Making a Positive First Impression

Remember: You can control that first impression by observing the Rule of Twelve, which suggests that we first notice and remember three things about people we meet.

  1. The first twelve inches from shoulders up.
  2. The first twelve steps a person takes.
  3. The first twelve words a person speaks.

The first rule tells you that people notice everything from your shoulders up: your jacket, your tie, tie knot, how well-pressed or creased your collar is, the length and neatness of your hair, your complexion, your eyes, and your smile.

The second rule tells you to enter a room with confidence and to look as if you both have a reason to be there and are happy to be there.

Smile and extend your hand. Keep your shoulders back and stand up straight. If you carry a briefcase or a purse, keep it in your left hand so that the right hand is ready to shake hands.

The third rule concerns your twelve words. If this is a meeting, your first twelve words should always include a thank you of some kind. For instance, you could thank the manager or client for taking the time to see you.

Use the rule of twelve to make a positive first impression… … …Today!

How to Manage Upward

Remember: There is no one that you cannot manage! Emotional intelligence calls out the fact that you first have to manage your personal responses and reactions before extending it to people you come in contact with. In moving up the career ladder, you must accept that your superior is a prominent gateway to your career growth.

Most people feel that they have disorganized, power-hungry, downright mean bosses that limits them from moving forward. Unfortunately, bosses that fit into those descriptions come in all shapes and sizes.  What happens often with such category of bosses is that they are so busy with their own careers that they are blind to your own potential and goals. However, the good news is, you can manage them all!

If you often find yourself feeling frustrated, depressed, or unappreciated at work and you are in dire need of making your boss your strongest ally, here are four critical questions you should have an answer to:

  1. What is my goal in the particular position I am currently occupying?
  2. What is my superior’s style of managing, and what is his or her agenda within the organisation?
  3. Can I work within his or her framework without losing my mind and integrity?
  4. If I stay, what can I do to help my boss and myself to succeed?

Business management expert, Andrew Carnegie says; “Do not think a man has done his full duty when he has performed the work assigned him. A man will NEVER rise if he does only this. Promotion comes from exceptional work.” When you provide the sincere answers to the four questions, you will realize that your journey to be noticed and successful will begin… … …Today!

The Power of Positive Thinking

Remember: You never know what you can achieve until you try. Many of your possible great achievements are still hidden in a dark corner of your mind, gathering dust in a little box called DOUBT.

Ask yourself; how many achievements did you slash down ruthlessly, even as they tried to bloom, with that massive mental axe called “IMPOSSIBLE”?

The word IMPOSSIBLE could connote positivity depending on how you choose to interpret it. The word IMPOSSIBLE becomes a daunting bridge only if YOU define it as such. To be the true achiever, it simply means “I AM POSSIBLE in all things I set my mind to.”

Hoping for a good result incorporates the fear of failure and therefore, magnifies the risk of failure. Believing in a good result informs a different set of actions and mitigates the risk of failure.

Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. Do not let your leadership journey be summarized as “could have, might have, and should have.”

Believe in your new idea and implement it successfully… … …Today!

Recovering From Mistakes

Remember: Mistakes are inevitable; they are proof of our imperfect nature. We say, do, and make certain decisions that we wish we could take back.

There is no shame in making mistakes, but there is failure in not accepting, bracing up or recovering from that mistake to ensure it’s a one-time occurrence.

Here are six key aids to recovering from mistakes:

  1. Acceptance is key: you can choose your actions but not the consequences, so it is important to accept the consequence of that mistake.
  2. Take the learning: reflect deeply on the experience and look out for lessons that could be learnt. If there are, then you have not failed rather you have embraced learning.
  3. Forgive yourself: forgiveness will help give you a clearer vision, so that you can set goals that will ensure that there’s no repeat of such mistake.
  4. Focus on your strength: your good qualities and innermost strength will restore your confidence and boost your self-esteem.
  5. Address unresolved issues: acknowledge the problems from that mistake, admit responsibility, explain and apologize where necessary.
  6. Move on: you can’t afford to dwell on your mistakes. Recover and embrace newer opportunities.

No one is truly great until he has made mistakes, recovered and taken the learning’s. Your past mistakes are the practical experiences you need to finish strong… … …Today!

Choosing a Winning Attitude

Remember: The most important aspect of attitude is that it is a choice! What exactly is attitude? Attitude is the physical manifestation of the way in which we have chosen to manage our emotions.

We cannot run away from emotions, rather, we can take the time to put the right interpretation on the emotion to ensure that we continue in a positive direction. Henry Ford said a long time ago that “whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you are right!”

How many times do we arrive at a challenged place because we have seen this as the most likely outcome?

In coining his Expectancy Theory, Victor Vroom advocates that research has shown that the more you expect something to happen, then the more likely it is to happen!

Do you find yourself unhappy because of your situation? Do you realise that your situation has most likely arisen due to your consistent unhappy mood? In the work place a positive attitude wins you friends, gives you momentum, provides enthusiastic thinking and promotes passionate actions…yes, and thereby delivering results!

Your negative attitude has removed all these advantages and yet the pressure for results remain!

Choose the right attitude and boost your workplace performance… … …Today!

3 Words That Never Fails

3 Words That Never Fails

Remember: You need not only be mindful of your appearance as an aspiring professional, but you also need to be mindful of your choice of words and attitude towards people. Excellence is not a standard, it’s a habit, therefore, always strive for excellence. In today’s competitive corporate world, you need to pay rapt attention to discipline, detail, quality, and results, in order to be the ‘go-to person’ in your field. The right type of attitude gets you to the level you wish to attain in your career ten times faster than the usual pace. Please bear in mind that positive attitude helps fast-track you to the top. If you really want to get to the top of your career, then there are three words you need to be mindful of;

  1. Be Kind
  2. Be Respectful
  3. Be Courteous

These three words affects your behaviour to others as well as your integrity as an individual. You have to be accountable and committed to whatever it is you are given. Be very mindful of the words ‘please’, ‘thank you’, and ‘you’re welcome’ as they play a vital role to you being courteous in your everyday life. Incorporate them in your everyday communication dialogue.

Practice makes perfect, so, make sure you display good manners and professional etiquette every where you go. Use these words to get to the top of your career… … …Today!

Would You Hire You?

Remember: if you can cause others to strive to achieve high standards, then you are fit to tag yourself an effective manager. The manager’s role is to inspire, support, cajole, exhort, critique, nag, encourage, confront and comfort. The case with some managers in today’s corporate world is such that they only focus on the mistakes from their team members and totally neglect the successes made by the team.

If you want to be known as excellent at something, then you have to be reliably, consistently excellent at it. Here are nine critical beliefs of most successful managers:

  1. Build your people, and the rest of the results will come.
  2. It is important how people treat each other: make sure to monitor it and manage it.
  3. People have to trust management and trust each other.
  4. Success is about character, respect, integrity, trust, honesty, empowerment, confidence, loyalty, and keeping promises.
  5. Understand that fun and discipline combined get the job done.
  6. An effective manager should live up to his/her values every day.
  7. An effective manager must bet on the long term and not get stampeded by short term pressures.
  8. The agenda as a manager is to create a great place to work, not to work at making your own star rise.
  9. An effective manager should balance his/her focus on people, clients, and finances.

Use these nine principles to become the person you would want to hire, keeping in mind that you can be the effective manager responsible for creating energy, drive and ambitions in others… … …Today!

Managing Time

Remember: Time wasted can never be regained. In business, time is money. On several occasions, we spend our time performing least important tasks as opposed to relevant tasks at hand, and then we realize we have wasted so much time on what should have been done later. It is therefore advisable to make better use of your time. To become a better time manager, you need to be aware of the choices you have to make. You have to be able to determine what task is important and why.

Here are three critical ways to best manage time:

  1. Conduct a Time audit: A time audit will help you know the balance between the demands placed on you at work and those that define your private life. Prioritize activities by choosing how you apportion your time to satisfy competing demands.
  2. Decide What Action Needs to Be Taken: Look for patterns in the way you use your time. If your behaviour is contributing to time shortage, change your patterns of behaviour by saying no to distractions.
  3. Learn to use the right tools: Common ones include; handheld organizers, paper appointment books or schedulers, “To do” lists.

Being in a digital world has its own advantage when it comes to time management, not only do you need to depend on a “to do” list but also a computerized scheduler on your smart device. Planning is important, and being very conscious of time is a basic first step. Manage your time with these tools… … …Today!

Communicating Customer Service

Remember: Customer service is not a department, its an ATTITUDE! Without customers, your business will not survive. You need to pay rapt attention to the way your customers are treated. Even if you have a team working with you, you need them to actively participate in making customers satisfied because, your team also act as a key part in contributing to your business success. Stephen Covey in his book titled Everyday Greatness, teaches that the best way to communicate customer service is to pretend like everybody you see has a sign on his/her neck that says “Make me feel important.” Not only will you succeed in sales but also in life.

There are common mistakes we make while communicating customer service which ranges from; leaving the service to those who are directly involved with customers, managing customer service solely at departmental level, failing to develop our customer service skills, and not recognizing or rewarding staff that communicate customer service. This is too limited a view, because everyone in a business contributes to overall customer satisfaction, even if their jobs does not involve direct customer contact.

How do we communicate customer service? There are three important ways to sustain effective customer service:

  1. Communicate clearly: Everyone in a company should actively be involved in customer service.
  2. Encourage commitment and improvement: Follow up on employees after implementing customer service policy because, this reveals to you the level of commitment and involvement from all employees.
  3. Maintain motivation: Motivations and award programs help maintain high level of interest in the customer service program.

Set an unattainable standard not only for your business but also for yourself. Ensure that you use these tools to provide satisfactory customer service… … …Today!

Critical factors for building teams

Remember: Division of labour is in existence essentially for achieving quicker and efficient work done. The concept of Teamwork is now a cliché due to the stress attached with working in a team. Some people believe they perform better while working in a team other than working individually, while other people would rather work alone and achieve a better result at that! What, therefore, is the need for Teamwork?

The ideal behaviour of a person in a team is to comply with major decisions and be willing to do anything that is required. Yet if everyone behaved like that, you would have a good reason to doubt whether that team would function effectively. With this analysis, what we should focus on is Productive Teamwork. It is often better to start with the work rather than starting with the team. The critical question is; Does all work call for a team? To avoid repetitive operations, you must understand that rounding up loners and making them a part of a team is a disadvantage. Introverts need work suitable for introverts while extroverts need work appropriate for extroverts.

The following are three critical factors that promotes productive teamwork:

  1. Designing work to fit the person: The best starting point for establishing good teamwork is asking or answering the following questions in relationship with the task due; Do some responsibilities need to be shared? If so, which ones, and with whom? Which responsibilities should be assigned to individuals and made subject to personal accountability? Which tasks are critical in their timing and mode of treatment and require a prescriptive approach based on best practice?
  2. Teams need to be given scope: Diversity in the range of available team roles does not solely produce harmony, it also produces conflict as different individuals strive to do their own thing. The manager has to understand how to manage the interface between team roles and work roles. Note that without empowerment, balanced groups cannot be developed into mature teams.
  3. Rewarding teams appropriately: All teams need to be assessed positively and constructively. Set objectives for teams and judge how well these have been met.

These critical factors design the framework for deciding who does what. People must learn to decide for themselves or at least share in that decision making to be fully committed to the work itself. Follow these three factors and watch your team move from balanced to mature… … …Today!