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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.

Career Development: A Pep Talk on Paper Can Help Your Career by George Burk

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

A pep talk on paper can help career –write goals improve confidence

We’ve all had times in our life when we’ve been down on ourselves, frustrated by events, people, work, our career path.  Some good news: a recent study has shown you can change your personal and professional paradigms and regain that old self-confidence that has been absent—and make a favorable impression on others—when you take time to write your aspirations, ambitions and goals.

“Your life will be no better than the plans you make and the action(s) you take. You are the architect and builder of your own life, fortune, destiny.”  Alfred Montapert

Write two-three paragraphs that outline your goals and that will help you to feel more empowered, confident and energetic, Gavin Kilduff, an assistant professor of management and organization at New York University said his research showed.  When you write your aspirations and goals, you see them in front of you and they become real.  This process can be especially important before you join a new group or speak at an event.

Adam Galinsky, a psychologist and professor at Columbia Business School said his experiments showed that individuals who used an exercise as this to energize themselves showed greater initiative at initial group discussions and appeared more competent as teammates.

Both men found that once a person projects self-confidence to the group and its members perceive you well, ‘see’ you as real and genuine, the effects can be long-term. Specifically, they said that individuals who initially acted more confidently with the group established patterns of positive, assertive communications that continued and became self re-reinforcement attitudes and behaviors.  No one I know wants to admit they’re not confident. Confidence is critically important to effectively communicate your aspirations and goals.

“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power.”  Robert T. Kiosaki

As a burn survivor, I know from first-hand experience the importance and role that self-confidence played and play s in my survival.  I learned early on that if I were to become a survivor, not a victim, I had to re-learn how to practice positive self-talk.

To write your goals and aspirations is but the first step. After this is done, the next step is to make a commitment to yourself that you’ll seek to achieve them. Share your aspirations and goals with family and friends.  Share what you hope to achieve and ask for their feedback and support. This is a process…it’s continuous…when one goal’s achieved move to another and create bigger goals. Practice positive self-talk.

If you don’t have time to write down your ambitions before you meet a group, mentally review your achievements and your goals.  That’s real-time reinforcement and may give your confidence a “shot in the arm,” and not look like you’re timid, disorganized or disinterested. Its great mental hygiene and positive reinforcement.

“A man without ambition is worse than dough that has no yeast to rise it.”  Henry Ward Beecher

A few other tips from the above mentioned persons and this writer:

Be prepared. Yes, that sounds simple enough. But you may be surprised (perhaps you’re not) how many people aren’t prepared to appear before a group.  Self-confidence comes from the knowledge you did your homework. That empowers you to come into a group like you own it. And…you DO own it! If you don’t believe you do, you set yourself up to fail.   Regardless, if you’re networking/ searching for a new position, conducting a weekly meeting or staff training, make certain you have done your homework so you’re up-to-date on the latest news, concepts and prepared to dialogue the issues saliently and thoroughly. If you don’t, your audience will soon realize that you don’t know your material. If you lose them, it’s almost impossible to regain their attention, interest and their confidence in you.

“Give me six hours to shop down a tree and I will spend four hours sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln

Look the role.  Simple tips but important none the less.  Good posture, back straight, make eye contact with as many as possible…hint:  a great tool to make effective eye contact is to discover the color of the person’s eyes. Always dress appropriately; that shows others you’re confident before your first “hello.”  Don’t have anything in your mouth…gum….candy.

Demonstrate your interest.  I’ve learned that most people like to talk about themselves, their family, hobbies, and travel.  I do! So…ask questions. The office break room can be a great place to strike-up a conversation with some others you may not see that often. Express an interest in their lives and what they do. The same concept is valuable ice-breaker at professional meetings and seminars— before the event begins, at lunch and at scheduled breaks.

“Snobs talk as if they had begotten their ancestors.” Herbert Ayers

Don’t be a snob.  Be the real you. If the real you IS a snob, good luck! How’s that worked for you? Maybe that’s the reason your ‘friends’ and associates seldom return your calls, emails and texts; don’t invite you back; they seem to never be available.  Positive attracts positives; negative attracts negatives; snobs attract other snobs. Few things in life turn me off than a person who tries to embellish any number of events in their lives. You’ve been to Hawaii once they’ve been there twice and so on.  One upmanship. The examples are endless.  They also try to impress with technical jargon or words that others may not know or understand.  Acronyms unknown to others can alienate those around you.

“Character is that which reveals moral purpose, exposing the class of things a man chooses or avoids.”   Aristotle

Demonstrate class. Be gracious and show respect to others.  When you take the time to actually write a thank-you note to your boss, mentor, friend or another person for their advice, a person who invited you to dine with them; a host or friend who invited to speak at an event; a colleague who took the time to help you with a project; or an unexpected gift. Not an email, text or even a phone call is sufficient.  When you write a note, address it, place a stamp on the envelope and mail it, the effort shows you care. This is a lost art in our culture.  It’s not taught at home any more.  Technology has overtaken our lives. The “drive-through” get it now mind-set.

When you’re seen as a positive communicator, it enhances your credibility with friends, co-workers and hosts and establishes a level of confidence and professionalism in the minds of your friends and those you’ve met along the way.

All it takes is 5-10 minutes to sit and jot down your aspirations, goals and accomplishments. The benefits can be (and are) long-term. This is the power of positive self-talk; the power of positive thinking. Self-confidence is sequential, inside-out and it’s critical to our personal hygiene—our well-being and our careers.  This can also be accomplished by Mind-Mapping. Think pictures/visualization. Want more information on this? Let me know.

So now! Where are you going? How will you get there?  How will know you’ve ‘arrived’?  Who will be on your team?

This article was reprinted with permission from the author, Captain George Burk, USAF (Ret), Plane crash, burn survivor, motivational speaker, author, writer. Visit his website at www.georgeburk.com   or contact Captain Burk at gburk@georgeburk.com.

Career Development: Dump the New Year’s Resolutions – There’s a Better Way to Success

Posted: January 27th, 2014 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

As we near the end of January, many of us have already given up on our New Year’s Resolutions.

One reason this happens is because the enthusiastic day that we wrote the resolutions to be a better person, (better at managing our money, our careers, our relationships, our health), we failed to take into account that a day would come that we’d feel “off” our game.  You got the flu. A close friend or family member passed away. You get laid off. The furnace had to be replaced.

So we fail to achieve our goal the day the crisis hit … and then failed the next day… and then next day. Then the self-flagellation begins.

There is hope!

This author talks about how we can make a shift from creating a resolution or “goal” that is likely to fail when obstacles and setbacks arise to creating a successful “behavior.”

Read Dave Asprey’s article:

The One Simple Behavioral Secret Will Help You Meet Your Life Goals in 2014

and learn how to create sustainable behavior and that moves you in the direction of a spectacular 2014.

Career Development: One Way to Overcome a Common Obstacle to Your Professional Goals

Posted: December 2nd, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

With the New Year on the horizon, it’s time to think about professional goals for 2014. You may already be thinking about additional training that you could attend to enhance your career development (like the 2014 Global TapRooT® Summit!).

The problem with setting goals like these is getting over the obstacles. A common obstacle that causes us to push career development goals aside is that we are just too busy — the demands of the job take precedence.

How can we accomplish our career goals next year if we are weighed down with our day-to-day responsibilities?

Jack Zenger says, “involve your manager in your personal development,” and makes a special point to tell his readers not to inform our managers, but  to involve them.

Check out his three tips for getting your manager involved in his Forbe’s article:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jackzenger/2013/08/29/personal-development-isnt-personal-3-tips-for-getting-your-manager-involved/

Stand Out in the Job Market: Use Your Valuable Root Cause Analysis Training

Posted: November 18th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

7895-327x450Looking for a job where you can use your TapRooT® skills?

If you are not using the skills you learned in training, you are missing key opportunities for professional development. The proactive and reactive tools your training provided will not only enhance your career but will also contribute to the greater good of saving lives and preventing injuries.

If you have been using your root cause analysis skills for awhile and are interested in a career change, one thing that will stand out on your resume is a record of your demonstrated TapRooT® successes. When you share multiple examples of problems solved or leading teams to success, you will have a significant advantage in the job market.

Remember, TapRooT® is not only a valued skill for employers looking for accident investigators, but is also a valued skill for companies that:

  • need to solve quality-related issues
  • have equipment downtime problems
  • experience failure to achieve optimal operational success

Keep up with the leading companies looking to hire people with TapRooT® root cause analysis skills by looking at this link:

http://www.taproot.com/archives/category/career-development/job-postings

Need a refresher? We have several 2-day courses coming up in June:

http://www.taproot.com/store/2-Day-Courses/?coursefilter=Incident+Investigation

And finally, if you have been thinking about getting training to become a TapRooT® Team Leader, get more info about our advanced 5-Day Team Leader Course:

http://www.taproot.com/courses/#5-day-root

If you have a success story to share about how TapRooT® has helped your career development, please share it by commenting below.

Root Cause Analysis & Career Development Tip: How to Improve Investigation Efficiency

Posted: October 17th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips, Root Cause Analysis Tips

It’s frustrating to invest months completing a major investigation only to have it sent back to you for modification because management did not agree on the purpose and scope of the investigation. There is a way to avoid this that takes a little time upfront, but it’s well worth it when all of your efforts are appreciated and approved in the end.

Here are two important tips that will help avoid misunderstanding with management:

1. On major investigations, the investigator (or team) should provide management with frequent updates to keep them in the loop of the progress and potential findings.

2. If the team intends to make recommendations for corrective actions, they should be reviewed in advance with key managers whose departments will be affected. (For example, if a department will have to change the way they do something, or have to supply resources to implement the corrective actions, include them in the loop.)

Management understanding is just one of the tips highlighted in the 2008 TapRooT® Book. If you received a book in TapRooT® Training and skipped over Appendix C, you missed some other ideas that will make your job easier. If you don’t have a book you can learn more about what’s in it here:

www.taproot.com/archives/2837

Doing an investigation once with everyone on the same page saves time — a little extra effort toward management understanding can help you attain your goal and take a step forward in your career development.

Career Development Tip: How to Avoid a Bad Case of “The Mondays”

Posted: October 11th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

We often look forward to the weekend as a time to catch up on rest, but more often than not we stay up later or eat so far off schedule that it interferes with our normal sleep patterns and the opposite occurs.

“Social jet lag” or the discrepancy between our natural body clocks and our social clocks, can be hard on the body when Monday rolls around (and make us fat!).  It’s important to notice our individual circadian rhythms and stay true to them when the weekend rolls around for optimal health and wellness.

Learn more about social jet lag on the Huffington Post, “Is Social Jet Lag Harming Your Health?” and make plans to come to the 2014 Global TapRooT® Summit to learn even more from a circadian rhythm expert!

Career Development: Sometimes It’s Not That Complicated

Posted: September 22nd, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

Simple concepts are often the most dynamic for our career development. In “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Habit 2 is “Begin with the End in Mind.” More simply stated:

Career Dev

What would that be for you today? Take action!

Career Development: What Not to Say in an Interview

Posted: August 20th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

What are good things to say at an interview? Choose from the list below:

“I can do anything.”

“I can try …”

“I remember we use to …”

“Why do you …”

“I didn’t get an opportunity to grow.”

Did you choose all of the above? Some of the above? After all, they sound fairly reasonable, right?

What if I told you that none of these phrases are the best ideas? Check out this article on Daily Worth and find out why job recruiters think these are detrimental things to say during an interview:

http://www.dailyworth.com/posts/1781-5-things-not-to-say-in-a-job-interview

 

Career Development: The New Multi-Generational Workplace

Posted: August 12th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

People are living and working longer than ever before, and we will soon see multiple generations of people in the workplace at once. In the past, there wasn’t a huge difference in work behavior among the generations. However, when Generation Z arrives in the workplace, the multi-generational environment will reveal vast differences in work behavior between the youngest and oldest generation that may present some workplace challenges.

The following infographic shows the differences between the Internet Generation of today and children of the past.  Whether we are part of the Baby Boomer generation and Generation X, or of Internet Generations Y and Z, it’s interesting to note the childhood behaviors of each generation that influence the workers we become.

Click image to see a larger version

Kids of The Past Vs. The Internet Generation


Kids of The Past Vs. The Internet Generation via Hostgator

 

 

 

Career Development: Where Good Ideas Come From

Posted: August 5th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

Have you ever had a hunch of something great, but the idea just never fully came together? Steven Johnson shares a lesson on “the slow hunch” and how to help your good idea grow into something amazing.

Career Development: Out to Lunch

Posted: July 29th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

out-to-lunch-300x200Fast Company has an interesting article about things that successful people do at lunch … and it’s not working through it.

It’s easy to forget that we have the opportunity to make lunchtime an invigorating boost to our afternoons by doing things we enjoy like taking a brisk walk in nature or sharing a meal with a friend. It’s only an hour a day so it easily slips away, but it adds up to five hours over the entire week – five hours of your life that you won’t get back.

The Fast Company article offers five alternatives to sitting at your desk that increase productivity and energy. Read ”What Successful People Do During Lunch” by Laura Vanderkam.

Time is a non-renewable resource, so don’t get stuck in the work-through-lunch rut. What you do at lunch not only increases or decreases productivity and energy, it also impacts your health and happiness inside and outside of the workplace.

Career Development: 3 Great Productivity Apps When You’re on the Road

Posted: July 26th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

Work on the road — lots of us do it. Sometimes it can be a challenge to stay connected with your team and have the office tools you need to get the work done. Here are three apps that we found that can help you increase productivity when you are working offsite:

1. Genius Scan: Need to quickly scan a document into a .pdf file? There’s an app for that! Genius Scan will even crop and straighten your page for you.

2. Asana: Share your task list with your team while you’re on the road. Asana is a task management tool that literally keeps you “in sync” with the team even when you are away.

3. LogMeIn: Ever urgently needed to view that document on your desktop when you were 500 miles away from your computer? You can connect to your computer remotely with the LogMeIn app. This app allows you to view documents and even launch apps that are on your computer’s desktop.

Hope these apps help with productivity goals when you are working away from the conveniences of your worksite.

Career Development Tip: How to Develop Resilience

Posted: July 22nd, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

One thing that is certain in life is change, and developing resilience is key to our ability to overcome negative twists of fate.

It’s important to develop resilience by taking care of our physical health and making space for a little down time each day whether that means taking a walk, sitting down to meal without any distractions or enjoying a hobby.  These actions contribute to our physical and emotional well-being, and the stronger we are physically and emotionally, the more resilient we become. Also, investing time into our relationships so that we have someone to turn to in times of trouble is also important to developing resilience.

Mindtools.com has an excellent article about how to develop resilience, including a discussion about the three main elements that resilient people possess:

1. Challenge

2. Commitment

3. Personal Control

Learn more by reading, ”Developing Resilience – Overcoming and Growing from Setbacks.”

Career Development: Biggest Workplace Time Wasters

Posted: June 19th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

Are you wasting time at work on social media, visiting with co-workers or looking for another job? According to this infographic, these activities are some of the biggest time wasters.

 

Career Development: Make Creativity a Habit

Posted: June 16th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

This post was written by  guest author ”Captain George” Burk.  Learn more about this motivational speaker, author & writer on his website: http://www.georgeburk.com/

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Most of the people I know always think about new ways they can enhance their personal and professional creativity.  Their purpose for doing this is quite simple: they want to think more innovatively and develop the habit of how to think more creatively.

Bad habits, like negative thoughts and hostile self-judgments often block the strategic paradigms of creativity, innovation, anticipation and excellence.  According to Alex Osborn in his book, “Applied Imagination,” one reason many of us tend to function less creatively as we mature is that “we become victimized by habit.”

Either find a way or make one.” Hannibal, Carthaginian general

The key word here is “victimized” because I believe we have become an “externalized society.”  This occurs when people act and talk like someone else – a person, organization, or governmental entity – owes them something.  In adopting this attitude, they give up any sense of personal and professional responsibility for the choices they make and find it much easier to blame someone else for their “plight.”  In this scenario, everyone sees themselves as a “victim” versus conducting their lives like a “survivor.”  The former mind-set is just a lot easier; the latter more difficult as it requires courage, commitment, discipline, goals, focus and hard work.

The “victims” of today are precisely that because of their choices, and because no one, not their family, friends, bosses, or politicians held them accountable for their actions and choices.  First and foremost, however, is they made the choice not to hold themselves accountable and responsible.

“As a result of education and experience, we begin to develop inhibitions which tend to restrict our thinking” Osborn said.  What occurs are those inhibitions we set as our internal justification for not doing something and that something tends to keep us from attacking new problems (challenges) with enthusiasm and one of our greatest gifts, our imagination.   However, it is possible to change the habit of bad and negative thinking with good ones.  Here’s how:

Creativity guru Edward DeBono says that one way people can change bad habits and negative mind-sets is to exercise your creative mind.   DeBono suggests focusing on an ordinary object, like a drinking glass, or a plate of food and then develop a problem or challenge concerning that object and then brainstorm possible solutions.  The drinking glass or plate if food is a metaphor and only an example.

Don’t dismiss this example and tell yourself it’s too simple, or laugh it off as not useful to you.   Change the mind-set and say to yourself that this does sound logical and makes sense, and that you will experiment with it and see how it can work for you.  Use your creativity and imagination for another object, and then develop a problem or challenge for it and then brainstorm possible solutions.  This exercise is also a form of “mind-mapping.”

In his book “Serious Creativity,” DeBono says, “Mostly we think of creativity as being applied to a serious problem and difficulties that seem incapable of real solutions without a creative breakthrough.”

However, suppose that you begin to focus on an issue no one else has even bothered to think about. For example, DeBono suggests while you drink a glass of water, you can choose to focus, “just on the rim of the glass. Could it be a different shape?  Could there be a detachable rim for hygiene purposes?”

What are the tasks you do every day that be done differently?  Stop and break each task into small, manageable parts.  Are there any steps or procedures that are redundant?  Can you improve upon you are doing, or how you develop and deliver your product or service?  What are the relationships and interactions?

Granted, you may never use many of the ideas you generate from this creative practice but according to DeBono, “The mere exercise of setting out to pick an unusual focus area has a high value. This, in turn becomes a habit itself.”

“If the Creator had purpose in equipping us with a neck, he surely meant for us to stick it out.” ~ Arthur Koestler, writer

History is replete with stories about people that were successful innovators and who proved time and again the value of habitual creativity, anticipation and innovation.  For example, Leonardo da Vinci used his imagination and creativity to explore all the aspects of life and included science, art, architecture and engineering.  An important part of his thinking was to ask, “What if?”

Da Vinci’s creative habit produced paintings like “The Last Supper” which led him to develop detailed plans for flying machines, and underwater diving suits and a host of other inventions.

Thomas Edison is another inventor who made creative thought and action an integral party of his life.  He filed more than 1,000 patents for inventions like the light bulb, an electrical generating system, a sound-recording device and motion picture projectors.   To Edison, creativity and innovation was almost as important as eating.

To help you get into the habit of thinking more creatively, here are a few exercises to help you stretch your mind.

Record at least one observation a day in a notebook.  Observe details and events around you can help open you eyes—and your mind—to a whole new world of colors, words, ideas, thoughts, people, nature and much, much more.  When you take note of your observations and make the connection between your thoughts and what you see, you will begin to develop the habit to think creatively.  By simply stopping every so often and observing the world around you also enhances the quality of your life.

When was the last time you stopped to watch hummingbird take nectar from a flower, or watch a flock of geese flying North or South and wonder how and why they always land at the same body of water year after year, even when the clouds obscure their landing site?

Think like Da Vinci and play the “what if” game.  This is a great way to play with kids, too.

Playing “what ifing” games is great way to learn how to direct your imagination towards a desired mission (purpose), goal, or both.  Michael Michalko, in his book, “Thinkertoys,” says, “This technique lets your ego relax and the playfulness of the ideas it generates will cause your mind to relax even more.”

Michalko offers a number general “what if” examples and include: “What if you had eyes in the back of your head as well as the front?”  What if every person in the world had to adopt one homeless person and take care of that person for life?  What if people slept for 23 hours a day, and were awake for only one hour?

I don’t know about adopting a homeless person and caring for him or her for the rest of my life.  But I do know some parents who seem to have continued being responsible for their adult “kids.”  And, I think I worked with some people who really did sleep 23 hours a day and when they were awake, may as well have been asleep.  Eric Allenbaugh refers to these people as the, “the walking dead.”

So, “What if” you tell your employees they are appreciated and they’re doing a great job?  “What if” someone asks you to be their mentor?  “What if” you ask someone to be your mentor?  “What if” you pat someone on the back and say “thanks?”  “What if”’ you hug your kids and tell your spouse you love them? “What if” I had listened to some of the people around me who said I’d never walk again, or walk stairs, or be productive (well, this last point is open for debate).   “What if” John Davieau hadn’t driven through that ravine, and “what if” he hadn’t turned his truck towards the smell of the smoke?  “What if” he hadn’t found me on fire threw dirt on me and extinguished the flames?

“What if” I hadn’t met you…Well, I think you get the idea.

So, just like most of the things in your life, if you really want to become more creative, you will find a way to make that paradigm become a reality.  It is that simple!

Now, “if” I can remember where I put my cars keys.

“Buy the truth and do not see it; get wisdom, discipline, and understanding. Proverbs 23:23 (NIV)

 

Career Development: Is it Time to Rethink your Investing Goals for Retirement?

Posted: May 24th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

Successful retirement planning is an ongoing process. Have your priorities changed since you initially set your goals? Early in your career, you may have been planning for your dream home or preparing for children to go to college. A plan that was implemented 5, 10, 15+ years ago will need to be reviewed and adjusted.

Are your investing goals on autopilot since you set the initial goals?

Investor Junkie has posted “4 Compelling Reasons to Rethink Your Investing Goals.” These include not only recognizing that your priorities may be different and your circumstances may have changed, but also include the possibilities that the market may have changed since you implemented your goals, as well as the fundamentals of investing.

Learn more here.

Financial advisors recommend reviewing your plan annually to help keep your savings amount and investment choices on track to meet your retirement goals. If you haven’t revisited these goals in awhile, consider increasing your savings, rebalancing your investments, and rethinking your expectations for living in retirement.

Career Development: What *Not* to Say at an Interview

Posted: May 17th, 2013 in Career Development, Career Development Tips

dreamstimefree_186042

It takes more than being qualified for a position to win an interview in a competitive market. Here are some common things interviewees say that seem innocent enough, but can be a big turn-off to potential employers. Have you ever said any of these things?

I can do anything …

I can try …

I remember we used to …

Why do you …

I didn’t get an opportunity to grow …

Why are these so wrong? Head over to DailyWorth and read:

5 Things Not to Say in a Job Interview

and some of the answers may surprise you!

 

(Photo courtesy of Dreamstime.)

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