If ever we needed well-developed soft skills it is at this time of the year – the Christmas New Year period. What is it about this time of the year?
Why do we all run around in circles trying to finish things when we don’t do the same at the end of most other months?
Why can’t we fit anything else into our schedules? I am going to suggest that we actually create this stress, overwhelm and sense of urgency for ourselves, that we turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy that we’ve perpetuated over the years.
I’m going to suggest that you just STOP FOR ONE HOUR, find a quiet space for yourself where you are not going to be interrupted and just review what you want and need to do over the next weeks until Christmas. Here are some ways to stay sane, less stressed and even enjoy this lead into Christmas and the New Year.Read More
Some recent research by Accountemps, a Robert Half Global Company, specialising in providing business with skilled finance and accounting professionals, found that sending thank you notes to a HR manager or recruitment professional who did the interview can tip the scale in a job candidates favour.
At a time when hundreds of people are applying for the same job, writing a thank you note is a way to stand out from the crowd. It demonstrates self-awareness, that you are aware of and acknowledge the time that the recruiter or HR manager has given to interviewing you and spending time with you, that you consider others not just yourself. It also shows your attention to detail, your ability to follow through to the end of a process.
Only 24% of applicants send one, however. This is down from 51% in 2007.
You probably know people who are always negative and reactive. It seems to be part of their personality. Being positive and pro-active seems an impossibility for them. They don’t seem to know how. While that may not be you, we all do tend to lapse into negative and reactive thinking at times, often when we are stressed, meeting deadlines, coping with difficult people or just having a bad day. We can get stuck there, or we can quickly lift ourselves out of it. Once we used to think that we had little capacity to change that. It was the way we were and we attributed it to our parenting, our socialisation or so many other external circumstances, too numerous to mention. With our recent understanding of neuroscience and how the brain works, we now know that if we want to we can change all that. We can move from being negative to being positive, from being reactive to being pro-active. We can develop a positive and pro-active explanatory style. It will change your life.Read More
How to engage with the new world of work is my Monday Motivational message for you. I used to send these a few years ago. They were well received and I’m going to begin again because in the last few months I’ve talked with a number of colleagues who are very disengaged from their work. Many don’t know what they can do about it, are resigned to it being their lot and lack the motivation to do anything about it.
So if you are jaded and disengaged at work, this is for you.
I was talking with a colleague recently. I asked the usual question: “How’s everything going with you?” She replied: “Same old, same old. Do you know I’ve been with XX company now for 15 years and I’ve realised I’m here to stay”. She is 45.
Every part of her being displayed flatness and jadedness – the way she was dressed and groomed, the lack of light in her eyes, the dullness of her skin, her overweight body. It all epitomised her lack of physical and psychological energy. And as she implies, she is there to stay working in that space until she is 70, another 25 years! Who will she be then? What will she have become?
In fact, my colleague won’t be there for another 25 years unless she changes her attitude drastically. She’ll be made redundant by the exponential change that sees people like her moved on while those with high energy and drive move up. Her professional sector is being highly transformed by digital technology. Those in her sector who will thrive are those who enthusiastically embrace those changes, who become a learner, who commit to developing the skills that technology cannot replicate and who engage pro-actively with this new world of work.
I recently re-visited Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In : Women, Work and the Will To Lead”. I had 3 women approach me for mentoring in the one week. I remembered she has some excellent advice on Mentoring. While this is normal part of my work, it is always helpful to step back now and again and reflect on what I am doing as a mentor and why I am doing it.
There was one part of her Chapter 5 on “Are You My Mentor?” that really got me thinking about my initial conversations with these 3 new mentees. She believes that many women coming for mentoring want a dependency relationship with their mentor which she says is not at all helpful for women. So what she said provoked me to think about how I wanted to engage with my 3 new mentees so that the relationship was an empowering one for them. I share my 7 insights here with my readers.Read More
Mike sent me an email that went like this:
I employed a 22 year old new graduate for a position in my organisation. She presented well at interview and I was very impressed with her attitude. I wanted someone with more experience but here (in the regional centre where he is based) it is very difficult to get people with the experience I want. So as everybody says: “Hire for attitude and train for skills”, I hired her.
Her 3 month probation period is almost due and I can’t see how I can keep her on. I fear I have to dismiss her. I’m quite anxious about it and the impact it will have on her. I feel responsible because I hired her knowing that she didn’t have the skills I wanted. I thought that with her enthusiasm and my support she would develop them. Now I realise that the job is way above her and it’s not just about developing skills, but having experience.
What did Mike do that was a win/win outcome?
With everything changing so rapidly and with so much new information, ideas and opinions being available on a daily basis, there’s not a lot I want to read twice. There’s even less that I want to watch more than once. But Simon Sinek’s original TED talk from 2009 on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is a video I have watched at least twice a year ever since. In fact in the first few years after he presented, I would have watched it three to four times each year.
It was his book Start With Why that captured people’s imagination and saw us all begin to see the importance of knowing what our WHY was. He called on leaders who wanted to become great to find your Why because that was what would inspire their action.
I now notice that 34,288,830 people have watched it on video. Yes, more than 34 million! Pretty incredible isn’t it? He had a message that has stood the test of time. You can watch his 18 minute video here.
Managing our time is one of our greatest challenges whether at work or outside of work. How do we find the time to do the things that are important to us? Why do we feel so often that we spend our days doing things that really do not make a difference to our lives?
Stop and think for a minute because if you are like many people the main reason you spend your time on trivialities is because you procrastinate about doing the things of value that really make a difference. Why would you do that? Why would you not do what is in your own best interests to do? Because they are usually the hardest things to do. They demand much of you. They require self-discipline. They call on you to dig deep and to get out of your comfort zone. So instead of doing them you procrastinate. You put them off. Have you noticed how very stressful procrastinating is?
Brian Tracy’s classic book “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” has plenty of ways you can beat that thief that steals your time – procrastination.
Overwhelm rolls in over the top of so many people in the workforce – professionals, small business owners, construction workers and other tradies, CEOs and executives and all those workers in all those organisations called on to do more with less.
To those who feel overwhelmed, there seems to be no way out, other than to resign and for most leaving their job without another to go to is not an option. Any way, are there any jobs today where overwhelm is not a pervading presence? Probably not, but it is possible to learn ways to manage, even beat, overwhelm and feel productive and in charge of your life at work.
Here is a short 12 minute audio I did of how to beat overwhelm. Listen to it here or download it to your MP3 player.
Is there a very attractively framed Vision, Mission and Values Statement on the wall in the foyer of your organisation? Does it tell everyone who enters through the door what your organisation is about, what its “Why” is. Are they just words on a wall, or are they lived out every day in your organisation? In other words, are the words on the wall walked in the halls of your organisation?
While this article is written for organisations and those who lead them, it is equally relevant to you even if you are not in a leadership role. Every one of us who wants to make a difference in our work and life and be successful in the process needs a personal vision, mission and values statement.
Every decision in your organisation needs to be lined up against your vision, mission and values to see if it fits before it is finally agreed on. An organisation loses credibility in the eyes of employees first, then other stakeholders and then the community, when it consistently compromises on its espoused vision, mission and values, when the words on the wall are not walked in the hall.