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Monday Motivation: Even Einstein Gets it Wrong…

Posted: March 31st, 2014 in Career Development

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Do you ever get discouraged when you make a mistake? Well don’t fret, because you’re in good company. Albert Einstein made mistakes all the time, as reported by NPR:

From NPR.org:

Einstein’s theory of relativity is arguably the 20th century’s greatest idea. But not everything he did was right: Some newly uncovered work from the brilliant physicist was wrong. Really, really wrong…

Faced with evidence the universe was growing, Einstein apparently wanted to figure out why it wasn’t filling up with empty space. His proposed solution is in this newly discovered paper. As the universe expanded, he suggested, new matter showed up to fill the gaps. New stars and galaxies would just pop up, according to Einstein’s model, so that even as the universe grew, it would look the same.

Just to be clear, this theory is totally wrong. But for a little while Einstein thought it was right. The numbers made sense, because he had made a mathematical mistake. In the middle of a complicated calculation, he wrote a minus sign where he should have written a plus.

Einstein screwed up his equations all the time, it turns out…

“About 20 percent of Einstein’s papers contain various mistakes of various degrees,” says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute.

And Einstein’s not alone. Livio has written a book, Brilliant Blunders, all about some big mistakes made by great scientists.

“You try to think in unconventional ways and when you do that, guess what? Sometimes you encounter mistakes,” Livio says.

Sometimes, when you take a risk, you take a fall. But that’s what improvement is all about.

Read the full article from NPR:

http://www.npr.org/2014/03/20/291408248/einsteins-lost-theory-discovered-and-its-wrong

Career Development: Top Four Tips to Remember Names

Posted: March 30th, 2014 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

introduction2I admire people who can always remember a name, but I’m not one of them. I’ve never been creative enough to use the trick of associating a name with something about the person (like, David Bayer has thinning hair … at my age, everyone’s hair is thinning so that would just confuse me more). The ability to remember names is a valuable business skill so I have picked up some tips I can use. Here are four ways to help remember important names career development.

Focus on the person, not yourself. This is in the #1 spot because it truly is the #1 tip. If I’m too focused on how I’m presenting myself or on what brilliant thing I want to say next, it totally blows any chance at name recall. The truth is, most of the time we can’t remember a person’s name because we were thinking about something else when we were introduced to that person.

Verify the name. Names have many variations. William may prefer to be called “Will” but the conference planner’s assistant typed “William” on his badge. Here’s your chance to verify the name, “Hello, William … oh, do you prefer William or … ?” “I prefer Will.” “Okay, Will, are you enjoying the conference?” Verifying the name will allow you to repeat it several times without being obvious that you’re using a memory trick.

Hear the name, speak the name, listen to yourself say the name. Studies show that if you don’t repeat those actions within the first 10 seconds, you”ll forget the person’s name. “Hello, David, nice to meet you.” “So, David, what are you working on at the Mill?” “Traveling anywhere this summer, David?” If repeating the name makes it too obvious that you are using the repetition method, look at the person and say the name silently to yourself several times when the person takes a drink, turns to say something to someone else, or some other appropriate moment that doesn’t steal your focus from what the other person is saying. Or, do what Franklin Roosevelt did and picture it written across the person’s forehead.

Ask how to spell a difficult name. Just like studying for the spelling bee — focusing on the spelling of the name will help you with recall. Another way to keep it in your mind is to imagine writing it letter by letter.

These tips will help you recall a name, but it they fail, there is nothing wrong with honesty, “I remember you well, but your name just slipped my mind!”

5 Shocking Design Mistakes to Avoid in Your Powerpoint Presentations

Posted: March 24th, 2014 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

We are gearing up for the 2014 Global TapRooT® Summit week that begins just one week from today, and as we put the final touches on our Powerpoint presentations, I thought this would be a good time to share Jesse Desjardins slides about how to make them great. Jesse says, “You don’t make friends with bad PowerPoint presentations.”

Career Development: Are You a Trustworthy Boss? 3 Qualities Revealed

Posted: March 17th, 2014 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

© Yanik Chauvin

Last week we learned how to find out what our boss thinks about us. But what if you are the boss? Do your employees think you are trustworthy? Here are 3 qualities that prove you are.

1. What you say and do are aligned with your company’s value statements.  Have you looked at the mission statement printed in your employee handbook and the core values you brag about on your company website lately? Your employees know the message you are sending, and if they are not living those value statements under your leadership, you are losing major points in trustworthiness.

2. You don’t change your story. Does your story change depending on who you are talking to? Employees don’t trust bosses when they hear them changing their stories.  Whether you recognize it or not, your employees are listening when you are talking to other company members or to clients. They are watching you interact with others when they are copied on e-mails. Don’t lose trust by making them wonder what you’re trying to hide.

3. You do your job. Untrustworthy bosses only appear to be doing their jobs. They may not bother to be up-to-date on the skills necessary to perform their jobs effectively, so they fake it, or worse, blame their mistakes on employees. This kind of dishonest behavior will ensure your employees always keep an updated résumé ready to go.

What do you think? What characteristics are important to prove trustworthiness as a boss?

Career Development: Are You Irreplaceable? 6 Questions that Reveal What Your Boss is Thinking

Posted: March 10th, 2014 in Career Development, Career Development Tips
pink-slip-2

Avoid the Pink Slip!

Last week we learned how to do a quick self-evaluation of our job performance. How did you do? This week we’ll dig a little deeper and look at it from a different perspective, not what we think about ourselves but what our boss thinks about us.

While unemployed workers seem more optimistic about finding a job in 2014, the pressure to be more innovative, productive and flexible has never been greater. If you are currently employed, you may not be thinking about what this means to you … but you should.  Don’t be blindsided by an unexpected layoff.

Here are 6 critical questions to ask yourself to find out if your boss thinks you are irreplaceable.

Question #1:  What skills do I possess that meet the current and future demands of my job market?

It is crucial to understand the current wants and needs of the job market even when we are employed. We have no control over this factor but we can work to understand market trends and tweak our skills to align with them. Your boss is thinking about the capabilities of workers in your position, so make sure you are up-to-date.

Question #2: What am I doing to improve my performance for the facility I work for?

Seek to improve your personal skill set on a daily basis. Today’s successful employee is not simply doing what they are paid to do but looking to bring value to what they provide. Get noticed!

Question #3: What is the main thing I do during my work day that keeps my boss from replacing me right now?

If you want to measure how easy your boss thinks it is to replace you, you need to consider 1) current competition for your position and 2) how well you understand what your boss wants you to do. Staying competitive and doing what your boss needs done secures your position.

Question #4: Do I engage each day in the most important tasks associated with my position?

Strategic focus is looking at the day ahead, and deciding to spend your time on the most productive activities. Stop chasing rabbit trails. Choose the activities that have the greatest impact on your bottom line.

Question #5: Am I relying too much on digital technology to communicate with my boss?

Email won’t shed much light on your personality and admirable characteristics. It may be tempting to e-mail every communication to your boss, but picking up the phone, or walking into his or her office for a face-to-face will increase your positive interaction and relationship. Do face time. Not Apple FaceTime, but real face time.

Question #6: Do people seek my advice in my area of expertise?

Position yourself so that people you work with seek you out as an authority to make decisions in your area of expertise. When you become an expert inside and outside of your organization, you increase your value.

So, now you have an idea of what your boss is thinks about you. But what if you are the boss? Do your employees trust you to see the hard work they are doing? Next week we will talk about 3 qualities of a trustworthy boss.

(And for more info about being irreplaceable at work, read:  Invaluable: The Secret to Becoming Irreplaceable, by Dave Crenshaw.)

Career Development: 6 Questions To Advance Your Career Right Now (and a Humorous Look Back)

Posted: March 3rd, 2014 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

Do you ever review old reports you wrote, important e-mails you sent, big projects you completed and cringe? Reviewing past work can be a little scary, but an honest self-evaluation can be a great opportunity to advance your career development.

A lot of employers send the message that, “If I don’t say anything to you, then you are doing a good job.” But this doesn’t do much for your career advancement and development. In fact, this kind culture can really make you feel stuck. And why do we give so much credit to what someone else says about our work anyway? We should avoid letting the comments of others define our potential and capabilities. And we should avoid giving someone else all of the responsibility for our own advancement.

Reviewing old work and writing out a self-evaluation for your eyes only just once a year is a proactive step for performance improvement. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming to do this.

Here are six simple questions to consider that will help you set your own professional goals and advance your career:

1. What are my strengths? (Not what other people think they are, what you think they are. Write them down!)
2. How can I use them more in my current tasks? (Brainstorm some ideas – you’ll be surprised at the results!)
3. What are my weaknesses? (Again, not what other people think they are, what you think they are. Write them down!)
4. How can I overcome my weaknesses? (The first step is developing a couple of new routines and then sticking to them.)
5. What can I do better this year? (Be honest!)
6. Where can I take initiative and become a better employee who contributes more? (Look around – opportunities are all around you, I promise!)

Self-evaluations are important to your career development. Next week, I will introduce a new way to look at self-evaluation questions (and we’ll find out if your boss thinks you are irreplaceable). Until then, here is a humorous look at the types of reactions we can have when we look at our past work. Taking charge of your own performance improvement through self-evaluation will ensure that the next time you review your work, you’ll think, “I am awesome!”

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(Comic courtesy of 20px.com.)

Career Development: What Kind of Procrastinator are You?

Posted: February 24th, 2014 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

Procrastination at work can grow from many root causes, including feeling overwhelmed by a project to avoiding tasks because we don’t enjoy them to being passive aggressive because of a conflict with a manager. Fear can cause us to procrastinate too – fear of making a mistake, fear of failing and looking really dumb, fear of the unknown.

So, if you are a perfectionist, this article isn’t about you. Contrary to popular belief, research shows that procrastination doesn’t have anything to do with not getting things done because you want them to be perfect. Perfectionists may even procrastinate less than the average person.

There is a quote that I have at the top of my “Important Reminders” list that helps me overcome procrastination,

“For every disciplined action there is a multiple reward.” ~ Jim Rohn

This quote  helps me break out of a cycle of procrastination because it reminds me that action will result in rewards — as opposed to inaction, which results in, well, nothing. Rewards or nothing? I choose rewards.

So if you are in the grip of procrastination today, just make an intention to mark one thing off your procrastination list. One thing leads to another, and pretty soon you’ll feel like you’re on top of your game again and reaping the rewards of your efforts.

Next week, I have another idea for you about how you can do a self-evaluation and break out of the procrastination rut with just 6 questions.

But for now, I’ll leave you with the following cartoon. I think it’s funny because it rings true for many of us. Leave a comment below, what’s your favorite flavor of procrastination? I have to admit – I tend to be a Sidetracker!

field_guide_to_procrastinators_20px

Image courtesy of 20px.com

Career Development Tip: Who Else Wants a Dream Career?

Posted: February 17th, 2014 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

moving-on-quotes-1If you’re not currently in the career you want to be in, one way to get there is to consider the short and long term skill requirements for that position. Understanding the skills, education, technology and experience requirements of a position, and then developing a plan to achieve them will help you obtain your long-term career goals.

This doesn’t necessarily mean obtaining a bachelor’s degree. There are many short-term training programs that will help you update your résumé and move in the right direction. Look around for training programs that you can fit into your busy schedule that offer a powerful learning experience for little time commitment.

For example, many employers are looking for people with TapRooT® Root Cause Analysis skills. With a 2-day or 5-day investment of time, you can add this valuable skill to your résumé and open up many new and exciting opportunities for your career development.

The first step is deciding not to stay where you are. Learn what is required to move ahead and take a step toward your dream career.

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