Building a Professional Presence Online

Article written By Alison Doyle, Job Searching Expert

Google Image

Google Image

“There may not be much difference between personal and professional branding, but from my perspective, your professional brand is what matters to a potential employer, networking contact, or anyone who can help you find a job or grow your career. It’s more than a case of making sure your personal brand reflects who are as a person. It’s also making sure that the information available about you online is visible, available, and relevant – to where you are in your career and where you want to go next”.

Stay tuned for JCI next tip…


How to Interview for a Job Over Lunch or Dinner

By Alison Doyle, Job Searching Expert

Interviews are often stressful – even for job seekers who have interviewed many times. Interviewing can be even more stressful when you are expected to eat and talk at the same time.


One of the reasons employers take job candidates out to lunch or dinner is to evaluate their social skills and to see if they can handle themselves gracefully under pressure.

Dining with a prospective employee allows employers to review your communication and interpersonal skills, as well as your table manners, in a more relaxed (for them) environment. Table manners do matter. Good manners may give you the edge over another candidate, so, take some time to brush up your dining etiquette skills.

Job Interview Thank You Letters by Alison Doyle, Job Searching Expert

Thank You
“Writing a thank you letter after a job interview is a must! In fact, some employers think less of those interviewees who fail to follow-up promptly.

Use your thank you letter to highlight the ways your skills and experience are a good match for the position. Also, if there’s something you forgot to mention during the interview, this is an opportunity to bring it up”.

“Writing a thank you letter after a job interview is a must! In fact, some employers think less of those interviewees who fail to follow-up promptly.

Use your thank you letter to highlight the ways your skills and experience are a good match for the position. Also, if there’s something you forgot to mention during the interview, this is an opportunity to bring it up”.

Advice on Getting References for Employment By Alison Doyle, Job Searching Expert

At some point during your job search, a potential employer will request references. Typically, it will be when the company is seriously interested in you as a potential hire. It’s important to be prepared to provide a list of employment references who can attest to the skills and qualifications that you have for the job you are applying for.

Plan ahead and get your references in order, before you need them. It will save time scrambling to put together a list at the last minute. Keep in mind that good references can help you clinch a job offer, so, be sure to have a strong list of references who are willing to attest to your capabilities.

Come back soon for another tip…

Job Cafe Inc, Connecting Employees to employers and visa versa

This is one of my all time favorite thing to do. I truly love to help individuals see their true potential and to help them believe in themselves.

Loving what I do

Loving what I do

Job Cafe Inc helps me to do just that.

When I entered full time ministry I thought to myself,wow! I’m going to miss developing and mentoring individuals as they move through the varies stages of the career roadmap.
I can say with much honesty, I don’t miss Corporate America because Job Cafe Inc keeps me abreast and helps me stay in touch with that world.


By connecting employers with best in class employees and employees with excellent employers in great companies.

Today, this facet to the ministry Job Cafe Inc really adds value and creates a great opportunity to evangelize in a nonthreatening way.

See us for all your career development needs…

Job Cafe Inc Pool of Talents…

We are so excited about our talent pipeline.

Career Path

We have exceptionally excellent talents to connect with exceptional employers. From Tellers, Teller Supervisors, Business Bankers, Personal Banks, Assistant Managers, Branch Managers, Acounting Representatives, Call Center Representatives, Administrative Assistants, and Medical Assistants, CNAs and Nurses.

There has never been a better time for us at Job Cafe Inc.

Friday’s coaching session went extremely well. Our talents are eager to learn, they are like sponges. They ask great opened ended questions, they are polished and ready for the next level in their careers.

They scored off the chart in the mock behavioral/situational interviews… Love it!!!

We have made contact with a few recruiters at Citizens Bank and things are looking great… We are grateful for the positive responses.

Faith and I are blessed to have such super talented people in our pool of talents.

w to keep the engagement going on social media?

Tip #4
How to keep the engagement going on social media?

Be a socialite

Be a socialite

Be consistent with your postings. For example post something daily, weekly or biweekly. By doing this you are creating a pattern for you audience to follow. They will know that daily, weekly or bi-weekly you have a fresh post and they will come out in full force to like it and leave their comments. Make sure the gap between post is reasonable and not too lengthy.

On the other hand when there is no set pattern they come and there is nothing fresh, they go somewhere else. The momentum is broken and the engagement dies.

Another thing is to keep the conversation going if someone leaves a comment, respond to the comment and use the person’s name.

This creates engagement and everyone likes to feel and be accepted. No one likes to be ignored. The principle is the same as when you are meeting someone for the first time and when you are in a conversation with someone.

You welcome and you respond. You welcome new followers and you respond to their likes and comments. Take it a step further, see their page and leave a comment and or a like.

Remember you have to manage social media the same way manage face to face conversations.

Give space between you and the person. Be polite, examine your words carefully. Be encouraging. Listen! Say only what is relevant. Build a relationship. Be yourself. Don’t be weird. Be professional.

I’ll say more about that later.

Be a “Socialite”…

Be “social” today.

In other words be a “socialite”.

Go to someone’s page and like it, view someone’s picture and add a comment etc.

Make sure you have a picture of you as your profile picture.

Remember your followers are following you and they like you in your brand…

Changing the way we use Social Media

Tip #2

Post something on your page about you today.

Great Attitude

Your audience would like to know you. It’s great to have world news among other stuff on your page but your audience is interested in you.

The important thing is to keep them engaged.

You may say “I’m very private”, you know what you are not so private because you have social media accounts.

So share something about you that you feel comfortable sharing…

For example do you pray, are you a believer, do you drink water, do you eat fruits, do you have friends, are you in a relationship, do you like running, are you having a great day, are you thankful, do you have a testimony, what’s going well in your life?

These are examples of personal things you can share.

The internet came about because God gave man the insight to create and and the ability procreate. Use it in a positive and influential Godly way. You have the dominion to reign over cyber world.

Don’t be afraid…

9 Steps to Follow in the Recruitment and Selection Process

Step 1: Advertise the position
 Be clear and highlight the capabilities needed for the job.

Steps to Follow in the Recruitment Process...

Steps to Follow in the Recruitment Process…

Step 2: Resume screening
 The goal is to eliminate the applicants who definitely do not fit the profile you are seeking.

Step 3: Phone interview
 Use the phone interview as the second screening device. Keep it to ten minutes.

Step 4: Face-to-face interview
 Interview should last about an hour and be held in a neutral place.
 Use the same, predetermined questions with each applicant.
 Questions should focus on the capabilities required for the job.

Step 5: Assessment
 Use a predictive assessment tool. This helps to keep track of skill set required.

Step 6: Secondary face-to-face interview
 The goal is to clear up any discrepancies.
 Sell the candidates on the position.
 Broadly explain the compensation package.

Step 7: Job Shadow
 The purpose is to see if the applicant is a good cultural fit.
 It also helps you identify whether the applicant is comfortable with the actual job.

Step 8: Reference Check
 Ask about their capabilities as it relates to the job.
 Also ask about attribute match.

Step 9: Job Offer
 Make sure the compensation plan offered is clear.

Think before you act…

“Thought For Today”

Good morning to you.

Think before you act

Think before you act

Before you start to work, always ask yourself these questions –

Why am I doing it?

What the results might be? ( write down positive and negative results)

Where will this lead?

Who should be involved and why?

Speak with a trusted advisor/mentor/counselor/coach.

“Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.”

Happy Blessed Saturday!

By Daniel Phillington

Ten Ways to Build Trust

Ten ways to build trust in your personal and work relationships.

1. Keep it confidential
2. Keep your promises and follow through with commitments
3. Realize that trust is up to you
4. Trust people who are different from you
5. Tell the truth
6. Communicate openly and honestly
7. Forgive and move on
8. Be a good listener
9. Work at building trust when there is a problem
10. Learn to recognize whom to trust

Everything from a good relationship with a customer to a good marriage is built on trust. Trust affects how we see the world, how safe we feel, and how we approach new people and situations. It affects whether we’re willing to go the extra mile for a friend, relative, co-worker, or even someone we’ve never met but with whom we do business.

When trust levels are high, you feel relaxed and accepted; you can be yourself. When trust levels are low, you feel uncomfortable and on the defensive; you can’t be yourself. Co-workers with high levels of trust enjoy working and spending time together and tend to be more productive.

How can you build trust in your personal and work relationships? Below are ten tips.

1. Keep it confidential
You build strong relationships by being a trustworthy listener.

When you are working with a group or committee, don’t share sensitive committee work outside the group.
When a friend, a relative, or a co-worker confides in you or shares personal information, don’t share it with others.
Respect the confidence your children place in you. Don’t discuss your child’s personal relationships or secrets with your friends.

2. Keep your promises and follow through with commitments
When you keep your promises and follow through with commitments, you show people that you care about them, that you’re reliable, and that you can be counted on in the future.

Always try to do what you say you will do, even for the small things.
If you promise your child you’ll be home by 5 o’clock to help with a project, keep your promise.
If you tell a friend you’ll be there for her child’s baseball game, show up.
If you tell your co-worker you’ll be at a meeting, arrive on time and be prepared.
If you can’t make a deadline, explain why as soon as you can and renegotiate the deadline if possible.

3. Realize that trust is up to you
You are responsible for how much — or how little — people trust you. Think about your relationships with others and about your actions. Are you a trustworthy and honest co-worker and friend? When you have a breakdown in communication with someone, do you try to get beyond the misunderstanding?

Accept responsibility for building trust in new relationships.
Collaborate with co-workers and others.
Offer to help a colleague who seems overloaded.
If a friend, a relative, or a co-worker is ill or going through a difficult time, offer to help with errands or other jobs.
If a breakdown in trust occurs between you and a co-worker who is not open to discussing the problem, try to identify a likely intermediary to help you talk.
If mutual friends, family members, or co-workers have had a breakdown in trust or communication, offer to help reopen the channels of communication.
Keep in mind that some people aren’t trusting by nature; they may be overly suspicious or fearful. It’s not realistic to think that everyone will trust you.

4. Trust people who are different from you
It’s easier to establish trust with people who are more like you than it is to establish it with those who are quite different from you. In an increasingly diverse and changing workplace and world, it’s important to be able to trust people outside your circle.

Be open to new ideas and beliefs, regardless of where they come from. The more open you are, the more trusting your relationships will be.
Respect the fact that others may not always share your opinions.
Show a genuine interest in other people. Ask non-intrusive questions about the other person’s life, culture, beliefs, and background. Look for common interests.
Try to use inclusive language that doesn’t assume that everyone is heterosexual or married, or from the same racial or ethnic background.

5. Tell the truth
Tell the truth and you’ll surround yourself with trusting — and trusted — co-workers and friends.

Tell the truth on your résumé.
Admit when you are wrong. Don’t cover up a mistake.
Don’t embellish your role at work or lead people to believe you have more responsibility or authority at work than you do.
Give credit to the people who deserve it. Never take credit for someone else’s work.
Talk with your children about the importance of being honest.

6. Communicate openly and honestly
To build trust in groups or with individuals, you must be willing to communicate openly and freely and to share your ideas, thoughts, and concerns. When you withhold important information, for example, people question your motives and intentions: “What isn’t he telling me?” When you share information openly and honestly, people trust that your intentions are good.

When you are in a group discussion, don’t dominate the conversation. You want people to feel they can share information. Give everyone an opportunity to talk.
Be careful with email. Be cautious about how you communicate with associates, clients, and co-workers. Sometimes email notes or memos can sound curt or too casual. Review your email messages before sending them to make sure the tone is what you intended. If you’re unsure, pick up the phone or go see the person.
Be careful about what you post on social-networking and other sites. Be aware that associates, clients, and co-workers may see or hear about anything you post on a networking or other website. Security breaches can occur even on password-protected sites. Never post something that you wouldn’t want an associate, a client, or a co-worker to see. Send consistent on- and offline messages about who you are. This will help to show that you are good for your word.
Consistent messages about who you are means that people can depend on your reactions. Everyone has bad days, but avoid taking it out on others. They may remember your occasional tirade or temper tantrum long after you’ve put it behind you.
When you have a problem with someone’s behavior, provide constructive feedback in private, rather than in front of others. Sometimes it seems easier to sulk or strike back than to talk, but the payoff from a successful conversation is likely to be much higher. If your co-worker doesn’t want to talk, the next best thing is to show no hard feelings and to try to rebuild a strong working relationship through positive behavior yourself. Avoid speaking against the person to others. Negativity doesn’t build trust.
When you’re talking about difficult issues, avoid words and behavior that can trigger a conflict or put people on the defensive. Avoid phrases like “You always . . .”, “You never . . .”, “It’s your fault,” and “Why didn’t you . . .” Name-calling and negative labels create mistrust. Ignoring questions, acting like the expert, pointing a finger, lecturing, yelling, and humiliating others all create mistrust.
Be aware of the tone of your voice and your body language. Sometimes it’s not the words you use but how they are expressed that creates mistrust.

7. Forgive and move on
To build trusting relationships, you must be able to forgive and move on.

Try to let go of old arguments, resentments, and issues from the past.
Accept the other person’s apology and don’t dwell on how it was offered.
Don’t rehash what happened in the past.
Remember times in your life when you needed or wanted forgiveness. Face your own mistakes and forgive yourself. It will become easier to forgive another person when you can admit your own wrongs and forgive yourself. Similarly, apologize to others who were adversely affected by your mistake.

8. Be a good listener
Listening well is one of the best ways to show, give, and rebuild trust.

When you are talking with someone face to face, don’t answer the phone, check email, or sort the papers on your desk.
If someone wants to talk and you don’t have the time because you’re busy with something else, be honest and say that. Instead of listening and being distracted, it’s better to say, “I want to talk with you, but I don’t have the time right now to give this my full attention. Could we arrange a time to talk later?”
Be a patient listener. Not everyone thinks or speaks as fast as you do. Avoid completing people’s sentences or putting words into their mouths.
Make time to talk one-on-one with your spouse or partner.

9. Work at building trust when there is a problem
When there are setbacks or disappointments at work or in personal relationships, the only way to regain lost trust is to work at it.

Talk with the person who let you down. If you feel angry, disappointed, betrayed, or taken advantage of, talk about it.
Don’t wait. The longer you wait to talk about a problem, the bigger the misunderstanding becomes.
Find small ways to trust the person again. When you see smaller commitments being met over time, it’s easier to trust that the larger ones will be met, too.
Consider professional counseling to work through the tough issues of rebuilding trust.
Be realistic and know that it can take a long time to rebuild trust.

10. Learn to recognize whom to trust
The unfortunate fact is that not everyone can be trusted. It can be harmful to trust too much, just as it can be harmful not to trust enough. It’s not a good idea to trust everyone you meet or to share personal information about yourself too freely.

Use your instincts, good judgment, and interactions with people to determine whether or not someone can be trusted. If you feel uncomfortable, take time to figure out why you feel this way. Check out the person’s story or background if possible. While first impressions sometimes turn out to be wrong, they can still send valuable signals to be careful.

Watch for signs that someone may not be trustworthy. These may include: avoiding eye contact, stumbling over words, excessive fidgeting, making conflicting statements or outlandish promises, or purposely speaking so that you cannot hear. (Be aware that there may be other reasons for some of this behavior, such as cultural differences or disabilities.) At the same time, the least trustworthy people can be con artists: charming, smooth talkers who put you at ease right away; you need time to tell.

If something feels wrong, hold off trusting the person until you feel comfortable doing so. Distrust and suspicion are healthy reactions under certain circumstances.
Choose the people you trust. Be alert to any stranger who tries to strike up a sudden friendship in person, online, or over the phone. The person may use your first name or engage in small talk as part of his pitch. Don’t automatically judge a stranger by his voice or good manners.

Written with the help of Lynne Gaines, B.A. and Advanced Human Resources Certificate, Boston College Graduate School of Management/Bentley College. Ms. Gaines is a human resources manager in the Boston area. She has written widely about employment issues and is the former editor of The Levinson Letter for middle managers. Her HR experience spans 25 years in financial services, higher education, and publishing.

© 2003, 2011 Ceridian Corporation. All rights reserved.

Try Feedforward Instead of Feedback by Marshall Goldsmith

Mentoring, coaching, ...

Mentoring, coaching, …

Providing feedback has long been considered to be an essential skill for leaders. As they strive to achieve the goals of the organization, employees need to know how they are doing. They need to know if their performance is in line with what their leaders expect. They need to learn what they have done well and what they need to change. Traditionally, this information has been communicated in the form of “downward feedback” from leaders to their employees. Just as employees need feedback from leaders, leaders can benefit from feedback from their employees. Employees can provide useful input on the effectiveness of procedures and processes and as well as input to managers on their leadership effectiveness. This “upward feedback” has become increasingly common with the advent of 360 degree multi-rater assessments.

But there is a fundamental problem with all types of feedback: it focuses on the past, on what has already occurred—not on the infinite variety of opportunities that can happen in the future. As such, feedback can be limited and static, as opposed to expansive and dynamic.

Over the past several years, I have observed more than thirty thousand leaders as they participated in a fascinating experiential exercise. In the exercise, participants are each asked to play two roles. In one role, they are asked provide feedforward —that is, to give someone else suggestions for the future and help as much as they can. In the second role, they are asked to accept feedforward—that is, to listen to the suggestions for the future and learn as much as they can. The exercise typically lasts for 10-15 minutes, and the average participant has 6-7 dialogue sessions. In the exercise participants are asked to:

• Pick one behavior that they would like to change. Change in this behavior should make a significant, positive difference in their lives.

• Describe this behavior to randomly selected fellow participants. This is done in one-on-one dialogues. It can be done quite simply, such as, “I want to be a better listener.”

• Ask for feedforward—for two suggestions for the future that might help them achieve a positive change in their selected behavior. If participants have worked together in the past, they are not allowed to give ANY feedback about the past. They are only allowed to give ideas for the future.

• Listen attentively to the suggestions and take notes. Participants are not allowed to comment on the suggestions in any way. They are not allowed to critique the suggestions or even to make positive judgmental statements, such as, “That’s a good idea.”

• Thank the other participants for their suggestions.

• Ask the other persons what they would like to change.

• Provide feedforward – two suggestions aimed at helping the other person change.

• Say, “You are welcome.” when thanked for the suggestions. The entire process of both giving and receiving feedforward usually takes about two minutes.

• Find another participant and keep repeating the process until the exercise is stopped.

When the exercise is finished, I ask participants to provide one word that best describes their reaction to this experience. I ask them to complete the sentence, “This exercise was …”. The words provided are almost always extremely positive, such as “great”, “energizing”, “useful”, or “helpful.” One of the most commonly-mentioned words is “fun!”

What is the last word that comes to mind when we consider any feedback activity? Fun!

Eleven Reasons to Try FeedForward

Participants are then asked why this exercise is seen as fun and helpful as opposed to painful, embarrassing, or uncomfortable. Their answers provide a great explanation of why feedforward can often be more useful than feedback as a developmental tool.

1. We can change the future. We can’t change the past. Feedforward helps people envision and focus on a positive future, not a failed past. Athletes are often trained using feedforward. Racecar drivers are taught to, “Look at the road ahead, not at the wall.” Basketball players are taught to envision the ball going in the hoop and to imagine the perfect shot. By giving people ideas on how they can be even more successful (as opposed to visualizing a failed past), we can increase their chances of achieving this success in the future.

2. It can be more productive to help people learn to be “right,” than prove they were “wrong.” Negative feedback often becomes an exercise in “let me prove you were wrong.” This tends to produce defensiveness on the part of the receiver and discomfort on the part of the sender. Even constructively delivered feedback is often seen as negative as it necessarily involves a discussion of mistakes, shortfalls, and problems. Feedforward, on the other hand, is almost always seen as positive because it focuses on solutions – not problems.

3. Feedforward is especially suited to successful people. Successful people like getting ideas that are aimed at helping them achieve their goals. They tend to resist negative judgment. We all tend to accept feedback that is consistent with the way we see ourselves. We also tend to reject or deny feedback that is inconsistent with the way we see ourselves. Successful people tend to have a very positive self-image. I have observed many successful executives respond to (and even enjoy) feedforward. I am not sure that these same people would have had such a positive reaction to feedback.

4. Feedforward can come from anyone who knows about the task. It does not require personal experience with the individual. One very common positive reaction to the previously described exercise is that participants are amazed by how much they can learn from people that they don’t know! For example, if you want to be a better listener, almost any fellow leader can give you ideas on how you can improve. They don’t have to know you. Feedback requires knowing about the person. Feedforward just requires having good ideas for achieving the task.

5. People do not take feedforward as personally as feedback. In theory, constructive feedback is supposed to “focus on the performance, not the person”. In practice, almost all feedback is taken personally (no matter how it is delivered). Successful people’s sense of identity is highly connected with their work. The more successful people are, the more this tends to be true. It is hard to give a dedicated professional feedback that is not taken personally. Feedforward cannot involve a personal critique, since it is discussing something that has not yet happened! Positive suggestions tend to be seen as objective advice – personal critiques are often viewed as personal attacks.

6. Feedback can reinforce personal stereotyping and negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Feedforward can reinforce the possibility of change. Feedback can reinforce the feeling of failure. How many of us have been “helped” by a spouse, significant other, or friend, who seems to have a near-photographic memory of our previous “sins” that they share with us in order to point out the history of our shortcomings. Negative feedback can be used to reinforce the message, “this is just the way you are”. Feedforward is based on the assumption that the receiver of suggestions can make positive changes in the future.

7. Face it! Most of us hate getting negative feedback, and we don’t like to give it. I have reviewed summary 360 degree feedback reports for over 50 companies. The items, “provides developmental feedback in a timely manner” and “encourages and accepts constructive criticism” both always score near the bottom on co-worker satisfaction with leaders. Traditional training does not seem to make a great deal of difference. If leaders got better at providing feedback every time the performance appraisal forms were “improved”, most should be perfect by now! Leaders are not very good at giving or receiving negative feedback. It is unlikely that this will change in the near future.

8. Feedforward can cover almost all of the same “material” as feedback. Imagine that you have just made a terrible presentation in front of the executive committee. Your manager is in the room. Rather than make you “relive” this humiliating experience, your manager might help you prepare for future presentations by giving you suggestions for the future. These suggestions can be very specific and still delivered in a positive way. In this way your manager can “cover the same points” without feeling embarrassed and without making you feel even more humiliated.

9. Feedforward tends to be much faster and more efficient than feedback. An excellent technique for giving ideas to successful people is to say, “Here are four ideas for the future. Please accept these in the positive spirit that they are given. If you can only use two of the ideas, you are still two ahead. Just ignore what doesn’t make sense for you.” With this approach almost no time gets wasted on judging the quality of the ideas or “proving that the ideas are wrong”. This “debate” time is usually negative; it can take up a lot of time, and it is often not very productive. By eliminating judgment of the ideas, the process becomes much more positive for the sender, as well as the receiver. Successful people tend to have a high need for self-determination and will tend to accept ideas that they “buy” while rejecting ideas that feel “forced” upon them.

10. Feedforward can be a useful tool to apply with managers, peers, and team members. Rightly or wrongly, feedback is associated with judgment. This can lead to very negative – or even career-limiting – unintended consequences when applied to managers or peers. Feedforward does not imply superiority of judgment. It is more focused on being a helpful “fellow traveler” than an “expert”. As such it can be easier to hear from a person who is not in a position of power or authority. An excellent team building exercise is to have each team member ask, “How can I better help our team in the future?” and listen to feedforward from fellow team members (in one-on-one dialogues.)

11. People tend to listen more attentively to feedforward than feedback. One participant is the feedforward exercise noted, “I think that I listened more effectively in this exercise than I ever do at work!” When asked why, he responded, “Normally, when others are speaking, I am so busy composing a reply that will make sure that I sound smart – that I am not fully listening to what the other person is saying I am just composing my response. In feedforward the only reply that I am allowed to make is ‘thank you’. Since I don’t have to worry about composing a clever reply – I can focus all of my energy on listening to the other person!”

In summary, the intent of this article is not to imply that leaders should never give feedback or that performance appraisals should be abandoned. The intent is to show how feedforward can often be preferable to feedback in day-to-day interactions. Aside from its effectiveness and efficiency, feedforward can make life a lot more enjoyable. When managers are asked, “How did you feel the last time you received feedback?” their most common responses are very negative. When managers are asked how they felt after receiving feedforward, they reply that feedforward was not only useful, it was also fun!

Quality communication—between and among people at all levels and every department and division—is the glue that holds organizations together. By using feedforward—and by encouraging others to use it—leaders can dramatically improve the quality of communication in their organizations, ensuring that the right message is conveyed, and that those who receive it are receptive to its content. The result is a much more dynamic, much more open organization—one whose employees focus on the promise of the future rather than dwelling on the mistakes of the past.

Marshall Goldsmith is the million-selling author of the New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – the Harold Longman Award winner for Business Book of the Year.

Results Delivery: Managing the highs and lows of change

Results Delivery: Managing the highs and lows of change
May 08, 2013 Bain Brief By Patrick Litre and Kevin Murphy

Looking back over the centuries, it’s difficult to grasp the emotional turmoil that Columbus and his sailors must have faced on their voyage into the unknown. Yet the pattern of highs and lows would probably seem familiar to anyone living through a corporate transformation, with its bipolar effects on the participants.

The initial reaction to the proposed journey is invariably skeptical, fearful, resistant. We can’t do that. It’s too risky, too expensive. We might fall off the face of the earth. Columbus and his confidants may have been excited, but they were just about the only ones. He was turned down by the rulers of Portugal, Venice and Genoa before he found backing for his venture from Spain.

Results Delivery®
Changing behaviors to deliver business results
Results Delivery
But then the mood begins to shift. Perhaps influential individuals—think Ferdinand and Isabella—sign on. Perhaps the organization’s leaders become seduced by the potential gains. Soon the idea picks up momentum, and people start clamoring to be part of it. What once looked impossible now seems both feasible and desirable.

That’s two severe mood swings already, even though no one has yet gone near the water. And the emotional fluctuations don’t end there. Once the ships have actually set out—once the initiative is under way—the original negativity returns with a vengeance. Obstacles once again loom large. Gloom sets in, and progress sputters. Like Columbus’s sailors, people grow dispirited. They want desperately to turn back. They threaten mutiny.

This down-up-down sequence is remarkably similar, whether the journey focuses on cost reduction, organizational restructuring, post-merger integration or any other major change (see Figure 1). In some respects, it’s a corporate version of the psychological condition known as bipolar disorder, with its patterns of extreme highs and lows. Certainly the results are the same: clouded judgment and poor decisions, the emotional pendulum swinging first one way and then the other. In a merger, for example, deal fever can lead executives to overestimate potential synergies and discount organizational obstacles. But once the deal is done and the integration process has begun, reality sets in. Cultural differences and operational challenges now look insurmountable. Some people leave; some customers defect. What once seemed like a great idea now feels misguided.

Organizational psychologists have studied the reasons for these extreme mood swings and the poor decisions that result. In times of stress, they say, people are the prisoners of cognitive biases. They don’t see reality clearly, so their judgment is compromised. Different cognitive biases cut in at each stage of a journey, creating a predictable sequence of moods and mindsets as change unfolds. These states of mind affect how people process information, how much weight they assign to particular experiences, how they receive feedback and a host of other factors that influence judgment and decisions. (See below “Common biases that affect change.”)

It doesn’t have to be this way. Some business leaders retain their common sense and wisdom, even in the face of radical change. They recognize that mood swings occur in predictable patterns. They anticipate what’s coming, and they help others cope by counteracting the emotional fluctuations and mitigating the accompanying risks. Successfully managing the biases and effectively guiding change in this way create significant value, as we have seen through an approach we call Results Delivery®. In a Bain study of more than 300 change programs, those that most effectively managed change (the top 20%) delivered 86% or more of the promised results, and one-quarter of that group delivered more than what had been promised. By contrast, those that were least effective at managing change delivered only 43% of the promised value (see Figure 2). Over time, the top group delivered eight times the profitability and two and a half times the shareholder returns of the low group.

Phase I. Mapping the journey
When a leader proposes a major new direction in an organization, people usually feel skeptical, even threatened. They don’t see the need to change. They can’t perceive the possibilities.

In effect, the proponents of change are asking team members to move out of their comfort zone. But the way forward is blocked by cognitive biases that interfere with people’s openness to change. Anchoring, or relying on familiar reference points, locks them into conventional thought patterns. The ambiguity effect, which leads people to favor the known over the unknown, raises fears about the future. Confirmation bias encourages them to look for evidence that supports their fears and casts doubt on the possibility of change. When these inevitable biases emerge, people on the leadership team feel uneasy. They tend to cling to incremental ideas rather than embrace more dramatic change. A bricks-and-mortar retailer, for instance, might persuade itself that it is moving rapidly into the digital world because it is offering goods online, when in fact it is far behind the more comprehensive and integrated digital strategies of its competitors.

Results Delivery helps loosen these anchors and starts by assembling the facts. Data—about the company’s situation, what customers are saying, the “size of the prize” to be realized from the change—helps cut through the biases by appealing to people’s left-brain, rational side. Another effective tool is co-creating a clear, compelling vision of the future. Change proponents help the leadership team buy into the proposal by activating their right brain and enabling them to picture that future new world.

For example, when a healthcare provider launched a major change effort to improve patient satisfaction, it started with the hospital registration process. In a workshop, the company’s leaders jointly developed a powerful metaphor for the vision: a hotel check-in. The efficient yet friendly experience of checking into a hotel captured exactly what they wanted for their patients. And every employee could understand the idea—it changed not just the definition of the process but how people behaved and even the architectural design of the registration area. A compelling metaphor like this not only helps people to visualize the change; it also accelerates the change process. Project teams can now make most decisions without input from top leaders because they have a clear understanding of the future state.

At some point in this process, the idea of the change catches on. The balance tips. Fears vanish, and enthusiasm grows. What once seemed impossible now feels within reach.

Phase II. The tide turned
As the emotional tide turns, new cognitive biases reinforce and exaggerate the change in mood. Confirmation bias now reinforces people’s belief in the possibility of change. So does pervasive optimism, or the natural human tendency to believe that we have control of our lives and will be able to achieve what we set out to do. These biases are powerful, and they seem to sweep away doubt or disagreement. Team members choose the most optimistic scenarios about the benefits of the new direction. They think they can achieve those goals in the shortest possible time frame.

It’s just as important to contain the over-optimism at this stage as it was to counteract the initial pessimism. Overconfidence and unconstrained optimism can cloud return-on-investment calculations. They lead to even deeper pessimism later, when the next mood swing occurs.

How can leadership teams mitigate these risks? One effective tool is to look backward. Using a standardized risk model, teams can analyze what went wrong and what went right in previous change efforts. What were the typical failure modes? What does our organization do well, and what does it do poorly? Benchmarking can be valuable in this context: For example, a database of nearly 350 companies helps Bain identify the biggest obstacles to change. People naturally expect today’s change initiative to play out much like yesterday’s, with all the same problems. But if you can learn from the past, you can surprise them by doing it better.

It’s equally essential to look forward—to immerse the team in the future they have begun to co-create. Asked to think in specific detail about future events, people create a richer, more accurate reality. Leaders can then ask themselves exactly what changes are required and who will be most affected. This kind of analysis highlights the impact of change on specific groups and has the effect of bringing everyone down to earth.

To anticipate the future, it helps to use a predictive risk model and then to develop an explicit risk-mitigation plan. Fifteen specific risks, such as poor sponsorship and change overload, threaten to disrupt change efforts. (See below “The 15 questions you should ask about your change initiative.”) These risks tend to occur in predictable patterns over the life cycle of a change, but only a handful of risks determine success or failure at each stage. A risk assessment enables a company to understand the unique risk profile of an initiative and identify the four or five risks that pose the biggest threats, the sequence in which they will arise and the tools that will be most effective for containing and managing each one.

For instance, when Merck KGaA, the German chemicals and pharmaceuticals concern, acquired US biotech equipment supplier Millipore, managers drew up a two-by-two chart representing every group in the organization on two dimensions: their importance in achieving the integration goals and the degree of disruption they would experience from the upcoming change. That allowed the leadership team to focus on supporting the people who were most important to the success of the merger and faced the greatest risk of serious dislocation. Leaders clarified roles, set priorities and provided focused change management support to help the integration succeed.

But then, inevitably, the voyage begins. And once more the mood changes…

Phase III. Skirting the rocks
The initiative has launched. Everyone is supposed to climb on board. But now, somehow, things don’t play out as expected. Obstacles appear. Costs mount. The venture is harder than people thought. Some argue that it is time to call a halt and cut losses. Even those who initially perceived the change positively may have their doubts, as uninformed optimism inevitably gives way to informed pessimism. The supporters realize that everything will not be perfect.

A different set of cognitive biases takes over when people confront real obstacles. Facing reality, most human beings are loss averse—they prefer avoiding losses to acquiring an equal amount of gains. When the going gets rough, they naturally look back at the familiar harbor they left behind. Negativity bias, the tendency for negative events to loom larger than positive ones in people’s minds, reinforces that reaction. So does normalcy bias (also known as the “ostrich effect”), which refers to the difficulties people have in seeing problems when they are in new situations outside of their normal experience.

This is a critical and time-consuming phase of an initiative. What’s at stake, typically, is winning the hearts and minds of employees and helping them change well-worn patterns of behavior. A variety of tools can help to counteract the natural negativity at this stage, but four in particular stand out:

Creating an enrollment cascade. Instead of relying on broadcast communication from the top, change leaders create a companywide dialogue about what is happening. The dialogue rolls out through the ranks: Every individual in the organization hears the plan from his or her direct supervisor and is invited to ask questions and provide feedback on the spot. The story is thus told in the best possible way, by the most credible person, the one with the most influence on an individual employee’s work life. The resulting dialogue allows individuals to feel they’ve been heard, and it offers them a greater sense of control. It also sets expectations that are more likely to be realistic. The newly merged Merck Millipore, for example, conducted this kind of structured dialogue throughout the organization—one key to the successful post-merger integration of the two companies.

Preparing leaders at all levels to be sponsors. When people’s lives are disrupted, their reactions follow a predictable resistance curve. It is often said that companies at this stage should “communicate, communicate, communicate.” That is wrong. Some communication is necessary at the outset. But now, it’s more important to listen. Much of the listening inevitably falls to middle managers and supervisors, who will need training in how best to deal with resistance. They can learn, for instance, that resistance is a natural and normal reaction to disruption, a sign of progress rather than a problem to be solved.

Designing positive consequences for behavior change. Transformations often involve changes in how employees must think and act every day on the job. A company in this situation needs to spell out not only what people should do differently, but also how they will be reinforced for adopting the new behaviors.

One bank, for instance, invested heavily in a program for cross-selling products to customers. It alerted bank tellers about which customers would be suitable prospects, trained tellers how to sell and compensated those who successfully cross-sold. It also designed a set of immediate consequences for changed behavior. After witnessing an encounter between a teller and an impatient customer, for example, a platform manager standing nearby would offer encouragement: “You handled that well. You were not defensive. Remember, it’s only one in five customers who will buy.” That encouraged the teller to continue applying the script—and as he began to sell the new product to more clients, the rise in performance metrics typically encouraged him further. Positive reinforcement of this sort is four times as powerful in changing behavior as “push” activities (such as training) alone.

Encouraging a “red is good” attitude. “Red” in a change process—the identification of a problem area or a risk—is often seen as a negative sign. That’s backward: It should be seen as a signal that people are involved, and they care about the initiative’s success. Companies we work with often train change agents in every branch and function to look for the highest risks perceived by frontline employees and others on the receiving end of the change. They discuss those concerns right away with local leaders, resolve whatever issues they can and elevate concerns that need attention to a higher level.

Conclusion: Building a change capability
Leaders who try to change an organization are up against some of the deepest attributes of human nature. The mood swings and cognitive biases that accompany change efforts usually blur people’s ability to evaluate a situation and make good decisions. Leaders have the job of managing and minimizing these mood swings, not just for themselves but for the whole organization. But even experienced leaders sometimes struggle to see what is really happening. They make promises that they can’t keep, damaging their credibility and eroding trust in the change initiative.

The executives who are most successful at leading through change establish mechanisms to ensure that the biases will be acknowledged and the risks mitigated. That often makes the difference between success and failure, in our experience. Results Delivery helps a company mount systematic efforts to identify the risks and counter the biases, which alters the terms of the equation. Now the change effort is no longer an unfair fight. The obstacles have become predictable and thus manageable. Over time, the company strengthens its change muscles, creating Repeatable Models® for change. It becomes more adept at managing not just this transformation but the next one as well. In a world of constant change, that equips a company to outexecute its competitors.

Patrick Litre is a partner in Bain & Company’s Atlanta office and leads the firm’s Global Results Delivery practice. Kevin Murphy is also a partner in the Atlanta office and a senior member of Bain’s Global Results Delivery practice.

Common biases that affect change
A cognitive bias is a departure from good or rational judgment resulting from a particular situation or set of circumstances. The biases have been confirmed by replicable research. The following examples, referenced in the article, are representative of the many that may be at play.

Anchoring is an attachment to the earliest information encountered in decision making. “Anchored” to that information, we are unduly influenced by it. We see new information in the context of the anchor.
Ambiguity bias occurs when the information available on two or more options is uneven. We are biased toward the option with more known information even if the other option might be preferable.
Confirmation bias is a tendency to favor information that supports our point of view.
Loss aversion is a preference for avoiding losses over acquiring gains of equal magnitude.
Negativity is a bias that leads us to pay more attention to negative experiences or options than to positive ones.
Normalcy is the tendency to underestimate the risk of disaster or catastrophe if we have not previously experienced it. We expect outcomes that are closer to normal.
Pervasive optimism is a belief that the future will mirror the past. We believe that we have more control than we actually do.

The 15 questions you should ask about your change initiative

Is our description of success clear and inspiring enough to generate emotional buy-in with our people?

Are the proposed solutions appealing to the organization, and will they work in our culture?

Are top leaders demonstrating alignment on this change in their communications and actions?

Do we have the right leaders who can work effectively as a team, both today and in the future state?

Are line managers at all levels actively and visibly reinforcing the adoption of the change?

Have we selected credible team members and involved trusted opinion leaders?

Do we know who will be most disrupted, and do we have a plan to address resistance and build commitment?

Can we develop or acquire the talent and expertise we need for this change?

Have we identified the few behaviors that will drive results and the reinforcements to encourage them?

Is the program governance designed to make and execute sound, efficient and timely decisions?

Can we deliver the change on time while protecting our business’s per formance from capacity overload?

Do we have goals, metrics and a system to forecast results and course-correct before it’s too late?

Are we tuning our organization (structure, culture, incentive system, etc.) to sustain the change?

Can we enhance our systems and leverage new technology fast enough to deliver the results on time?

Are we designing fast feedback loops to learn and enhance our solutions over time?

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7 Simple Tips To Deal With Negative People

Whiners“The people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.” ~Peaceful Warrior

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Celestine Chua of The Personal Excellence Blog.

Have you ever dealt with negative people before? If you have, you will know that the experience can be quite a downer.

I used to have an ex-colleague who was very negative. In our conversations, she would complain endlessly about her co-workers, her work and her life. She was also very cynical about people in general, often doubting their intentions. Talking to her wasn’t a pleasant experience at all.

The first time we had a meeting, I felt very drained. Even though we talked for only 20-30 minutes, I didn’t have the mood or energy to do anything after our conversation. It felt as if someone had sucked the life out of me, and it wasn’t until 2-3 hours later that the effect wore off.

The same thing happened the next few times we talked. Because she was so pessimistic, her negative energy often spilled over after the conversation, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. For a period of time, I was quite bothered by her. I would avoid speaking to her if I could.

After a while, I figured I needed to work out an action plan to deal with negative people. After all, she was not going to be the only negative person I was going to encounter in my life. I thought: “For every 1 negative person I face now, there are probably thousands of them out there whom I’ll meet one day. If I learn how to deal with her effectively, I will be able to handle other negative people next time.”

With this in mind, I then brainstormed on the best approach to handle negative people.

Eventually, I developed several key steps to deal with negative people effectively. These steps have proven very helpful in making the best out of my relationships with them. While the people I face today are generally more positive, these steps come in handy when I’ve to deal with a negative person.

If there’s someone negative in your life at the moment, don’t let yourself be affected by him/her. You’re not alone in your problem – I face negative people as well and dealing with them is always a learning experience. While people can try to get you down, you’ve a choice in how you react to them.

Here, I’d like to share my 7 tips on how you can deal with negative people:

Tip #1: Don’t Engage in the Negativity

One thing I found is negative people tend to harp on the bad things and ignore the positive stuff. They also have a tendency to exaggerate issues they are facing, making their predicament seem a lot worse than it actually is.

The first time you converse with a negative individual, provide a listening ear and offer help if needed. Provide support – let him/her know he/she is not alone. However, be sure to draw a line somewhere. If the person keeps harping on the same problems even after the first few conversations, then it’s a sign to disengage.

For starters, try to switch topics. If he/she goes into a negative swirl, let him/her continue, but don’t engage in the negativity. Give a simple reply, such as “I see” or “Okay”. Whereas if he/she is being positive, reply in affirmation and enthusiasm. When you do it often enough, he/she will soon realize what’s going on, and will start to be more positive in his/her communication.

Tip #2: Hang Out In Groups

Speaking to a negative person can be extremely draining. When I spoke to my negative co-worker, I would be mentally drained for several hours, even though we talked for only 20-30 minutes. That was because I was on the receiving end of all her negativity.

To address this, have someone else around when conversing with the negative individual. In fact, the more people, the better. This way, the negative energy is divided between you and the other members, and you don’t have to bear the full brunt of the negative energy.

The plus point of having someone else around is that people bring out a different side to an individual. By having another party around, it may bring out a more positive side in the negative person. I experienced this before and it helped me to see the “negative” individual in a different, more positive light.

Tip #3: Objectify the Comments Made

Negative people can be quite critical at times. They tend to drop insensitive comments that are hurtful, especially if they are directed at you.

For example, I once had a friend who was quite tactless. She would drop jarring comments which were dismissive and critical. Initially I was bothered by her words, wondering why she had to be so critical every time she spoke. I also wondered if there was something wrong with me – that perhaps I wasn’t good enough. However, when I observed her interactions with our common friends, I realized she did this to them too. Her comments were not personal attacks – it was just her being the way she was.

Recognize that the negative person usually means no harm – he/she is just caught up in his/her negativity. Start by learning how to deal with critical comments. Objectify the comments made – Rather than take his/her words personally, recognize that he/she is just offering a point of view. Sieve out the underlying message and see if there is anything you can learn from what he/she said.

Tip #4: Go with Lighter Topics

Some negative people are triggered by certain topics. For example, one of my friends turns into a self-victimizer whenever we talk about work. No matter what what I say, he’ll keep complaining about everything in his job, which becomes quite a conversation dampener.

If the person is deeply entrenched in his/her negativity, the unhappiness may be too deeply rooted to address in a one-off conversation. Bring in a new topic to lighten the mood. Simple things like new movies, daily occurrences, common friends, hobbies, happy news, make for light conversation. Keep it to areas the person feels positive towards.

Tip #5: Be Mindful of the Time You Spend With Them

As Jim Rohn puts it – “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. What this quote means is that who you spend your time with has an impact on the person you eventually become.

I find it to be very true. Think about the times you hang out with negative people – Do you feel more positive or negative after that? Same for positive people – How do you feel after spending some time with them?

Whenever I’ve an encounter with negative people, I’d often feel negative after that, like a bad aftertaste. Whereas with positive people, I’d feel extremely upbeat and exuberant. Clearly, there is a spill over effect that takes place even after the interaction! By spending more time with negative people, your thoughts and emotions will slowly become negative too. At first it might be temporary, but over time it’ll slowly become ingrained in you.

If you feel certain people in your life are negative, then be conscious of how much time you’re spending with them. I recommend to limit the duration where you can help it. For example, if they want to hang out with you but you don’t enjoy their company, learn to say no. If it’s a meeting or phone call, set a limit to how long you want it to be. Keep to the objective of the discussion, and don’t let it extend beyond that time.

Tip #6: Identify Areas You Can Make a Positive Change

Negative people are negative because they lack love, positivity and warmth. A lot of times, their negative behavior is a barrier they erect to protect themselves from the world.

One of the best ways you can help a negative individual is to usher positivity into his/her life. Think about what’s bothering the person at the moment, and think about how you can help him/her in your own way. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, and you definitely don’t have to go out of the way to help if you don’t want to. The key here is to be sincere in your desire to help, and to show him/her the upsides in life.

A while back, I had a friend who was unhappy with her job, due to the stagnating environment and culture mismatch. There was a job opportunity that arose in my (now former) workplace, so I introduced that opportunity to my friend. She eventually got the job, and she has been working there for over 3 years now, and doing very well.

Today, she’s a lot happier, forward-looking and proactive in life. She’s definitely a lot more positive than she was a few years ago. While I do not take any credit for what she has carved for herself in her career, I feel very happy knowing that I helped in a small way at the right time. Likewise, there’s always something you can do for others too – keep a look out and help where you can. Just a small act on your part may well make a huge difference in their lives.

Tip #7: Drop Them From Your Life
If all else fails, reduce contact with them or drop them from your life.

Rather than spend your time with negative people, focus on the positive people instead. In the past, I spent a lot of time with negative people, trying to help them with their issues. It drained up a lot of my energy and was often futile, which led me to rethink my methods. Ever since then, I worked on cultivating positivity by hanging out with positive friends and business partners. This has turned out to be a lot more rewarding and fruitful.

Remember that your life is yours to lead, and it’s up to you on how you want it to be. If there are negative people who make you feel bad about yourself, work on those issues with the 7 steps above. With the right actions, you can create a dramatic difference in what you get out of your relationships.

Article Taken from “”.

Corporate Etiquette – Do’s and Dont’s

It is essential for every individual to behave in a socially acceptable way.

Etiquette refers to good manners which help an individual leave his mark in the society.

An individual must know how to behave at the workplace. There is a huge difference between college and professional life. One needs to be disciplined at the workplace.

Office decorumGoogle Image

Corporate Etiquette refers to set of rules an individual must follow while he is at work. One must respect his organization and maintain the decorum of the place.

Corporate Etiquette refers to behaving sensibly and appropriately at the workplace to create an everlasting impression. No one would take you seriously if you do not behave well at the workplace. Remember we can’t behave the same way at work place as we behave at our homes. One needs to be professional and organized.

It is important to behave well at the workplace to earn respect and appreciation.

Let us go through some Do’s and Don’ts at workplace:

  • Never adopt a casual attitude at work. Your office pays you for your hard work and not for loitering around.
  • Don’t peep into other’s cubicles and workstations. Knock before entering anyone’s cabin. Respect each other’s privacy.
  • Put your hand phone in the silent or vibrating mode at the workplace. Loud ring tones are totally unprofessional and also disturb other people.
  • Don’t open anyone else’s notepads registers or files without his permission.
  • It is bad manners to sneeze or cough in public without covering your mouth. Use a handkerchief or tissue for the same.
  • Popping chewing gums in front of co workers is simply not expected out of a professional.
  • Stay away from nasty politics at the workplace. Avoid playing blame games.
  • Keep your workstation clean and tidy. Throw unwanted paper in dustbin and keep files in their respective drawers. Put a label on top of each file to avoid unnecessary searching.
  • Never criticize or make fun of any of your colleagues. Remember fighting leads to no solution. There are several other ways to express displeasure. Sit with your colleagues, discuss issues face to face and decide on something which is mutually acceptable.
  • Take care of your pitch and tone at the workplace. Never shout on anyone or use foul words. It is unprofessional to lash out at others under pressure. Stay calm and think rationally.
  • Never attend meetings or seminars without a notepad and pen. It is little tough to remember each and everything discussed in the meeting. Jot down the important points for future reference. Wait for your turn to speak.
  • Pass on information to all related recipients in the desired form. Communicate through written modes of communication preferably through emails. Keep your reporting boss in the loop. Make sure your email signatures are correct.
  • Reach office on time. One must adhere to the guidelines and policies of the organization. Discipline must be maintained at the workplace.
  • No organization likes to have a shabbily dressed employee. Shave daily and do not use strong perfumes.
  • Never wear revealing clothes to work. Body piercing and tattoo are a strict no no at the workplace. Females should avoid wearing heavy jewellery to work.
  • Don’t pass lewd comments to any of your fellow workers.
  • While having lunch together, do not start till the others have received their food. Make sure your spoon and fork do not make a clattering sound. Eat slowly to avoid burping in public.
  • Respect your fellow workers and help them whenever required.
  • It is unethical to share confidential data with external parties and any other individual who is not related to the organization. Data in any form must not be passed to anyone outside the organization.
  • Office Stationery is meant to be used only at work. Taking any office property back home is equivalent to stealing.
  • Make sure you turn off the monitor while you go out for lunch or tea breaks. Switch off the fans, lights, printer, fax machine, scanner before you leave for the day.
  • Don’t bring your personal work to office. Avoid taking kids to office unless and until there is an emergency.
  • Park you car at the space allocated to you. Don’t park your vehicle at the entrance as it might obstruct someone’s way.
  • Never ever drink while you are at work. Smoke only at the smoking zones.
  • Do not leave the restroom with taps on.
  • Female Employees should stick to minimal make up.

Related articles:

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Adverse Effects of a Bad Attitude in the Workplace

Bad attitudes destroy morale.
Bad Attitudes



Bad attitudes in the workplace might include laziness, tardiness, rudeness, rumor mongering or any other attitude or activity that lowers overall morale. Negative attitudes could be due to personal problems. For example, an employee might be having trouble at home that influences her behavior at work. Bad attitudes also can result from workplace events, such as a firing, pay decreases or other small-business problems.


Decreased Performance

Negative Attitude

Google Image

Bad attitudes spread, which is why you must address the issue quickly. A single person’s bad attitude can have a huge effect on the operation of your business. For example, if one employee begins complaining, his discontent might spread to other workers. Bad attitudes also can trickle downward. A cranky manager can ruin the workplace atmosphere for everyone he supervises. Pervasively negative attitudes can have a detrimental effect on performance, causing employees to become apathetic and despondent. Mistakes might occur more often, and output will likely slow.

Unhappy Customers

If your customers encounter bad attitudes from your employees, they won’t come back. Customers don’t want to deal with snippy or rude representatives, and employee apathy leads to blown project deadlines and incomplete fulfillment of orders. Monitoring the performance of employees who deal directly with customers might head off some trouble, but a more effective approach is to deal with the underlying causes of the discontent to raise the morale of the entire workplace.


Sometimes, one person is the clear cause of an organization’s problem. Other times, you must identify underlying causes for general discontent. For example, if you enforce unreasonable deadlines for projects, meaning employees must work overtime to meet your expectations, you can expect resentment to build. Though you should expect the best from your employees, pushing them too hard will test their loyalty and might be bad for morale and employee retention. Other possible causes of bad attitudes include employee perceptions concerning the financial health of your business, insufficient support from management or a feeling that hard work goes unappreciated.


Ask for regular employee feedback so you can stay ahead of the curve. Act quickly and decisively to nip negative attitudes in the bud. For example, if an employee consistently voices unreasonable complaints, take that person aside for a private discussion. Try to come to an equitable resolution but warn the employee you won’t tolerate negative influences in your business. Dealing with systemic problems is more difficult but well worth it in the long run if it improves employee morale. High morale has been shown to lead to better performance and happier customers. For example, invite employee feedback concerning workloads when determining project deadlines.

This article is taken from and written by Stan Mack, Demand Media


7 Steps to Succeeding in Corporate America

Having been a member of Corporate America for over 10 years, my passion for growth and advancement in the job market has thought me quite a bit. There are many different ways to look at Corporate America, every position within an organization carries its own perspective and introduces you to an entirely different experience. There are however some key areas you can focus on to ensure you are not kept from moving up into the role you desire. Most of what we’ll cover here can apply to almost any position in Corporate America, but will vary slightly if applied to retail or entry level roles in an organization.

Here are your 7 steps to succeeding in Corporate America:

Corporate Dress CodeGoogle Image


1. Dress Code: As simple as this may seem, it is not something to dismiss. Most will agree that they follow the dress code at work, but do they really make an effort to look the part? Most common errors made are in the details, not so much the dress code. The colors you choose, the way you knot your tie, the polish on your shoes, your belt, and off course your grooming. Choosing subtle colors will always work in your favor as management usually doesn’t have a sense of humor and doesn’t care about how you felt when you decided to wear a yellow shirt to work. Try to match your colors to your type of work. Being a banker means being socially responsible, professional and trusted so wearing dark colors with design-less ties tends to work well, especially when the colors contrast but don’t clash. Look for the details in your clothing to match the caliber of the person you are. Make sure your shoes are polished and your belt is in new condition without tears, and more importantly please make sure that your tie is not loose. Being dressed appropriately means you care and you understand your role, not only in the organization but also in Corporate America, and you will give off the right vibe to senior management when they meet you.


2. Attitude: No one loves going to work everyday and doing the same thing time after time, dealing with the same customers over and over and arguing with the same co-workers. Most will actually show their discomfort or dislike of their job daily, no matter who their interactions are with. Your attitude is controlled strictly by you and no one else but you, therefore it is a direct representation of how much control you have over your own life. Management usually notices these things, and more often than you think! Through seeing how engaged you are with your work and how well you represent the company daily (no matter what issues you are dealing with in your personal life), management determines if you can lead and therefore considers you for further opportunities. This showcases that you put the company first, before yourself; and therefore holds a lot more weight than you think.


3. What you say: Sometimes keeping your mouth shut is the only option. Often companies will invite people to voice their opinions; this is not your opportunity to complain! Companies don’t care about your complaints nor do they want to hear them, they are not complaints but rather nagging. Make sure that when you do speak, it is not only of relevance but that the things you are addressing are actually items worth mentioning. Many times people will complain of the hours a store must remain open, or their products simply not being sellable. These are issues that will not change by you voicing your opinion and therefore need to be kept to yourself. There are on the other hand many other issues that people discuss that once again should never be done in a group setting but rather only with those of relevance. You can also run into a major issue by discussing an internal corporate process that is flawed, this may expose you to a corporate violation, and now you have to deal with the consequences of the matter even though you may not have any control over it.


4. Do your part: Many will over promise and under deliver when it comes to work. Making sure you are taking the appropriate steps to stay true to your word is key. If you are in a sales role and you make a commitment to bring in a certain amount of sales, then be prepared to meet that commitment, and to be able to demonstrate how you did so. If you are in an office setting and do mostly routine work, ensure all your deadlines are met so that no one can blame you for being a drag on the team. I have always had this theory about Corporate America and employees; most only work about 30% of the day and at 40% of their capacity. If you actually do 100% of what is expected of you and not anything more, you are doing 60% more than everyone else. Many have asked me in my past how it is that I went so far, so fast and that it would be impossible to duplicate…my response to them is simple: Do your job!


5. Who do you know? Some call it sucking up, others call it face time, I call it mandatory. That’s right, getting promoted has more to do with who you know than what you do. This game is simpler than you think, you might do your job but if nobody knows about it, then what difference does it make. When you want to move up, you should know who your next manager and their manager will be as you will need both of them to know of you and your accomplishments before it is time for you to apply for your new promotion. Wouldn’t you want to know who you’re hiring? It is very important to build confidence in those that will have an impact on your career right from the start. How you present yourself, and speak about yourself and your story will tell all about who you are, what they can expect and give them a hint about what you want. So face time is a must if you want to get anywhere in Corporate America.


6. Step up when appropriate: You will be giving many opportunities to take on projects for your boss, some will be relevant to your growth, others will simply be him/her delegating their work on to you. Understanding which projects will get the most exposure and if the person asking for your help is willing to give you credit for your efforts is very important. You can take on over a dozen projects, but if no one is gong to tell senior leaders that you actually worked on it, your efforts will be in vain. Stepping up is necessary and important but must be timed correctly so that it doesn’t become additional work for no reason. Declining certain projects may make sense from time to time (only as you grow more respected for having stepped up before), and it may also showcase that you have leadership and don’t simply agree to take on every task that’s given to you. Knowing how to properly say NO is very important.


7. Leadership: No matter what level of Corporate America you find yourself in, there is always a place for great leadership. Great leaders are sometimes born, and other times made – but it is within all of us to be great everyday. No matter where you work, no matter what you do and no matter who you work for; you have it within you to make the best of it and showcase why you are not stuck where you are.

So remember, keep your attitude up, dress well, do your part, take on more when you can, make the right friends and demonstrate great leadership EVERYDAY and you will get exactly what you want from Corporate America.

This article is taken from and all rights are reserved.


Strengthsfinder 2.0 written by Gallup Organization

My top 5 strengths: Competition, Activator, Belief, Relator, and Learner…Do you know your strength according to Tom Rath?

Strenghts based Leadership

A Brief Intro to the Book

It is what it says. Classic marketing. A group of folks at US company Gallup (the author calls the researchers ‘scientists’), led by ‘the Father of Strengths Psychology’ Donald O Clifton (quoting the author again with the capital letters his), researched a list of the 34 most common talents. This book is really about finding your particular top five talents and how to ‘action’ them in your life.

Initial Reaction: Irritation

Why? Well, the book is 174 pages long, but actually it is only 31 pages long. Let me explain.

The 31 pages gives a context to why the group of ‘scientists’ developed the test. And I must tell you, I liked reading this a lot. Their big leadership/life idea is this:

You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are (p9).

I happen to agree with that statement. Hear me out here. A gift I know I personally have is the ability to research. One gift I know I don’t have is accountancy. So to make me work my way up to ‘mediocre’ from ‘rubbish’ in the accountancy stakes seems pointless. Better would be to help me develop my natural ability to research so that it is even more effective.

HOWEVER – this book talks about this for only 31 pages. It then describes all of the 34 talents. THAT would be ok except that the whole point of buying the book is that you cannot find out your five talents from Gallup until you have unsealed the special code to access the Strengthsfinder 2.0 test online! The Strengthsfinder website then punches out a report for you about your top five strengths and how to action them further. Your online report’s descriptions of your talents basically matches what the book says about them, although the book adds a couple of quotes of people who have each talent. The book then goes on to describe all 34 talents; the report describes only your own.

So to cut a long story short: why produce a book when really the website does it all anyway? I would have been happy to simply pay – say – $20.00 and do the web test. The information is pretty good and my fellow pastor and I are going to talk about our results together and how to action them in our respective church settings. I don’t need an extra book which is basically a 31 page booklet plus excess material I don’t really need. I honestly felt hoodwinked into buying the book.

But – The Positives

As I said above, the web test and resulting reports are pretty good. I’m glad I have them. They outline in some detail the characteristics of my top 5 talents. I showed the report to my wife and she more or less agreed with what it said. My top 5 talents were ‘learner’, ‘harmony’, ‘adaptability’, ‘intellection’ and ‘consistency’. To know more about them read the book!

So Overall – 

The information is very useful. No doubt about it.
I would have paid $20 to do the test without a book.
But the book costs about $30.
You can’t do the online test without the access code sealed at the back of the book.
The book itself really isn’t worth the money, but for having the code.

That is my overall take on this book, and now it is your dilemma as to what to do from here.

Article taken from the website

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Built to Last

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Visionary Companies

“Visionary companies are premier institutions… in their industries, widely admired by their peers and having a long track record of making a significant impact on the world around them. The key point is that a visionary company is an organization“, not an individual or product.

Despite facing setbacks and mistakes, “visionary companies display a remarkable resiliency, an ability to bounce back from adversity. As a result, visionary companies attain extraordinary long-term performance.”

Twelve Shattered Myths

  • Myth 1: It takes a great idea to start a great company.“Few of the visionary companies began life with a great idea. In fact, some began life without any specific idea and a few even began with outright failures.”
  • Myth 2: Visionary companies require great and charismatic visionary leaders.“A charismatic visionary leader is absolutely not required for a visionary company… They concentrated more on architecting an enduring institution than on being a great individual leader.”
  • Myth 3: The most successful companies exist first and foremost to maximize profits.“Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one—and not necessarily the primary one. …They’re equally guided by a core ideology.”
  • Myth 4: Visionary companies share a common subset of “correct” core values.“There is no ‘right’ set of core values for being a visionary company. … The crucial variable is not the content of a company’s ideology, but how deeply it believes its ideology.”
  • Myth 5: The only constant is change.“A visionary company almost religiously preserves its core ideology. … [However, they] display a powerful drive for progress that enables them to change and adapt without compromising their cherished core ideals.”
  • Myth 6: Blue-chip companies play it safe.“Visionary companies may appear straitlaced and conservative to outsiders, but they’re not afraid to make bold commitments to ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goals’ (BHAGs).”
  • Myth 7: Visionary companies are great places to work, for everyone.“Only those who ‘fit’ extremely well with the core ideology and demanding standards of a visionary company will find it a great place to work.”
  • Myth 8: Highly successful companies make their best moves by brilliant and complex strategic planning.“Visionary companies make some of their best moves by experimentation, trial and error, opportunism, and—quite literally—accident.”
  • Myth 9: Companies should hire outside CEOs to stimulate fundamental change.“Home-grown management rules at the visionary companies to a far greater degree than at comparison companies.”
  • Myth 10: The most successful companies focus primarily on beating the competition.“Visionary companies focus primarily on beating themselves.”
  • Myth 11: You can’t have your cake and eat it too.“Visionary companies do not [believe in the] purely rational view that says you can have either A OR B, but not both. …They embrace the… paradoxical view that allows them to pursue both A AND B at the same time.”
  • Myth 12: Companies become visionary primarily through “vision statements.”“Creating a statement can be a helpful step… but it is only one of thousands of steps in a never-ending process.”

Clock Building, Not Time Telling

“Having a great idea or being a charismatic visionary leader is ‘time telling’; building a company that can prosper far beyond the presence of any single leader and through multiple product life cycles is ‘clock building’.”

The Myth of the “Great Idea
“Few of the visionary companies in our study can trace their roots to a great idea or fabulous initial product.” Some began “with outright failures.”
Waiting for “The Great Idea” Might Be a Bad Idea
If you want to start “a visionary company but have not yet taken the plunge because you don’t have a ‘great idea,’ we encourage you to lift from your shoulders the burden of the great-idea myth.”
The Company Itself is the Ultimate Creation
“Never, never, never give up. But what to persist with? Their answer: The company. Be prepared to kill, revise, or evolve an idea… but never give up on the company.”
The Myth of the Great and Charismatic Leader
“A high-profile, charismatic style is absolutely not required… Perhaps the continuity of superb individuals atop visionary companies stems from the companies being outstanding organizations, not the other way around.”
An Architectural Approach: Clock Builders at Work
“The evidence suggests to us that the key people at formative stages of the visionary companies had a stronger organizational orientation than in the comparison companies, regardless of their personal leadership style.”
This article is taken from this site:


Who Moved My Cheese? From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, published in 1998, is a motivational book by Spencer Johnson written in the style of a parable or business fable. It describes change in one’s work and life, and four typical reactions to said change by two mice and two “littlepeople”, during their hunt for cheese. …



Allegorically, Who Moved My Cheese? features four characters: two mice, “Sniff” and “Scurry,” and two littlepeople, miniature humans in essence, “Hem” and “Haw.” They live in a maze, a representation of one’s environment, and look for cheese, representative of happiness and success. Initially without cheese, each group, the mice and humans, paired off and traveled the lengthy corridors searching for cheese. One day both groups happen upon a cheese-filled corridor at “Cheese Station C”. Content with their find, the humans establish routines around their daily intake of cheese, slowly becoming arrogant in the process.

One day Sniff and Scurry arrive at Cheese Station C to find no cheese left, but they are not surprised. Noticing the cheese supply dwindling, they have mentally prepared beforehand for the arduous but inevitable task of finding more cheese. Leaving Cheese Station C behind, they begin their hunt for new cheese together. Later that day, Hem and Haw arrive at Cheese Station C only to find the same thing, no cheese. Angered and annoyed, Hem demands, “Who moved my cheese?” The humans have counted on the cheese supply to be constant, and so are unprepared for this eventuality. After deciding that the cheese is indeed gone they get angry at the unfairness of the situation and both go home starved. Returning the next day, Hem and Haw find the same cheeseless place. Starting to realize the situation at hand, Haw thinks of a search for new cheese. But Hem is dead set in his victimized mindset and dismisses the proposal.

Meanwhile, Sniff and Scurry have found “Cheese Station N”, new cheese. Back at Cheese Station C, Hem and Haw are affected by their lack of cheese and blame each other for their problem. Hoping to change, Haw again proposes a search for new cheese. However, Hem is comforted by his old routine and is frightened about the unknown. He knocks the idea again. After a while of being in denial, the humans remain without cheese. One day, having discovered his debilitating fears, Haw begins to chuckle at the situation and stops taking himself so seriously. Realizing he should simply move on, Haw enters the maze, but not before chiseling “If You Do Not Change, You Can Become Extinct” on the wall of Cheese Station C for his friend to ponder.

Still fearful of his trek, Haw jots “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?” on the wall and, after thinking about that, he begins his venture. Still plagued with worry (perhaps he has waited too long to begin his search…), Haw finds some bits of cheese that nourishes him and he is able to continue his search. Haw realizes that the cheese has not suddenly vanished, but has dwindled from continual eating. After a stop at an empty cheese station, Haw begins worrying about the unknown again. Brushing aside his fears, Haw’s new mindset allows him to again enjoy life. He has even begun to smile again! He is realizing that “When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.” After another empty cheese station, Haw decides to go back for Hem with the few bits of new cheese he has managed to find.

Uncompromising, Hem refuses the new cheese, to his friend’s disappointment. With knowledge learned along the way, Haw heads back into the maze. Getting deeper into the maze, inspired by bits of new cheese here and there, Haw leaves a trail of writings on the wall (“The Handwriting On the Wall”). These clarify his own thinking and give him hope that his friend will find aid in them during his search for new cheese. Still traveling, Haw one day comes across Cheese Station N, abundant with cheese, including some varieties that are strange to him, and he realizes he has found what he is looking for. After eating, Haw reflects on his experience. He ponders a return to see his old friend. But Haw decides to let Hem find his own way. Finding the largest wall in Cheese Station N, he writes:

Change Happens
They Keep Moving The Cheese
Anticipate Change
Get Ready For The Cheese To Move
Monitor Change
Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old
Adapt To Change Quickly
The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
Move With The Cheese
Enjoy Change!
Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!
Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again
They Keep Moving The Cheese.

Cautious from past experience, Haw now inspects Cheese Station N daily and explores different parts of the maze regularly to prevent any complacency from setting in. After hearing movement in the maze one day, Haw realizes someone is approaching the station. Unsure, Haw hopes that it is his friend Hem who has found the way.

It is indeed the friend, who has found a way to escape the rat race.

The article is taken from

Characteristics of Engaged Workforce

The level of employee engagement can be measured by the willingness and ability of employees to contribute to the success of their organization. It is their discretionary effort which is an essential element for the good health and well being of a company.

Engaged Employees

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A highly engaged workforce shows the high level of engagement in their work and is always keen to take up new challenges in order to bring a positive change or establish a highly conducive work environment. Various studies have shown that higher level of employee engagement is directly linked to high satisfaction among them, productivity and profitability of organization and satisfied and loyal customers.

The model below illustrates a few characteristics of an engaged workforce that play an essential role in the success of any organization.

Mutual Trust: Trust is the base of any organization. Letting people do their work without telling them how to perform it is one of the best ways to engage staff. Employees welcome each other’s opinions and find out a wide variety of ways to accomplish a particular task. A highly engaged workforce doesn’t need directions at each step. They can perform their jobs with mutual help and trust.

Job and Career Satisfaction: Job satisfaction is one of the main characteristics of an engaged workforce. The individual who is satisfied with their career and the way their career graph is raising prefers to stick to the organisation for a very long period of time. Switching the organizations frequently is not a characteristic of satisfied employee.

Credible Leadership: As mentioned earlier, an engaged workforce doesn’t need directions for performing a specific job from time to time. Employees know how to do it in the best possible manner. They not only exhibit credible leadership qualities in routine tasks but also come up with innovative ways to deal with crisis or emergencies.

Focused and Keen to Take up Challenges: An engaged workforce is entirely focused and knows what to do and when. They are always keen to take up new challenges in order to solve the existing problems in the organization as well as acquire new skills. Not only this, they are always keen to learn new things and widening their horizon.

Better Performance: Employee engagement is directly related to better performance. Employee performance is the only way to measure the engagement, involvement and dedication of employees towards their jobs. If all these factors cannot be interlinked, there is no meaning of anything. It can be said that the workforce is not engaged or actively disengaged.

Problem Solving Attitude: Engaged workforce not only delivers its job responsibilities but also keeps a problem solving attitude always. A highly engaged employee displays a sense of belongingness towards the organization and makes every effort to solve the problems that pose a hindrance in the organization way of success.

The above mentioned are the essential characteristics of an engaged workforce. However, mutual respect, commitment, enthusiasm, optimism and discretionary efforts to serve customers better are add-on characteristics that an engaged employee generally exhibits.

Article taken from

What changes can you make regarding your engagement at work today?

You have the power to create an environment that is fully engaging where you are learning and growing daily.

What conversation will you have with your peers, team, and or manager today?

It’s time for action, jump into full gear.

10 ways to deal with negative or difficult people by Lori Deschene

“Judge nothing, you will be happy. Forgive everything, you will be happier. Love everything, you will be happiest.” ~Sri Chinmoy

Great Attitude

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I love her to death, but it’s draining to talk to her.

Every time I call this friend of mine, I know what I’m in for: a half-hour rant about everything that’s difficult, miserable, or unfair.

Sometimes she focuses on the people she feels have wronged her, and other times she explores the general hopelessness of life. She never calls to see how I’m doing, and she rarely listens to what’s going on in my life for more than a minute before shifting the focus back to herself.

I tell myself I call because I care, but sometimes I wonder if I have ulterior motives–to pump up my ego offering good advice or even to feel better about my own reality.

I’m no saint, and if there’s one thing I know well, it’s that we only do things repeatedly if we believe there’s something in it for us. Even if that something is just to feel needed.

I thought about this the other day when a reader wrote to me with an interesting question: “How do you offer compassion to someone who doesn’t seem to deserve it?”

While I believe everyone deserves compassion, I understand what she meant after reading more. She went on to describe her offensive, sexist, racist boss who emotionally exhausts everyone around him. He sounds a lot more hateful than my friend, who is, sadly, just terribly depressed.

But these people have one thing in common: boundless negative energy that ends up affecting everyone around them.

So today I started thinking about how we interact with negative or difficult people. People who seem chronically critical, belligerent, indignant, angry, or just plain rude.

When someone repeatedly drains everyone around them, how do you maintain a sense of compassion without getting sucked into their doom? And how do you act in a way that doesn’t reinforce their negativity–and maybe even helps them?

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Resist the urge to judge or assume.

It’s hard to offer someone compassion when you assume you have them pegged. He’s a jerk. She’s a malcontent. He’s an–insert other choice noun. Even if it seems unlikely someone will wake up one day and act differently, we have to remember it is possible.

When you think negative thoughts, it comes out in your body language. Someone prone to negativity may feel all too tempted to mirror that. Try coming at them with the positive mindset you wish they had. Expect the best in them. You never know when you might be pleasantly surprised.

2. Dig deeper, but stay out of the hole.

It’s always easier to offer someone compassion if you try to understand where they’re coming from. But that can’t completely justify bad behavior. If you show negative people you support their choice to behave badly, you give them no real incentive to make a change (which they may actually want deep down).

It may help to repeat this in your head when you deal with them: “I understand your pain. But I’m most helpful if I don’t feed into it.” This might help you approach them with both kindness and firmness so they don’t bring you down with them.

3. Maintain a positive boundary.

Some people might tell you to visualize a bright white light around you to maintain a positive space when other people enter it with negativity. This doesn’t actually work for me because I respond better to ideas in words than visualizations. So I tell myself this, “I can only control the positive space I create around myself.”

Then when I interact with this person, I try to do two things, in this order of importance:

  • Protect the positive space around me. When their negativity is too strong to protect it, I need to walk away.
  • Help them feel more positive, not act more positive–which is more likely to create the desired result.

4. Disarm their negativity, even if just for now.

This goes back to the ideas I mentioned above. I know my depressed friend will rant about life’s injustices as long as I let her. Part of me feels tempted to play amateur psychiatrist–get her talking, and then try to help her reframe situations into a more positive light.

Then I remind myself that I can’t change her whole way of being in one phone call. She has to want that. I also can’t listen for hours on end, as I’ve done in the past. But I can listen compassionately for a short while and then help her focus on something positive right now, in this moment. I can ask about her upcoming birthday. I can remind her it’s a beautiful day for a walk.

Don’t try to solve or fix them. Just aim to help them now.

5. Temper your emotional response.

Negative people often gravitate toward others who react strongly–people who easily offer compassion or get outraged or offended. I suspect this gives them a little light in the darkness of their inner world–a sense that they’re not floating alone in their own anger or sadness.

People remember and learn from what you do more than what you say. If you feed into the situation with emotions, you’ll teach them they can depend on you for a reaction. It’s tough not to react because we’re human, but it’s worth practicing.

Once you’ve offered a compassionate ear for as long as you can, respond as calmly as possible with a simple line of fact. If you’re dealing with a rude or angry person, you may want to change the subject to something unrelated: “Dancing with the Stars is on tonight. Planning to watch it?”

6. Question what you’re getting out of it.

Like I mentioned above, we often get something out of relationships with negative people. Get real honest with yourself: have you fallen into a caretaker role because it makes you feel needed? Have you maintained the relationship so you can gossip about this person in a holier-than-thou way with others? Do you have some sort of stake in keeping the things the way they are?

Questioning yourself helps you change the way you respond–which is really all you can control. You can’t make someone think, feel, or act differently. You can be as kind as possible or as combative as possible, and still not change reality for someone else. All you can control is what you think and do–and then do your best to help them without hurting yourself.

7. Remember the numbers.

Research shows that people with negative attitudes have significantly higher rates of stress and disease. Someone’s mental state plays a huge role in their physical health. If someone’s making life difficult for people around them, you can be sure they’re doing worse for themselves.

What a sad reality, that someone has so much pain inside them they have to act out just to feel some sense of relief–even if that relief comes from getting a rise out of people. When you remember how much a difficult person is suffering, it’s easier to stay focused on minimizing negativity, as opposed to defending yourself.

8. Don’t take it personally–but know sometimes it is personal.

Conventional wisdom suggests that you should never take things personally when you deal with a negative person. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. You can’t write off everything someone says about you just because the person is insensitive or tactless. Even an abrasive person may have a valid point. Try to weigh their comments with a willingness to learn.

Accept that you don’t deserve the excessive emotions in someone’s tone, but weigh their ideas with a willingness to learn. Some of the most useful lessons I’ve learned came from people I wished weren’t right.

9. Act instead of just reacting.

Oftentimes we wait until someone gets angry or depressed before we try to buoy their spirits. If you know someone who seems to deal with difficult thoughts or feelings often (as demonstrated in their behavior), don’t wait for a situation to help them create positive feelings.

Give them a compliment for something they did well. Remind them of a moment when they were happy–as in “Remember when you scored that touchdown during the company picnic? That was awesome!” You’re more apt to want to boost them up when they haven’t brought you down. This may help mitigate that later and also give them a little relief from their pain.

10. Maintain the right relationship based on reality as it is.

With my friend, I’m always wishing she could be more positive. I consistently put myself in situations where I feel bad because I want to help, because I want her to be happy. I’ve recently realized the best I can do is accept her as she is, let her know I believe in her ability to be happy, and then give her space to make the choice.

That means gently bringing our conversation to a close after I’ve made an effort to help. Or cutting short a night out if I’ve done all I can and it’s draining me. Hopefully she’ll want to change some day. Until then, all I can do is love her, while loving myself enough to take care of my needs. That often means putting them first.

I’ve learned you can’t always saved the world, but you can make the world a better place by working on yourself–by becoming self-aware, tapping into your compassion, and protecting your positive space. You may even help negative people by fostering a sense of peace within yourself that their negativity can’t pierce.

How to Deal with Workplace Bullying

  1. Consider the projections:
    • Bullies will always be bullies and try to invade your life and privacy. No matter how small the issue they know your very buttons to press and egg you on per say. The best method is to realize you have no control over them and there is nothing needed to be said to them. After all, bullies are jerks and if you tell them they are a jerk they will continue harassing you because they already know they are jerks! The best way to deal with a bully is identify the people who you know are and always be on guard. There is nothing wrong with avoiding someone and politely refusing not to engage in a workplace meeting or simple conversation – it is your life and time. The important aspect to remember is the issue is bothering you. Perhaps the issue wouldn’t bother your macho friend but that is not a factor in this song and dance. The point is it does bother you and you are not your friend who handles everything with ease and poise. Depending on the circumstances of your individual case you have to evaluate how serious your problem is and make your move from there. The most important part to remember is its all relative. Your huge problem might be not even a consideration for someone else, but you must remember it is truthfully a huge problem for you!
    • One projection is best summarized and depicted as the projection we have when driving our car down the street and someone, typically the bully, cuts in on us or turns in front of us. With this projection we immediately get angry and put our hand on the horn gesticulating at the other driver with a barrage of verbal obscenities.
    • The other projection is when we are shopping and pushing our trolley along calmly and someone comes into our space, barging in front of us or stopping suddenly causing us to brake to avoid a collision with them. We immediately get angry, let our trolley “bump” the other or we say something.

    Coping with bullies at work...Google Image

  2. Realize that the true projection we should have is one when we are driving along we will expect someone, the bully, to pull out in front of us and we will expect someone to turn in front of us. We should expect when shopping that someone will storm in front of us and stop suddenly. The way we deal with this is to remain calm, saying to yourself “just as I thought someone has come into my space”.
  3. Keep calm. When you know this and expect this and it happens you can react by slowing down and avoid the situation. You can remain calm and continue on your way as you knew this was going to happen and you expected it to happen and it did. You don’t get upset and would not even give it a second thought.
  4. This is the projection we should have because when we expect it to happen we are prepared to take the right course of action remaining calm and in control.
  5. Understand that this is the same with our workplace bully and harasser. We know they’re in the office and we know they are going to upset us. But knowing this we are prepared for them and not intimidated by their actions.
  6. Deal with this in one simple step. When being bullied or harassed by a work colleague put your hand up to them, about one to two feet away, just like a policeman using the stop signal with his hand. You then say to the person, “STOP. You are harassing/bullying me, I do not like the nature of your tone and request you stop speaking in this manner immediately”. Imagine the reaction you will get from the colleague, especially if they continue and you repeat yourself several times.
  7. Understand that no matter how bad the bully makes you feel, give the impression that you feel much worse. They may feel bad and stop. Sometimes they escalate it, in which case continue to escalate the exaggeration of your response. Everyone has a limit when they start to feel bad and stop being mean. You want to speed the bully’s progression towards that limit.
  8. Get assistance. If this is the case, summon immediately a co-worker. With your hand in the stop position, turn to a co-worker and ask them to come to your assistance saying, “Excuse me, could you please come to my assistance, I am being treated unfairly and I would like a witness and a person to provide me with support as I feel very uncomfortable in this situation”.

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Realize Deeply You Have the Ability to Attract What You Want, … from The Secret

Realize Deeply You Have the Ability to Attract What You Want, Especially When You Have no Idea How.

You attract what you are...

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When you can picture what you want, but have NO idea how to get it, then your first step is to feel the “I don’t know.” Become at peace with it. Open up to not knowing…. Take the breaks off and DIVE in!!

Avail yourself to “I don’t know”…. This is where you are. This is a thought-form. It may or may not be true, but fighting it won’t help. Making peace with it will.

The belief that you don’t know how and should know how to get something or how to make something happen inhibits the Power of the Universe, which KNOWS how. In other words, the thought that you don’t know how unconsciously narrows your focus.

And the way out is pure acceptance. When you become totally okay with NOT knowing, your acceptance cuts through the thought “I don’t know” like a sword, and the Universe, WHICH KNOWS, will carry on with its plan.

Change your relationship with ‘I don’t know how,’ and you will soon find you KNOW how, and ultimately you always knew.”

Jim Collins: Good to Great in 10 Steps

You're great

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1. Download the diagnostic tool at, and do the exercises with your team. Yes, I thought this was self-serving at first. Then I looked it, considered that it’s free and doesn’t require you to sign up for anything, and immediately saw his point.

2. Get the right people in the key seats. This comes from Collins’ famous observation that building a company is like driving a bus. You need a driver, but you also need the right people in all the key seats. So, says Collins, figure out how many key seats you have, and make a plan that will make sure you get all the key seats filled by the end of the year.

3. Once a quarter, have a brutal facts meeting. Be careful about who you include in this meeting. You will be discussing just the brutal facts. This is not the time to express opinions or strategize. Repeat: Only discuss the brutal facts.

4. Set a 15 to 25-year big, hairy audacious goal (BHAG). This is a goal that is concrete enough, and ambitious enough, to guide your company’s progress for years. Collins writes that “With his very first dime store in 1945, Sam Walton set the BHAG to ‘make my little Newport store the best, most profitable in Arkansas within five years.’ He continued to set BHAGs, which continued to get larger and more audacious, as his company grew.

5. Commit to a “20-mile march” that you will bring you to your big hairy audacious goal. Collins makes the analogy to someone who is trying to walk across the county. The best approach, says Collins, is to attempt to travel the same distance every day. If you’re on a 2-mile march, says Collins, you don’t bolt 30 miles ahead when the weather is good. You go 20 miles. When the weather is bad, you can’t sit inside and complain – you still have make 20 miles.

What does this have to do with entrepreneurship? In his research, Collins found that companies that perform consistently do much better than those that do spectacularly one year and are feeble the next. That’s because if you overextend in good years, when opportunity appears to be everywhere, you may not have the resources to get through the lousy years. The 20-mile march is a metaphor for the milestone that you can reach day-in and day-out.

6. Place at least one really big bet in the next three years, based on having fired bullets first. No entrepreneur has unlimited resources, just as no small army has unlimited gunpowder (this metaphor may be dated, but you get the point). The best use of limited gunpowder, or resources, says Collins, is to fire bullets to ensure that your aim is calibrated properly and that you can indeed hit your target. Only when you’re sure of your ability to hit your target should you load lots of gunpowder into a cannonball and fire away. “Fire bullets to calibrate. Fire cannonballs to go big,” says Collins.

7. Practice productive paranoia. Collins says he fondly refers to his entrepreneurial subjects as PNFs, or paranoid neurotic freaks.  “Successful companies have three to ten times the cash on their balance sheets as their peers even when they are very small,” says Collins. Or as one of the CEOs he studied said to him, “We’re very proud of the fact that we’ve predicted 11 of the past three recessions.”

How exactly can one practice productive paranoia? Collins recommends making a plan that will allow you to go for an entire year with no revenues, and still survive.

8. Get a high return on your next luck event. Collins says that both great and mediocre companies encounter the same amount of luck, good and bad. What matters, he says, is how well they’re able to capitalize on it. Collins refers to this as ‘return on luck.’ “How are you doing on luck?” he asks. “Have you turned your bad-luck events into a big part of what makes your company great? Are you squandering your good-luck events?”

9. Make a to-do list. “If you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any,” says Collins. For every major ‘to-do’ on your list, you should have a corresponding item that you will stop doing. The ‘stop-doing’ list.

10. Commit to a set of core values that you will want to build your enterprise on, without changing them, for 100 years.

“Kimberly Weisul is editor-at-large for Inc. Before joining Inc., she was a senior editor at BusinessWeek, where she spearheaded coverage of entrepreneurship and small business. She is also the co-founder of One Thing New@weisul”


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey

In his #1 bestseller, Stephen R. Covey presented a framework for personal effectiveness. The following is a summary of the first part of his book, concluding with a list of the seven habits.

The seven Habits

Inside-Out:  The Change Starts from Within

While working on his doctorate in the 1970’s, Stephen R. Covey reviewed 200 years of literature on success. He noticed that since the 1920’s, success writings have focused on solutions to specific problems. In some cases such tactical advice may have been effective, but only for immediate issues and not for the long-term, underlying ones. The success literature of the last half of the 20th century largely attributed success to personality traits, skills, techniques, maintaining a positive attitude, etc. This philosophy can be referred to as the Personality Ethic.

However, during the 150 years or so that preceded that period, the literature on success was more character oriented. It emphasized the deeper principles and foundations of success. This philosophy is known as the Character Ethic, under which success is attributed more to underlying characteristics such as integrity, courage, justice, patience, etc.

The elements of the Character Ethic are primary traits while those of the Personality Ethic are secondary. While secondary traits may help one to play the game to succeed in some specific circumstances, for long-term success both are necessary. One’s character is what is most visible in long-term relationships. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What you are shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”

To illustrate the difference between primary and secondary traits, Covey offers the following example. Suppose you are in Chicago and are using a map to find a particular destination in the city. You may have excellent secondary skills in map reading and navigation, but will never find your destination if you are using a map of Detroit. In this example, getting the right map is a necessary primary element before your secondary skills can be used effectively.

The problem with relying on the Personality Ethic is that unless the basic underlying paradigms are right, simply changing outward behavior is not effective. We see the world based on our perspective, which can have a dramatic impact on the way we perceive things. For example, many experiments have been conducted in which two groups of people are shown two different drawings. One group is shown, for instance, a drawing of a young, beautiful woman and the other group is shown a drawing of an old, frail woman. After the initial exposure to the pictures, both groups are shown one picture of a more abstract drawing. This drawing actually contains the elements of both the young and the old woman. Almost invariably, everybody in the group that was first shown the young woman sees a young woman in the abstract drawing, and those who were shown the old woman see an old woman. Each group was convinced that it had objectively evaluated the drawing. The point is that we see things not as they are, but as we are conditioned to see them. Once we understand the importance of our past conditioning, we can experience a paradigm shift in the way we see things. To make large changes in our lives, we must work on the basic paradigms through which we see the world.

The Character Ethic assumes that there are some absolute principles that exist in all human beings. Some examples of such principles are fairness, honesty, integrity, human dignity, quality, potential, and growth. Principles contrast with practices in that practices are for specific situations whereas principles have universal application.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People presents an “inside-out” approach to effectiveness that is centered on principles and character. Inside-out means that the change starts within oneself. For many people, this approach represents a paradigm shift away from the Personality Ethic and toward the Character Ethic.

The Seven Habits – An Overview

Our character is a collection of our habits, and habits have a powerful role in our lives. Habits consist of knowledge, skill, and desire. Knowledge allows us to know what to do, skill gives us the ability to know how to do it, and desire is the motivation to do it.

The Seven Habits move us through the following stages:

  1. Dependence: the paradigm under which we are born, relying upon others to take care of us.
  2. Independence: the paradigm under which we can make our own decisions and take care of ourselves.
  3. Interdependence: the paradigm under which we cooperate to achieve something that cannot be achieved independently.

Much of the success literature today tends to value independence, encouraging people to become liberated and do their own thing. The reality is that we are interdependent, and the independent model is not optimal for use in an interdependent environment that requires leaders and team players.

To make the choice to become interdependent, one first must be independent, since dependent people have not yet developed the character for interdependence. Therefore, the first three habits focus on self-mastery, that is, achieving the private victories required to move from dependence to independence. The first three habits are:

  • Habit 1: Be Proactive
  • Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
  • Habit 3: Put First Things First

Habits 4, 5, and 6 then address interdependence:

  • Habit 4: Think Win/Win
  • Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  • Habit 6: Synergize

Finally, the seventh habit is one of renewal and continual improvement, that is, of building one’s personal production capability. To be effective, one must find the proper balance between actually producing and improving one’s capability to produce. Covey illustrates this point with the fable of the goose and the golden egg.

In the fable, a poor farmer’s goose began laying a solid gold egg every day, and the farmer soon became rich. He also became greedy and figured that the goose must have many golden eggs within her. In order to obtain all of the eggs immediately, he killed the goose. Upon cutting it open he discovered that it was not full of golden eggs. The lesson is that if one attempts to maximize immediate production with no regard to the production capability, the capability will be lost. Effectiveness is a function of both production and the capacity to produce.

The need for balance between production and production capability applies to physical, financial, and human assets. For example, in an organization the person in charge of a particular machine may increase the machine’s immediate production by postponing scheduled maintenance. As a result of the increased output, this person may be rewarded with a promotion. However, the increased immediate output comes at the expense of future production since more maintenance will have to be performed on the machine later. The person who inherits the mess may even be blamed for the inevitable downtime and high maintenance expense.

Customer loyalty also is an asset to which the production and production capability balance applies. A restaurant may have a reputation for serving great food, but the owner may decide to cut costs and lower the quality of the food. Immediately, profits will soar, but soon the restaurant’s reputation will be tarnished, the customer’s trust will be lost, and profits will decline.

This does not mean that only production capacity is important. If one builds capacity but never uses it, there will be no production. There is a balance between building production capacity and actually producing. Finding the right tradeoff is central to one’s effectiveness.

The above has been an introduction and overview of the 7 Habits. The following introduces the first habit in Covey’s framework.

Habit 1:      Be Proactive

A unique ability that sets humans apart from animals is self-awareness and the ability to choose how we respond to any stimulus. While conditioning can have a strong impact on our lives, we are not determined by it. There are three widely accepted theories of determinism: genetic, psychic, and environmental. Genetic determinism says that our nature is coded into our DNA, and that our personality traits are inherited from our grandparents. Psychic determinism says that our upbringing determines our personal tendencies, and that emotional pain that we felt at a young age is remembered and affects the way we behave today. Environmental determinism states that factors in our present environment are responsible for our situation, such as relatives, the national economy, etc. These theories of determinism each assume a model in which the stimulus determines the response.

Viktor Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist who survived the death camps of Nazi Germany. While in the death camps, Frankl realized that he alone had the power to determine his response to the horror of the situation. He exercised the only freedom he had in that environment by envisioning himself teaching students after his release. He became an inspiration for others around him. He realized that in the middle of the stimulus-response model, humans have the freedom to choose.

Animals do not have this independent will. They respond to a stimulus like a computer responds to its program. They are not aware of their programming and do not have the ability to change it. The model of determinism was developed based on experiments with animals and neurotic people. Such a model neglects our ability to choose how we will respond to stimuli.

We can choose to be reactive to our environment. For example, if the weather is good, we will be happy. If the weather is bad, we will be unhappy. If people treat us well, we will feel well; if they don’t, we will feel bad and become defensive. We also can choose to be proactive and not let our situation determine how we will feel. Reactive behavior can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. By accepting that there is nothing we can do about our situation, we in fact become passive and do nothing.

The first habit of highly effective people is proactivity. Proactive people are driven by values that are independent of the weather or how people treat them. Gandhi said, “They cannot take away our self respect if we do not give it to them.” Our response to what happened to us affects us more than what actually happened. We can choose to use difficult situations to build our character and develop the ability to better handle such situations in the future.

Proactive people use their resourcefulness and initiative to find solutions rather than just reporting problems and waiting for other people to solve them.

Being proactive means assessing the situation and developing a positive response for it. Organizations can be proactive rather than be at the mercy of their environment. For example, a company operating in an industry that is experiencing a downturn can develop a plan to cut costs and actually use the downturn to increase market share.

Once we decide to be proactive, exactly where we focus our efforts becomes important. There are many concerns in our lives, but we do not always have control over them. One can draw a circle that represents areas of concern, and a smaller circle within the first that represents areas of control. Proactive people focus their efforts on the things over which they have influence, and in the process often expand their area of influence. Reactive people often focus their efforts on areas of concern over which they have no control. Their complaining and negative energy tend to shrink their circle of influence.

In our area of concern, we may have direct control, indirect control, or no control at all. We have direct control over problems caused by our own behavior. We can solve these problems by changing our habits. We have indirect control over problems related to other people’s behavior. We can solve these problems by using various methods of human influence, such as empathy, confrontation, example, and persuasion. Many people have only a few basic methods such as fight or flight. For problems over which we have no control, first we must recognize that we have no control, and then gracefully accept that fact and make the best of the situation.


Habit 1:  Be Proactive

Change starts from within, and highly effective people make the decision to improve their lives through the things that they can influence rather than by simply reacting to external forces.

Habit 2:  Begin with the End in Mind

Develop a principle-centered personal mission statement. Extend the mission statement into long-term goals based on personal principles.

Habit 3:  Put First Things First

Spend time doing what fits into your personal mission, observing the proper balance between production and building production capacity. Identify the key roles that you take on in life, and make time for each of them.

Habit 4:  Think Win/Win

Seek agreements and relationships that are mutually beneficial. In cases where a “win/win” deal cannot be achieved, accept the fact that agreeing to make “no deal” may be the best alternative. In developing an organizational culture, be sure to reward win/win behavior among employees and avoid inadvertantly rewarding win/lose behavior.

Habit 5:  Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

First seek to understand the other person, and only then try to be understood. Stephen Covey presents this habit as the most important principle of interpersonal relations. Effective listening is not simply echoing what the other person has said through the lens of one’s own experience. Rather, it is putting oneself in the perspective of the other person, listening empathically for both feeling and meaning.

Habit 6:  Synergize

Through trustful communication, find ways to leverage individual differences to create a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Through mutual trust and understanding, one often can solve conflicts and find a better solution than would have been obtained through either person’s own solution.

Habit 7:  Sharpen the Saw

Take time out from production to build production capacity through personal renewal of the physical, mental, social/emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Maintain a balance among these dimensions.

Recommended ReadingCovey, Stephen R., The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The article was taken from the website

Team Dynamics: Conflict Resolution and Time Management by The Hub

Strategies to Enchance Team Cohesiveness in an Organizational Setting

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Dynamics and Conflict within a Team

The team concept is not an unfamiliar one. We are surrounded by teams from the time we take our first breath until the time we leave this Earth. Doctors, nurses, aides, dieticians, housekeeping, and others all exhibited a collaborative effort to ensure our arrival into the world was a safe and successful journey.

Our adventures throughout grade school were also brought about by teamwork. Sports, movies, ballet, politics, business, higher education and several other parameters of life as we know it are the epitomes of teamwork, well-choreographed representations of the adage that states “Two heads are better than one. “Tasks achieved through teamwork are anticipated to be more thorough, more effective, more elaborative, more multifaceted, and more successful than those tasks carried out by one.

Individuals comprising a team contribute intrinsic skills and intuitive knowledge to the whole of the team, each member making up for what the other lacks. The result is a balanced load of all the skills necessary to complete the assigned task with proficiency (Morris, 2005). The ultimate success of the team is strongly influenced by the member’s ability to work together in a cohesive state.

“Team dynamics” encompasses any and all ways that individual affiliates interact with their counterparts en route to the common goal. The overall characteristics of the assigned task, along with the inert skill of each member may also have an impact on the team’s success (Morris, 2005). However, the focus here is more concerned with the interpersonal relationships within a team and strategies to employ in an effort to avoid conflict or to utilize should conflict arise.

The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science and Medicine defines team dynamics as the following: Often referred to colloquially as ‘team chemistry’; the patterns of interaction among team members that determine team spirit, harmony, cohesion, and morale. Some coaches believe that team dynamics are beyond their control, resulting from the unpredictable mixture of the personalities. Others believe that one of the most important tasks of a good coach is to create the best possible team dynamics for success (Oxford, 2005). The concepts behind this definition can apply to all types of teams. The team’s ‘chemistry’ is a dominant factor outlining the success of a team. If team members cannot work together effectively, then completing their assigned project is a more difficult goal to achieve.

The virtual team is presented with quite a few more discrepancies to overcome than those teams centered in real time. Before they are fully able to work up to their potential, the virtual teammates must establish some kind of rapport with their fellow constituents, lay down mutual ground rules ensuring each member has a designated responsibility, and everyone must strive to meet the team‘s common goal, no matter their differences individually.

Of these aforementioned qualities, the neutral rapport is the most difficult one to render effectively. Unfortunately, personality is often misinterpreted or lacking in full in the virtual team environment compared to those real time teams, where the member’s personalities are vividly displayed. Physically present interaction allows one to pick up on the visual and unspoken cues that contribute to a person’s character. Body language, voice inflection and intonation, the nodding of a head, or firm handshake are just among the few effective communications present in the real world, but lacking in the virtual realm. One has to rely on their own interpretations of their affiliate’s written accounts and then come to a fair-minded conclusion.

“When it comes to teamwork, a person’s ability to build relationships, work with others, and communicate effectively can be more important than his or her technical expertise” (Dawson, 2005). This concept is crucial if an online team is to be successful. If one member does not have the ability to communicate their own thoughts and ideas online, how will the rest of the team incorporate that member’s contributions into the project?

The need for team dynamics is understood after the team is formed, when the individuals work collaboratively toward the common goal. The precursor to team dynamics is (or should be) thoroughly contemplated prior to assigning each member to the team, according to the task at hand and the skills of each member. If the team consists of those most knowledgeable in marketing an idea, for example, and the project calls for a team of post-marketing surveyors, then (obviously) the team would not know how to go about getting the job done, and so their dynamics would be hindered.

Team members need to trust each other as well as trust each other’s expertise. They need to feel confident that the other members are doing their share, so that when the team finally pools their ideas together, a multifaceted solution results.

Teaming is a collective responsibility; every member is held accountable for their individual contribution, as well as the timely completion of the collaborative effort. In 1965, Bruce W. Tuckman developed a model of five stages for developing teams: “forming”, “norming”, “storming”, “producing” and “ending” (Bookman, 2005).

At the “forming” stage, dynamics are important because this is where things begin. At this point you need the chemistry to see how to set up the group according to each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You need to feel confident that all of the members are willing to do what is required for the good of the team.

The “norming” stage is where the group comes together. Dynamics are important here because decisions need to be made and rules need to be set. The team needs to decide who will do what. Expectations, both of the group and of each individual, will also be determined at this point. The team also has to decide what will be done regarding conflicts, lack of participation of a member, and lack of , or insufficient, contributions. If the group dynamic falls apart here, the group will fall apart.

If a problem is going to exist, it usually makes itself present during the “storming” stage, which now comes into play. Strong dynamics within the group can help resolve potential problems before they become major issues. As long as the group can communicate well, they should be able to resolve any conflicts.

Next in line is the “producing” stage, where good team dynamics start to pay off as the team is now producing high volumes of quality work. At this point, if there are problems with the work, a strong team dynamic will ensure the issues are resolved. Finally (and appropriately titled), we come to the “ending” stage. The team itself has completed their task and is no longer required or just one member could be departing as their individual task is complete, marking this point. If the team as a whole terminates, a good dynamic can ensure each member walks away with a positive outlook, especially if there may be another opportunity to work with the same team. However, if the ending is due to a teammate’s departure, a good team dynamic will make it easier to carry on without that member’s presence (Bookman, 2005).

Improving team dynamics is actually a learning experience. Each member has to learn to develop or improve upon their ability to trust, be dependent upon, and work with each of their partners. One way to do this is through challenge programs.

Challenge programs are initiated away from the office, and are not specifically job related. The people involved will face physical or mental challenges with only the other members of their group to rely on. The team’s success will depend on each member’s ability to trust, guide and accept guidance, assist and accept assistance from their colleagues. When it comes to teams, and the team dynamic, the success of the team is dependant on the success of the individuals (Steinfeld, 2005).

Another concept, if a physical challenge program is not an option, is an on-line training program. According to the “News” section (2005), Personnel Today mentioned that the BBC used an on-line training program that showed that the majority of participants learned a ‘significant amount’ by participating in the program. The basis of this program was to show that teams can be more successful when the leaders use more of a teaching / coaching approach rather than a command-and-control approach.

Yet another option to improve team dynamics, and have a successful team, is found in Kenneth E. Holtman’s (2005) “The 10 commandments of team leadership.” (Training 101: It’s a team effort). The abstract is a follows:

The first requires them to stick to their mission and vision, which guide teams in creating and using more precise strategies and plans. The second commandment obligates team leaders not to tolerate undesirable behavior, which can only undermine team morale and performance if not addressed properly. The third commandment insists on the eschewal of self-interest to dominate over mutual interest, which helps avoid resentment, competition and conflict. The other rules require preventing fear to influence team behavior, fighting cliques which can affect team dynamics, dealing with conflict, refusing to recognize luck of trust as an excuse, encouraging risk taking, sharing information and managing processes carefully.

Although this article refers to the leadership role, it can also be a guide to improve the team dynamic at an individual level. Even an individual, is a leader, when it comes to their part of the project.

In summary, team dynamics are important because dynamic or ‘real’ teams have clarity of purpose. Everyone understands the team’s objectives, as well as own intrinsic roles in delivering them. Other key characteristics include a focus on quality, support for innovation, and the ability to work creatively with potential conflicts” (Agnes, 2005).

Time Management . . . A concept we should all thoroughly master. In our present lives, though, managing time seems to be an insurmountable feat. We have goals whose obtainment is so far in the distance that we tend to lose sight of them, put them off to satisfy the initial moment, and lose ourselves in the process.

We all have so many things going on in life these days. We all wear so many hats, working valiantly to meet up with the demands of each one. In doing so, we put too much pressure on ourselves to please the masses, not focusing on which one should come first or which ones can be eliminated to better suit the more prospective accessories.

  • Prioritize! Analyze your collection of hats, keeping in mind that God only gave you one head because you are only one person. The two hands He blessed you with are more suitable for delegating the tasks by passing down or throwing out the hats which do not measure up to the high priority coverings.
  • Don’t waste time finding time. Each and every day seems to begin with focusing on the fastest route from point “A” to point “B,” like those deluded souls you may see driving around forever in a crowded parking lot simply to get a closer space, when they could have been in the building faster if only they had taken the first available slot.
  • We put too much time-consuming thought into those misconstrued notions held dear to our “get rich quick” “instant gratification” society. Success does not happen overnight; it never will. Honest achievements are the result of dedication, blood, sweat, tears, pain, anguish, mental fatigue, still persevering in light of all these constituents. Do not delude yourself to the “get something for nothing” ideal. In all matters of simplicity, it is just not going to happen. Instead, spend one day planning out your entire journey en route to destination, “My Ultimate Goal,” mapping out your daily trek so that you know the steps required to make your arrival at your future locale a realistic ambition.
  • Once the plan is made, we tend to start off by flying and then realize we find more pleasure in the up close and personal (although more time-consuming) scenic route. Do not focus on the negative concept of the ultimate goal being so far away, rather focus on the here and now – the positive reinforcement and instant gratification that makes itself present, daily, through climbing and conquering each individual cliff on the way to the your mountain’s pinnacle.
  • If you have chosen to spend your time griping to others about how unfair life can be, then you have the time to realize the actions required to change it. If you have the time to criticize others who are happy with their lives, then you have the time to determine what you need to do to satisfy your own, putting those realized actions into motion.
  • Do not succumb to your past negative experiences that have defined your life up to this point. Reflect and eject or define and redesign! Recognize and get rid of those experiences not applicable to your present life. Or, acknowledge those hindrances and transform them into positives. We only become strong by being willing to overcome. Once we overcome the negatives in our past, we can then view them as a present and future positive, in retrospect.
  • Do not allow present or future obstacles to terminate your journey. Push them aside, jump over them, steer around them, or do whatever you have to do to find your way back to the path you once initiated. If the obstacles are applicable to your future and you must bring them along, simply take them under your wing and walk, instead of flying. More time will be required to reach your destination, but at least you will be continuing in the right direction. According to Carol Carter, Joyce Bishop and Sarah Lyman Kravits (2002), “When you set goals, prioritize, and manage your time effectively, . . . you can develop the kind of focus that will help you achieve . . . ” Individuals and the whole team can utilize this strategy to enhance their own time management skills.
  • Time management can be accomplished at the individual level by assessing one’s daily schedule. Write a list of wanted accomplishments, and then prioritize. Be realistic when compiling a daily schedule, and do not list more than can be effectively achieved by sundown.
  • Take control of goals and stay on task. Learn how to say “no” to keep control of your schedule. If unforeseen deviations do occur, simply get back on track as soon as possible.
  • Times saving techniques are also helpful with effective time management. Take a few minute each day to plan the events happening that day, or schedule known appointments and other obligations occurring days, weeks, even months away, and then regressing to mark progress thus far. Day Runners, calendars, date books, PDAs and computers are some of the many tools available for using time wisely. Place items in “urgent” and “non-urgent” categories as the list is compiled. (Stephen Covey’s 4 Quadrants Principle). Schedule within a reasonable time frame. Allow for relaxation breaks so that the focus is heightened once back on task.

Incorporating critical thinking into our daily lives and daily routines will help us to use this technique in many areas of our lives and make more effective decisions. As the day starts, think through your day and look over your daily list to see in any adjustments need to be made. Again allow for flexibility.

Use problem-solving for conflicts in goals needing to be met for the day. Prioritize these goals and re-evaluate as necessary. Listen to pre-recorded messages when commuting to enhance your retention. This will also develop auditory skills while, simutaneously, saving time.

While at work, take advantage of break times and lunch times to fit some time for review. Keep a notepad available or PDA to make notations during the day of important ideas.

As a group, time management can be accomplished by effective communication within the working group. Explore all avenues to contact each team member. Some ways to contact each other is by email and phone. When going into the team work area online, check in to allow other members of the team to know your presence. This will allow time for dialogue. Establish set time schedules with the group to be together to go over projects online.

If a member cannot be present then they should contact another team member and follow-up after the meeting to understand the team discussion and plans. Another effective time management tool is for the team to be have defined individual roles and each to be accountable and responsible. If everyone pulls their roles and does her part of the goal then all will have equal weight and more will be accomplished towards the team goal. The individual and team effort to time management will enhance team performance as well as enhance team outcomes. (Carol Carter, Joyce Bishop and Sarah Lyman Kravits, 2002).

Conflict within a team can either be constructive or destructive and is dependent upon each affiliate’s adeptness to manage the projected outcome (Porter, 2003). Conflict occurs when communications break down, assumptions are made, and then animosity makes itself present as a result.

The potential for conflict can arise within any type of team, yet does not have to be viewed as inevitable if the proper precautionary measures are initiated. The team’s ability to collaboratively prevent its occurrence or resolve preexisting conflict is the primary challenges. An opening analysis of possible discrepancies, along with detailed strategies to triumph over them or, better yet, avoid them entirely should be implemented at the team’s first encounter.

While working in a team setting, everyone must be considerate of each other’s perspectives while, simultaneously, demonstrating their own capacity to acknowledge and reciprocate each of the following: suitable rapport, positive feedback, suggestive statements, and constructive criticism. Although the motivations and intrinsic ideas concerning how the overall goals will be met are uniquely subjective, each is entitled to their own opinion. Every member of the team should be focus on their commonalities in an effort to view the bigger picture, working collectively toward the ultimate goals of the team.

To effectively deal with conflicts in a team, one mustfirst deal with their own internal dissensions, thereby allowing proficiency in relating to others. Many conflicts stem from the impending presence of divergent attitudes, values, and perceptions within the team. (DeJanasz-Dowd-Schneider, 2001) Before trying to resolve team conflict, one must take the time to consider the beliefs applicable to each member, as well as their own, incorporating a substantial portion of each into the final thoughts. One must organize these multifaceted thoughts into ideas reflective of each member’s perspectives. Upon doing so, one exhibits their own critical thinking skills while, concurrently, presenting themselves to their teammates as non-judgmental and approachable, open-minded and adaptable. In Resolving Conflicts on the Job, Wisinksi (1993) suggests his unique “A-E -I-O-U” model as a guide one can utilize when discussing a resolution within a team:

  • A Assume the other people involved in the conflict mean well.
  • E Express your own feelings.
  • I Identify what you would like to see happen.
  • O Outcome – express the outcome you would like to see while remaining open to another outcome that may satisfy your needs and concerns.
  • U Understanding – the agreement should be understood, and committed to, by each member of the team (pp. 27) Once the individual team members understand the conflict, they can analyze all concerning parameters and resolve the conflict in unison. Once the individual team members understand the conflict, they can analyze all concerning parameters and resolve the conflict in unison.

One approach to managing conflict is Endelburg’s “4 Rs Method” as presented below:

  1. Reasons. The causes or reasons for the conflict are explored and openly, yet respectfully discussed.
  2. Reactions. Team members look at their own reactions to the conflict. If those reactions are destructive, rather than constructive, individuals can self-correct and take the necessary steps to recommit to team success.
  3. Results. If the conflict is not resolved, what might happen? How might the team work together to resolve the conflict in a constructive manner?
  4. Resolution. Which approach to conflict resolution could be used to effectively resolve the conflict? (Engleburg, 2003).

When the situation becomes uncontrollable, setting up a resolution meeting would be the best approach. Any conflict between individual members needs to be addressed through the team room, rather than individually without the team’s support. Problems usually arise when the team has to make up for the lack of participation on behalf of one or more slacking players.

Informing the team of potential delays well in advance allows for the timely delegating of additional assigned tasks to the remaining members. Assigning two team members to complete one broad task can prevent the last minute rush to make up for an individual’s deficient effort. All primary elements are represented in the final product, despite the unaccountable party’s lack of contribution

. Identifying potential dilemmas in the beginning and creating alternate strategies to compensate for them (should they arise) alleviates these stressful, last minute, accommodations. Once all other paths to resolve conflict within the teamhave been exhausted to no avail, the team should then turn to a facilitator outside the realm of the team for mediation. As a nonpartisan party, this person would make unbiased assertions to resolve the conflict, after examining the substantial arguments on both sides.

While working in a support group systemit is important to work collaboratively to complete the assigned task, each team member having their own contributions, validating and reinforcing the improvement of other’s weaknesses, and (in turn) feeding off each other’s strengths.

A team whose members qualify the ultimate goal by exhibiting courtesy and respect to all their counterparts will significantly diminish their risks for conflict. If each member acknowledges their own strengths and weaknesses, along with those of their constituents and utilizes each positive and negative aspect for the betterment of the team, the collaborative goal will certainly prevail. In regard to the assigned tasks, the team should utilize their established dynamic principles and collaboratively work toward the common goal of the team.

To be on the safe side, the team should unanimously agree to have the task completed at least one day prior to the deadline, so that procrastination does not overrule and equate to a sloppy presentation.

Knowing that each team member is equally responsible for contributing their part, and accountable for the entire outcome, each member is obligated to not only do their part, but also assist with their teammates’ assigned tasks. To be effectively presented, each right hand must know what the left hand is doing.

Members of a team should provide a thorough review of each other’s work as evidenced by an accurate summation of the topic covered, highlighting the most impressive points, then (if applicable) proceeding to constructively criticize anything they see as inappropriate, redundant, inaccurate, unappealing, etc., with detailed suggestions for improvement.

Each individual contribution is a reflection each participant and so should be revised several times to emit a positive light.

Once all revisions have been made, the drawing up of the final draft should (again) be collaborative effort. Any and all missed discrepancies will be accounted for on this pre-final review.

Once all mistakes are well documented, the final report can be drawn and submitted to the team for a final analysis. If the team is in unanimous agreement, the project can then be submitted.

In conclusion, a group must be effective in carrying out their assigned tasks. For effectiveness to occur, each member must be fair-minded, respectful of their teammates, dedicated to meeting the deadline, and willing to work through potential rough spots in order to be a valid representation in their team, bringing the team as a whole to the ultimate goal. When the task is complete, each member can take pride in their work, both as an individual and as a team.


Engleberg, I., Wynn, D., & Schuttler R. (2003). Working in groups: Communication Principles and Strategies (3rd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin, p.154.

DeJanasz-Dowd-Schneider, (2001). Interpersonal Skills in Organization. McGraw-Hill Companies, p. 246.

Shelia Porter JD, (2003). Managing Conflicts in Learning Teams. University Of Phoenix; Learning Team Toolkit, p. 1.

Wisnski, J. (1993). Resolving Conflicts on the Job. New York; American Management Association, p. 27-31.

Agnew, T. (2005, April). Dynamic teams and team dynamics: at RCN congress this month, RCN clinical leadership team co-director Anne Benson will explain her ideas on enhancing team effectiveness. Nursing Management (Harrow), 12 (1), pg. 7(1). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

Bookman, B. (1992, August). Developing teams. Training, 29(8), pg. 12(2). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

Dawson, J. (2005, April). The S.E.C.R.E.T. to successful team dynamics. Business Credit, 107(4), pg. 24(2). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

Hultman, K. (1998, February). The 10 commandments of team leadership. Training and Development, 52(2), pg. 12 (2). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

News. (2004, August 10). Personnel Today, pg. 7, 1 pg. Retrieved May 19, 2005, from ProQuest database.

Steinfeld, C. (1997, April). Challenge courses can build strong teams. Training and Development, 51(4), pg. 12(2). Retrieved May 19, 2005, from InfoTrac OneFile database.

“team dynamics” The Oxford Dictionary of Sports Science and Medicine. Oxford University Press, 1998. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Apollo Group. 20 May 2005

Morris, C. G., Maisto, A.A. (2005). Psychology: An Introduction. (12th ed.). In Social Psychology, (pp. 590-591). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

All the information was extracted from The Hub

Finding the right career tip

“1: Identify occupations that match your interests

So how do you translate your interests into a new career? With a little research, you may be surprised at the careers that relate to many of the things you love to do.

Career Path

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Career tests

Different online tools can guide you through the process of self-discovery. Questions, quizzes, and personality assessments can’t tell you what your perfect career would be, but they can help you identify what’s important to you in a career, what you enjoy doing, and where you excel. One example, frequently used by universities and the U.S. government, is the RIASEC/Holland interest scale. It outlines six common personality types, such as investigative, social, or artistic, and enables you to browse sample careers based on the type of personality you most identify with. Find links to this and other online career tests in the Resources section below.

Researching specific careers

If you have narrowed down some specific jobs or careers, you can find a wealth of information online, from description of positions to average salaries and estimated future growth. This will also help you figure out the practical priorities: How stable is the field you are considering? Are you comfortable with the amount of risk? Is the salary range acceptable to you? What about commute distances? Will you have to relocate for training or a new job? Will the new job affect your family?

Get support and information from others

While you can glean a lot of information from research and quizzes, there’s no substitute for information from someone currently working in your chosen career. Talking to someone in the field gives you a real sense of what type of work you will actually be doing and if it meets your expectations. What’s more, you will start to build connections in your new career area, helping you land a job in the future. Does approaching others like this seem intimidating? It doesn’t have to be. Networking and informational interviewing are important skills that can greatly further your career.

You may also consider career counseling or a job coach, especially if you are considering a major career shift. Sometimes impartial advice from others can open up possibilities you hadn’t considered.

Finding the right career tip 2: Evaluate your strengths and skills

Once you have a general idea of your career path, take some time to figure out what skills you have and what skills you need. Remember, you’re not completely starting from scratch—you already have some skills to start. These skills are called transferable skills, and they can be applied to almost any field. Some examples include:

  • management and leadership experience
  • communication (both written and oral)
  • research and program planning
  • public speaking
  • conflict resolution and mediation
  • managing your time effectively
  • computer literacy
  • foreign language fluency

Tips for discovering your transferable career skills

  • Don’t limit yourself to experiences only at work. When you are thinking about your skills, consider all types of activities including volunteering, hobbies, and life experiences. For example, even if you don’t have formal leadership or program planning experience, founding a book club or organizing a toy drive are ways that you have been putting these skills into practice.
  • List your accomplishments that might fit in. Don’t worry about formatting these skills for a resume at this point. You just want to start thinking about what skills you have. It can be a tremendous confidence booster to realize all of the skills you’ve developed.
  • Brainstorm with trusted friends, colleagues, or mentors. They may be able to identify transferable skills you’ve overlooked or help you better articulate these skills in the future.
  • Uncover more transferable skills by taking the online tests listed in the Resources section below.

Finding the right career tip 3: Develop your skills and experience

If your chosen career requires skills or experience you lack, don’t despair. There are many ways to gain needed skills. While learning, you’ll also have an opportunity to find out whether or not you truly enjoy your chosen career and also make connections that could lead to your dream job.

Gaining career skills:

  • Utilize your current position. Look for on-the-job training or opportunities to do projects that develop new skills. See if your employer will pay part of your tuition costs.
  • Identify resources in the community. Find out about programs in your community. Community colleges or libraries often offer low cost opportunities to strengthen skills such as computers, basic accounting, or how to start a business. Local Chambers of Commerce, Small Business Administrations, or state job development programs are also excellent resources.
  • Volunteer or work as an intern. Some career skills can be acquired by volunteering or doing an internship. This has the added benefit of getting you in contact with people in your chosen field.
  • Take classes. Some fields require specific education or skills, such as an educational degree or specific training. Don’t automatically rule out more education as impossible. Many fields have accelerated programs if you already have some education, or you may be able to do night classes or part-time schooling so that you can continue to work. Some companies even offer tuition reimbursements if you stay at the company after you finish your education.

Finding right career tip 4: Consider starting your own business

If you’re getting worn down by a long commute or a difficult boss, the thought of working for yourself can be very appealing. And even in a slower economy, it’s still possible to find your perfect niche. Depending on the specialty, some companies prefer to streamline their ranks and work with outside vendors. However, it is especially important to do your homework and understand the realities of business ownership before you jump in.

  • Make sure you are committed to and passionate about your business idea. You will be spending many long hours getting started, and it may take a while for your business to pay off.
  • Research is critical. Take some time to analyze your area of interest. Are you filling an unmet need? Especially if you are considering an online business, how likely is your area to be outsourced? What is your business plan, and who are your potential investors? Learn more in the Resources section below.
  • Expect limited or no earnings to start. Especially in the first few months, you are building your base and may have start-up costs that offset any profit initially. Make sure you have a plan on how to cope during this period.

Final tips for career changers

  • Pace yourself and don’t take on too much at once. Career change doesn’t happen overnight, and it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the steps to successfully change careers. However, you will get there with commitment and motivation. Break down large goals into smaller ones, and try to accomplish at least one small thing a day to keep the momentum going.
  • Don’t rush into a change because of unhappiness in your current job. If you are stressed and unhappy in your current job, or unemployed, you might be feeling a lot of pressure to make a quick change. However, if you don’t do enough research, you might end up in an even worse position than before, with the added stress of a new position and new learning curve.
  • Ease slowly into your new career. Take time to network, volunteer, and even work part-time in your new field before committing fully. It will not only be an easier transition, but you will have time to ensure you are on the right path and make any necessary changes before working full-time in your new field.
  • Take care of yourself. You might be feeling so busy with the career transition that you barely have time to sleep or eat. However, managing stress, eating right, and taking time for sleep, exercise, and loved ones will ensure you have the stamina for the big changes ahead.”

Article taken from

The Importance of a Positive Attitude by Jeff Boo

“What is the reason behind the different reactions from different people to one specific circumstance?

Positive mind

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Well, your reaction and ultimately your decision depend greatly on how you perceive a situation.

Take a minute to view your mind and see the flow of your thoughts.

Are those thoughts in your mind more of the negative ones or positive ones?

Have you ever wondered why a friend will walk up to you to cheer you up when you are feeling down even though you did not tell him or her anything about how you feel?

It is not that your friend can read you like a book, but your attitude and expression tell it all.

So what actually that is so powerful to affect your attitude in general? It will be none other than your mind. If you are negative about certain things that happened, your powerful frame of mind will affect your attitude in general.

You cannot simply hide your attitude as it will be shown through your face expressions, actions, speeches and appearances. Unless you are one excellent actor, people will sense your negativity when they come near you.

Beware! A negative mindset can be contagious. Anyone who gets near you can be affected by you almost instantaneously. Negativity will not only give you a gloomy and vexatious appearance, but also has the tendency to turn a happy gathering into a mourning session.

On the other hand, a positive mindset can energize you both mentally and physically, making you feeling more enthusiastic in pursuing your dream. Having a positive attitude has the power to make you appear happy and confidence. In addition, you can even have the power to affect others and hence, attract people towards you.

People with negative mind and hence negative attitude tend to shy away from challenges given to them. Negative thoughts may bring about fear; the fear of failure, the fear of what other would say about him or her, as well as the fear losing one’s security. And when you are always in your comfort zone, you will never have the chance to step on the ground of a better zone.

A positive mindset and hence, a positive attitude can benefit a person a lot. A person who projects a positive attitude loves to take up challenges given to him or her. He or she is also better in handling pressure in life and is more proactive in solving problems. In fact, it was proven in studies that a positive mindset can even lead to better health.

If positive attitude gives such good benefits, why are most people around you seemed to have negative attitudes?

You need to know that reality in life is not always everything’s coming up roses and the worst fact is that there seems to be more negative things happening around you than the positive ones. Hence, unless you can be utterly oblivious of what is happening around you, you need to adopt a positive attitude to handle all these negativities and be a winner.

Nothing wrong with feeling annoyed, down, and sad at times, but to be in such stages for too long will not do you any good. In fact, these emotions can do harm to your health. Problems can arise no matter you are one positive guy or one negative soul, so why not adopt a positive attitude to solve your problems as it will make your life much easier.

It won’t do you harm and it has so much to gain just by believing in yourself.

Start today.”

Article by Jeff Boo

About the Author : Ready to make full use of your power of mind to change your life for the better? Check out FREE special report given.


How to Have a Positive Attitude at Work

This article is the fifth in a 10-part series on the topic of overcoming career-limiting habits.

My former co-worker (let’s call her “Ruth”) always saw the negative in everything. When an idea was presented, she was the first one to say, “That won’t work.” Fair enough. But she never offered alternatives. She never looked for solutions. She never, ever gave anything or anyone the benefit of the doubt. Ruth was an absolute nightmare to work with.

I understand that some people are just naturally more positive than others. And I truly believe that every operation works best when there are a wide variety of personalities in the mix. But negativity for its own sake rarely serves a purpose. And people who can’t demonstrate a positive “can do” attitude in the workplace are truly damaging their career future.

In a recent survey, negative attitude was listed as the fifth most common career limiting habit. Not surprising. Who wants to work with a sour puss? What company wants to reward (i.e., promote) that kind of behavior? Negative people, at best, stay put. At worst, they’re shown the door.

Why Attitude Matters

You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? I’m just being honest. I have to voice my opinions and be myself. I don’t do the fake stuff.”

That’s fine. No one’s asking you to fake it…much. The workplace is a living, breathing organism and everyone impacts it. Your negative attitude can bring down the entire thing. It’s as contagious as an airborne virus.

Now, let me also be clear: Voicing a dissenting opinion, speaking assertively and saying “no” are not inherently negative. You can—and should—embrace your individuality and your professional power. But your delivery has a huge impact. Done in the wrong way, these things can certainly appear negative.

There are, however, a few simple strategies to keep in mind that will help you demonstrate a positive attitude, while still being yourself in the workplace:


It’s amazing how powerful a smile can be. It actually changes your brain chemistry. Even if you don’t feel like it, try to smile regularly throughout the day. Others will respond to you more favorably and you’ll naturally feel more positive.

Seek Solutions

Negative people see obstacles. Positive people look for solutions. Instead of pointing out a challenge and waving the white flag of surrender, approach it like a puzzle. How can we turn the situation around? How can we fix the problem? How can we make this work? It’s fine to be skeptical, but bring your own ideas to the table as well.

Remain Professional

Negativity comes from a place of emotion: Frustration, anger, disappointment, etc. Do your best to set these feelings aside. The workplace is a professional environment—it’s your responsibility to act professionally. That means using tact and diplomacy, stating facts before feelings, and finding ways to get the job done—even when it’s uncomfortable.

Respect the Team

Negativity sucks the energy from those around you. Give your team members the respect they deserve. Even if you aren’t feeling particularly positive, focus on the bigger picture. You’re a part of the team and your attitude matters. A little effort goes a long way.

Negativity is like a boomerang: It always comes back to you. Likewise, the more you project a positive attitude, the more positivity will come your way. You don’t have to pretend to be someone else. Just recognize the powerful force that is your attitude, and use it to your advantage.

The article is  Written by Chrissy Scivicque, August 01st, 2011”


What’s Old, What’s New in writing a Resume By Justin Thompson

It seems everyone has an opinion on what a resume should contain, how many pages it should be and how it should be formatted. So as we enter into a new year, what are the universally agreed-upon elements that are in, and which ones are now passe? Here are some of the best practices when it comes to crafting your resume.

Hire Me

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1. Stop trying to make ‘objective statements’ happen.

The days of including a career objective and/or professional summary are over. It’s a waste of valuable space. Instead, just address this with a sentence in your cover letter about how the position you’re applying for fits into your overall career plan. Get to business by starting with accomplishments and facts that are relevant to the job posting.

2. Be concrete.

Use numbers and proof of what you’ve done. “Increased sales by 35 percent through client profiling campaign” is better than “Increased sales in my region.” Stop putting generic tasks down, and instead, get creative in portraying what you did in your role or how you brought forth new ideas for products, processes, efficiency, etc. The more you can quantify your efforts with actual numbers or data, the better positioned you’ll be.

3. Cover letters are back.

Like the “two page versus one page” debate, the subject of cover letters is heated. While some recruiters say they don’t bother looking at them, others say some job seekers have grown lazy and won’t take the time to write one or tailor one specifically to the company to which they are applying. It’s a perfect opportunity to sell yourself, and it’s where you can infuse personality into your application. But once you craft a terrific cover letter, don’t just push it out to every job prospect. Take the extra few minutes to tailor it to why you want that specific job at that specific company and why your skills would benefit the overall organization if hired.

4. Keywords are your friend.

If a recruiter or manager can put your resume side-by-side with the job requirements and check off the same keywords, you’ve made his life so much easier. Instead of using a lot of useless jargon on your resume, pay attention to the keywords in the job posting. Be sure to use them in your resume and cover letter, because even applicant tracking systems are based on keyword searches. Just as you use keywords to search for jobs, employers are using keywords to find your resume.

5. Get creative with quick response codes.

Young professionals are using QR codes — bar codes that can be scanned by smartphones to download or link to information — on the back of business cards and on their resume to link to online portfolios. As you network and attend career fairs, you’re able to pass out business cards with the QR code that can link recruiters and other contacts to either your portfolio or LinkedIn profile so they can instantly connect with you.

6. Wow with visual resumes.

More people are using tools to help illustrate their work history through sites such as These sites offer tools to help individuals present the information on their resumes in a unique way that stands out. Just remember that you still need a traditional format to hand out or attach to make it easy for saving in company databases.

7. Give video a chance.

In this tough economy, job seekers are going to creative lengths to get their name, talents and personality in front of employers, like this resume video for a Google position. If you’re going to create something like this, make sure you’re providing substance or showing off your soft skills within the video instead of just doing something flashy to get the recruiter’s attention.

8. Social media are here to stay

If you’re not using social media to promote yourself, you’re missing out. Just as employers use multiple avenues to push out job postings, you as a job seeker need to use all the channels available to you to put yourself in front of recruiters. Using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn as a means to give updates on your career or connect with other professionals gives your resume legs and can make you more memorable as a candidate. But since companies are screening candidates through social media, make sure your online profiles are either professional facing or locked for outside viewing.

Justin Thompson is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

10 Interwiewing Tips


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1. Do Your Research

Researching the company before the interview and learning as much as possible about its services, products, customers and competition will give you an edge in understanding and addressing the company’s needs. The more you know about the company and what it stands for, the better chance you have of selling yourself in the interview. You also should find out about the company’s culture to gain insight into your potential happiness on the job.

2. Look Sharp

Select what to wear to the interview. Depending on the industry and position, get out your best interview clothes and check them over for spots and wrinkles. Even if the company has a casual environment, you don’t want to look like you slept in your outfit. Above all, dress for confidence. If you feel good, others will respond to you accordingly.

3. Be Prepared

Bring along a folder containing extra copies of your resume, a copy of your references and paper to take notes. You should also have questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview. For extra assurance, print a copy of Monster‘s handy interview take-along checklist.

4. Be on Time

Never arrive late to an interview. Allow extra time to arrive early in the vicinity, allowing for factors like getting lost. Enter the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview.

5. Show Enthusiasm

A firm handshake and plenty of eye contact demonstrate confidence. Speak distinctly in a confident voice, even though you may feel shaky.

6. Listen

One of the most neglected interview skills is listening. Make sure you are not only listening, but also reading between the lines. Sometimes what is not said is just as important as what is said.

7. Answer the Question Asked

Candidates often don’t think about whether they are actually answering the questions their interviewers ask. Make sure you understand what is being asked, and get further clarification if you are unsure.

8. Give Specific Examples

One specific example of your background is worth 50 vague stories. Prepare your stories before the interview. Give examples that highlight your successes and uniqueness. Your past behavior can indicate your future performance.

9. Ask Questions

Many interviewees don’t ask questions and miss the opportunity to find out valuable information. The questions you ask indicate your interest in the company or job.

10. Follow Up

Whether it’s through email or regular mail, the interview follow-up is one more chance to remind the interviewer of all the valuable traits you bring to the job and company. Don’t miss this last chance to market yourself.

It is important to appear confident and cool for the interview. One way to do that is to be prepared to the best of your ability. There is no way to predict what an interview holds, but by following these important rules you will feel less anxious and will be ready to positively present yourself.

Articles in This Feature:

Article from

Well Done President Obama and First Lady Michelle 

Job well done President Obama and First Lady Michelle. I will forever remember your time as leaders. I await the day to share this legacy with my next generation. (Memories just keep flooding my mind from the first day I saw you in Chicago on TV giving a speech to today)
I am truly proud of your work and look forward to the next chapters in your journey. You and the family should be proud. You are a true inspiration and I feel like I’m a better person because of your leadership. Tomorrow will be different not having you as our President 😭 😭 😭. We love you Barack and Michelle. #Remarkable #Insparational #Outstanding #Memorable #ShapingHistory #ProudtobeAmerican #PreciuosMemories

Make a Great First Impression 

On the day of your interview make a great first impression.

•Be polite and give a firm, confident handshake

•Smile when you introduce yourself

•Engage in a little small talks

•Remember to be yourself and do not overdo the small talk session

•Let the interviewer take the lead

•Be personable and ask for clarification if you are not sure of the question being asked

•Leave an indelible impression in the interviewers mind

•Always prepare for an interview

All the best if you are going through the interviewing process. See you again next week where I will share another great tip.

Act Today… Tomorrow is not Promised 

Never put off what you can do today for tomorrow because you don’t know what the future holds. Be intentional about your results and your career development.

Be the best you today and do something to help with your personal development. Be bold and step out of your comfort zone. Do something you’ve never done before.

•Request a One-on-One with your superior

•Be prepared to take about three things to help you achieve your current goals

•Ask for feedback on your progress

•Let your Supervisor/Mentor/Manager/Regional Manager/Director know your thoughts in terms of future roles you will love to serve in and ask for feedback to help get you to that level

• Set appointment and send a meeting maker for next One-on-One to discuss outcome (best practices, struggles, areas of opportunities, pitfalls, winning strategies, Strength, etc)

Inbox me with any questions or concerns. See you next week where I’ll share another tip.


Job Cafe Inc Update

Hello team, we have more great news.  
Job Cafe Inc got a request yesterday from another financial giant within the Tristate area to source several candidates with positions ranging from Personal Bankers, Teller Supervisors, Full and Part-Time Tellers.
We spent most of the day going through resumes and connecting with members and conducting final preparations with them to meet with these employers.

So thankful at this point!!!

Maintaining a Professional Presence 

It is incumbent upon us as leaders to maintain a professional presence regardless of any situations we are facing. Especially those of us who are entrepreneurs.

Every wonder why you are so great but you never have any repeat clients or no referrals to your business/ministry? 

One interesting fact is sometimes a client will pay more and at the same time settle for less than to have the drama associated with ‘great work’ and or ‘huge egos’.

Well here’s a great place to start improving. Do some soul searching and see where you are in maintaining a professional presence with your clients…Ask yourself these questions and be totally honest. In fact, if you have a mentor ask your mentor to evaluate you in the following areas.

1. How am I coming across when I’m under pressure?

2. What channels I use to communicate important information? Is it a preferred method by my clients?

3. How do I handle messages and follow up conversations? 

4. Do I always do my best, in my clients presence and behind their backs and who defines what is my best, my clients or I?

5. Am I humble or do I get ahead of myself when I think I get it, and can I be trusted with sensitive information?

6. Do I let the unprocessed me hang all out for clients and everyone to see?

If you are coming up low on any of these behaviors, talk with a mentor and develop a plan together to help get you to a better place in the near future.

Anyone of these behaviors could be an impediment for you getting from good to great and from developing a personal brand of maintaining a professional presence.

If you do not have a mentor or a career coach please contact Job Cafe Inc at 215-817-6240 or