What successful people do before breakfast…..

What successful people do before breakfast
Oct 2014
wellbeing, motivation, behaviours, time management,
Reference: Business Time; Life Hack; Forbes
We can all sympathise with what it means to not be a ‘morning person’. After all, what sane individual genuinely relishes swapping the sanctuary of a nice, warm bed for a hard day at the coalface?

That said, few would deny that there’s a correlation between high achievers and those who use their pre-breakfast time productively. Having somehow resisted the temptation to put the alarm clock on snooze, the real question is just what are these superhumans up to during these ungodly hours. Here are a few early morning rituals you could adopt:

1. Exercising
Natural endorphins and improved blood-flow to the brain perhaps explain why early morning exercisers perform so well throughout the rest of the day. Boshing out a 10k run and a swim before sunrise is probably unrealistic for many of us, so start with things you can do easily at home and build from there.

2. Planning
Early morning is the perfect time to put together a to-do list and map out your day before work and other unwelcome distractions start piling up. Half an hour of careful (post-coffee) planning can make the rest of the day run more smoothly.

3. Prioritising
Start with the most unpleasant, gruesome task on your list. If you can’t face doing it now, you’re unlikely to be any better disposed after a full day of hard grind. Getting it out the way will help you start the day with a sense of achievement… and relief.

4. Focusing
Unless you’re a lighthouse keeper, how much time for quiet reflection can you realistically expect to have during the day? A few minutes’ meditation or deep breathing can help focus your thoughts and better equip you for the day’s challenges.

5. Family time
Surprisingly, end of day fatigue and quality time with spouse/children are not always a winning combination. Spending time with your loved ones before the daily rush makes for a happy home and a rewarding start to the day.

Of course, as any successful early riser will tell you, the first pre-requisite for joining the pre-breakfast club is a solid night’s sleep. Failing this, your early mornings are more likely to be spent zombiefied than energised, so set yourself an early bed time and stick to it.

The importance of relevance in your CV/resume

08 Oct 2014
CV, applications,
Reference: LinkedIn; Inspiring Perspectives; Forbes

Fact of life: when it comes to job applications, rough diamonds rarely outrank professionals with a proven track record. Selling yourself as the most ambitious, willing candidate on the market is all well and good, however, in the eyes of most employers, it ranks a distant second to actually being able to get the job done.

If you fall into the first category, it could be your CV that’s to blame. Far too many applicants focus on crafting the perfect covering letter, while turning in a generic, ‘one-size-fits-all’ CV for each position they go for. The trick is to put yourself in the shoes of an HR manager or recruiter and imagine your CV was one of hundreds floating across your desk. Will a quick, two-minute skim convince that person that your application warrants further consideration?

Fortunately, a few carefully considered tweaks can make the difference in transforming you from hopeful protégé to experienced, hirable professional. Here are some dos and don’ts for ensuring your CV is relevant to the position at hand.

Do…
• Go through the job description line, by line before starting work on customising your CV.

• Tweak your description of previous roles to highlight relevant experience.

• Include the key words that the person doing the vetting will want to see.

• Use bullet points to clearly highlight relevant skills and experience.

Don’t…
• Send in a previously used version of your CV from a different application.

• List the duties performed in each role without underlining specific achievements.

• Rely on generic attributes such as “strong communication skills”.

• Feel you have to include qualifications or other details that aren’t relevant to your prospective role.

Once you’ve finished giving your CV the revamp it needs, read back over it and double check it against the job description. Using the ‘ROAR’ acronym (Results Oriented And Relevant) can be a good way to remind yourself to make sure your resume is specifically targeted to the position you are going for. Now, there’s just the small matter of the interview to concern yourself with. For support contact Claire or Margaret on 07771 332204

10 Questions NOT to ask at interview

Sep 2014

Reference: Forbes; about.com; glassdoor; the undercover recruiter

It’s been going swimmingly; you’ve dazzled them with your experience, charmed them with your wit and personality and side-stepped any major banana skins. Just a few minutes stand between you and potential glory. Then that uncomfortable final hurdle: “are there any questions you’d like to ask?”.

By not giving any specific thought to what you don’t want to say in this situation, you risk succumbing to nerves and blurting out something that may jeapordise your chances of getting the role. Here are the some of the top questions you should certainly look to avoid:

1. When was the company established?
The answers to this, or other questions like it, can be easily researched prior to the interview. Asking them now shows a lack of preparation and/or genuine interest in the organisation.

2. What is your position in the firm?
Do your homework; not knowing the identity of the person interviewing you can be a sign of disrespect, or at the very least poor concentration.

3. What is the salary for this position?
Still the main taboo as far as questions go. Wait to be asked what your salary expectations are, or leave the discussion for when you’ve actually been offered the job.

4. How quickly can I expect to be promoted?
This implies a lack of regard for the position you are going for. It can be better phrased along the lines of ‘what opportunities for advancement are available?’

5. Will I be able to work from home?
Flexible working, if offered, is normally highlighted in the job description. Failing this, it should be something to bring up only once you are firmly settled in your position.

6. How much holiday will I be permitted?
Again, this is much better off discussed on receipt of a formal job offer, ideally via a discreet email to HR.

7. Will I be expected to work late/ on weekends?
Appearing agitated about overtime is unlikely to endear you to your prospective employer as someone with a strong work ethic.

8. How does the company’s review process work?
Flagging this up may insinuate that you have had negative experiences with reviews in the past.

9. Why did my predecessor leave the position?
The person who held the position before you may have left for any number of reasons, some of them potentially unpleasant. Don’t risk associating yourself with a negative situation.

10. Am I likely to get the job?
Asking your interviewer this straight out puts them on the spot and is likely to make them feel uncomfortable.

Ultimately, the best way to avoid asking the ‘wrong’ question is to have a bank of suitable questions prepared before you walk through the door. A little pre-planning can go a long way to avoiding any ‘foot-in-mouth’ episodes and help cut a smooth path through the last stage of the process.

Employees are being told over and over again how they need to take responsibility for developing their own careers, and there is information being provided to them from all over to help them understand what they need to drive their careers forward. While no one is in any doubt that individuals must take charge, what is perhaps less clear is the role of the manager in developing their employees’ careers.

Great management is about taking a genuine interest in your team’s development, skills and contributions and facilitating the career progression that the individual is driving. It is often what attracts an employee to an organisation, what helps them deliver their best performance for that organisation and, arguably, what encourages them to stay with that organisation.

With this in mind, here are some tips on how to keep track of and enhance your employees’ potential:

1. Track your team’s performance
Do you really understand the respective strengths and weaknesses of those in your team? Spend some time recording and analysing your employees’ skills and areas of weakness to find where they could benefit from additional training and development.

2. Plan opportunities for development
With this information to hand you can begin implementing on-the-job-training by incorporating your team’s development needs when setting their work schedule. Ask employees to identify the areas where they feel they could benefit from more experience.

3. Schedule regular progress updates
Limiting feedback to an annual or quarterly appraisal alone just won’t cut it. Make time to have regular one-on-one chats with your employees to let them know how they’re progressing in their role and to take stock of any challenges they may be encountering.

4. Facilitate opportunities for progression within the firm
As a manager it’s your job to share talent across the firm. Make your employees aware of opportunities available in other departments where their talents could be appreciated, developed and their careers could be taken to the next level and let the rest of the organisation know of any star performers or potential transfers.

Simple techniques such are these should be easy to implement while adding relatively little to your existing workload. With the chance to gain recognition as an effective leader and mentor, adopting an altruistic approach to your employee’s development needs can produce positive results for all.

Helping your team develop How to help your team develop their careers 14 Aug 2014 management, communication, motivation, Reference: Tlnt; The Muse; HBR; Forbes

Employees are being told over and over again how they need to take responsibility for developing their own careers, and there is information being provided to them from all over to help them understand what they need to drive their careers forward. While no one is in any doubt that individuals must take charge, what is perhaps less clear is the role of the manager in developing their employees’ careers. Great management is about taking a genuine interest in your team’s development, skills and contributions and facilitating the career progression that the individual is driving. It is often what attracts an employee to an organisation, what helps them deliver their best performance for that organisation and, arguably, what encourages them to stay with that organisation. With this in mind, here are some tips on how to keep track of and enhance your employees’ potential:

Track your team’s performance Do you really understand the respective strengths and weaknesses of those in your team? Spend some time recording and analysing your employees’ skills and areas of weakness to find where they could benefit from additional training and development.

Plan opportunities for development With this information to hand you can begin implementing on-the-job-training by incorporating your team’s development needs when setting their work schedule. Ask employees to identify the areas where they feel they could benefit from more experience.

Schedule regular progress updates Limiting feedback to an annual or quarterly appraisal alone just won’t cut it. Make time to have regular one-on-one chats with your employees to let them know how they’re progressing in their role and to take stock of any challenges they may be encountering.

Facilitate opportunities for progression within the firm As a manager it’s your job to share talent across the firm. Make your employees aware of opportunities available in other departments where their talents could be appreciated, developed and their careers could be taken to the next level and let the rest of the organisation know of any star performers or potential transfers. Simple techniques such are these should be easy to implement while adding relatively little to your existing workload. With the chance to gain recognition as an effective leader and mentor.

 

Are you an emotionally intelligent boss?
July 14 abintegro

Research is increasingly showing emotional intelligence to be an integral part of good leadership with more than 90% of managers displaying a high level of EQ, according to a recent study.

Emotional intelligence might have a nice ring to it, but what does it actually mean in real terms? In a leadership context, it means being secure enough in your own abilities to put your own career to one side to tune into the people you are managing, not just their work performance, but also their feelings, interests and problems.

Being conscious of how your words and actions affect those around you is also important, while it might also mean being available for employees to come to you with any difficulties they are facing in or outside of work.

Do you have the emotional awareness to manage people successfully? Find out now by taking this fun, one-minute EQ quiz.

1. Your assistant arrives into work teary eyed. Do you:
A) ignore it, she’s probably just having relationship issues again;
B) ask her if she would like to take some time out to attend to whatever is troubling her;
C) remind her you’ve a busy day ahead and you need her to be at the top of her game.

2. You get a last minute piece of work through from a client do you:
A) give it to your best guys so you can go home. They’ll appreciate the extra responsibility;
B) stay late and stick on the task until it’s done. That’s why you earn the big bucks;
C) keep the whole office back for an all-nighter. The customer comes first, after all.

3. A colleague cheekily suggests you’re putting your feet up now you’ve risen to management level. Do you:
A) chastise them for a lack of respect;
B) accept the joke in the manner it was intended and have a dig at them back;
C) make a quick dash back to your office, they’re onto you

4. One of the graduates in your office invites you out for birthday drinks after work. Do you:
A) decline the invitation. Someone else’s birthday drinks is nothing to do with you.
B) go for one drink but leave soon after so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable;
C) go along and show these youngsters how it’s done

5. Two of your employees have fallen out and can no longer work together. Do you:
A) ask HR to resolve the issue, it’s what they’re there for;
B) sit them down individually and try and work out a solution;
C) arrange for the least valuable of the two to be transferred. You can’t afford any distractions in the work place?

You answered…

Mostly A
You may think that being somewhat aloof is the best way to manage your employees, but you’re taking it a bit too far with your ostrich tendencies. Whether it’s a conscious choice or just a preference to avoid doing the ‘people thing’, try engaging a bit more, handling conflicts more yourself and really trying to empathise more with others to gauge their moods and feelings. You’ll end up with a more cohesive, successful team who will try their very hardest for you.

Mostly B
Well done! You display a high degree of emotional intelligence. You are empathetic, caring towards your employees, can laugh at yourself and are not afraid of conflict.

Mostly C
You seem to be more interested in exerting your influence, progressing your own career and driving your own agenda than listening to others or being aware of the impact your words and actions have on them. You share some worrying similarities with David Brent when it comes to people skills. Try engaging on a more altruistic basis, and remember the people you trample on now could come back to haunt you later on in your career.

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