Posts Tagged ‘Success’

Persistence and Success

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

The following post is by Bruce Clarke, CAI’s CEO and President. The article originally appeared in Bruce’s News and Observer Column, The View from HR.

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

Bruce Clarke, President and CEO

We talk much about education and talent but too little about persistence.

Success as a manager or employee usually has less to do with your degree, your natural talent or even your intelligence. It has less to do with where you were raised and whether you were privileged. It has much more to do with your own personal level of persistence and determination.

Yes, a degree may be necessary for certain roles or licenses, and it never hurts to have every advantage growing up, including involved parents and excellent teachers. However, personal determination means more to your successes and failures than any other factor.

Give me a qualified and determined person over a highly educated person with low “give a hoot” any day.

Each inspirational story you see proves my point. These success stories are about people who overcame a challenge and made something work for them or others. Overcoming obstacles. Pushing further, harder and more often than the average person. Finding ways to go at it in different ways. Saying yes rather than no. Persistence.

Look no further than your own extended family or group of friends for talented people (maybe geniuses) who struggle to make their lives and work function. You also know someone with modest resources who worked hard and long to achieve his or her version of success.

Ask any manager why so many good ideas sit idle. Do you know employees who stop and rest at each hurdle, making a nest and setting up camp until dislodged?

Think of the last team meeting where more time was spent on the lunch menu than on tasks at hand, the reasons things did not happen, and why more time was needed to execute projects rather than enjoy incremental success from dogged determination.

Leonard Mlodinow, the author of “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives,” helped me see the power of persistence another way. Because so many factors in the workplace and business are uncontrollable, unpredictable and even random, persistence increases the chance that a good idea (or good person) will take hold as conditions change.

Think of it like this: The job openings and available candidates at any point in time are fixed. The lack of a good fit today means nothing about next month, when the candidate pool and job openings have changed. Persist.

Success at work is influenced by many factors. It never hurts to have education, talent and other advantages. Sometimes unfair things happen. But the surest way to take what you have and maximize your effect wherever you are today is to double your level of persistence. Good managers recognize the power of determination and look for it in hiring and promotions.

In 1932, at the depth of the Great Depression, former President Calvin Coolidge said that persistence “has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” It is the one variable entirely within your control. Start with your role in your workplace and enjoy the difference it will make.

Looking to Add High Performers to Your Organization? Find Candidates with These Traits.

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Your employees have a significant impact on whether your business thrives or dies, but building a strong workforce is not an easy task. Choosing the right people to fill your open positions should be done with care and an overall goal of company success. People considered high performers should be your most desirable candidates. These workers are critical for achieving positive business results because they exceed company expectations, serve as role models to other employees, make solid decisions and continually offer innovative ideas.

If you’re looking to build a powerful staff, look for prospective employees with the following qualities:

Energy and Optimism

Top performing employees are energetic. They work efficiently when assigned new projects and are eager to turn in completed work before or by their deadlines. When they finish a project, they quickly move on to the next one. They also remain positive while at work by not harping on mistakes or worrying about unfavorable outcomes. The energy and optimism high performers exude reach other staff members, which helps the whole company boost productivity.

High EI and Great Communicator

High Emotional Intelligence is often engrained in high performing employees. They use their talent to successfully understand and react to the actions of others. They easily make great relationships with their coworkers, and they are able to remain calm and help others stay calm during stressful situations. Another strength they share is strong communication skills. Top employees effortlessly express their ideas and communicate frequently with their supervisors to ensure they deliver desired results.

Self Starter and Continuous Learner

Stronger performers are almost always motivated to do their best. They are autonomous workers who manage their time effectively to  produce high-quality work for their managers and organization. These employees take the initiative to try new workflow processes and suggest ways to improve business productivity. They want to cultivate skills they use regularly and also gain new knowledge in their field. Both of these characteristics will prove beneficial to your company.

When you attract top performers to your organization, work hard to ensure they have the support and resources they need to be successful. Failing to do so will most likely result in their resignation. For more information on finding high performers to add to your staff, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 33-668-7746.

Photo Souce: Victor1558

6 Inexpensive Ways to Celebrate the Success of Your Workplace Teams

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

In many parts of the world, people welcome the first day of May with lively carnivals and family-friendly festivities to celebrate the springtime holiday known as May Day. While many people celebrate the warm-weather event, employers should take some time to consider how they celebrate success created by their company teams.

Recognizing the individual contributions an employee makes is a critical factor in determining whether he plans to stay with your organization for the long run.  Just as individual recognition is important, acknowledging great efforts made by collective teams and departments is also important. Team members spend significant periods of time collaborating with each other, and their willingness to be productive and achieve success on a team should be celebrated.

Commending your teams for a job well done doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are six low-cost ideas to celebrate deserving teams at your company:

1.       Write handwritten notes to all team members

Taking the time to write your employees a handwritten note is a unique way to show them your appreciation for their efforts. Employees can also easily display or share the positive feedback found in their notes.

2.       Make a company newsletter announcement

If you’re proud of a particular workplace team, share your feelings in your company newsletter or on your company intranet. The honored team will enjoy the public recognition that you give them. Others who aren’t on the team will have the opportunity to learn what made the honored team successful.

3.       Celebrate with senior management

Inform senior management of the great work your direct reports are completing. Let the executive team know the exact details of the project you assigned and how your employees produced great results. Having your team present the execution and results of their project to management is a great way to show members of leadership that you’re proud of your team, and they should be, too

4.       Give them flexibility

Allow members of deserving teams flexibility in their schedules after they wrap up a successful project. They can use the flexibility you grant them in a number of ways. Maybe they’ll take a longer lunch or leave early on Friday to go to the beach with friends. Either way, they’ll be thankful.

5.       Throw an appreciation party

Whether it’s a pizza party or an ice cream social, plan a bash to show your teammates that you’re grateful for their hard work. This get-together can be solely for your outstanding team members, or you can host the whole staff so they know what they should be working towards.

6.       Plan a company picnic

If your staff continually achieves strong, positive results for your company, show your gratitude by organizing a company picnic. Let employees invite their families so they can enjoy the excitement and celebration as well. You should plan games, prizes, and a speech or mention of your appreciation for their contributions.

For additional ideas to celebrate the success of the teams within your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: Jason Pratt

10 Resolutions for Workplace Success

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The beginning of January prompts people to start setting resolutions they plan to keep for the rest of the year. Making commitments to improve your work performance is a good way to plan and prepare for achieving success at your workplace. Whether your goals include joining senior management in making leadership decisions or scheduling weekly progress meetings with your direct reports, having specific goals for the new year will improve your own productivity. Try setting these 10 workplace resolutions to deliver positive results for your company:

1. Be Specific

Make resolutions for the New Year that are specific and measurable. Goals that have these characteristics are easier to envision and plan for, which makes them more attainable.

2. Stay Organized

The best way to make sure you keep your resolutions is to stay organized. Being clutter free will help your productivity and keep your mind clear for maintaining your resolutions.

3. Be Positive

Research shows that optimists live longer than pessimists. They are also happier and more productive in the workplace. Instead of spending time worrying about items in the office that you cannot change, focus on the steps you can take to make your workplace experience more positive and enjoyable.

4. Maintain Work/Life Balance

Spend some time making your work schedule fit into your life schedule and vice versa. Do not chat excessively about personal matters during work hours. Use your lunch break to catch up on news from your colleagues. When you leave the office, make sure to enjoy your personal time and feel free to limit the amount of time you spend talking about work.

5. Keep an Eye on Progress

Track your progress on the measurable goals you made. Seeing your progress can help motivate you to succeed in achieving your goals. This process also can help you see if you need to rework a goal that you are having trouble completing.

6. Arrive on Time

Being on time to meetings or important conference calls shows that you respect your job and the others who are also particpating. Be on time so meetings can start when they were planned and everyone has ample time to return to their work.

7. Mind Your Manners

All employees want to be recognized for the contributions they make for the company. Start using “please” and “thank you” when requesting information or projects from your coworkers. These words will help increase office morale.

8. Be Accountable

If you offer to work on a project or your supervisor assigned you a new task, own the assignment and follow through on items you are expected to deliver.

9. Take Breaks

Work gets busy. Life gets busy. Limit workplace anxiety and stress by taking appropriate breaks from work. Leave your desk for 15 minutes for a walk or use your vacation to take a long weekend getaway with family or friends.

10. Be Healthy

Eating the right foods at the right portions and sleeping at least seven hours each night will help you maintain your energy for a full week of work.

For more tips on achieving success at your organization, please contact a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at 919-878-9222 or 336-668-7746.

Photo Source: planeta

Don’t Just Dress to Impress, Dress to Succeed

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Appropriate work attire is often stressed by college advisors and career coaches when preparing candidates for their first interviews. To be helpful, they will share lists that feature interview appearance etiquette, such as “hair should be well-groomed” and “jewelry should be kept to a minimum.” Unfortunately, after their interviews are secured and jobs are offered, workers do not always place dressing professionally at the top of their to-do list to succeed.

Although putting importance on your workplace wardrobe doesn’t directly affect your ability to perform your job, it can directly affect how others in your work environment perceive you, which is important when trying to climb the ladder. Managers and teammates may be well aware of your abilities to perform your tasks and assignments. Others, however, who do not interact with you daily, but can decide the future of your career (ex, your manager’s boss), can judge your work ethic solely by the clothes you’re wearing.

Dressing professionally and appropriately depends on your workplace dress code. If not already discussed during the job orientation, it is important to ask if there is one, as well as a document that specifies suitable clothing options. Receiving this information will prevent violations and indicate what to look for when shopping for work items. Company standards can range from formal, such as suits and ties, to casual, which may include jeans and shirts without collars. No matter the policy, making sure you look your best is an easy goal to achieve. For example, if jeans and a T-shirt is the office uniform, ensuring your jeans are free from holes and the shirt is nicely pressed will demonstrate to others that you value your job.

When deciding if an outfit is professional, envisioning how your clients or customers would view the ensemble is a good starting point. Do you think they’d trust the product you’re selling and would they see you as a serious employee? If either answer is no, you should move on to a different outfit. Reviewing how successful people at your company dress can also be a factor in choosing the right apparel. Spending time to put your best foot forward each work day can catapult you to the next level of your career. Not only will you impress others with your clothing, you might raise the bar for office standards.

It’s important to mention that dressing to reach success does not have to be budget breaking. Malls and department stores regularly have sales that drastically cut the prices of suits and shoes. Discount stores, including Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, offer designer business pieces for less, and WalMart and Target provide affordable options as well.

Devoting extra time to your professional appearance will make supervisors take notice of your attributes, as well as make subordinates and colleagues more respectful of your position. Your self-esteem will also increase while you work toward improving your career.

For additional information about implementing, reviewing or adhering to dress code policy, please call a member of CAI’s Advice and Counsel Team at (919) 878-9222 or (336) 668-7746.

Photo Source: karsten.planz