Category: Career Development Tips

What is the Root Cause of Happiness?

November 21st, 2014 by

What do you think is the root cause of happiness?

Wealth?

Fame?

Good looks?

Intelligence?

Power?

happyWell, many people think that any or all of the above are root causes of happiness, but research has indicated that those things really don’t provide a long-lasting feeling of contentment. In fact, one of the most important things you can possess to ensure a lifetime of happiness is a character trait that anyone can develop: gratefulness.

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, it’s a good time to think about what we are thankful for and enjoy the bonus of feeling happier.

What, exactly, does an attitude of gratitude do for our well-being that contributes to life-long happiness? So much!

Here are some of the benefits of practicing gratefulness:

  • reduced risk of heart disease and cancer;
  • a stronger immune system;
  • increased productivity;
  • improved decision making;
  • increased achievements;
  • better interpersonal relationships;
  • a better self-image;
  • more respect from others;
  • less stress;
  • reduced feelings of jealousy;
  • happier memories (research has indicated gratefulness helps us remember the good stuff in life and minimize the negative);
  • a feeling of well-being;
  • stronger resilience;
  • more energy;
  • better sleep; and
  • a longer life.

Want some ideas on how to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness? The University of California, Berkeley published 10 great tips by Robert Emmons including using visual reminders; watching your language; and thinking outside the box by seeking new things to be grateful for.

Here’s another tip: grateful people mindfully use social media in a positive way. So post an inspirational quote or this article on your social media, and you will not only grow in your practice of gratefulness but encourage others to take this meaningful path as well.

Career Development: Five Quick Ways to Become a Better Speaker

October 28th, 2014 by

Surveys about fear have revealed that we fear public speaking more than death. That’s why there is a joke that goes something like, “If you are at a funeral, it’s better to be in the coffin than the one delivering the eulogy.”

However, there are many things we can learn about public speaking from the masters. Even better, there are many very simple techniques that will captivate the audience every single time.

Take, for example, the pause:

Pause for two or three seconds and the audience assumes you lost your place. Pause for five seconds and the audience begins to think the pause is intentional… and starts wondering why.

Pause for ten seconds and even the people who were busy tweeting can’t resist glancing up.

These days, if you can get someone to look up from his or her phone during your presentation, you’ve pretty much won at public speaking.

Learn four more ways to be a better speaker from Jeff Haden:

5 Ways to Become a Better Speaker Overnight

Career Development: LinkedIn – 3 Tips to Optimize Your Personal Profile

October 15th, 2014 by

Do you wish you could use your LinkedIn profile to find a new job or network to get more business for your current job? Here are 3 tips that will optimize your personal profile and make these wishes more likely to come true.

1. Add a profile picture (it will make your profile 7 times more likely to get noticed). Don’t just upload any profile picture, choose a clear photo of your face that is appropriate for business networking.

2. Get recommendations. LinkedIn offers tools that make it so easy to request recommendations. Go to your profile and click the dropdown menu next to “Complete your profile.” Choose “Ask to be recommended,” and you will be guided through a series of prompts to complete your first recommendation request. Painless!

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3. Customize your profile URL.  Customize your URL with your name to help search engines identify you. (Learn how).

Why not take ten minutes to invest in your career development? A few tweaks to your LinkedIn profile will help you become more visible and lend greater credibility to your professional image.

Career Development: How to Manage Overtime

October 7th, 2014 by

Is your company trying to reduce costs associated with excessive overtime? Circadian® 24/7 Workplace Solutions recently released an infographic with 5 shift work tips on how to manage overtime.

View the infographic here: http://www.circadian.com/blog/item/38-5-shift-work-tips-how-to-manage-overtime.html#.VDQyeCldVQX

Career Development: How to Handle an Unsupportive Boss

September 16th, 2014 by

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In this column, we share a lot of ideas and tips for building and moving forward in your career. But sometimes management can present obstacles to your success, whether it’s a personality difference, micromanagement, stifling a promotion, or undermining your hard work. Don’t simply live with the negative situation, or quit only to find another imperfect job in the future. Try the following tips to improve your relationship with your boss and empower your career.

Acknowledge Your Role

Rather than blame your boss for the obstacle you’re facing, put aside any emotional bias you may have (SHRM). Don’t gossip about your boss, and try to understand the situation more clearly (Tech Republic). Honestly evaluate your own role in the situation. Do you have unrealistic expectations of your boss? Do your professional skills measure up to the requirements of that promotion? Have you failed to earn the trust of your micromanaging boss? Have you really achieved all the goals of your current role? Do your work achievements reflect well on your boss and team? Think of this as your “HR root cause analysis.” Truly evaluate all the facts about your performance and relationships at work, then devise practical methods for improving these.

Communicate with Your Boss

In our “HR root cause analysis,” one of the corrective actions will almost always include talking with your boss. Difficult though it may be, coming to your boss in a professional manner is the right thing to do and will likely make a positive impression on him or her. When you do, come with a positive outlook with ideas for improvement. Don’t simply come with complaints and no attempts at a solution, which may only make your situation worse.

The best approach is to arrange a performance review meeting with your boss. Make it clear during this meeting that you want to grow professionally, and you’d like to find out what it will take to do so. Ask him or her how you’re meeting and not meeting the goals of your position, and brainstorm action steps to reach those goals. As you receive the criticism, take it with grace and not defensiveness.

If there’s something you need from your boss that you’re not receiving, simply ask for it in a logical manner (Chron) (SHRM). Make it an easy request to grant. For example, instead of simply complaining “You micromanage me too much,” ask if it would help your boss if you provided regular status updates to ease his or her mind.

Make it clear at this meeting that you are committed to your boss’ success as well (Chron).

Develop Your Professional Skills

After you’ve met with your boss, take this feedback to heart. If you’ve received concrete ways in which you can improve, make these your goals and stick to them. Exceed your boss’ expectations and you’ll likely gain his or her trust (Chron).

If your conversation does not go well, there are still options. Take your problem to HR, even if all you need is a second opinion on some aspects of the problem. It always helps to bring in a third party ro evaluate the situation.

If you need additional support, start by building your professional network by pursuing a mentoring and/or networking opportunity (Tech Republic). A mentor can provide a second opinion and unbiased advice on your career. This relationship just may provide the support you need to move forward in your career. Continue to build your network through events, LinkedIn, and pursuing one-on-one meetings with colleagues (Diversity MBA).

Prepare for a future job change and safeguard your interests by building a file that includes your updated resume, certifications, accomplishments, successful projects, and any awards you’ve earned (Diversity MBA). As you move forward within the  company, or if you decide to seek advancement elsewhere, you’ll be ready to put your best foot forward.

Career Development: Is Getting “Caught Up” a Worthy Goal?

September 9th, 2014 by

A recent article in the The Washington Post listed some tips for getting caught up and I really liked it because the author pointed out:

“Rather than worrying about whether we have caught up, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy, we can try some of the following activities to restore ourselves and feel better about what we are accomplishing.”

Are we ever really caught up? Maybe it’s time to change the mindset to noticing what we are accomplishing instead of focusing on what we haven’t finished yet. It may be more motivating and more productive to think this way.

Feel better about what you are accomplishing and read 10 tips written by Joyce E. A. Russell here:

Career Coach: Tips for getting caught up

Career Development: 5 Ways to Use LinkedIn & Maximize Your Job Search

September 2nd, 2014 by

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Rebekah Campbell, CEO of tech start-up Posse, does all her recruiting through LinkedIn, she says in her recent New York Times article. Why? LinkedIn’s new Recruiter service helps her search for the perfect candidates based on any and all aspects of an individual’s profile. This means your next prospective employer is looking for you based on elements like location, previous and current job titles, previous employers, university attended, current job length, and so much more.

With the knowledge that you could receive your next job offer through Linkedin, here are a few tips to make your presence even more dynamic on the platform.

- Write an extensive profile, using strong searchable terms. Ask yourself what you would type in to find someone like you and add those keywords, suggests Ted Prodromou, author of a book on using LinkedIn (NY Times).

- Add a professional-looking photo. This way, recruiters can pin a face to your name and you’ll be 11 times more likely to have your profile seen (Forbes).

- Update your headline, otherwise the default will be your job title. If you have a strong headline full of searchable keywords, your next employer will have an easier time finding you and you’ll stand out from the crowd (Forbes).

- Join interest groups (NY Times) – Search for terms related to your industry, and you can not only connect with like-minded individuals but with potential employers. Don’t know where to start? Join our TapRooT® Group – it’s chock full of fantastic root cause analysis professionals from around the globe. Join our network here.

- Join discussions (NY Times)- When you contribute to online discussions in a meaningful way, you build up others’ view of your expertise. In addition to learning and sharing your knowledge, you may meet an employer who’s impressed by your knowledge and wants to work together. Join our TapRooT® discussion group for conversations regarding current events and other investigation topics. Join a discussion here.

Don’t let your LinkedIn profile become a static online resume. Build it up with these foundational aspects, and make sure you check your account weekly to answer messages, engage in group discussion, and reply to any job opportunities that come your way!

 

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To See the Best in Others Will Help Them Become the Best by George J. Burk

August 26th, 2014 by

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Imagine for a moment that we actually treated one another with such an unbiased respect and unconditional belief that we were able to elevate each other to be the best we can be. It’s not just a military slogan. It can and does happen. I’ve experienced this kind of respect, belief and positive reinforcement in my own life.

I’ve heard and witnessed many incredible stories of how people, given little chance to live or to walk again, overcame their physical and emotional injuries to lead positive, productive lives. They, in turn chose to “Pass the salt and make a difference in other people’s lives.” One particular story I read about recently, where a man who was barely able to read was given an assignment that required him to not only read, but to speak in public and exhibit leadership skills. (I know from personal experience that man’s greatest fear is NOT standing in front of a crowd and speaking. Man’s greatest fear IS walking (or crawling) through a wall of fire.) The man’s personal transformation was called miraculous.   He was told that GOD inspired his assignment, and he took it quite seriously. He became an eloquent speaker and leader and that helped him to prosper in other areas of his life and provided a better life for his family. How can this be done you ask? Glad you did and here are some tips:

Release the prejudice. The first step is we must relieve ourselves of the limitations we place on others. Eradicate (I like the word) negativity about ours and others limitations from our mind and memory; erase the mental models and phrases like, “She’s only” or “He’s always” or “They never,” or “He can’t.” We need to stretch our mind and our imaginations and visualize, “see”, them doing something great or being something great. Change our thought patterns from the negative to think “Just because he (or she) never did that before doesn’t mean that he (or she) can’t. It just means that he (or she) has never tried before because no one really believed he (or she) could.”

“None can be more negative on its impact than the limitation on human resource capacity.” Said Musa

Forget the past. Car windshields are larger than the rear view mirror because it’s far more important to see the ‘highway’ ahead than the ‘road’ travelled. Look where you’re headed, not where you’ve been. Whatever mistakes you and others have made and wherever you and they have failed before, or the horrible way you or they have been treated, leave it go! Those issues are totally irrelevant for today. The past is the past. It’s over! Everyone has a story. Choose to change your mental models. ‘See’ yourself and them as winners, not whiners and treat yourself and others that way. It’s sequential, inside out, not outside in. You and then others. Get your own ‘house’ in order first.

“Life is divided into three terms-that which was, which is and will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future.” William Wordsworth

Remember your roots. We’ve developed and grown into the person we have become because someone, or in my case, many someone’s, believed in us. It was our parents, mentors, teachers, friends, God, all the above and many others. Along the way, there were (and are) people who believed in us and that belief helped us to believe in ourselves. When we stop, pause and reflect on where we began and where we are now and all those who’ve helped us and believed in us and then apply that same belief in others, the results can be (and are) amazing. Like all meaningful change, it has a beginning and middle but no end. It’s continuous.

“Believe in yourself and stop trying to convince others.” James De La Vega

Use words that encourage and inspire. Positive affirmations. A few examples like, “If I can, you can.” “You will succeed.” “You’re potential is endless.” “You’re more than capable.” “You’re smart and articulate.”

Assist them through the setbacks. I’ve discovered that few things in life have a trajectory that’s straight up. On the contrary, there are many issues from our choices that are often straight down. There are times when we ask, “What am I doing? Am I crazy for trying this? “What was I thinking?” “I should have asked for help?” Don’t let the negative thoughts get in the way. Bring them out. Talk about them with people you trust. Share your thoughts and then dismiss them. Vent! It’s healthy. Then continue with your encouragement and prayers. Caution: prayers work! Be careful for that which you pray. You might just receive it.

Encourage others to play it forward. Regardless of when and where I’m greeted by others, my reply is always, “I’m vertical, take nourishment and play it forward when God provides the opportunities.”

After a goal’s achieved, encourage others (and yourself) to establish and seek more goals and continue that pattern. I believe we have an obligation, or errand to help those around us; those who seek our help and are truly committed and enrolled in the process. What we don’t want to I do is become an enabler and weaken them emotionally, spiritually and physically. When we see others as better than they are or were and help them on their journey of self-realization and self-improvement it is one of the noblest things we can do for others. When they achieve success, it’s a win-win. Many, many others have done that for me and for you too, I suspect and often without us even knowing it. So…”Pass the salt and make a difference in all you choose to do. Make a person, place or thing a little better for your having been there.”

“Correction does much but encouragement does more.” Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

Becky Hammon was recently hired as the first female basketball coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) by the San Antonio Spurs. She’s played professionally here in the U S and overseas for 17 years and begins her new position as an assistant coach next year.

In the Tuesday, August 12, 2014 edition of “USA Today Sports” an article written by Nancy Armour shares her exclusive interview with female basketball player Becky Hammon. “Even after all these years, Becky Hammon hears the voices in her ear,” she said. “The assistant coach at Colorado State University was constantly on Hammond telling her she was going to be the school’s first All-American. How she was going to do this. How she was going to do that,” she said. In the interview Becky Hammond said, “but when she started speaking all that, she started planting seeds. ’Yeah, maybe. Maybe I could do that if I worked really hard,’ Hammon said. “You have those people speaking really good things in your life and it grows and produces fruit later on,” she said. “But somebody had to initially plant those good seeds.”

”Hope and encouragement, especially hope, is probably one of the greatest things you can give another person,” Hammond said. “I mean, what a gift to allow that person to be able to dream, to be able to say, ‘Why not me?’ ‘Why couldn’t I be the first?’”

Hope is the thing that perches in the soul-and sings the tunes without the words-and never stops at all.”   Emily Dickinson

Life really IS like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end the faster it goes. When you leave this life, what will be your epitaph? What do you want others to say about you? How do you want to be remembered? When our time’s up, it’s up. No more make-ups or second chances. So…take time to be the person who others hear in their ears. Tell them how they’re going to do this and how they’re going to do that. Make the choice to become a planter of positive seeds then stand back and watch the ‘plant(s)’ grow. I know it works!!

This article was submitted by “Captain George”J Burk, USAF (Ret).Vietnam Veteran, Plane crash & burn survivor, motivational speaker, author & writer | www.georgeburk.com | gburk@georgeburk.com

Career Development: Traits of Exceptional Employees

August 19th, 2014 by

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Have you ever wondered what can make your work (and yourself) stand out from the crowd? Ever thought about what got your buddy that promotion, or how you can make the most of the position you’re in? Forbes.com shared 18 traits of exceptional employees on their blog this week, and we think these are great ways to amp up your professional game. Enjoy the first four traits below:

1. They rewrite their internal monologues. A strong will to win knows how to push out the negative voices bantering back and forth inside one’s head and instead create a voice that challenges such negativity. In so doing, they answer their newly formed questions and turn the self-limiting “Why can’t I do [task]?” question into the exploratory “How can I do [task]?”

2. They have a healthy disregard for authority. Employees with a strong will to win consider the rulebook as more of a guide while still working within the confines of what’s “right.” In other words, exceptional employees know how to solve problems creatively while not breaking the rules.

3. They don’t wallow in regret. Exceptional employees feel good about their performance because they know they gave it their all. If a big fat “L” (for “Loser”) is the takeaway for the day, they will learn, adapt and move on.

4. They display grit. In my BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training) class we started with 174 students who wanted to be Navy SEALs, but only 32 of us truly desired it. Why? Because the latter group chose to enact the defining quality that bridges the gap between want and wish, purpose and passion. What I’m talking about is grit.”

Click here to read the rest of the article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffboss/2014/08/11/18-characteristics-of-exceptional-employees/

 

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Investigation Interviewing: 3 Tips to Improve Non-Verbal Communication

August 12th, 2014 by

InvestigationButton copyNon-verbal communication (body language) is significant because it reveals how we feel (sometimes in spite of what we say), and it also reveals how other people feel about us. Most of us are not formally trained in non-verbal behaviors but living in the world has taught us many non-verbal cues informally.

For example, have you ever met someone and felt like you didn’t like them but couldn’t pinpoint why? They may have thrown off negative non-verbal cues that you picked up subconsciously, and that is why you stepped away from the experience feeling like you didn’t like the person. You probably know more than you think you do about non-verbal communication from both positive and negative life experiences, and putting the pieces together will help you become a better communicator.

At the Global TapRooT® Summit we’ve shared best practices for decoding non-verbal behavior which is particularly helpful in incident investigation interviews.

When interviewing others after an accident or incident, it’s very important to gain the interviewee’s confidence and trust to put them at ease and help them remember important details. Today I’d like to share three quick tips on how to improve non-verbal communication that will improve your interviews.

1. Lower your eyebrows. When we relax tension in our faces, the rest of the body follows in relaxation. Close your eyes right now and release the tension in the forehead and brows. Notice how the rest of your body becomes more relaxed. Practice this before your interviewee arrives and your relaxed body language will help your interviewee relax as well.

2. Palms up. When we talk we often gesture with our hands. Palms up sends a message that we have nothing to hide in our agenda, and also conveys that we are open to receiving what the interviewee says. Palms down indicates that we have closed our thinking – it may send a message of conviction – that your mind has been made up about what caused the accident.

3. Don’t overdo it on eye contact. Many people think that constant eye contact is important to communicate effectively, but it can be very intimidating for an interviewee. Make good eye contact but don’t stare. Make eye contact for shorter periods of time releasing your gaze occasionally.

If you want to learn more about effective non-verbal communication, mark your calendar to attend our new 2-day Interviewing and Basic Investigation course, June 1-2, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada right before the 2015 Global TapRooT® Summit.

Career Development: 10 CV/Resume Tips from Author & Career Coach Jeremy I’Anson

August 5th, 2014 by

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Ever wondered what gets potential employers to do a double-take when they see your resume or CV? What gets them to set yours aside & call you for an interview? UK author and career coach Jeremy I’Anson shares his top 10 tips for getting your CV short-listed.

Tip 1: Don’t be dull

Supercharge some of the statements on your CV by using the “So what?” test. Imagine you have an employer sitting next to you as you write your CV who asks “So what?” after every statement.

Look at these rather dull statements from actual CVs.
• Led a team of 20 sales staff
• Devised an incentive scheme
• Managed an office relocation project

Now transform those statements on your CV by adding a result to make those dull statements more interesting.
• Led a team of 20 sales staff… who exceeded all performance targets.
• Devised an incentive scheme… that reduced staff turnover by 20pc.
• Managed an office relocation project… with minimal disruption to the business…”

Click here to read the full Telegraph article to learn more.

Career Development: Become Indispensable at Work

July 16th, 2014 by

Chris Gaborit, Managing Director at The Learning Factor, created this video to inspire us to discover our passion and purpose and to achieve our greatest performance. Invest five minutes of your life to become inspired!

Career Development: Lost Respect at Work? by Captain George J Burk

July 9th, 2014 by

Lost respect at work? A few tips on how to regain it.

Many of us have experienced it. First, it’s the extended lunches. Then, you notice the late arrivals and unexcused tardiness. Next, are the assignments that aren’t finished, not completed to specifications or seem to take longer than usual to complete. When you confront the employee(s) all you hear are the excuses: “I can’t” or “That’s not my job.” That’s your first outward example of a “Wake-Up Call” that you’re a leader who’s losing credibility and respect … and you figure out you need to make some changes … and quick.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Benjamin Franklin

In every situation of which I’m familiar, regardless of the type of organization, when employees respect and trust their leaders and feel that respect and trust in return, you have a highly motivated employee(s) who are more creative and energized people who actually look forward to come to work every day. Every employee I’ve known, myself included, places a high value on a leader they can trust and respect and from who they can learn. That respect and trust is an important, intangible asset. You can’t touch it or taste it but you CAN feel it and you know when it’s there and when it isn’t in the workplace and in the relationship.

“Leadership is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” John Maxwell

If you need to re-establish yourself as a true leader who your employees and your leadership trust and hold in high esteem, here a few tips to help you reestablish that trust:

Appearances matter. Sometimes dress codes are taken to the extreme. It does seems odd to wear business attire when the company’s culture is T-shirts and jeans. Upgrade you attire to gain respect at work. Develop an approachable presence and internally and externally polished image. Look good … feel good. Don’t over spray with cologne or perfume to mask ‘stuff.’ You know what I’m talkin’ about.

“Appearances rule the world.” Fredrich Schiller

Establish regular feedback sessions with your staff. Leaders who don’t communicate regularly and openly with their staffs miss the opportunity to discover what people really think. Regular feedback sessions not only demonstrate how much you value their opinions, but you’ll also receive an objective, real-time assessment of their strengths and those areas that may need to improve.

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” John C. Crosby

Trust demonstrated is trust earned. Empower your staff to own it. Encourage calculated risks and make sure they know you’ll have their back if things don’t turn out as expected. Trust them. Walk-The-Talk.

Watch your “pie hole.”   Words and actions have consequences! If you believe from your intuition and subtle feedback from your staff that you do receive less respect at work, it may because your actions don’t mirror your words and vice versa. Words we use must always be respectful and clean, most discreet when it comes to personal issues and never openly criticize your staff. Praise in public and provide constructive feedback in private … with the door ajar … and with another person in the room with you … it is what it is … lesson learned.

“Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.” Plato

Know when to be quiet. Emotional tirades earn fear but no respect. Unless you’re one of those (all too many ‘leaders’) who ‘lead’ by fear, tirades may make you feel better but they do little to change the culture at work, except to make it even more toxic. Egg shells are designed to be broken at home, not walked on at work. Address sensitive work issues at a private, one-on-one level not letting your ego show and proudly exclaiming them at meetings and embarrassing the employee(s). The opposite philosophy is always true. When you praise and thank people for a job they’ve done well, always do that in public. Be generous and genuine.

“Nothing strengthens authority more than silence.” Leonardo da Vinci

Share your knowledge. As a leader, you have a great opportunity to be a teacher and mentor. The examples include work directly with a staff member to improve their written and/or oral communications or indirectly, when you lead by example. When you share your information and mentor others, you train and educate the organization’s future leaders.

“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” Khalil Gibran

Suspend assumptions. Place any preconceived ideas you may have aside and really listen to an employee’s proposal with an unbiased perspective. If a conflict does arise, remain objective, stay fair, don’t show favoritism and provide the opportunity for everyone to succeed.

Remain involved. Said another way, get out from behind your desk and walk around the organization. Make the time and take the time to ask questions and then listen. Chat informally at company functions like an office party or get-togethers after work. Get to know your staff and encourage them get to know you. Leave your rank at work.

Be transparent. We’ve heard this many times of late. Change comes in many forms and many ways; some when not expected. When change is on the horizon, remain engaged with your employees and keep them in the loop as much as you can.

“One man’s transparency is another man’s humiliation.” Gerry Adams

Establish the limits (Boundaries). If after your efforts to change the dynamics and your team or staff remain disrespectful, or if one or two apples still spoil the barrel and rather increase their disdain, it’s time for more drastic action. Tell them their behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Explain the importance to maintain a civil level or respect and trust in the workplace. Then … document, document, document.  This should be done as a routine practice, anyway. Then, at quarterly, semi-annual and annul performance reviews the behavior was documented and at your disposal.

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has limits.” Albert Einstein

It’s never easy to regain trust and respect at work and with your friends and your family once those values have been lost. A good start is to have a high regard and respect for you … to love yourself but not be in love with yourself. Have that same regard and trust for your team and employees. Want to gain or re-gain trust and respect? Be trustworthy and respectful first. It’s inside out, not outside in … radiate and project what you want and expect outwards. This will most often encourage them to reciprocate.

“Men are respectable only as they are respected.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

This article was submitted by “Captain George” J Burk, USAF (Ret), Scottsdale, www.georgeburk.com. Contact: gburk@georgeburk.com

Career Development: Create!

July 2nd, 2014 by

“You should bring something into the world that wasn’t in the world before.

It doesn’t matter what that is. It doesn’t matter if it’s a table or a film or gardening – everyone should create.

You should do something, then sit back and say, I did that. ~ Ricky Gervais

Career Development: A Conference Call in Real Life

July 2nd, 2014 by

This video is a hilarious because it highlights everything that can (and often does) go wrong on a conference call. Are conference calls productive? What do you think?

Career Development: Are You Addicted to Stress?

June 24th, 2014 by

We all know that stress is bad for us both physically (increasing our risk for disease), and mentally (that overwhelming feeling). But in spite of our knowledge, did you know that we can actually become addicted to stress?

Who is at risk?

Type A personalities – those who operate at a maximum speed and aspire to achieve large goals. (Learn more.)

Type D personalities – those who struggle with negativity, depression, anxiety, stress, anger, and loneliness. (Learn more.)

So, how do you know if you’re addicted to stress?

Research tells us that moderate amounts of stress are fine, even desirable, because it boosts our focus and energy. So don’t automatically label yourself. If you are effectively managing your life and thriving under stress, it does not qualify as an addiction. The problem is when we wake up an internal craving for it, just as an alcoholic or drug addict would crave a high. If your life feels out-of-control, and in spite of your best efforts, you are not getting things done, you may be addicted to stress.

Stress-reducing ideas

Whether you’re addicted or carrying a healthy load of stress, don’t forget to balance your days with stress reducing activities.  

Learn 40 Ways to Relax in Five Minutes or Less

And enjoy a happier, more productive lifestyle.

Career Development: A “Beautiful” Way to Increase Productivity & Creativity

June 17th, 2014 by
I wonder if my boss will let me expense these?

I wonder if my boss will let me expense these?

I have a habit of buying a bouquet of flowers for my office whenever I go grocery shopping – a guilty pleasure. Today, I read research that makes me feel a little less guilty. Did you know that exposure to flowers can:

  • reduce anxiety, negativity and depression
  • promote creativity (a University of Exeter study noted a 45% increase!)
  • enhance innovative thinking
  • increase productivity

One study indicated that people feel happier and had more energy after looking at flowers first thing in the morning. Flowers may even have a positive impact on memory. If you have a green thumb, research suggests that growing your own plants increases the benefits,  improving health, well-being, and life satisfaction.

These benefits were noted in women and men, the young and the elderly.

Learn more:

Want to Be More Productive? Buy Some Desk Plants

Feel Better, Work Better: How Flowers Increase Productivity

Need to Be Productive? Buy Some Flowers

Career Development: Set Yourself Up for Today’s Virtual Job Fair

June 10th, 2014 by

Today’s job fair leans more toward virtual than the meet & greet at the Convention Center that was popular before social media.

Here is an infographic from by MBAOnline.com that breaks down how may people have found jobs on the social network:

Social Job Hunt

 

Is it time to clean up your social media presence?

It may be where you find your next big career opportunity. Sometimes we forget just how many people can see what we are putting online and this can work for or against us.

Here are 3 tips for cleaning up your digital footprint.

1. Search yourself. Put your name, in quotations, into three search engines and see what comes up. Is there anything you want to take off the internet? You may find old social profiles you no longer use (Myspace anyone?) that you are ready to delete.

2. Review the privacy settings. One thing to be sure of about the big three (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) is that their policies will change. You may have set privacy setting years ago and never revisited. Take some time to do so and ensure that the right people are seeing your posts.

3. Always use a flattering profile picture. You may have your Facebook privacy set so that only your close friends and family can see you, but if your profile is searchable, potential employers can look you up online and still see your profile photo, so choose wisely.

What do you think? Have you ever received a career opportunity on social media?

Career Development: When Life Throws You a Curveball

June 4th, 2014 by

shutterstock_178055471I really enjoy reading the “Career Curveballs” channel on LinkedIn. I think learning from another person’s mistakes and hard times are as valuable as hearing from the experts. I recently read “The Most Important Mistake of My Life and How You Can Make Yours” by Judd Marcello which was posted on his website and then featured in the LinkedIn Career Curveballs channel.

This part of the article really stood out:

“People often talk about and write about purpose as if was a thing, e.g. tradesman, artist, developer. I have come to realize that for me it is not a thing, but my context. It is what I am here to do. It is within this context that I make career and life decisions, let alone my day-to-day micro decisions. When I make my next career move the decision criteria will be based primarily on whether or not I will be in the best possible position to apply my strengths in order to make a positive lasting impact on the business and the people involved. That is what I am here to do.”

You can read the article in its entirety here:  The Most Important Mistake of My Life and How You Can Make Yours

What do you think? Have you ever made a mistake that helped to change the course of your career in a positive way?

Career Development: A Lesson from the Baby Boomer Generation

May 27th, 2014 by

shutterstock_83910604As part of the Baby Boomer generation (born between 1946 and 1964), I find it interesting how we’ve changed our attitudes about vacations over the last couple of decades. When we were building our careers, most of us didn’t take many vacations at all — vacations were for wimps! Too much work to be done! Unused vacation days were a source of pride.

But the culture has changed over the years (and, well, we’re not getting any younger and realizing there are a few things we missed). And as usual, Baby Boomers who make up about 26% of the population, continue to influence the travel industry who caters to what we want because we control a lion’s share of the money that will be spent on travel.

Since the retirement age is getting older, part of what we want are exciting vacations that don’t eat up all of our vacation days at once so we can take several. So now we are seeing shorter international tours (7-10 days as opposed to 21 days) and shorter cruise itineraries. We are explorers so we are seeing more adventures like safari and backpacking tours (but don’t forget the amenities – boomers like to explore but we don’t like roughing it). So, younger generations, you can thank us for all of these shorter, more affordable options.

Finally, we are leading the workplace in vacation plans this summer. We’ve figured it out — vacations are important!

But in case you’re thinking of not taking one this year due to all the work to be done, here is an interesting fact sheet from the Boston College Center for Work & Family that lists 20 reasons why it’s important to take a work-free vacation:

Open .pdf “Tip Sheet: The Importance of Taking a Work-free Vacation

What are your vacation plans this summer? Have your attitudes about taking a vacation changed over the span of your career?

 

Career Development: How Many Times a Day Should You Check Your Work Email?

May 20th, 2014 by

shutterstock_84842515I admit, this is one of my pet peeves. Probably because the work I do is done in chunks of time, and any interruption, (especially email), is a kiss of death to my productivity. Nothing annoys me faster than to have someone send me an email and then call me or come into my office and say with a wee bit of an edge in the voice, “Did you see that email I sent? I sent it an hour ago.” Well, I don’t check my email every hour. Sometimes I don’t check it all day if I’m really tied up on something.

Just how often should we be checking our emails anyway?

Minda Zetlin would disagree with my habit. In her Inc. article, “3 Reasons the Experts are Wrong About Email,” she asserts that reading your email frequently makes you and your team more productive, not less. She wrote that a lot of her work happens in email and her team members need more frequent feedback to do their jobs. She also feels she would miss critical information if she didn’t check it frequently.

Others are more in line with my way of thinking. Craig Jarrow, Author of Time Management Ninja, thinks you’ll get more done if you only check your email twice each day – once in the morning and once at the end of the day. He wrote that unless you are a customer service rep “email is not your job.”

Steve Plavlina even did an experiment and only checked his email and social media accounts three times a week to find out what would happen.  He wrote a long list of key benefits including ease of maintaining focus on goals; enjoying the most productive weeks he’s had in years; and greater sense of time. In fact, he could only think of one negative: missing a disc golf game. (Read about his experiment here.)

After reading all of these articles, I surmised that there is really no right or wrong answer. I suppose it all boils down to whether or not email is one of the main tools you use in your job to get the work accomplished you were hired to do.

What do you think? How many times a day do you check your email and why?

 

Career Development: Is Your Employee Ready for a Higher Level Job?

May 8th, 2014 by

shutterstock_70419277I met Tom Foster, author of Hiring Talent, and heard him talk about management myths related to getting the right people in the right jobs. He said that managers spend too much time trying to climb inside the head of their employees to determine if they can handle the responsibilities of being promoted to higher level jobs.

A better method, he asserts, is to stop playing amateur psychologist, and instead give the employee a higher level project (work similar to what they would do in a new role), and wait to see how the employee performs.

Employees will give clues as to whether or not they can handle a higher level job by how they perform on the higher level project. He said when you pass the project (“the ball”)  to the employee, you’ll see these signs when they are ready to move up:

1. They won’t give the ball back.

2. They won’t drop the ball.

3. They will carry the ball to the end goal.

Just because the person is great in a current position doesn’t mean the employee will be great at a higher level position. It may be that the employee is in the right position right now. However, if you are not promoting a capable employee, you are taking a risk that the employee may find a higher level job outside of your company.  If you are on the fence about giving a promotion to a higher level job to one of your employees, try giving a higher level project to the employee at his or her current level, and use the employee’s performance as an indicator of his or her true capability.

Want to know more?

Foster said it was critical to not only understand the work that is being done day in and day out at your organization, but to also study the different levels of the work within your organization. He talked about a scientific measuring stick “Time Span” (Time Span Handbook – 1964) – the length of time a person can effectively work into the future without direction, using discretionary judgment, to achieve a specific goal. He believes that time span, technical knowledge/skill, interest/passion and habits are the best indicators of an employee’s capabilities.

For more information, read Hiring Talent.

 

Career Development: Are You Adverse or Averse to Grammar Tips?

May 5th, 2014 by

Grammar – love it or hate it? If you are averse to learning grammar tips (“averse” means you dislike them … “adverse” means unfavorable, like “adverse weather”), this post won’t be too painful.

In fact, this quiz may make you feel smarter once you refresh your knowledge, and will also help you give a better impression in the workplace.  And if you feel pretty good about your grammar skills, take the quiz as a quick brainteaser to flex your grammar muscles!

shutterstock_127130564

Quiz: Ten Words That Are Commonly Used Incorrectly

Fill in the blank (the answers are at the bottom of the post):

1. When it comes to company culture, we all share the same [principles | principals].

2. [Whose | Who's] laptop is this?

3. We want to [ensure | insure] that this mistake never happens again.

4. Why did you [imply | infer] at the meeting that I would not be receptive to your idea?

5. Root cause analysis training [complements | compliments] his college degree for a quality engineer position.

6. This candidate has a college degree but that [criteria | criterion] alone does not qualify him for this position.

7. There was a small [number | amount] of people at the staff meeting.

8 I hear that [alot | a lot].

9. [It's | its] exciting to know that the next Global TapRooT® Summit is scheduled in Las Vegas.

10. The marketing campaign did not [ellicit | illicit] the response we were hoping for.

Answers:

1. Principles. “Principle” usually means a standard or rule; “principal” often refers to a person but can also mean first or foremost i.e., “the principal quality we are looking for is trustworthiness.”

2. Whose. Who’s is a contraction for “Who is” – “Who is laptop is this?” doesn’t make sense.

3. Ensure. Ensure means to guarantee. Insure usually refers to financial or insurance policies, although some stylebooks say they can be used interchangeably.

4. Imply. The speaker implies; the listener infers, i.e., “He implied that I was dishonest, at least that is what I inferred from our conversation.”

5. Complement. To complement means something goes nicely with something else. A compliment is something nice you say about someone.

6. Criterion. Criterion refers to one item; criteria refers to more than one (but as our reader pointed, sometimes is used to refer to one item).

7. Number. Number is used when you can count the number of things. Amount is used when you can’t count it in numbers. (“He had a huge amount of contempt for anyone who tried to teach him grammar.”)

8. A lot. Two words. Always.

9. It’s. “It’s” is a contraction for “it is.”

10. Ellicit. Ellicit means to coax, illicit means unlawful or illegal.

How did you do? Comment below!

Career Development: Just Because I’m Nice, Don’t Assume I’m Dumb

April 30th, 2014 by

Amy J.C. Cuddy wrote about why people make snap judgments about another person’s competence based on how friendly they are in her article “Just Because I’m Nice, Don’t Assume I’m Dumb.”

Would it surprise you to read that most people will stereotype you as less competent if you have a warm personality? Cuddy’s research indicates that they may. Read her article about the warmth/competence model and how to avoid wrongly sizing up your colleagues and co-workers: (Read article.)

What do you think? Have you ever discounted how competent a person was based on his or her warm and friendly personality?

Career Development: Living Your Purpose? Find Out at a Glance!

April 25th, 2014 by

In the busy-ness of life, it is good to pause from time to time and reflect on whether or not you are living out your purpose. This is a cool graph that will tell you at a glance. And remember,

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”  ~ Steve Jobs

career dev

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