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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Listen

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.

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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.

Don’t…

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.

Do…

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.

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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.

 

Change is Coming: 6 Ways to Manage Your Team Through the Chaos

Start with you

Start with you

Change can ruffle the feathers of any company making it a great time for good managers to shine. An effective leader helps ease team tensions while paving the way for open-minded, forward thinking; providing both a safe space for employees to feel secure and a growing company that nurtures change.

But saving the day is easier said than done so if you’re facing impending change and are uncertain about its possible effects, start with these 6 steps and be on your way to healthy corporate growth.

  1. If you’re reluctant about the change or feeling overwhelmed by its possible impact, your team will feel that. Your worry will be heard in the details you translate, your tone of voice and even your body language. So start by allowing yourself to figure out the details, address your concerns and create a positive approach before transmitting to our team.
  2. Encourage closure
    In order to embrace change, people need to let go of the past. This could mean certain roles will change, partnerships may get mixed up and workplace comfort zones will be jolted. As a people manager, you have to plan to help your team accept change and adapt so let them know it’s okay to say goodbye to the comfort of the past because the future could be even better.
  3. Identify the safe spaces
    Studies have shown that only 15% of a role has to change in order for an employee to feel like they’re working an entirely new job. Working together to help them identify which parts of their job are staying the same can help shift that perspective while giving them something comfortable to get them through the transition.
  4. Be open and honest
    This may seem like a given but you might not always be able to share as much information as you’d like. Work extra hard when you can, though. Offer as many details as possible and keep the lines of communication open. This includes addressing the Whys, Hows and What Ifs to diminish feelings of uncertainty and adverse feelings. When you have nothing new to report, ensure them you will relay any and all information once it comes by you.
  5. Involve yourselves
    Having your team involved in even the smallest aspect of the changes can help ease the feelings of helplessness and improve morale. Participation in any phase of change can also be great for team exposure and spreading a positive adaptation of new things, which can help both your team and the organization in the long run.
  6. Offer individual support
    Everyone reacts to change in their own way, so take the time to meet with each employee and explore their unique perspective of the new environment. Allow each team member to express their own concerns and offer your support where possible.

Change is scary in most cases, but when it comes to someone’s job, it gets even scarier. As a manager, it’s your job to help ease the transition by limiting stress on your employees and cultivating a positive, open environment.

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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.

5 Ways to Tell If You’re Abusing Your Authority

Do you encourage failure?

Do you encourage failure?

Being the boss is tricky sometimes. You want to create an environment of trust and respect while encouraging efficiency and managing a positive work environment. You can’t please everyone and when working with different personalities and stressors of your own, you might not even realize you’ve participated in some unsavory management tactics to get through the day.

To save yourself, and your employees, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you’re not taking advantage of your power.

Are you using intimidation to reach success?

Bullies are easy to spot because they don’t bully everyone, only those they feel enough power over to victimize. So you should ask yourself if certain members of your team make you feel more powerful than others and then begin to examine why.

Boss bullying can occur by way of sarcasm, yelling and sometimes even physical violence such as slamming drawers, throwing things and mishandling staff. If you use intimidation or humiliation tactics to get results from your team, consider that they’re simply complying with demands to avoid the brunt of your rage. Bullying behavior warrants lower performance and increased absenteeism, to name just a few negative reactions.

Do you manipulate?

If in an effort to meet business objectives, you find yourself choosing your immediate needs over the business’ long-term needs by way of lies and mind games, you might be a manipulator.

Making false promises to promote an employee so as to get better performance from them, pinning staff against each other, taking sides and picking favorites are a few signs to look for.

Are you a colleague-boss?

Do you try to be the “cool boss” by denying your power and trying to make everyone else feel equal? While there can be benefits to this tactic, without proper finesse and the right perspective you could be causing more harm than good. By failing to acknowledge the power you have regarding promotions, salaries, hiring and firing and access to information, you’re building a false reality within the department. You might even read as insecure and uncomfortable with your own authority which does more harm than just allow you to be taken advantage of; you’re also untrustworthy which can make your staff uncomfortable, too. And when the time comes for you to use your power to make a decision, your staff will be faced with the sudden reality that they’re not your equal after all.

Do you intrude on your employees’ privacy?

No one feels comfortable working for a snoopy boss. If you don’t trust your employees, a problem exists too large to fix by standing over their computer screen or checking their printing queue. Instead of quietly creeping up on working employees or keeping your ear tight on coffee break chatter, learn how to build a bigger trust among the team.

Do you encourage failure?

Do you set unrealistic goals for your employees or change project guidelines often, causing extra work and stress on the team? Do you avoid providing honest and constructive feedback? Do you withhold information that could be vital in the success of a project? You might be setting your staff up to fail and taking a deeper look is in everyone’s best interest.

You probably don’t mean to abuse your authority but if you find yourself questioning any of the above, you might want to reevaluate your management technique. It’s important for you to keep your perspective through the daily stress of being the boss otherwise you’ll lose the team’s respect and much more loss will follow suit.

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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. Also offering Corporate Coaching for Organizations.

How Optimizing Meeting Roles Could Save Big Bucks

Prioritize themes and goals

Prioritize themes and goals

If time is money, workplace meetings could sure rack up a huge bill. Meetings and events often take up a larger chunk of an organization’s budget than most might suspect, so it’s important to optimize space, goals and roles to ensure the company is seeing the best return on investment.

Prioritize themes and goals

Be sure to establish the goal of the meeting as a parameter for all necessary discussions and action items to fit within. If there are no takeaways or plans for change, the meeting could be considered a waste of time. Avoid time-wasters by considering the who, the why and the what’s next? And plan for follow-ups as necessary.

Invite only those who are necessary to the meeting

Video conferences might charge per person, so the cost for including non-essential employees is clear. But even when dealing with in-person meetings and events, inviting those who aren’t critical to the meeting or event is an unnecessary use of their time. Over time, this could add up to the illusion of poor work performance.

Don’t pay for things you don’t need

For long distance meetings, opt for technology over travel. With Skype and video conferencing, traveling from the Denver office to the New York office can be saved for bigger events worth the time and expenditure.

Shop around

If booking hotel conferences, be sure to negotiate for free wi-fi. Seek contracted group rates for guest rooms and ensure cancellation fees are avoidable. Choose the dates and times wisely whenever possible so you can take advantage of off-season rates.

Meetings may be important for info shares, team building, brainstorming and the like, but be sure you’re not overstepping any boundaries where money and time can be saved. Proper meeting management can make or break your bottom line.

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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 5 Limiting Beliefs That Will Keep You Out of the Corner Office

I’m underqualified.

I’m underqualified.

Getting ahead in business doesn’t come naturally to everyone. And you might be confused about how to accomplish your career goals quickly and professionally.

Corporate ladder climbing is often competitive and it can be hard to keep the courage to stick with it when the process might start to shine a light on your shortcomings.

The good news is letting career-limiting beliefs stand between you and your dream role is more easily avoidable than you think; but you have to start with identifying them. See if any of these resonate with your inner empowerment struggle and learn how to put your doubts in their rightful place; behind you.

  1. The job market is terrible, I should just be happy where I am.

While there is some validity to this thought process (gratitude can get you far), there’s no reason others can succeed in the same market while you hold on to negative odds. People are still getting jobs, and the market is on the upswing. Plus you never know if your dream position just opened up because the person who held it before moved on at the perfect time.

  1. I’m underqualified.

This is best left for the hiring manager to decide, so throw your hat into the ring regardless of whether or not you think you’re good enough. Our self-esteem can be easily damaged during an intensive job search but it’s important you disconnect that from your professional conquests. What’s the worst that can happen if you apply for a job you’re not qualified for? Then consider what’s the best that could happen.

  1. I’m overqualified.

No one is overqualified. You might not have the proper qualifications for one job or another but blanket statements like will have your job search going from “selective” to “impossible.”

  1. I’m too old.

If you’re fearful that your skills will be out of date, take this opportunity to update your education. If there’s a particular skill required for the job you desire most, take a course or network with the folks who understand it best. Otherwise your age shouldn’t limit you. You’ll always have something to offer that the younger generations can’t; figure out what it is and market it.

  1. I need experience to get the job, but I need to get the job to get experience.

This can be a frustrating predicament to find yourself, especially if you’re new to the job market. But don’t get stuck thinking you need to be on a particular journey in order to get the proper experience. Volunteering and interning, while undesirable, can help solve this problem in just a few short months. If this is the only thing holding you back, think outside the box and get creative.

Whether you’re fresh out of college looking for the perfect entry-level job or a seasoned veteran looking for that corner office, there are confidence pitfalls that make it easy to turn the probable into the impossible. Don’t let these beliefs get the best of you.

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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.

Why Overworking Can Hurt Your Career

Creative Problem-Solving Fuel

Creative Problem-Solving Fuel

All too often, we let stress get the best of us. Suddenly workplace pressure goes beyond the walls of the workplace and impedes on our personal lives, as well. You might feel you need to stay on top of your work even off hours to stay competitive and empowered but there are some essential necessities to unplugging and relaxing a bit.

In general, play isn’t just important for kids to mold their imaginations and keep their energy buzzing; play should be an important part of every adult’s day. Here are some reasons getting in some playtime can actually improve your work performance when you get back there on Monday.

Creative Problem-Solving Fuel

Stepping outside of the ordinary box for recreational time can teach you a lesson or two, whether you know it or not. When there’s no goal to reach by the end of the day, you find yourself immersed in the experience, not the accomplishments. Suddenly you’re armed with a different perspective which can carry over to a more creative approach when facing job-related challenges.

Improvements in Mood and Well-being

This one is obvious but incredibly important. You’re no good to anyone or any job if you’re run down and frustrated. Allow those playtime endorphins to course through your veins whenever you can; it will keep you in a healthier, less stressed mental state when you’re back at your desk.

Enhanced Relationships and Social Empowerment

Meeting new people and sharing a few laughs when the heat is off can help you master it for when the heat is on. Networking is crucial in any career but if you always keep your head down and your mind on work, even on your own time, you’ll forget how to interact with people faster than you might expect. Plus you never know who you might meet at your neighbor’s brother’s friend’s barbeque; it could be someone with a lead on your dream job.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with your daily responsibilities and the pressures at work to stay competitive and competent but if you don’t allow for some personal time to kick back and get out of your goal-reaching mind, your actions are more counterproductive than good. Seek stress relief whenever possible and always surround yourself with good people and great laughs; it’ll improve your work performance 10-fold.

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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.