Business Etiquette 2.0: 3 simple ways to thank your employees without overdoing it

How many times do we say “thank you” to the people who have dedicated so much time to a specific cause or job? With the rise of startup companies and business opportunities, the words “thank you” aren’t heard enough and it is time for that to change.

Whether you mean to or not, acknowledging the hard work and dedication of those who contributed to your success seamlessly tends to go unnoticed and overtime, employees may start to feel unappreciated when the little things seem to slip by without a sincere acknowledgment of approval.

With that being said, for business owners who have a successful team behind them who are dedicated in producing quality work and efficiency, here are three simple ways to thank your employees without going too overboard.

Say “thank you” or “thanks”, from the heart

When you thank your employees for doing such a great job, try giving eye contact and think about the reason’s why you are thanking them. People want to feel a sense of connection when you speak to them and making direct eye contact and establishing a sense a gratefulness can do just that.

We all need a reminder from time to time that the work we are doing is meaningful in some way or another. Although it may seem a little odd to teach people how to show gratitude, a little goes a long way and people will thank you in return.

Explain the things that you are thankful for

Similar to a Thanksgiving dinner, you want to take the time out to explain to your team what exactly it is that you are thanking them for.

If it’s for coming in on time despite the hectic schedule change, or keeping the break room in order, remember that a little goes a long way and if your team knows that it is coming from a good place, then they will be more than willing to continue to do great work.

Express the influence that the team has on the growth of the business

Many times we forget this crucial part when thanking a group of people. By expressing the influence that your team has had in the growth and successes of your business, they too will feel apart of the company.

Start by connecting the reason’s why you’re your employees influence you and how they push you to be a better leader. If this seems to forced or rehearsed, just speak from the heart and let the rest flow naturally. You’ll be surprised how well everyone will respond to you afterwards.

 

From Students to CEO’s: Shaping Today’s Young Professionals into Tomorrow’s Innovative Leaders

Over the years I have run several organizations, started my own company and have given back to my community in various ways. Although at times this was not easy, and my professional goals seemed out of reach, I never gave up on myself and what I wanted to become. Through hard work, dedication, and ambition, my dreams turned into reality and for those reasons, among others, I became the successful professional that I am today. But what about the young business leaders of this generation?

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 According to the Harvard  Business Review, today’s  youth are now growing up  with the idea that going into  business for themselves can  provide them with a life that  is both meaningful and  purposeful, as well as  impactful to the rest of the  world in a positive way.  Today’s teen and young  adults understand the importance of education and turn their minds into personal businesses for their future endeavors. Many are in the early stages of their career where they can seize certain opportunities and bounce back from minor setbacks. For me, this is something that I had to later learn through trial and error.

Statistics from the Pew Research Center show that 54% of millennials have college degrees, versus 36% of non-millennials who did not. This may be because of the emphasis that we put on education and self-sufficiency today then we did in the past. However you slice the numbers, more young people are shaping the world through innovative business ventures and becoming the leaders of their time, but how exactly are young leaders made?

Creating Leadership Habits

In a previous blog that I wrote, I highlighted the five habits that all great leaders should possess.These same qualities is what young leaders have obtained throughout their everyday lives to ensure that they’ll be as successful as they want to be.

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Some leadership habits that I think should be touched on here would be: 1.) Question the Status Quo, 2.) Carve Your Own Path and 3.) Focus On What Matters. I truly believe that leaders are created when they go against the traditional rules of  business and focus on what makes them unique. Forbes article on the “12 Habits Of Exceptional Leaders”  points out having a “sense of purpose” as another habit that leaders are born with, and for young people this is a vital attribute that one should posses.

Having a sense of purpose and identity not only separates you from your peers, but it puts you in a position to act and think on your own. Knowing what you want to accomplish before hand and the steps that you need to take to pursue your dreams is definitely a leadership habit that future young CEO’s, executives and leaders should have.

What Can We Learn From These Young Professionals?

businessschoolMany people believe that years of career experience, expert knowledge and long term professional connections is what makes someone successful and credible. Today, corporate businesses are promoting CEO’s under the age of thirty because of their “can do” attitudes, perseverance, and creative ideas towards the business.

Some things that we can learn from our young leaders of today are:

  • Working “smarter” not harder will land you the job you want.
  • Not being afraid to speak up on new ideas and thoughts
  • Having a sense of purpose of your personal career goals and aspirations can take you far
  • Focusing on what matters will save you time on worrying about things that don’t

For more articles on business, leadership, and professional development visit my blog.

 

6 Common Myths About Meetings We Need To Kick To The Curb

9551-3d-bar-graph-meeting-pvIn any work environment, there is one thing that is inevitable: meetings. In order to keep a company running smoothly, meetings are crucial. While meetings have always been a big part of the work environment, it turns out they are taking more of employees’ time than ever before, according to a new survey distributed by software company Clarizen. Given the significance of meetings in offices today, it is important that we do them right. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation circulating about how to run a  successful meeting. Here are a few myths about meetings that we need to do away with:

1) Managers need to run their own meetings.

This depends largely on the size of the meeting. If it is a meeting with five people, then running it yourself is fine. But a 20-person meeting is a different story. You should focus on the conversation occurring in the meeting instead of distracting yourself by trying to manage it. It is important to focus on what value you are receiving from the conversation. You should also think about when the group needs your input. Lastly, watch your group interact with one another and think about what feedback you might have for the people in your group.

2) Writing the summary of the meeting is secretarial work.

With the fast pace of most workplaces today, meetings are often ended abruptly. If you don’t write down a concise and clear summary of each meeting, everyone will forget what was talked about and decided. It is important to find the right person to summarize the meetings. Make sure it is a person with top notch writing skills who understands how important it is to write a one-page summary within an hour.

3) Sharing information is a valuable use of time.

The purpose of a meeting is to move a company forward by making decisions, coming to agreements, and facilitating action. Sharing information typically does not achieve any of these objectives. It is best to only spend about 10 to 15 percent of your time exchanging information.

4) You can rely on people to do what they say they are going to do.

In today’s culture, it is not considered a big deal for someone not to keep their word. The most hardworking and well-meaning people will not do what they say they will because they are extremely busy. If you want your company to achieve progress, you need to ask people for specific commitments with dates. You also must follow up with these people along the way.

5) A PowerPoint presentation is always a valuable addition to a meeting.

PowerPoint is a useful tool for covering a large amount of information in a way that people can follow. But you need to figure out if you want a presentation or a conversation. PowerPoint presentations tend to make people think about other things and avoid asking questions. If you want to have an enriching back-and-forth conversation, your best bet is to stay away from PowerPoints. This will allow your leadership team to have a real impact on the project.

6) Calling on people is always a bad thing.

Calling on people in order to control, embarrass, or dominate them is harmful and an example of poor leadership. That being said, there is a type of calling on people that can be constructive. When people go into meetings, they decide that they will speak if they feel like it. Therefore, people who love to talk give input, and those who don’t love to talk stay quiet. If individuals are not speaking, you need to call on those people in order to get their insights. This will create a balanced conversation that is full of ideas and different points of view.

It is important to dispel the myths that exist surrounding meetings in the workplace. Hopefully, by debunking these ideas we can move toward a more productive work culture.

What Is An Informational Interview?

Think of an informational interview as a way of networking. In business, networking is a way to have sales opportunities or make contacts. The same applies for those who seek work; one looks for ways to increase professional contacts and gain knowledge about a specific field. Just keep in mind that the end game is gathering information only.

How Is An Informational Interview Beneficial?

Have you ever heard of the idiom of getting information straight from the horse’s mouth? That is what you would receive: knowledge about a specific field, industry, or position that the person either holds or has held. This person knows and understands where you are right now, and where you would like to go; this person has been there as well.

You can get just the right tips. For instance, you can learn the necessary preparations for your intended career. Perhaps there is a career path within your field you may not have realized existed. You could get to know the working environment of a particular organization. Maybe you could learn how your courses, skill development, and academic planning fit in with your future success. Find out what strengths and vulnerabilities await you in your chosen field – will it shrink or expand.

By starting out with your informational interview before beginning any job interviews, you can build relationships that could put you steps ahead of someone else looking for the same work in the future.

How To Get Ready For An Informational Interview

The best way to start networking is, begin with who you know. You might know some people in your intended field. Whether or not you do know who you can interview, getting more names is a good idea. Start asking family, friends, and co-workers – you might be surprised as to who they know within their circles. Whoever they know could be directly involved with just the right people.

You could learn more about your field of interest through joining professional associations connected with that area. Discover and chat with or interview past alumni from schools related to this area. If the alumni cannot directly help you, they may know to whom you can direct your questions.

Depending on the field you wish to learn more about, your questions will certainly vary. These 10 Questions will generate a more valuable interviewing experience for you.

5 Habits All Great Leaders Share

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A true leader knows how to truly lift someone else up, giving them the proper guidance to unlock their full potential. Real leadership goes far beyond just giving people a list of what needs to be done. I recently came across this article, which discusses some interesting takes on what it means to be a real leader. Here are five habits that all great leaders share.

1) Be Genuine

In a world full of fake deceitful people, authenticity is quickly becoming an endangered quality. But if you have the confidence and courage to just be yourself, instead of the person you or anyone else thinks you should be, that along will distinguish you from all the digital clones. When you are true to yourself, people take notice. This builds trust, which is essential to leadership.

2) Focus On What Matters

In the digital age, it is easy for us to become distracted, detached, and disengaged. This is somewhat comical because technology makes us feel connected, but instead we are all just vying for attention. Realign yourself with what really matters. This will instantly help you focus on the important things in life, helping you become a more effective leader in the process.

3) Carve Your Own Path

It does not matter how many books you read or seminars you attend, the only person that can lead you on a path to success is yourself. Listen to yourself. You have a wealth of self-knowledge, perspective, and experience in the real world that will help guide you down a path in which you will thrive.

4) Question The Status Quo

One common trait that all great CEO’s share, is a lack of patience for the status quo. Don’t believe me? Check out how these successful entrepreneurs created their company culture:

Mark Zuckerberg – The Hacker Way

John Mackey – Conscious Capitalism

Steve Jobs – Think Differently

5) Create Energy

A great leader has the unique ability to engage and empower others to rise above themselves. Through the empowerment of others, a leader and his or her team can accomplish anything. With the proper energy, a team can become a cohesive unit that is capable of achieving more than any one person can ever dream of achieving alone.

 

Become A Better Decision-Maker With These Three Tips!

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Rational decision-making is not an innate gift that leaders have. The reality is that smart decision making is a continually process of weighing facts, such as data and calculated risk against emotions, such as fear and uncertainty. Regardless of whether you are a business leader, team leader, or ground floor employee, it is important to understand the foundation of sound decision making. If you are not consciously making these decisions then, unfortunately, they will be made for you by circumstance. That is why it is important to grasp these three concepts and improve your ability to make rational decisions.

1) Consider The ‘Frame’

The reality is that we do not treat losses and gains equally. It is human nature to look at the prospect of a loss more powerfully than the promise of a gain. Furthermore, it is within human nature to place frames around a problem and operate within those frames like a pinball trapped in space. When people are told to think outside the box, they are really being told to rearrange the frames that were placed around the problem. These frames allow us to focus on the options that we’ve given ourselves, however, they also force us to focus on only these options at the expense of any other scenarios or options. GIve your idea a fighting chance by giving them it some breathing room. This may require you to break down the frames that were originally in place.

2) Be Aware Of Comparisons

The need and desire to compare things is a primal instinct, and it determines the value that we seek. Relativity is the lens through which we view the world, and it can be found everywhere. The problem is that humans tend to only compare things that are easily comparable, and avoid comparing things that cannot be compared as easily. This mindset can often direct us to the wrong decision because we fail to consider options that require us to dig beneath the surface. The challenge for you is to use comparisons wisely. Be aware of the comparisons being made when you are trying to make a decision, and nail down the specific value that is sought.

3) Know When To Trust Your Gut

People will great intuition are a rare breed, but it does not make them immune to being wrong. There are many times that you can trust your gut instinct with little to no consequences from this decision. But when it comes to hiring or making company-wide decisions, following your intuition will have a much larger impact. That is why it can be beneficial to challenge your intuition, gather differing perspective, and reach a consensus with the team. Organizations can really benefit from looking at the process of decision-making as a team sport. Make your gut feelings known, but be open to how others are feeling as well.

 

Information courtesy of Entrepreneur

Inspiring Quotes For Entrepreneurship

There is so much advice available on the internet about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Passion, strong work ethic, dedication, and persistence. These are all qualities that a successful entrepreneur must have. But just as important as understanding these qualities, is to hear or read quotes from successful people who clearly posses these qualities. A good quote can help you internalize an idea, compare your actions to those saying the quote, and present the opportunity to reflect upon where you could better improve upon the aforementioned qualities of a successful person. Here are 10 great quotes that will help inspire, motivate, and drive you to succeed as an entrepreneur and as a person overall.

10 Inspiring Quotes For Entrepreneurship from Graham Zahoruiko on Vimeo.

Are Today’s Youth More Entrepreneurial Than Adults?

A new report shows that the youth are more entrepreneurial than adults. But are there businesses successful or driving the economy?

Are Today's Youth More Entrepreneurial Than Adults? from Graham Zahoruiko on Vimeo.

Organizational Effectiveness, Public Benefit Corporation

Check out this video below to learn more about organizational effectiveness!

Graham Zahoruiko: Organizational Effectiveness, Public Benefit Corporation from Graham Zahoruiko on Vimeo.

Leverage Technology To Improve Productivity & Efficiency

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Technology has allowed us to become a stronger and more productive workforce than ever before. A number of new technologies on the market have the ability to improve time management, manage projects, and cut down on distractions. Here are five tools that your business should be using to improve productivity and efficiency.

1) Toggl

Toggl is the ultimate alternative to using spreadsheets for time tracking. It is a simple, easy-to-use tool that is built for speed. Toggl allows you to check the amount of time an individual team member spends on different projects. You can categorize and create reports by project, client, week and/or day. This tool is a great way to identify sources of workplace distractions and unprofitable projects. Toggl will help your business improve overall productivity and efficiency.

2) Freedom

While technology has helped improve efficiency in the workplace, it brings a number of distractions along with it. Freedom will help you block these distractions so that you and your team can become more productive. With Freedom, you can block distracting apps and websites or the Internet as a whole from your computer. Once the app is turned on, you tell Freedom how long you can manage working offline and it will disable the Internet for that time period. This tool can be used on all types of devices, including iOS, Android, and Windows.

3) Remember The Milk

Remember The Milk is the perfect solution for businesses and teams that struggle to manage their to-do lists. This tool is especially useful if you need help managing your to-do lists across many different devices. Remember The Milk will send you reminders via SMS, Email, or IM (or any combination of the three) so that you will never forget a task. The great part about this tool is that you can share tasks with other team members and sync them with other tools like Evernote and Google Calendar.

4) Nutcache

Nutcache is an all-inclusive, collaborative project management tool that integrates time management, invoicing, and expense management all into one system. The latest update to Nutcache allows you track the time spent on different tasks with web timers. You can use this timer to track the time spent on the work, and it will appear right on your client’s invoice the exact time spent on each task. You can even break down the time spent on each member of the team.

5) Launchy

Launchy will have you working smarter in no time. With this tool, you can launch your files, folders, documents, and bookmarks with just a few clicks. It is so easy and intuitive that you will be able to do away with your file manager, start menu, or desktop icons to access what you need. With just a few simple keyboard taps, you will be able to open various files and programs effortlessly.