Wednesday, 30 December 2015


8 Ways to Become Everyone's Favorite Boss



Contributor

It’s easy to understand why the motto “Work hard and be nice to people” is so popular. Not only is it short and memorable, but it reminds us how valuable often overlooked traits like diligence and kindness are in the workplace. With that in mind, I’ve created a detailed guide corporate leaders can follow to become bosses valued and liked by their employees. It’s not always easy -- this sort of leadership requires a light touch and the ability to put out fires without burning bridges -- but the following eight tips are a good place to start.

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Appearing authoritative but down-to-earth can be a hard balance to maintain, and so boundaries are critical. While there are any number of ways to distinguish yourself as a leader, symbolic or superficial gestures mean little. Don’t get caught up in dressing more formally, reserving a parking spot or having luxurious lunches catered. Instead, opt for more substantial differentiators such as being the first in and last out and exhibiting relentless enthusiasm. At the same time, resist the urge to relate to your employees by casually dropping in “just to chat” or by asking to join them for lunch. Let these relationships develop naturally and don’t worry about whether you’re seen as a friend or confidant. That’s not your job.

2. Remember your workforce is not your family.

You and your staff are teammates, close friends even, but you’re not a family. Every company benefits from a healthy culture, but don’t liken it to the intensity and obligation that comes with the word “family.” This doesn’t mean you can’t have inside jokes, but try not to introduce and enforce too many mottos or die-hard rules. Corporate culture and human capital strategies are vital, and they definitely needed a reboot from their stodgy 1980’s Wall Street roots. Some culture is good and can prevent negative chatter, but too much culture can have the opposite effect.

3. Invite and embrace criticism.

This can be a more difficult rule to follow for leaders than for the rest of the company. I’ve seen plenty of well-meaning bosses try to implement an environment that welcomes constructive feedback, only to lose focus and snap at the first well-meaning employee who critiques their own performances. Give your team a format for addressing issues they may otherwise be too timid to mention, and show them their honesty and commitment to improving is appreciated by accepting criticism gracefully.

4. Don’t be a target.

As a leader, you have the ability to choose your degree of visibility. There’s a happy medium to be struck here: be around just enough to give people tangible things to like about you, but be absent enough that they can’t find anything to dislike. Whenever possible, deliver good news, interesting developments, cool new hires, etc. at company-wide meetings. Try and take a few questions, maybe ones you’ve screened via email first. Carefully regulate your presence, but also pay close attention to the tone of your interactions. Even if you are funny, don’t be tempted to be the funny boss. Remember-- if a joke lands, it will probably offend someone, and if it doesn’t land, it will offend everyone.

5. Use competitors as motivators.

If you ever sense a rumbling in the halls, a dip in morale or general discontent, diverting attention to an external 3rd party can be a great way to mediate tension. Spend a month talking about a competitor and how each of your employees can enhance your company’s competitive edge by embracing their killer instinct and desire to win. Do you have an upcoming product launch, conference or public appearance? Focus on that external deadline and create a narrative that hones employees’ desire to meet it. This is a sound motivational technique, as teams often perform better when they can rally against an external force. People tend to see their lives in terms of simple plot structures with a cast of heroes and villains; give them the right villains, and you’ll improve your chance of being a hero.

6. Give out free perks.

Free stuff moves mountains. People love gifts and the people who give them, so take advantage of the opportunity to be a source of joy and generosity. This practice goes beyond handing out company t-shirts and other forgettable swag. Give your employees something they’ll remember. For those of you that already pay for employee meals, snacks, booze, and raffles, you’ll probably have to think outside the box on this one. Even if your employees are spoiled, an unexpected freebie is invaluable for its ability to stimulate psychological attachment and loyalty. When in doubt, who doesn’t love freebie tech gadgets?

7. Ask for small favors.

Everyone wants to feel needed. Approach your employees off-the-cuff and ask them to do a quick job that they can easily accomplish but that doesn’t make you appear petty for asking. You can do this with every employee whose job title you actually understand. Jim in IT would be happy to spend 30 minutes looking into the most sophisticated voice-to-type apps for you, and doing so will subtly ingratiate you to him. Be sure to stipulate that your requests shouldn’t take too long. That way, people will be more likely to let you know if the task you assigned was unintentionally difficult.

8. Publically apologize for your mistakes.

Fallibility is an important quality, but more important is the emotional currency earned from a public and sincere apology. Apologies are powerful and bely a sense of empathy, virtue and corporate responsibility. Once again, you’ll need a mild touch here. Don’t out yourself by apologizing for a massive, reputation-scarring mistake, but don’t try and apologize for not restocking the snack supply in a timely fashion (you’ll appear ridiculous). Focus on medium size mistakes, and craft your apology accordingly.


culled from:entrepreneur.com

Pro Tips for Hitting the Pricing Nail on the Head



Contributor

In The Marketing Plan Handbook, author Robert W. Bly explains how you can develop big-picture marketing plans for pennies on the dollar with his 12-step marketing plan. In this edited excerpt, Bly outlines the five factors you need to take into account when pricing your product or service.
What should you charge for your product? Are you looking to create a low-priced item you can sell as a loss leader to bring in new custom­ers? Or are you looking to create a high-priced back-end product to sell to your existing customers?
To me, it’s more rewarding to command a higher price, charge premium fees, and get paid very, very well for what you sell. Especially if you're in a service business, competing on price means you work harder to earn less. Who wants that?
But in a competitive world where many other businesses seemingly offer products and services similar to yours, how do you command a premium price? There are five factors you can control or exploit to enable you to charge a much higher price than your competitors in virtually any field -- and have more customers than you can handle waiting in line, cash in hand, to pay it.
The first factor is supply and demand. According to simple economics, the greater the demand for something and the more limited the supply, the more the seller can charge and get paid for it. Since you’re not OPEC, you probably can’t control the supply of your product or service, so what you have to do is create an overwhelming demand for you, your product, or your service. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to position yourself as the pre-eminent expert or authority in your field. If people view you as the guru in property taxes, hazardous waste cleanup, or whatever your field is, they'll come to you first, knocking each other over to hire you instead of your lesser-known competitors.
The second factor you can control is your market niche. As a rule of thumb, the narrower your market niche, the more you can charge. Specialists can always charge more than generalists. If you're a marketing consultant handling any small business clients you can get, you have lots of competition and great difficulty commanding a premium fee. On the other hand, if you specialize in the marketing of accounting practices, accountants will pay a premium to get your advice because it applies to their own situation.
The third factor you can control is value. If your competitors all sell audiobooks with six CDs for $79, and you want to charge $300 for six CDs on similar topics, why should the buyer pay it? You could include a CD with related software programs (e.g., if the album is about time management, the CD could contain a personal day planner). The material cost is only a dollar or so per CD, but the perceived value of software is easily $100 or more, enabling you to charge a premium price for your package. And that’s the trick: to add extras that have high-perceived value but don’t cost you much.
In addition to high-perceived value, look for premiums that are unique. The Sovereign Society, a newsletter on offshore investing, had great success offering new subscribers an unusual premium: their own Swiss bank account.
The fourth factor you can control is ROI. If you design your product or service so it generates a large ROI that's easy to see and measure, it'll be much easier to sell at the price you want to get. For example, $200 for a high-tech thermostat may seem like a lot of money, but not if the manufacturer can prove that installing the thermostat will save the homeowner $300 to $1,000 a year in heating and air conditioning costs.
The fifth factor you can control is customers’ concern about whether they'll be satisfied with your product. You can control this by offering a money-back guarantee. Guarantees overcome sales resistance. If you guarantee customers will be happy and you'll refund their money if they're not, they'll be more willing to pay your price, no matter what it is.
The best guarantees are:
  • Fair
  • Generous
  • Long-term
  • Unconditional
Most people won’t take unfair advantage of your guarantee. If you sell a quality product, accurately described in your marketing, at a price that’s fair in relationship to its value, your return rate will be low -- probably less than 5 percent.
That still means 1 in 20 will ask for a refund. Give them back their money promptly and with good cheer. Few things will cause more customer dissatisfaction and ruin your reputation faster than being difficult, adversarial, and uncooperative when people believe what you said in your guarantee and take you up on it. Don’t get angry with these folks. Returning the product is their right -- and part of your cost of doing business.
And there you have it. Increase demand for your product or service, target a vertical market niche, add value, generate a good ROI, and guarantee satisfaction, and customers will gladly pay your price, even if it’s 50 to100 percent or more above what your competitors charge.

culled from:entrepreneur.com



By Chad Brooks

Despite common beliefs, hiring overqualified employees isn't always harmful to your business, new research suggests.

Although it has long been accepted that hiring overqualified employees is detrimental to an organization, new research finds that there are ways to negate the negative impact, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

The key to seeing benefits from overqualified employees is hiring them regularly, rather than making their hires a rare occurrence, the study found.
The study defines overqualification as an "employment situation in which employees feel that they possess surplus qualifications relative to what a job requires.

"When individual employees feel that they are not the only 'big fish in the pond,' and when overqualification becomes a norm rather than exception within the group, they tend to have more favorable reactions toward their own overqualification status and perform better," the study's authors wrote.

The research was based on interviews and studies of 351 employees and their supervisors from 11 information technology companies in China over a six-month period. [Now Hiring? Leadership Language to Look For ]

The study's authors found that when working with co-workers whose average overqualification level was high, employees who felt overqualified perceived greater task-significance, felt that they fit in better with their peers and demonstrated higher levels of performance.

"Managers may benefit from understanding that as overqualification becomes normalized in the workplace, it exerts a more positive influence over such behaviors as job performance and citizenship," Jasmine Hu, one of the study's authors and an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, said in a statement.

To ensure overqualified employees know they aren't alone, organizations should recognize employees' qualifications when they are first hired and point out they are in good company by emphasizing that they will be working with a highly qualified group, Hu said.

"Managers could also encourage more interactions among members to build team spirit, emphasizing the importance of benefiting others through one's work, and highlight the interpersonal compatibility within a group to promote the positive influence of overqualification on employee attitudes and behaviors," Hu said.

The study was co-authored by Kaifeng Jiang, an assistant professor at Notre Dame, and Berrin Erdogan and Talya Bauer, professors at Portland State University.

culled from:businessnewsdaily.com
The study defines overqualification as an "employment situation in which employees feel that they possess surplus qualifications relative to what a job requires.
"When individual employees feel that they are not the only 'big fish in the pond,' and when overqualification becomes a norm rather than exception within the group, they tend to have more favorable reactions toward their own overqualification status and perform better," the study's authors wrote.
The research was based on interviews and studies of 351 employees and their supervisors from 11 information technology companies in China over a six-month period. [Now Hiring? Leadership Language to Look For]
The study's authors found that when working with co-workers whose average overqualification level was high, employees who felt overqualified perceived greater task-significance, felt that they fit in better with their peers and demonstrated higher levels of performance.
"Managers may benefit from understanding that as overqualification becomes normalized in the workplace, it exerts a more positive influence over such behaviors as job performance and citizenship," Jasmine Hu, one of the study's authors and an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame, said in a statement.
To ensure overqualified employees know they aren't alone, organizations should recognize employees' qualifications when they are first hired and point out they are in good company by emphasizing that they will be working with a highly qualified group, Hu said.
"Managers could also encourage more interactions among members to build team spirit, emphasizing the importance of benefiting others through one's work, and highlight the interpersonal compatibility within a group to promote the positive influence of overqualification on employee attitudes and behaviors," Hu said.
The study was co-authored by Kaifeng Jiang, an assistant professor at Notre Dame, and Berrin Erdogan and Talya Bauer, professors at Portland State University.
- See more at: /img.jpg//www.businessnewsdaily.com/8672-overqualified-employee-benefits.html#sthash.uhHi5bTl.dpuf

Thursday, 3 December 2015


answer-oddball-interview-questions

Peggy McKee

Sometimes, you’re in a job interview and out of left field comes a question so bizarre that you have no idea how it could possibly apply to this job. Why do interviewers ask oddball interview questions? Almost always, it’s because they are trying to get at your true personality. They’re trying to surprise you into an answer that comes straight from the heart, because you haven’t (and couldn’t have) prepared or practiced for it.

If you get asked an oddball question, remember that it’s OK for you to stop and think a moment about your answer (not too long, but a moment). Don’t pop off with something that could end up hurting your chances at the job.
Here are three oddball interview questions with some ideas for how to answer them:

If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?

Here is the Most Important Rule about any ‘what would you be’ question: Always choose QUALITIES about the thing (whatever it is) that apply to you and your fit for this job. Do not answer it by naming things that you like about it (i.e. “I would be an apple tree because apples are my favorite fruit.”)
It’s always a good idea, as part of your interview prep, to think about what qualities you have that would be good for someone in this job. If you’ve done that, it may be easier than you think to come up with an answer to a personality question like this on the fly.
What trees are ‘good’ trees? The oak tree is a tried-and-true answer—it’s strong and doesn’t bend in the wind (otherwise known as pressure from others). On the other hand, a palm tree could be a great answer because it’s so flexible it can stand up to hurricanes. If ‘productive’ is an adjective that applies to you, you could choose a fruit tree or a sugar maple tree (it produces maple syrup).
Trees NOT to choose: Cottonwood trees tend to be a nuisance because they release a lot of floating ‘cotton’ structures that carry seeds, so that may not be a wise choice. Neither is a sad, weak Weeping Willow. (I personally love both of those trees, but remember—it’s not the tree, it’s the quality the tree represents.)

If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

Always keep cultural perceptions in mind when you answer this question. For instance, some people think of cats as independent, but others see them as lazy and standoffish.
Animals with better PR are usually ones like:
  • Horses (strong, smart, and able to work alone or on a team)
  • Eagles (soar above other birds, able to see the big picture)
  • Elephants (strong, intelligent, loyal, unstoppable)
  • Monkeys (quick learners, agile, help others)

How many basketballs could you fit into a limousine?

This is more of a brainteaser question, designed to get you to demonstrate how you think and solve problems. This kind of question takes many forms:
  • How would you move a mountain 1 foot over?
  • What would you do if an airplane landed in our parking lot?
Whatever the question is, here’s what to do:
Start thinking through the answer out loud. They want to see how you think. Reason it out. Use a pen and paper to solve it if you need to (a productive person uses the resources necessary to solve a problem).
Say something like, “Well, a basketball is about one cubic foot, so I would find out the average cubic feet of the inside of a limousine and I’d have my answer.”
If they’d filled the limousine with marbles or tennis balls or jelly beans, you could say, “I could get a one foot cube, fill it with jelly beans, count those, and multiply that by the average cubic feet of a limousine.”
You don’t have to arrive at an exact right answer to deliver a good answer (I bet they don’t know how many basketballs you could fit into a limousine, either).
Remember, you may not get asked these exact questions. The goal is to help you think about how to think about these kinds of questions so that you know what to do if you are surprised by one in the interview.
Get the best answers to 101 job interview questions and crush your interview!
Best of luck.

culled from:careerealism.com


Close-up of a girl eating an asparagus

by

One of the earliest signs of a new growing season is the presence of asparagus at the supermarket. Asparagus is a tall plant from the lily family whose shoots are edible and considered a health vegetable that is perfect for almost any diet. There are many reasons why everyone should be eating asparagus. Let’s take a look at exactly why you should make this tasty vegetable a part of your diet.

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Asparagus is loaded with nutrients your body needs such as fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E and K. It also contains chromium, a mineral that helps improve insulin’s ability to remove glucose from the body’s cells, meaning it is great for diabetics.

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All jokes about the smell of your urine after you eat asparagus aside, this little veggie is a natural diuretic due to the presence of the amino acid asparagine. This increased urination will help your body shed excess salts, which is particular beneficial for anyone that retains too much fluid in their bodies.

3. Asparagus Can Help You Shed Excess Weight

At only 3 calories per spear, asparagus is a great vegetable to add to any diet, and especially good for those that are looking to lose weight. You can easily snack on these at any time without having to worry about the extra calories. Just think of it as a guilt-free snack.

4. It Helps Prevent Cancer

Asparagus is a great source for glutathione, a known agent that can help your body break down and remove carcinogens from your body. This means that it, in effect, can help prevent cancer from forming and growing in your body.

5. Naturally Organic

Asparagus is one of the fastest growing of all the spring vegetables. Because of this fact, there is very little need to continually spray them with pesticides to protect the crops. While some are still used, asparagus has some of the lowest concentrations of any non-organic crop on the market. Of course, you can still buy organic to support the cause, but you have less to worry about it when you purchase asparagus.

6. Great Food for Bacteria

Remember, not all bacteria are bad. In fact, there are many types of bacteria living inside each and every one of us as we speak, and without them we couldn’t survive. Asparagus contains a unique carbohydrate known as Inunlin. This carb is great for those bacteria living inside you as it promotes healthy growth and activity of these bacteria.

7. Natural Aphrodisiac

Admittedly, more research needs to be done in this area, but it is a long held belief that asparagus is an aphrodisiac. Whether you are male or female, there is a long held belief that it can help improve your sex drive and it has even been used to increase pregnancy chances and to treat many of the symptoms of menopause.

8. It Tastes Great

I admit, taste is a rather subjective subject. However, when it is prepared correctly, asparagus tastes great and can compliment almost any meal. There are many ways you can prepare it. You can steam it, roast it and even grill it. No matter which method you choose, you will have a wonderful side dish perfect for almost any meal.
To steam asparagus, place a steamer basket in a saucepan and add water filling the saucepan to just below the basket. Bring the water to a boil. Add the asparagus to the basket, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 3 to 5 minutes covered until the asparagus is somewhat tender yet crisp.

Who Should Eat It

With very few downsides to asparagus, it is really a great vegetable for everyone to enjoy. When you do eat it, make sure you cut off the very bottom of each of the stalks, as they tend to be difficult to chew. Some people who are following a strict diet for other health reasons should always consult with their physician before adding asparagus to their diet.

Conclusion

Asparagus is a great tasting vegetable that is good for your health in many ways, making it the perfect side dish for any meal or even a great snack idea to help get you through those hungry times. With all its health benefits and its great taste, it’s perfect for anyone looking to live a healthier life. So why not steam some asparagus today and start reaping all the benefits it has to offer.


culled from:lifehack.org


By Nicole Fallon Taylor

It's often said that it takes a certain type of person to be a great leader. These individuals exhibit qualities like passion, integrity, a take-charge attitude and the ability to inspire others. Employers and executives recognize this, and these "born leaders" are often first in line for promotions to leadership roles.

But people with leadership potential don't simply become leaders overnight. It's up to existing leaders to train the next generation, showing them how to guide a group of people toward a specific vision or goal.

Whether your company has a structured training program or you simply teach by example, here are a few key things to keep in mind when you're training future leaders. [5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Leader]
Choose the right people

While certain individuals may seem like shoe-ins for a leadership position based on their personality or their current role within a company, it's crucial to take all performance and experience factors into account before determining their leadership candidacy.

"Before you start teaching and enhancing the skills of a leader, you have to start with the right person," said Brian Sullivan, a vice president at sales and management training firm Sandler Training. "This person should have a track record of success [in their current role] and have already exhibited leadership traits. Not everything they'll be doing as a leader is necessarily something they've done before, but these two fundamental items are the springboard for any type of training."

Sullivan also told leaders not to allow favoritism to come into play when choosing a successor, and make a decision based solely on a candidate's qualifications.
Make sure they understand the business

A good leader must always be training the next generation of leaders, said Stephen Sheinbaum, founder of financial technology company Bizfi, which provides alternative finance for small businesses. To do this, leadership candidates need to be well-versed in where your business is headed, and what kinds of people and skills will be needed to make that happen.

"If a greater use of technology is going to be key to the future growth of your company, then you've got to make sure that your leaders understand that technology and its importance in your industry," Sheinbaum said. "They may not be the ones writing the code, but they have to know how to hire, communicate with and guide the coders that you will need."
Build their listening skills

One of the most important skills a leader can acquire is how to listen. A true leader always takes his or her team's feedback into account when making decisions. This skill can be taught by being a good listener yourself.

"Always listen to the input you receive, and act on it," said Guryan Tighe, a partner at Speakeasy Strategies public relations firm. "If you have only your own agenda in mind, you can't truly hear others' input and potentially, the next great idea. Make sure your business is set up to stimulate people around you to create and take initiative. For example, ask the trainees about their training experience, as this encourages an environment focused on growth and development."
Help them craft a future vision

"Vision" is a word that is commonly thrown around in reference to leaders, but what does it really mean? Denise Brosseau, CEO of Thought Leadership Lab, believes it involves the ability to inspire others to see a future worth striving for.

"[Leaders should] focus on crafting a compelling vision of the future that they will work to bring about," said Brosseau, author of "Ready to Be a Thought Leader?" (Jossey-Bass, 2014). "This future must be something they are passionate about, but they must also have the credibility and experience to make progress toward achieving it."

Teaching leadership candidates how to create and articulate their own future vision will help them when it comes time to actually execute plans to get there.
Look at their motivations

If a leadership candidate seems more excited about being "the boss" who's in charge of others, he or she probably isn't the best person for the job. A good leader knows that his or her job is working for everybody else, said Dale Falcinelli, chairman of the advisory council at Lehigh University's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship.

"Leadership is an executive club, and it shouldn't be taken for granted," Falcinelli told Business News Daily. "Leaders aren't caught up with the notion of people working for them. They'll have the passion and drive to get where they need to go, and they'll know that to get there, they have to work for and through other people."


culled from:businessnewsdaily.com
It's often said that it takes a certain type of person to be a great leader. These individuals exhibit qualities like passion, integrity, a take-charge attitude and the ability to inspire others. Employers and executives recognize this, and these "born leaders" are often first in line for promotions to leadership roles.
But people with leadership potential don't simply become leaders overnight. It's up to existing leaders to train the next generation, showing them how to guide a group of people toward a specific vision or goal.
Whether your company has a structured training program or you simply teach by example, here are a few key things to keep in mind when you're training future leaders. [5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Leader]
While certain individuals may seem like shoe-ins for a leadership position based on their personality or their current role within a company, it's crucial to take all performance and experience factors into account before determining their leadership candidacy.
"Before you start teaching and enhancing the skills of a leader, you have to start with the right person," said Brian Sullivan, a vice president at sales and management training firm Sandler Training. "This person should have a track record of success [in their current role] and have already exhibited leadership traits. Not everything they'll be doing as a leader is necessarily something they've done before, but these two fundamental items are the springboard for any type of training."
Sullivan also told leaders not to allow favoritism to come into play when choosing a successor, and make a decision based solely on a candidate's qualifications.
A good leader must always be training the next generation of leaders, said Stephen Sheinbaum, founder of financial technology company Bizfi, which provides alternative finance for small businesses. To do this, leadership candidates need to be well-versed in where your business is headed, and what kinds of people and skills will be needed to make that happen.
"If a greater use of technology is going to be key to the future growth of your company, then you've got to make sure that your leaders understand that technology and its importance in your industry," Sheinbaum said. "They may not be the ones writing the code, but they have to know how to hire, communicate with and guide the coders that you will need."
One of the most important skills a leader can acquire is how to listen. A true leader always takes his or her team's feedback into account when making decisions. This skill can be taught by being a good listener yourself.
"Always listen to the input you receive, and act on it," said Guryan Tighe, a partner at Speakeasy Strategies public relations firm. "If you have only your own agenda in mind, you can't truly hear others' input and potentially, the next great idea. Make sure your business is set up to stimulate people around you to create and take initiative. For example, ask the trainees about their training experience, as this encourages an environment focused on growth and development."
"Vision" is a word that is commonly thrown around in reference to leaders, but what does it really mean? Denise Brosseau, CEO of Thought Leadership Lab, believes it involves the ability to inspire others to see a future worth striving for.
"[Leaders should] focus on crafting a compelling vision of the future that they will work to bring about," said Brosseau, author of "Ready to Be a Thought Leader?" (Jossey-Bass, 2014). "This future must be something they are passionate about, but they must also have the credibility and experience to make progress toward achieving it."
Teaching leadership candidates how to create and articulate their own future vision will help them when it comes time to actually execute plans to get there.
If a leadership candidate seems more excited about being "the boss" who's in charge of others, he or she probably isn't the best person for the job. A good leader knows that his or her job is working for everybody else, said Dale Falcinelli, chairman of the advisory council at Lehigh University's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship.
"Leadership is an executive club, and it shouldn't be taken for granted," Falcinelli told Business News Daily. "Leaders aren't caught up with the notion of people working for them. They'll have the passion and drive to get where they need to go, and they'll know that to get there, they have to work for and through other people."
- See more at: /img.jpg//www.businessnewsdaily.com/5818-leadership-training.html#sthash.4PXCF2Hv.dpuf
It's often said that it takes a certain type of person to be a great leader. These individuals exhibit qualities like passion, integrity, a take-charge attitude and the ability to inspire others. Employers and executives recognize this, and these "born leaders" are often first in line for promotions to leadership roles.
But people with leadership potential don't simply become leaders overnight. It's up to existing leaders to train the next generation, showing them how to guide a group of people toward a specific vision or goal.
Whether your company has a structured training program or you simply teach by example, here are a few key things to keep in mind when you're training future leaders. [5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Leader]
While certain individuals may seem like shoe-ins for a leadership position based on their personality or their current role within a company, it's crucial to take all performance and experience factors into account before determining their leadership candidacy.
"Before you start teaching and enhancing the skills of a leader, you have to start with the right person," said Brian Sullivan, a vice president at sales and management training firm Sandler Training. "This person should have a track record of success [in their current role] and have already exhibited leadership traits. Not everything they'll be doing as a leader is necessarily something they've done before, but these two fundamental items are the springboard for any type of training."
Sullivan also told leaders not to allow favoritism to come into play when choosing a successor, and make a decision based solely on a candidate's qualifications.
A good leader must always be training the next generation of leaders, said Stephen Sheinbaum, founder of financial technology company Bizfi, which provides alternative finance for small businesses. To do this, leadership candidates need to be well-versed in where your business is headed, and what kinds of people and skills will be needed to make that happen.
"If a greater use of technology is going to be key to the future growth of your company, then you've got to make sure that your leaders understand that technology and its importance in your industry," Sheinbaum said. "They may not be the ones writing the code, but they have to know how to hire, communicate with and guide the coders that you will need."
One of the most important skills a leader can acquire is how to listen. A true leader always takes his or her team's feedback into account when making decisions. This skill can be taught by being a good listener yourself.
"Always listen to the input you receive, and act on it," said Guryan Tighe, a partner at Speakeasy Strategies public relations firm. "If you have only your own agenda in mind, you can't truly hear others' input and potentially, the next great idea. Make sure your business is set up to stimulate people around you to create and take initiative. For example, ask the trainees about their training experience, as this encourages an environment focused on growth and development."
"Vision" is a word that is commonly thrown around in reference to leaders, but what does it really mean? Denise Brosseau, CEO of Thought Leadership Lab, believes it involves the ability to inspire others to see a future worth striving for.
"[Leaders should] focus on crafting a compelling vision of the future that they will work to bring about," said Brosseau, author of "Ready to Be a Thought Leader?" (Jossey-Bass, 2014). "This future must be something they are passionate about, but they must also have the credibility and experience to make progress toward achieving it."
Teaching leadership candidates how to create and articulate their own future vision will help them when it comes time to actually execute plans to get there.
If a leadership candidate seems more excited about being "the boss" who's in charge of others, he or she probably isn't the best person for the job. A good leader knows that his or her job is working for everybody else, said Dale Falcinelli, chairman of the advisory council at Lehigh University's Baker Institute for Entrepreneurship.
"Leadership is an executive club, and it shouldn't be taken for granted," Falcinelli told Business News Daily. "Leaders aren't caught up with the notion of people working for them. They'll have the passion and drive to get where they need to go, and they'll know that to get there, they have to work for and through other people."
- See more at: /img.jpg//www.businessnewsdaily.com/5818-leadership-training.html#sthash.4PXCF2Hv.dpuf

Why Sending a Deck to an Investor Before a First Meeting Is a Bad Idea



Contributor

Here's a typical exchange between a founder and an investor:
Founder: Hi! Would LOVE to meet you and talk to you about what we are doing.
Investor: Do you have a deck?
Founder: Sure, here it is. When can we meet?
Then, after about a week or two:
Investor: Sorry, doesn't look like I could help. (Or even worse: I am pretty busy now, let's reconnect in a month.)
So why do investors ask for decks? To avoid a meeting. Most founders don't get strong introductions. They just get any introduction they can get. Investors ask for decks to get an idea if the business is a fit for them. But that's not quite true. Investors are really just looking for the team slide and the traction slide. They want to know if the team has experience in the space, and what progress they have made.
Investors will make a decision to pass on your business based on your deck. Investors pass immediately if the team doesn't have relevant experience and there is no traction. Once they decide to pass, it will be difficult to get another look.
Your business isn't your deck. You are not your deck. Don't let the deck represent you.
This is as simple as I can put it.
Once an investor gets the deck, there is little urgency to act. It can sit in his or her inbox for days. It feels like work to look through.
All decks are different. Some are really long and not standard. Investors hate those. They flip through a slide or two and stop. I know that because I often struggle to get through the decks I get.
Then there is the danger that if you liberally send out your decks, you will quickly find that your competitors have it.
But, you say, everyone asks to send the deck. How could I possibly say no? What do I do?
To solve a problem, let's understand its cause. The cause is that you are actually too early, don't have traction, don't necessarily have background in the space, are coming to the investor via a not-so-warm introduction and asking for a lot of time.
Flip this on its head. Don't go after investors until you have traction. Get a warm intro from someone who knows you and can attest to your progress and who knows the investor. Find a person who the investor actually trusts and respects -- most likely another founder he or she backed or a person he or she worked closely with in the past.
Instead of the deck, send a two-paragraph introduction. Be sure to include progress on your traction thus far, how you are different from competitors and why you are working on this business.
Ask to get feedback via a 15-minute Google Hangout session. This way, you can still make a connection with the investor, because in the worst case you will get a call, and in the best case the investor will actually be impressed and ask you to come in for a meeting.
Two well-written paragraphs should be easy enough for the investor to decide if it makes sense to engage with you. Those two paragraphs are easier to understand than a deck. You are saving the investor a lot of time. You are also making sure your deck is not parading around the Internet.
If you want to up your game, shoot 60 seconds (no longer) of video to give the investor more background on you and the business. I love seeing these in Techstars applications. Video is way better than the deck. The investors can actually tell a little bit about you as a person. Awesome video increases the chance of investors saying yes to a meeting.
While sending the deck before the meeting is generally a bad idea, you do need a deck, and it needs to be awesome. You will use the deck when formally raising money from venture-capital firms. Typically you will need the deck to walk investors through your business during the second and the third meeting.


culled from:entrepreneur.com



5 tips



The holiday season often brings the busiest time of the year for small businesses and increasing demands from the owners’ family and friends.
By being well prepared, owners and their families increase their chances for a happy holiday season — and a happy and prosperous new year.

Staying Ahead of the Competition

Let’s face it. Yours isn’t the only business out there that’s hoping to take advantage of the busy holiday season. So it’s important to stay a step ahead of the competition.
These five tips will help prepare you and your business for the holidays.

1. Track Inventory

A lot of a business’s success this holiday season will depend on what it’s able to offer its customers when they want it. That starts with inventory.
By looking at last year’s sales, owners can gauge the products that resonated best with customers — and what didn’t do as well. Remember, it can be just as bad to order too much of a product as it is to run out of product that’s in high demand. Having shelves stocked with inventory that’s not moving is a loss.
If sales figures from last year don’t provide much help with purchasing inventory this year, put a plan in place to track sales this time around. This will not only help in the current holiday season, but also better prepare for planning in the year to come.

2. Minimize Back Office Work

High volume sales and extended hours are likely to keep owners from managing the back end of their business in a timely manner. It’s the customer first, everything else later.
Small businesses today should be taking advantage of the myriad technological advancements that ease the burden of handling tasks like accounting, billing, collecting customer data and presenting and automating business transactions.
“It’s important that small business owners understand how to use technology to help manage the needs of their business,” said Laura Miller, president of Ink app from Chase. “These technologies can quickly and easily provide small business owners with more time and flexibility to focus on growing and maintaining the business.”

3. Stay On Top of Sales and Expenses

During this time of the year, things tend to move at a more frenetic pace, which can make it more difficult to stay up-to-the-minute on the daily business tasks. This also means spending more time than usual trying to reconcile checks and balances when you do finally get to it.
This is where automation and technology become a small business owner’s best friends. A product like the Ink app from Chase (available to Ink app from Chase) gives instant notifications of sales and purchases made whenever the card is used.
“It’s important that business owners have the proper tools in place to help support the ongoing needs of their business, since slowing down to tackle these is the last thing today’s small business owners have the time to do,” Miller said.
And for those unexpected, last-minute expenses, the Ink app allows users to snap photos of receipts so they can be tracked by accounting software and not accidentally thrown in the trash or lost amid the shuffle.

4. Develop a Marketing Strategy

It’s important for businesses to stand out among the endless marketing gimmicks and promotions used to entice customers. Instead, small businesses should focus on offering holiday promotions specific to their products and services. Once owners have special loyalty offers in place, they need to figure out how to get them in front of potential customers. Here are a few options.
  • Email marketing still proves to be the most effective with the highest conversion rate for owners with a robust email list.
  • Social media is also an obvious first step. Initial promotion is free and there are paid options to promote products and services on these sites. Companies may also want to consider ad campaigns through major search engines like Bing and Google. And brick-and-mortar shops should consider offering local in-store promotions.
  • Gather customer data to keep them aware of future promotions and offerings. Consider a promotion that offers a discount in exchange for an email address to build an email list and repeat customer base.

5. Maintain Momentum

Preparation for the holiday season hopefully leads to less clean up after it ends. There should be no penny unaccounted for at the end of the season. Organization, proper tracking and planned strategies prepared in advance are important to a successful and fruitful holiday season.
Chase for Business has many products and services that can help prepare you and your small business for the holidays to compete successfully.


culled from:smallbiztrends.com

Wednesday, 25 November 2015



places to sell your handmade


The word “handmade” evokes feelings of warmth, of comfort, of craftsmanship. Earlier this summer, I mentioned some cool niche sites serving the artisan community in my 19 new additions to a large ecommerce list.  Amazon and eBay are certainly well known marketplaces among those looking to sell just about anything, but niche marketplaces and communities are growing quickly. These 29 Marketplaces offer a way to buy and sell handmade goods.
Etsy is probably one of the best-known marketplaces for artisans and craftpeople of all types. You’ll find new and vintage goods on Etsy. You will find curated lists by category or topic as well as a directory of local shops in your area. They have an excellent blog with deeper topics, such as The Value of Home Economics and other topics you might not expect to find in an online marketplace.
ArtFire is a well-known indie marketplace with a great community feel to it.  Another feature that really stood out for me: you can place an item on your Amazon wishlist. The fact that ArtFire tied into Amazon’s Universal Wishlist technology is a brilliant move.
Supermarket offers an elegantly simple marketplace. They don’t offer every category under the sun, but four meta ones: everything, wear + carry, space + place, and paper + prints.  You’ll see photos of items on the home page; clicking that item takes you into a designer’s store. It is a clean and simple structure including a directory of designers.
eCrater is both a free Web store builder and an online marketplace. If you are a seller, you can create your own free online store in minutes. You can also import an eBay store into eCrater. If you are a buyer, you can browse and search millions of products.
Craftly is one of those hot, new startups that earns points for online marketing savvy. It’s online marketplace meets Kickstarter (the crowdfunding site), but for artists and craftspeople. The site is just getting started, but holds promise as a great place to test the market before you start making your product on a bigger scale.
Free Craft Fair is less a marketplace and more of a Yahoo-type directory. Still, it serves a purpose for those looking to get in front of craft buyers.
Handmade Artists’ Shop is a combination of marketplace and community forum. If you are looking for a collection of artists and craftspeople learning from one another, this forum might provide some useful help.
Folksy is a U.K.-based handmade goods marketplace. With everything from books to jewelry to soap, Folksy has plenty for sale. But they also have a Make magazine-style do-it-yourself section.
ShopWindoz (a German site) is for creatives of all types who are turning exciting ideas into unique products outside the mainstream. ShopWindoz gives designers and artists the opportunity to become shop owners and sell their products online to a global audience.
Notmassproduced is a do-it-for-you type of model.  You set up your store,  pricing and shipping, but they handle everything else. They manage the sales process, you ship to the customer, they pay you from the Notmassproduced service. Each vendor is selected to be on the site, so it validates each artisan to assure a match. U.K. and Europe focus.
Misi is a U.K. online craft marketplace. Sellers get a “free for life” shop including a subdomain. They have a forum to help you get your business started or to advance your marketing skills, for example. There is a low commission on sold items.
Coriandr is a fun U.K.-based marketplace for buying and selling handmade gifts. It has an easy-to-set-up storefront and some enthusiastic marketing materials and badges to drive people to your store. I like their gifts under £20 section (conceptually because it drives people to a bargain area in this crazy  economy). They even have a “mini shop” idea that lets you embed a store quickly into your own blog or website.
Dawanda takes an interesting approach that lets buyers create unique collections of products and share them with their friends. If you are a seller of handmade or unique products, this marketplace is well organized and looks seller-friendly.
SpoonFlower is one of my favorite discoveries for local, handmade products from artisans. They focus on fabric and make it possible for individuals to design, print and sell their own fabric designs. As many readers know, I love to find entrepreneurs who dig deep into a niche and do something no one else is doing. Spoonflower is precisely that. If you’re looking for fabrics or looking to sell them, try Spoonflower.
Zibbet looks pretty competitive with no listing fees, no commission fees and a free level account. What’s not to like about that? They have an Etsy importer, too, if you’re leaving that service.
I Made It Market is a nomadic indie crafts marketplace that provides opportunities for artists to bring their wares to market. They do it by partnering with community, arts and nonprofit organizations to raise funds and awareness to assist them in improving communities. Artists and craftspeople apply to be part of live events.
PoppyTalk Handmade is a monthly online street market curated by Poppytalk to showcase, buy and sell handmade goods of emerging design talent from around the world. The key word here is “curated” as PoppyTalk finds and accepts only certain merchants for its storefront. But the Buy button on this curated site drives the buyer back to your existing online storefront, whether it is your own, Etsy or another marketplace. They have won a number of awards for best blog and best site.
iCraft is for original handmade products, not vintage, not for resellers and not for food products. In fact, they are very, very specific about what they accept in their marketplace and it is actually refreshing to see such clarity. It may not be for everyone, but you will know if you fit or not. The pricing structure seems to resonate for lots of artisans.
Silk Fair allows you to have a free Market Booth on their marketplace or to build a full-fledged custom online store with their Web-based software. You can appear in the marketplace and as your own independent store.
Bonanza has been cited as the best alternative to eBay and Etsy. They have free listings and low fees. And something that caught my eye was their emphasis on having live humans available for sales consultations — to help you sell more — at no cost.
Made It Myself is a free marketplace where you can list your products for sale. It is still in beta and looks to be a rapidly growing community and handmade artisan service.
eBay has a special fair-trade marketplace that is worth mentioning. World of Good is a marketplace dedicated to socially and environmentally responsible shopping, featuring tens of thousands of stylish and unique products from around the world, and all backed by the eBay name.
Mymela is a marketplace for arts and crafts from India. It is a combination of ecommerce storefront and micro-finance in that buyers or consumers can also donate or make a small loan to an aspiring merchant. They call it Integrated Micro Advance Funding and it works slightly differently than traditional micro-finance.
Renegade Craft is not a directory or online marketplace, but a cool bunch of craft fairs around the world. Worth a look.
Of course, there are the Maker Faires, which are among the best known do-it-yourself events anywhere.
If you make or sell food items, check out the following:
Foodoro is a marketplace for artisanal food that connects passionate Foodmakers directly with consumers.. If you’re a food producer, this is an online storefront technology worth checking out.
Foodzie has a very cool model: They are not your traditional online marketplace and appear to take a commission on successful sales. So, if they are not successful in helping you sell more, it looks like you don’t pay anything. They help passionate small food producers and farmers across the U.S. reach new customers and connect directly to foodies searching for wonderful foods and gifts.
LocalHarvest is an organic and local food website. They offer a definitive and reliable directory of small farms, farmers markets and other local food sources around the nation.
Fooducopia is a marketplace for indie food producers and small scale farmers. You can open a store on their marketplace and they help do the heavy lifting, so to speak, of helping you sell and market your goods.


culled from:smallbiztrends.com

4 Common Leadership Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)
By Nicole Fallon
By Nicole Fallon

As a leader, you've got a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Despite your best efforts and intentions, mistakes can happen, and when they do, it's important to deal with them in an open, professional manner. Here are some of the most common mistakes people in leadership positions make — and how to avoid them in the future.
Hiring too quickly

In a startup environment, founders have to work very hard in the beginning stages to accomplish everything that needs to be done. It's tempting to hire the first potential candidate as soon as your budget allows for it so you can start building a team to help you. However, hasty hiring can be detrimental to your business.

"We've hired too fast because our team was spread thin, and that ended up backfiring in a lot of ways," said Mona Bijoor, founder and CEO of fashion startup JOOR. "People encourage you to hire, hire, hire. We've found that it's best to take our time and go slowly.

Bijoor cautions hiring managers to beware of candidates who don't fit the company culture and don't share the same passion and work ethic as the rest of the team. If a bad hiring decision is made and the employee simply isn't right, it's better to let them go as soon as possible rather than stick it out until someone better comes along.

"At the end of the day, you have to have the best team to execute your business," Bijoor said. "You need to have the right chemistry of people."
Expecting too much

Sometimes, the problem with a new hire isn't that he or she isn't right for the job, but that you as a leader are expecting too much of that person too soon. Anthony Lolli, founder and CEO of real estate firm Rapid Realty, noted that a promising employee can fail if he or she isn't given the proper tools.

"When you run a business, you eventually want to buy some freedom by hiring employees," Lolli said. "You give them a week of training to do what you've been doing by yourself for two years and wonder why they weren't able to survive."

Take the time to thoroughly train your team members before leaving responsibilities fully in their hands, Lolli advised. If you don't cut them enough slack in the beginning, they'll either disappoint you, or become overwhelmed and leave.
Assuming you're right

A dangerous trap leaders can fall into is thinking their decision-making power means that their way is automatically the right one.

"Oftentimes, leaders assume that because they have the title, that makes them the thought leader," said Mitchell Levy, author of "#Creating Thought Leaders Tweet" and CEO of THiNKaha. "They assume that what they say goes just because they say it, even if they act contrary to that."

A related mistake leaders often make is to not critically listen to team members. Duggan Cooley, president and CEO of United Way of Pasco County, said leaders are sometimes so driven to get their point across and get the job done that they don't take the time to hear what others are saying. This can lead to major communication problems within an organization.

To solve these issues, Levy urges leaders to take a step back and let others aggregate, curate and originate ideas both internally among the staff and externally to draw prospects and customers.

"You need to encourage this behavior and allow your team to get credit for their initiatives," he said.
Failure to delegate

Leaders who like things done a specific way tend to think they're the only ones who know how to do certain tasks. With a full schedule and a tremendous to-do list, bosses with the inability to delegate can quickly run out of time to get the really important tasks accomplished.

"The most critical thing you can do as a leader is know yourself and your style of leadership," Cooley told BusinessNewsDaily. "If you're overwhelmed, ask yourself if it's because of [a lack of] delegation. Could you have gotten others involved? Should you have been asking people to get something done or deal with an issue, but didn't?"

Cooley acknowledged that it can be difficult for leaders to ask others for help, especially when it comes to assessing their own challenges, but also noted that delegation to trusted colleagues can not only help build the morale of your team, but also take some responsibilities off your already-full plate.



What can you do to ensure that if you do make a mistake, you'll still retain the trust and respect of your team? All four sources agree that admitting and owning up to an error is the first and most important step to recovery.

"Be clear about why the situation didn't work and what failed," Bijoor recommended. "It's so important to talk with your team about why things didn't go well."

Similarly, Cooley noted that people appreciate honesty and humility when their leader makes a mistake. In fact, it can go a long way in helping to bring a team back together.

"As a leader, you not only lead the team, but you're part of it," he said. "Humility conveys that you're not above others but working with them."


culled from:businessnewsdaily.com
As a leader, you've got a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Despite your best efforts and intentions, mistakes can happen, and when they do, it's important to deal with them in an open, professional manner. Here are some of the most common mistakes people in leadership positions make — and how to avoid them in the future.
In a startup environment, founders have to work very hard in the beginning stages to accomplish everything that needs to be done. It's tempting to hire the first potential candidate as soon as your budget allows for it so you can start building a team to help you. However, hasty hiring can be detrimental to your business.
"We've hired too fast because our team was spread thin, and that ended up backfiring in a lot of ways," said Mona Bijoor, founder and CEO of fashion startup JOOR. "People encourage you to hire, hire, hire. We've found that it's best to take our time and go slowly."
- See more at: /img.jpg//www.businessnewsdaily.com/5174-avoiding-leadership-mistakes.html#sthash.x0zGMnVh.dpuf
As a leader, you've got a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. Despite your best efforts and intentions, mistakes can happen, and when they do, it's important to deal with them in an open, professional manner. Here are some of the most common mistakes people in leadership positions make — and how to avoid them in the future.
In a startup environment, founders have to work very hard in the beginning stages to accomplish everything that needs to be done. It's tempting to hire the first potential candidate as soon as your budget allows for it so you can start building a team to help you. However, hasty hiring can be detrimental to your business.
"We've hired too fast because our team was spread thin, and that ended up backfiring in a lot of ways," said Mona Bijoor, founder and CEO of fashion startup JOOR. "People encourage you to hire, hire, hire. We've found that it's best to take our time and go slowly."
- See more at: /img.jpg//www.businessnewsdaily.com/5174-avoiding-leadership-mistakes.html#sthash.x0zGMnVh.dpuf

3 Ways to Use the Green-Eyed Monster to Your Advantage



Contributor

People seem to share everything on social media nowadays: their political opinions, cat videos and even pictures of what they had for breakfast. So it’s not surprising that they also share the big wins in their businesses -- the victories that they’re excited about.
When you see others celebrating their successes, how do you feel? Let’s be completely honest, and admit that you might feel a pang of envy shooting through your body when you see others doing well. This doesn’t make you a bad person.
It makes you human.

I used to struggle with envy when I was a brand-new coach, and I wasn’t getting the kind of traction that I wanted with my business. I’d be going along with my daily tasks, and then a celebratory post from someone would pop up on social media and throw me off my game. I looked at what they were achieving and wondered why I was struggling so much.
Yes, the Green-Eyed Monster had entered.
When you’re an entrepreneur who’s pushing hard to grow your business, seeing others talking about their successes doesn’t always make you feel better. Although envy is a natural feeling, you can’t let it drag you down.
It’s essential that you instead turn envy to your advantage. Here are three things that you can do to make it work for you:

1. Put it in perspective.

Remember that when you see the success of others, you’re not seeing the amount of blood, sweat and tears that the person went through to achieve what they did. The path to success is rarely an easy one, and every entrepreneur suffers through many setbacks along the way.
I love what Steve Furtick said: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel”. What you’re seeing from other people is really just part of their story.

2. Congratulate the other person.

I realized that being bitter and envious of others would do me no good. I decided to change my approach and celebrate with other people instead. Now, when I see others doing well, I congratulate them. I send messages with sincere kudos, which improves my mood and makes me a lot of new friends in the process.
Try sending out a couple congratulatory messages today, and you’ll find that it will give you more energy and make you feel a lot better. Ask them the secret to their success. You will get some great tips to help you in your journey.

3. Use the success of others as motivation.

Instead of wasting your precious time and energy focusing on what others are doing, use those feelings of envy as fuel to push you to take greater action for your dreams. The good news is that if others are achieving success -- it means that you can as well. They don’t have magical powers, and they’ve proven that success is within a person’s grasp.
I’ve had the opportunity to interview hundreds of successful guests on my podcast, and I’ve noticed something about each of them. Successful people aren’t envious -- they’re too busy working on their own goals to be bitter about the success of others. They’re the opposite of envious. They’re cheerleaders for others and recognize that there’s a huge pie out there for entrepreneurs. Just because someone else achieves something it doesn’t take opportunity away from you.
I recently received an email from someone who publishes a monthly income report to his email subscribers. When I opened it and saw his revenue for the previous month, my eyes almost bugged out of my head -- it was way higher number than mine! But I took a deep breath, smiled, and felt genuinely happy for him. He reached the top of the mountain, and I’ll keep climbing to get up there with him.
I sincerely hope to see you there too.

culled from:entrepreneur.com

Wednesday, 11 November 2015




6 Things Successful Leaders Do Differently



Contributor

Great leadership can be a difficult thing to pin down and understand. You know a great leader when you’re working for one, but even they can have a hard time articulating what it is that makes their leadership so effective.
It was recently rumored that Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz would run for president, but Schultz shut the idea down almost immediately. He wrote in an article:
“Despite the encouragement of others, I have no intention of entering the presidential fray. I’m not done serving at Starbucks.”
Schultz commitment to his company over the temptation of the limelight is interesting. What’s admirable is his desire to be a leader who serves.
Service isn’t just something Schulz gives lip service to in the press; his mission is to create a company where people are treated with respect and dignity, and he backs this rhetoric up with his money and time. Starbucks will spend $250 million over the next 10 years to put benefit-eligible employees through college, and Schultz wakes up every day at 4:00 a.m. to send motivational e-mails to his employees (the email he wrote yesterday asking employees to show empathy for customers who have been affected by the plummeting stock market is an interesting, recent example of this).
It’s through a leader’s actions—what he or she does and says on a daily basis—that the essence of great leadership becomes apparent.
“Dream more than others think practical. Expect more than others think possible. Care more than others think wise.”   –Howard Schultz
Behavior can change, and leaders who work to improve their skills get results.
In Schultz’s case, he’s been honing his leadership craft for three decades through, among other things, the direct coaching and mentoring of leadership expert Warren Bennis at USC.
Related: What Really Makes a Good Leader?
Not everyone can take on Warren Bennis as a mentor, of course, but when it comes down to it, improving your leadership skills is within your control. You just need to study what great leaders do and to incorporate these behaviors into your repertoire.
There are six critical things that great leaders do that really stand out. Any of us can do the same.

They’re kind without being weak

One of the toughest things for leaders to master is kindness. Kindness shares credit and offers enthusiastic praise for others’ work. It’s a balancing act, between being genuinely kind and not looking weak. The key to finding that balance is to recognize that true kindness is inherently strong—it’s direct and straightforward. Telling people the difficult truth they need to hear is much kinder than protecting them (or yourself) from a difficult conversation. This is weak.
True kindness also doesn’t come with expectations. Kindness is weak when you use it in a self-serving manner. Self-serving kindness is thin—people can see right through it when a kind leader has an agenda. Think of Schultz, who dedicated $250 million to employee education with no strings attached, and as soon as employees finish their degree, they are free to walk out the door. That’s true kindness.

They’re strong without being harsh 

Strength is an important quality in a leader. People will wait to see if a leader is strong before they decide to follow his or her lead or not. People need courage in their leaders. They need someone who can make difficult decisions and watch over the good of the group. They need a leader who will stay the course when things get tough. People are far more likely to show strength themselves when their leader does the same.
A lot of leaders mistake domineering, controlling, and otherwise harsh behavior for strength. They think that taking control and pushing people around will somehow inspire a loyal following. Strength isn’t something you can force on people; it’s something you earn by demonstrating it time and again in the face of adversity. Only then will people trust that they should follow you.

3. They’re confident, without being arrogant

We gravitate to confident leaders because confidence is contagious, and it helps us to believe that there are great things in store. The trick, as a leader, is to make certain your confidence doesn’t slip into arrogance and cockiness. Confidence is about passion and belief in your ability to make things happen, but when your confidence loses touch with reality, you begin to think you can do things you can’t and have done things you haven’t. Suddenly it’s all about you. This arrogance makes you lose credibility.
Related: 9 Habits of Profoundly Influential People
Great, confident leaders are still humble. They don’t allow their accomplishments and position of authority to make them feel that they’re better than anyone else. As such, they don’t hesitate to jump in and do the dirty work when needed, and they don’t ask their followers to do anything they aren’t willing to do themselves.

4. They stay positive, but remain realistic 

Another major challenge that leaders face is finding the balance between keeping things positive and still being realistic. Think of a sailboat with three people aboard: a pessimist, an optimist, and a great leader. Everything is going smoothly until the wind suddenly sours. The pessimist throws his hands up and complains about the wind; the optimist sits back, saying that things will improve; but the great leaders says, “We can do this!” and he adjusts the sails and keeps the ship moving forward. The right combination of positivity and realism is what keeps things moving forward.

5. They’re role models, not preachers

Great leaders inspire trust and admiration through their actions, not just their words. Many leaders saythat integrity is important to them, but great leaders walk their talk by demonstrating integrity every day. Harping on people all day long about the behavior you want to see has a tiny fraction of the impact you achieve by demonstrating that behavior yourself.

6. They’re willing to take a bullet for their people 

The best leaders will do anything for their teams, and they have their people’s backs no matter what. They don’t try to shift blame, and they don’t avoid shame when they fail. They’re never afraid to say, “The buck stops here,” and they earn people’s trust by backing them up. Great leaders also make it clear that they welcome challenges, criticism, and viewpoints other than their own. They know that an environment where people are afraid to speak up, offer insights, and ask good questions is destined for failure.

Bringing it all together

Great leadership is dynamic; it melds a variety of unique skills into an integrated whole. Incorporate the behaviors above into your repertoire, and you’ll see immediate improvement in your leadership skills.


culled from:entrepreneur.com



assessments-good-for-career

Jim Schreier

Assessments, from heavily researched personality tests to the scores of instruments that measure “personal styles” in some manner, are praised by publishers and criticized by a variety of sources including academics. In addition, I’ve recently seen an article providing “tips” on how to take these types of tests. I will first admit that I am a firm supporter of testing if done correctly and used the right way in the right situations. I’ve taken scores of “assessments,” administered hundreds in a variety of settings, and completed graduate level education in psychological testing.

Myers-Briggs And Other “Style” Assessments

While I’ve always been sensitive to articles criticizing testing, I was recently piqued by an article challenging the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) assessment on three points:
  1. Low reliability, particularly “test-retest” reliability.
  2. The assessment “puts you in a box,” labeling as a particular set of letters, e.g., ENTJ
  3. The assessment purports to “guide to a perfect career.”
These criticisms have also been applied to the dozens of other “style-type” assessments that are essentially based on the same core dynamic of the ancient “four temperaments” and the personality theory of Alfred Jung. I believe these three criticisms are significantly missing the mark. A more valid criticism is the fact that there are dozens of different assessments claiming to be significantly different from one another when in reality they measure the same basic four elements.

Low Reliability Or Situational?

I’ll begin to address the low-reliability argument with a particular example. For several years, I worked with a particular version of an assessment that measured the four basic styles and during that time I completed the test personally at least twenty times. The results were always the same, within one or two points. My dominant style was always the same. Then, as part of an international training program in England, I administered the test to 200 plus participants and the staff of presenters I was supervising. I took the test again myself – and surprisingly came up with significantly different results. Contemplating this, and discussing it with a close colleague who was working with me on this project, we quickly realized that all of the circumstances were different. My task responsibilities for this particular program, even the physical setting, put me in a very different “role” – one perfectly represented by the style profile I’d just completed. The point is simple: personal “style” is to a major degree situational. My mother demonstrated a completely different style at home than she did at work. Scores of my workshop participants have reported their spouses or children scoring them differently than the role they perform at work.

Deeper Scores Not Labels

The second criticism represents the importance of any assessment being used correctly. Yes, the Myers-Briggs labels a person using a combination of the four elements. However, the criticism that this is an absolute, or black and white, category is false. Almost all these types of assessments calculate scores that indicate the strength of a particular style. Many will show a graphical plot that indicates the strengths of the scores. A colleague of mine recently completed the MBTI under my direction. His profile states that he is INTJ (Introverted-Intuition-Thinking-Judging). However, his detailed report reveals that, on two of these scales, his “preference” is only “slight,” less than five points on a 30 point scale. On another the “preference” is only “moderate,” seven points on the scale. Only one of the elements is “very clear,” 27 points on the 30 point scale. So a real understanding of my colleague’s profile is not that he is simply an INTJ – it is a much finer interpretation of what these scores really mean. This is why assessments should be administered and interpreted by a professional.

Not A “Guide To A Perfect Career”

From long before even my high school days decades ago, assessments intended to provide career information have been misunderstood. Unfortunately, this misunderstanding survives today. Even more unfortunately, it is often due, not to the design or purposes of the assessment itself, but to poor application by the organization or test administrator. When the printout of an assessment is simply handed out to students, like it was done for me, with no guidance or individual discussion, it heightens the danger of the “this is what it tells me to do” error. Whenever I sit down to discuss a “career” report based on the Myers-Briggs, or any other career interest type interpretation, I always issue a strong disclaimer that this information does not “tell you what to do.” The Myers-Briggs Career Report includes a strong clarification of this point of the first page of the report: “This report is only one source of information. When choosing a career or contemplating a career change, you must also consider your abilities and skills, your occupational and leisure interests, and your values and goals. You will also need information about specific tasks involved in different occupations, as well as current career opportunities.”

Conclusion

Although frustrating at times, I accept criticism of psychological assessments as part of a mostly valid process and too often the marketing driven process of competition. In reality, there are many versions of this type of assessments that claim to measure style with only a few questions and then state results too strongly. However, when the criticisms themselves are too simply stated or incorrect, it creates a risk that the valuable information provided by these instruments will not be available to career seekers who may be supported by the guidance.


culled from:careerealism.com



crm marketing integration



If your business is considering investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to create synergy between your sales and marketing teams, the way you implement it into the workflow matters.
Using these best practices, your business can successfully integrate CRM marketing to get the most out of the CRM and the data it offers.

Train Employees on How to Use CRM

Spend time working with employees in the sales and marketing departments to train them on the effective use of the CRM. Understand that some employees will take the training seriously, while others may not. Fifty four percent of employees say they’d be more likely to perform a task if it included game elements, so gamification of the training experience can help encourage participation.

Use All CRM Features

Many CRMs include a number of features and integrations with other tools and apps you’re already using. Closely look at the features your CRM has and determine how you can use them to not only improve company workflow and productivity, but to improve the customer experience.
If your business involves managing projects for your clients, why run a completely separate project management system? If your CRM has a built-in project management system, use it to:
  • Create tasks and milestones for various projects.
  • Track email correspondence.
  • Keep an eye on who’s doing what over the course of a project.
Take advantage of CRM reports. These reports can provide critical information about what’s going on in your business, including:
  • Which employees have created the most sales opportunities over the course of the month.
  • Which clients produce the most revenue for your business.
  • Identify the main reasons you’re losing business.

Automate Where Possible

Some everyday tasks are repetitive and boring. Use tools within your CRM to automate parts of your company’s workflow, such as assigning tasks to members of the team. Task automation tools like Zapier integrate with your CRM to perform file backups (saving a Gmail attachment to Dropbox, for example), create contacts in your CRM, add contacts to your email marketing lists, and more.

Process All Leads Through the CRM

Once your staff is comfortable with the CRM, create a plan for a smooth transition from your old method to the new technology. The sooner you completely integrate the system, the better off the company will be in the long run. Set a date and require all new leads be processed through the CRM by this time. An incomplete transition to the new system could wreak havoc on internal communication or cause valued customers to fall through the cracks.

Meet with Employees to Discuss Refining the System

After the employees have had time to actively use the system, meet with them to determine how well it is working for them. Find out what they love about it, what improvements they’d like to see made, and any difficulties they’ve encountered. Use their feedback to make adjustments where possible. Forty eight percent of employees say giving them a chance to provide feedback, and then seeing it implemented, is part of what entices them to stay with a company. So working with and listening to your employees plays a key role in the success of changes within the company.

Use CRM Marketing with Social Media

Using social media for business plays a critical role in the sales and marketing process. So if your CRM integrates with social channels, make the most of it. Using a contact’s email address, CRMs can detect social profiles attached to the contact. Use this information to bring your clients and social media together whenever and wherever possible. As your relationships grow, you can collect information from their social profiles to foster long-term relationships. Use social CRM to engage customers directly, as well.
In 2009, Best Buy launched the Twelpforce initiative to integrate the Best Buy Community team with Twitter. Their approach allows anyone in the community team to respond to respond to questions directly from the social network. Not only does the community see an average of 600,000 visitors, and more than 22 million pages of content, the initial community engagements provided a $5 million benefit (PDF) to the company.
Bosch used social CRM to target select trades on Facebook. With the tool, they were able to determine their Facebook audience was a separate, and younger audience. Bosch also learned a higher than average number of their Facebook fans were woodworkers, so they adjusted their marketing to the group with staging of power tools in woodworking.
Taking time to craft a CRM marketing strategy and determine exactly how your company will use all the features of your CRM can make implementing it much easier. With the robust features of CRM, social media and employee support, your business will continue to grow and see increased profits.



culled from:smallbiztrends.com