“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” – Steve Jobs
Believe it or not, there was a time when sticky notes, disposable diapers, luggage on wheels and bite-sized Snickers didn’t exist. Yet those are precisely the types of products we look at and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Americans have always been proud of their work ethic. Millions of immigrants arrive here with little more than a suitcase and a dream. Through sheer determination and maybe a break or two along the way, they overcome long odds and make something of themselves.
How many of us have been conditioned to believe in a direct correlation between success and the amount of time we spend at the office? Eight-hour workdays? Please. The other guy is putting in 12 or 14. Feeling guilty punching out at 5 with work still piled on your desk? Feeling a bit coerced when your boss asks you to volunteer to work overtime?
Knowing good work habits is only half the battle; you also have to apply what you know in order to achieve the desired outcome. Here are more ways to work smarter.
By Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans
To resuscitate your career, own it! This attitude is key. Take steps now to plan, build, and strengthen it. Here’s how:
Contributed by Bill Treasurer, the author of Leaders Open Doors, which focuses on how leaders create growth through opportunity.
People have high, and often conflicting, expectations of leaders. At once, we expect leaders to be reasonable but passionate, decisive but inclusive, visionary but explicit, and powerful but humble. We also want leaders who are rational but emotionally intelligent, caring but impartial, and profit-driven but people-oriented. The list of expectations is so long and contradictory that the aspiring leader is right to ask, “Where on earth do I start?!”
Here are six actions that budding leaders can take to point their leadership in the right direction:
In what profession can you fail most of the time yet still be considered a success – and have employers chasing after you with multi-million dollar offers?!
In major league baseball, a .300 batting average is considered the gold standard – even though that means the player fails to get a base hit seven out of 10 times at bat. Granted, professional baseball is an anomaly; a comparable performance in the workplace likely will earn you a big, fat pink slip. But failure is not necessarily a dirty word. In fact, many of the greatest leaders in history celebrated failure, believing it is life’s most effective and empowering teacher.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm,” said Winston Churchill, the former British prime minister.
Years ago, the unemployed really looked forward to Sunday – and not just because they could pray for their luck to change. No, Sunday meant a big, fat newspaper with pages of promising classified ads. You’d bang out a couple of cover letters, fold them into envelopes with your resume, slap on some stamps and head to the nearest mailbox.
Well, with newspapers going the way of the wooly mammoth you’re fortunate if you find a handful of decent want ads these days. What used to be a primary go-to source is essentially an afterthought. Let’s face it – job hunting changed dramatically following the Great Recession. And utilizing career websites, social media and networking isn’t enough to snag a good job. The experts say you need to separate yourself from the field.
For the small businessman or middle class employee, meeting your financial obligations is like trying to navigate the Khumbu Icefall at Mt. Everest. You proceed cautiously looking for solid footing, all the while realizing that unpredictable shifts in the terrain can create yawning crevasses into which you can easily plunge. The route is treacherous, intimidating and highly personal. Only another struggling climber can appreciate the difficulty of the journey.
Although a 40-hour work week may seem like a lot of time to get work done, sometimes you may catch yourself wishing you just had a little bit more time. If that’s the case, the best solution is to improve your processes at work and prioritize your workload.
Nothing halts your progress more than stress so allowing your mind and body to rest and reset can be the easiest way to get back into the zone.
Explore more strategies for time management in the below infographic:
In this era where TV, movies, video games and cell phones are all the craze, reading books has become a lost art. Children and adults alike are now beginning to loathe the idea of reading a book because their attention span has been eradicated since everything we, as humans, desire is made instantly available to us. In fact, 42% of college graduates and 33% of high school graduates will never read a book again in their life after graduating.
As shocking as this is, there is still hope. Reading is the best mental exercise for improving the mind and is essential for the growth of a child.
The infographic below will breakdown and discuss all the benefits of reading:
Losing an employee costs more than developing a new one. U.S. businesses lose $10 billion annually due to employee turnover, and as the economy improves, workers who feel their employers aren’t investing in their professional development are leaving to pursue better opportunities.
So, why are some companies dragging their feet and refusing to invest in employee development? In some cases, it comes down to an insecurity most managers don’t want to acknowledge: the fear an employee may become become overqualified, outgrow his job, and leave the company to pursue a better position elsewhere before a promotion is available. This fear isn’t completely baseless. Young high achievers job hop frequently to earn a higher salary, and on average, leave their jobs after only 28 months.
Withholding professional development from employees is not the right response to this fear; it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Employees seek professional development to achieve successful careers, and when companies don’t invest in this development, employees leave. Read the rest of this entry »
Judith R. King is one of the most prominent and respected names on the New York PR circuit. As the charismatic owner of King + Company, Judith is known for her abundance of enthusiasm, which comes bundled up with her high-energy persona; together, these are unquestionably at the core of her charm. These qualities, alongside her commitment to delivering stellar results for her clients—of course—are undoubtedly at the core of Judith’s success.
Over the course of her career, Judith’s ingenuity and passion for crafting bespoke branding, PR, and social messages have earned her the respect and custom of star players in the non-profit arena (with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Susan G. Komen For the Cure and The Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign among them), as well as consumer brands including household names like Rodale, DreamWorks Classics, Marquis Jet, Ritz-Carlton Club, and David Barton Gym.
When she’s not busy crafting slogans, conceptualizing ad campaigns or writing top-notch marketing materials, Judith travels the country giving media training to CEOs, celebrities and prominent figures who are facing the public eye.
A couple of weeks ago, we were fortunate enough to grab five minutes to sit down with Judith for a quick tête-a-tête during which we picked her brain, learned about her career track, and discovered a little about what makes her tick.
JK: I was working at Dan Klores as a writing and ideas consultant—or a freelance writer—call it what you will. One evening, I was driving somewhere with my parents and my mother turned to me and asked “Judith, do you believe being charming is a career? Because, quite frankly, your father and I do not.” She then continued her diatribe during which she advised me to use all my gifts as well as the abundance of interpersonal relationships I had generated in order to get my career on track. And that is what I did—I started a small PR firm. Of course that makes it sound so simple but, really, simply using my contacts and my friendships, I did it! And I have since grown it into a company that grosses a revenue in excess of $3mn a year.
I got the best advice from my good friends Ian Schraeger and David Barton: you must always look to the word ‘modern’ as the most important concept there is. Meaning, STAY RELEVANT.
To this, I would also add the following advice:
1. Nothing is ever wrong or boring when you have the right ideas—you can never saturate the market enough with good ideas—they’re what keep your company fresh and your clients impressed.
2. Nimbleness is not as important as constantly innovating. You see, PR victories have very short shelf lives so you must always be thinking on your feet. It is essential that you remain engaged with your client and the world around you because you can always learn more. And I have to tell you, I don’t want to ever wake up thinking “I know enough.”
3. Nobody is indispensable but everyone is important, including yourself. Make the people around you feel that and believe it. It’s infectious. Seriously, I wish more people in my position understood that, as a leader, you can’t just command—you have to commend. I believe it’s because of my attitude that my team knows that, while I am the boss and I expect a lot from them, I want their success as much as my own. I can honestly say that for this reason I’ve never come into the office in a bad mood… ever. It’s not fair for bosses to put their own negativity on the people who are just there to do their best for them. At the end of the day, it’s a lot easier to be kind than unkind; so bring your life to work but don’t make work your life. I believe that it’s essential for both our success and our wellbeing that we all come to work as fully engaged human beings, approaching each new day with a love for it.
4. And last, but not least: Be fearless but not destructive.
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Überpreneurs are heroes who work to solve the world’s greatest problems and improve the lives of millions. Among those thought leaders are Mo Ibrahim, Jeff Bezos – Founder of Amazon, Bill Gates – from the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, James Oliver (“The Naked Chef”), and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus.
When you think about the average intern, you typically picture a college student, willing to work (mostly) unpaid in order to get the experience needed when they enter “the real world”. But, as Fox Business reported, with 13 percent of the workforce facing unemployment, is there a benefit to biting the bullet and accepting either a low-paying or completely unpaid opportunity?
There are some perks to interning. If you’re unemployed, sure, you may be doing your best to get back on your feet, but the lapse in employment doesn’t necessarily look good on your resume. An internship, though maybe not as glamorous as your previous paid gig, can provide the experience and networking to help get you back in the game, as long as you’re selective about which one you pursue and accept.
Is your dream job not actively pursuing interns? Don’t let that stop you. Get in touch and propose an internship, or temporary contract work. They may not be ready to offer you a full-time position, but may be willing to explore a short-term gig, which could lead to a permanent job offer down the road (or at least open up other opportunities elsewhere).
Lastly, if the internship doesn’t lead to full-time employment, the experience looks good on your resume. However, the term “internship” can give the implication that you’re inexperienced. So, without lying, you want to be sure to give yourself an accurate title. It helps to market you to prospective employers; just be sure to let them know that the contract work was a part of your strategy to get back into the workforce in a tough economy.
Being successful in one’s career is not easy. Sure, your expertise in any given field may help you advance faster than others, but still, it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and you have to know how to play the corporate “game”. Success isn’t something that is guaranteed. You don’t simply earn it from longevity. You have to learn your company’s recipe for success and stick with it. Granted, each company has a different recipe, but as pointed out in a recent Forbes article, there are four steps that are consistent across the board. Following these steps can help to guarantee your advancement up that corporate ladder.
Don’t Rely Too Much on Others
While teamwork is undoubtedly essential to getting the job done, you can’t rely 100 percent on the members of your team. In order to advance in your career, you have to stand out in the crowd. If you’re constantly relying on your team and not going above and beyond, what is it that sets you apart from any other person? Constantly be prepared for any situation that might unexpectedly come up. Think ten steps ahead. When you have a reputation of being reliable in any given situation, it will not go unnoticed by your superiors.
While it might not put an end to your career, if you are someone that is consistently inconsistent, chances are, you will find yourself at a standstill. Your inconsistencies may not be enough to send you packing, but they certainly aren’t going to help you move forward in the company. Don’t overpromise and under-deliver; know your bandwidth and make promises that you can keep. And always be sure to deliver quality work.
Manage Your Reputation
It should go without saying that, beyond just the quality and consistency of your work, how others perceive you plays a huge factor in your success. Establish yourself as a leader that can be counted on. Think of your identity in the work place as your own personal brand. What can you do to amplify the success of your brand, without being too self-promotional?
Associate with the Right People
It’s important to establish working relationships with the right people. Be aware of people that have hidden agendas that will accept favors from you in order to advance their own careers, but won’t do the same for you. Though they may not be aware they are doing it, be aware of the people that are holding you back. These are not always the obvious and can include friendly coworkers, office enemies, superiors and even direct reports. Once you identify the negatives, focus on the positives, on the people helping push you forward, and figure out best ways to maximize those encouraging interactions.