4 Steps to Prioritizing Your Career Goals for 2017

The new year is a great reboot button. With the clarity of a successful year behind you and a clean slate ahead of you, your perspective has never been better. Is something missing? Are there career milestones or new workplace adventures you’d like to reach but at this rate seem impossible? Take this opportunity to start fresh and prioritize your career goals with these Warren Buffet encouraged steps.

1.      Figure out what you want

This exercise may require you jot some things down, preferably in list form. Write down as many things as you can think of that you want to be a part of your life that aren’t already. What career opportunities would you like to have in the next few years, or perhaps even in a lifetime? Brainstorm and take notes, even if it seems impossible.

2.     Narrow it down

Hopefully you’ve written yourself quite a nice list of 2017 (and beyond) career ambitions but a list of 20 or so things can get overwhelming. So let’s begin by picking the top 5. It may be difficult to narrow down your list of hopes and dreams but try to pick out the 5 that are most important to you.

3.     Make a plan

Having a list is great, but if you don’t have actionable items to get you moving, you won’t ever tackle your goals. Figure out what steps you’ll need to take to get each of your 5 things; this will include people and resources you may need. Think about who you could talk to, who could help in certain areas and how you’ll go about engaging them. Are there courses you have to take or certifications you have to earn before completing your goals? Do you research now and make a plan on how to get started.

4.     Commit

Your top 5 priorities are it. Don’t think about the other things on your list that didn’t make the cut – they no longer matter because they’re merely a distraction now. Focusing strongly on 5 things will end with more success than focusing bleary-eyed on 20, so stay committed to your 5 and forget all else.

That seems simple enough, wouldn’t you say? Four steps to reaching your career goals for this year, the next 5 years or a lifetime? The strategy will work because it gives you lines to color inside of; things to focus on and things to ignore. It’s a structure that makes things black and white, as clear as possible and easy to follow. So give it a shot as you rethink your 2017 career ambitions. There’s no better time.


Do you need help increasing job visibility or prioritizing your career goals? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Why is Praise Important in Business & the Workplace?

When to Praise

Knowing when and how to praise

Many psychologists would agree that positive reinforcement is significantly more effective than punishment. Many executives would agree employee recognition leads to an increased bottom line. Many doctors would agree that the release of dopamine in the brain whenever we hear something we enjoy is a powerful thing. And then there are the studies.

Ragan.com shares a collection of studies that sets the record straight, direct from the mouths of employees themselves. And the results are as important as they are unsurprising. A whopping 78% of U.S. workers say being recognized motivates them in their job, while 69% say they’d work harder if they were better recognized. And in the interest of employee retention, you might want to note that 49% of employees said they would leave their current job for a company that recognized employees for their efforts and contributions.

So it’s no surprise that employees want to hear that they’re doing a good job from time to time. You probably do, too. It’s a key factor in motivation and engagement and it could be one of the biggest factors in keeping your employees off LinkedIn job searches.

When to Praise

So you know praise is important and that your employees are likely to give a better performance with it by their side, but how often do your employees want to be praised? Ragan.com says employees want some kind of recognition every 7 days. Unfortunately, studies show only 16% of leaders meet that expectation, while 51% only offer praise once a quarter, or even more infrequently.

You might find every 7 days is a bit frequent but understand praise doesn’t have to be a big gesture; it could just be a genuine pat on the back. Or, it could be more…

Types of Praise

Frequent praise can be a quick “good job” or another version of verbal high-fiving. But there are other options to consider. Ragan.com breaks down what kind of recognition employees value most at work:

  • 24% prefer rewards like money or gift cards
  • 28% prefer regular ol’ praise
  • 30% prefer growth opportunities

Praise Mistakes

So what might you be doing wrong? Here are some common mistakes managers make in an attempt to bridge the recognition gap.

  • Offering token gestures – recognition should fit the degree of achievement. Offering a stapler for someone’s 10-year anniversary might not match up. Likewise, don’t go overboard with your offerings.
  • Being wrong – don’t mix up someone’s name or achievement. Congratulating someone on a job well done that they didn’t do, or passing over a key contributor, might cause more harm than good.
  • Being vague – when you say “good job,” tie an action to it. What did they do a good job on? Be specific.

So how do you measure up against these statistics? Are you offering as much recognition as desired by your team, or do you have some room for growth? If it’s the latter, put in some honest effort and see if things don’t turn around.


Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Top 10 Quotes to Get You to the Top

“All great changes are preceded by chaos” – Deepak Chopra

“All great changes are preceded by chaos” – Deepak Chopra

I offer a lot of tips and ideas here that will help you become a better employee or manager and advance in your career. But sometimes we need a little more than just knowing the right or wrong way to do something.

So I’m sharing a collection of quotes that might help you through the day in those moments when hard work and big hopes start to fall flat.

“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth

Each mistake is an opportunity for growth. Learn from the moments that don’t go as planned and put that experience toward your next approach.

“All great changes are preceded by chaos” – Deepak Chopra

Feeling flustered with your current situation and all it seems you have to do? The dust will settle. But until then, keep the goal in mind.

“If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe” – Abraham Lincoln

Abe’s tool was his axe. What’s yours? Maybe it’s your work ethic or a particular skill. Take the time to sharpen it properly before you start swinging and not only will you do a better job, you’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary setbacks.

“The harder I work, the luckier I get” – Gary Player

Do you believe in luck? I don’t. But a great work ethic and a positive attitude will have you rolling in the riches of what seems, to the untrained eye, to be luck.

“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile” – Roger Staubach

You might have some competition on the main road to your goals, but the road with the extra time and effort is usually an empty one. Put in that extra work and you’ll arrive at your destination in no time.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Take a look back at your former achievements. Surely there were a few that seemed unlikely to occur at the moment you began. But now? It’s done. Apply that experience to your next impossibility so you can stand at the end of another accomplishment.

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill

Don’t let a misstep get you down or you really never will reach your goals.

“Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” – John Wayne

Fear is a great driving force, however deterring it can be. Own it, embrace it, let it drive you, use it for good.

“Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom

What’s been holding you back from continuing on your career path? If worry or fear top the list, it’s time to push through it.

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

Concerned about your career future? Identify what job you want and then create it. Don’t wait around for your dream job to come to you.

Feeling pumped now? Go out there and get that dream job. Chances are the only thing holding you back is you.


Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Do Your Colleagues See You the Same Way You Do?

Watch your body language

Watch your body language

Have you heard the saying that goes something like this: if you don’t know who the office jerk is, it’s probably you?

You might be a well-intentioned manager that feels like a team player, but there might be something about your approach that prohibits your employees and colleagues from agreeing.

Columbia Business School suggests those who are rough around the edges at work don’t necessarily know it. “Finding the middle ground between being pushy and being a pushover is a basic challenge in social life and the workplace. We’ve now found that the challenge is compounded by the fact that people often don’t know how others see their assertiveness,” says Daniel Ames, a professor of management at Columbia and co-author of the new study.

Some results of the study show:

  • 57% of people actually seen by their counterpart as under-assertive thought they had come across as appropriately assertive or even over-assertive.
  • 56% of people actually seen by their counterpart as over-assertive thought they had come across as appropriately assertive or even under-assertive.

So now that we’ve got a 50/50 chance of falsely assessing our workplace behavior, what can you do to ensure you’re a more approachable but not a pushover boss?

Open up

Let employees and colleagues know your door is always open. Allow a safe space for honesty and ensure there will be no negative consequences for it.

Watch your body language

Maintain positive body language by sitting up straight and actively listening, smile and exercise welcoming posture by keeping your arms uncrossed.

Keep your emotions in check

Your employees need to know they can share information with you without causing an emotional response that may or may not be appropriate to the situation. Even if you’re frustrated or stressed, maintain a level expression of emotion which will save the moment and allow you time to consider what the productive next steps should be.


If you ask a question convinced you already know the answer, that will show and your employee will get frustrated knowing you’re not listening. Keep both ears open and be present in the conversation so your team will feel valued and offer feedback more frequently.


Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

Salary Negotiation Tips & Strategies

Don't Take on Free Work

Don’t Take on Free Work

Salary negotiations can be a major pain point for most employees and even managers. There’s a way to do it and garner results and a way to do it ineffectively. The different rests in these few dos and don’ts.


Be Ridiculous

While you should ask for a fair salary, be sure to avoid naming a figure that’s absurdly high in the hopes it will just be negotiated down. Few things can halt a salary negotiation quite like an unreasonable request, don’t start off on the wrong foot.

Take on Free Work

It’s important to agree to take on more responsibility to warrant your salary increase, but not without proper compensation. Any new responsibility should be reflected in your pay.

Get Personal

As frustrating as it may be, you’re not alone in financial hardships. So leave the tales of how you’re struggling to pay the mortgage and put 3 kids through college at home; it won’t play into your potential salary increase.

Assume the Offer is Final

Salary and benefits are usually negotiable, even in this economy. Most organizations leave themselves some room for movement when placing and offer on the table. Don’t sell yourself short.

Make Threats

Threatening to quit your job won’t have the desired effect in a salary negotiation. It’s unprofessional and will work against you in your quest.


Agree to Work Harder

Let it be known that you can fill important company needs and will eagerly jump at new project opportunities. Be sure your new responsibility is reflected in your pay but if you show a willingness to grow and contribute to the team, your negotiations should sway more your way.

Your Research

This is especially helpful if you’re applying for a new position that isn’t identical to the one you already hold. Prior to your interview, gather as much information as you can about what the going rate is for the position at hand and how that stacks up next to your education, experience and skills. Ask relevant questions about the duties you will be asked to perform and have an understanding of the high, median and low salaries for the job.

Talk Bottom Line

Discuss how you’ve contributed to your current organization’s bottom line. Offer statistics and concrete ways you helped the company profit and are, therefore, worth a salary increase.

Add Benefits

There are other ways to be compensated beyond straight pay.  Educational reimbursements, vacation time and travel allowances can be added to your negotiation. Being flexible in your requests could work to your benefit.

Remain Patient

Staying patient and steadfast in your quest will work in your favor, even if time appears not to be. These are two great qualities in an employee; understanding it might not be the right time for the salary you want and remaining patient and steadfast will get you to the goal eventually.

Negotiating your salary for a new or current job can be an intimidating feat. But you can be wildly successful if you apply the right strategy with the right attitude. Stay patient and professional, hopeful and factual and better compensation will be yours in no time.


Do you want to motivate and lead your staff more effectively? My executive coaching services can help you hone your leadership skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.