How Companies Can Use Generational Differences To Their Advantage

It’s natural for any new worker to look around to see how many people are around their age at first, but there’s a huge opportunity lost when companies only recruit one age group.

Generational conflict will always exist based on style preference alone.

But workplaces can flip the script on older vs. younger in one swoop: cross-generational mentoring.

When you think of mentor it is assumed older-to-younger knowledge transfer, but don’t mistake age for experience.

Millennials were raised with technology so even with lacking workplace experience, their digital knowledge is far superior than generations above them. On the opposite end Boomers and Gen X understand office politics, communication and responsibility better.

This “fair trade” can be a huge asset to your bottom line if utilized properly.

There’s no better teacher than trial and error. Also if you really want to understand a concept, teach it. When workers are paired with co-workers of different ages the focus is on individual strengths instead of nitpicking about disparity.

Professional development is a huge retention benefit and when companies empower that responsibility to co-workers there’s more ownership taken because each person is involved with the process.

The term diversity normally pertains to ethnicity, but age diversity is just as important.

The healthiest organizations find ways to appreciate and value workers of all ages because everyone has something to offer others.

If employees expect management to provide direction solely, workers gain a “consumer’s” mentality believing learning needs to be spoon-fed to me. When cross-generational mentoring exists “learning” becomes a personal responsibility. Companies need to quickly dispel the notion that growth opportunities only happen within a organizational context.

When I advise clients who are job searching I always emphasize that personal growth is your responsibility. Anything a company provides is a bonus.

Make it your mission to find a mentor and mentee and learning becomes a habit, not a destination.

Why You Should Be Encouraging Your Kids To Do Sports

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

Sport is a huge part of life. Well, not for everyone, but it should be a huge part of your children’s life. Sport is such an important part of life due to the dedication it helps build, teamwork, social skills, and many more. But above all, it helps to show them that there is more out there to the world, and that the possibilities are endless. A career in sport could be one of the best things they do if you let them get there. But a lot of parents don’t actually encourage their child to get involved in sports. Instead, a lot of them are encouraging them to stay indoors! So, to make sure this isn’t you, here’s why you should be encouraging your child you get involved in sports.

Social Skills

School is the first place that your child will begin to build their social skills. But it isn’t always the easiest place to build them. Schools can be a completely ruthless place for some, and the best place in the world for others. Sports isn’t like that, especially with younger children. It’s a chance to express themselves and do something they love. Plus, everyone is in the same boat there, and they’re all developing their skills as they go along. It helps to build confidence among big groups, and confidence within themselves, especially if they begin to get really good at the sport. The main social skills sport builds is dedication, teamwork, communication, time management, and to be honest, there are many more than that!

Range Of Sports

The amount of sports there are out there that your child can participate in is amazing. There is literally something for everyone. From the more tame and relaxed sports such as artery, to the more full contact sports such as football. Whatever your child is interested in, you should encourage them to do. You can do so by helping them feel part of the team with proper equipment. If your child does want to go down the route of football, you can get custom football uniforms for them and their team. It’s the range of choice that they get to choose from that is one of the main reasons why sport is just so fun. If they get bored of one sport, then can just switch to another that might have caught their interest. Some sports can often lead to even better sports as well. For example, swimming could lead to a love for diving, which is a really good olympic.

Staying Active

Staying active is such an important part of a child’s life, but it is one that a lot of parents aren’t actually encouraging. They’re keeping children indoors with technology, rather than simply outdoors and playing in the street. Staying active from a young age helps to boost their metabolism, keep their joints fit and healthy. Staying active is such an important part of child development, so something that they actually enjoy doing that keeps them nice and active is the perfect solution.

What Drones And Robots Cannot Replace

With self-driving cars and Amazon Go stores ready to scale the fear of job replacement is real.

The irony is the same technology humans created may soon make us irrelevant for most work.

Can your daily job duties be done more efficiently by a robot?

If you answered yes to the above question it’s time to learn a new skill set.

Yet no matter how much technology advances there is one area that cannot be mimicked digitally:

Soft skills.

Made famous by the movie Wall-E, traits that are unique to humans are: empathy, non-verbal communication, storytelling, public speaking, etc.

These skills have been overlooked recently, but have helped us thrive throughout history.

Practically, networking is about connecting and building rapport. A great storyteller becomes an effective salesperson. Empathizing with others may be the most proactive thing you can do.

Instead of worrying about your job being taken by a drone, spend your time brushing up and improving your soft skills.

Join your local Toastmasters. Attend a local networking event. Watch a Shark Tank episode then pitch your idea to a friend.

Technology is great, but we often rely on it too much. Go back to your roots and identify the personal strengths that make you stand out from the crowd.

During interviews candidates are asked, “Why should we hire you?

Your answer should include everything a robot cannot.

How To End Professional Relationships Well & Conclusively

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

A professional candor and personality, particularly in the field of your career, can help you achieve untold things and form wonderful relationships. However, much like anything else, those relationships will change over time. Sometimes they can even come to a halt. This might be precipitated by a natural growing apart, or you might be wrestled from that person by a circumstance or difficulty. It could be a conflict that promises to make you both weaker after the exchange.

Knowing how to end relationships professionally and conclusively is one of the hidden skills of the competent business leader. It’s also the one that is thought about the least, as no new business owner or even employee believes things will end in conflict with certain parties. Sometimes however, things don’t work out. It’s unlikely you’ll evade a form of workplace conflict for the entirety of your life, so it’s important to know how to handle it.

Here are some tips to help you do that:

Go Through The Right Channels

It can be dizzying to handle all the requirements of the situation by yourself. This can surely make you feel less than you are, and trouble you as you come to a solution.  It might come with a great deal of stress as an added consequence. Going through the right channels can help you with this. This means either using a lawyer to handle a situation or litigate your woes effectively, or it could be preventing that step with the right advisory, conciliation and arbitration service.

Sometimes having an official platform to backup your side of the argument can help you win the situation. It might be that these services suggest that you’re in the wrong, and how to best manage your affairs to evade the coming issues with the most dignity and least harm. Whatever happens, knowing you have a professional eye looking over your affairs can be calming when every move you make will matter in the long run.

Communicate

Miscommunication between people can be one of the most insidious and difficult things for either party to get over. Either a wrong word here or an insult there can create a toxic atmosphere, in which both sides believe they have to ‘up the stakes’ in order to achieve a win. This becomes a self-reinforcing feedback loop which puts people down, and makes the whole affair feel awful for you both.

Communication can also stop things from escalating in other ways. If you manage to express or listen to a rationale from either side, it might be that the atmosphere of the ending is put to rest much more easily than assuming idiocy on the opposing side. It’s very easy to think that the other person is completely out to get you, but often they’re simply acting in self-interest, as you are. It won’t always happen, but sometimes you can evade one in five destroyed relationships. Not that you’re to experience this many, but you get the point of how this step is always worth trying.

With this effort, we for sure know that you’ll be justified in ending your relationship, because you’ll have handled it expertly.

In Order To Lead, Do This First

A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold H. Glasgow

Leadership is valued by many, but only fit for a few.

You can learn leadership skills, but it doesn’t automatically make you a leader.

If you’ve ever been a manager the transition from high performer to leader of others is a completely different skill set. Now it doesn’t matter how good you are at doing your job, it becomes about how well you can help others do theirs.

Although most aren’t equipped to lead others, there’s a more important type of leadership that is available to all: self-leadership.

The best leaders in any industry know their strengths and weaknesses. Leaders do more of what they’re great at and ask for help/outsource at what they’re not.

The pre-requisite for leadership is leading yourself. If you can’t do that, forget about involving anyone else.

Have you ever noticed when great leaders fall it usually points to a personal challenge they’re struggling with?

We all make mistakes and we’ll continue to do so, but hopefully along the way you grow personally and don’t repeat the same ones.

You can’t teach what you don’t have which is why we expect our leaders to show, not tell us what to do.

There’s a desire to impact and influence people because it makes us feel better about ourselves, but what we really need to do first is build the foundation at “homebase.”

Leadership is also unfairly glorified. Using the quote at the top of the page, great leaders actually deflect praise and welcome more responsibility.

True leadership isn’t full of glamour. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The best leaders have the ability to manage, even tame their egos in order to build everyone else’s around them.

Leaders have a quiet confidence about them that doesn’t need to get recognition from others.

The funny thing about leadership is if most people understood what it entailed, they would run away.

Instead of focusing on your next opportunity to lead others, look in the mirror and ask yourself how you can lead yourself better.

Do that first and you may just get the opportunity to serve others.

Kobe Bryant’s Transformation Into A Leader

As a 17 year old recent high school graduate Kobe Bean Bryant was drafted 13th by the Charlotte Hornets, but traded to the Los Angeles Lakers immediately.

Back then fans didn’t pay attention to youth sports like they do now, so it was up to professional teams to send their scouts to watch players and invite them to workouts. Jerry West, the Lakers General Manager then, said Bryant’s workout was the best he’s ever seen. West was known for having a keen eye for talent so with his endorsement the deal was as good as done.

Fast forward to December 18, 2017 when Kobe’s two jerseys (#8 & #24) were retired and the question asked was: which was better #8 or #24? Bryant hesitated to give a definitive answer, but when forced he responded with #24 because the journey was harder.

Bryant’s career in either jersey is Hall of Fame worthy, but what impressed me most is the maturation of who he has become over the years.

In his teens and 20’s he was an athletic, arrogant and brash individual that would do anything to win. In 2004 when the Lakers lost the NBA Finals to the Detroit Pistons, Kobe pondered jumping to another team, but once his counterpart Shaquille O’Neal was shipped to Miami he was talked into staying.

This was fresh off his sexual assault case in 2003 and the years to come were not fruitful as a Laker. Kobe’s best years individually came while the Lakers were down and before the 2006-07 NBA Season he changed his number to #24.

Once they acquired Pau Gasol at the trade deadline in 2008 the Lakers won 2 championship in the next 3 years. The end of his playing career saw him endure 3 season-ending injuries on bad teams, but here is where the real story begins.

Asking recently what advice he would have given his younger self he said “empathy.” Coming from an anti-social, ego maniac driven person in his prime that’s huge. Bryant was always a solo artist, working harder than teammates and chastising those who didn’t share the same values. Sure, he was great, but few wanted to be around him or play with him.

But sometime after his court case and Shaq leaving town it clicked. Bryant’s last 2 championships were sweeter than his first 3 because of how he did it. Yes he won Finals MVP in his latter two, but it’s more about how he embraced his teammates. Watching all his former teammates gather for his final game and jersey retirement ceremony shows how he has evolved as a person.

His retirement speech had more to do with his family and message to the youth than it did about his accomplishments. Bryant is arguably one of the smartest basketball players and you can hear it in his words. He’s at peace with his career transition and done what few professional athletes have after retiring: move on.

The funny thing is even before Kobe became a leader, he didn’t strive for adoration. Why he’s adored so greatly in China is because of his work ethic. Although selfish at times, you can never fault him for not trying. He played every game like it was his last.

Over the years he’s softened his approach towards media, fans and critics. That’s because he’s at peace with who he is and his priorities have shifted to his family. Never has their been an athlete so polarizing from the start transform into a truly likable individual over time.

Bryant’s transformation is inspiring because his story can be ours too. No matter where you are, you can always change for the better. It starts with the small choices you make daily. Kobe is starting a new chapter in his life and with 2018 here so can you. #mambaout

Trust The Process: Does The Type Of Your Startup Matter?

Being an action oriented person I’m not afraid of starting things.

Pros: get stuff done, make tangible progress and don’t overanalyze before taking action.

Cons: don’t always do the market research, making money isn’t the priority and I get bored quickly.

What I learned as an employee at my former company is: the size of the market/demand makes all the difference.

At the same time I realized you can be unethical, yet still make a profit.

The reason I left the last company I worked for is because of how they treated people (me included).

Starting a test prep company wasn’t something I was passionate about doing, but understanding the market size (online education is a $100 Billion industry) and realizing how I would run a company culturally I pulled the trigger a few months ago.

Here are the core values that guide us:

Relationships First – by valuing our relationships with employees and customers first, we will create long, genuine relationships that are about more than making a profit. I am partners with my tutors. They don’t work for me. I work for them. Without them I have no business.

Be Unique – acknowledge and express the unique contributions your strengths and style can make. It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” I leverage the strengths of the people around me.

Be Efficient – we will constantly evaluate our work processes and priorities to work smarter. We make a better system together. Constantly communication means you value other’s opinions.

Create Freedom – our decision making will help our employees and customers get it done, their way. Giving people autonomy means you trust them. Without trust you have nothing.

Constant Growth – we will encourage our employees and customers to constantly challenge themselves to continue setting goals and pursue learning opportunities. Focus on leadership development. Period.

The reason I share these core values is because I believe they can be transferred to any type of business. Having a serial entrepreneur mindset it’s only a matter of time before I find a new idea to implement, but what I’m experiencing in my current venture is: keep your eyes on the long-term success of the company and make decisions accordingly.

For example, a big part of my business is forming school partnerships because they are the gatekeepers to parents of high school students. The process of prospecting includes: cold emails, follow up communication, phone calls, sending proposals, finalizing agreements, contacting parents, supporting tutors, repeat.

Whenever I get impatient and want results yesterday, I remind myself relationships are at the heart of what I do and they take time to build. I can’t predict the future, but I can say with confidence I trust the process.

In ways, this endeavor is an experiment of sorts. Implement the “why” and “how” you run a business and once you identify the “what” you plug them in.

You Can’t Be Successful Without Growth

Collaborative post – may contain affiliate links

Everyone starts somewhere when it comes to business. So unless you’ve inherited one, or worked your way up through an existing company, you’re going to start at the bottom. So, if you are a new business owner that’s starting from the bottom, then fear not. It isn’t that hard to actually start growing your business, you just need to know where to start and what to do. Because without steady growth, you’ll never truly have a successful business. But the thing about business is, you always need to be pushing for growth in order to stay ahead of your competitors. If you’re struggling at the minute, then have a read of these useful tips to help growth.

Loyal Customers

No matter what business you’ve got, you need to have a set of loyal customers to keep your business afloat, let alone support growth. One thing you’re bound to soon notice is the spike is sale due to ‘seasonal customers’. This is where you can make the most money, but it is also where you can gain the most customers. In order for them to stay longer than the seasonal period, you need to catch their attention. Here’s 6 tips for converting seasonal shoppers into repeat customers if you’re looking for help. Most businesses issue is this. The customer will purchase a product from them once, but they’ll never market themselves towards that person again. If you’re a small business, they’ll likely never remember you either. Another vital way of building loyal customers is to treat them with the respect they need. If they have complaints, deal with them in a professional manner. If there’s issues with your product, offer them a full refund or replacement. You need to give them what they want to keep them loyal.

Better Products

If you aren’t constantly improving your products, you aren’t going to be constantly growing your business. As technology evolves, so does the rate that products become better. They become more durable, interesting and innovative. If there’s one way to improve your products, it’s to see what your competitors are doing. This information is invaluable in terms of growing your business. You could also look again at what your customers are saying. Reviews on websites such as Amazon showcase all the bad and good points about products that customers have purchased. Leave a review section on your website and take every comment on board, it could be the difference between the make or break of your business.

Employees

Employees are going to be at the forefront of your business, so you need to hire people who are going to do good for you, not make production drop. When conducting interviews, try and hire people with relevant qualifications and who seem to have a real passion for what your business does. Make sure you’re giving regular incentives to try and spur them on to work harder. Treat them with respect and they’ll help push your company and give it the growth they need. Your employees can mean the difference between failure and success.

3 Requests From Millennials To Managers

Millennials get a bad rap.

Sure, some of the stereotypes are true, but what about taking an empathetic viewpoint?

Technology has changed the game forever, therefore management needs to step up accordingly.

Here are 3 ways managers can maximize Millennials:

1. Show me, don’t tell me

Coaching works. Micromanaging doesn’t.

According to research, auditory learning is the least effective yet traditional education teaches us otherwise.

Modeling correct behavior is more efficient than any handbook, Powerpoint presentation or lecture can ever be.

Millennials need mentors, not bosses. The difference between a leader and a manager is how they deal with people. The one size fits all approach is dead.

Managers need to approach supervision like a tutor. How to show the content is more important than knowing it. Customizing a message to fit the receiver is more work, but it also gets better results.

2. Learning is more valuable than perks

Free food, remote work and ping-pong tables are nice amenities, but they don’t increase retention.

Millennials care more about developing their careers by learning new skills than being enticed by external rewards. In fact, companies who base their culture around perks are promoting fool’s gold.

If you want to retain your best young talent, you need to invest in them. Similar to teenagers, if you want to teach independence you have to give them responsibility then respond accordingly.

The reason semi-annual and annual reviews don’t work is there’s too much time in-between feedback. Daily to weekly feedback may sound overwhelming as manager, but without it you risk quality control.

Leadership is about making those around you better, not priding yourself on being the best. Look no further than team sports to know your value increases as your team wins.

3. Listen, before judging

Entitled. Lazy. Narcissistic. Millennials have heard it all.

Before you judge a book by it’s cover, open it.

As a manager if you don’t get to know your workers, you default to believing stereotypes. That’s called ignorance.

Millennials may struggle with interpersonal skills, but peel back the skin and you’ll get down to the root of the issue.

People are people. Sometimes we over-trivialize that. The most effective thing any manager can do is listen.

If you don’t know the story, you’ll never be able to positively impact it.

In the end it’s the connection between the manager and Millennial that determines results.

People don’t leave companies they leave managers.

Sincerely,

Millennials

3 Interview Questions For Hiring Remote Workers

Hiring onsite employees is tough enough, but when it comes to hiring remote workers don’t overcomplicate it.

Before considering to hire remotely, trust is monumental. Without it you’ll fail.

Managing people virtually shouldn’t be much different than in-person since what works face-to-face tends to work over video/phone.

Keep in mind retaining workers is costly when the wrong person is hired, so use the following three questions as a guide to weed out the amateurs and hire the best:

1. Why?

Start with a candidate’s character. Why questions get to the motivation behind an answer. You won’t be physically present to witness how someone spends their time during work, so figure out how driven, self-aware and organized they are ahead of time. Why questions hit at the core of who someone is. Asking past behavior scenarios tend to be the most popular during interviews, but past success doesn’t always translate smoothly to new endeavors. If you need more context watch this Simon Sinek video on why.

2. How?

You can have the most knowledgable person working for you, but if they don’t fit your culture you’ve made a bad hire. Without downplaying competence, style questions are a must when it comes to hiring the right people. If you’re unsure how to define your culture, stop and figure it out before hiring anyone. How questions really come down to identifying personal strengths. The best leaders in any industry are self-aware. That means generic answers on an interview just don’t cut it. As an employer you want to know how they prioritize, interact with others and communicate orally/written just to name a few. Most of a manager’s time is spent dealing with interpersonal issues, so if you’re seeing red flags when it comes to personality quirks don’t proceed. Another helpful exercise is hiring based on your company’s core values. They can be even more powerful than mission or vision statements because they are measurable in behaviors. Zappos is a good example if you need a place to start.

3. What? 

Typical interviews start here. Tell me about your last job. Describe a time you failed a task and what was your response. What is your biggest weakness? Candidates can rehearse these answers and interviewers can critique every detail. The truth is what questions don’t reveal nearly as much as “why” or “how” questions. When asking “what” questions find out: experience, industry knowledge and their decision making process. Interviews are just a preliminary phase to understanding on-the-job performance. Even the best questions can’t possibly cover future mistakes by workers. A judgment call must be made here: do you want to hire for experience (less training, higher salary) or potential (more training, lower salary)? The answer to this question comes back to your core values.

Consider this: treat all your future interviews as potentially remote hires. Not only is that the way our economy is headed, but if you can trust someone working virtually you definitely can in the office.

Hire the best. Don’t settle for less.