Tips to Achieve Work-Life Balance

By | Career Tip

If you’re feeling out of balance in your life, you’re not alone. Many people struggle to do it all: succeed in their jobs, enjoy family time, maintain a social life and take care of themselves. When you spend too much time at work and too little time on your life outside of the office, it’s a smart idea to hit the reset button. Here are a few tips to help you regain a good work-life balance:

  • Put the important things first. Family, your mental health and your physical health should be non-negotiable priorities in your life—and if they’re taking a backseat because your plate is too full, talk with your boss about making sure your daily workload is appropriate and achievable.
  • Take a hard look at the time sucks. Are you guilty of taking “quick” breaks that turn into 45 minutes surfing the internet? Do simple tasks often end up hogging your entire afternoon? Keep a detailed log of your day’s activities for a week. Then, identify the biggest time-wasters that are keeping you at work longer than necessary. Make a plan to regain control of your day by saying no to things that don’t require your involvement, minimizing the digital distractions and keeping a detailed daily agenda.
  • Schedule, schedule, schedule. Create a schedule and do your very best to stick to it. Put everything on it too—from wakeup time to bedtime, from calls/meetings to focused task completion time. The more you adhere to a detailed daily schedule, the easier it becomes to quickly identify the meaningless activities that take up your day without you even noticing them.
  • Learn to delegate. Many of us are guilty of taking on more than we can handle because it feels easier to do things ourselves than to teach someone else to do them. Stop that immediately and start asking yourself if every task you complete is the best use of your precious hours. Try to come up with a list of things that could easily be handled by a coworker or someone on your staff who is better suited for the job.
  • Set boundaries. Of course you want to be a reliable employee, but there’s danger in giving everything you’ve got to your job. Setting a schedule and communicating that schedule to colleagues can help, but there’s more you can do. For big projects, develop a plan and schedule with due dates to which you can commit—so you don’t end up working nights and weekends whenever something important arises. Institute a no-tech policy for a set period each day and unplug— literally and figuratively. Take days off to rejuvenate and reenergize.
  • Treat the fun stuff like commitments. Don’t blow off your kickboxing class or bail out of dinner with friends because a project needs your late-night attention. Schedule your social and personal activities and treat them like you would an important meeting. Achieving balance requires that you continuously fill each of your “life buckets” (i.e. the family/friends and health buckets) and do not overflow just one (i.e. the career bucket).

It might not always feel like it, but it is possible to commit to your family, your job, your friends and yourself. Set reasonable limits to ensure you don’t sacrifice your family or social life for your career. Practice makes better: be disciplined about making time for all of your priorities. Soon you will feel more balanced, less stressed and more fulfilled in all areas of your life.

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The Monetization of Motivation

By | Story

The recent uptick in #MondayMotivation posts in social media feeds seems to pose many questions. Is it really just an inescapable fact that Mondays are a downer for everyone? Do people need (and crave) a weekly pick-me-up when facing their jobs after the weekend? Why do low levels of motivation seem to be on the rise in the workplace? There is a fair amount of research that implies there is indeed a rising problem.

A recent Gallup survey found that only two in 10 employees strongly agree that their performance is managed in a way that truly motivates them to do outstanding work. More so, 52% of the current workforce is “not engaged” (AKA: performing without enthusiasm or care for their work), and Forbes reports that employee engagement is on the decline across the globe. They also noted that only 30% of employees strongly agree that their manager or superior involves them in goal setting, and only 14% deeply believe that the performance reviews they receive “inspire them to improve.”

The aftermath of these rampant humdrum emotions? Between $960 billion and $1.2 trillion in lost revenue per year due to a lack of retention, with turnover costs estimated to be 100% – 300% of the base salary of the replaced employee. That’s a massive impact on your bottom line, and takes an even weightier toll on team dynamics, business outcomes and employee satisfaction.

Luckily, this goes both ways. Sources have found that a five-point increase in employee engagement is linked to a three-point increase in revenue growth in the subsequent year. Tamara Moore, engagement expert and CEO of Relevel, LLC., reinforces this fact too, stating that compared with business units in the bottom 25%, those in the top 25% of engaged and motivated workers realized substantially better customer experiences, higher productivity, stronger employee retention, fewer staff health issues and higher profitability.

So, hypothesis confirmed: Employee engagement and motivation is dwindling, and the effects of this are brutal. But, the question remains. Why is this happening? Is it due to our decreased attention spans, job insecurity, rising levels of stress, laziness, complacency, or a hodgepodge of it all? How can only 20% of working professionals feel engaged at their job?

Moore notes that it isn’t always the most obvious answer. She says that the rapid pace of change in the world, coupled with a disgruntled job environment, can deeply and detrimentally affect employees’ engagement and motivation levels.

“Lack of communication about goals and expectations, negative coworkers, salary disparity and low levels of confidence in leadership are all reasons we see this decline,” Moore says.

She commented that more than half of employees are searching for new jobs or watching for openings and team leaders are the ones who have a huge impact on whether or not they jump ship. They are the ones who truly influence “whether workers are able to use their strengths to do what they do best, give team members recognition for good work and hold ongoing conversations to coach employees and connect them to their purpose.”

So, how do you remedy this dilemma? HuffingtonPost published an article stating that some of the most effective ways to motivate your employees include communicating better, empowering them and offering opportunities for advancement. Does that sound like exactly what you’re already doing? Moore provides some insightful, easy-to-remember tips that may prove to be useful to you and your team in ensuring you see some results.

  1. Hear them. Take time to actively listen and make effective use of one-on-one time and team meetings. It is also about learning to ask powerful questions and utilize that feedback to shape the future. For example, consider posing thought-provoking questions such as, “If your success as an employee was guaranteed, what one bold thing would you try in your position?”
  2. See them. Notice details about their work and take time to truly recognize their efforts. Is there something that would improve their schedule or working conditions? Are you regularly taking the time to acknowledge and appreciate their accomplishments?
  3. Connect them. Connecting employees to their purpose is a game-changer. Passion is fuel; it motivates employees to be creative and work through whatever challenge they may be facing. Through her work at the International Conscious Business Institute, Moore witnessed incredible results at companies when employees connected their individual purpose to their position purpose, and then to the overall purpose of the organization.

Want more? Moore (no pun intended) is holding an entire workshop on this topic on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at the University of Colorado South Denver. Learn more and register here.

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Dos and Don’ts for Asking for a Raise

By | Career Tip

Maybe you’ve been in the same position at the same company for a while. Perhaps you think you’re slightly underpaid. Or maybe you’re doing extra work (making up for a colleague who quit recently or because your company is going through a temporarily hectic time) and haven’t received a commensurate increase in pay. If you feel like it’s time to ask for a raise, review these dos and don’ts before you step into your boss’s office:

Do prepare a list of reasons you deserve it. Put together a list of your accomplishments since your last raise, especially the ones that have had the greatest impact. While being overworked is an understandable reason you might feel deserving, you’ll be much more convincing if you cite tangible examples of your contributions and your plans to continue to add value.

Don’t focus on your cost of living. Rent went up? Lots of bills? Your boss might empathize, but those aren’t good reasons to request a raise. Your best bet is to focus on your performance at the company rather than go for the “pity ask” and bemoan all of the ways your current salary isn’t enough to meet your living expenses.

Do research salaries in your area. If you suspect you’re underpaid for the job you’re doing, dig up some data. Websites like PayScale.com and Salary.com are great resources to help you research and compare average salaries in your market. Look at job duties and not just job titles. You’ll also want to make sure you are informed about things like economic growth and average salary increases in your city and state.

Don’t be unrealistic. Be reasonable. Asking to increase your salary from $55,000 to $90,000 because you’ve taken on the jobs of multiple people or are acting more like a manager than a staff member might result in a flat-out “no.” It’s okay to ask for what you want but understand that a counteroffer is likely and there’s a good chance that your boss will need to clear your request with his or her superiors and Human Resources.

Do be positive. It’s always a best to start any salary conversation on a positive note. Let your boss know that you look forward to continuing to work hard for the company. Even if part of your motivation is that you feel a little unappreciated, focus on the good: what you like about your job, what you want to bring to the table going forward, and specific goals for your future.

Don’t get discouraged. If your boss counters with a smaller increase than you hoped for, it doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Request clearly defined goals that you can work toward to earn an increase in the months to come. Ask for opportunities for growth and development.

There’s no reason to be afraid to ask for a raise, but you’ll do yourself a big favor by going into the conversation prepared. Develop a solid list of the achievements you’ve had and the ways you’ve made a difference. Make a compelling case for why you’re a reliable employee that your company wants to retain. You’ll mature from the experience either way, but hopefully, you’ll also get that bump in salary you want.

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CEO of Crocs Shares Leadership Lessons

By | Story

CEO of Crocs, Andrew Rees, inspired and empowered over 250 individuals last night during a fireside chat at CU South Denver with Lone Tree Mayor, Jackie Millet, where they discussed leadership lessons he’s gleaned over the years. From questions on his proudest accomplishments to how his high school teachers would describe him in a nutshell, Millet dug deep to gain an in-depth insight into Rees’ personal and professional triumphs, challenges and lessons learned along his path to success.

Following the intimate, hour-long discussion, Rees took on-the-spot questions from the audience, many of which revolved around what advice he had for individuals considering leadership roles themselves and what key takeaways they should know for success.

Rees advised that leaders should empower, and delegate responsibility to their teams, providing a better outcome than what the leader could deliver alone.

He also emphasized the importance of listening as a top leadership skill, noting that it is vital to identify the question behind every question in order to understand the core intention of the inquiry. If you listen well, Rees said, you will have a competitive advantage and can truly understand what your consumers desire. This can be translated to the workplace as well — listening to, and genuinely understanding, what motivates your employees will enable you to help them achieve and surpass their goals.

Touching on the importance of values, Rees stated that integrity and respect are attributes imperative for everyone.

“Companies and leaders must have absolute values … They must keep these values front and center at work every single day and not waiver from them,” Rees said.

Other takeaways included loving your brand and instilling that love in your employees, appreciating and celebrating your teams for meeting goals or working hard on projects that don’t always succeed, embracing decision-making and taking ample time for yourself, family and other parts of your life that are meaningful to you.

Missed the program? CU South Denver will be featuring additional C-Suite luminaries in their 2019 portfolio including Steve White, president of Comcast’s West Division, Kent Thiry, CEO of DaVita and Mary Rhinart, CEO of Johns Mansville.

Denver Business Journal logo

9 questions with Crocs’ CEO Andrew Rees and a look at the company’s favorite products

By | In the News

Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX) President and CEO Andrew Rees fielded a few questions from Denver Business Journal ahead of his speaking engagement at the University of Colorado South Denver on Nov. 29.

How and why did you become the CEO of Crocs? Even before joining as President in 2014, I knew Crocs was a powerful, exciting global footwear brand with highly differentiated products and tremendous upside potential. The brand had, admittedly, lost its way, but I saw that as an opportunity to outline a new strategic pathway and assemble a talented team to implement that strategy. More than four years later – one of them as CEO – we remain committed to the strategic plan and have seen growth of the Crocs brand and business around the globe.

CBS 4 Blog Journey to the Top

‘Journey To The Top’ Focuses On Successes Of Top CEOs

By | In the News

LONE TREE, Colo (CBS4) – The University of Colorado South Denver is launching a new program called Journey to the Top/C-Suite Series. The university will be hosting several successful CEOs to talk about their journey in a fireside chat format. The first talk in the series features Andrew Rees, President and CEO of Crocs, Inc. Rees will share personal stories successes, challenges, and lessons learned throughout his two-plus decades in footwear and retail.

6 Ways to Make a Great First Impression

By | Career Tip

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” It’s absolutely true—and especially in the workplace. Whether you like it or not, that very first interaction with a prospective employer, new boss, coworker or client gives them a sense of who you are. If you want to put your best foot forward, here are six ways to make that initial impression the best it can be:

1. Smile and shake hands. A good handshake is critical when first meeting someone. Done right, it makes you appear confident and professional. Done wrong, it can make you seem timid, overbearing or just plain awkward. Shoot for a firm but not overpowering grip—and greet the other person with a smile as you shake. You will put people at ease and appear relaxed.

2. Speak with confidence. In an interview or introductory situation with someone important, it’s understandable that you might feel nervous, but don’t let your voice give you away. Maintain an even tone as you talk and avoid ending sentences as though you’re asking a question. Talk at a conversational speed—not too slow or too fast. Minimize crutch words and phrases (um, like, I mean, so, well, you know, I guess, I think, right, to name a few). Pause before you speak, think about what you want to say and then talk.

3. Make eye contact. Nothing makes you seem aloof, apprehensive and distracted like looking past someone or at the ground. During an opening conversation with someone, show respect by maintaining a comfortable amount of eye contact. Short breaks are fine, but looking people in the eyes lets them know that you’re engaged and interested in what they have to say.

4. Watch your body language. If you’re seated, take note of your posture. Don’t slouch, but also don’t sit so rigidly straight that you come across anxious or uncomfortable. Avoid fidgeting or shaking your foot. If you’re having a conversation while standing, try to plant your feet and avoid shuffling or shifting your stance. When someone is speaking, nod to show that you’re listening.

5. Listen actively. Speaking of listening, make sure you’re paying attention to what others say and that you respond with appropriate verbal and non-verbal communication. When asked a question, quickly summarize the important parts to confirm you heard things correctly before you answer. And remember that part of active, engaged listening is asking thoughtful questions back.

6. Show interest. As Dale Carnegie said, “One can win the attention and time and cooperation of even the most sought-after people by becoming genuinely interested in them.” Too often, people focus only on themselves in conversation. There are certainly times when you should be the focus—in a job interview, for example. However, you will learn and grow by concentrating on the person to which you’re speaking and asking questions that convey your interest. Bonus: you’ll set yourself apart.

The impression you leave upon those you meet can have a big influence on the way your career unfolds. Exude confidence and poise. Be sincere and friendly and express interest in others. You will be memorable to those you meet and will lay the foundation for a great working relationship that has a positive impact on your career.

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Rock Your First Day at Your New Job

By | Career Tip

You’ve landed your dream job and your first day is coming up soon. Don’t be nervous—this is the beginning of a brand-new chapter and an awesome opportunity. How can you get things off to a fantastic start? Here are several tips:

Make a killer first impression. You’re going to meet a lot of people on day one at your new company. Practice your introduction ahead of time so you don’t stumble over your words. Perfect that handshake—not too firm or too weak. Dress professionally and appropriately for the company. And smile! Smiling will make you feel more relaxed overall and give off a friendly vibe as you introduce yourself to your new colleagues. Here are a few more tips for making a great first impression.

Develop a mindset for learning. Let’s face it: the first several months in a new position can be overwhelming. Nothing is familiar, you don’t have any trusted coworkers to turn to in times of stress and you have a huge learning curve ahead of you. Take a deep breath and prepare to embrace the challenge ahead. Adopt the mantra that every day is a chance to learn something new and you should always keep acquiring new knowledge.

Exude confidence. While it is wise to be humble and open to learning, keep in mind that you were hired for a reason. You have skills and assets that your new employer finds valuable. Show up eager to work hard and prove yourself. From your very first day, make valuable contributions that help advance your organization’s goals.

Be ready to take thorough notes. If your new boss doesn’t waste any time getting you up and running, make sure you are prepared with a fresh mind and a blank notebook! Yes, there’s a lot to take in and it’s natural to feel inundated. However, if you arrive and your new team wants to put you right to work, be ready to take detailed notes and ask lots of thoughtful questions.

Get acquainted with other people’s roles. Yes, your first day is likely to focus on what you’ll be doing in your new position, but whenever you get the chance, ask your new coworkers questions. It’s important that you start getting familiar with how you will support other people and departments. Asking each person you meet a little about what he or she does and how the two of you will work together is a good idea. (Keep that notebook handy as you make your way around the office.)

Get off on the right foot at your new job with a positive attitude and a game plan for success. And remember that while the first day sets the stage for your time at your new company, it’s just one day. Do your best to make a strong first impression and go in with an eager, excited attitude, but if things don’t go exactly as you envision, it’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day and another chance to learn, grow and embrace your new environment.

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Crocs CEO Andrew Rees Joins CU South Denver for New Educational Program

By | Press Release

LONE TREE, CO (Nov. 15, 2018) – The University of Colorado South Denver has announced the launch of an impressive new program, Journey to the Top | C-Suite Series, starting in November of this year. Kicking off this series is Andrew Rees, President and CEO of Niwot-based Crocs, Inc., the maker of one of the most iconic footwear silhouettes in the world.

Rees will share personal stories from his two-plus decades in footwear and retail, including his pathway to Crocs, where he’s overseen the $1 billion brand’s transformation and growth efforts. The event, Rees’ first public speaking appearance in Colorado, will be held on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 5 – 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public with limited seating.

“I am thrilled to help CU South Denver kick-off what’s sure to be an educational speaker series,” Rees said. “While my background is in footwear, Crocs presented a challenge full of learning opportunities, but also successes. I look forward to sharing my story in hopes of inspiring others in the community.”

Following a professional networking reception, Rees will accompany Jackie Millet, the mayor of Lone Tree, for an intimate fireside chat with discussions of his triumphs, challenges and lessons learned along his path to success. Members of the audience will have the opportunity to ask Rees their own questions as well.

“We are proud to have CU South Denver in Lone Tree, and it’s an honor to participate in the kick-off session with Rees,” said Millet.

Sponsors include CBS4, the CU Denver Business School, American Furniture Warehouse and the Denver South EDP. This event is expected to have roughly 300 – 400 attendees and an actual Crocs store, mobile-style, will be outside CU South Denver before the event selling merchandise.

Scot Chadwick, the vice chancellor of enterprise development for CU South Denver, states that this will be “an invaluable opportunity for professionals across the Denver Metro Area to further their own professional development and garner hands-on insights and learnings from a chief executive officer’s journey.”

The Journey to the Top | C-Suite Series boasts a variety of other CEO luminaries for 2019 including Steve White, the President of Comcast’s West Division, Kent Thiry, CEO of DaVita and Mary Rhinehart, CEO of Johns Manville. Learn more about this unique program and register here.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER: Rees joined Crocs as president in June 2014 and became CEO and joined the board of directors in June 2017. He has more than 25 years of experience in the footwear and retail industry and oversees the brand’s global strategy and operations. Prior to joining Crocs, Rees served as managing director of L.E.K. Consulting in Boston where he founded and led the firm’s Retail and Consumer Products Practice for 13 years. While at L.E.K., Rees served as a consultant for Crocs from 2013 to 2014, supporting the development and execution of the company’s strategic growth plan. Previously, Rees served as vice president of both strategic planning and retail operations for Reebok International. He also held a variety of positions at Laura Ashley.

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About Crocs, Inc.

Crocs, Inc. (Nasdaq: CROX) is a world leader in innovative casual footwear for women, men and children, combining comfort and style with a value that consumers know and love. Every pair of shoes within Crocs’ collection contains Croslite™ material, a proprietary, molded footwear technology, delivering extraordinary comfort with each step.

In 2018, Crocs reinforces its mission of “everyone comfortable in their own shoes” with the second year of its global Come As You Are™ campaign. To learn more about Crocs or Come As You Are, please visit www.crocs.com or follow @Crocs on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Characteristics of high performance teams

How to Build a High-Performance Team

By | Career Tip

The benefits of great teams at work are obvious and many, from the positive work environment they create to increased productivity to better work output from employees. While many leaders recognize some of the traits of high-performing teams, it can be harder to figure out how to instill those characteristics into their employees.

Luella Chavez D’Angelo, the former vice chancellor for enterprise development at the University of Colorado South Denver, delivered a talk on this very topic (her June 26, 2018, EduTalk presentation was titled “Do You Have an A-Team? 13 Traits of High-Performance Teams”). In case you missed it, here are a few tips on how you as a manger or leader can help nurture and build excellent teams that in turn have a tremendous positive impact on your entire organization:

Communicate like a master. High-performance teams are aligned around a shared vision. They are adept at giving and receiving feedback at all levels of the organization. They bring problems to the surface so they can address and correct them. All of these efforts require good communication! So, ask questions and listen. Encourage open discussions among employees (and between managers and employees) and invite input and ideas from everyone at your organization. Talk about issues, even the difficult ones.

Build good relationships. The best company cultures are the ones where employees feel respected, comfortable and supported. You can foster that kind of environment at your workplace by treating all employees like they are important and their ideas matter. Create a culture of trust, where employees are allowed an appropriate level of autonomy. Encourage employees to come together outside of work sometimes too by offering teambuilding activities and other social events.

Uphold a positive work environment. This goes hand in hand with relationship-building. Above all, make sure you maintain an encouraging, constructive environment at the workplace where people feel valued and heard. Conflicts are bound to happen sometimes, but when they do, make sure you address them directly and in a timely manner to maintain a strong, cooperative team that trusts one another.

Put goals front and center. This is one of the keys to building outstanding teams. Aligning employees to achieve a vision takes consistent effort. You can’t simply print out a list of objectives and pass it around at your team meeting. You must continually remind your team of the path forward: where your company is headed and the milestones you intend to achieve together to get there. Empowering people—your “champions”—to work toward those goals is also essential.

The right team can take your organization to new heights, but it takes effort on your part. Cultivate an environment that allows people to flourish and achieve any goal you put in front of them. You have a big influence on the cohesiveness of your team and the commitment level of the members on it. Do your job effectively, and you’ll be rewarded with a hard-working, high-performing team that is engaged and dedicated.

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Emotional intelligence blog

4 Reasons You Need Emotional Intelligence as a Professional

By | Career Tip

It’s obvious to most of us why intelligence is important as we navigate our careers and strive to make an impact, but what about emotional intelligence?

Psychology Today describes emotional intelligence as “the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” Experts say that emotional awareness is tied to strong problem-solving skills and the ability to read and understand people. It makes sense, then, that emotional intelligence in the workplace is important, but let’s get specific. Here are four reasons you need emotional intelligence as a professional:

1. To create lasting, authentic relationships. Day in, day out, you’re spending time with other people—in meetings, working together on projects, on phone calls. Emotional intelligence will allow you to better understand those around you and figure out the best way to work together toward goals. It will help you develop empathy, which means you’ll relate to people better. That all adds up to stronger relationships that will carry you through your career—at this company and beyond.

2. To enhance your people skills. In many jobs, working with others is a requirement. Thus, it’s important to know how to work effectively and communicate with many different kinds of people (who have different communication styles themselves). Everyone operates differently. As a colleague, manager or employee, adaptability is vital.

3. To build trust in the workplace. We’ve talked on the blog before about the importance of trust in the workplace. In a culture built on trust, leaders and managers believe in the importance of good working relationships and open, honest communication. They frequently recognize others for their efforts and invite their employees to share their ideas with leadership and one another. To be this kind of employer, you need emotional intelligence.

4. To be a valued member of any team. There’s a lot that goes into being a great team member, and most of it comes down to dedication, hard work and putting others before yourself. You own your work and do what you say you will do. When others contribute effort, you give thoughtful, useful feedback. You acknowledge others’ ideas, even if you don’t always agree with them, and make those with whom you work feel appreciated and trusted. Psychologist and bestselling author Daniel Goleman is to thank for introducing the concept of emotional intelligence (first unveiled by Yale psychologists in 1990) to the world on a grand scale in his book “Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ,” in 1995. In the years since, he has researched and written about the relationship between emotional intelligence and success in a variety of settings—including the workplace.

As a quick summary, here are the five components of emotional intelligence according to Goleman:

Self-awareness – The ability to recognize one’s own personality or individuality.

Self-regulation – The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

Internal motivation – The internal drives that move one toward certain behavior or activity.

Empathy – The ability to be aware of, understand and be sensitive to the feelings, thoughts and experiences of others even when one has not experienced or thought those feelings themselves.

Social skills – The skills used by people to interact and communicate with one another.

When you put effort toward strengthening your emotional intelligence, you build a lifelong skill that will help you become a better, more effective manager and employee. Hone these aptitudes each day. You—and those around you—will notice a difference in your relationships, attitude and happiness.

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5 Business Lessons You Can Learn From Millennials

By | Career Tip

Some call them Generation Y or the Net Generation, but the most common label for people born between about 1982 and 2004 is Millennial, a term that describes the largest age group in American history, at over 80 million people. Millennials in the workplace, then, range from those just starting their careers at 22 years old to those who are about a dozen years in (at 36).

Ask around, and you’re likely to hear some not-so-great opinions about Millennials. They’re narcissistic and entitled. They’ve been sheltered and coddled. They’re hooked on technology and love selfies and social media.

Yet, Millennials are perhaps the most unique generation to date and have many incredible traits when you make the effort to look beyond the generalizations. Here are five lessons to learn from this fascinating generation:

1. Teamwork isn’t just important in business. It’s essential. Many researchers call Millennials the generation of natural collaborators, marked by people who believe in working together over working in silos. They like making decisions as a team, drawing opinions and ideas from all members. Because they are generally creative and innovative, Millennials see listening to their peers as an essential part of any project and the best way to learn and grow.

2. There are unmet needs everywhere you turn. Millennials are the most entrepreneurial generation in history, with innovation being a core personality trait. According to the BNP Paribas 2016 Global Entrepreneur Report, Millennials are starting more companies at an earlier age than Baby Boomers. Some of that can be chalked up to their general tech-savviness, but “Millennipreneurs” start businesses in traditional sectors as well as those in the new economy.

3. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This group of professionals is eager to advance in their careers and seemingly undeterred by the prospect of failure. In their career and entrepreneurial adventures, they don’t see obstacles as much as opportunities. Millennials are known for their boundless optimism.

4. It’s better to be happy than rich. In the grind of work and life, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters and what led you down a career path in the first place. Many Millennials seek out passionate endeavors, blending their desire to disrupt and/or make a difference and their goal to satisfy their curiosity. According to the Brookings Institution report, “How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America,” 64 percent of Millennials said they’d rather than $40,000 a year at a job they love than $100,000 a year at a job they think is boring.

5. Businesses can and should make a positive impact. When it comes to important values in business, Millennials place a high priority on making a positive impact on society and the environment. In the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey, respondents shared their belief that business success should be measured in terms of more than financial performance, but also helping solve society’s economic, social and environmental challenges of the day.

Making up more than one-quarter of the U.S. population, Millennials have changed America as we know it. They are educated. They are hardworking and business-minded. They are open-minded, socially responsible and empathetic. They take risks in hopes that their efforts will yield that next great idea and make a lasting impact. Without question, Millennials have many valuable assets and have reshaped the business world.

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How to Be More Productive Each Day

By | Career Tip

Most of us have a lot to do every day and are always looking for ways to increase our productivity. Really, it comes down to two things: correcting bad habits and staying organized about your to-dos. Here are a few simple strategies to adopt that will help you do both:

Focus on one thing at a time. Working on multiple priorities sounds like a good idea, but recently, experts have been sharing the negative aspects of multitasking. The brain can become overstimulated and overwhelmed. Each item you work on receives an inadequate amount of focus, actually leading to worsened productivity. And some researchers say multitasking negatively impacts the memory. So, next time you’re tempted to check email while you’re in the zone writing a report or read a memo during a conference call, stop. You’re actually doing more harm than good.

Maintain a detailed to-do list. Whether you’re a faithful day-planner user, someone who writes daily to-dos on the whiteboard each day or an Outlook enthusiast, find a method that works for you and stick to it. If you like using technology, check out some of the popular apps out there for keeping track of your projects and deadlines like Todoist and Any.do.

Cut the tech distractions. Speaking of technology, there are lots of ways you can waste an hour (or three) these days—from checking social media to surfing your favorite news or entertainment websites. Schedule short breaks for yourself throughout the day, but if you’re not disciplined, there are apps to help. Check out RescueTime, which tracks the time you spend on websites, social media, email and other applications and sends you detailed productivity reports every day. You can even block distracting websites and set “focus” periods.

Rein in the meeting madness. Sometimes meetings are important, but if you find that much of your day is spent in the conference room rehashing topics that could have easily been ironed out via email, it’s time for a change. Commit to meetings only when your presence is essential, and when you’re the organizer, put together an agenda to ensure that time is used efficiently.

Take breaks. Guess what happens when you work from dawn until dusk without taking a breath? Burnout. It’s a common problem and one you can prevent by taking care of yourself—and not just after hours. Stand up and stretch or walk around the office every 30 minutes. Eat lunch somewhere other than your desk at least a few days a week.

Get your game plan together. At the start of the day, dedicate a few minutes to prioritizing your to-do list from the “must complete” items to the “non-essential” items. This will help you get into the right frame of mind and mentally plan out your day. Once you have your most important tasks in front of you, schedule time to complete them at the time of day when you feel most alert and focused. At the end of the day, spend 10 minutes looking ahead to tomorrow’s priorities and taking note of any meetings or calls on your calendar.

If your goal is to accomplish more, it simply takes a little effort and consistency. Try incorporating some of these things into your work habits and see if it makes a difference in your production output, stress level and efficiency.

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University of Colorado South Denver Empowers Leaders for Success

By | Press Release

LONE TREE, CO (Oct. 9, 2018) – The University of Colorado South Denver has announced they are launching executive education programs in the fall of this year. These newly-offered programs are designed to fortify leadership capabilities, illuminate strategies and provide insights into innovation. Executive education at CU South Denver is created for senior management looking to enhance their influence and drive organizational success.

The university will commence its executive education effort with a full lineup of robust programming beginning with Executive Presence & Networking, held on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, at CU South Denver’s stunning facility in Lone Tree, CO. This intensive and integrative half-day program seeks to develop and enhance leaders’ credibility, trust, buy-in and meaningful relationships.

Top faculty from the University of Colorado will teach a multitude of signature programs, creating an immersive and rigorous educational experience, all over in-house executive chef-prepared meals, concierge level service and access to an exclusive network of peers.

“CU South Denver’s executive, cohorted experience is like no other in the Rocky Mountain Region… It targets the whole person, combining innovation-focused design thinking and futurist content and theory,” says Nicholas Hamilton-Archer, executive director of executive programs at the University of Colorado. Interested participants can register for an upcoming information session.

Carefully designed to meet emerging business and organizational needs, CU South Denver’s executive education boasts forward-looking programs such as Digital Excellence for Senior Leaders, Data-Driven Decision Making & Business Analytics and Minority Business Accelerator. Global Immersion-India, a week-long trip to Mumbai, is planned for late November and will examine the India business environment with first-hand, on-the-spot experience of how strategy, finance, management, culture and organization are conducted internationally.

“We are providing organizations the opportunity to orient their leaders for what is coming tomorrow, while simultaneously providing a broader perspective, transferable skills and the health and wellness grounding to increase agility and adaptability, both internally and externally,” Archer states.

According to CU South Denver’s newly-appointed vice chancellor of enterprise development, Scot Chadwick, this program will “cultivate leaders who are future-focused, cutting-edge, courageous and self-aware.” It will be a “transformative experience” for executives and upper management, Chadwick notes, propelling their organizations forward and establishing for themselves a leadership position within their professional landscape.

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Stress on the Rise?

By | Story

According to a 2017 Gallup survey, about eight in 10 Americans frequently or sometimes encounter stress in their day-to-day lives. Not only does this impact one’s emotional and mental wellness, it takes a massive toll on the body too. The American Stress Foundation states that stress can cause a number of physiological effects in the moment, such as tense muscles and rapid breathing, but it can also impact you long-term. This is seen in certain disorders such as insomnia, hypertension and increased susceptibility to infections.

With medical knowledge and technology advancing at a historically high rate, why are individuals still suffering from lofty levels of stress? What are the top catalysts of these ever-so-present emotions? Studies show that health, finances and safety rank number one, with interpersonal relationships and politics following. These all seem pretty intuitive – life is expensive, bills stack up faster than we can handle, and the political climate can cause a lot of uncertainty too. Still, should these levels really be upsurging?

Karen Gorton, assistant professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing, has a unique stance on this topic, stating that in our technology-saturated world, stress boils over now more than ever.

“Our access to knowledge is instantaneous and we are being inundated by it,” Gorton states. She notes that in the field of nursing alone, “an individual’s knowledge base is doubling every 12 months.” This large influx of new knowledge can create a lot pressure to keep up. And, as technology continues to advance at an incredibly high speed, it can become increasingly difficult to fully unplug.

“We have come to expect an immediate response from people; that’s the new norm,” Gorton states. She says that “society has lost the boundary of personal space and time because we have social pressure to always be connected” and that can be a huge source of stress for people. Learning how to bounce back from stress, having the capacity to handle it in the moment without tipping over the edge, and learning self-management skills is paramount in the chaotic world we live in today.

What are some of the most impactful ways to manage stress? Gorton says that “If, and when, you are feeling stressed, take 10 deep breaths and spend some time asking yourself ‘what has pushed me to this tipping point?’” She also notes that it can be effective to actually tell those around you that you have been pushed past your limit and need some time to cool down. If you are able to, remove yourself from the context, and allow yourself some time to reflect. These simple actions can make a profound difference in your overall response to stress.

Additional research shows that listening to soothing music can wind down your heart rate and blood pressure, some of the most common symptoms of stress build-up. Any form of physical activity, including walking, yoga, and stretching, can be beneficial as well because it releases feel-good chemicals into the body and allows you to actually practice managing stress. So, lace-up those running shoes, take a moment to deeply inhale and exhale, or turn up your favorite tune, even for just a moment. You may find that your feelings of being stressed and overwhelmed are able to subside.

Gorton is hosting a series on building your personal and professional resilience starting Sept. 28 at CU South Denver. She hopes to teach individuals how to better cope with stress through an internationally recognized system of practical solutions called HeartMath. There are two session options, or individuals can choose to attend both. Participants will discover what depletes and renews emotions, heart-focused breathing and more.

Learn more at https://southdenver.cu.edu/portfolio/personal-professional-resilience/

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Workplace communication

The Importance of Good Communication Skills in the Workplace

By | Career Tip

In just about any field or job, communication skills are at the top of the list of essential competencies. It’s obvious why you must be able to listen to others and communicate your points effectively, but here are some other reasons communication aptitudes matter:

Everyone will do their jobs better. Whether you’re a manager or a staff person, you must be able to give and understand direction and explain yourself well when presenting your work to others.

Productivity will skyrocket. Lack of communication is one of the culprits of diminished productivity. When employees don’t understand the objective of a project or a team feels unclear on their department’s vision and goals, people end up going in all different directions—or stalling completely. Better communication leads to greater efficiency.

You won’t confuse people. Most jobs require employees to ask for things from others on a regular basis. Whether you meet with people or communicate via email, honing your ability to give clear direction and make your points and requests known will minimize miscommunications and frustration on the part of your colleagues.

Your team will be stronger. Camaraderie builds solid teams, and you can nurture this kind of work environment with open, honest communication. Your employees will feel heard and appreciated and employee conflicts will get resolved quicker. This will lead to respectful relationships and a happier work environment.

Your organization will use resources wisely. Productive employees make for organized workplaces. Picture fewer unnecessary meetings and calls because your employees are all on the same page and tasks done correctly the first time thanks to clear direction at the outset.

Improving communication in the workplace starts with yourself! Here are a few tips to do so:

• Listen actively. This means not just hearing someone speak, but asking questions to confirm your understanding, making eye contact, being interested and avoiding distractions (e.g. no scrolling through emails on your phone when someone is talking to you).
• Write more concisely and to your audience. Work on writing succinctly and clearly in email, reports and anything else. Keep your audience top of mind when crafting your message. Avoid being verbose. Don’t use 10 words when you could have said the same thing with four.
• Back it up. When you state an opinion, be prepared to provide the rationale behind it. When planning to write something persuasive, think critically about how to convince your audience before you start.
• Outline first. When writing something long, make a plan first rather than just diving in. Lay out your overall objective, the points you want to make and any other notes that are important (e.g. supporting information).
• Work on the non-verbal communication. Eye contact and a firm handshake aren’t the only ways to strengthen your non-verbal communication. Do you slouch during meetings (giving the impression that you’re disengaged)? Do you wear your emotions on your face more than you should? Are you standing and speaking in a way that exudes confidence? Start paying attention to the non-verbal messages you’re sending and make corrections if needed.

Effective communication in the workplace isn’t just nice to have—it can mean the difference between a professional and inefficient workplace. Work to improve yours, then move on to helping your team. You’ll be glad you did!

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How to Deal with Conflict in the Workplace

By | Career Tip

People are all different, and in the close quarters of the workplace, it is inevitable that they will have conflict sometimes. Think of conflict resolution as a team sport and a skill that you can improve upon over time. Here are a few ways to effectively confront conflict with a boss or coworker:

Distinguish good conflict from bad conflict. There is such a thing as healthy conflict! People pushing each other for new ideas or debating the pros and cons of different approaches to tackle a project are examples of conflict that’s good for your professional growth and your organization. Bad conflict, on the other hand, might involve unproductive arguments, hostile treatment of others, stalled projects due to disagreements and similar situations. This is the kind of conflict you want to sort out in a timely manner, as it doesn’t usually go away on its own.

Figure out the source. Identifying the source of a conflict is an essential first step you must take to be able to actually address the problem. There are many different types that occur within the workplace, usually arising from:

  • Differences of opinion
  • Misunderstandings/communication problems
  • Problematic individuals
  • Stress (of one person or multiple people)
  • Personality differences
  • Lack of empathy/understanding of others’ work styles and methods

If you need a third-party perspective on the conflict, try talking with a mentor or trusted colleague or visit with your human resources professional for guidance.

Plan out your goals. Before taking any steps to address a conflict, think through (and consider writing out) what you want to accomplish. Here are a few examples of goals:

  • To improve your working relationship with another individual.
  • To resolve an interpersonal conflict.
  • To decrease your stress level due to a specific situation.
  • To come to an agreement about the right way to do something.
  • To work more effectively with certain individuals or groups.

Communicate. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to deal with the conflict swiftly and directly. Ask your colleague or boss to talk through the issue and avoid making emotion-fueled accusations. Instead, start by attempting to find some sort of common ground. For example, perhaps you both want to complete a project on time. Start the conversation there to build rapport and focus your conversation on the best way to achieve your shared objective, whatever that might be.

Tackle with trial and error.

It might take a few attempts to fix a conflict—and a strategy to handle one kind of conflict might not work for another kind. Try different approaches. Those might include collaborating to find a mutually beneficial solution, compromising to each “give” a little, clarifying the miscommunications that led to the conflict or agreeing to drop a matter and simply move forward.

Disagreements are part of life and work, but when conflicts go unresolved, they can snowball and cause even more problems. Take a mature, proactive approach to solving each conflict situation that arises. In doing so, you will nurture your career growth and help improve your work environment for you and your colleagues.

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Getting Unstuck in Your Career

6 Tips for Getting Unstuck in Your Career

By | Career Tip

At some point or another, every person feels lost or stuck in their career. Maybe you feel you’re headed down the wrong path. Maybe you’re bored. Or maybe you’re missing that spark that makes you excited to go to work each day. Whatever the situation, it’s smart not to ignore that nagging feeling that something isn’t right. Here are six tips to help yourself get out of a career rut and get back on track:

1. Identify what’s bothering you. Sometimes it’s clear why we feel stuck in a career rut, but if you can’t quite pinpoint what’s bringing you down, a bit of reflection is worthwhile. Ask yourself lots of questions, including:

  • What do I enjoy about my job? My company?
  • What do I dislike about my job? My company?
  • What ideas do I have to make things better?
  • What emotions do I mostly feel at work (for example, fear, frustration, boredom or job dissatisfaction)?

2. Explore opportunities to tweak your job duties. If a little change in your day-to-day is what you’re craving, talk with your boss about shaking things up. Are there additional responsibilities you could take on? Projects you could be a part of? Find out what your options are to make a few modifications—and whether you’re a candidate for any upcoming advancement opportunities.

3. Update your skills. Feeling restless or uninspired? It might be time to invest in yourself by strengthening your skill set. Ask your human resources department about tuition reimbursement and consider taking a class or earning a certification—or even an advanced degree. That personal challenge could be the boost you need and will most certainly open new doors you didn’t even know were there.

4. Do some goal setting. As your career unfolds, it’s important to periodically spend time visualizing your future. Are you on track for where you want to be in five or 10 years? Put specific goals down on paper. Lay out the steps you need to take to accomplish each and assign deadlines. This exercise can help you reinvigorate yourself, bring your dreams into focus and get motivated.

5. Build your brand. Along with goal setting, it’s always a good idea to think about the big picture of your life and career. Are you clear on your values, passions and purpose? Have you cultivated a personal brand that expresses to others what assets and skills you have? (Be sure to check out our blog post, “How to Build a Personal Brand.”)

6. Put yourself out there. If you conclude that what you really want is a new environment (or you’d at least like to see what else is out there for you), update your resume and start networking. You might find a job/setting/industry that breathes new life into your career. And at a minimum, the process of applying to and interviewing for jobs might shed light on the good parts of your current job.

Your career isn’t meant to be on autopilot, and occasional rough patches are inevitable. So, the next time you hit a career slump, remember that getting out of it is in your control. Take steps to figure out what’s wrong and lay out a plan to fix it—and get back on the road to happiness.

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Mining Data: Turn Trends Into Opportunities

By | Story

According to the Harvard Business Review, almost 50% of Fortune 1000 companies state that their firms are achieving significant results from their big data investments. In fact, 49.2% of executives from these companies note that they have effectively decreased expenses due to their big data investments.

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6 Tips for Taming the Email Inbox

By | Career Tip

There’s nothing like a bursting email inbox to make someone feel overwhelmed and frazzled. If you frequently find yourself struggling to keep up with the constant barrage of messages that roll in all day, every day, here are six ways to get a handle on the situation and reclaim some time:

1. No action needed? Delete! Spend the first few minutes of every day deleting emails that are either 1) junk/coupons from stores where you shop/information you don’t need or 2) work-related emails that require no further action (e.g. “Thanks!” replies or “FYI” notes from coworkers). Do the same thing at the end of the day too.

2. Set an expiration date. A good way to embark on the arduous process of cleaning out a big inbox is to pick a certain date and delete any emails prior to that date. Maybe it’s 12 months if you have lots of long-term, ongoing projects, or maybe six is fine if you feel confident that you won’t need anything further back than that.

3. Unsubscribe often. Most of us subscribe (sometimes unbeknownst to us) to far too many unnecessary emails. Do yourself a favor and take the 10 seconds to scroll to the bottom of email newsletters you no longer want and unsubscribe. You’ll receive less mail each day, which will save you from having to mass delete—and minimize the chances you accidentally delete important emails by mistake.

4. Use those folders. Keep your inbox clean by creating main folders and subfolders and “filing” messages away once you’ve addressed them. When you receive something you need or want to keep, but don’t need in the inbox anymore, create a folder for it. For example, you might have “Bills,” “School” (for communications from your children’s teachers), and “Home” folders as well as folders for each of your work projects or clients.

5. Develop a response schedule that works for you. Some people like responding to emails as soon as they pop up, while others prefer to turn off notifications and look at email a few times throughout the day. Do whatever works best for you, but at the end of the day, make sure you’ve either deleted, filed (to save), replied to, or flagged for follow-up every email that comes in. Your inbox will be more manageable this way.

6. Use good subject lines. Whenever possible, embrace a naming convention with email subject lines (e.g. “Weekly update M/D/YY” for your regular staff updates or “Blog: Title” for blogs you write and send to your marketing department for review). Subject lines are one of the easiest ways to find emails in your sent items or folders later on, should you need them. Be consistent, and you’ll prevent future headaches.

When it comes down to it, email management takes consistent effort—but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Take the time to clean things out first, then commit to organizing and deleting for a few minutes a day every day (and of course, respond to emails that warrant a response). Soon, your inbox will be tidy and easy to navigate.

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Nurturing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

By | Career Tip

Whether you have long dreamed of starting your own company or are already working on turning that “brainchild” into a business venture, one of the keys to your success is your entrepreneurial spirit. Launching a business requires commitment and hard work, but there’s that “X” factor as well that is so important: your passion for your idea and boundless optimism that you can turn it into a viable venture. How can you cultivate and keep that entrepreneurial spirit alive? Here are a few suggestions:

Never give up. Patience and persistence are essential in the path to entrepreneurship, and few entrepreneurs will tell you that getting to the place they are today was easy or without a few challenges along the way. Steve Jobs once said, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” If you believe in something and want it bad enough, be relentless about making it happen.

Set goals and sub-goals. Execution takes planning, so put those ideas into a document and lay out the steps you need to take to reach them. It’s okay if you don’t have the path to success figured out right away, because your goal might evolve as you do research or start working on a business plan. The point, however, is that it’s important keep your vision front and center so that you align everything you do with it.

Don’t limit your creativity. At some point or another, most entrepreneurs have been told that their ideas might be a little too naïve, even a little crazy. Yet, they pressed on and identified creative solutions to problems. That is the crux of entrepreneurship, after all. Continuous creativity will ultimately help you be successful.

Pick the right partners. No entrepreneur achieves success without the help of key people along the way. As your idea starts to take shape, build a team of people you trust. That might include investors, partners, employees or friends. These people should understand and believe in your vision and offer support and advice. They should be strong where you are weak and have skills and assets that help you reach essential milestones as you create your business.

Chase the passion. Entrepreneurship is about finding new and innovative ways to do things but bringing those ideas to fruition requires energy and excitement. The likelihood that you will be successful in your entrepreneurial endeavor is far higher if you sincerely believe in your idea and are driven to achieve your goals, no matter how big they might seem. Get excited about your project, and let your trusted partners, investors and other stakeholders peek behind the curtain with you so they can share in your enthusiasm.

One last important point: embracing an entrepreneurial mindset allows you to add value in your current job if you’re still in the “formulating your idea/plan” stage and working for someone else. When you think like an owner, you earn a reputation as someone who is reliable and trustworthy and embraces responsibility. That will help you build the knowledge needed to

grow and run a business and could could open new doors. Eventually, when you’re ready to take a leap of faith, you will feel even more ready to make your pie in the sky a reality.

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How to Build a Personal Brand

By | Career Tip

In a competitive market, it’s more important than ever to make a great impression on those you wish to impress—whether that’s prospective employers or clients. That’s where developing a personal brand comes in. Inc. explains that “personal branding allows you to establish a reputation and an identity while still maintaining a personal level of trust and interaction.” BrandYourself shares that the experiences, skills, interests and personality traits that make you unique and different from others are what make up your personal brand.

Bottom line: a personal brand can help you get noticed, expand your network by making strong connections, strengthen your credibility and so much more.

Here are several tips to create a personal brand, with a little help from PwC (check out their comprehensive Personal Brand Workbook):

Define your strengths. Think about your past successes at work. What feedback did you receive about your contributions? During your regular reviews from your boss, what kinds of compliments do you get? Now, consider the skills that you would like to improve upon. What are your potential strengths and how do those go hand in hand with your current strengths?

Brainstorm ideas to capitalize on your strengths. This could be taking on new duties at work or at a totally new employer. Your goal is to come up with a list of possible opportunities to build upon your strengths each day.

List your important weaknesses. By “important,” we mean the weaknesses that are holding you back in some critical way or otherwise harming your career. Once you’ve identified the weaknesses that need correction, come up with ideas to leverage your strengths to overcome them.

Pinpoint your values. Reflect on who you really are as a person. What matters most to you in your life? Once you determine your top four or five values, describe what they mean to you and how you strive to live those values in your personal and professional life.

Dig deep into your passions. You might have a passion for running but look deeper. Perhaps your love of running is really about pushing yourself to your limits, about setting goals and working toward them. Similarly, if you love to sew, is it the joy of creating something that gets you excited?

Express your purpose. Think about the big picture and what you hope to achieve in your life and career. What kind of impact do you want to have on others? Why do you do what you do? Keep your values and passions in mind to ensure your purpose fulfills your passions and lines up with your values.

Put your portfolio together. You’ve outlined the pieces of your personal brand; now it’s time to bring it all together. Draft a succinct personal brand statement to summarize all of the above. Write a resume that doesn’t just inventory your skills and past employers but also showcases what you bring to the table. Create a profile on LinkedIn (and any other social media platforms) that aligns with your personal brand. Network, both in person through forums like LinkedIn. And build your reputation through activities like publishing content online and speaking.

Establishing a personal brand will help you recognize the skills and assets that make you unique and valuable. Give your career a boost by putting time toward this exercise. When you know who you are and what you stand for, you’ll be better able to articulate that to your colleagues, current employer and future employers.

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Improve body language

7 Ideas for Improving Your Professional Body Language

By | Career Tip

You may have heard before that your handshake can make or break others’ first impression of you and that your posture reveals your confidence. Strengthen your personal brand and the narrative you share with colleagues, prospective employers and others by emitting the right body language. Here are seven tips to improve your own:

1. Work on your handshake. As mentioned, a good, solid handshake makes an impact, while a weak one is just as memorable (but not in a good way). Make yours firm but not overly aggressive: palm to palm and even pressure. Smile and look people in the eyes while you’re at it (more on both coming up).

2. Make eye contact. Sustained eye contact isn’t easy for many people but make your best effort. When speaking to someone, look them in the eye as much as possible and not past them, at the ground or down at your lap. Failing to make eye contact can make others think that you are uninterested, uncomfortable or even aloof.

3. Check for good posture. When you stand tall, you exude confidence, strength and focus. So, if you’re a sloucher by nature, it’s time to push those shoulders back and stand straighter when you’re speaking to colleagues or groups.

4. Try not to fidget. We all get nervous sometimes, but nothing shows that you’re stressed or worried like fidgeting or lots of restless movements. Biting your nails, playing with your hair, fussing with your face, shaking your foot when your legs are crossed—all of these habits can make you seem anxious or timid.

5. Smile. A smile can do so much for your self-assurance—and for the impression you leave upon others. Greeting people with a smile helps to make them feel more relaxed and comfortable around you. Smiling also affects how people view you: as someone who is approachable and caring.

6. Pay attention to your speaking presence. If your job involves a lot of presenting or speaking in front of others, work on your presence. Are you speaking clearly and loud enough that you don’t appear meek (but not so loud you seem domineering)? Do you use hand gestures appropriately to build credibility and persuasiveness? Do you have a poised yet relaxed stance?

7. Listen with your body. Active listening requires engagement. Always give your employees, managers and leaders your full attention. Do this by giving nonverbal cues that you are focused on what the person speaking is saying (e.g. by leaning forward slightly and periodically nodding your head).

In the workplace, you might not even realize the things you say to someone without using any words at all. It takes practice to project yourself in the way you’d like to be perceived, but you can take small steps each day. Firm up that handshake, stand up tall and make sure your body language is speaking for you the way you want it to.

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Tips for Building Your Executive Presence

By | Career Tip

If you’re in leadership, you’ve likely been advised before of the importance of executive presence. Observe leaders you admire and you’ll notice that they are skilled communicators who speak and act with confident and poise, but executive presence is more than just attitude. Fortune magazine says that “executive presence is the ability of the leader to engage, align, inspire and move people to act.” How can you build these abilities and aptitudes and make a positive impact? Here are several tips:

Work on being a great communicator. Communication tops the list of important traits held by professionals with strong executive presence—and this isn’t simply about articulating yourself effectively when writing and speaking. When you interact with others, strive to make them feel comfortable and heard through attentive listening. Think before you speak to make sure your words are never contradictory or confusing. Be direct and decisive, but not harsh.

Express good body language. It is undeniable that a leader who comes across as confident and professional earns respect. Actions are a huge part of that, of course, but you can build trust with colleagues by embracing a few simple habits. Make eye contact during conversation. When speaking in front of a group, speak loud enough, maintain good posture and avoid fidgeting. And always give strong, engaged handshakes.

Dress for success. Like it or not, your appearance matters. Take care to dress appropriately for your workplace, whether that means business casual, business professional or something in between. Never go to work wearing unclean or ill-fitting clothes. Take care to look your best every single day.

Be approachable. Too many leaders act with authority but forget about the importance of being personable. Spend as much time listening to your colleagues and employees as you do speaking to them. Don’t be afraid to let your guard down from time to time by showing your warmth and personality.

Be the calming force. Every company encounters times of challenge. When confronting a challenge, continually assess the situation without panicking, make decisions with confidence and change course when needed. Own that you will make mistakes and be ready for the unexpected. Above all, keep in mind that strategic thinking is key to handling crisis situations.

Your executive presence is an essential part of your ability to lead effectively. It earns you upfront respect and puts people at ease because they feel comfortable trusting and believing in you. And from a performance standpoint, it will serve you well when you move to rally your employees to achieve a big goal or navigate a tough challenge. So, put in the effort to cultivate your executive presence. The investment will be well worth it.

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How Positive Thinking Can Impact Your Career

By | Career Tip

You might have heard before that thinking optimistically is good for you. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a number of benefits of positive thinking, including:

* Lower levels of stress

* Better psychological and physical well-being

* Better cardiovascular health during stressful times

* Better coping skills

* Increased life span

You can start living more positively by practicing positive self-talk and learning to see the bright side of any situation before you let yourself think negatively—but how can positive thinking influence your career? Here are a few ways translating that positivity to the workplace will benefit you as a professional:

You’ll build your network. One easy way to think and behave more positively is to simply surround yourself with people who are supportive and positive. In doing so, you’ll create good relationships with influential mentors and colleagues—relationships that can help boost your career in the short and long run.

You’ll lower your stress level. When you embrace a positive outlook, you’re better equipped to deal with stressful situations, which are common in just about every workplace. Rather than focusing on the difficult tasks ahead of you during a large project, for example, think about the exciting end result and the impact you will make on your organization.

You’ll take things in stride. Positive thinking puts you in the right mindset for the dynamic, sometimes chaotic workplace. At most companies and organizations, things change often. Good things happen; bad things happen. When your outlook is optimistic, you’ll be able to confront all situations with confidence.

You’ll make better decisions. It’s not easy to make informed decisions when under pressure but keeping a level head and a positive outlook helps you do so. Rather than follow a path because it seems to offer the least amount of resistance, you’ll be able to tackle complex situations with grace and lead with enthusiasm not fear.

You’ll never fear failure. The most successful figures in history have failed time and time again but learned and grown from that failure. The next time you think something is too difficult to attempt, reframe the situation. Could it be worthwhile? If you fail, what’s the worst-case scenario? Is the potential reward worth the risk? Shawn Achor, a leading expert on happiness, success, and potential, delivered a popular TED Talk titled, “The Happy Secret to Better Work.” In his research, he found that only 25 percent of job successes are predicted by IQ, and 75 percent are predicted by one’s optimism levels, social support and ability to see stress as a challenge instead of a threat.

Achor also says that when someone increases their level of positivity, they can perform significantly better. Their intelligence, creativity and energy levels rise—along with the business outcomes at their workplaces.

Positive thinking can do so much for your life—and your career. So, get some exercise. Be grateful. Say something kind to a coworker. Do whatever makes you feel happier and more positive. You’ll notice the difference in both your personal and professional life.

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Time Management in the Modern Workplace

By | Career Tip

Let’s face it: most of us are incredibly busy. The digital age has made it easier for us to stay connected all the time and do more, faster, better. Add in family and personal life and it can be difficult to keep all of those balls in the air.

What should you do to manage your time wisely? It’s essential that you develop—and stick to—a reliable, sustainable time management system. Here are a few tips on how to do so:

Take inventory of your time. Do you have days slip by when you complete just one or two of your planned to-dos? Take a close look at where you’re spending your time. Log every hour of your day for a week or two or use a program like RescueTime, which tracks the time you spend on websites and apps (and other activities like emails and meetings) and sends you detailed productivity reports (you can use it to block those digital distractions too). This will help you identify your most and least productive times of day and the actual amount of time you spend on essential and non-essential tasks.

Find the time management tool that works best for you. Whether you use a planner or an app like Any.do or Todoist, adopt a system for keeping track of your responsibilities. Put everything on your calendar and spend a few minutes at the beginning of the day reviewing your day’s schedule. Maintain a detailed to-do list and check things off as you complete them.

Become a pro at prioritizing. Schedule your time based on your most pressing tasks. At the start of each week, update your master to-do list, which should include project deadlines and recurring tasks. Then, rank your to-dos from most to least urgent. Plan for meetings and calls and allow for any unforeseen emergencies that might arise. Re-prioritize your tasks at the beginning and end of each day.

Get into an email groove. Quickly scan emails at the start and end of each day and delete those that don’t require any action on your part. Use your folders and subfolders to keep what you need to. And develop a system for responding to emails throughout the day. For more tips, check out our post, “6 Tips for Taming the Email Inbox”).

Minimize meeting time. If you’re stuck in meetings for much of your day (leaving little time to complete your actual work tasks), it’s time to reassess. Make sure each meeting you agree to uses time efficiently and has a clear agenda or purpose and specific goals (e.g. to make a decision). Try to limit yourself to only attend meetings when your participation is important.

Stop procrastinating. Procrastination hampers your productivity and robs you of your free time. What can you to do stop it now? Break down your big tasks into manageable mini-tasks. Practice the “deal with it now” mantra, which means that you must address everything you need to as it arises (by either completing it, delegating it or making a future plan to deal with it). Create project plans with deadlines and stick to them.

Cut the digital distractions. Everyone needs breaks throughout the day but keep your social media and internet time to a minimum. If you need help, check out a program like Freedom, which lets you block certain websites.

Time management is crucial to make the very most of your days and get more done. Embrace an effective system and you’ll be more successful at work, less stressed and more productive.

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5 Ways to Build Trust at Your Organization

By | Career Tip

Have you ever worked at an organization hampered by a culture of mistrust? One where employees are kept in the dark and micromanaged?

And by contrast, have you been lucky enough to work in a culture built on mutual trust? People treat each other with respect and give one another the benefit of the doubt. Coworkers keep each other in the loop. Leaders believe that relationships are important and encourage employees to foster them.

A high-trust culture has been proven by several researchers to have significant benefits. Stephen M.R. Covey, author of “The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything,” and son of Stephen R. Covey says that trust is the number one competency needed by leaders today. Paul J. Zak, author of “The Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performing Companies,” reports that people at high-trust companies report 74% less stress, 50% higher workplace productivity, 76% more engagement, and 106% more energy at work.

Even if you’re not in a leadership position, you can help cultivate a culture of trust in your workplace. Here are five ways to build trust among your staff, whether you are a manager or an employee:

1. Point out a job well done. People like to be recognized for their hard work. If you notice a colleague working especially hard on something, thank them. If your employee made a customer happy recently, recognize him or her at your next staff meeting.

2. Build autonomy. If you manage anyone, giving direction and assigning tasks is just part of your role. But the more you can trust your employees to get their jobs done, the better all around. Let them know that you trust their abilities and plan. Encourage autonomy by giving clear direction, then getting out of the way.

3. Foster relationship-building. People who like their teams feel happier at work and more committed to their organizations. Provide opportunities for your employees to form bonds beyond the office walls. That might include team lunches, after-work social activities and offsite retreats. Create a mentorship program that pairs people from different areas. Host fun gatherings around the holidays.

4. Encourage good communication. Embrace transparency and encourage leaders and managers to do the same. Keep the lines of communication open about everything from company objectives to the way new endeavors will impact employees. People will feel more involved and in the loop. That leads to happier, more loyal employees.

5. Solicit input. When employees feel that their ideas and contributions matter, they’re more engaged and happy to be at work. That means they’re more willing to go the extra mile. Plus, this type of approach inspires co-workers to collaborate, which generally leads to better work output.

Think of some of the best organizations you’ve heard of. They give their employees a voice. They empower everyone to make an impact within the organization. They put trust in their employees. Work to build a culture of trust and you’ll reap many tangible and intangible benefits.

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Embracing Leadership Traits (Even When You’re Not Yet a Leader)

By | Career Tip

You might not be in a leadership position yet, but if you’re working hard to get there, it’s time to act the part. If you’re unsure how to lead, that’s ok. It all starts with upholding certain principles and incorporating them into your day-to-day actions. Here are a few tips to emulate the traits that excellent leaders possess, setting the stage for you to become a great leader yourself one day:

Seek to understand your company’s shared vision. Leaders are tasked with communicating a company’s vision to their employees and motivating them to take action to make that vision a reality. Make sure you understand where you’re headed and what your role is in helping your organization get there. If you need clarification, ask for it.

Work on your communication skills. Communication skills are essential at every level of the organization but are especially critical for leaders. Practice truly listening to others and hearing their ideas with an open mind. When speaking to others, look them in the eye, be direct and clear, and work on articulating what you mean to say without rambling. If your objective is to get people on board with an idea, think about your key points and plan out what you intend to say. When writing, use clear language and be succinct—make every word count.

Become a people person. OK, this doesn’t mean you need to become the life of the party at work or start spending more time chatting people up in the break room. It simply means you should make a sincere effort to get to know the people working at your organization. What makes each of them tick? What motivates Joe and is that different from what motivates Amy? Ask thoughtful questions of everyone in your department: colleagues, those you manage and your boss(es). The best leaders have empathy. Build this characteristic and you’ll give your leadership aptitudes a serious boost.

Think about the big picture. When you’re a staff person or manager, sometimes your job is to get things done. Make sure you take time each day to take a step back and think about the future and how your role fits into your organization’s overall strategy. Broaden your perspective a bit to get a better sense of what your company and your department are striving to do and how you’re progressing toward that. Think not just about your daily to-do list, but your goals for the month and the year.

Build morale. Rallying employees to work toward a goal takes finesse, and the best leaders do so by using techniques that inspire, not those that intimidate. When you build morale, employees feel valued and appreciated—and are willing to work hard. You can help contribute to a great culture and improved morale in your everyday interactions with people. Recognize your coworkers’ hard work. Send out notes of appreciation to your staff for their efforts after reaching a big goal. And try to inject a little fun into the workplace.

With passion, dedication and hard work, you can hone your communication skills, ability to be convincing and compelling, and motivational skills—all traits of great leaders. Leaders are made, not born, after all. And because that is true, there’s no better time to practice and prove to your superiors that you have what it takes to lead.

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7 Signs It’s Time to Leave a Job

By | Career Tip

There’s something to be said for sticking out a difficult situation and “putting in your time” to get where you want to go in your career. But if you’re unhappy, unsatisfied or unsure whether you should stay in your job, it’s time to do some soul searching. Here are seven signs you are ready to move on from your current position:

1. You dislike doing most of your job duties. Even the best job in the world has some not-so-great parts to it, but if just about every aspect of your job makes you sigh deeply, you have to ask yourself whether you’re in the wrong position altogether. Sure, you might be skilled at something, but when you detest doing it (and it’s a large part of your responsibilities), it’s tough to stay motivated.

2. Your stress level is affecting your health. Everyone has taxing days or periods at work, but if a high stress level—due to many factors—is impacting your sleep, relationships and overall health, stop right there. No job is worth permanent damage to your well-being.

3. You’re in a toxic environment. Is your organization marred by a culture of distrust and disrespect? Does your boss belittle you on a regular basis? Do you often feel out of the loop, as though leadership and/or your coworkers are withholding important information from you? A negative workplace can make you miserable—even when you like the work you’re doing.

4. Your values are too different than those of your employer. If you simply do not believe in your organization’s mission or the way they do things, it’s hard to willingly continue going to work each and every day. If you’re struggling to find a reason to work at your company other than the paycheck, it’s time to reevaluate.

5. You are not putting your talents to use. Not every single task you do each day will excite you, but pay attention to how you feel at work: is your mind stimulated? Do you find your work (mostly) interesting? Are you appropriately challenged? If the answer to these questions is no, ask yourself whether your duties have evolved over time as you have grown. Have you earned any kind of certification or acquired new skills (e.g. you’ve taken a class) that you’re not using at all?

6. You’re bored—and there’s no opportunity for upward mobility. Job stagnation is a problem that you could correct with a change to your position or duties. However, if you’ve approached your boss to ask about additional responsibilities or opportunities for advancement and been shot down, it’s a sign you need to look outside your organization for your next role.

7. There’s something in your gut telling you to leave. Don’t ignore feelings of dissatisfaction and misery regarding your job—especially when these sentiments are not new. You just might be meant for something else. Make a plan to find out exactly what that is.

We spend too much time at work to dread going there every day. Have an honest heart-to-heart with yourself about making adjustments, whether that’s switching companies or making a completely different career change. Don’t second-guess it: if you suspect it’s time to start a new chapter—not at your current employer—trust your instincts. It will require taking a leap of faith, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you followed your heart.

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Wacky Workplaces Work Wonders

By | In the News

Office antics are often portrayed in the movies as the actions of out-of-control employees who take advantage of the boss’s absence and engage in crazy activities such as office chair races, stacking water cooler cups or stapler shooting competitions.

Building the Best Client Relationships

By | Career Tip

If you’re in the service business in any capacity, your client relationships are absolutely critical—and can be the differentiator that sets your company apart from your competitors. How can you distinguish your organization from the masses, build your reputation, and earn repeat business from happy clients? Here are a few suggestions:

Put the client first. This should go without saying, but your client’s needs come first. Put your client front and center and keep their goals top of mind, no matter what you do. Things like growing revenue and expanding your client base, of course, but repeat this mantra: your job is to help your clients in some specific way. Ultimately, everything you do should boil down to that.

Be responsive. Nothing frustrates a client more than waiting for you to return their call or feeling like they have to chase you down for an answer to a question. Even if you’re busy or unable to work on a request right away, acknowledge receipt of all emails within a day of receiving them (barring travel or other situations where you are truly inaccessible).

Make every client feel important. You don’t have to pump up a client’s ego to make them feel like they matter, but making small clients feel small is the wrong approach (your smallest client today could one day be your biggest one). Act excited about new projects, even if you’re a little overwhelmed or have a few upfront concerns. Assure clients when they are stressed that together, you’ll solve any problem they bring to the table. And above all, express your gratitude often—to all clients.

Get to know clients as people. Companies are comprised of people, and people have lives outside of the walls of their office. Make an effort to learn a little about each of your clients: if they are married or have children, what they do for fun, what they’re passionate about outside of work, and how long they’ve been working at the company. That personal touch means more than you might realize and will strengthen your long-term client relationships.

Add value. Always be on the lookout for other ways to help clients. When a project you’re working on could use a detailed timeline to keep things on track, take the initiative to create one, even if you haven’t been asked to. Share timely news in your client’s industry that they might find interesting or useful. If your client is seeking a new vendor, offer to send a referral if you have one. Remember that your client might hire you to do something for them, but they’ll keep hiring you because you are a valuable member of their extended team.

Treat your employees well. Many say that happy employees create happy customers, and it’s a truth for business-to-business companies as well. In a consulting or other client service business, employees often deal directly with clients. Create an employee- and client-centric culture that gives employees opportunities to grow and learn and emphasizes the importance of solid client relationships.

Invest in your client relationships and you’ll be rewarded with dividends for many years to come. Your company exists to solve problems for clients and make their jobs easier. Deliver great service, create authentic relationships based on respect and trust, and go the extra mile, and your clients will appreciate and remember it.

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Management skills

Five Skills Awesome Managers Have (and How You Can Acquire Them Too)

By | Career Tip

Once you’ve earned your stripes and moved into a management role, the hard part is behind you, right? Wrong! Being a great manager requires self-awareness and consistent effort. You might know your industry well but managing and supervising people involves more than sharing your knowledge and giving direction. Here are five skills awesome managers have—and tips to acquire them yourself:

1. People skills – The ability to work well with all kinds of personalities will get you far in your career as a manager and leader. What does it take? Empathy tops the list—the ability to put yourself in others’ shoes and make them feel heard and understood. It also helps to be level-headed, friendly, persuasive (when you need to get others’ buy-in or convey your opinion on an issue) and genuine. Don’t forget about the importance of communication…

2. Excellent communication skills – Communication skills are essential when you are a manager, enabling you to lead effectively, get people on board with your ideas and motivate others. Start with your listening skills. Do you give those to whom you’re speaking your full attention? Do you confirm your understanding when they tell you something? Do you act interested and engaged? It’s also essential to work on your verbal communication skills: thinking before you speak and sharing your ideas clearly and concisely. Lastly, continue honing your writing skills. Be direct. Say more with less. Be succinct and clear.

3. Motivation skills – Each team is different, and thus, you may need to experiment a little to learn what motivates yours. However, open communication is a good place to start. A team kept “in the loop” feels inspired and valued. Invite input and trust your team members to implement plans of action that you decide on as a group. Thank people for their hard work often and reward them with both recognition and opportunities for advancement. And remember that keeping employees motivated requires continuous effort.

4. Conflict resolution skills – Conflicts happen in the workplace, and as a manager, it’s part of your job to help your employees settle them. That means being diplomatic and using a respectful approach to getting people to work through their disagreements. Acknowledge that the problem exists and encourage the parties involved to communicate, compromise and reach a resolution. Don’t take sides but encourage your employees to recognize that each person has his or her own stance and perspective.

5. Organizational skills – At its core, being a manager demands you to be highly organized so you can maximize your—and your team’s—productivity. Put together a reliable time management system in which you prioritize your daily tasks and embrace some sort of tool to help you keep track of your responsibilities. Keep a tidy office with everything in its place. Organize your day by maintaining a schedule and master to-do list. And spend a few minutes at the end of each day getting prepared for the next one.

There’s a lot more to your job than task completion. The more you develop your management aptitudes, the better environment you’ll create for your employees—and the greater impact you’ll have on your organization. Work at cultivating these skills each and every day. In doing so, you’ll be a more effective and successful manager.

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4 Benefits of Goal Setting (and Tips for Setting Them)

By | Career Tip

You’ve likely heard before that setting goals is highly useful for your career, but why exactly? What are some of the ways you’ll benefit as a professional because you’ve set goals to work toward? Here are a few of the main benefits of goal setting (plus a few tips for how to go about creating them):

1. You’ll hone your life focus. The process of setting career goals will help you take a step back and think about the far-off goals that guide your current actions. Where do you hope to be in five, 10 and 15 years? Once you answer those questions, you can steer your career in that direction and make career moves and other decisions that help you get there.

2. Goals help you organize your time. At a more granular, day-to-day level, when you’re busy at work, and it can be difficult to prioritize what you have to do. This leads to procrastination and wasted time. Setting goals forces you to evaluate all of your to-dos and separate those that are most important for your organization.

3. Big objectives will seem more achievable. Sadly, many people only dream of the things they desire but make no actual plans to turn those dreams into reality. Why? Because the sound unachievable all on their own. A goal-setting process allows you to think not just about the end goal but also the steps you must take to get there. It makes any efforts feel worthwhile because you can see that your work is helping get you one step closer toward the goal.

4. You’ll build and maintain stamina. It’s easy to burn out when your work feels directionless. Setting goals throughout your career helps give your work purpose—and purposeful work is much more stimulating. As you reach each milestone along the path toward your goals, you’ll experience a sense of pride and accomplishment. This serves as a continuous motivator to keep working hard and never give up.

Now, what is the best way to approach the goal-setting process? Here are a few tips:

1. Set a specific goal (or multiple goals for different stages and aspects of your life).

2. Write them down.

3. Break each goal down into smaller steps needed to achieve each goal.

4. If you don’t know everything you need to do to achieve your goal, do some research.

5. Create a timeline with deadlines for each step.

6. Identify any potential roadblocks and brainstorm ways to overcome them should they arise.

7. Periodically measure your progress toward each step.

8. If you get off track, revisit your steps to figure out where you veered off and commit to getting back on track.

9. Revise/add to your steps if needed.

10. As you make progress, make sure you stay close to your goals/game plan.

While there are benefits to letting things unfold in your career—great things happen when you are open to the possibilities, after all—giving thought to what you aspire to and how you intend to get there is an intentional way to go about things. Put simply, setting goals puts you in charge of your career. Take the initiative to engage in this process and build the foundation for the career you want.

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8 Things to Ask in a Job Interview

By | Career Tip

A job interview isn’t just a formality where an employer asks you as a candidate about your skills and knowledge. It’s also an opportunity for you to learn more about a company and make sure it is a fit for your goals and experience. Before you head into any interview, come up with a list of things you would like to know about the organization, the job, the culture and more. Need some ideas? Here are eight questions as a starting point:

1. How does this department fit into the organization? Learn everything you can about how the job for which you are interviewing and the department support the company.

2. What do you enjoy most about this company? This question turns the conversation around and allows you to get an inside view of your potential employer. It might catch your interviewer by surprise, but this is a good thing. Hopefully he or she will offer you a few honest assessments of some of the best features of the employer.

3. Is this a new position or would I be replacing someone? Learning a little background on how a position came open will help you approach the situation with your eyes wide open. The answer to this question might also give you a sense of whether there is opportunity to grow at a company and any past turnover issues.

4. When you think about the best candidate for this position, what qualities and experience come to mind? During the first part of the interview, you might have gotten a general picture of the right person for the job, but if you’d like more detail, ask now.

5. What are your hopes and goals for the person you hire? You want to know what immediate and longer-term action items the person who would supervise you has in mind. When meeting with that person, use this line of questioning to get an understanding of their objectives and plans in the short and long term.

6. How would you characterize the culture of the company? The culture is the foundation of an organization, made up of the mission, beliefs and values. Give your interviewer a chance to share what makes theirs unique and special.

7. What are the expectations for weekly hours? Surely you’d rather have a clear picture of a typical workday’s hours and the organization’s commitment to work-life balance (or lack thereof) before you start working there. If overtime is expected, ask when the busiest periods are.

8. What are some of the challenges your department is facing right now? Every organization and the departments within them have challenges. Initiate a discussion about pain points that might impact your specific duties.

Notice that none of these questions are about compensation, time off and perks. There’s nothing wrong with talking about these things if they come up in an early interview but be careful not to give an interviewer the wrong impression. Avoid focusing too much on salary and bonuses, vacation benefits and flexible work options.

You have the best chance of being successful at an organization that fits your values and personality and has a role that utilizes your strengths. Use the interview process to determine

whether you are a match for a company and position. Prepare intelligent, thoughtful questions that will give you a good overview of the organization—and make you seem interested and well prepared.

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