Tips for Strategic-Thinking in Finance: Your Staff, Individuals



Many companies want accountants and finance professionals who are strategic thinkers. But that’s not happening at most companies.

A study by Robert Half Management Resources (roberthalfmr.com) in 2016 indicates 86 percent of CFOs value strategic thinking.

Thirty percent consider strategic thinking invaluable. But only 46 percent provide appropriate training.

Indeed, another study by advisory firm CEB (CEBglobal.com) of 2,200 finance professionals at dozens of international companies value strategic thinking but they’re not doing enough about it.

id-100365397The CEB report says finance professionals vary in skills and there are five competency categories:

Doer. These behaviors included strong functional expertise and ability to break down problems into manageable tasks.

Learner. These behaviors included seeking feedback for own performance, looking for opportunities to improve, and asking for help when appropriate.

Strategist. These behaviors included strong understanding of business operations and discussing financial performance in terms of key value drivers.

Persuader. These behaviors included articulating views clearly, challenging business assumptions, and adapting and tailoring communication style.

Builder. These behaviors included creating vision and fostering buy-in, developing people and talent pools, and setting business-aligned goals for the team.

Unfortunately, while builder, strategist, and persuader professionals deliver more value for effective decision-making, such skills aren’t prevalent. Most companies, instead, only have doer and learner competencies.

So how can finance professionals meet needs of their employers in dynamic marketplaces?

CEB suggests six strategies:

1. Screen applicants differently

In interviewing job candidates, ask them to give a demonstration that go beyond their awareness of traditional accounting and finance practices.

Give them a set of data and information, and ask them to make a presentation that will give you an idea about how they assimilate the information, develop strategies and communicate their ideas.

2. Evaluate the candidates’ communication skills

Develop communication metrics that will help you assess the applicants’ abilities. Then, ask the candidates to make a presentation to your team for evaluation purposes.

3. Coordinate with the human resources department

CEB reports 63 percent of finance professionals aren’t confident that HR people don’t fully understand the goals of finance. Fifty-seven percent of HR professionals say their counterparts in finance don’t grasp how recruiting works.

Both departments must make a greater effort to communicate and coordinate their activities.

4. Launch leadership training as early as possible

Don’t wait until a finance person is promoted. Provide early training in leadership competencies.

5. Use a coaching approaching in favor of classroom training

Forget classroom training. Use a dignified approach. Each individual is unique and will respond better to personalized coaching. Include soft skill insights.

Sooner than later you’ll have business partners in finance.

6. Work on building the entire team

Encourage a well-rounded teamwork and collaboration including all necessary competencies. They’ll function better with such communication and learn from each other.

Meantime, for ambitious professionals, Robert Half offers eight career tips:

1. Speak up 

If your employer hasn’t offered training in this area, ask for it. Look for additional professional development options, too, such as working with a mentor.

2. Participate in external events

Attend industry conferences, and take advantage of programs offered by professional and business organizations. Your employer may even reimburse you for the costs.

3. Collaborate across functions

Working with colleagues in other departments will broaden your organizational view and provide new approaches for addressing problems.

4. Volunteer to lead a project team

Your viewpoint and interactions with colleagues will enhance your business acumen and help you identify additional ways to support the firm.

5. Move into a new role

Job rotation provides exposure to different challenges, processes and business units. Along the way, you can learn new best practices and problem-solving techniques.

6. Build big data expertise

Knowing how to work with business intelligence will enable you to identify strategic recommendations for the organization. Big data skills gaps are severe within accounting and finance, giving you the chance to jump ahead in the field.

7. Pursue consulting opportunities

By working as a consultant, you see best practices at a range of firms. You’ll also be able to share your insights with and learn from others.

8. Don’t neglect soft skills

Coming up with ideas is just one part of the equation. You’ll need to be able to communicate them with effectively and cultivate influence to secure buy-in.

From the Coach’s Corner, related career tips:

To Become a Leader, Develop Strategic-Planning Skills in 5 Steps — A salient characteristic of leadership is strategic thinking. If you’re ambitious, the ability to be a strategic planner is critical for your success. Here are five ways to achieve your goal.

Spelling Tips to Enhance Your Communication Skills — Good communication skills start with using proper grammar and spelling. They’re central for your career growth. People who communicate stand head and shoulders above their peers.

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others — If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication.

5 Traits of People Who Deliver Bad News Well — Are you nervous about giving bad news to others? Do you wish you were good at it? If you answer yes to either question, here are five traits of good messengers.

How to Grow Your EI for Leadership Success — Emotional intelligence (EI) is important for communication and leadership. A person who has EI is able to evaluate, understand, and control emotions.

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” 

Sun Tsu


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy nenetus at www.freedigitalphotos.net


Workplace Bullying – Tips for Victims and Bosses



Workplace issues include bullying. It’s a widespread problem for employers and employees, alike.

Data shows as many as 35 percent of all employees are victims of workplace bullies.

FlareWorkplace bullying is a costly threat to an organization’s teamwork and productivity. In fact, it hurts retention of all employees.

It can also cause legal issues, for which best practices in workplace investigation are needed.

In addition, if a company is lacking in teamwork, morale is weak and profits are weak, chances are you there might be problems with workplace bullies.

If so, this means you probably to improve your organization’s culture.

Be forewarned, changing a culture is a monumental chore because it will take strategic planning and super powers of persuasion.

There are six steps to necessary to implement a cultural change for profits.

Victims have rights and employers must take steps to need to deal with it and prevent it, as it involves physical and mental abuse.

Do not tolerate it. Make it a formal policy.

For victims and bosses, here’s a helpful infographic by Quill:

How to Squash Workplace Bullying Without Bullying Back

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant strategies employees and managers:

Do You Have A Toxic Relationship With Your Boss? — This may be the 21st century with a cornucopia of management textbooks for bosses, but a significant number of employees still complain about their supervisors lacking in professionalism. That’s according to a study by Wayne Hochwarter, a professor in management at Florida State University.

How to Deal With An Oppressive Employer — In the private and public sectors, organizational performance is strong when employees are managed properly. In turn, employees perform well and they are confident in their employers. So it was disturbing when someone asked me what to do about an abusive boss.

Workplace Communication – Is the ‘Queen Bee Syndrome’ a Myth or Reality? — Regrettably, women’s same-sex conflicts in the workplace have long been maligned in books as inherently more problematic than men’s. Hence, the negative stereotypes – the “queen bee syndrome” or worse, “cat fights.” The typecasting prompted a 2013 academic report, “Much Ado about Nothing? Observers’ Problematization of Women’s Same-Sex Conflict at Work.”

Strategies to Make Change Management Programs Work — Management is mostly to blame because most change-management programs crash and burn. Why? It’s up to management to hire the right people, and to invest in the right tools while inspiring employees to accept and drive change. Here’s how.

Manage Health Costs by Improving Your Culture 3 Ways — Is your company saddled with high health costs? By improving your culture in three ways to minimize stress, your company will improve performance and long-term sustainability.

“Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right.”
-Theodore Roosevelt


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Flare at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Having Trouble Breaking through the Glass Ceiling? 5 Tips


If you’re having trouble breaking through the glass ceiling, you probably need a change in strategies.

Realize you’re not alone in trying to overcome challenges in getting a promotion or a better job. If it were so easy, then every woman would do it.

There can be several reasons for your struggle to break through the glass ceiling.

Reasons might include having an inability to negotiate. There’s male bias. Then again, you might be confronted by the queen bee syndrome – a female boss who relates better to men than women.

So how can you take charge of your career improve your chances for success? Change your mind set.

ID-10081528 stockimagesHere are five ways to break through the glass ceiling:

1. Evaluate your attitude

Fearful people unknowingly create hurdles that stand in their doorway to success. They are afraid to fail.

Their fear provides an excuse not to persevere. Consider the word, fear, as an acronym: FEAR equals frantic effort to avoid responsibility.

You have a responsibility to be true to yourself – your dreams and goals.
Don’t think and act like a victim.  So use the Nike slogan to your advantage – “Just do it.”

You don’t have to be alone in making career decisions. No matter what you do for a living, there’s one free investment on which you can count to improve your career – get a mentor.

2. Stiffen your resolve

There’s a tendency for people to be discouraged when facing adversity. You must develop a tenacious attitude. Be relentless.

Study the careers of successful people. The vast majority has a story to tell about developing confidence and courage.

Focus on the solutions to the obstacles. Start by preparing a list of ideas. Implement them one by one.

If you naturally feel uncomfortable and awkward while trying something new out of your comfort zone, that may be taken as a positive development towards growth.

3. Trust your instincts 

Everybody has had ups and downs. Many persons have endured tragic circumstances. Perhaps you have, too.

Remember what you’ve done to overcome such obstacles. Apply the same principles to your career goals.

If a seed for an idea is planted in your brain, don’t let anyone dissuade you.

4. Strive to keep learning

Start each day with preparation. Do what it takes to sustain your passion. That includes learning to keep growing.

When you fail at something, learn from it. It’s valuable lesson. So continue to develop for ultimate success.

Learn to be a great communicator. One common trait of successful people is to be a great speaker.

Many people get nervous because they fear criticism, embarrassment, failure and/or rejection. Learn to manage your nervousness.

5. Push the envelope

Avoid ruts by expand your comfort zone. When you hesitate, analyze your situations and move forward.

Accept all challenges to grow professionally. Become the go-to person in your organization. If someone doubts your capabilities, develop an attitude of “I’ll show you!”

Look for untapped opportunities. Seek new roles at work – convince your boss to give you a different job.

It doesn’t matter if you’re knocked down in life. What does matter is your positive response.

All obstacles are opportunities to shine and succeed. Never give up.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related career tips:

5 Personality Traits for Personal and Professional Success — Five personality traits are important for overcoming stress and achieving goals academically, professionally and in personal relationships.

Do You Want a Better Break at Work? Here’s How to Get it — Here’s news that benefits both workers and managers: If you want to maximize workday breaks to boost concentration, energy and motivation, here’s new thinking on the subject.

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success — Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

36 Tips: Develop Confidence to Win an Office Tug of War — For people lacking in self confidence, winning an office tug of war is easier said than done. Unlike leaders, they unknowingly give away their power. One sign is whether you’re winning hearts and minds at work. For instance, in the event of disagreements, are you able to persuade others?

3 Best Interview Strategies for a Promotion in Your Company — So your company has an opening that would mean a promotion for you. Great. But make sure you prepare properly to avoid disappointment. To get the job you must interview well.

If you naturally feel uncomfortable and awkward while trying something new out of your comfort zone, that may be taken as a positive development towards growth.


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Photo courtesy stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Responding to Negative Criticism Requires Professionalism



No one likes being criticized in their work. It’s difficult to hear and it’s understandable why many people make the mistake of being defensive.

If you get negative feedback, it’s in your best interest to remain calm and receptive. It’s actually your responsibility – to yourself and the organization.

Professionalism is of paramount importance.

ID-10040848 AmbroHere are ways to receive negative criticism:

1. Remember criticism will help you

Consider the possibilities. With the right attitude – accepting the criticism – you will perform better.

It could be worse, if you don’t get valid criticism from a boss. You’ll wander aimlessly in your career. Your reputation will suffer. Ultimately, you could get terminated.

On the other hand, it’s possible your boss is incorrect in making negative assumptions about you. You might not agree. But listen you must.

You must understand where you stand with your boss. In accepting negative criticism, you’ll then have options to further your career.

Continue to work on your attitude. By being receptive, you’ll learn valuable information if it’s valid. Either you’ll learn how to be a better employee; or if your boss is wrong, you’ll get insights on how to become a manager yourself.

You’ll also enhance your reputation. You can only win by keeping a good perspective.

2. Respond, don’t react

Forget making knee-jerk reactions. A good rule of thumb: Don’t complain, explain extenuating circumstances, or blame the messenger or others. Listening should be your first response.

Even if the assessment about you is off target, simply listen and take notes. Demonstrate you’re open to feedback. Now’s not the time to defend yourself. Don’t say anything at first.

3. Give a positive response

Understand that most managers are apprehensive about giving you criticism. They’re usually pretty nervous in such discussions.

After you’ve listened, acknowledge the manager’s comments. Even if you don’t agree, be positive.

Empathize by making a comment such as, “Your feedback is appreciated.” In being congenial, you don’t appear to be defensive. What you need is an honest discussion about problem-solving.

4. Follow with relevance

After you demonstrate openness to criticism without being defensive, your manager will be interested in hearing what else you have to say.

Let’s say the manager doesn’t have all the facts. Perhaps there’s a good reason why you performed a certain way. Often, it has to do with deciding on priorities.

Share the relevant information with your manager. Then ask your what would have been the right course to take.

You might find the manager is more receptive to your explanation once you demonstrate an open mind to a discussion. You might even get an acknowledgement that you had it right all along.

If the evidence is irrefutable, acknowledge it. Be assertive. Tell your manager you want to improve. Develop a plan for improvement.

5. Consider asking for time to review the criticism

If you’re nervous and don’t know how to respond, you probably need some time to absorb criticism especially if it’s harsh.

Ask if it’s OK to take some time to digest the criticism and for another meeting. Be sure to follow through. Approach your boss for a discussion in a couple of days.

6. Do a personal assessment of your role

A personal case study:

In Oct. 1985, I once received severe criticism about my performance as a radio newscaster in Salt Lake City. Secondhand, I heard the news director accused me of lacking nerves of steel because I stumbled on-the-air in reporting a critical event, and he wanted to fire me.

While anchoring the story in the studio, I couldn’t get the equipment to work so I could introduce the reporter who was on the scene, and I stumbled a few times. It was the case of the mysterious bombings that killed two people in Salt Lake City…

My response was to go home and do a personal evaluation of my attitude and work. I realized that the boss was wrong, as I knew I thrived on exciting news stories.

I’d already reported on two presidents of the United States and other major stories. In addition, my airwork generated 33 percent higher listener ratings than my predecessor and the best listener ratings for my evening time slot in the city. I also had top ratings at two previous stations.

But in this situation, I was wrong, too. My attitude was poor. I realized I took the job for granted, didn’t fully learn the equipment, and always showed up barely on time for my shift.

That’s when I suddenly remembered advice from a valued mentor: “Work your 40 hours a week and then work an additional 10 percent (4 hours) for free. In this way, you’ll be sure that you perform well.”

Meantime, I knew I had to defend my reputation as having nerves of steel but most importantly it was imperative I immediately apologize for my attitude. My heart was about to explode out of my chest when I reported for work the next day. I couldn’t wait to approach the boss. But he wasn’t there. “Ugh,” I thought.

So I approached the assistant news director with an apology about my attitude. He chortled and said: “I heard your news report and thought it was electrifying – very exciting. I also disagree about your attitude – yours is the best of anybody.”

While my supervisor was very reassuring, I knew I had to improve my attitude to be the best I could be and I told him so. Consequently, I worked on my attitude and began reporting for work 15 to 30 minutes early each day. The issue never came up again.

Conclusion

If you take the above steps, you’ll enhance your career – even in the face of criticism.

P.S. Regarding the 10 percent advice from my mentor, it accelerated my career as I strived to become the go-to person wherever I went. It later served me well with clients as a business-performance consultant.

Clients have always appreciated the added value. Your boss or clients will, too.

From the Coach’s Corner, more career tips:

5 Personality Traits for Personal and Professional Success — Five personality traits are important for overcoming stress and achieving goals academically, professionally and in personal relationships.

Do You Want a Better Break at Work? Here’s How to Get it — Here’s news that benefits both workers and managers: If you want to maximize workday breaks to boost concentration, energy and motivation, here’s new thinking on the subject.

How You Can Improve Your Memory for Career Success — Data is important in business but only if you retain and understand it. Your memory helps you to embed, store, maintain and recover information. Here’s important information to improve your memory.

What to Do If You’re Thinking about Dating a Co-Worker — Most executives probably cringe at the thought of romances blossoming among their office workers. There are good reasons why. But if you must start an office romance, here are tips to minimize damage to your career.

Are You Struggling to Write Great Cover Letters? Here’s How — If you want to write a cover letter that will entice employers to consider you, there are several precautions to take. Otherwise, you risk sending a letter that employers won’t want to read. Here are seven strategies.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”

-Winston Churchill


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Job Hunting? Make Background Checks Work to Your Benefit



Even though news headlines show employers are doing more thorough research in background checks, if you’re a job hunter don’t be too concerned.

There are reasons why.

It used to be that employers merely checked references. Then, many employers started doing credit checks. That was especially true for jobs related to finance.

Employers have expanded their research in background checks for more than a decade for very good reasons.

Michael KlazemaEmployers have expanded their research in background checks for more than a decade for very good reasons.

“They have also been a frequent focus of news headlines as of late, with every week seeming to bring about a new story about a major employer implementing new employee background check policies,” says Michael Klazema.

He cites the University of Illinois. Perhaps surprisingly, the institution announced a new background check policy for faculty members and other workers in 2015.

Mr. Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009.

                             Mr. Klazema


He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com.

Reasons for increase


Why the growth in background checks?

“For instance, employers run background checks on their applicants to avoid hiring dangerous or unqualified applicants,” he says.

“They run background checks to protect themselves from individuals who might damage their organization – whether by stealing company assets, instigating workplace violence, or creating public relations problems,” he asserts.

If you’re not an embezzler or have anger-management issues, should you take it personally? No.

“Remembering that employers are running background checks not as a judgment of you, but as a means of combatting unflattering statistics, is an important distinction to make.”

“While some job searchers do take background check requests from employers as a sign of mistrust, you need to remember that employers are just playing a statistics game,” explains Mr. Klazema.

“They are just familiar with various facts and figures that make pre-employment background checks a necessary protective measure,” he says. 

Alarming statistics

He points out several statistics that alarm employers:

— According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, workplace violent accounts for 18 percent of all violent crime. Employers can use background checks to weed out known violent offenders and reduce the likelihood of violent workplace altercations.

— In 2003, a report from the Society of Human Resources Management noted that more than half (53 percent) of all job applications are inaccurate in some way. Background checks can help employers verify resume information and catch applicants for lying or exaggerating about their qualifications.

— According to Fortune Magazine, employers lose about 80 percent of all negligent hiring lawsuits. Background checks help employers catch employee red flags, dodge bad hires, and avoid negligent hiring claims in the first place.

— A 2014 report by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners stated that the average organization loses 5 percent of its annual revenue as a result of occupational fraud. Background checks can spot histories of theft, embezzlement, or fraud – helping to prevent such costly incidents from ever happening.

— In 2008, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration published a report claiming that more the 75 percent of consistent drug users are employed in some capacity. A company seeking to promote a drug-free workplace can use background checks to spot previous drug convictions and keep many substance abusers outside the walls.

Career advice

Mr. Klazema provides job-seeking advice:

“Remembering that employers are running background checks not as a judgment of you, but as a means of combatting unflattering statistics, is an important distinction to make,” he suggests.

If you recognize the importance of background checks as merely a tool in pre-employment screening, you will be more successful as an applicant, he adds.

“For one thing, it can encourage you to disclose any skeletons in your past so that you can explain them upfront, instead of waiting for employers to find those skeletons and make their own judgments,” he says.

If you have the slightest concern, he recommends running a self-check before you interview.

“Some background check reports do have inaccuracies, and you don’t want to be lumped in with the rest of the applicants getting red flagged by an employer,” he concludes.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more career tips:

Seeking a Job? Your Rights in Background Checks — If you’re seeking a job, you may or may not be accorded the same rights in background checks as other applicants in the United States. Why? There isn’t a norm you can expect in background checks, according to an expert.

5 Personality Traits for Personal and Professional Success — Five personality traits are important for overcoming stress and achieving goals academically, professionally and in personal relationships.

Spelling Tips to Enhance Your Communication Skills — Good communication skills start with using proper grammar and spelling. They’re central for your career growth. People who communicate stand head and shoulders above their peers.

Looking for a Job? Get a Personal Web Site for an Edge — If you’re looking for a job and competition is tough, human resource professionals say a personal Web site can be a valuable asset. Sixty-eight percent of HR professionals are looking to assess personal qualities that aren’t perceptible from a traditional resume.

Are You Struggling to Write Great Cover Letters? Here’s How — If you want to write a cover letter that will entice employers to consider you, there are several precautions to take. Otherwise, you risk sending a letter that employers won’t want to read. Here are seven strategies.

“A spare tire is something that you don’t check until you have a punctured one.”

-Vikrant Parsai

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success


By becoming a better communicator, you’ll be more confident in a myriad of ways such as enhancing your career, giving a speech, negotiating, and in building healthier relationships.


Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

Have you ever thought: “How could I have been so stupid?” Or, “I was so dumb in that meeting.”

If you have low self esteem, it’s very likely you aren’t happy with yourself. You don’t feel worthy and you’re harshly self critical.

StockImagesYou’re also overly critical of others, and you dwell on other persons’ negative comments about you. Then, you appear to be selfish and distrustful, which is why cynicism results in low pay.

Low self confidence prompts you to look for approval from others. This means you are indecisive and engage in self-doubt.

You might be very good at what you do, but you can still suffer from a lack of confidence, but inadequate social skills hold you back.

As a result, you don’t achieve enough success at work or in your personal life. Irritability causes you to sabotage relationships. This, in turn, decreases your self esteem.

Here’s another sign of low self esteem: You become an over-achiever. You constantly push yourself and you become a workaholic.

This turns into stress. Stress and self esteem are related. A person becomes stressed from depression and mood disorders.

If any of this rings true for your situation, it’s time to transform you. If you become emotionally and physically healthy, you’ll find it easier to ward off stress.

Admittedly, self confidence doesn’t guarantee success. However, you must build a foundation for self confidence to stand a chance in life.

How to build greater confidence:

1. Do a personal inventory of your strengths and weaknesses

List your successes and write them on paper. Think about the skills you used. Keep the list handy for when you feel low.

List your shortcomings and fears. Itemize the skills you need for improvement. Develop goals, and an action plan for growth. Go to any lengths to learn. That includes getting the right mentor.

2. Face your fears

As you encounter situations that make you feel fearful, face them. Don’t avoid them. By staring down your fears, you’ll realize you’re stronger than you thought.

3. Change your thoughts

You are a product of your thoughts. Don’t participate in the office water-cooler gossip. If you have a habit of thinking negatively, stop.

Look for the silver lining in every situation. Nothing great has ever been achieved by a lack of enthusiasm.

Don’t ask yourself “what if” questions, such as “What if I don’t get this job?” Instead, imagine yourself being successful in your job interview.

In other words, change your mental exercise program – don’t jump to conclusions.

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”

-Joe Namath

4. Dress as professionally as you can

It isn’t necessary to buy expensive clothes, but if you concentrate on your appearance you’ll feel better and you’ll inspire confidence in you from others.

5. Use good posture

For the best body language, stand and sit erectly. If you stand or sit with slumped shoulders, you don’t look confident nor will you feel it.

Oh, and don’t forget to position yourself with good eye contact and listen intently when someone speaks to you.

6. Write affirmations

Affirm your talents. Write a list of your of your strengths and goals. Recite the list in front of a mirror – often. Keep the list in full view and read it often.

7. Use gratitude at every opportunity

Instead of focusing on your problems or failures, focus on the 90 percent that’s actually working in your career and life.

Develop a gratitude list. List everything for which you feel grateful – your skills, successes and relationships. Keep this list handy, too.

8. Be happy for others

Make it a point to congratulate others at their successes. Complimenting people will make you feel better and will enhance your relationships.

If you look for the good qualities in other people, you’ll project positive qualities as friend, associate or family member.

9. Take a front row seat at every opportunity

Don’t cowardly sit in the back in meetings. Sit in the front row. You’ll develop more self esteem. Others will notice your confidence.

10. Physical activity

If you’re physically fit, you’re less likely to feel insecure, less energetic and unattractive.

If you make working out a habit in early mornings, you’ll feel better and you’ll develop a positive energy and confidence.

11. Volunteer

To get out of your depression, remember the world’s filled with people who are less fortunate than you. Stop thinking solely about yourself.

Look for ways to help others. The more you contribute to the welfare of others, the more rewards you’ll receive in developing your skills, recognition and self confidence.

12. Participate in group discussions

Speak up at least once in every meeting. Look for ways to positively contribute. You’ll be better regarded by your boss and co-workers.

By making an effort to speak up at least once in every group discussion, you’ll become a better public speaker, more confident in your thoughts, and will be recognized as a leader by your peers.

For that matter, take advantage of every opportunity to give speeches.

By becoming a better communicator, you’ll be more confident in a myriad of ways such as enhancing your career, giving a speech, negotiating, and in building healthier relationships.

Here’s how:

1. Speak slowly

People who speak quickly aren’t usually perceived as authoritative. Their enunciation and diction often suffer.

In turn, by speaking slowly, you’ll be more easily understood and you’re less inclined to make a misstatement.

2. Pause

If you pause in speaking, it will help you. Pausing helps you to collect your thoughts. It gives more credibility to what you have to say. You’ll project more authority and confidence.

Indeed, the most powerful public speakers succeed with the power of pauses.

3. Posture

In addition to the above points about posture, it will enhance your breathing and the quality of your speaking voice. Good breathing is important.

People who know how to speak from their diaphragm, benefit from a resonant voice.

4. Pitch and tone

Vary your speech pattern and pitch. Avoid speaking in a boring, monotone style. Listeners will find you more interesting.

Use your diaphragm to speak in a lower tone of voice. You’ll have more authority; hence, more confidence.

5. Arms and hands

Body language with the strategic use of hands – in conjunction with your statements – will help you get your points across.

Save your hand movements for your most impactful sentences. Your audience will be attentive.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:

7 Steps to Become Great at Thinking on Your Feet — Have you ever been at a loss for words? For example, when asked a question, have you been tongue tied in a sales presentation, while speaking at an event, in negotiations, during an interview or a staff meeting? Getting tongue-tied is not a fun experience.

Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing — It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech or when you’re entering an important round of negotiations. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another. When you allow this to happen, in a sense, you’re giving away your personal power, which inhibits your performance.

Make More Friends at the Office with 6 Etiquette Tips – In many companies, good etiquette is nonexistent and office co-workers fail to make friends of one another. Lack of trust and turmoil is seemingly evident everywhere. You don’t have to like everyone, but it’s best to be respectful, and assertive versus aggressive. That makes for good office relationships.

To Give a Great Speech, 9 Tips to Manage Your Nervousness — If you get nervous even at the thought of giving a speech, join the crowd. You’re not alone. Many people get nervous because they fear criticism, embarrassment, failure and/or rejection. But if you learn to manage your nervousness, you can give great speeches. Here are nine tips.

Learn to Give a Speech Like a Business Pro with 8 Tips — It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech in public or speaking in a meeting at work. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another. The good news is you use stage fright to your advantage, if you learn to train yourself to stop stressing.

“When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.”

-Joe Namath


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net


The C-Word is a Critical Characteristic of Effective Managers



Much has been written about preferred skills for managers. We always talk in mundane terms for the need of managers to convey a vision, achieve goals and to foster growth and well-being for a work-life balance.

At the least, authoritarian behavior is considered to be passé. So there’s an emphasis on mentoring, teaching, coaching and delegation.

One key is an aptitude and promotion of collaboration. These are helpful in earning respect and inspiring talent to perform.

Another priority is finance and risk management – pursuing opportunities and reducing risks.

Even after being promoted to management, continuous learning is important to stay relevant. That includes every skill from performance appraisals in evaluating talent to planning.

Strong managers are knowledgeable about the big picture – issues facing their companies and industries.

They must be fully cognizant of their organizations’ missions, visions and goals – not only for short-term success but to develop long lasting relationships with the brands’ customers.

C-word

But one quality that’s seldom mentioned is the C-word: Courage.

According to an academic study, there are four salient types of workplace courage:

  1. Standing up to authority.
  2. Uncovering mistakes.
  3. Protecting those in need.
  4. Taking a stance on an unclear problem.

Courage is not necessarily a personality trait. It’s a learned behavior, according to study co-author David Hekman, an assistant professor of management at Colorado University-Boulder.

Entitled “An Inductively-Generated Typology and Process Model of Workplace Courage,” the study’s co-authors included Pauline Schilpzand, assistant professor of management in the College of Business at Oregon State University and Terence Mitchell, professor of management at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

Responsibility to act?

The study reveals workers who are courageous first ask themselves if they’re responsible to act and will assess the costs to themselves. Despite the costs, courageous people will act.

“Also, courage is very social,” Hekman said Professor Hekman. “You compare yourself with the people around you and ask, ‘Do I identify with the victim, or am I more powerful than the other people?'”

The most-common type of courage: Standing up to authority (67 percent). But 34 percent of the respondents said they had to cope with repercussions.

“Managers might better grasp the significance of our findings by thinking of courageous workplace behaviors as a type of organizational immune response that identifies and corrects power abuses, errors, ambiguity and needs before they metastasize and threaten the system as a whole,” said Professor Mitchell.

A person who shows courage has taken the first step toward leadership.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related management tips:

Management — 5 Frequent Causes of Cost Overruns and Failures – Extensive research shows how and why corporate projects result in cost overruns and failures. The academic study is entitled, ‘Yes Men’ Are Killing Corporate Projects. The research reported rampant misreporting of project statuses at all levels of the companies. The errant information is prompted from cultural predispositions to career aspirations.

Management — 4 Mindsets for Leadership in Performance Reviews – Are you nervous at the thought of giving employee-performance reviews? You’re not alone. Your employees aren’t exactly thrilled, either. Typically, employees aren’t convinced they can get valid feedback. If they’ve experienced poor managers, they likely dread the performance-review process or are skeptical of the outcome.

Risk Management – Making Best Decisions, Using Right Tactics – To prevent a crisis from interfering with the continuity of your business, you must strategically plan to manage any potential risks. That means avoiding the classic mistakes routinely made by companies, and making the right decisions for proactive measures to minimize any dangers.  But how can you best manage risk?

HR Management – 8 Best Practices in Employee Delegation – Avoid frustration in delegation. Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization. Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership. They know they’ll be more effective in management and that they’ll develop their employees.

13 Management Tips to Solve Employee Absenteeism – Absenteeism causes migraines for a lot of bosses. Obviously, your company will make healthier profits, if you don’t have an absenteeism problem. Check your attendance records. You’ll see Monday is the most-abused day of the week and January is the worst month for absenteeism. For good reason, employers often cringe because they distrust the reasons some employees call in sick.

“Management is all about managing in the short term, while developing the plans for the long term.”

-Jack Welch


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 






Seeking a Job? Your Rights in Background Checks



If you’re seeking a job, you may or may not be accorded the same rights in background checks as other applicants in the United States.

Why? There isn’t a norm you can expect in background checks.

“Technically each company has their own policies, each state has their own laws and each background screening company has their own ways of doing things, not to mention they use all types of different sources,” says Michael Klazema of Klazema Communications.

adamr applicantHe says you’re probably not getting the same treatment as other job seekers.

“However, there are a few commonalities when it comes to background screening,” explains Mr. Klazema, who says your education and work experience will be checked.

“Where the confusion comes in is how long they will go back,” he says. “For example, in one company, it may be considered normal to go back five years when it comes to work history but in another, normal is 10 years.”

It’s common for employers to check for a possible criminal background.

“…some companies would never dream of checking a state criminal database or federal court records but they will certainly check county records,” adds Mr. Klazema. “Other companies will focus fully on the federal records and not the county records.”

Possible atypical checks

“Other things, however, like driving record checks, credit checks and medical checks may not be normal and may not even be legal in your state,” he asserts.

“For instance, it would probably not be normal for a company to check your driving record if you will be doing no driving for them,” Mr. Klazema points out. “Credit checks, on the other hand, used to be fairly normal, but over the past few years they have become much less so.”

Many states have banned credit checks for hiring purposes. That’s true for medical checks.

“The only thing that a medical check can be used for is to ensure that you can do the duties of the job,” he says. “For instance, if you are required to lift 100 pounds and walk it across a warehouse as part of the job description and you are medically unable to do this, a medical exam can be used.”

The bottom-line: If you need more specific information, your best source regarding your rights is probably an experienced employment lawyer.

From the Coach’s Corner, more job-seeking tips:

Career Advice for College Grads Facing a Firewall — Lessons in the Disparity between Expectations and Reality   Are university graduates overly optimistic about their career options? Yes. Apparently, they have mistaken perceptions. Worse, a major consulting firm is seemingly contributing to the problem. Increasingly, new college graduates are bewildered why they’re under-employed, according to research by Accenture in 2014.

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

Is Your Career Stalled? Turbo Charge Your Personal Brand — Perhaps you’re struggling in a job search. You’re ambitious but underemployed, or worse – unemployed. You’re not alone. Millions of professionals are trying to solve similar puzzles. The good news is that you can rebrand yourself for a rewarding career.

With a Mentor, You Won’t be Alone in Making Career Decisions — You don’t have to be alone in making career decisions. No matter what you do for a living, there’s one investment on which you can count to improve your career. Plus, it won’t cost you any money. Huh? Yes, you can get a mentor.

7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously — Surprise! If you play it smart you can take advantage of the 500 million Twitter account holders to get a new job or career. Really, it’s true.

“In 20 years time you will regret the things you didn’t do much more than the things you did wrong.” 

-Mark Twain 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.
Photo courtesy of adamr at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Use Google Alerts to Land An Unadvertised Job



There’s a hidden job market. Many of the best job openings aren’t advertised. So it behooves you to be strategic to create or uncover secret opportunities with Google Alerts.

With Google Alerts, you can get an inside track for the best job — by monitoring any and all details that are important for your goals.

Think of it as a tool to find out what’s happening in almost real-time — round-the-clock — relevant marketplace information you’ll find useful.

It’s a tool you can’t afford not to use.

ID-10033894 photostockIf you’ve never used Google Alerts, they’re tools to get vital information on topics and trends that you request.

You can choose to get analysis and alerts on companies, industries, people, products and news-making viewpoints of employers in the private sector.

You can do the same with the public sector.

You can get information about agencies, charities, organizations and people.

Here are six Google Alert tips:

1. How to get started

Go to the Google Alerts home page, https://www.google.com/alerts. Enter your topic as you would in any Internet search. If a name is two or more words, you can insert them in quotation marks. To arrange for alerts with multiple related topics, insert the word, OR, in caps.

You can specify the source filters, such as press release, blogs, news or social media. Google will let you determine the frequency of the alerts, and how you want them to be delivered — either e-mail or RSS feeds.

Keep your requests succinct. Choose wisely. You’ll be allowed as many as 1,000 alerts, buy that might not be a lot in this lackluster economy.

2. Employers

Identify the employers for which you’d like to work. You’ll get useful information; even analysis from analysts evaluating companies’ profits and losses.

For instance, if a company has good profits and is planning to expand, you’ll get a head start on your competition and you’ll be able to apply for a job armed with the most knowledgeable information.

On the other hand, if you’re interested in a company suddenly hit by bad news, perhaps you’re a salesperson who can generate income or a public relations professional who can deliver great PR.

3. Geography

You can obtain late-breaking news about businesses in different regions and locales. For example, if your spouse just got a promotion to the Pacific Northwest, you can use Google Alerts for your own job search to where your family is moving.

Think of it as a tool to find out what’s happening in almost real-time — round-the-clock — relevant marketplace information you’ll find useful.

4. Persons

OK, it’s possible to use your LinkedIn account to read about people. However, many successful people aren’t active on LinkedIn. (Personally, none of my CEO clients have had LinkedIn accounts.)

Even if senior executive do use LinkedIn, it isn’t easy to check on them if they’re out of your network. So you need an insurance policy. And Google Alerts delivers late-breaking developments about such folks directly to your computer.

If you decide to contact a person, don’t do so informally via e-mail. Use your own monarch size stationery via snail mail.

5. Shameless self promotion

If you use Google to monitor job opportunities, conversely, you can use it to promote yourself. You should have a strong online presence. But Google your name and arrange for a Google Alert for your name. In this way, you can monitor your reputation and gauge how to make any improvements.

6. Prep for interviews

Knowledge about an employer is power for your interviews. The more you learn from Google Alerts, the better your chances for an interview and success in being hired. Interviewers love knowing you’ve done your homework.

From the Coach’s Corner, more job-searching tips:

7 Tips to Tweet Your Way to a Great New Job – Seriously — Surprise! If you play it smart you can take advantage of the 500 million Twitter account holders to get a new job or career. Really, it’s true.

Guidelines for an Effective CV to Land Your Ideal Job — If you’re pursuing a career in academia or research, you know a curriculum vitae (CV) is a basic requirement to get consideration for a position. It’s also applicable when applying for fellowships or grants. Here are best practices for a CV.

Career Advice — An Alternative to Applying for Jobs Online — As a job-hunter you know that a significant number of companies, nonprofits and public-sector agencies use an online tracking system to accept applications and screen out applicants. It cuts down on their paper work and saves them time.

5 Tips to Shine in Your Online Job Application — To sail through the human resources filtering system, here are five online-application tips: 1. Put social media to work for you. Make certain your social media – Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – are current, professional and show maturity. Be careful what you publish – always keep in mind your career goals.

Increase Your Job Chances if You Have to Interview on the Phone — Face time, of course, is best if you’re interviewing for a job. However, headhunters and many companies schedule introductory telephone interviews. Pat yourself on the back. Even if it’s not an in-person meeting, a telephone interview is a good omen. The employer already thinks enough of you to schedule a discussion.

Job Hunting? Tips to Land Your Dream Job with Style, Substance — Yes, the competition for jobs is ferocious. Here are proven tips to be hired for your dream job.

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” 

 -Theodore Roosevelt 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of photostock at www.freedigitalphotos.net

How to Convince Your Boss to Give You a Different Job



Do you feel as though you’re a round peg in a square hole? Or vice versa — a square peg in a round hole?

You might think you’re in the wrong job. Perhaps you are. Is it a case of being over-qualified or under-qualified? Or do you want a promotion?

Bear in mind you might have a tall hill to climb in persuading your boss to change your job. Companies are focused on their bottom lines, so they’re trying to be more productive with fewer employees. You’ll have to develop a strong reputation as a go-to person.

To mount a persuasive campaign, here are seven strategies:

1. Before you approach your boss take precautions to insure you have a good relationship.

Developing a good relationship takes effort — and a campaign (see 11 Tips for a Better Relationship with Your Boss).

Hint: You should already be striving for an optimal relationship with your boss anyway.

2. Approach the situation with utmost calm.

You should never make a hurried decision, especially regarding your career.

You should analyze your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats — especially as they relate to your role for the welfare of your organization. This is important to formulate your talking points if you decide to proceed.

3. Review your path to your situation.

Remember you accepted your responsibilities and your pay — the boss didn’t point a gun at you.

Be prepared to discuss your commitment as your boss might remind you. On the other hand, change can be beneficial for you, your boss and your organization. It’s up to you to show the benefits of a change.

4. Formulate your goal.

Decide what you want and your reasons why. Be ready to discuss why the company will benefit.

Your boss will want to know whether your proposal will result in more efficiency, productivity, profit, and/or higher staff morale.

You’ll have to develop a strong reputation as a go-to person.

5. Develop your presentation.

Unless you have a strong background in acting, don’t try memorizing your presentation. Make sure you appear to be authentic and don’t present a canned speech.

Simply know your bullet points. You’ll create a more favorable impression and you’ll be more persuasive.

Anticipate possible objections. Formulate responses as you might need them.

If you’re a human-resources or marketing professional seeking to be a partner in the C-suite, it’s vital to communicate effectively with senior executives. To market your ideas to senior management, there are four keys in best practices (see Art of Persuasion — Marketing Ideas to Your CEO Boss).

6. Make an appointment with your boss.

Think about your boss’s style.

When you’re asked what the appointment is about, simply state it’s about your career with the company or that you have some thoughts to benefit the organization. Consider whether to have it in the office or to invite your boss to coffee or lunch from the tense hustle and bustle of a corporate setting (see Tips for Dining Etiquette with Your Boss or Anchor Client).

If it’s acceptable in your company’s culture, you can schedule a meeting over drinks but I’d opt for a more conservative venue and approach.

Depending on the situation, my personal favorites when I was an employee were in the morning when the boss was fresh or away from the office at a nice restaurant.

7. Make your case but listen.

Listen intently for concerns and objections. Don’t get defensive. Simply take notes.

If your boss responds with objections, empathize and restate the person’s concerns to make certain you fully understand and ask if your impressions are correct. Once you get confirmation that you understand the concerns, overcome the objections with facts.

From the Coach’s Corner, more tips to get ahead in your career:

3 Best Interview Strategies for a Promotion in Your Company — So your company has an opening that would mean a promotion for you. Great. But make sure you prepare properly to avoid disappointment. To get the job you must interview well.

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others — Do you know when you marginalize others?   If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication.

Dos and Don’ts: How to Advance Your Career via Your Boss’s Boss — You can improve your career prospects by maximizing your communications – with your boss’s boss.  

8 Tips on How to Ask Your Boss for a Pay Raise — Your food, gas and other living costs have increased. But it’s unlikely your boss will agree those are good enough reasons.

Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.”

-Aristotle


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.