Archive

Management

As a manager, you play different roles at different times – but the job of a manager, just like that of a coach or teacher, is to inspire people to be better. Most people respond better to encouragement than to criticism, so give praise when you can. According to Sir Alex Ferguson, one of the most successful coaches in sports history, nothing is better than hearing: “Well done.” He says, “Those are the two best words ever invented. You don’t need to use superlatives.” At the same time, giving clear criticism is important when your team members don’t meet expectations. If you are too soft in your approach, you won’t be effective – but showing your anger all the time doesn’t work, either. There’s no point in harping on criticism; pick your moment, do it right away, and consider it done. Your timing and tone matter.

Source: Harvard Business Review – Management Tips of the Day

5

 

Whether you’re a CEO, an intern, or anywhere in between, It can be difficult to stay motivated at work. There are priorities, challenges and distractions. There are people who help you – and perhaps people who hinder you. There are office politics, layoffs, and lost clients to contend with. Even if you have an inspiring boss, mission, and culture, it can be helpful to have your own tools to drive you and inspire you. Here are eight ways I’ve found to get myself in a good place to be productive, at work and in life, when I’m in need of some inspiration:

1) Read a book.

There are thousands of great, time-tested books available for inspiration and motivation. I wrote on LinkedIn about nine great books that have inspired me and changed my life here. I’m currently reading another amazing, timeless, inspirational book that is having a profound impact: How to Win Friends and Influencer People by Dale Carnegie.

2) Write a blog post or letter.

Reading can be very valuable, but writing requires more thinking, and so it can be even more valuable. Write about something you’re passionate about – write about how to solve a problem, or write an article about your business that you wish you had read yourself a year ago. You don’t even need to publish it for writing to be effective. But if you do want to publish it, here’s how to become a better writer.

3) Exercise.

Sometimes you just need to get the blood flowing. Go for a walk, or a run, or a workout. There are two great advantages of exercise: First, it’s healthy for your body. Second, it forces you to spend time thinking – time when you can’t be on your smartphone or otherwise distracted. As little as 15 minutes of movement can burn some calories – and set your mind on fire with new ideas and inspiration.

4) Write a thank you note.

Not a thank you email, or a thank you text, or even a thank you phone call – a physical, hand-written thank you note. Tony Robbins said, “Gratitude is the antidote to the two things that stop us: fear and anger.” I have found that is impossible to feel upset and grateful at the same time. So every morning, I start out my day by writing three thank-you cards. Here’s more about my thank-you card routine.

5) Perform a random act of kindness.

The ironic and amazing thing about acts of kindness is that they end up being kind-of selfish, because you feel SO great after doing them. Open a door for people leaving it for awhile. Help an elderly lady cross the street. Buy a homeless man lunch. Retweet a bunch of people. Whatever you do, take your mind off of yourself and your problems and focus on helping another person. You’ll come back feeling rejuvenated.

6) Read inspiring quotes.

Reading a book or even an article can take more time than you have to spare sometimes. So it’s worth looking at inspiring quotes from great leaders, writers and thinkers of the past. Google makes it easy – simple search for “Inspiring quotes about [whatever it is that’s on your mind],” and feel better within seconds. Here are 25 of my favorite inspirational quotes for leaders.

7) Listen to music.

Plato said, “Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” Looking to educate your soul? Or perhaps just to let off some steam and feel better about the work before you? Turn on your Itunes, or Spotify, YouTube, or even the radio, to elevate your mood through music. Here are 21 songs to inspire you at work– favorites from 21 entrepreneurs I know.

8) Watch an inspiring video.

As inspiring and uplifting as music can be, video can be even more inspiring. Whether it’s your favorite movie, or, if you don’t have time, a short video you find through a quick search on YouTube, you can get in a good mood in just a few minutes. Here are two of my favorite inspirational videos on YouTube, courtesy of “Facing the Giants” and Britain’s Got Talent respectively:

Whether it’s through reading, writing, music, video, or your own virtuous activities, inspiration is absolutely within your reach, anytime you seek it. Whatever challenges lie ahead for you at work, and in life, I hope you’ll embrace these tools to inspire yourself when needed.

—–

Now it’s your turn. Which of these tools do you use to inspire yourself? What are your favorite inspirational books, songs, quotes, and videos? Which of these tools will you try the next time you’re in need of some inspiration? Let me know in the Comments section below, and please do share this article with your network if you feel so inspired.

 

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130611015532-15077789-8-simple-ways-to-inspire-yourself-at-work?trk=mp-reader-card&_mSplash=1

Did you snap at a colleague who didn’t get her work done? Or did you miss an important deadline, messing up a coworker’s project timeline? When your mistake affects someone else, here’s how to make amends:

  • Admit that you were wrong. Own up to what you did — or failed to do.
  • Show you understand the repercussions. Don’t assume you know what your coworker feels or thinks, but acknowledge that you know you’ve negatively affected him.
  • Tell her what you will do differently. Reassure her that you won’t behave the same way in the future. Be specific about what you will change.

Source: Harvard Business Review – Management Tip of the Day

The role of professionals in society, like the role of companies, is shifting. As professionals, we are increasingly aware of the critical role we play in society and the responsibility to ensure our talents are accessible not only to those that can afford them. It is time that in addition to assessing the responsibility of companies, we take a hard look at professional social responsibility.

To that end the Taproot Foundation has generated the first ever professional social responsibility (PSR) ranking for “office” professions (e.g. not doctors or teachers).

TAPROOT PSR RANKINGS BY PROFESSION

The PSR by profession provides broad insight into the relative responsibility of professions regardless of their employer or employment status. Professionals on average donate five hours per year with lawyers leading the pack at over 25 hours.

  1. Legal
  2. Management
  3. Art, Design, Entertainment, Sports & Media
  4. Architecture and Engineering
  5. Business & Financial Operations
  6. Computer and Mathematical Science
  7. Sales and Related

This ranking is created based on US Census data on hours of pro bono services provided per member of each class of profession.

TAPROOT PSR RANKINGS BY PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FIRMS

One of the best ways to measure the responsibility of professionals is by measuring the commitment to pro bono service by professional services firms. These professional services firms set the expectations for their profession.

Tier One (5%+)

Design Firms

Tier Two (2-5%)

Law Firms

Architecture Firms

Management Consulting Firms

Tier Three (1-2%)

Advertising Firms

Public Relations Firms

Tier Four (0.5 – 1%)

Technology Firms

Human Resources / Talent Development Firms

Market Research Firms

Tier Five (Under 0.5%)

Accounting Firms

As there is no consistent and reliable data on pro bono service at firms, Taproot has generated these rankings based on our over a dozen years working in the field. The numbers associated are the estimated average percentage of billable hours done on a pro bono basis.

Source: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130517124003-201849-2013-professional-social-responsibility-rankings

When it comes to being interviewed, many candidates naturally are nervous, thinking over what questions they’ll be asked and making sure they are selling themselves in the interview. And similarly, the people doing the interviewing often forget that they not only need to be sold on the candidate but they also need to sell the role they’re hiring for. I’ve found more often than not, candidates neglect to “interview the company” they are meeting with and find out whether the organization is a good fit for them.

The fact is, our greatest and most valuable asset is our human capital. The way we invest that capital is up to us, and it is a responsibility we should not take lightly. Why invest your greatest asset in a company that won’t give you the best return? This is not about compensation at all; it is about the ability to do one’s best work and grow as a professional. A bad decision on investing one’s skills can lead to the biggest loss, which is unrecoverable – lost time! My grandfather used to remind me always that “time and tide” wait for no one. The opportunity to do great work that is lost because of a bad decision is too big to not take seriously.

In the end, you have to manage your career objectively. When you go on an interview, you need to interview your hiring manager and assess the company you are about to bet on, just as seriously as they’re interviewing you. Then very thoughtfully make the best investment of your talents.

Taking a new job always presents a risk – you are coming out of your comfort zone where you presumably have a certain level of security and influence. But a new role often presents opportunities to stretch yourself, make new connections and expand your knowledge. And most importantly, contribute to your industry at a greater level. When you face these decisions you have to have a clear vision on how you want to invest your stock.

To find out how the potential employer will invest in you, ask questions that get at the heart of what you’re looking for in your next role. Determine if the hiring manager has a clear and specific vision for the role. Is there consistency around the true north of the organization amongst all the people you are talking to? Is the company or team structured in a way that you can learn and grow? Are they asking insightful questions, or regurgitating generic interview questions that don’t really let them know what you’re about? You have to dig deeper about the role and structure to find out if this job will make your stock rise over time.

And don’t forget – the interview starts the moment you arrive in the parking lot. Look around – are the people engaged? Excited? Are you seeing employees passionately discuss topics, or are they closed off? Pay attention to the little cues you see while you’re there to get a sense if this would be a place that will raise your stock. And always research the company in great depth before you make your final decision. Read analyst reports, browse their job site, look at age of open jobs, find those in your extended network who may have insight into the company culture. Just as you wouldn’t invest your money in a stock without researching it in great depth, don’t invest your human capital in a company without a lot of due diligence.

Learning the skill of interviewing a hiring manager will in the end net you the best opportunities in your career.

Source: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130514133743-10904058-how-to-interview-your-hiring-manager

How can you get any work done when you’re in meetings all day? You can’t. But instead of griping, be more discerning about which meetings you go to. Before saying yes to invitation, ask yourself, “If I was sick on the day of this meeting, would it need to be rescheduled?” If you answer “no,” then decline the meeting and try one of these less time-intensive alternatives:

  • Get an agenda. Ask to look at the agenda ahead of time so you can pass on your comments to the meeting organizer to share on your behalf. (Bonus: This may force him to actually make an agenda!)
  • Delegate. Send someone else from your group to communicate your team’s perspective.
  • Ask for notes. If someone is going to share important information but you’ll just be listening, request a copy of the meeting notes after the fact.

Source: Management Tip of the Day, Harvard Business Review

employee engagement

Every manager wants a team of dedicated employees. And yet, many bosses fail to do their part to make this happen. Here are two things you can do for your employees to earn their commitment:

  • Put their needs before yours. Treat them justly and do what’s right for them and the organization, not just what works for you personally. Give them opportunities to excel, and provide support if they fail. Be willing to take personal risks for the right employee. This will generate loyalty for years to come.
  • Give them autonomy. Freedom can exponentially increase an employee’s excitement. Make sure their passions align with the organizational direction, and give them some high-level boundaries, resources, and introductions to make it happen. Then remove obstacles and help them handle challenges. Most importantly, always give them credit for their success.

Source: Management Tip of the Day, 17 December 2012

The Six Enemies of Greatness (and Happiness)
These six factors can erode the grandest of plans and the noblest of intentions. They can turn visionaries into paper-pushers and wide-eyed dreamers into shivering, weeping balls of regret. Beware!

1) Availability

We often settle for what’s available, and what’s available isn’t always great. “Because it was there,” is an okay reason to climb a mountain, but not a very good reason to take a job or a free sample at the supermarket.

And sadly, we'll never know everything.

2) Ignorance

If we don’t know how to make something great, we simply won’t. If we don’t know that greatness is possible, we won’t bother attempting it. All too often, we literally do not know any better than good enough.

3) Committees

Nothing destroys a good idea faster than a mandatory consensus. The lowest common denominator is never a high standard.

4) Comfort

Why pursue greatness when you’ve already got 324 channels and a recliner? Pass the dip and forget about your grand designs.

5) Momentum

If you’ve been doing what you’re doing for years and it’s not-so-great, you are in a rut. Many people refer to these ruts as careers.

6) Passivity

There’s a difference between being agreeable and agreeing to everything. Trust the little internal voice that tells you, “this is a bad idea.”

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessicahagy/2012/02/28/the-six-enemies-of-greatness-and-happiness/

Stick to this list and your employees will be committed to their jobs, as well as your company

Company CultureBuilding a company culture of engaged employees takes years and requires consistent execution.  I boiled down our culture strategy into 10 essential components I call the “10 Cs of Culture.”

1. Core Values

I used to be very cynical about “core values.”  I thought these were just mottos written on plaques hanging on the wall.  But when we implemented our values strategy at Beryl about 10 years ago, I began to see how they guided everyday decision-making and how employees referenced them in meetings.  I came to realize they are essential guideposts when developed, communicated, and executed in a consistent manner.  Values are those behaviors that will never change no matter how the company changes.  Today, our values are not only painted on the walls, but also discussed from the first day an employee joins Beryl.  We start every big meeting with a conversation about values and tell stories about how our coworkers live by those values on a daily basis.

2. Camaraderie

Camaraderie is about having fun.  It’s about getting to know colleagues not just as colleagues, but what they’re like outside the office.  To do that, Beryl hosts dress-up days, parties, games, and events all the time.  We have annual traditions like family day, the Gong show, March Madness, the fall festival, and a holiday party.  We include not only employees, but also their families.  We publish a bi-monthly full-color magazine called Beryl Life that is sent to the homes of co-workers.  Kids of our employees compete to design the t-shirt for our annual family day and families even participate in our talent show

3. Celebrations

You can’t underestimate the importance of recognizing your team.  While it may be important for your people to hear from the CEO, it also feels great for them to hear from peers.  At Beryl, we developed a program we call PRIDE (Peers Recognizing Individual Deeds of Excellence).  This allows coworkers to recognize others for living up to Beryl’s core values.  We also have quarterly contests for people who have received PRIDE certificates.  We go out of our way to celebrate personal successes too, like baby showers, sports accomplishments, or educational milestones.

4. Community

Part of the fabric of a successful company culture is connecting with and giving back to the local community.  Even though Beryl is a national company serving national customers, we have dedicated countless hours to community service in Bedford, Texas (where Beryl is based) to help those in need.  This not only helps the organization’s Beryl support, but brings great pride to staffers.

5. Communication

At Beryl, I encourage formal and informal communication consistently and at all levels of the company.  I hold quarterly Town Hall meetings, which includes six meetings over two days.  This is a challenge since Beryl is a 24-hour call center; we make money being on the phone, not off it.  Yet I also have informal “chat and chews” where I bring in lunch for 12 to 15 people and just ask one question–How’s it going?–to get the conversation started.  I send a monthly personal letter to the staff with pictures of my family, and set up an internal website called “Ask Paul” for anyone that has a question not easy to share in a group.

6. Caring

Show your employees you genuinely care about them in the totality of their lives.  To do this at Beryl, we set up a program called BerylCares.  Any manager can explain a situation on an internal website that identifies a coworker, and lists what’s going on (birth, death, injury, wedding, among other things).  That submission generates an email to me that is my trigger to send a personal notecard, make a phone call, or visit someone in a hospital.  We also provide behind-the-scenes financial help to people who need extra assistance.

7. Commitment to Learning

Show your employees you’re committed to their professional growth. This can be done in small, incremental steps. You might set up a book club, say. But it can become more formal over time by subscribing to online learning programs or developing management training courses.  

8. Consistency

Culture is based on traditions.  When you come up with great programs or events, make them regular events and do them consistently. One-time efforts to improve the culture will feel disingenuous.  This can take years, but makes a profound difference, that pays off when employees enjoy where they work and genuinely like their colleagues.

9. Connect

Don’t isolate yourself at the top.  Connect with people at all levels of your company.  Get out of your comfort zone.  At Beryl, I’ve starred in funny videos that put me in uncompromising or embarrassing positions.  If the staff plans a dress-up day or ping-pong tournament, I participate.  I laugh and cry with employees, too.

10. Chronicles

Does everyone in your organization know how the company started?  Do they know the personal stories of the founders and what led them to build a sustainable business?  People want to know they are part of something special and unique.  Greet new employees by telling the history of the company, and impart stories that led to current culture and strategies.

Source: http://www.inc.com/paul-spiegelman/great-company-culture-elements.html

You’re the boss, but you still spend too much time on the day-to-day. Here’s how to become the strategic leader your company needs.

In the beginning, there was just you and your partners. You did every job. You coded, you met with investors, you emptied the trash and phoned in the midnight pizza. Now you have others to do all that and it’s time for you to “be strategic.”

Whatever that means.

If you find yourself resisting “being strategic,” because it sounds like a fast track to irrelevance, or vaguely like an excuse to slack off, you’re not alone. Every leader’s temptation is to deal with what’s directly in front, because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if you do that, you put your company at risk. While you concentrate on steering around potholes, you’ll miss windfall opportunities, not to mention any signals that the road you’re on is leading off a cliff.

This is a tough job, make no mistake. “We need strategic leaders!” is a pretty constant refrain at every company, large and small. One reason the job is so tough: no one really understands what it entails. It’s hard to be a strategic leader if you don’t know what strategic leaders are supposed to do.

After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what’s required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well:

Anticipate 

Most of the focus at most companies is on what’s directly ahead. The leaders lack “peripheral vision.” This can leave your company vulnerable to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. To anticipate well, you must:

  • Look for game-changing information at the periphery of your industry
  • Search beyond the current boundaries of your business
  • Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better

Think Critically

“Conventional wisdom” opens you to fewer raised eyebrows and second guessing. But if you swallow every management fad, herdlike belief, and safe opinion at face value, your company loses all competitive advantage. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill you must force yourself to:

  • Reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes
  • Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including their own
  • Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions

Interpret 

Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, the temptation is to reach for a fast (and potentially wrongheaded) solution.  A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:

  • Seek patterns in multiple sources of data
  • Encourage others to do the same
  • Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously

Decide

Many leaders fall pretty to “analysis paralysis.” You have to develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to:

  • Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter
  • Balance speed, rigor, quality and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers
  • Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views

 Align

Total consensus is rare. A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge.  To pull that off, you need to:

  • Understand what drives other people’s agendas, including what remains hidden
  • Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it’s uncomfortable
  • Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support

Learn

As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by.  You have to do what you can to keep it coming. This is crucial because success and failure–especially failure–are valuable sources of organizational learning.  Here’s what you need to do:

  • Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
  • Shift course quickly if you realize you’re off track
  • Celebrate both success and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight

Source: http://www.inc.com