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Archive for November, 2012


Take Action in 2013

As we move into a new year, forget resolutions! Instead, take action. Each of the following action items can help you grow and thrive as a professional.

• Stop multitasking. Yes, we all do it, and most of the time we lose productivity because of it. When you multitask, you divide your attention by each separate task, so if you are doing three things at once—checking email, talking on the phone, and updating your calendar—your attention is broken into thirds. This means you are 66 percent less productive on each task than you would be if you did one at a time.

• Network. Whom you know is important for your career, but who know you is more important. When you network, you create mutually-beneficial relationships with others and become a resource for them. This gives you influence, and influence gives you professional power. Attend at least one networking meeting within your industry each month to expand your contacts and grow your influence.

• Start your day with a plan. Taking five minutes to plan your day can save you hours of lost productivity. Before you go home each night, set your top five priorities for the next day and set up your workspace for the first item you want to handle when you arrive the next morning. Schedule time on your calendar for your most important activities and keep those appointments with yourself.

Take action now and start off 2013 on a productive note!


How Accountable is Your Team

As a manager and leader, you need to challenge your team to achieve goals and deliver results. This is easier when you make each team member accountable for both individual and team performance. Here are some tools to help you develop an accountable culture:

1. Make sure each team member understands the goals the team needs to meet and his or her contribution to those goals.
2. Encourage open, honest communication among team members and between you and each team member.
3. Set up regular check-in points to give employees coaching feedback to encourage people to continually improve and grow.
4. Require employees to be accountable for meeting goals and performance standards.
5. Recognize and reward achievement to show appreciation for accomplishments and to motivate continued improvement.

How accountable is your team?


Take Time to Say “Thanks!”

Thanksgiving Day is next week. I want to say “Thanks” to all of you who visit my blog and hope you will continue to let me share these tools and tips to help you be more organized, productive, improve leadership skills and make management easier.

I encourage you to visit with every employee on your team face-to-face and thank them for their loyalty, hard work and contributions to your team. Find something specific they accomplished in the past year and praise them for a job well done. Do this for everyone, even employees who are not your star performers. It’s a simple act that can improve morale and positivity in the workplace.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!


Set Motivating Goals

When you set performance goals, describe them in a way that inspires employees to want to reach them. You can do this using the following tools:

1. Put the goal into a larger frame by describing how its achievement contributes to the overall success of your team or department. This helps employees realize they are important parts of the team and shows them how their accomplishments matter.

2. Tie goals to the employee’s career development plan. This shows employees the positive results they personally will gain by achieving the goals.

3. Describe how the goal will help the employee be more successful and develop professionally. You can do this by tying goals to core competencies—the key skills most employers highly value in employees.

4. Encourage employees to actively participate in identifying goals they want to personally pursue. Encourage employees to take company sponsored training or use company tuition reimbursement plans. Tie these learning tools to their goals.

Make sure goals are personal, positive and put into writing!


Flexible Schedules Can Boost Morale

Have you ever thought about eliminating set work schedules? Does the thought scare you? It shouldn’t.

Flexible work schedules can boost morale and show employees you trust them to do their jobs, and gives them a sense of empowerment. According to a workforce study by Spherion, a Florida recruitment agency, more than 85 percent of surveyed workers rank work/life balance as their most important priority. Flexible schedules directly address this issue and provide a solution employees appreciate.

Flexible work schedules come in a variety of forms. You can implement a compressed work week, which fits a five-day schedule into four days or compress a ten-day schedule into nine days. Usually, days off are rotated to ensure phone coverage and levels of customer service.

If a compressed schedule won’t work for your team, consider variable work hours or “flex time.” Open a window during which employees can start work. For example, set start times from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and allow employees to choose their start time based on seniority or coverage needs. Start and end times can be fixed or vary, provided the required hours are worked each day.

Check with your manager or human resources department to find out if a flexible work schedule is possible and be positively productive!