Monday, December 31, 2012

4 Powerful Words Employees Need to Hear by Jeff Haden

There are lots of ways to make a positive impact on your staff. But the best involves four simple words.

Four simple words, used correctly and with the right intent, can make a powerful impact on your business, your life, and other people.

Here's how.

When you need help, start by using these four--and only these four--words:

"Can you help me?"

And then, for a moment, stop there.

Here's why.

You're not a kid anymore. You're an adult. You're smart and experienced and savvy. You've accomplished things. You've earned your place in the world.So when you ask for help you also tend to unconsciously add image enhancers. For example, if you need help with a presentation you might go to someone and say, "I'm meeting with investors next week and my slides need a few formatting tweaks." The problem is that wording serves to frame and signal your importance and ensure your ego is protected. Okay, you may need a little assistance with some trivial matter like a PowerPoint layout, but still: You are the one presenting to investors. You do the heavy lifting around here. You are the big dog in this particular hunt.

Plus you haven't really asked--you've stated. (When you're in charge and accustomed to directing others, turning requests into directives is a really easy habit to fall into.)

Here's a better way.

When you need help--no matter the kind of help you need or the person you need it from--take the bass out of your voice and the stiffness out of your spine and the captain out of your industry and just say, with sincerity and humility, "Can you help me?"

I guarantee the other person will say, "Sure," or, "I can try," or, "What do you need?" No one will never say "no," even a stranger. "Can you help me?" speaks powerfully to our instinctive desire to help other people.

Then make sure not to frame your request. Don't imply that you place yourself above the other person. Don't make your request too specific. And don't say what you need.

Instead, say what you can't do. Say, "I'm awful at PowerPoint and my slides look terrible." Say, "We absolutely have to ship this order by Tuesday and I have no idea how to make that happen." 
Say, "I'm lost and I can't find my hotel."When you ask that way several powerful things immediately occur--especially for the other person:

One, you instantly convey respect. Without actually saying it, you've said, "You know more than I do." You've said, "You can do what I can't." You've said, "You have experience (or talents or something) that I don't have."

You've said, "I respect you." That level of respect is incredibly powerful--and empowering.

Two, you instantly convey trust. You show vulnerability, you admit to weakness, and you implicitly show that you trust the other person with that knowledge.

You've said, "I trust you." That level of trust is incredibly powerful--and empowering.
Three, you instantly convey you're willing to listen. You haven't tried to say exactly how people should help you. You give them the freedom to decide.

You've said, "You don't have to tell me what you think I want to hear; tell me whatyou think I should do." That level of freedom is incredibly powerful--and empowering.

By showing you respect and trust other people, and by giving them the latitude to freely share their expertise or knowledge, you don't just get the help you think you want.

You might also get the help you really need.

You get more--a lot more.

And so do other people, because they gain a true sense of satisfaction and pride that comes from being shown the respect and trust they--and everyone--deserves. Plus you make it easier for them to ask you for help when they need it. You've shown it's okay to express vulnerability, to admit a weakness, and to know when you need help.

And then, best of all, you get to say two more incredibly powerful words:

"Thank you."

And you get to truly mean them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

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Monday, December 24, 2012

20 Ways to Find Your Calling by Jessica Hagy

Not sure what to be when you grow up (whenever that is)? Fret no more.
We can figure this out together. Let’s get started.
1. Ignore the future, deal with the present.  
The question, “What should I be when I grow up?” is wrong. Ask instead, “What is next today?” People become fat one bite at a time, and we become adults one hour at a time, so what we do today matters.
2. Shop around.  
Unless you try on the outfit, you’ll never know if it fits. Do the same with vocations, avocations, hobbies and skills. You’ll need to sample every flavor to know your true favorite taste.
3. Say yes to odd opportunities.
Say yes to the things that intrigue you, instead of the ones that bore you.
4. Find a problem to solve.
Being the solution makes your work feel meaningful. Having an issue to work against also gives you a villain to play against—and makes you a hero.
5. Burn your plans.
Your life will not go according to plan. Nobody’s ever has. So don’t worry if you get off track. The track was imaginary anyway.
6. Do not follow someone else’s dream.
Your parents want you to be A. Your boss wants you to be B. Your friends want you to be C. And society is clamoring for you to be D. You can’t please everyone, but if you do what YOU think you should, at least you’ll be able to sleep at night.

7. Blend your talents.
Instead of doing something that only takes advantage of one skill, create a mash-up of several things you do well. You’ll set yourself apart and feel more satisfied with what you’re doing.
8. Seek out people you actually like. 
It’s more satisfying to dig a ditch with friends than to design a skyscraper with a team of sociopaths.
9. Give yourself permission to change your mind.
Most of us choose our paths around 18. As time passes, you might find new things to do and places to be and people to know, and a few calls you made at 18 will probably need to be overturned.
10. Ask the elderly for advice.
They’ve been there, done that, got the AARP card. You’ll find that happiness and satisfaction have more to do with love and purpose than dollars and cents.
11. Roam a library.
You never know which book, author, or topic will speak to you from the shelves. You might just find what you didn’t even know you were looking for.
12. Seek support, not tolerance.
You’re going to need help with anything and everything. Make sure you have people in your corner who do more than just nod and say, “that’s nice,” when you tell them your dreams.
13. Spend time before you spend money.
Invest in reading and talking and finding out before you plunk down a ton of money on a degree or a certification or a relocation. You might find that you don’t have to write a check to compose your future.

14. Don’t confuse a job with a purpose.
If you are working to support your family, they are your real bosses. If you are working to further a goal or idea, don’t let your paycheck (however plump it is) become an obstacle to it.
15. Consider your epitaph, not your resume.
Thinking long term can help you see both what’s vitally important and what’s certainly silly.
16. There’s no need to be THE best.
Very few people are the very best in the world at anything. Doing your best doesn’t mean you have to be THE best. Your best is more than enough.
17. Don’t keep score.
No one will be at the top or bottom of their game forever, and who you perceive as your competition is a constantly changing cast of characters. Keeping score can become a full-time job if you let it, and that’s an awful way to spend a day, much less a lifetime.
18. Change course if you find yourself coasting.  
It’s possible to get stuck on a very easy and vaguely rewarding path, like a cushy or undemanding job. If you feel yourself simply rolling along, it’s time to switch gears, because coasting can atrophy your dreams.
19. Be authentically uncool.
Stick with what you love, even if others sneer at it. This is also referred to as integrity.
20.  Relax.
There’s no right answer, but there are thousands of viable options.
Article by Jessica Hagy

Friday, December 21, 2012

I think therefore I am – in Human Resources by Ian Welsh

A lot has been said & written about why people opt HR as a career option. Out of the many posts and articles I read on the internet, I could relate to mostly strongly with this blog post by Ian Welsh.

I think therefore I am – in Human Resources. Why? Because HR is probably the most exciting and predictably unpredictable function – do you agree? HR people whose roles are interactive - regardless of level - need to develop HR “street smarts” very early in their career. We are the champions of many things and, every day in every way, working to make things better! We work to make things better, but nevertheless, need to be on our guard. HR is very vulnerable and we have to be wary of those who seek to manipulate and transfer blame to us.

We think we have a mandate, but it may be more limited than we imagine. We promote trust within the organization, but, sadly, cannot trust everyone. We need to be alert to the implications of our various encounters during the day. We often have to make very quick decisions in complex situations – one party (in a dispute) may be satisfied and the other very angry. It could be that the angry person is the person most capable of causing harm to us, but if we are governed by integrity we accept that and are prepared for further battle.

I feel therefore I am – in Human Resources. Why? We care about people! We want people to be treated fairly. We empathize with people. We value the human aspects that attract many people to Human Resources. We are close to people but maintain some distance. Some of us will cry along with employees, all of us will feel sympathy when misfortune affects an employee. It could be bereavement, sickness or other tragedies – it can also be termination. We know that the employee who seems saddest, who cries loudest may not be the most devastated by whatever misfortune. Many of us have seen the employ who accepts termination calmly, seems to accept the decision, leaves work quietly and takes his/her own life. We try to see the signs, to understand beyond the obvious, but not always successfully. Should we feel guilty? No – we did what we could – nevertheless, we may still feel that way.

I create therefore I am – in Human Resources. My space may be in a corner somewhere and my function may not require a great deal of people contact. I am a whiz with figures and in developing and managing HR programs and metrics - the figures are generally human “capital”. I create and because there are so many variables and subjective aspects it may be like writing a novel - to get whatever it is to fit a specific environment. I am governed by optimism as I work on new projects. The outcome of a new initiative may never be clear, although the methodology to assess may be.

I visualize therefore I am – in Human Resources. I consider lots of little pieces of the present and the future. I take many unknowns and make one big holistic unknown. I consider data to validate and select whatever is closest to what I think – therefore I am. I lead HR therefore I am – in Human Resources - at The Table. I have to think a lot, be on guard and understand what is being discussed and any HR implications. I have to participate with enthusiasm on non-HR subjects that may not interest me very much. Sometimes it is very exciting, sometimes it is hard to keep awake. I am a strategic business partner – at least I think I am.

I think, I feel, I create, I visualize, I lead therefore I am – in Human Resources and very proud to be. by Ian Welsh

Thursday, December 20, 2012

INVICTUS by William Ernest

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

- William Ernest Henley