vacation

How to Best Prepare at the Office For Going on Summer Vacation

Memorial Day officially turns the calendar to summer, even though spring still has about 3-1/2 weeks left in it. You’re excited because this year the thoughts of lying on that beach, hiking through the mountains, visiting wine country or spending a week or two holed up at home fixing and painting everything in sight leaves you in a state of bliss.  But there’s a not-so-neat…

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gatekeeper

Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – Gatekeeping Strategies for Front Desk Professionals

Amazing front desk professionals make the job look so easy. They greet every visitor and caller (even the impatient or angry ones) with a genuine smile and an unruffled demeanor. But underneath, they’re smoothly assessing and prioritizing. “Should this person be given access?” Gatekeeping is a vastly underrated skill but for the people it helps, the front desk personnel are heroes. When you work the…

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This Is the Reason Why Successful Companies Are Full of Questions

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows how much I value open communication throughout an organization. I’ve always felt that when a company, its leaders, and its staff have open lines of communication from top to bottom, there are virtually no challenges they cannot overcome. And, a critical piece of that mindset is creating an environment where questions are not…

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powerful words, i did it

3 Powerful Words You Should Say at the Office

What are three of the most powerful words in the English language? No, it’s not the three that immediately spring to mind. While telling your spouse, significant other or partner, “I love you,” is always a good idea, saying that to people at work will just lead to a rash of sexual harassment lawsuits and probable termination. Let’s rephrase the question to, “What are the…

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receive criticism

10 Professional Ways to Receive Criticism and Feedback

The other evening I was having dinner at my favorite local burger joint when I witnessed a master class in how to receive criticism from, of all things, a 16-year old waitress. It was a busy Friday night and an elderly lady at the booth next to me was intent on giving the waitress a piece of her mind. While the woman unloaded on the…

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data presentation

Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – Show and Sell: 7 Secrets to Excel® Data Presentation

Data has the power to convince. But for that to happen, it has to be clear and visually powerful. You need charts and graphs that show the story. And in today’s need-it-yesterday, zettabyte-filled workplace, simplifying mountains of statistics takes planning and know-how. That’s why we created this webinar to give you seven secrets to Excel® Data Presentation! Set yourself apart by becoming adept at translating data into the actionable…

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crisis leadership

6 Crisis Leadership Lessons That Will Keep Your Organization on the Right Path

Whenever I give leadership talks to various groups—especially to college kids just beginning their journeys—I invariably hear how it’s easier to lead when times are good, but they want to know what to do when times are bad. Don’t get me wrong, I feel blessed to be in a leadership position with truly great people around me. However, being the leader is never “easy.” Immensely…

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personal brand

This Is How You Can Create a Great Personal Brand (And Why You Should)

In the world of business, many people see themselves as a product or a commodity to sell, but this is not what a personal brand is all about. Personal branding is about taking the cookie-cutter approach to business out of the equation and creating a meaningful professional profile so you can be known as a distinguished professional. The way to craft your personal brand is…

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remembering names

7 Stunning Secrets to Remembering Names For Forgetful Fools

Full confession: I suck at remembering names of people I meet. Always have and probably always would have until I learned these seven little tricks from my ex-wife, the school teacher. She not only has to learn 25 new student names every year, but also multiple sets of parents and step-parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents and more. She taught me that one of the best business…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – Strategies for Managing Interruptions

You have a packed to-do list, but every time you dig in, someone or something interrupts you. Sound familiar? Some everyday distractions are welcome. But when you’re deeply focused, concentrating and sailing toward completion, interruptions can frustrate you and slow you down. You need a proven and foolproof system for managing interruptions. Scientists who study the effect of disruptions say workers spend as much as…

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feel welcome, onboarding

Onboarding Practices That Will Make Your Employees Feel Wanted

Last week, I looked at the lazy onboarding mistakes that many companies make even when they have the best intentions. Research proves that companies that do onboarding right have higher employee engagement, loyalty and productivity. They also have much lower turnover. In short, making employees feel wanted and appreciated, even before they start working for you, pays off in the short- and long-term. Today, we’ll look…

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mesothelioma, workplace hazards

3 Hidden Ways Your Workplace Could (Literally) Be Killing You

This week (May 6 – 12) is North American Occupational Safety and Health Week, bringing awareness to the consequences of workplace hazards. Now, while that might not be as warm and fuzzy a topic as National Pet Week (also May 6 – 12), it doesn’t diminish its importance. NAOSH Week is a reminder why everyone should pay close attention to safety and illness issues at…

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introvert

This is How One Quiet Introvert Learned to Speak Up in Meetings

Everyone’s been stuck in meetings that are dominated by one or two people. They’re comfortable and confident and say anything that comes to mind. Meanwhile, you, the introvert, take great notes, analyze remarks the others make, and come up with some great ideas for solving the issues being discussed. The only problem is that those ideas remain stuck in your head because you aren’t contributing…

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Webinar Wednesday – NEW TOPIC – Create a Successful Reverse Mentoring Program

Technology change is accelerating. This quickening pace can leave some of your most trusted, experienced employees behind. On the other hand, many inexperienced young workers are fearlessly tech savvy but lacking in industry knowledge and business acumen. Pair the two and create a collaborative talent share that benefits both types of workers. It’s a highly effective technique called reverse mentoring. Discover how to tap the…

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onboarding

What Your Employees Want You to Know About Your Lazy Onboarding

Many years ago, before it was called onboarding, companies used to call the process of welcoming new employees “orientation.” And believe it or not, they did it much worse than companies now. During the first three-quarters of the 20th century, the employee mindset was that you’d grow old and die with the company. Organizations didn’t put much effort into welcoming new people because buzzwords like…

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handling outbursts from coworkers

How to Handle an Outburst From a Co-Worker Like a Pro

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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multiple bosses, front desk

This is How Brilliant Assistants Keep Multiple Bosses Happy

Even when reporting to just one boss, administrative assistants are responsible for a myriad of duties to that boss. In addition, include the admin’s unofficial role as the organizer and mother hen for the rest of the department, keeping them happy and on track as well. Now, imagine being the assistant for multiple bosses and you’ve just increased the responsibilities—and the stress—exponentially. So how do successful administrative…

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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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managing interruptions

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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