Education

Ask Yourself Two Questions To Help Prioritize Your Work

Ask Yourself Two Questions To Help Prioritize Your Work

Featured, Focus
If you work for a hands-off manager who doesn’t give you a ton of guidance, it falls on you to set priorities for your work. You can focus on the right things by asking yourself two questions: “What is my highest contribution?” Consider the organization’s needs and your unique strengths, experience, and capabilities. But don’t only focus on what you’re good at. Also ask yourself: “What am I passionate about?” Think about the projects and tasks you find most inspiring and where you’re able to make the most impact. Focusing your efforts there will motivate you to put in extra effort. The goal is to prioritize those activities and initiatives that show up on both your high-contribution and high-passion lists, while delegating or saying no to the daily churn of…
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Adapt Your Leadership Style To The Situation

Adapt Your Leadership Style To The Situation

Featured, Improvement
Different work situations call for different leadership styles, and most managers use one of two approaches: dominance or prestige. When you lead through dominance, you influence others by being assertive and leveraging your power and formal authority. This approach works best when your job is to get everyone aligned and moving in the same direction. When there is a clear strategy for a new product launch, for example, and the challenge is in getting your team to enact that vision, dominance is an effective way to create a unified front. Prestige, in contrast, means influencing others by displaying signs of wisdom and expertise and being a role model. This approach works best when you’re trying to empower the people who report to you. If a marketing team is charged with…
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Perils Of Working At Home

Perils Of Working At Home

Featured, Process
While many people work at home on a regular basis, recent circumstances have forced a lot of people to make the transition. Remote workers face different challenges and different distractions. Here are some tips for making your work at home experience more productive and enjoyable. Set up a space: Just like you have a desk or workstation at your workplace, you need to have a dedicated space to work in. It can be a corner of a room, a full home office, or even part of the dining room table if need be. The important part is that when you are in that space, you are at work. You need to think of that space as separate from your home. Going there is going to work.Go to work: When you…
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When Creating An Experience The Details Matter

When Creating An Experience The Details Matter

Featured, Improvement
Whether you are trying to get people to come into a retail location or selling educational programs online, creating an experience is crucial to building your success. When you create an experience all the details matter. When you use fewer sensory inputs to create the experience, the details matter more. What do we mean by sensory inputs? Those are the parts of the experience that impact different senses. In a restaurant, you create experiences that impact taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing. In a non-food retail setting you impact sight, hearing and smell. If you are creating an audiobook, you only impact hearing. The fewer senses you impact, the more every detail matters. An example of this is two audiobooks. Both of these are on very similar topics and written…
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Dealing With A Black Swan

Dealing With A Black Swan

Featured, Process
Businesses (and people) all over the world are dealing with the global pandemic of COVD-19. For most organizations, this was a black swan. For those not familiar with the term, a black swan is a situation that could not be anticipated. The phrase was a common expression in 16th century London as a statement of impossibility. The London expression derives from the presumption that all swans must be white because all historical records of swans reported that they had white feathers. In that context, a black swan was impossible or at least nonexistent. However, in 1697, Dutch explorers became the first Europeans to see black swans, in Western Australia.  So how do you plan for something you cannot predict? Start with determining exactly what resources you need to continue operating. Once you know what you need, determine how much you…
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Build Your Own Personal Board Of Directors

Build Your Own Personal Board Of Directors

Featured, Focus
If you’re looking to rise through your organization’s ranks, but aren’t sure how, consider creating a personal board of directors. This informal group comprises six to eight people who can help with your professional development. There are three types of people you should include. First, you need fans — people who support you and will deliver tough feedback with kindness and good intent. Second, recruit potential sponsors — senior leaders who can advocate for you when it’s time for a promotion. Third, include at least one critic. These people may be the toughest to approach, but they can be the most valuable. Look for people who have deep-seated perceptions of you and are likely to block you from advancing. If you enlist their help, you may be able to shift…
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What Small Businesses Can Do To Reduce Employee Stress

What Small Businesses Can Do To Reduce Employee Stress

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
This article originally appeared in The Philadelphia Enquirer Are the employees at your small business stressed out? They probably are. But if that’s the case, then you’re not alone. Last year, 94% of American workers reported that they experienced stress at their workplace, according to a study from Wrike, a collaborative workplace management application. At least 23 percent of the respondents described their stress levels as high, and 6 percent said it was unreasonably high. Unfortunately, the problem isn’t getting any better. Just last month, a whopping 88 percent of professionals surveyed by executive-search firm Korn Ferry said that, compared to five years ago, the stress level in their workplace was higher, with 51 percent saying it is “much higher.” Stress can come from many sources — a bad boss, tight deadlines, uncomfortable working…
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Prioritize the Business Relationships That Matter Most

Prioritize the Business Relationships That Matter Most

Communication, Featured
With success comes many things — including a much larger business network. How can you possibly keep in contact with everyone, let alone respond to their requests? Apply Pareto’s 80/20 rule: Think about your most important relationships, and then highlight the top 20% of them. These are the people you should spend 80% of your time, energy, and resources with. Proactively set up regular lunch dates, walk-and-talks, coffees, and face-to-face meetings. Get creative — commute to work together, take up a shared hobby or interest, or create a peer support group. For second-tier contacts, consider organizing a social event two or three times a year to keep in touch. This 80/20 system allows you to continue to nurture and protect your relational ecosystem — which is the greatest determiner of your personal happiness and professional success…
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5 Tips For Giving A Persuasive Presentation

5 Tips For Giving A Persuasive Presentation

Communication, Featured
When you need to sell an idea at work or in a presentation, how do you do it? Five rhetorical devices can help — Aristotle identified them 2,000 years ago, and masters of persuasion still use them today: Ethos. Start your talk by establishing your credibility and character. Show your audience that you are committed to the welfare of others, and you will gain their trust.Logos. Use data, evidence, and facts to support your pitch.Pathos. People are moved to action by how a speaker makes them feel. Wrap your big idea in a story that will elicit an emotional reaction.Metaphor. Compare your idea to something that is familiar to your audience. It will help you clarify your argument by making the abstract concrete.Brevity. Explain your idea in as few words as possible. People have a…
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Strategies to Use When You’re Feeling Anxious

Strategies to Use When You’re Feeling Anxious

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
It’s normal to experience occasional anxiety — for example, when we’re faced with a high-stakes meeting, a stressed-out boss, or a conflict with a colleague. Feeling anxious can make you more vigilant, engaged, and productive, but it can also exacerbate negative thoughts. To regain control of your internal monologue, there are a few strategies you can try. First, take note of any physical cues: a churning stomach, sweaty palms, or flaring nostrils. When you experience these systems, divert your attention away from the stressor. One technique is to do a tough math problem in your head. Then, identify the “thought trap” you’re falling into. Are you catastrophizing (i.e. imagining the worst possible outcome)? Mind reading (i.e. imagining what others might think?) Or black-and-white thinking (i.e. considering only two possible outcomes)?…
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