by him. they commissioned a second play on any subject and that became "anyone gems." -- "angels." it went beyond that. but it grew and grew and became this other epic. >> let us talk about the exhibit. this has gone from very long play to two plays, seven hours long in total, to hbo film, to an opera, and now it is an exhibit. what are we going to see here? is it just costumes?
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>> it is a collection, as you can see, in these images, that is his writing desk. that is the table he wrote the play. we have original wings, this is from a.c.t., beautiful production they did after broadway. and the pulitzer, his tony. it goes on and on. we need exhibition for those. this is magnificent prop for the two plays in san francisco. those are the original wings from the eureka production. it is incredible array of material. we worked closely with tony. >> is there enough stuff you would be in there for hours? >> you could easily be there for hours. there is audio, there is video, tons of material. you could really get lost. >> do you suspect that maybe -- i know there has been revivalal -- it is off broadway? >> yes. >> do you expect that with something like the exhibit it will spark -- especially people
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who may be were too young to appreciate this revivalal. >> it is real because there is so many people, 20-something, who heard about this, didn't see the hbo movie, were too young to have seen that, but they heard about this theatrical legend and coming in droves to learn more about it. there is new productions mounted all the time. there is two more that i know of planned in the bay area. >> the people that come, are they gay, straight or mix? >> a mix. it is not about sexual identity. it is about exploring who we are as americans of which sexual identity is only one component. >> what do they tell you when they see it? >> lot of people burst into tears. lot of people who were here at the time, it has such potency and such memories, and is so packed with memories of people they lost and people who are still here. i never had that reaction to an exhibition before. but in a good way. it is a healing space. people say it feels like a sacred space. >> will it travel? >> we hope so. there is talk about
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possibilities in new york and we're also thinking maybe london. >> do you think it will come back and have a permanent home in san francisco? >> it could well. what is happening is that a lot of these artifacts are donated to us. lot of wings are given to our collection permanently. we would like to find a way for it to become permanent. >> thank you for letting us know about this. you can visit "angels in america at 20." here in san francisco through march 26th. for more information you can visit their website at mpdsf.org. we leave you now with some scenes from the pulitzer prize and tony award winning "neck to normal" running now through february 20th. i'm susan sikora. thank you for watching. ♪
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