Work-Life Balance for Parents: Is it Achievable?

Work-life balance has become an obsession for everyone nowadays. There are numerous articles, research papers and self-help books that are offering people advice on how to begin or develop a better balance between their personal and work lives. Unfortunately, the advice given in these reading materials are generally focused on the idea of making changes on individual levels, team expectations in relation to your job attributes or even organisational contexts that affect you only.

In a research paper published recently by Human Relations, they have discovered that our very own upbringing can have a powerful influence on our career and life decisions. Subconsciously, we learn and mirror our parents’ behaviour in terms of work-life balance. The research conducted by Human Relations had 148 in-depth interviews with around 80 parents working in London for law and accounting companies. An equal number of men and women were interviewed with ages ranging from 30 to 50 years old and with positions in middle or upper management roles. In the case of male participants in the study, the majority of them had a stay-at-home wife, but in the case of female participants, this wasn’t the case at all. It is also important to know that most of the participants were coming from middle-class families who were typically formed from a stay-at-home mother and a working father.

The principles and ideas they share are in a direct correlation with the deeply ingrained routines and ideas coming straight from their parents.

Replicating the Parental Model

The majority of male participants have been reported to have a work-life balance similar to the family they grew up in. Like their fathers before them, these men are the sole breadwinners in their household. This has made them internalise the work ethic and has ended with them working very long hours. As mentioned above this effect was stronger for men, due to the fact that both men and women in the study have designated the same-sex parent as their role-model.

Given the fact that these people have seen their parents working hard throughout their childhood and adolescence, their professional careers were inclined to follow in the same footsteps. Although they were able to rationalise and acknowledge the fact that their compulsive work ethic had negative effects on their personal lives it was very difficult for them to change their behaviour both on and off work. Even remotely trying to act divergently, this ‘pre-disposition’ continued to be seen in their actions.

Breaking Off the Parental Model

Worryingly enough, there are fewer cases in which participants have said that they have rejected their parents’ work-life balance. In most cases, this was an intentional act of breaking the ‘status-quo’, but there were a few cases in which participants wanted to distance themselves from their parents’ model even though they wanted to follow up in their footsteps.

Like every human being on this planet, some participants have started to question the influence their parents have had on them, after pondering on failures, regrets or traumatic experiences they might have picked up along their adult life (i.e. a close friend or relative getting sick). After such an experience, participants had a tendency to overhaul their entire schedule and refuse to no longer work weekends or even leaving their employer and finding themselves an environment with a more manageable schedule.

In the case of women, there were two groups that were identified as serious in their significance: women who wanted to be more close to their families because they had workaholic mothers and women who wanted to be more actively involved in the workforce due to their regret-filled stay-at-home mothers.

Parents who actually manage to achieve a rewarding work-life balance do not designate all their time and effort into making their children happy. Interestingly enough, these parents strive on raising children with a strong sense of responsibility who will eventually grow into respectable and responsible adults. These are the parents who ask their kids to help around the house by giving them chores. They establish a clear set of consequences if the kids do not follow through with their tasks. By enabling their children to value hard work and also, this being of quintessential importance, experience disappointment, their personal development will be more easily done.

Neglecting Themselves

Adults often forget about taking care of themselves. This statement is even truer when you’re a parent. It may very well be a cliché, but more often than not clichés are true so it is pretty clear that if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help the closest people to you. Sometimes it may seem near impossible to have some well-deserved ‘me time’, especially if your schedule throughout the day has left you overtired or stretched to the very last drop of energy.

There are a few successful parents in the study that have discovered that taking care of themselves offers them the best chance at being efficient and productive over long periods of time. Relaxation and sleep may be essential, but exercise plays a decisive role nowadays. Physical activity not only improves overall health levels, but it is the key towards finding the right balance between work and family time.

Post-Work Guilt

Somewhat surprising, many parents wouldn’t want to be working full-time, but unfortunately, the current economic and social climate doesn’t offer the possibility of one to stay home or even work part-time. 44% of working mothers have reported they would be thrilled about the idea of working part-time. As mentioned above, this would not be financially feasible. Parents who succeed in today’s working environment have ridden themselves of guilt over the fact that they are working full-time. They feel there is no point in wasting time and energy over-thinking this problem. Coming up with the best plan for their scenario seems like the next best thing (i.e. working flexible hours, full-time job with kids somehow has to work).

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.inc.com/amy-morin/the-5-things-successful-parents-give-up-to-reach-a-work-life-balance.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2014/01/20/the-five-things-successful-working-parents-give-up-to-reach-a-work-life-balance/#59e263a157ea

https://hbr.org/2017/10/your-feelings-about-work-life-balance-are-shaped-by-what-you-saw-your-parents-do

Emotional Control during Difficult Conversations

It’s hard not to get emotionally involved when you’re in a tense conversation. A disagreement can feel like a threat. You might be afraid of having to give up something — the idea that you’re right, your point of view, the way you’re used to doing something, or even power – and therefore your body hypes you up for a fight by triggering your sympathetic nervous system.  There is no need to feel guilty, this is the natural response, but the main problem is that our bodies and minds aren’t good at differentiating the threats presented by not getting your way on a job-related issue and being chased down by a wolf. Your heart and breathing start to spike, your muscles tighten, the blood flow from your organs decreases, and thus you’re likely to experience an uncomfortable all-around feeling.

All of these combined does not put in the right frame of mind of resolving a conflict. If your body goes into what Dan Goleman would call “amygdala hijack,” you may lose access to the prefrontal cortex, the all-important part of your brain responsible for rational thinking. Obviously, you need rational thinking when dealing with a difficult conversation. Due to the fact that you are losing the ability to think clearly, chances are your conversation counterpart notices these signs of stress — your face turning red or the pace of your speech speeding up — and as a result of mirror neurons that cause us to apprehend the emotions of another person, your colleague is likely to start feeling the same way. Consequently, the conversation inevitably derails and the conflict intensifies.

Every manager fears emotional outbursts. Whether we’re talking about tears or full-on rage, the full extent of emotions can leave both the manager and the employee feeling embarrassed and stressed. How can you manage to stay calm and at the same time get your point across? How do you prepare yourself? Can you somehow minimise the chances of an employee getting emotional? Learning to handle emotional conversations in a productive way is the mark of a true manager.

Luckily, there are ways in which you can interrupt this physical response and manage your emotions, for a more productive discussion. There are several things you can do to keep your cool during a conversation or to calm yourself down. It is essential you start off with a positive. Especially if you think the conversation is likely to be emotional, plan to start with a positive. This will set the tone for the entire conversation and can help the employee engage with what you’re saying later, even if it’s hard to digest.

Breathe

Through simple mindfulness techniques, you can manage tense situations and none is more straightforward than using your breath. If you start noticing you’re getting tense, try to focus on breathing pattern. Acknowledge the sensation of air coming in and out of your lungs. Feel how it passes through your nostrils or down the back of your throat. This will take your attention off the signs of panic. Some mindfulness experts suggest counting your breath.

Acknowledge and define your feelings

Another useful tactic comes from the renowned author of Emotional Agility, Susan David. When you start feeling emotional “the attention you give towards your thoughts and feelings may crowd your mind and judgement,” says Susan David. In order to distance yourself from that feeling, define it. “Call a thought a thought and an emotion an emotion,” says the author.  When you manage to distance yourself from these emotions, thus making it easier to let them go — but don’t bury them or let them explode later. Sometimes expressing your emotions is all that’s needed to make an employee feel like they’ve been heard. If tears are involved, empathy is the recommended course of action. If your employee is angry, acknowledge and understand their frustration, but if that anger becomes insulting, calmly make it clear that you will not tolerate violent language or threatening behaviour.

Take a break

This is an underused approach. The more time you give yourself to process your emotions, the less intense they will be. So when things start escalating, just excuse yourself for a moment — get some coffee or water, go to the bathroom, or take a brief stroll through the office. It is essential to give a neutral reason for why you want to pause the conversation — the last thing you want is for the other person to think that things are going so badly you just want to escape.

Keep in mind that you’re probably not the only one who’s upset or angry. Your counterpart may very well express anger or frustration. While you may want to give them the above advice, no one wants to be told they need to breathe more deeply or take a break. You both may require just a little bit of time alone to vent. Of course, that’s usually easier said than done. It’s difficult not to yell back when you’re being screamed at, but more screaming isn’t going to help. At the same time, don’t act aloof because it’s important to show the other person that you’re listening. If you manage not to feed your counterpart’s negative emotion with your own, it becomes more plausible for them to calm down.

Keep your impatience in check

Finally, the demon you will have to wrestle the most with is your own impatience for getting the result you want. You will need to be patient and let the situation unfold itself. When you think you know exactly what is wrong with the other person’s thinking, your best approach is to ask them questions that will enable them to see other possibilities, ones that are much closer to your point of view. Don’t slip and tell people what is wrong with their thinking, because their brains will shut down and you have to be patient with silence. Silence is a good indicator that what you said or asked made the person stop and think about their ideas and arguments. The best thing you can do is to be patient and allow the person’s brain to process the information.

Don’t take it personally. Watch out for your own defensive mechanism, especially if the employee has said something in the heat of the moment. Remember that frustration is usually the cause of such outbursts at the office. You’re not going to solve the underlying issues or maintain a positive relationship if you barrel through the conversation when you’re completely worked up.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2017/12/how-to-control-your-emotions-during-a-difficult-conversation

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141028170158-2763533-how-to-manage-your-emotions-in-difficult-conversations/

https://www.insperity.com/blog/10-tips-for-keeping-your-cool-during-emotional-conversations-with-employees/

 

Building Trust and Credibility with your Customers

Customers’ happiness is always going to be tricky to achieve and maintain. Although the global economy is growing and thriving in certain industries, Forrester, a market research firm, has discovered that companies shouldn’t rest on their laurels. In fact, according to the Forrester report for 2018 that next year will be a “year of reckoning” for many brands as they face the facts that consumers might not love them as much.

Interestingly enough, customer experience scores have stalled in recent years, without a single brand improving their trust and experience scores from 2016.

One of the main reasons for the halt in customer experience is that clients are interacting with brands more often. More interactions mean more opportunities in building brand loyalty, but it equally provides more opportunities to create unhappy customers, which is what seems to happen. Customer confidence is at a high level at the moment, which means they are more than willing to spend, but unfortunately they don’t trust the vast majority of companies. Customer experience is one of the best ways in which to boost trust. Top survey responses say treating employees well is what drives the experience and helps customers trust a brand, offering the best services and listening to customers concerns and issues.

The Forrester report also revealed that personalised companies will thrive. Instead of trying to serve everyone, brands will have to learn from successful of companies like Facebook and Starbucks and start serving a more narrow set of customers. The most successful companies realise they can deliver more value by focusing on the unique needs of specific customer segments instead of trying to provide everything to everyone. Companies that are suffering in their customer experience scores are Walmart and Amazon due to their numerous products and services.

Transparency Is Crucial

Transparency is a core competency that should no doubt come naturally. Yet so many businesses are struggling coming to terms with what it really means.

Customers and clients are smart and they know when you’re being truthful or when you’re trying to trick them. Honesty is the best policy and they’ll appreciate and admire your company even more when you admit to a mistake or avoiding the topic altogether.

It is recommended that you don’t try to cover up errors. Discuss about the matter at hand, explain how you wish to handle it and thoroughly explain what steps are being taken to prevent any future errors. To implement transparency effectively leading by example is quintessential. Your employees will admire you even more for being honest.

Consistency Brings Harmony

Consistency goes hand in hand perfectly with maintaining great service. Strong internal expectations lead to great external results.

From a business point of view, consistency should exist in every aspect of what the company does:

  • Employees should provide equivalent levels of service.
  • Equipped with all the tools it needs, your sales team should address questions and queries in the same way.
  • The company should stay on course with the current state of products and services, rather than constantly shifting gears to try new tactics or initiatives.

Develop a powerful measurement in order to assess whether something is working. If it isn’t viable anymore, there should already exist a plan B or C.

From a leadership standpoint, consistent performance shows employees what you expect from them. For example, if you miss a meeting without a good reason, don’t be surprised if they consider doing the same when interest serves them.

Great Service Matters

According to the survey done by Concerto Marketing Group and Research Now, when customers have faith in a brand, 83% of them will recommend that specific organisation to others and 82% will continue to use that brand on a regular basis. Although there is hardly any mention about the time you went above and beyond for a client, you’ll definitely hear from the displeased ones if you failed to make a deadline or delivered a product that didn’t operate by the books.

Earning the trust of a customer with great service is an essential first step. How would you want to be treated if you were the client? The hard truth is that service should come naturally, instead of being strategically planned. The more you plan for great service, the less time you’ll actually have to deliver it.

Sure, there will be times when you’ve tried your best and can’t seem to make any headway with a particular problem. But you want to strive for responsiveness and always exceed expectations.

Sealing the Deal

Maintaining solid business relationships does not mean your customers or clients have to like you. Everyone wants to be liked but it is impossible to be liked by every person you come in contact with. However, creating customers and clients for life is more about them entrusting you to deliver on your promises. It takes a lot of effort, but in the end your hard work will pay off again and again, with repeat business, even more referrals and knowing you met and exceeded your customers’ expectations.

Organizations with great customer relationships are able to grow their businesses without tricks, fee cuts or special treatment. You have to be good at what you do, obviously, but having a truly successful business is based on one very simple concept: trust. With trust, you’ll have clients and customers for life. Without trust, you may as well pack your bags and go home. Building trust takes time and a lot of hard work. But is entirely feasible if you and your team work on three of the most important core competencies: service, consistency and transparency.

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2017/11/13/ten-ways-to-build-trust-with-new-and-existing-clients/#75edfdda4b0b

https://www.forbes.com/sites/yec/2014/04/22/three-ways-to-build-customer-trust/#5e32c56f22b8

https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2017/11/14/consumer-trust-at-an-all-time-low-says-forrester-in-their-most-recent-report/#607e348c1a19

Successful Brainstorming: Possibility or Hoax?

In terms of brainstorming, people often tend to forget that in order for it to be achieved the answer is quantity, not quality. Brainstorming represents the essential first step in early stages of a new project, so it is crucial that everyone understands how important it is to be open towards all ideas and variables. Naturally, issues occur when team members feel the need to filter themselves from potentially good ideas that they may seem far-fetched or just simply because they are afraid of rejection and embarrassment.

Another common misconception about brainstorming is that employees and managers alike believe it can be done only in a certain way: the evergreen group discussion with everyone involved. It is not necessarily the worst idea, but it can have major drawbacks from a creative point of view. There is a general tendency that during these meetings, the first two ideas that get bounced around tend to be the focus of the entire meeting. In a recent study on traditional brainstorming methods, it has been discovered the fact that only a handful of people do approximately 60-75% of the talking. Logically, it can prevent other ideas from being discussed.

How to Make Brainstorming Better

There are many ideas through which brainstorming sessions can become more practical, based on individual creativity, idea generation and a better meeting experience. The following strategies will help your organisation’s brainstorming.

1. Select only necessary employees: Choose the people you need for a brainstorming session. If the meeting is filled with people who have no relation to the nature of the discussion, their contribution and participation will be zero. Moreover, more people mean a higher level of difficulty in passing along ideas given the fact that people may exhibit anxiety in explaining their ideas. A manager’s best bet here is the creative individuals who can actually carry the discussion in a productive manner.

2. Brief sessions: It is as clear as day that shorter meetings are more efficient. The current tradition is for a meeting to last for an hour. However, shortening the meeting time will entice people to bring ideas to the table much faster with a healthy disregard to keeping some ideas for themselves. Normally, a meeting shouldn’t be any longer than 30 minutes. Managers can always do follow-up meetings to discuss leftover ideas or if the schedule is too hectic then the recommendation is individual brainstorming time.

3. “Bad” ideas are welcomed: Managers should encourage their employees to speak their mind. Good ideas “happen” after a lot of other ideas have been bounced off at the meeting table. People should understand the fact that there is a very fine line between good and bad ideas. From a managers point of view all ideas are welcomed given the obvious fact that it will lead to the best solution in the end.


Read also: What Makes a Great CPO


4. Brain Writing: The general principle of this technique is to separate idea generation from actually talking. The manager shares the topic with the team, and the team members individually write down their ideas. This helps eliminate anchoring and encourages everyone on the team to share their own ideas. It also gives everyone more time to think over their ideas, which is especially helpful for your introverted participants. This brainstorming technique works best for teams who seem to be greatly influenced by the first ideas presented during a meeting. When you get your team to brainstorm ideas individually, away from distraction and public opinion, concepts are generated that may not naturally surface when in a larger setting. Individual brainstorming techniques such as this will often give you more unique ideas than when the group is left to think up topic ideas.

 5. Online Brainstorming: These days, virtual teams are becoming more and more common across all industries. The evolution of email and collaboration tools makes working remotely the norm in some organisations. Having a central location online where team members can collaborate is crucial for these virtual teams — talking here about cloud-based document storage or an online collaboration tool. One of those brainstorming exercises for groups involves using an online mind-mapping tool to answer very specific questions or simply to generate ideas that might be tangential to the main problem. What other ideas surround this concept? Map these examples out, visually.

 

We have an impressive assessment library with hundreds of dimensions that can be leveraged in creating a custom skills-based assessment that supports your organisation’s specific competencies and unique vision. Please contact us if you need to measure the engagement level in your company.

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Sources:

https://www.wrike.com/blog/techniques-effective-brainstorming/

https://www.inc.com/larry-alton/5-strategies-for-team-brainstorming-to-use-in-your-next-meeting.html

https://www.inc.com/kat-boogaard/4-easy-tips-to-improve-your-brainstorming-sessions.html

Presentation Mistakes: Why it Happens and How to Solve It

At some point in your life, you must have experienced this unfortunate event. You are halfway through your presentation and things are going amazing. Your speech is fluent, the audience is engaged and you are feeling confident. But, somehow, your mind draws a blank. And your mind starts racing: “Oh no, things are getting bad! What was I about to say?”

If you relate in any way to this situation, you obviously know how awkward and cringe that feeling can be. It is also difficult to regain your rhythm. So the question now beckons; what can you do to avoid this mental mishap? Fortunately for everyone, there are a few tricks you can use and they will follow in the list below.

  1. Oversimplification isn’t helpful

Regularly, keeping things simple is one first public-speaking strategies you can follow, but there is a limit to simplicity as well. For example, if you are looking for one word or phrase to best explain various ideas you may not select the right one. Consequently, your thoughts get tangled, and your mind has to go through the whole process of unravelling each idea and then try to put them back together in the appropriate order.

Sometimes, all you need to get baffled during a presentation is to forget or cannot find the right word. This usually happens when people are trying to compress 2-3 ideas into one. That is where the mind can no longer cope. When preparing for a presentation it is essential you pinpoint every main idea and afterwards search for explicit language in order to convey it. Oversimplifying can make people struggle during a presentation in which everyone is paying attention to them.

  1. Never mention how many points you are going to make

This one is one of the most common mistakes out there. People should avoid telling the public how many points they are going to make because once the audience has a number in their head, be assured they will be counting. Being prone to mistakes due to our human nature, you may forget which exact point you were talking about and will have to encounter that awkward silence trying to remember where you left off.

In terms of strategies, people should also avoid using terms and idioms such as: “first of all”, “secondly”, “third” etc. It is recommended you keep things a little bit ambiguous by saying: “One of our strategies”, “Another one of our strategies” and so on and so forth. If you manage to keep out numerical terms from your speech you are helping your mind avoid going blank.

  1. Keep your rhythm

If you happen to stumble during your speech, do not get stuck trying to make it right. There are speakers out there that once they mispronounce a word their next thought is completely deleted from their “system” due to the simple fact that they thought about their mistake. In order to get passed the “system” failure all you have to do is reconnect with your speech rhythm. Start by breathing. When people breathe, they have the opportunity to get the body back in sync and from that their thoughts will start flowing again.

Drawing a blank is nothing to be scared or ashamed of. It happens to absolutely everyone and it doesn’t mean that you are not cut out to be a speaker. A true speaker is the one who knows how to make mistakes less often and how to recover quickly when it happens.

  1. Technical difficulties

There is nothing worse than sitting around and waiting for a presenter to figure out how to make the projector or clicker works or even worse, listening to a presentation without visual aids because he or she couldn’t make it work. Be prepared to connect to anything. Know beforehand the kind of projector, the size of the screen, and the layout of the room so you can be prepared for anything.

  1. Disorganised presentation

When people have to make a presentation, most people open up PowerPoint and start making slides.  That is a really bad idea. At first, use sticky notes to prepare your presentation’s story. It will save you loads of time and make your presentation more organised. Plus, if you want to create an emotional response in your audience use full-screen pictures. The text should just be used for facts. Animations are fun for the person making the presentation, but they don’t usually add anything valuable to it.

It is as clear as day that mistakes are inevitable; there will be a point in everyone’s career when they will have to make a presentation. Of course, for some people, public speaking is their opportunity to shine, but for others, it may seem like the perfect nightmare. Wherever you think you may have a problem, these tricks will help you develop your presentation skills.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/239443

https://www.fastcompany.com/40478112/heres-how-to-avoid-drawing-a-blank-in-the-middle-of-your-presentation

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/presentation-mistakes.htm

Innovation through Failure

For the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, every practice session ends up with something a little bit surprising and that the analysis of their mistakes. The pilots do not congratulate each other on their training achievements, but rather say what they did wrong in front of the whole group and how they plan to fix that issue. Even though they are expert aviators, the Blue Angels do not allow their pride to come in the way of further improvement. Their approach is meant to strengthen ownership, to encourage the desire of being better and also coming up with a plan for it as well.

Failure is often seen as inevitable, but the way in which it should be viewed is invaluable. Failure is common in all industries, economic situations and market trends; it is one of life’s best philosophies. If your employees do not fear failure, they have a very good chance of succeeding. Fear is a very powerful component of the human mind, it makes people disengage, panic and pull out of possibly prolific business opportunities. The past cannot be fixed, but learning from past experiences can enable employees into harnessing a strong sense of innovation. Here are just a few tips through which companies can enable their workers to be more innovative.

  1. Creating an innovation prone environment

This has to start right from the very top. CEOs and CFOs have to start creating an internal ecosystem in which innovation can flourish. In order to begin garnering innovation, there has to be a clear vision of what the company wishes to achieve and how innovation is at the very heart of it. Leadership teams within the organisation have to figure out the right way in which employees can be motivated and inspired in order for them to deliver on any innovative ideas the company may want to implement.

Of course, selection and recruitment play a very important role in this matter. The HR department has to recruit the right candidates, people who are well-trained on how to come up with ideas and to properly establish what kind of tools and resources they require in order to create, test and receive feedback from customers. All of these processes together help create an innovative culture. An organisation that tries out a lot of ideas will definitely encounter failure but chances are, success is closer than ever. Due to the fact that companies have numerous initiatives, they improve their chances that one of them will be a major score.

  1. Outside-the-box thinking and aggressiveness

Usually, the basic culture of a team promotes safe-playing. In layman’s terms, be on time, try not to upset the hierarchy, follow the group norms and have a steady paycheck. This type of model is clearly an innovation killer and can put an organisation light years behind the competition. For example, entrepreneurs have never been people who play it safe. Also, they praise employees within their organisation that actually do something and are outside-the-box thinkers. Managers have to make sure their teams do not rest on their laurels because there is no such as thing as a one-size-fits-all game plan. It is essential that entrepreneurs and managers empower their workers to come forward with their ideas, to present their action plan and put it into practice afterwards.

Of course mistakes and odd product releases may happen but that is simply part of the business world as we know it. In the 1950s, the Jacuzzi brothers invented a whirlpool bathtub in order to treat people with arthritis. Even though the product worked in the way it was intended, from a sales point of view it was a total bust. Unfortunately for them, their target market was small, due to the simple fact that not a lot of people could afford expensive bathtubs. The idea was killed immediately after but was relaunched in a completely different market – luxury item for the rich. Obviously, it was an instant hit.

In 1959, Honda Motor Company entered the US market with their range of low-powered motorcycles. Things were going from bad to worse for Honda, as it learned in a very cruel way that what was tremendously popular in Tokyo suburb areas was a complete flop on American soil. After a while, they came back in the US with high-powered bikes that became an instant success. The founder of Honda, Soichiro Honda had this to say: “Many people dream of success. Success can only be achieved through repeated failure and introspection. Success represents the one percent of your work that results from the 99 percent that is called failure.”

Great deals of successes have been failures in the beginning. What today may seem like a logical invention that was meant exactly for that purpose, this is not always the case. People have to ready to fail; success cannot be achieved without gaining all the necessary variables from a problem. At Penn State University, there is a course for engineering students which is called Failure 101. The sole purpose of this class is for students to take risks and do as many experiments as possible. The more fails they have it gets them that much closer to an A grade.

Another great example is Christopher Columbus. He set out to discover a new and easier route to India. He landed in America and the rest is history. Pfizer scientists were testing a drug called Viagra which was meant to reduce high blood pressure. After further investigations it lead to the discovery of the effects it had on men, thus making Viagra one of the most successful failures in recent history. Another great example is regarding champagne. It was invented by a monk called Dom Perignon and it happened when a bottle of wine had fermented twice. 3M invented glue that wasn’t sticky enough. However, it was the basis for the invention of our daily used Post-it notes.

A leader who thrives on innovation will always encourage a culture of experimentation. People must learn that every failure they encounter is another step closer towards the road to success. Allow your employees to have the necessary freedom to innovate, to experiment and to be successful. All in all, it means allowing them the freedom to fail as well.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/294673

https://www.forbes.com/sites/karenhigginbottom/2017/08/03/why-the-ability-to-fail-leads-to-innovation/#5bfd624a36f6

http://www.innovationmanagement.se/imtool-articles/failure-is-the-mother-of-innovation/

Inspiration at Work: Importance and Significance

Inspiration at work is always an added bonus. When we are inspired, everything we have to do simply clicks. We feel that our work has purpose and all of our skills are being used in the best way possible. In layman’s terms, we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. Unfortunately, inspiration can come and go as it pleases; it can vanish into thin air. This usually happens when your boss gives you a negative review on some of the work you’ve done or you’re simply content about a particular task at hand. Even if you are one the few people that have a job that they love, it’s in our human nature to experience periods of time when we have to dig deep to find some excitement about your job.

Todd Thrash and Andrew Elliot, two psychologists who have been studying inspiration in the last few decades, have spotted 3 elements which occur the moment a person is inspired:

  1. The person sees new possibilities.
  2. Receptive to outside stimuli.
  3. Energy and motivation.

Inspiration does not represent a static state of mind, which is fortunate for us because it means people can cultivate it. Although we cannot force inspiration upon us, we can create an environment that favours inspiration.

Feeling stuck is a normal reaction when you don’t feel inspired. The key here is not to wait for positivity to hit you because your inaction is your worst enemy in this scenario. Studies in cognitive behavioural therapy have concluded that people’s behaviours alter the way they feel and think. Consequently, when people act differently they feel differently. Instead of waiting for a change coming out of thin air, try and put yourself in motion somehow. You are in control of your work environment and not the other way around. This can help you discover new methods in which you can solve your duties.

Continuous learning is very important. If you have a good number of years of experience and have excelled in your field, it is somehow natural to think that you may not require additional training or learning. However, researchers have discovered that when we stop believing we require further expertise we become more close minded or as it also known ‘earned dogmatism’. If we train ourselves to always be fresh and on top of things the more likely we are to get inspired. Given the fact that nowadays it has become more and more difficult to have some time for ourselves, it is absolutely vital we devote at least a few hours a week for enlightenment purposes only in order to assure ourselves of longer periods of inspiration and engagement. For example, Bill Gates used to take a few weeks of work twice a year just to map out new ideas.

Making new friends is always a good idea. When we spend time with people they affect our mood and energy, whilst also having the same conversations with them week in, week out. It is recommended to start and meet new people. It is important you try and meet people who can challenge you mentally and do things differently from you. These types of people can stimulate new ideas with the added bonus of learning from their vast experience.
Furthermore, think about friends whose qualities you admire tremendously. Try and focus on qualities, not perfection. They do not even have to know you are trying to emulate them in certain aspects. It is actually better to be a distant observer due to the simple fact that you can extract and dissect the necessary information much easier.

When questioned, most entrepreneurs and business people say that their passion and inspiration derives from their desire to serve their customers, to lead a company in an upward direction and to support the development of a product that may revolutionise the market. Unfortunately, inspiration and passion can fade away and, of course, people start questioning themselves. It happens over the course of one’s life, to discover that their once meaningful job has become close to meaningless. It begins with the slow erosion of spirit and enthusiasm due to the fact that there is no longer any purpose in their work. People start feeling trapped, restless and they see no end in sight.

This happens because people start confusing the achievement of daily goals with accomplishing truly meaningful work. Thus, they continue to worry and set goal after goal, until they realise boredom has set in. When this happens, it is imperative that people respond to this problem through a conscious choice on how to solve it. More often than not, people don’t realise they are fed up with their job because they lose track of what is meaningful about their work. In their attempt to separate their work and personal life, some people go to such an extent that they do not bring their values into the office environment. Even more so, they engage in activities that clash with home persona.  Some people discover that their work has become their life, even though their family is what they value most, but they still work 12+ hours and miss birthdays and holidays in order to be successful at work.

Like all things in life, there is no one-size-fits all solution. There is no one method that can bring back your passion and inspiration. There is a combination of strategies that can guide you towards the path you desire, but that must be discovered on your own, due to our uniqueness. The only common trait in everyone’s strategies should be reflection – evaluate where you stand at the moment, where you’re headed and what you really want to become.

Inspiration isn’t elusive. It is within our grasp if we search for new opportunities from which we can extract new ideas and insights. Even though sometimes it may not feel like you’re getting the best deal out of a situation, it will still push you to new boundaries and experiences which will inevitably lead to something that resembles inspiration.

Great People Inside provides easy-to-use tools and processes to attract, assess, match, select, onboard, manage, develop, benchmark and maintain workforces anywhere in the world.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and a keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://hbr.org/2002/04/reawakening-your-passion-for-work

https://hbr.org/2017/09/how-to-rediscover-your-inspiration-at-work

https://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/8-ways-to-be-re-inspired-at-work.html

The Basics of Nonverbal Communication (Part Two)

There are many recruiters who decide whether or not a candidate is worthy due to their body language while they waiting in the lobby or walking towards the conference room where the interview takes place.

It is common knowledge that the recruitment process and employee turnover represent challenges in today’s global environment. There are many cases when nonverbal communication is more revealing than what a candidate says their previous experience or their references. It is that vital. Recruiters will pay close attention to a candidate’s nonverbal communication.

As a recruiter, your focus points are the signals regarding the candidate’s attitude, interests, hobbies, outlook and approach. As actions speak louder than words, so do nonverbal signals during an interview, due to the fact that an employer can determine a candidate’s references in regards to: the necessary skills to perform well at the job, cultural fit in the organisation and behavioural characteristics that may determine how successful a candidate is for the job.

Here are a few examples in which recruiters are as observant as possible in terms of nonverbal communication:

First Impressions

The first minutes of an interview are very important so much so that almost nothing else matters. Recruiters take a look at the candidate and note all of the nonverbal messages they are exhibiting. They form impressions ranging from a candidate’s posture, handshake, outfit, attentiveness, facial expressions and eye contact.

Handshake

Notice whether the candidate displays a firm and solid handshake. A confident, comfortable person uses the handshake as a positive nonverbal interaction. The handshake should assure the employer of the candidate’s desire for a positive first interaction and impression. Consequently, a limp handshake reveals low confidence and self-esteem. Last but not least, an excessively strong handshake tells the recruiter the candidate is overly aggressive or even trying to steamroll him or her.

 Posture and Space Usage

If the candidate is sitting comfortably and upright in his chair that means he’s most likely confident and comfortable with whom he or she is.  If their posture is slouchy it may very well mean that they do sloppy work and have a low self-esteem.  In general, posture which allows the individual to use an appropriate amount of space in the room reveals the security the applicant holds in his or hers abilities.

Clothing and general appearance

No matter how formal or informal the work environment is, it is adamant for a job applicant to wear a suit to the meeting. The accessories that accompany the candidate are equally important. If they show up with a briefcase, shined shoes, a leather-bound portfolio and so on, demonstrates the professionalism that lies within that person. It also reveals the fact that they wanted to make a proper first impression.

If the candidate sought out to look professional for the interview and it did not happen chances are that is as good as it’s ever going to get. In this scenario, the recruiter has to decide whether that person is a good fit for the company and hope at a change for the better in the near future.

Facial Expressions and Body Language

Nothing says more about a candidate than their facial expressions and body language.

Numerous books and research has been done on the science of facial expressions and body language. The key here is to discover whether a person’s facial expressions and body language match the words that are being said.

Facial expressions that do not match the spoken words clearly indicate discomfort or lying and these are not desired traits in any candidate. There are candidates who never make eye contact and stare at a spot behind the employer’s shoulder. This exhibits that they are uncomfortable and show a serious lack of confidence. Consistency between facial expressions and the words spoken is crucial.

Body language is similarly important. If the job applicant is leaning back in his seat and has his legs crossed, he’s too relaxed for an interview setting and may deal with costumers the same way. If they have occupied the entire table with their arms and various accessories, that displays aggressiveness and may turn out to be a difficult employee to manage after being hired.  Another good example is, if during a statement, the candidate looks away from the recruiter or is generally nervous, then he or she is probably not telling the truth. If candidates practically stare into the employer’s eyes as they’re talking that most likely means that what they are saying is 100% fabricated.

It is always going to be difficult to tell whether a candidate is being truthful or not, but the key here is “listen” carefully at what they are not saying.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation, can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/nonverbal-communication-in-the-workplace-1918470

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-use-nonverbal-communication-in-hiring-1919137

http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/nonverbal-communications-important-manager-17543.html

The Basics of Nonverbal Communication (Part One)

Peter F. Drucker once said that “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” and the phrase couldn’t have been truer. In essence, nonverbal communication represents the information a person delivers besides verbal communication. But how exactly do people communicate in a nonverbal matter? Let’s explore the possibilities:

  • Body language: The manner in which a person moves either his hands, arms, legs, sits, stands and other slight movements.
  • Facial expressions: The human face is tremendously expressive, especially the mouth, eyebrows and eyes. As the research done by Dan Hill and other worldwide researchers; emotions such as disgust, confusion, pain, anger and happiness can be easily depicted on a person’s facial expressions or “micro-expressions” as they are known as.
  • Posture: The manner in which you present yourself in public can be used by others to determine your state of mind. For example, if you’re sitting rigidly in your chair, people will, consciously or not, determine that you’re anxious or afraid. On the other hand, if you lean back in a relaxed manner people will assume you’re confident.
  • Eye contact: The majority of people believe that, when eye contact is being made, that person is trustworthy. This is not always the case. Even though eye contact can be used to transmit emotions and to create a bond between speakers, it can also be used to simulate interest and mislead people.
  • Gestures: In particular, hand gestures are obvious communication carriers. The movement of one’s hands can help emphasise an idea or an argument.

If used effectively, nonverbal communication can be a powerful complementary agent to the spoken word and can help people get their message across language and cultural barriers, due to the fact that it’s pretty much universal. In other words, nonverbal communication creates a special bond with verbal communication and adds profound meaning to it.

However, this form of communication must be dealt with great care. Due to its subconscious level, you may express something verbally, but non-verbally you may pass on a totally different idea and that confuses the receiver of the message.

When Nonverbal and Verbal Communication Don’t Match

There are numerous circumstances when this type of situation can occur. For instance, when a manager asks his employee if everything is alright, he might get a positive response, but everything related to that employee’s posture, lack of smile, facial expression and tone will give out the exact opposite response.

Nonverbal communication represents a powerful tool in day-to-day activities such as meetings, hallway interactions and even outside business hours when people are gathering together for a meal. It can also be tremendously helpful when dealing with stakeholders, customers, associates, partners due to the fact that it adds gravitas and trust to the spoken words.

Although it may seem unlikely, nonverbal communication can be taught if carefully practiced and managed. Clear improvements can be observed when delivering your messages across to people. If this skill is not well-trained you may look sloppy and ineffective damaging office relations, thus resulting into low job performances all across your department or company.

A strong business education can take you so far, but without the necessary people and communication skills, there is a chance for mishaps to occur, stammering your professional growth along the way.

Try out our assessment in order to measure the level of wellbeing in your organisation and find out the best approach to improve it.

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 Sources:

https://www.thebalance.com/nonverbal-communication-in-the-workplace-1918470

https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-use-nonverbal-communication-in-hiring-1919137

http://yourbusiness.azcentral.com/nonverbal-communications-important-manager-17543.html

Hyperconnectivity – The New Imperative?

 

Society has reached a stage in which it is impossible for people not to be connected to their devices all the time. Staying in touch has apparently become a social norm due to constant social media updates, imessaging, regular texting, especially for millennials. Maintaining relationships is easier as well with the help of technology such as Skype, Facetime, Google Handouts etc.

In terms of business, technology connectedness has helped people from around the world form companies and makes transactions around the clock. We are walking with powerful “PC’s” in our pockets, almost oblivious about the capabilities we have at our disposal. Large databases are now online through the cloud and that means wherever there is internet, you could access a huge amount of information. News nowadays are being broadcasted on social media as well, while television is slowly losing its credibility and fanbase. All these examples and much more lead to hyperconnectivity. This term not only encompasses the multitude of communication channels and interactions, but it also reveals the impact on a personal and organisational behaviour level.

This has helped create new opportunities and ways of working for companies; regular working hours and locations are now a thing of the past. In the 21st century, everything is digital so it’s absolutely imperative that organisations  stay as connected to technology as possible, because every day new techniques and tools are being released in order to improve everything from productivity to employee engagement.  HR plays an important role here. Learning about these tools and implement them as naturally and effectively as possible so that they create an advantage for the company.

Although the benefits of hyperconnectivity are more than obvious, HR directors and managers must be able to make employees cope better and better with the new levels of stress and pressure due to this “always on” environment. The best solution for this is the simplest solution, an Occam’s razor really: the real human contact. That is why large corporations always organise team activities and social events, in order to encourage face-to-face human interaction. Although very useful, these types of events fail to create a bond between co-workers from departments which are not directly linked together.

Hyperconnectivity also disrupted the usual flow of a company’s life-span. If back in the 1920s, an organisation had  on average 67 years “to live”, nowadays they are around for about 15. The social media industry is the perfect example: first there was Bebo which paved the way for MySpace which was ultimately dethroned by Facebook.

This type of business environment can allow businesses to grow fast and easily find customers, but at the same time, their competitors have access to the same information and ideas, which can prove to be tough to deal with.

It is pretty clear by now that hyperconnectivity is bringing both positives and negatives. Companies can go from rapid development and great productivity to people struggling to understand all these changes and not misuse the information they have acquired. As mentioned above, hyperconnectivity is not only changing the way us people communicate and interact, but also has a continuous involvement in our personal and professional lives.  Furthermore, hyperconnectivity has a strong impact on various industries, research foundations, academic organisations, neo-urbanisation, education and healthcare, so it is our duty to understand and make the best out of it.

Finding the right talent, the best fit for the job and your organisation, can be a very challenging task. It requires deep knowledge of your own organisation’s culture and keen understanding of the candidate’s personality, strengths, interests, work style and other characteristics. Our technology and solutions will do the work for you, helping you find employees who can flourish and reach the highest performance required to constantly bring your company forward.

Request a free demo:

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 Sources:
-HR Weekly
-nhrdnmumb.caiom
-www.itproportal.com