Education

Be Productive Not Busy

Be Productive Not Busy

Featured, Improvement, Process
It's a common response. How are things going? Busy. It comes out of our mouths almost by itself. The truth of the matter is we shouldn't be busy. Even if we have a lot going on, we should be striving to be productive, not busy. What's the difference? Busy is things are happening. Productive is things are getting done. So how can we more productive? Write things down: Have a place where you write everything down. It doesn't matter if it is in a document, a spreadsheet, a pad, or post-its. What does matter is that you are putting everything a single place that you look at frequently. It doesn't help to write yourself a note if that note is buried under a stack on your desk. Write it down…
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Do You Have A Professional Bucket List?

Do You Have A Professional Bucket List?

Featured, Improvement, Process
People talk about bucket lists in personal terms. They have places they want to go and things they want to do. What about your professional life? Very few people put together a professional bucket list, things you want to do in your career. Why would you do this? Many people either take their career as it comes or phrase what they want in general terms: a promotion, a raise, etc. Putting together a bucket list forces you to describe very specifically what you want to accomplish in your career. Do you want to own your own business? What kind of business? Why do you want it? Putting together a bucket list gives you and opportunity to clarify your professional goals. Why do you want to o this? Without knowing where…
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Are You Still Stewing About That Mistake You Made?

Are You Still Stewing About That Mistake You Made?

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
When you make a mistake at work, do you replay it in your head for days or even weeks? This kind of overthinking is called rumination, and it can lead to serious anxiety. To break out of the cycle, there are a few things you can do. For one, identify your rumination triggers. Do certain types of people, projects, or decisions make you second-guess yourself? Notice when (and why) a situation is causing you to start overthinking things. It can also be useful to distance yourself from negative thoughts by labeling them as thoughts or feelings. For example, instead of saying “I’m inadequate,” say “I’m feeling like I’m inadequate.” These labels can help you distinguish what you’re experiencing from who you truly are as a person and an employee. Another way to short-circuit rumination is…
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How To Increase Your Versatility

How To Increase Your Versatility

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
Versatility is a key leadership trait. Managers must have the capacity to read and respond to change with a wide repertoire of skills and behaviors. So how can you actually build this ability? Start by soliciting feedback from trusted colleagues. Ask a simple question like, “What should I start doing, stop doing, or continue doing to be a more effective teammate?” You might also take a more systematic approach and complete a personality assessment to gauge your strengths and weaknesses. Follow up by asking colleagues if they agree with the results. Learn some new habits from people you respect. Set up a meeting with a colleague who has different strengths than you to pick their brain. Your goal is to learn to see things from their perspective, so come with…
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The Danger Of An Automatic Process

The Danger Of An Automatic Process

Featured, Process
At The Modern Observer Group we create processes for our clients. Processes for social media, processes for onboarding clients, processes for all kinds of business functions. Why? Because a process keeps you from reinventing the wheel. When you have a process you know what you have to do and how it gets done. You can ensure the same results and the same quality time after time. There is, however, a downside. A process, by definition, treats every instance exactly the same. The problem is that you don't necessarily want to treat every situation exactly alike. Case in point: I recently connected to someone on LinkedIn. This was not a new contact. This was someone I have known for over 15 years, we just never bothered to connect on LinkedIn. My…
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Do You Know Where Your Leads Are?

Do You Know Where Your Leads Are?

Communication, Featured, Improvement
Defining your approach to qualifying and tracking leads can drive a ton more business…some ideas from Marc Kitz, Sales Coach!   How easily can you/your company answer the following questions: How are your leads qualified?How are your leads tracked? This is challenging particularly in smaller organizations. Here is a story from a close friend of mine who runs a manufacturing company in CT that illustrates this challenge. New opportunity, easy to close and it got lost! My friend called his CRM company to request services for integration of a new touchless time keeping application.  The rep he spoke with said he understood what my friend was looking for.  They set up a follow up meeting which included resources the rep thought should attend.  During the meeting my friend re-explained what…
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How To Organize Your Workspace

How To Organize Your Workspace

Featured, Improvement
By Maria GroveFounder, Bliss This House LLC With most people still working from home the topic of organizing your workspace is a hot one right now.  I’d like to offer some tips for organizing your workspace that would work both at home and  at the office (if we ever go back).  First be honest with yourself – do you find yourself camped out at the kitchen table doing zoom calls while your kids make lunch in the background?   Sure the kitchen table is convenient but would you have more privacy in a guest room or bedroom?   Thinking about where to set up your space is just as important as the set up of the desk and systems themselves.   I’ll be honest, my husband and I share an office in my…
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Check The Tone of Your Message Before Hitting Send

Check The Tone of Your Message Before Hitting Send

Communication, Featured
When teams are working remotely and stress levels are high, it’s all too easy to miscommunicate. Even well-intentioned messages can be misconstrued. So how do you avoid sending a Slack message or email that could be interpreted as passive-aggressive? One option is to use an emoji, which can go a long way in signaling tone, meaning, and emotion. But be careful — too many emojis could undermine your professionalism. Consider your audience before sending a slew of smileys. As a rule of thumb, try sticking to one emoji per message — unless it’s the very first time you’re communicating with someone, in which case, you might leave them out altogether. Also, be sure to spend a few minutes proofreading your message for typos, which are a not-so-subtle signal that you…
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Don’t Just Respond to the Moment — Plan for the Future

Don’t Just Respond to the Moment — Plan for the Future

Featured, Improvement, Leadership
There's an old saying in politics, "Never waste a crisis." When you’re in the midst of a crisis, it can be hard to think past your short-term response. But, as a leader, your primary focus needs to be on the long term. After all, it’s your job to lead your people into the best possible future. To be able to do that, you need to delegate. Trust your people to handle the immediate response, and provide them with support and guidance to make tough decisions. Your time should be dedicated to planning for the future. You need to anticipate the obstacles that will arise in the next weeks, months, and even years, and set a course for your organization accordingly. If you can focus on what lies ahead, rather than…
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Should That Item Really Be On Your To-Do List?

Should That Item Really Be On Your To-Do List?

Featured, Improvement, Process
Not every project or task you take on requires your immediate attention. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself a few questions to help you prioritize your to-do list. Why is this task necessary? If there’s no clear answer, it’s probably not urgent. What would happen a month from now if you don’t get this done? It’s tempting to barrel through your list for the sake of crossing things off, but before you spend time on a task, visualize its future impact on you, your stakeholders, and your business. If you don’t see a long-term impact, consider passing. Are you the right person to do this task? If not, consider whether you can delegate to someone else. Did you agree to take on this task for the right reasons? You may…
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