Summer is slipping by…are you keeping up with your work?

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IMG_1415During the summer it is difficult to stay motivated. After Memorial Day, coworkers with families begin to disappear. Both parents ands kids are anxious to escape the routine of school and all of their extra curricular activiites. From June to midJuly, work productivity can slow way down. New employees, who may not have yet accumulated significant vacation time are left behind. The buzz in the office slows down and motivation to keep up the pace disappears. Summer feels like a good time to slip out early and enjoy friends, family and fun. So what’s the worry?

The summer teaser can turn into trauma if you find yourself way behind on meeting goals for the year when up north, the leaves start to fall.  From September to December, the year feels unbelievably short. Hard to count December as a full work month since many people are out once again enjoying the holidays. It becomes a short work month. Projects and deliveries are hard to accomplish after Halloween because frankly, you just run out of time to properly wrap things up.

The best thing to do is to recognize the potential for a work slow down midyear with a little extra effort in the Spring. But if you find yourself after the baseball All-Star break concerned about how the year is passing you by – from a work perspective, it is time to begin climbing out of the hole now, instead of waiting till Labor Day. Think of your summer as a valley. If activity at work declines from Memorial Day to Independence Day, then through each week in July and August, increase your productivity by 10-15% through Labor Day, so you can be at your best during early Fall. You won’t be cheating your summer fun, but you will start climbing back into the full swing of things and be positioned to hit your targets for year end goals.

Start a Blank Board Exchange

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ImageCoworkers comes to the workplace with different expectations backgrounds, relationships and experiences. We have to be careful to pick and choose whom we confide in. If you aren’t sure, then wait. We are all anxious to settle in and get to know our new work family.   Mindful execution will pay off. Here is how. In your first month you’re going to meet a bunch of people that you don’t know. It’s hard to know why someone joined a particular department. Their job may be the same but their path to this career is different than yours. While you’re learning about your coworkers, I suggest you create a blank board and see if others write on it first. I would withhold some personal information, particularly your opinions. You want to start off on a good foot but something you may say can hit a sensitive spot.  Try the Give and Get sequence.  Ask a question or two about a safe subject such as departmental goals or time in service, and see if you receive a response.  If your questions are not answered with enthusiasm or accompanied by opinion, then hold back on your own.    Work on slowly building a rapport before straying too far away from the day to day work routine.  Creating an atmosphere where others can share their opinions will give you a test field on whether it is appropriate to share yours.   

The Road to Success Starts with Self Discovery

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Early on in my careerI purchased a DayTimer planner.   I kept in it all the important information:  contacts, meeting notes, my calendar and technical rules of thumb.  When I found myself in a difficult situation, particularly one that I created, I wrote it down to remind myself never to do it again.  This summer, I will be releasing my first book, based on a collection of experiences throughout my career.


 

TImagehis retrospective look created an introspective environment.  Consider starting a journal of your own.  The journal doesn’t have to be in a leather bound book or even a fake leather three ring notebook!.  It could be an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper that you wad up and stick in the pocket of your book bag.  Write down a key phrase to remind you of a recent experience, particularly those that went very well or poorly.  The experience will likely be imprinted in your mind forever, and by reading the key work or phrase, you will have immediate recall, especially if it was embarrassing or harmful.   Take it out, read it and shove it back in your book bag,  once a week or once a month.   By taking a look back at your journey, you can plan for your future. 

Transitioning From College to Business

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Congratulations!  With a diploma in hand and hopefully a set of car keys or a train pass in another, you will be starting you new job soon!  Favor this blog for tips on how to make the transition from the academic world to the business environment.   All your hard work has paid off!  I am sure your parents are proud and relieved!

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HlpSum1 Graduation Pic

In college, we need to succeed as individuals.  You took the college entrance exam without help. Your diploma had only your name on it.  Even if you work amid teams, at the end of the semester, each person has their own personal GPA.  Transforming to a team-oriented approach will take some practice.   Remember this quick expression – “There is no “I” in team”.  When something isn’t going right at work and your frustrated by the meeting, the phone call, the presentation, the training,  remember that you have a new agenda now,  fitting in with your colleagues is more important than ever.  

After a conversation with someone, think back on how many times you used the word “I”.  How can you change it to the word we? Did you feel like you just had to get something off your chest and didn’t really listen to the other side?  Did someone make a suggestion on a different way to present information and you just wanted to do it your way?  This is all a part of transforming to the “we” environment   Putting others first and learning to work better with others will take some practice at work and at home. If this is starting to sound too deep, and you are beginning to feel like you are losing your identify or individualism, recognize that succeeding as an individual is critical to succeeding as part of an organization.  

Good luck and check back with HlpSum1 – Business Learning Beyond the Classroom  for your personal survival guide!

 

On Being Polite and Kind

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If you are having a hard time accepting that being polite, professional and kind will result in a successful outcome, I suggest trying the following experiment. Place a call to a friend or plop yourself down in the chair next to your boyfriend or spouse. Greet them by saying Hello. Make a mental note of their response. Most likely they said “Hello” or “Hey”. Ask them a simple question such a “How are you?” Note the response. Most likely the response began with a direct but short answer to this question, followed by a reciprocating question such as “and how are you?” We receive our speech training as toddlers from our parents or guardians through mimicked rote responses. When addressed in a simple polite tone, you will get a simple polite answer.  This applies to negative comments as well.  When you ask a question or make a comment dripping in sarcasm, such as “Is your budget report going to show up late, again, this month? The response that this triggers is likely to be something defensive and equally dripping with disdain, such as “well if you didn’t keep changing the dates for when it is do, I might be able to plan better.”

Sometimes you just meet that person that no matter how hard you try – you can’t stand someone. Your personalities don’t mesh, A change in venue or a different moment in time will not make a relationship with this person any more palatable. If you are going to intentionally burn a bridge, make sure it passes the NIML (Never In My Life do I want to be friends with you) test.