message, communication, get out of your own way

How to Get Out of the Way of Your Message So It’s Clear

As a CEO, I’ve always believed that excellent communication channels and a clear message will alleviate many, if not most, of the problems that exist between management and staff. I’ve seen it far too often … managers take communication with their staff for granted. They devote their energies upwards by catering to their superiors. Their focus swings too far towards big-picture efforts, and they communicate…

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negotiate, negotiator, argument, winning arguments

11 Simple Tricks That Will Make You a Terrific Negotiator

Whether you’re arguing at work with a co-worker or having a tense negotiation, there are times when you can blow your cool and suddenly find the situation slipping away. For most people, that’s when the adrenaline starts flowing, the blood pressure rises, and the voice modulation breaks down. Now you’re unexpectedly yelling, and at that point, you’ve lost whatever you were trying to get. The key to…

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maintain positive attitude

12 Actions That Will Keep Your Positive Attitude Thriving

Almost everyone enjoys working with people with a positive attitude. We’re pretty sure we can’t say that absolutely everyone enjoys it, because there’s always that one man or woman in every company that just have to be negative. We like to call them Mr. or Ms. Cranky Pants, but that’s just us. The thing is … attitude is a choice. The difference between thriving at…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – Legalities of Job Postings and Hiring Processes

When you’re trying to fill a job opening, your focus is on finding the best candidate. It’s easy to make small missteps in your job postings and interviews—missteps that can turn off good people … make the job or your organization look less than amazing … or worse, be unintentionally discriminatory. Recruiting effectively—and legally—is vital to the future of your organization. And it means getting…

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diversity, diversity in the workplace, promoting diversity

5 Steps That Will Promote Diversity in Your Workplace

While race might be the first thing that pops into your mind when you think of the word “diversity,” it really encompasses much more than that. Added to the diversity of different races and ethnicities, there are gender considerations, age groups, religion, education, fashion, beliefs, diet and a variety of other choices that make us all very different. Smart businesses try to promote diversity in…

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time management tricks, relax, stress free time management

Time Management Tricks That Will Make You Relax at the Office

Time management doesn’t come easily to everyone, and in today’s workplace, it’s a battle to stay on task and productive. If you feel the crush of workloads and personal life pressures, here are some strategies to help. The keys to overcoming wasted time are identifying its sources and avoiding temptations. The benefits of effective time management, of course, is a lot less stress in your…

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The Best of the Worst Excuses For Not Filing Your Tax Return on Time

According to irs.gov, the United States Internal Revenue Service expects to receive more than 152 million individual tax returns in 2018. As of March 23, they had received just over 86 million. That means me and 66 million of my friends will probably start to do our taxes this weekend. Or, maybe Monday since the deadline is on Tuesday. Among those 152 million, there will…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – Constructive Ways to Manage Anger

Everyone gets mad at work from time to time. And most of us have never really been taught how to deal with these feelings. Bottling them up is stressful. And over time, repeatedly biting your tongue can build to unhealthy rage or angry outbursts. You need constructive ways to manage anger before it blows up out of control. Whether you’re managing your own anger or…

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This Is How Great Bosses Know What and When to Delegate

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and the topic of delegation came up. He never delegates anything, which made him a little horrified to hear that I had just given an important organizational project to one of my staff. His opinion was that the task was “too big” for the person I gave it to—solely judging that on the person’s…

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How to Work with a Know-It-All at the Office

Do you work with a know-it-all at the office? If so, does this scenario sound familiar to you? Ashley has been doing her current job for three years. She’s an experienced employee and rarely has to ask for help. Her boss has delegated additional projects to her and she’s proud to have completed them all successfully. She’s also filled in for the boss when he’s…

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5 Tips That Will Make Your Virtual Team Run Like Clockwork

Back in 2013, Virgin CEO, Richard Branson, famously said that working in an office would soon be a “thing of the past.” Today, as the Baby Boomer generation with the “60-hour work week” mentality and contempt for telecommuting employees leaves management and heads off into retirement, the rise of virtual employees will soon transform into virtual teams that must be managed and kept productive. Are…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – Managing Millennials and a Younger Workforce

What makes employees in their 20s and 30s tick? Is there something about traditional workplaces that turns them off? What drives them? How is managing Millennials any different than managing other generations? Are they victims of “ageism” or are they their own worst enemies? If you’re managing Millennials and the generation behind them (Generation Z), understanding their unique strengths and knowing which workplace perks matter…

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Your Greatest Business Investment Is in Yourself

We’ve all been there. Life and work gets crazy and you start having to prioritize tasks. The problem is, most of us prioritize work and family over ourselves, so it gets easy to skip that Thursday workout at the gym (“I’ll make it up on Tuesday”). Or, you put off reading that new best-selling business book you downloaded a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately short-term…

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4 Fundamentals of Giving Fabulous Employee Feedback at the Office

The best managers provide fantastic employee feedback to their staffs frequently … not just during performance reviews or before important projects begin. Knowing how to give valuable feedback that won’t go in one ear and out the other is the key to increasing employee happiness and productivity. (Yes, employees will actually appreciate criticism when given to them the right way. Shocker!) The problem is, many managers…

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10 Awesome Tips That Will Make You Much More Productive, Satisfied and Happy

Time has always been a sneaky little thing when it comes to you staying productive. Mentally, you’ve made it through St. Patrick’s Day and still have great expectations for 2018 that get you excited. You’ve got your taxes done well before April 15 and are feeling good! However, reality says major league baseball is starting, which means school will be out before you know it,…

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Webinar Wednesday – GREAT NEW TOPIC – Navigating Gossip and Grapevines in the Workplace

People talk. And while speculation about a new boss, a merger or new products is common and even healthy, gossip can get more personal and more damaging. And sometimes, if the chatter is about you, it can be isolating and hurtful. What can you do … short of simply ignoring everyone around you and being out of the loop completely? Join us for a new,…

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Tips and Techniques That Will Project Confidence at the Office

I have probably interviewed hundreds of people in my time and one thing that always puts one candidate in front of another is confidence. Confident people tend to be very self-motivated, have good self-esteem and don’t mind taking a calculated risk. They are not afraid of making a mistake because it’s a learning experience, not a failure. Confident people are critical to a company’s success…

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argument, negotiate, negotiator, remembering names

Body Language 101: Building Your Credibility and Coolness Factor

Did you know that most people are barely listening to a word you’re saying? But, man oh man, they are picking up on your body language big time. It’s estimated that about 55 percent of communication is body language, 38 percent is your tone of voice and only 7 percent are the actual words coming out of your mouth. Using the right body language is…

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5 Smart Strategies for Cooling Off in a Conflict at the Office

“My wife, Mary, and I have been married for 47 years and not once have we had an argument serious enough to consider divorce. Murder, yes, but divorce, never.” — Jack Benny, Comedian (1894-1974) As with any marriage or long-term relationship, conflict with a coworker, supervisor, or manager is inevitable. Managed intelligently, conflict can turn from a hair-raising dilemma to an important building block toward…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – Employee Offboarding: Procedures for Departing Workers

Most people probably leave your organization under good circumstances—no HR escort out the door needed. So, you probably haven’t given a lot of thought to the exit process. They turn in a laptop. Their work is reassigned. You finalize their last paycheck. And they slip away … quietly. This wouldn’t happen if your company had an effective offboarding program. Additionally, along with the employee leaving,…

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Top Strategies That Will Strengthen Your Professional Network

Do you find yourself lacking power within your organization? Do people who own accessibility and influence often drown out your ideas to people in power? Welcome to the real world in 2018. The workplace rarely provides a level playing field for competing ideas and it tips towards those who have put in the time and effort to network within upper management. Not every company operates…

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This is How Men and Women Are Wired to React Differently at the Office

Saying that men and women handle emotions differently is like saying ice is cold. Men and women are just wired differently. There is hardly a man or woman reading this that hasn’t been frustrated by the opposite sex.  We’ve all had a time when we tried to understand the emotional reaction of someone of the opposite gender. Or we tried to get the opposite gender…

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Minimizing Distractions at Work During March Madness® Time

Chances are, if you’re not a sports fan, the next three weeks are going to be tough for you and you’re going to need a way of minimizing distractions at work. Tens of millions of people across the country get swept up in “March Madness®”—the three week long NCAA Men’s Basketball championship tournament. It is estimated that nearly 51 million American workers (about 20 percent…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – Problem Solving and Decision Making for Administrative Professionals

It takes practice to stay calm, to find the best solution to a problem … especially when you’re under pressure. And, as an administrative professional, your job frequently puts you in the hot seat: The apologetic speaker who cancels two days before the annual meeting, an explosive client, your boss’s missing presentation—it’s something new every day! When analyzing obstacles and finding answers is such a…

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How to Guide and Lead a Successful Diverse, Multigenerational Team

We’re in an ever-changing work environment today—the world is smaller and a homogeneous workplace rarely exists. Today, leaders deal with a variety of employees across generational and cultural lines, each with their own values, beliefs, work ethics and needs. It is the mosaic of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles and perspectives as assets to whatever team or organization with which they interact….

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This is Why Successful Businesses Still Utilize Company Retreats

There is a lot of talk going around about the efficacy of corporate retreats. Some people question whether retreats are relevant today. Personally, I think that is a silly question. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American companies lose about $3 billion a year a year due to the effects of negative attitudes and behaviors. This cost is defined primarily in terms of increased…

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18 Brilliant Ways People Deal With Stress at the Office

We all know that a little stress is a good thing because it gets us moving. A little stress stimulates the brain, which gets the body revved up, and that makes us more alert and productive. Of course, too much stress for too long is detrimental to our health and can lead to serious mental and physiological issues, including anxiety, depression, heart attacks or death….

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – New Strategies for Finding and Recruiting Employees

When your organization has a job opening and you can’t find the right candidate, it’s frustrating. It can also disrupt growth … and overload and hurt the morale of existing workers. The current talent drain that many businesses are experiencing makes recruiting employees more difficult than it has been in years. But high-quality candidates are out there! It’s a matter of finding them and steering…

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This is How a Smart Boss Stops Being a Micromanager

“I perform better under a strict micromanager!” Quote from no employee, ever.   When you hear the word, “micromanager”, what is the image that immediately springs to mind? For most people, it’s the figure of a forlorn employee sitting at his or her desk as an overbearing supervisor behind them leans over the employee’s shoulder watching them work intently. A favorite cartoon panel of mine…

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This is How Companies Sabotage Their Employee Recognition Process

March 2 was Employee Appreciation Day and while many companies do a great job of recognizing their employees, others are ineffective and their employee recognition programs backfire. Instead of putting a little more effort and creativity into their recognition process, these companies retreat to older programs that aren’t successful in rewarding, recognizing or motivating employees. According to Brandon Hall Group’s rewards and recognition research, the…

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Capitalization Mistakes That Will Make You Look Foolish at the Office

In one of my former lives, I was the editor for a fantasy sports web site that only had one full-time writer (me), and between 20 to 30 freelance writers at any time. Of those 30, there were exactly ZERO professional writers in the group. Instead, I had doctors, lawyers, a boatload of accountants (go figure), salespersons, and IT people—all of whom were brilliant in their…

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Webinar Wednesday – BRAND NEW – FMLA Medical Certification: How to Administer Leave, Minimize Abuse and Prevent Lawsuits

When an employee has a serious health condition and requests leave, the last thing you want to do is be insensitive. But most managers and HR professionals know that FMLA-protected leave needs a solid paper trail so that both you and your employee know what’s expected. Medical certification is key to this trail … particularly if, at any point, you begin to suspect abuse or…

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To Stay Connected, Make Sure You Never Leave the Loop

“Knowledge is power.” Sir Francis Bacon “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.”  Anton Chekhov   With all apologies to Sir Francis Bacon, most of us have known that knowledge is power since we were kids. We’d find out a great secret from overhearing mom and dad talk about summer vacation plans and we’d decide to tell our brother, but not…

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7 Reasons Your Staff Has Performance Problems and What You Can Do About It

When an employee isn’t meeting expectations because of any number of performance problems, the first step in helping them improve is to find out why. Sometimes simply getting to the source of the performance problems and fixing it can turn things around. As you think about helping poor performers improve, consider what might be getting in their way. Here are seven common causes of performance…

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The New Manager’s Guide to Employee Motivation Myths

As a manager, employee motivation is an important part of your job. You need to find a way to get the most from your employees, keeping them on task and always striving for more. Unfortunately, new managers thrown into the fire often make false assumptions about employee motivation. If that’s you, you need to know what really works to motivate your staff. Here are some…

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Webinar Wednesday – BRAND NEW – How to Avoid the Worst PowerPoint® Mistakes People Make

Bad PowerPoint® slides are a distraction to your audience. Too much text and they’re reading instead of listening. Animations, fonts, colors and images can also be diversions. Chosen without careful consideration, they can weaken your presentation. If you want to impress … to improve recall … to positively influence, take a fresh look at the content and design of your PowerPoint® slides. Register now for our…

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This Is How to Build a Successful Organization That Reflects Your Beliefs

Business leaders come in every shape, size, gender and personality. Some are laid-back and flexible and allow employees lots of leeway to come and go if they get the work done. They dress casually, and play is considered a big part of the work process. Other leaders are buttoned-down and prefer a bit more rigidity in schedules, a more formal dress code, and employees have…

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This is How Brilliant Managers Show Employee Appreciation at the Office

March 2, 2018 is National Employee Appreciation Day (always the first Friday in March) and while an all-expenses paid trip to the Caribbean is always nice, not many department budgets can handle that. Bonus checks for exceeding goals are good too, but research and countless interviews reveal that money is far down the list for motivating employees. So how do you show employee appreciation without…

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6 Steps That Will Make You Fall in Love With Your Job Again

Because we all survived Valentine’s Day recently, this might be an appropriate time to discuss another matter of the heart. Another opportunity for you to fall in love. Most of us have been there. When this relationship started, you were so excited that your skin practically tingled. Every morning you bolted out of bed with enthusiasm to see your new love. Every night, you drifted…

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Webinar Wednesday – Totally NEW – Turn Around Underperforming Employees

When an underperforming employee repeatedly fails to keep pace, it hurts your business. Subpar work means lost revenue, dissatisfied customers, wasted time or (understandably) annoyed co-workers called upon to cover gaps. You can’t stand by. The health of your team—and its results—depends on your responsive intervention and skilled coaching. Managers, get some new ideas on how to turn your underperforming workers around. Sign up now…

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5 Warning Signs That Your Corporate Culture Has Turned Toxic

  If you’re like me, at some point in your career you worked at a company with a toxic culture. One of the reasons I stress the importance of communication throughout my company is because good things happen when people talk. This is especially true when your front-line workers feel comfortable bringing up problems and concerns with management. These employees often see problems and work…

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These 10 Qualities Will Make You a Superstar Assistant

As an administrative assistant, you are a critical bridge between your bosses and your co-workers. In addition, the support you supply to management requires serious skills. Therefore, to succeed and advance, focus on sharpening the skills most valued by top executives. Without them, you’ll shortchange yourself and potentially miss out on important opportunities. Unfortunately, when it comes to admins, there is a misconception in the business…

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11 Things That Will Show Your True Value at the Office

There’s an old joke among us life-long work drones that the only thing more dangerous at work than being completely dispensable to your boss is becoming completely INDISPENSABLE to your boss. Once you become indispensable, it’s easy to suffer from career paralysis because you get pigeonholed into your current situation. It becomes difficult to move up or out of your current position. To escape this…

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Webinar Wednesday – BRAND NEW – Strategies to Tame Incivility and Increase Cooperation

Do you ever wish you could wave a wand and increase cooperation at your work? Rudeness at work is a dangerous thing—and can be expensive. As the boss, you don’t really want to be in the middle of every little etiquette breach … who talked over a colleague in a meeting, who didn’t respond to emails, who took the last cup of coffee, etc. Employees…

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This is How the Best Communicators Respond to Difficult Situations, Part 2

Last week, we started to look at the five ways people can respond to communications with others. The best communicators are able to match the appropriate response to the situation. The problem lies in the fact that most of us aren’t nearly as skilled at listening as we think we are (or want to be). Therefore, we don’t respond as well as we should. In…

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10 Brilliant Tips That Will Make You Much More Productive (and Happy)

Time has always been a sneaky little thing when it comes to you staying productive. Mentally, you’re probably still getting into the swing of a new year and have great expectations for 2018. Reality says that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means February will be half over and March is right around the corner. Before you know it, it’s tax time and…

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This is the Super Bowl Primer for People at the Office That Don’t Watch Sports

This Sunday is Super Bowl LII, a time when those of you who never watch football wind up at your boss’s house for his or her Super Bowl party. It is for you that we put out this blog post giving you some pointers on watching the Super Bowl, along with some trivia that maybe could win you a few well-timed bets. Bets for entertainment…

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Webinar Wednesday – BRAND NEW – Speaking Up at Work to Manage Unrealistic Expectations

When asked to do the impossible at work, you agree—and, even worse, you succeed! You’ve succeeded in setting up a situation where you need to better manage unrealistic expectations on how much you can get done at work. For instance, you beat a client’s pressing deadline, battle a mountain of work, navigate the unfamiliar project of a vacationing colleague. Your reward: Unreasonable time frames, growing…

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This is How the Best Communicators Respond to Difficult Situations

Communication skills are a valuable part of any professional’s skill set, but when you’re a manager, they’re absolutely necessary. Furthermore, if you’re an executive, they’re possibly the most critical skills you can have. So it’s amazing to me how often I meet executives who have little to no idea how to respond to a staff member or colleague when the other person has been talking….

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This is How Great Companies Keep The Fun Going at the Office

January 28th was the annual “National Have Fun at Work Day” which is cool except that it was on Sunday this year and most of corporate America wasn’t at work. Instead, they unknowingly celebrated their own “National Have Fun (Because You’re Off ) Work Day.”  (The good news is that it was also “National Blueberry Pancake Day” which meant you had all day to enjoy…

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Revealing Interview Questions That Will Get You the Best Answers

Asking interview questions to prospective employees can be nerve-wracking if doing it is not part of your normal duties. Or, if you’re new to being a manager, supervisor or team leader. On one hand, asking an illegal or inappropriate question—even one that seem totally innocent on the surface—often opens up a huge can of worms for you and your company. On the other hand, the…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW – Turn Around Underperforming Employees

When an employee repeatedly fails to keep pace, it hurts your business. Subpar work means lost revenue, dissatisfied customers, wasted time or (understandably) annoyed co-workers called upon to cover gaps. You can’t stand by. The health of your team—and its results—depends on your responsive intervention and skilled coaching to turn around underperforming employees Managers, get some new ideas on how to turn your underperformers around….

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This is Why You Need to Reexamine Your Sexual Harassment Policy Right Now

Unlawful sexual harassment has long been a problem in the workplace. However, starting with the Bill Cosby allegations and exploding with the Harvey Weinstein story, this is now the most visible employment issue in corporate America. In 2018, victims of sexual harassment are now more emboldened to speak up, as they should. In turn—and in remarkable numbers—business leaders in many industries are being called out for…

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This is the List of Accounting Terms Everyone Should Know

As a “creative” type of person since I was in college, math has never been my thing. And accounting was my sister’s specialty, not mine. Thankfully, big sister sat me down early in my career and showed me why it is important for so-called non-financial people like me to at least have a basic knowledge of accounting terms for getting ahead. Accounting is the “universal…

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How the Best Bosses Keep Their Employees Happy

Happy, engaged employees are more productive. They’re more likely to stick around. They’re more likely to say great things about you and your company. But not all companies have budgets that include thousands of dollars designated for “happiness.”  You might not have a ping-pong table or gourmet lunches.  But, even without all those perks, you can create an environment that’s honest, fun, and flexible. Here…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW – Strategies to Tame Incivility and Increase Cooperation

  Rudeness at work is a dangerous thing—and can be expensive. As the boss, you don’t really want to be in the middle of every little etiquette breach. Things such as who talked over a colleague in a meeting, who didn’t respond to emails, or who took the last cup of coffee, etc. Employees are adults and cooperation between each other should be the norm…

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How to Successfully Lead, Engage and Show Appreciation For Your Staff

It’s a fact: Employees who are engaged in their work—who like what they’re doing, believe their work is important, are included in “big picture” decisions and feel true appreciation for their efforts—perform far more effectively than those who don’t. One of the basic tenets of humanity is the desire to be appreciated. This comes in many forms, yet the function is the same. In most…

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Here is the 4-1-1 About Handwashing That You Need to Know

Here in the Midwest, we’re seeing stories about how widespread the flu epidemic has become. Locally, our hospitals are treating about 33 percent more cases than last year and in the first eight days of 2018, they treated 150 more cases than last year, which was one of the worst years ever. And in every newspaper article, blog, or television news segment, they remind people…

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This Is the Prejudice People With Excellent Soft Skills Face at the Office

Working in the business education industry is great. Even if it’s by proxy, we get to stay on the cutting edge of workplace trends and advances in the kinds of skills people need to be successful at work. But … I have a confession. I have real issues with the distinction between “soft” skills and “hard” skills. Not that I don’t think there’s a difference,…

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Webinar Wednesday – Hurry LAST CHANCE – Taking Control of Tough Performance and Attitude Problems

Employees who consistently underperform, have attitude problems, break the rules or challenge every request make life miserable for any manager. And simply ignoring the behavior and avoiding confrontation can do more harm than good. It’s time to put a stop to unacceptable behavior—to eliminate the hassles—and encourage positive changes in your organization. That’s why we wanted to let you know about this great webinar that’s…

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5 Reasons Your Business Better Be Using Social Media

I recently attended one of our digital marketing boot camp seminars and it was a great reminder that there are still a lot of companies that have barely started to use social media marketing. And many others that are just now looking to get into it. Sometimes, you’d think every company has a staff of 20 people dedicated to social media marketing. Like Santa’s elves,…

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Customer Service Excellence Techniques That Will Make You Smile

Customer service excellence has always been a goal of most companies, even back in the “old days.” It’s hard to believe today, but it really wasn’t that long ago when shopping at “brick and mortar” stores was about the only kind of shopping that you could do … outside of ordering something by phone out of a catalog. (Raise your hand if you remember getting…

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Webinar Wednesday – LAST CHANCE – The Basics of Finance: A Crash Course for Non-financial Professionals

Have you ever been sitting in a meeting when the discussion turns to finance and you realize that everyone around the table might as well be speaking Latin because you have NO IDEA WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT??? We get it … finance may not be your thing, but you find yourself in more and more situations where the discussion turns to “the numbers.” Spreadsheets, depreciation…

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Mental Strength is the Key to Workplace Excellence

Workplace change can be scary. For most people, speaking in public can trigger angst. To others, meeting your new boss for the first time might have you losing sleep in nervous anticipation. However, for everyone, stress and anxiety are normal reactions to uncertainty. But the pioneer qualities of determination and flexibility can help you shake off those feelings. And, they are the key to creating…

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The Smart Way of Making New Year’s Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Well, it’s almost New Year’s Eve and if you’re like many Americans, you’ll put pressure on yourself to whip up some resolutions for 2018 by the time the ball drops in Times Square. And, if you’re like most of those Americans, you’ll probably have broken them all by Martin Luther King’s birthday. So what is it about New Year’s resolutions that makes them so hard…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW!!! – Increase Productivity Using Google Docs™ and Spreadsheets

For more than 10 years, Google® has been perfecting its online productivity tools and intelligent apps. G Suite makes creating, sharing and editing documents easy. It’s perfect if your projects include multiple people or departments where everyone needs real-time, secure access to information. But if you’re new to Google Docs™ and Google Drive™ … or you’re self-taught, it’s time to find out more. It’s time…

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This Is How Brilliant Managers Lead Successful Multigenerational Teams

We’re in an ever-changing work environment today—the world is smaller and a homogeneous workplace rarely exists. Today, leaders deal with a variety of employees across generational and cultural lines, each with their own values, beliefs, work ethics and needs. It is the mosaic of people who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles and perspectives as assets to the groups and organizations with which they interact. In…

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What Your Favorite Holiday Cookie Says About Your Work Personality

Yep … we’re pretty much completing the “Food Trifecta” in our blog series. After discussing your favorite donut and then your favorite Halloween candy earlier this year, we’ll end the year with what your favorite holiday cookie says about your personality at work. Which is your favorite holiday cookie? Gingerbread People History: Sure, I could have said “Gingerbread Men,” but I believe in equal opportunity…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW! – Getting Results Without Authority

Leading a big project is challenging—even more so when you’re not the boss. You gather your team, hand out assignments and give timelines. You do your best to rally support and get everyone on board. But then, nothing happens. Enthusiasm fades. Deadlines are ignored. You need results but lack the authority to demand that people do things. What can you do? There’s more to getting results than…

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How to Build Unshakable Trust and Accountability at Your Office

Nobody has to tell you—creating an atmosphere of employee accountability and trust can be difficult. You have to set clear performance expectations … deliver constant feedback … and have a strategy for follow-through when employees aren’t meeting the mark. And you have to do it all without coming off as a tyrant or micromanager. Even more importantly, when you have to come down on someone,…

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Assertiveness Tricks That Will Make You a Hero at the Office

No doubt you’ve heard that it’s ok to be assertive when dealing with others, but being aggressive crosses the line. Still, if you’re like many people, there is a VERY thin line between assertiveness and aggressiveness.  And, in the heat of the moment, it’s very easy to cross that line. Furthermore, if you’re especially emotional at that instant, it’s easy to bulldoze your way over…

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3 Ways Smart Businesses Get High-Quality Customer Feedback

A crucial aspect of customer service is gauging consumers’ thoughts and feelings on the overall company and the products and services it sells. Therefore, employees should regularly inquire about customer feedback to truly understand how the business can improve its offerings, experience and mission. While there is no question that a greater percentage of these interactions are coming through social media, it’s foolish to ignore other…

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Webinar Wednesday – HURRY! – Simple, Quick and Stress-free Organization Strategies

If you’re like me, the holidays from Halloween through New Year’s tend to throw my organization process way off. Especially in December. It’s nice to know that it doesn’t take much to get me back on track. That’s why this one-hour webinar coming in January, Simple, Quick & Stress-free Organization Strategies, is the perfect fix for getting you (and me!) organized again. You don’t need…

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This is the “Chicken or the Egg?” Argument of Leadership

“Charisma is the result of effective leadership, not the other way around.”— Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus; Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge When we think of leadership, invariably we tend to think of people with magnetic personalities and towering charisma. They may give inspirational speeches and have moments of greatness. Charisma is like art—hard to define, but everyone knows it when they see it. But, is having…

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This is How Timid People Get Over Their Fear of Confrontation (and Win!)

A confrontation is usually a conversation with heightened emotions. Sometimes it is a result of unresolved conflict. Sometimes it is a cause of future conflict. And sometimes, if managed properly, it can be the beginning of greater trust and understanding. But first, you must learn to control your fear of confrontation. Reasons people fear confrontation Charley Reid from LovePanky.com says there are six reasons that…

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How to Become a More Approachable Manager at the Office

The other day, I got into a conversation with my oldest son, who is about three years into his management career. He was filling me in on some of the things going on at his work and I noticed something. He often has people from other departments coming to him to ask advice, pick his brain and even to get things off their chest. It…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW EVENT – Persuasive Business Writing

How convincing is your writing? Does it change people’s minds? Get them to act? Persuasive business writing is not a “nice to have” skill … it is a MUST-have skill! Imagine … a colleague receives an email from you suggesting a complicated procedure change. He or she immediately responds: “What a great idea. Let’s do it.” Or a customer or vendor who’s been stalling gets…

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How to Identify and Avoid Negative Behaviors That Will Stall Your Career

As a boss, it’s always thrilling to watch an employee grow in confidence, skill and professionalism. And, when you’ve had a part in that growth, it is the best feeling. Sometimes the best thing you can do is help employees identify the negative behaviors that are holding them back from achieving more. You know what they say: The first step to recovery is recognizing that…

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This is How Smart People Slow Down Interruptions at the Office

An overflowing inbox … a mountain of papers … a team needing feedback … and a packed calendar — can you get it all done? Not if people keep interrupting you! You’ve got to find ways for stopping interruptions before you go crazy. It’s always important to be civil and polite to your co-workers. But sometimes you simply don’t have time to stand around and…

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Here Are 3 Simple Ways To Manage Your Telecommuters

Most experts agree that within the next 10 years, some industries will see nearly 75 percent of their workforce telecommuting from home at least two to three days a week. Gone forever will be the days of employees navigating rush hour traffic five mornings a week to grow old in a cubicle. Millennials and Gen-Zers demand more flexibility not only in how they work, but…

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argument, negotiate, negotiator, remembering names

These Are the 10 Worst Negotiation Mistakes You Can Make With a Vendor

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.” Abraham Lincoln on being prepared in general, but it also applies to one of the biggest negotiation mistakes. When negotiating a contract with a vendor, some negotiators feel there is “always another vendor—so don’t give an inch.” But this can generate long-term problems for you and higher costs to…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW – Work-From-Home Policies: How to Avoid Lawsuits and Be Legally Compliant

About a quarter of U.S. workers do some or all their work from home. This flexibility can be a huge perk to employees. And if it makes them happier and more productive, it certainly seems like a win for employers too. But don’t overlook the communication snags and legal issues surrounding off-site employees: Are they expected to attend in-office meetings? Who’s eligible to work remotely?…

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This is What Better Be in Your Employee Handbook Right Now!

I had the pleasure of having holiday dinner with my brother last week and, because he’s a VP of Sales in Atlanta, half the city (aka, his customers) seemingly were there as well. I met several small business owners and we talked a little business—and a lot of football. During a commercial, someone made a joke about employees, and I quipped back about how they…

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8 Simple Reasons Why Your Employee Engagement is Failing

Bosses play a key role in employee engagement. But could organizational models be keeping managers from spending the right amount of quality time with employees? Or, if these horizontal structures are the right choice, should employees be given greater authority? We all know the cost of disengaged workers—lost time, lost customers, lost innovation and lost revenue. But, you can’t have a discussion about how to…

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Becoming a Great Communicator is in Easy Reach

Unfortunately, we all know what it’s like to have the perfect response pop into our head after an important situation or verbal exchange—too late to be of any use. Yet there are those individuals who always seem to know exactly what to do—and say—in any conflict or crisis. You may think that you’ll never be able to do that, but honestly, with a few tips,…

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Webinar Wednesday – Hurry!- Create Better Understanding Through Active Listening

Join us in January for this eye-opening (and ear-opening) webinar on improving one of the most important communication skills you can  have: the skill of active listening! If you hear everything, ask good questions and take great notes, does that make you a good listener? If the person talking to you doesn’t actually feel listened to, you may have indeed missed a key part of the experience….

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43 Groan-inducing (and Smile-making) Thanksgiving Jokes You Can Tell Grandma

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. — Johnny Carson   Based on the nearly non-existent traffic on MY drive into work this morning, you’re probably one of the few people in your office that are working today, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving….

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How to Stop Being That Fanatical Micromanager at the Office

“I perform better under a strict micromanager!” Quote from no employee … ever.   When you hear the word, “micromanager”, what is the image that immediately springs to mind? For most people, it’s the figure of a forlorn employee sitting at his or her desk as an overbearing supervisor behind them leans over the employee’s shoulder watching them work intently. A favorite cartoon panel of…

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time management

16 Brilliant Ways You Can Survive Your Vacation From Work

You had a wonderful vacation for the last two weeks skiing in Steamboat Springs and then visiting your sister in Northern California. But now it’s Monday morning and you’re back at work. There are 200 unanswered emails in your in-box and your voice mail message light is blinking ominously. There is a stack of new files on your desk teetering to the point of tipping…

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The Great American (and SkillPath) Thanksgiving Quiz

A week from now, you’ll all either be up at dawn’s early light for Black Friday sales, or you’ll still be in bed recovering from a food coma. As I doubt hardly any of you will be reading many blogs next week, I decided to do my Thanksgiving quiz today so maybe some of you will read it. You’re all on the honor system when…

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Why Disagreeing With Your Boss (Sometimes) Is the Best Thing You Can Do

The greatest boss that I ever had invited disagreement with his decisions … up to a point. He actively sought out differing opinions and ideas, but at some point, it was his decision to make. Afterwards, it was up to us to make it come true. And this was back in 1978 before the “treat your employees like human beings” trend started. On the other…

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Webinar Wednesday – LAST CHANCE – Stress-free Relationships: How to Work With Any Personality

Relationships are key in the business world … and everywhere else. Yet, it’s hard to build a relationship with a co-worker who gets on your nerves or a negative and demanding client who won’t listen to reason. Bad attitudes or unusual personality quirks can put a damper on collaboration and productivity and make a day at the office a miserable experience. Stress-free Relationships: How to…

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6 Tips That Will Make You the Master of Small Talk

Whether it’s a networking event, dinner with acquaintances, first date, or business meeting, you’re going to have to engage in small talk. And most of the time, small talk can seem unimportant—even downright painful! The awkward silences … the struggle to find something to say … all you want to do is get out of there! And while you may think small talk is inconsequential,…

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When Good Workers Go Bad: How to Manage Difficult Employees

Difficult employees. Every workplace has them, and the common cry resounds, “Why can’t we just fire them?” Why? Because firing people is expensive. Termination means you’re throwing all that employee’s training, experience, and corporate knowledge away. Add in the time and overall cost of searching for a replacement, interviewing all the candidates, screening them, hiring them, training them, and getting them up to the level…

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How to Tactfully Handle Outbursts from a Co-Worker at the Office

Difficult times, such as pay cuts, salary freezes, loss of bonuses, layoffs or organizational change causes great stress among employees. No matter what environment you’re in, chances are your team gets anxious … burned out … and feels disconnected. You probably feel the same way from time to time. You know that leads to lower morale, decreased productivity, diminishing employee performance, and ultimately a decline in…

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“Say What???” … 25 of the Weirdest Interview Questions Ever

Imagine you’re being interviewed for a great new job. It is going good so far, and you are just nailing the questions because you put in the prep time to answer anything about your past jobs and duties. Just when the thought of “Oh, baby … this job is mine!” hits you, the interviewer asks you the weirdest interview question ever, “How many cows are…

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How to Stop Saying Um, OK, Like and Other Bad Speech Fillers

Speech disfluency—you may not have heard the term. But, I know you’ve heard what they are … the little speech fillers our mouths use when our brains are thinking.  Especially when we’re a bit nervous or inexperienced speaking in front of people. “Um,” “you know” and “literally” are just a few of the many communication shortcuts. The question is, how damaging is this to our…

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Webinar Wednesday – Employee Development Plans 101

Ignoring employee development has a huge price tag: Good people leave. For most managers, it’s hard to carve out one-on-one time to understand where each employee can stretch to meet organizational or personal career goals. But talented workers want to grow … to learn … to move up. Without this plan, skills become obsolete, employees get bored and once innovative organizations lose steam. Make your employees’…

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How to Run Good Meetings That Don’t Suck

Most of us hate meetings. But, if we’re honest, good meetings are a vital link to making sound business decisions.  Bringing together just the key players, armed with the right information is key. If you can do that, you will make the best, most informed, decisions possible. Of course, that’s in a perfect world where you ride unicorns across rainbows to deliver you to the…

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How to Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Boss

Millions of appreciative employees go into work each day thanking their bosses for the support, encouragement and guidance they receive throughout the year. Unfortunately, others have poor relationships with their managers. It is to these employees that I want to dedicate today’s blog. As a CEO myself, there are behaviors that I expect from the people who work for me. When they happen, there will…

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better productivity

How to Handle Slackers and Bulldozers on Your Team

Navigating a team project at work can be tricky business. Each team member brings a unique perspective and set of skills to the table. But along with all those skills comes a parade of personalities and agendas. I once had a team project that was doomed from the start as not enough thought was put into who was going to be on the team.  It…

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How to Tame Your Anger at the Office and Keep Your Cool

Do people and situations at work leave you fuming? Do you sometimes wish you had a better handle on your temper? Have you ever said something in anger that you later wished you could take back? If so, you need to tame your anger and control it. Before you do permanent damage to your career, that is. When I was a teenager with (ahem) occasional…

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6 Red Flags That Say It’s Time to Look for a Better Job

We’ve all experienced it at some point or another in our careers: new management comes in, and suddenly a surge of closed-door meetings has the office buzzing. Or a new boss is hired, and you quickly sense tension throughout your department. Sometimes you can’t quite put your finger on it, but something at work just doesn’t quite feel right. Perhaps it’s your gut saying that…

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