Thursday, December 29, 2016

How to Manage IT Staff

It appears that our planet does not believe in equality and that may perhaps be the reason men are so different. Even if we take the example of an organization, there are several departments manned by various kinds of people. This means as a manager, you will come across different types of employees. Unless you have the imagination and acumen of a copywriter for communicating properly and managing these employees in the right manner, you will be a glorious failure. Let us now look at how you must manage the staff working in the ITdepartment of your organization.

Those who work in the IT sections of organizations are commonly known as geeks and you, as a manager, may think that these geeks are hot-headed, arrogant and egotistic. You may also think that many of these IT people behave like know-it-alls and that they are over-paid. You are not alone. Many managers think like you. In fact, many managers think that handling their IT staff is a nightmare. The following points may help you.

1. There is no denying the fact that these IT staff play a significant role in organizations. If they are not handled properly, their productivity may nose-dive and their performance may be lackadaisical. As a manager, don't forget the fact these geeks are very much different from the rest of the employees working in your organization. Their mindset is completely different and so are their ambitions. But at the same time, they are not impossible to manage, though many of them may be difficult to handle. This means regular management rules may not apply to these folks. You should be as creative as copywriters are.

2. Learning their language and using their terminology may help you in conversing with them more freely. If you fail to take this step, they may look down upon you as a lay-person. In fact, they don't tolerate "ignorant" people. As far as they are concerned, those who do not understand their language are ignorant people. But at the same time, guard against pretending that you understand whatever they talk because they can easily spot it. This means you should patiently and politely ask them to explain those topics you don't understand.

3. IT people hate ambiguity because they are used to ordered reasoning. You should therefore be precise and specific while interacting with them. In other words, you should communicate your message as clearly as copywriters do.

These folks do not like inconsistency also which means if you talk one thing and do just the opposite, they will not put up with it.

4. There may be people with poor communication skills among IT people. You must understand the limitations of such people and handle them accordingly. After all, they are not in the copywriting profession and therefore, you cannot expect them to have impeccable communication skills. Similarly, there are may be employees who lack social skills also. But refrain from pointing out these shortcomings to them or discussing such things with others.

5. IT people like challenges and crisis situations. But don't command them to solve such situations. Instead, request them if they can help you in tiding over the situations.

6. Never micro-manage IT staff. Once you entrust tasks to them, allow them to put appropriate strategies in place so. But your tasks should come with well-defined guidelines. This means you should communicate the desired goals as clearly as a competent copywriter does.

7. IT departments work very well if you create a suitable team environment. But ensure that the teams are not very big. It has been found that the productivity of large teams is low.

8. Identify a leader among the team members but ensure that every member accepts the role of the leader. Otherwise, the leader cannot motivate the members properly.

9. Consult the IT staff of your company while making business decisions. This will not only help you in aligning the projects suitably with business strategies and implementation but in selling the decisions to them. Not only that, IT staff will be able to point out shortcomings or weaknesses, if any, in your strategies also.

In short, IT employees expect that their manager should be supportive, helpful and logical. They also like managers who provide them with clear instructions as competent copywriters do and who adopt a fair approach while handling them. If you have these traits, you can easily manage them and contribute to the success of your company. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

How to Derive the Best Benefits out of Team Meetings

Sometimes, the euphoria of having scheduled a team meeting itself can overshadow the fact that such meetings tend to lose credibility if no concrete results are produced out of them. Notwithstanding this fact, team meetings are considered important because members who belong to various backgrounds, skill sets, experience levels, age, and cultures meet and discuss to arrive at a common goal. But most of the team members hate such meetings, though they may ensure to bury this secret in the cockles of their heart. 

As a team member, you may also feel that you are wasting your energy as well as time by attending such meetings. But at the same time, it is an undeniable fact that team meetings provide the members with a good opportunity for discussing the goals of the team and also the ways to achieve them. Members can also decide who will carry out which tasks, when and how.

The main point is if the meetings are held in the right manner, teams can derive immense benefits out of them. So, it is the duty of the team leader to ensure that the meetings are run effectively and productively. The following tips may help.

    1. Preparation

Teammeetings are as important as other work activities and hence, you should prepare well so you can get good results out of them.

    2. Have an agenda

There should be a list of points that have to be discussed in the meeting. The list should be made available to all the team members who are likely to attend the meeting so they can come prepared for making the meeting effective.

    3. Start time and end time

Meetings should not go on endlessly. So, there should be a start time and end time and these times should be strictly adhered to.

    4. Call for meetings only if there is an absolute necessity

You should not conduct meetings just as a ritual. You should have a meeting only if there are absolutely important points to discuss.

    5. Importance of delegation

Never hesitate to delegate the responsibility of holding the meetings to your team members. This will develop leadership qualities in them. 

    6. Adopt an inclusive approach

Every participant should be encouraged to contribute to the success of the meetings. If the team leader alone speaks and everyone else keeps concurring with whatever he says, there may not be objective ideas forthcoming from the meeting. The very purpose of providing the attendees with the list of points for the meeting is to enable them to come prepared so they can contribute to the success of the meeting with their out-of-the-box ideas. 

    7. Never deviate from the goal of the meeting

Throughout the meeting, the focus should be on its objective. If there is a digression, members cannot have the desired results. So, every participant should actively work for keeping the meetings focused on the points on the agenda. 

    8. Insist on closure

Once a point is discussed and a decision has been made, you should insist on closure of the point. Simply harping on the same points will take the meeting nowhere.

    9. Assign follow-up actions

Once decisions are made, each member should be assigned with tasks pertaining to the follow-up of the decisions. There should be a strict time-frame also for completing the follow-up actions. The copy of the summary of the meeting with the details of the assigned tasks should be made available to every attendee.

    10. Feedback 

There is always a scope for improvement and hence, your aim should be to improve the effectiveness of team meetings. Therefore, you can ask for feed-back from the participants so you can know the right ways to run a productive meeting.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Career Growth through Networking

Those who are aiming to grow in their career or grow their business should not forget the importance of networking. In fact, nothing can work better than networking in the present-day world.

In a recent interview, Alice Niyonkuru, an upcoming entrepreneur from Burundi, along with Christopher Vuba, an urban planner-cum-entrepreneur and a Mandela Washington Fellow from South Africa insisted that they would not have begun their business ventures if they had not done effective networking. They added that they would not have prospered also if they had not networked with the right people.   

What is networking?

Interaction with people, exchanging information and developing contacts are the main ingredients of networking. If carried out in the right manner, it can help people in furthering one's career or in improving business.

Alice Niyonkuru points out “The world is not an island, you cannot have a thriving career or business without the help of others, which is where networking comes into place.” 

1. Be always ready for networking

Some people have a wrong notion that their networking sessions are confined to scheduled business meetings. But in reality, you can network even when you walk on the road, wait for your bus to get back home, etc.

In other words, you should always be mentally ready for identifying the unseen opportunities that may be around you. Even cab drivers or watch guards may need the services or products you offer or the qualifications you may have.

2. Investing in your appearance is a must

Whatever may be your profession or qualification or whichever product or service you deal with, you should try to look your part perfectly. This means when you network with or meet people, you must create a good impression with your appearance. 

3. Keep your cards ready

Whether you are doing your business or are employed or whether you are a self-employed professional, business cards should readily be available with you. By immediately giving your cards when you meet people, you can create a good impression. If you do not give cards during your first meeting with people, there are chances of they forgetting you very quickly. 

4. Never delay contacting them

You should contact the people you have networked with, as soon as possible. According to experts, it is better you contact them within 48 hours. This proves to them that you are giving importance to them. Not only that, you will be fresh in their memory. By contacting them soon, you will be able to create a good and lasting impression in their minds.

5. Use your social media accounts in the best possible manner

Networking becomes easier with social media. Thanks to the effectiveness of social media networking, you can even access those whom you have all along been thinking inaccessible. You should therefore ensure that your profiles on the social media sites project you in the right manner. Every social networking site is different and so, you should tailor your profile according to the site.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Engaging employees, the best way to grow your business

Organizations vie with each other for hiring the best minds and so, they invade top colleges, universities and institutions. But do these hires stay long in the organizations? The fact is a large number of these recruits stay in the organizations for a short duration and start hopping jobs. This means the job of the HR division does not stop with just hiring. They must take all possible steps for retaining thesetalents.

Employees nowadays focus on various other factors also in addition to getting hefty paychecks. Let us have a look.

1. Career path that is well defined

If employees know that there is ample room for growth and that the management will facilitate such a growth, they will be more loyal to the organization. They will genuinely engage in the steps taken by the company to grow. Therefore, the management should put in place a clear-cut development plan for the career growth of employees. When employees feel that their skills and work are valued, they will feel empowered. They will also work hard to deserve the careerdevelopment.

2. Keeping the employees motivated and engaged

Unless the management team takes steps to keep the employees motivated and engaged, they cannot achieve their business objectives. Engaged employees will be enthusiastic in doing their work and so, their productivity will be very good. They may not hesitate to travel the extra distance for helping the organization grow. This means organizations should put in place the best practices for engaging the employees. But unfortunately, most of the companies focus only on the measuring the performance of employees rather than adopting the best practices for engaging employees.

3. Work-life balance

Employers should help employees have a proper work-life balance. Of course, job demands are increasing and so are personal goals. Due to this, employees may tend to over-work. This is certain to lead to fatigue and therefore, instead of coming out with increased productivity, their performance will dip. Hence, employers should encourage employees to adopt suitable time management techniques. They should also encourage them to pursue activities or hobbies in which they are interested. But at the same time, these activities should not be allowed to hamper their working. 

Not only that, employees should be encouraged to do suitable cardio exercises so they can get a good supply of oxygen. This will help them overcome their fatigue. Employers should also encourage employees for setting what is known as "Me-Time" so they can spend quality time with their family or for following their passion.

4. Recognition

Bosses in general do not miss chances to find fault with employees or to point out when the performance of an employee dips. But many bosses fail to appreciate when an employee does a good job. If employees are appreciated for their performance, they will get motivated. This will give a boost to their confidence and they will willingly engage themselves in the efforts of the management in uplifting the company.

5. Collaboration and accessibility

In many organizations, the top management remains "invisible." In other words, employees may not be able to access them. If employees are allowed to collaborate with the top managers, their trust in the system will improve.  

6. Fair reviews

Reviews should be fair which means that they should be objective. Employers can think of having a committee for reviewing the performance of employees so subjectivity and bias are greatly reduced in the reviewing process. In fact, reviews should be key milestones in the career of an employee. The focus should be on the key achievements made by the employee, her strengths as well as development areas. A lot of scope should be made available for discussion at the time of reviewing.

In short, employees' loyalty goes beyond paychecks. Employers should therefore figure out how to engage employees so they will actively participate in the process of the growth of the company.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mistakes that may not allow you to grow in your career

If you feel that your career is not growing as fast as you wish, it shows that you are committing a few mistakes. Experts assertively say that negative patterns in the way you approach your work may spell doom to your career growth. Therefore, it is imperative that you should change your attitude before it becomes very late. Let us look at some of the mistakes you may be committing.

1. Over-committing and under-delivering

Hordes of people commit this mistake and you may be one among them. You may be in the habit of over-committing, thanks to your enthusiasm and when you begin the tasks that have been entrusted to you, you may realize that the tasks are tougher than what you have originally thought. So, you may not be able to deliver the output you have promised. If this happens repeatedly, employers may rank you very low in their quality audits. 

There can be two reasons for under-delivering. You may either be taking more tasks than your capabilities or may not be putting forth the right kind of efforts. You may be committing beyond your capabilities also. When your employer does not get the output or the results they have been promised, they brand you as 'unreliable'. You should therefore refrain from committing such mistakes so you can avoid losing your increments or promotions.

The only way to regain your reputation is to make only those commitments you are capable of fulfilling and once you make your commitments, you must work hard not only carrying out the tasks with aplomb but to complete them much ahead of deadlines. If you do so for a considerable period, you can regain your reputation.

2. Feeling inadequate

The main obstacle that may be impeding your career growth is YOU. If you have self-doubts and always have a feeling that your capabilities are inadequate, this will turn out to be a prophecy that is certain to come true. This means you will hesitate to take up challenges, will not come out with your opinions even when they are needed and will not re-assure your employer that you are willing and ready to handle critical projects. 

The best solution for keeping your worries and self-doubts at bay is by being busy always. But you must ensure to do useful and purposeful work. You should especially engage yourself in tasks that pull you out of the comfort zone you are cozily enjoying. After some time, you may be inspired to speak up or may volunteer to take up difficult tasks as well. If you fail in the tasks, you must delve deep to learn. Willingness to learn from your failures will help you move ahead and grow in your career.

3. Seeking perfection 

If you have a perfectionist attitude, it will certainly harm your career. According to the Pareto's principle, 20% of your efforts will help you achieve 80% of the outcomes you desire to have. But there are certain outcomes for which you may have to spend 80% of your energy. People with a perfectionist attitude will put forth 80% of efforts and will get only 20% of the results they expect to have. 

Of course, you must aim at 100% perfection if you are sending a space-ship into the skies or when you are involved in a laboratory experiment. Spending more time on an office task may reduce your output. You should set short and very tough deadlines and finish every task. In short, you must know where you must chase perfection and where you must look for conserving your efforts.

4. Ignoring lateral moves 

If you wish to reach a mountain top, you cannot assume that you can go up only by a straight road. In fact, you may encounter insurmountable obstacles if you choose such a straight path. However hard you try, you may be failing repeatedly. But lateral thinking, learning new skills and willingness to go around the mountain may show you new and easy ways. Lateral moves will allow you to view things with new perspectives. At the same time, you must approach issues with a positive outlook and move towards the direction of the goals you have set. Focusing on a single path may delay your growth.

5. Chasing money always

You cannot build your career if you always focus on earning money. You should sometimes accept tasks that may not get you very good money. Similarly, switching jobs just for the sake of earning more is also not right. Especially, if you lack skills for those jobs or if you are not enthusiastic about the tasks involved in them, you will be doing grave injustice to yourself and also to the organization that is offering such a job. Instead, your career plan should purely be based on your current skills and those you are willing to learn.

6. Ignoring relationships for the sake of tasks

It is true tasks are important but ignoring relationships and focusing only on tasks will turn your team against you. Especially, when things are tough, people may let you down. You should be a general who leads his men and not behave like a mercenary. In short, relation-building is as important as completing tasks. Therefore, you must focus on interpersonal skills also while you develop your other job-related skills.

7. Resisting change

If you have the habit of viewing new ideas and concepts with scepticism, it shows that you are fond of only repeatable tasks. By adopting such an attitude, you may soon get fossilised because the modern workplace involves rapid changes in job definitions as well as technology. So, shed your negative attitude forthwith and embrace every workable, new idea willingly. Every task has alternate approaches and so, you should try to learn from the changes that are taking place in thedynamic and modern world.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ways to Achieve the Business or Career Growth You Are Aiming at

Entrepreneurs who have been running their businesses successfully will unanimously agree that they are very much aware of their strong points as well as weaknesses. They also know that they have to keep doing the work that matters to them. Another point they are aware of is that their outlook has impacted their success.

As an entrepreneur, the day on which your earnings cross what you had been earning out of your employment, may be a golden day. But according to experts, there are a few habits you can adopt for achieving a better growth in your business. Let us have a look.

    1. Adhere to the principle of "20 Mile March" every day
Jim Collins has authored a book entitled 'Great By Choice' and it is in this book he has come out with the concept known as the "20 Mile March." This concept largely deals with consistency in making efforts. In other words, you should take consistent action if you want to achieve the business growth you are aiming at. In fact, it is not a good idea that can bring success in a business. Instead, resilience and consistent efforts alone can fetch success. Even if you decide to take small steps, you should take them on a consistent basis. 

This rule applies even if you are an employee. If you want to have the career growth you wish for, you should take consistent steps DAILY to improve yourself. Unfortunately, many people lament that they do not have time because they have to commute to their workplace, they have family responsibilities and so on. The best course that is suggested to such people is that they can squeeze brief durations. Even the briefest of durations like 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 20 minutes can bring about remarkable improvement in their knowledge and efficiency levels.

    2. Inspire yourself regularly
Keep inspiring yourself regularly so you never lose your focus. Regular inspiration will always keep you on your track. Since you are an entrepreneur, you may suddenly be staring at uncertain situations. Regular inspiration alone can keep you energized to face and overcome such situations.

    3. Learn to say "No"
If you analyze the way you are spending your time, you may find that you are unnecessarily spending this precious resource on unimportant things. So, you should learn to say "No" to those things and people because of which and whom you may be squandering your time.

    4. Start somewhere
You may be very good at planning. But keeping on planning will never get you success. Therefore, just make the beginning. You can effect corrections, if needed, along your way. But making a beginning may not be easy if you have a perfectionist attitude. You should therefore jettison this attitude for achieving business or career success. Realize that there can never be a "perfect situation" in life. So, you can never do perfect planning. 

    5. Hire the right people to help you
You cannot do everything yourself and as the saying goes, "no one can walk alone always." So, hire the right people and delegate your work. You should share your responsibilities and at the same time, delegate authority also. By doing so, you will be grooming future leaders.

If you develop these habits, you are certain to achieve the business or career growth you desire to have.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Barriers that may Hinder Your Career Growth

When children are asked what they will like to become when they grow up, they may come up with various types of answers. But they may not be aware nor do they anticipate barriers that may hinder their ambitions. There are many types of barriers for career growth and these include those that are caused due to family situations, biases and so on.  

The following are the general barriers that may hinder career growth.

1. A fixed and inflexible mindset

According to experts, an inflexible and fixed mindset can be a great hindrance to career growth. This means you must have a growth mindset if you want to climb your career ladder. An inflexible or fixed mindset may make you think that you have enough talents and knowledge. On the other hand, if you have a growth mindset, you will think that there is always a scope for improvement. This means you will always keep striving to enhance your skill and knowledge levels. 

2. Financial barriers

If you have bills to pay, debts to clear, etc. and if you keep focusing on them, you may never grow in your career. Instead, you should shift your focus towards growth, whatever may be your financial situation. Focusing on earning for paying your bills, etc., may not allow you to take risks that may give a big boost to your career growth. For example, you may want to start a business, may like to change jobs or may look for a career change. These are certainly risks but when you focus on your mortgage or payment of bills, you may be afraid of taking these risks. If you are not ready to take any risks, where is the question of growing in your career and in life?

3. Importance of setting smart goals

Setting smart goals is important. This means you should set achievable goals and follow them with a lot of passion. SMART means "specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound." The goal you set should fulfill these conditions.

4. Fearing failure and success

Many people fear failure and do not take the required steps for growing in their career. Surprisingly, there are many people who fear success also. In fact, fear of failure and fear of success are very much linked. People think that others will ridicule them if they fail. A few others think that others will get jealous and desert them if they succeed. But these fears are unfounded. Not only that, those who have these fears can not lead extraordinary lives even if they have such dreams.

5. Work-Life balance

It is true that you will have responsibilities towards your family. But allowing these responsibilities to hinder your career growth is wrong. If you are passionate about your goals, you must learn to balance your work life and family life. 

6. Sticking to your childhood dream may be a barrier by itself

If you suddenly remember your childhood dream that you have already forgotten, that itself may act as a barrier. The problem is things are changing so fast that your childhood dream may not be suitable in your present circumstances. So, you should adopt a flexible approach and change your dream according to the your current situation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How to move to the next income level

Brian Tracy uses this oft-quoted truth while advising how you can move to the next income level. The quote goes like this: “Whatever got you to where you are today is not enough to get you any further.” This means your current knowledge level and skills are just enough to get you the income you are earning now. 

This again means your current skills or knowledge are not enough for increasing your income. So, if you want to improve your living standards, you must acquire new skills and apply them to your profession or job for earning more income.

In other words, you do not have any other option except to acquire new skills or knowledge for getting better in your profession or career and moving to the next income levels. In short, you should remember the rule “for life to get better, you must get better” and work towards it. 

Here is a good news and that is there is no limit for getting better and better. But for accomplishing this aim, you must firstly have determination and unshakable faith in yourself. Of course, determination and unshakable faith in yourself also not enough. You must be disciplined also. You must take action every day and must not miss even a single opportunity. You must keep looking for the right ways to acquire new skills and improve your knowledge.

How to ensure that your skills will help you move to the next income levels?

Just acquiring skills is not enough. Your resolve should be to acquire such levels of skills that you move to the top 10% in your field. But if you have apprehensions if you can move to the top 10% in your field, remember that those who are now at that level might have had very minimum knowledge when they started. They resolved to acquire the required knowledge and disciplined themselves suitably for reaching to the top 10%. 

Remember that you are smarter and better than anyone else and that you have tremendous potential within you. You have all along been oblivious of this potential. Since you now know that you can set your eyes on very high levels, you can easily bring about phenomenal changes in your life. This means it is you who will be placing limits on using your potential.

How to be the best in your field?

Experts point out that every field consists of 5 to 7 areas that require key results. You must acquire expert levels of knowledge in these areas and keep updating your knowledge as well so you can accomplish your tasks incomparably well. 

The weakest among these skills will limit your results as well as your income. So, how fast you can move upward is determined by how resolute you are in improving this particular skill. In other words, if you get better in this area, you can easily move ahead more quickly than by focusing on other areas in which you are already strong. 

Learning style

Everyone has a unique style to learn things. You must know which style can lift the learning potential in you. If you practice that style, you will find it easy to absorb new information and acquire more skills in your field. 

So, the key question you should ask yourself should provide you with the answer as to which skill area will help you grow rapidly in your field. You should set a goal to develop that particular skill area. Don't worry if your knowledge level in that area is weak. You should then prepare a list of the books you must read, the courses that can impart the required skills in you, the CDs you should listen to, the experts whose advice you must seek and the specific actions you must take daily for learning and mastering these skills. Of course, you should consistently follow the routines till you are confident of applying the skills in your profession or job.

Don't commit the mistake of focusing on all the skills at the same time. By working on a single skill, you can have a laser-like focus but make it a point to choose the most important one that can lift your career or profession immediately.

Experts point out that the amazing result of this approach is that you will be getting better in almost all the skills simultaneously because you will learn to dig deeper and deeper into every task for performing them better than others. 

So, remember that it is possible to acquire all the skills and this includes business, sales and money-making skills. These belong to the category of " mechanical skills" because even those who are novices in these skills can acquire them by putting forth efforts with determination and discipline.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Be A Renegade, Do What You Love and Earn Money

Is it always possible for people to do what they love and earn their living? The answer to this question is this was not possible earlier. But the situation has changed dramatically, thanks to the advent of the Internet. This means it is now possible to do what you love and earn your living. Let us have a look.

You may have always loved playing basketball. But if you are above 50, have less mobility and are overweight, you can not pursue this wish and earn your living.  But a person with a similar desire used his out-of-the-box thinking to monetize his passion. He designed video games based on basketball and instead of playing the games himself and whiling away his time, he used his vast knowledge of the games by offering e-books and high-demand info-products. This helped him earn millions.

Another case-study is that of an electrician who could monetize his professional knowledge. He launched his website as well as a blog to provide people with Do-It-Yourself advice by answering electrical-related queries.

But unshackling yourself from your "conventional" chains and adopting such an approach is very difficult. Apart from facing a lot of ridicule, you run the risk of being called a renegade also. You must decide to brush aside such ridicules and turn your secret passion into a "monetizable" idea.

But you may face two barriers. The first barrier is the human mind has been conditioned not to adopt unconventional methods. Secondly, you may face the highly powerful barrier called "inertia." This powerful force may be preventing you from taking action. You may therefore be shelving turning your passion and ideas into "monetizable" concepts.

In fact, there can not be a better time than now for leveraging your passion-related knowledge to earn money. You have to just find where your passion intersects with what the market wants and work on it.

In short, this renegade approach will certainly help you pursue what you love and earn your living.