The Top Skills You’ll Need To Improve Your Future

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We all want to be able to better ourselves. But it’s not always easy to know exactly what you need to do in order for that to happen. A lot of the time, we work on our careers subconsciously. We go in, do our jobs, and perform to the best of our abilities. Sure, you may have a goal that you want to get to, you may even have a written plan of the promotions that you want. But do you actively think about the skills you need in order for this to all work out? Because right now, there are some key skills that everyone should look to develop. Regardless of what you do for your job, or what industry you’re in, there are five things that will help you to do well and progress.

  1. Communication Skills

First of all, you’re going to want to think about how you interact with others. No matter if you’re starting out at the bottom of the chain or you’re on your way to the top, communication skills can take you a long way. People work for people, so you have to be able to communicate well with them – whether you’re the boss or the employee. You should also look to work on your interpersonal skills, and think about the things you can do to improve your business relationships too.

  1. An Innovative Mindset

Next, you’re going to want to train your brain to be more innovative. It’s okay if this doesn’t come naturally to you. But if you want to add value to the company you work for, even if it’s your own – especially if it’s your own, then you need to focus on the future, creating, and ways to develop what you have or what you’re doing now to move with the times. Particularly in this internet-driven world, this is a skill that will take you far.

  1. Marketing Skills

So next, it’s also handy to know a little bit about marketing. Even if you’re not in marketing, it’s going to help you to do your job better – no matter what it is. Of course, you can hire consultants and companies for everything from killer PR to the best SEO, but it’s handy to be experienced in these areas yourself. That way, you’ll know if you’re choosing the right companies, or if you’re getting the results you need.

  1. A Willingness To Learn

If you want to be able to grow, you then need to realize that it’s okay to fail. Failures happen, but you’ll always be able to learn from them. If you want to go far, then always be able to accept that you’re going to learn along the way.

  1. Empathy

Finally, as much as you may feel as if you have to be tough and authoritative in your career, you may find that being the opposite is better. If you can have empathy and be a good colleague and boss, you’ll find that you’re more influential, you’ll get people that respect you.

Taking The Next Step Into Management: Industries And Tips To Thrive

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Sometimes it can be hard to think about developing your career and you can be guilty of getting stuck in a rut. You can be become comfortable with your chosen job, perhaps happy and content with the wages that you earn or even the lifestyle you can afford, but these shouldn’t be the reasons why you wouldn’t want to progress. There is so much more that you could have and management could help you afford that lifestyle like extra holidays or luxuries in life. So I thought I would share with you some of the industries where you can step into management roles and how best to make that happen.

The engineering industry

Maybe you are currently working in the engineering industry. Perhaps out on construction sites, in factories or on the shop floor. There tends to be a direct route when it comes to the career path and management can often be the ideal next step to take. It does, however, mean that you need to think about things like taking a masters in engineering management online to help you learn the necessary skills to progress in this way. It could certainly give you the edge against other potential candidates and it could help you secure the job easier.

The sales environment

Working in sales can give you a real buzz, and so it’s understandable that if you have begun to thrive in your sales environment that you may be looking for the next step. A chance to further increase your earning potential while progressing with your career and management can be a great way to do that. However, to progress into management you do need to have a consistent track record in sales. You need to be able to perform so that you have the respect to lead others in the same way.

The office environment

Perhaps you are currently working in an office. Maybe you work in administration or accounts, and you are looking for the next step. Ideally there will be some form of office manager in place. This could be your next move. Shadowing this manager and taking on any extra courses to learn new skills could help. This alongside taking on additional responsibility could show that you are ready for the next move.

Working for yourself

Finally, could working for yourself be the answer? So many people have the dream of being their own boss and yet many of them don’t have the tenacity to make it happen. You could make it happen. It might be that you already have a hobby that could be turned into a business. You may have had an idea that just won’t go away. Or you might just have skills that could be easily freelanced to help you kick start your own business. Whatever it it, it could be the key to your own success and becoming the manager of your own destiny when it comes to your career.

I hope that this has motivated you to consider the next step you could take with your career.

Employee Mistakes: Reaction Dos & Don’ts

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No matter how hard you try to prevent it, your employees will make mistakes. Even in the most constructive and supportive environments, employees will get something wrong, make a miscalculation, lose something, or otherwise cause an issue— it’s inevitable.

Given this inevitability, it’s important that you, as a business owner, learn how to react when these mistakes occur. Below, you will find a list of essential “dos” and “don’ts” to keep in mind when responding to a genuinely accidental error committed by a member of your team. Keep these in mind, and you should be able to respond appropriately to every employee-related glitch that your business experiences…

DO: Focus on damage limitation

The first thing you need to do when informed of a mistake is ask for information. There are four primary questions you need to either ask of your staff, or get them to ask of themselves.

  • What happened?
  • Why did it happen?

You then need to find the answers to the following; either through working the solutions yourself, or instructing employees to do it on your behalf.

  • What are the consequences of the mistake?
  • How can these consequences be handled?

Going through these questions should be the first thing you do, even before you speak with the employee who made the mistake. It’s vital you fix the issue, and then you can move on to dealing with the existence of the issue in the first place.

DON’T: Lose your temper

Of course, this is easier said than done. If an employee has accidentally offended a customer, lost a vital document, or misunderstood a task they were asked to complete, you’re going to feel a surge of stress as you try to cope with their error. When stressed, it’s more likely that your temper will flare.

This, however, is incredibly counterproductive. When it comes to speaking to your employee, do all that you can to keep you temper in check. There’s a few strategies to help you achieve this here.

DO: Look into how such an error can be prevented in the future

It’s always worth asking the employee in question how they think the problem could have been avoided. The answers will vary depending on the issue. If a customer has been offended accidentally, then sensitivity training might be beneficial; the loss of a vital file could be prevented with document automation software; and a misunderstood task could be briefed better in future. Walk through what happened with the employee, then strategize as to what kind of fix might be most appropriate.

DON’T: Punish someone for a genuine accident

It’s important to try and keep a sense of perspective. If the mistake has been made through a genuine accident rather than neglect or incompetence, then don’t be too hard on the employee. Mistakes are, as discussed, inevitable, so bear this in mind if you’re tempted to issue harsh disciplinary issues.

DO:  Discipline for serious errors

If the mistake has been made through a lack of judgement, neglect, or other direct fault, then discipline as you see fit. You don’t have to just accept a poor work attitude from an employee, so use this error as a teachable moment that should ultimately encourage them to mend their ways.

In conclusion

If you keep the above in mind, you can be sure that you will be able to effectively cope with all employee mistakes.

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

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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

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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.