Word-Of-the-Week #732: Collaboration

August 16, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Collaboration – what happens when everyone works together. 

Do you feel a connection with your younger co-workers or staff? Have you ever felt judgment or resentment toward them? How accountable are you if you make a mistake?

This is the 2nd part of Joyce Rosenberg’s article YOUNGER WORKERS CAN OFFER NEW OUTLOOK. Business owners find staffers in 20’s, 30’s ask ‘why’ more often, but have fresh perspective” that shows how communication helps with young staffers.

“Some of what you see from employees in their 20s and early 30s is just young people being young,” says Brian Carter, owner of an eponymous digital and social media marketing firm in Charleston, South Carolina.

Carter has learned that younger staffers want to be emotionally and professionally fulfilled.

“They will stick with a manager or boss who cares about them personally and helps them grow and develop. If they don’t make a connection with you, or you don’t make the effort to connect with them, you can lose them,” he says. Carter regularly takes time to ask his five staffers how they are, including what they’re doing outside of work.

He’s also learned that younger staffers will be more vocal than older ones about wanting the boss to be accountable for mistakes.

“When I take responsibility for any miscommunications, and compliment them on any and all effort and progress, they are a lot happier and happy to do good work,” he says.

Rick Gibbs gets a lot of questions from clients about how to manage younger employees. The answer, says Gibbs, a consultant with the human resources provider Insperity, is to look at these staffers without judgment and resentment, and lead rather than try to control them.

“They’re a resource, not a problem,” Gibbs says. “You may be missing out on different points of view, ways of doing things that may help your company make money.”

Andy Pittman’s solution is to listen, negotiate and appreciate.

“They definitely have a different perspective on life than boomers. They like beer at work on Friday afternoon. They collaborate with each other in a group format a lot. It’s a more relaxed attitude,” says Pittman, CEO of ShelfGenie, a home improvement franchise chain based in Atlanta and owner of two franchises in North Carolina.

Pittman does “see a little bit more of the entitlement attitude” among younger employees, but he also sees hard workers. So he’s willing to negotiate on things like time off; some of his staffers would rather have more paid vacation than raises.

“If we can do the work we need to do, I’ll give them more time off,” he says.

Carlton finds younger staffers are interested in finding different ways to do things. One employee figured out an alternative method of accomplishing a task and wanted to keep using it. Carlton had to explain that the task wasn’t done often enough to justify the expense of the different approach. He said “no” in a way that acknowledged the staffer’s efforts but also explained the financial realities.

“We’re teaching them to be business people. It’s important for them to know how the money is made,” he says.

This week’s focus is about collaboration. Do you work in an environment where everyone is focused on working together? How willing are you to listen & appreciate another persons perspective? How good are you at complimenting someone for their efforts & progress?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word-Of-the-Week #731: Perspective

August 9, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Perspective – how you see things; outlook. 

Do you work with people a lot younger than you? Do you think they act entitled? Or that they don’t work as hard as you do?

Joyce Rosenberg’s article YOUNGER WORKERS CAN OFFER NEW OUTLOOK. Business owners find staffers in 20’s, 30’s ask ‘why’ more often, but have fresh perspective” shows how communication helps with young staffers.

“Rory Carlton is getting used to hearing younger staffers ask, “Why are we doing this?”

It’s a question Carlton would never have asked his boss when he started working nearly 40 years ago. When he was given an assignment, he just completed it. But Carlton, like other business owners in their 40s and older, is learning how to manage employees in their 20s and 30s who don’t look at the world or the workplace as he does.

He’s learned that staffers aren’t asking questions to be difficult or argumentative — they’re curious.

“I find today’s younger employees have a hunger to learn and progress, and they want to understand the bigger picture — the ‘why?’ behind what they are doing, rather than just the ‘what?’ of the assignment they are given,” says Carlton, owner of Arketi Group, a marketing strategy company based in Atlanta. “It’s not a confrontation, it’s a collaboration.”

Small business owners can sometimes be perplexed or annoyed by younger staffers, whom they see as demanding or entitled in asking for time off or to know when they’ll get a promotion. But owners who take time to understand, train and mentor staffers say younger workers bring perspectives that can help a company, and that lumping an entire age group into a stereotype is detrimental to everyone.

“This group of individuals does get a bad rap,” says AdreAnne Tesene, owner of Two Bostons, four pet goods store in the Chicago area. “It’s up to us as owners and managers to just let them know what’s expected.”

Most of Tesene’s 36 employees are in their 20s and 30s. She looks at them individually to determine what each needs from her in terms of mentoring and coaching. Still, she finds some challenges. After several employees skipped two monthly staff meetings at which attendance is mandatory, they were surprised to find themselves dismissed.

She holds herself responsible. “If I bring someone into our team who doesn’t want to improve, that’s my fault. It’s not a generational thing,” she says.

Owners should try to understand their younger staffers, says Kate Zabriskie, owner of Business Training Works, which offers management and other business instruction. For example, she notes, younger employees are apt to ask, when can I expect a promotion? That may be less a sense of entitlement and more based on their experience progressing through school, sports and other extracurricular activities. They may also be seeking feedback.

“They’re new to the workplace. They want to know they’re getting it right,” says Zabriskie, who urges owners not to be authoritarian or dismissive.

Younger staffers may also seek more help and information than an owner expects. The right thing approach is to answer patiently, Zabriskie says. The wrong way is thinking, “I paid my dues, nobody helped me.”

Of course, older owners who complain are repeating history. Bosses with a work ethic honed during the Great Depression groused about baby boomers. And boomers did the same with Gen X workers.”

This week’s focus is on perspective. Do you feel management clearly states what is expected? Do you work in an environment that understands each individual’s differing needs? How open and receptive are you to different points of view?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word-Of-the-Week #730: Deserving

August 2, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Deserving – being entitled & worthy of what you have earned.

Does the thought of taking a vacation make you feel guilty? Do you think you’ll have to work twice as much when you return?

This week is the follow up to the John DiScala, Inc. Union Tribune article, “Back to Reality: How to ease into your work routine after vacation.

To Recap John wrote, “Taking a summer vacation is a great way to relax and recharge your batteries. The good news is that studies show that three days after taking a vacation, travelers report feeling less anxious, more rested and in a better mood. These benefits typically linger for weeks after the trip, but coming back still is tough.

  1. Don’t go back to work right after your vacation is over.
  2. Ease your way back into work.
  3. Bring a little piece of your vacation home with you.
  4. Interact with others, even if you don’t want to.

Some co-workers may approach you and ask about your vacation. It’s okay to talk about it. The details about how you couldn’t finish your hiking expedition because you realized halfway through that you don’t actually like long trips in the forest will fill everyone with joy and laughter.

You don’t have to hold back in fear of seeming like you’re bragging.

If you’re worried that’s what people will think, start asking them questions about their next vacation or a previous vacation that they reminisce about. You’ll be surprised how much people love talking about their past trips too. Conversations like these help you form bonds with your coworkers that will aid in getting back to business.

  1. Go to work with a new set of eyes.

I had to come up with a strategy of how to approach a new client about a possible collaboration. Stumped, I decided to wait to connect until after I was done with my vacation. Good thing I did. While I was in a queue for a sandwich (of all places), I got an idea about what I should present that would still be unique and engaging for them.

Maybe you were frustrated with a task before you went on vacation because you couldn’t make it work. After being away from it for a while, you can look at it differently and offer a new perspective. Sometimes you just need time away to get a little jumpstart on your work.

  1. Take breaks during the day.

Going into full work-mode without any breaks is a recipe for a burnout. Don’t let guilt force you into believing that you have to work yourself into the ground because you were away. At one time, your co-workers also went on vacation. They don’t (and shouldn’t) expect you to break your back trying to catch up in one day.

Be kind to yourself and remember that you deserved your vacation and the time it takes to recover from it. Take about a five or ten-minute break every three hours to decompress and relax. It may seem impossible, but you’ll make it through. Focus on one thing at a time.

This week’s focus is all about “being deserving.” How would it feel to come to work fully refreshed and recharged? Do you give yourself permission to take breaks to decompress? Why would you not take your vacation time if you’re entitled to it?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word-Of-the-Week #729: Recharge

July 26, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Recharge – what you need to revive your energy, stamina & enthusiasm.

We are full on into summer and the question is, “Have you planned a vacation?” You do know that it’s one of the best ways to recharge? How would it feel to be less anxious, more rested and in a better mood?

This week features the John DiScala, Inc. Union Tribune article, “Back to Reality: How to ease into your work routine after vacation.

“Taking a summer vacation is a great way to relax and recharge your batteries. Lounging on the beach, exploring a foreign city, or hiking in the mountains can put you in a new head space. But then your flight is taking off and you must return to the daily grind.

The good news is that studies show that three days after taking a vacation, travelers report feeling less anxious, more rested and in a better mood. These benefits typically linger for weeks after the trip, but coming back still is tough.

No one wants to think about emails and deadlines, putting together a budget or running a meeting after an amazing holiday. I know I don’t. However, it can’t be avoided, especially if you want to survive your first days back without having a mental burnout. That’s why I’ve created a list of tips that’ll make your transition back to work a little smoother.

  1. Don’t go back to work right after your vacation is over.

Everyone needs some time to get back into the groove of things. If you can, take a day or two to relax and recuperate before heading back into the office. Even if you need to tidy-up around the house or run errands, give yourself at least a few hours to chill.

I like to order-in or go for ice cream the day after I’ve come back from a long break. I’m having a treat while still slowly getting back into a groove. Focus on giving your mind time to adjust. If you don’t, you’ll have stress on top of fatigue to deal with when you return to work.

Is your team burned out and stressed out? Declare production bankruptcy. Give your employees a bailout. Pick a day that is going to be about catching up—not moving forward. It’s not a day to produce, create, or build anything. That may seem counterintuitive given the state of the economy and how challenging the business environment is, but it could be what people need to recharge their batteries. Here are 10 tips for a bailout plan for workers.

  1. Ease your way back into work.

Either the day before returning to work or the morning of returning to work, take some time to plan out your day. Make a to-do list with everything you know you need to do and prioritize what needs to be done. If you do this on the morning of your return, be sure to give yourself space to be alone with your thoughts.

Start with old tasks that you didn’t finish before you went on vacation. It’ll give you a sense of normality. You might be tempted to jump straight into new projects, but you’re going to crash and burn before lunch.

Focus on doing what you know how to do and what requires the least amount of time. Starting with small tasks can boost your confidence. Remember, you’re taking one step at a time.

  1. Bring a little piece of your vacation home with you.

Souvenirs are great personal mementos that can remind you that it’s okay to take a break and enjoy life. Recovering from fatigue can be as simple as reminiscing. In her book, “The Myths of Happiness”, UC Riverside psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky has found that reminiscing about a trip brings you immense pleasure.

It can be especially helpful if you can incorporate the senses such as smell. I personally like using diffusers with oils from different parts of the world. This allows all of your positive feelings about it to flow back into you. You can then transform that into energy to get you through your day.

This week’s focus is to recharge. How would it feel to have more energy, stamina, & enthusiasm? What if you made creating a vacation plan your goal? Plus adding enough time to allow you to ease back into work?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word-Of-the-Week #728: Focus & 14th WOW Anniversary!

July 19, 2018 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #728: Focus & 14th WOW Anniversary! 

Focus – close attention and concentration.

Do you get overwhelmed when you think about achieving a goal? Do you have a tendency to avoid completing certain tasks? And what are the chances that Focus would be the 14th Anniversary WOW?

This week features the follow up to Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Union Tribune article, “Getting to the Goal: Here’s how achievers do it.”

  1. They recognize when they’re procrastinating.

We’ve all suffered from procrastination in one form or another. It’s important to figure out the reasons for your procrastination. Some people find a particular task or job aimed toward attaining a goal unpleasant, and that becomes the source of their avoidance. Here are three instant strategies to help you out:

Have clearly prioritized to-do lists, schedules, time frames for completing a task, and deadlines for goals to help counter procrastination.

Work back from your deadlines to know how long you need, and when to get started so you’re not late.

Focus on one task at a time. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is actually counterproductive. Finally, like all well-organized people, make sure your work is broken down into manageable steps.

  1. They practice the 52 and 17 Rule.

When working toward your daily goal, try 52 minutes of work followed by 17 minutes of rest–what is known as “interval training” in sports. Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, co-authors of Peak Performance, found that adopting an interval-based approach to productivity isn’t just for gifted athletes. One study found that its most productive employees preferred a work routine where they spent, on average, 52 minutes engrossed in their work, took a 17-minute break, and then returned to their work. Retaining the highest level of productivity toward achieving your goals in a day is not working longer; it’s working smarter with frequent breaks.

  1. They listen to music for focus.

Music has been found to be a great way to maintain focus and stay productive for goal-attainment. The key is to experiment first, and find suitable music that helps you focus. A good tool to use is Focus at Will, which uses music scientifically driven to improve your concentration. Background noise also has also been proved to sharpen your focus. Try Coffitivity, a tool that emulates the ambient sounds of a cafe to boost your creativity and help you work better to get stuff done.

  1. They don’t multitask.

There’s a myth out there that to be successful means to act with warp-speed urgency and do as many things as possible at the same time. Actually, the most successful people are very patient and avoid juggling many things. In fact, research says multitasking is a myth and can be damaging to our brains. You end up splitting your focus over many tasks, losing focus, lowering the quality of your work and taking longer to hit your goals. The 8 percent of people who nail down their goals are smart enough to work on several smaller chunks to complete a big goal. But they do it by knocking one down then moving on to the next one.

When I started back in 2004 I never knew how long I would keep writing these. But I knew I wanted to be a better writer so I got some help – and like anything – the more you practice the easier it gets. It just takes some close attention & concentration!

This week’s all about having focus. How would it feel to work smarter and not harder? Do you have a clearly prioritized to-do list? Are you able to work on one task at a time? Do you make time to take frequent breaks?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Next Page »