Archive for August, 2010

Do you think bill gates had his success handed to him on a silver corporate platter

Do you think Bill Gates had his success handed to him on a silver corporate platter? He took personal responsibility for his success. A leadership speaker will tell you that Gates didn’t allow fear, or hi-tech naysayers to stop him from taking innovative leaps.

Don’t sit back and wait for success to happen to you. Your boss, clients and colleagues aren’t just going to hand success over to you. If you stare blankly at the walls waiting for clients to walk through your door, then it’s time to re-think your attitude and game plan towards success.

Whether you work for a company of five employees or run a company of 5,000 plus employees, success begins with you. You can’t expect others to turn you into an overnight sensation.

Personal Accountability and Visionary Plans
Personal accountability determines the levels of success you will achieve. A woe-is-me attitude and negative thought patterns won’t help either. Stop blaming others for why you aren’t successful and look within – what’s stopping you from success?

The first question to ask yourself:  do you have a vision? You can’t outsource someone else to create your personal vision plan. Don’t expect others to create that amazing, perfect plan for you.

Think strategically about your vision and take the necessary steps to make that vision happen. Just sitting around the board room talking about goals won’t bring you instant success. You have to actually make that plan work and hold yourself responsible for your personal goals and objectives. If you manage others, hold your staff accountable for their goals as well. Remember to lead by example and your employees will follow right along with you.

What Stops You From Achieving Success?
These are common mental roadblocks and excuses that stop people from pursuing their visionary goals.

•    Wishful thinking – When you fall into that rut of wishful thinking, it will get you into trouble. Dreaming big is not bad, but a strategic dream/visionary plan is even better. The biggest detriment with a wishful thinking attitude is that it’s passive and not active. It also comes with regrets about past decisions. You wish you had taken that job and made more money. You wish you had sent your kids to an Ivy League university. Stop thinking about the past and turn the “I wish” into “I can and will.”

•    Fear – Fear is the biggest mental roadblock that stops you from achieving success. It’s simple – you have two choices. You can give into the negativity, skepticism and other’s fears, or you can choose to ignore the dream stompers.  Fear can be so overwhelming it can paralyze you.  Remember to start small – there is always a way to get around fearful thoughts. Take low-risk steps and build up to bigger risks.

•    Need for approval – It’s normal for people to want to feel accepted by others. No one wants to rock the boat. When you think outside the box and take a different path, it can be scary. The “play it safe” attitude has been pounded into your brain since birth. If Gates had played it safe, would he be a huge success? Probably not. Taking a huge leap into the unknown may be the best way to jumpstart your path to success.

John Hersey is a successful business owner, published author and motivational leadership speaker. John writes one of the most recognized leadership blogs in the business world: http://www.JohnHersey.com/blog

Most of us think of warranties for our cars kind of like health insurance

Most of us think of warranties for our cars kind of like health insurance. If something goes wrong, you may have a “co-payment” but most of the cost of “care” will be covered. However, if the car you’re buying is past its manufacturer’s warranty, buying an after-market warranty for it may not always be a practical idea. The following are some things for you to keep in mind.

The first consideration you must make concerning an after-market warranty is whether or not you need one. When you’re buying a new car, the question is moot – the car will be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Similarly, if you’re considering the purchase of a used car that has very low mileage, or that’s categorized by the manufacturer as a “certified pre-owned car,” it’s possible that the car is still under warranty from the manufacturer. If that is the case, you need to find out if the warranty will transfer to you. Don’t just take the sales person’s word for it – ask to see something in writing.

Another consideration is your personal status. If you have the financial resources to handle most repair bills easily and you’re willing to take your chances, you may not want to spend the money on a warranty. If, however, you aren’t comfortable with your financial resources or you worry that you could find yourself stuck paying a large repair bill, then by all means investigate the possibility of getting an after-market warranty. Your decision should depend on your personal financial situation and your willingness and ability to handle the cost of repairs.

There are also some automobile dealerships that regularly offer limited warranties on used cars as an incentive to get buyers to do business with them. They are generally very happy to talk about these plans, so calling up several different dealerships will give you a good idea of who offers warranties and what the general terms are.

Your next consideration should be whether or not the car is eligible. Assuming the car isn’t covered under a manufacturer’s warranty and the automobile dealership isn’t offering a warranty, look at the mileage on the car. If the odometer reading is 100,000 miles or more, you’ll find that it difficult to qualify for an after-market warranty. If you can find one, chances are equally small that it will be at all affordable.

Generally speaking, the older the car, the more expensive the warranty will be – even if the mileage is relatively low. In most cases with an older car, the cost of a warranty may not be worth it, depending on the level of coverage offered.

If an after-market warranty is available from a third party, expect the insurer to require that one of their mechanics inspect the car. After all, they are in the business of assessing risk, and they’ll want to make sure that the car they’re considering insuring doesn’t have any obvious mechanical faults or defects that would lead to a claim.

If you do decide to purchase an after-market warranty, you need to make sure you know exactly what’s covered and what steps you have to take to keep the warranty in effect. For example, some warranties may say they cover the “power train.” This is a term that’s defined differently by different companies, so make sure you know exactly how your prospective insurer defines it. If you have to be able to show records of maintenance at particular intervals to keep the warranty valid or only use a particular mechanic or dealership for repairs, make sure you know that ahead of time as well. You don’t want to take any action that will invalidate your warranty once you’ve gone to all the trouble of purchasing it.

By utilizing the proper management tactics, you can get your employees to contentedly perform at an optimal level of productivity

By utilizing the proper management tactics, you can get your employees to contentedly perform at an optimal level of productivity. There are eight main tactics that you can employ towards this end:

1) Establish an ongoing dialogue with your employees.

This means keeping your employees abreast of changes and new demands through clear and detailed explanations. Your employees need to be kept in the loop in order to work at their maximum level of effectiveness. Your failure to keep them informed about amendments to policies, protocols, rules, etc., can result in counterproductive actions that will create more work (and frustration) for everyone in the long run.

It is also important to facilitate communication between you and your employees by making yourself accessible. This means exercising patience and taking the time to listen carefully to questions, complaints, and/or concerns. Maintaining a healthy rapport with your team members also requires that you follow through with supportive action in response to team members’ recurring issues.

You can get to know your employees and allow them to get to know you by rolling up your sleeves and getting in the trenches with them. There is no better bonding experience than sharing hands-on experience. You will also be demonstrating that you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty. Your staff will see that you’re down to earth. Your team members will also be assured that you have a clear picture of what their work entails, and a firsthand understanding of the challenges their jobs present.

2) Be a role model.

Taking the time to work with your employees will enable you to serve by example. Not only will this help you set standards (which we will discuss later in this article) but it will also help you gain the respect of your employees. If you regard everyone on staff with mutual respect and open communication, you’re apt to receive the same. Subsequently you will be fostering an environment conducive to the free exchange of ideas, leading to innovative improvements.

3) Invite your team to participate in the decision making process.

Asking your employs for their input regarding pending decisions can work wonders for their morale. Employees whose opinions are valued take pride in maintaining a conscientious work ethic. Furthermore, they are more willing to cooperate with plans when they have a say in them! Permitting your team members to offer their suggestions inspires them to work towards a common goal—a goal that is part theirs—instead of feeling like they’re breaking their backs solely to serve your agenda.

4) Set standards.

If you want to get the best bang for your buck when it comes to your employees, you must vocalize and/or document clear standards regarding goals, responsibilities, expectations, and performance requirements. When employees know exactly what is expected of them, they can focus all of their energies on achieving those goals, rather than on trying to determine precisely what those goals are. As a result of having clear goals, the staff member avoids condemnation, or the message that she can’t do anything right, according to some invisible set of rules. Rather, the employee experiences a gratifying sense of being on track; since she can recognize her own successes. And, a feeling of success is a huge motivating factor in getting your employees to put their best feet forward.

5) Foster a friendly, competitive spirit.

Set goals according to your strongest worker’s level of productivity and watch your employees rise to the occasion through the spirit of friendly competition. You can even establish fun contests, where the most productive are coined “winners” and rewarded with some special treat.

6) Provide suggestions for improvement.

Don’t be afraid to offer constructive criticism to your employees. You may initially bruise an ego or two, but most employees strive to improve, especially when constructively criticized, and will therefore implement your suggestion. The crucial element of constructive criticism is that instead of focusing on what the employee is doing poorly, it concentrates on what they can do better and HOW. Make sure you explain the benefits of doing things according to your recommendation. Understanding on the employee’s part is key to his or her motivation. It is much easier to work hard towards a goal if a person understands the meaning and purpose of their work. Don’t forget to demonstrate how to implement the change. In the process, you may actually realize that the suggestion wasn’t all that practical after all.

7) Offer opportunities for learning and advancement.

Challenges keep people stimulated. If you offer your employees chances to learn and advance, you’ll keep them from burning out on monotonous activity. Additionally, in the workplace, people frequently respond to being entrusted with increased responsibility by striving to please their employers and ultimately prove their own capability. Presenting opportunities for advancement may also increase your awareness of your employees’ hidden skills, and henceforth utilize them to their ideal capacity. Give them the opportunity to undergo some Microsoft Excel training or Adobe Photoshop training.

8) Acknowledge and reinforce a job well done.

Last but not least, you can inspire ongoing productivity tenfold, by simply acknowledging, on a regular basis, a job well done. Acknowledgement can come in many forms, ranging from a “thank you” or “this looks great!” to a complimentary lunch. You’d be surprised just how far a simple word of praise can go in keeping up your employees’ spirit.

And, spirited employees invariably make energetic, on-the-ball employees, who have every reason to give their jobs their all.

If you’ve seen the movie jerry maguire, you’ll remember the scene where tom cruise asks cuba gooding, jr

If you’ve seen the movie Jerry Maguire, you’ll remember the scene where Tom Cruise asks Cuba Gooding, Jr., “What can I do for you?” Gooding says, “Show me the money.”

Many employers think that’s the key to employee engagement. But any company that THINKS you have to pour money on employees to get them engaged will write off employee engagement efforts during tough economic times. “We just can’t afford to do it right now,” they say.

In fact, you can’t afford NOT to pay attention to engagement, especially during a recession when sales are soft. Employee engagement scores regularly account for up to 50 percent of the variance in customer service scores. A disengaged employee can cost you 30 TIMES as much in safety-related incidents. And disengaged employees are over 85 percent more likely to leave.

Engagement comes not from dollars but from more personal factors.

Eight Ways to Keep Your Employees Engaged for the Long Term

1. Listen to your employees. Most people want to work for an employer who cares enough to listen. The best way to know what your employees need and expect is to ask them—and to listen carefully to their answers.

2. Provide clear, consistent expectations. Vague policies and unclear expectations can make employees feel irritated, unsafe and even paranoid. This leads to your employees becoming disengaged. They click into survival mode instead of focusing on how to help the company succeed.

3. Give employees a sense of importance. This has a greater impact on loyalty and customer service than all other factors COMBINED.

4. Develop opportunities for advancement. The chance to work your way up the ladder is a tremendous incentive for productivity, bonding, and employee engagement.

5. Create good relationships with others in the workplace. If you have a toxic relationship with your employees, you can forget about asking them to put their shoulder to the wheel for the company.

6. Offer regular feedback. If you want to keep your employees moving forward, give them the occasional rudder report. And don’t forget positive feedback, which should ideally outnumber the negative by about 5 to 1.

7. Celebrate and reward for successes. Set realistic targets, then reward and celebrate when they are reached. And don’t wait for the end of a big project to celebrate. Pick landmarks along the way and go nuts when you hit them.

8. Move from “the company” to “our company.” The heart and soul of engagement is ownership. As long as your employees feel they are working to help YOU make YOUR company succeed, engagement will be low. Once you get them to see themselves as partners in the endeavor—making decisions, staying informed, sharing in the company’s ups and downs—everything changes. Engagement soars.

Just imagine a workplace in which employees feel important and listened to, in which expectations are clear and feedback consistent, in which relationships and shared ownership are cultivated, advancement is available, and success is celebrated.

Now stop imagining it and CREATE it!

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