Category Archives: Business

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What’s on your mind? Getting organized.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAcRAAAAJGEwM2Y3ZDUwLTYxOTEtNDAyNC1iNWY4LTFlYzYwNDFiZWFjMA What's on your mind? Getting organized.

What's on your mind? Getting organized.


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Have You Ever Fired Yourself?

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAafAAAAJDg4M2M5ZjYzLTExYTYtNDQ1Yy1iNDRkLTZlODVjYjEwYzQ3Zg Have You Ever Fired Yourself?

Have You Ever Fired Yourself?

Have you ever come home and "fired yourself"?  Somedays are like that, and it takes us a long time to unwind from those moments that are a dig to our self-confidence.  Rebounding from those moments of self-disclosure are important.

In a working environment, I'm to the conclusion that if you aren't in on key decisions and one of the movers and shakers - the fault may lie with them. “Them” being those in power, or above us in rank - someone else in the know. I’m not necessarily challenged by authority unless it has proven to be less than scrupulous.  So if the fault has to find a home, I hope it is with them, the movers and the shakers.  

But what if I am one of the movers and shakers? First, I don't want someone else's mistakes.  I want to start fresh and correct my own mistakes.  It's a difficult task to jump into the middle of a project and take ownership.  Rather, it requires research and time; plus a sense of humility  as you begin to deal with people who have no loyalty toward you at first.  You have to build those relationships and prove your worth.   Let others praise your work - there is greater value in that  than praising yourself.  Humble yourself and you will be lifted up.

Secondly, there are those who would like nothing better than to sit back and talk about opposing issues, and add roadblocks to your designs, inventions, and other such handiwork. To those, I would refer to an old saying, “what other people think is really none of your business”.

“What other people think is really none of your business”

Somedays we have to just go home and fire ourselves.  That is such an awful word “fire” when used in the  context of someone's livelihood.  No one wants to lose a job - or asks to lose a job.  But it happens, for good or bad people get fired, laid off,  or suffer a reduction in force.   When you are the boss, the only person who can fire you is YOU!   That isn’t necessarily a bad thing when you are the boss.  Letting go of pieces of a project and learning to allow others through delegation to complete a task can be rewarding.  For one, you get rid of the stress, and two, you increase the value of one of your employees.  

Firing yourself doesn’t mean you can’t come back the next day with a better attitude.  Usually when you get to this level you are ready for a change, a good swift kick in the you know what, to mend those attitudes of displeasure.  Your own attitudes.

When you walk into the door at work tomorrow give some thought to some valuable points when you do:

  1. You have a job
  2. People like working in a positive environment
  3. Money won’t buy you the thing you value most, respect of others
  4. Talk to the janitor - they know more than you think
  5. Be the janitor!
  6. Smile
  7. Shine it on
  8. Compliment someone who has earned a compliment - be sincere about that compliment
  9. Delegate if you can - but make it worthwhile to the delegatee.
  10. Rehire yourself

It’s how you approach your life.  Not how others approach your life.  You make the final decision on how happy or successful you will be.  Success is measured in happiness.  

"Success is measured in happiness"  

 


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The Way Forward Starts Here – What Went Right

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAU4AAAAJGNhMTVhMjI4LTcyMGMtNGMwYS1hMTQ3LTUwMTc3NmExMDdkYg The Way Forward Starts Here - What Went Right

The Way Forward Starts Here - What Went Right

The title would better read “the way forward starts with you”.  We often find ourselves bewitched with words.  As Sigmund Freud once stated in a lecture in psychoanalysis in 1915 “Words were originally magic and to this day words have retained much of their ancient magical power”.

With just a simple twist of words, we can motivate or provoke a person or group of people into action.  If you add a list of positives words into your speech, over a short amount of time you will begin to see the subtle hints of change in the attitudes and behavior of others around you. When people no longer think you are out to get them, they will feel more at ease with you when discussing matters.     As an example, you might consider changing references to individuals or groups by applying a few of the following:

Positive Affirmation   (Empathy)                 Negative Affirmation (Sympathy)

  • I am glad you told me                                      At least you had….
  • Look for a solution                                           Talk about the problem
  • Your input is valuable                                      Yes, but…..
  • Everything is a process up                              Failed again I see
  • Working together                                              Not open to change
  • Allow others to have an opinion                    Discredit the opinions of others

 Using words to gain cooperation from others is the opposite of expecting opposition.  Even though some people may  have repressed feelings or thoughts due to prior experiences - you can begin to implement change by  breaking  through with positive reinforcement  statements.   Those reinforcement statements  need to be sincere in their delivery.   

Just saying nice things isn’t the same as the meaning and context behind those words.  Were the words earned, were they just, did they pivot one group over the other?  There is a lot to think about. Immediate solutions start with acknowledging the positive.  What went right.

Immediate solutions start with acknowledging the positive.  What went right.

The way forward depends on your ability to get started. It also depends on your ability to want positive change.  You need to seek out solutions and focus a lot less on the problems.  Chances are everyone knows the problem - but does everyone know what went right?  

Learn to focus on the positives that you know work.  Make sure you document thoroughly what went right.  Don’t lose your best resources while  searching through problems that may never be resolved, or even existed.  Sometimes you have to build cooperation  by helping others learn to change. Change doesn’t have to be hard if you explain what went right.  

What went right.   


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Integrity or Disruptive Employees?

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAZhAAAAJDI3YjZjOGEwLTcyNjItNDI0Ny1iMDM4LTA4YTQ0MjQxMzcwMA Integrity or Disruptive Employees?

Integrity or Disruptive Employees

Letter writing is an art, so why would anyone  leave their  company reputation in the hands of an unskilled letter writer?  Don't allow  someone who will cause you to look small and loss the respect of others within your organization,  to write your professional correspondence for you.  Check everything! Check it twice! 

  • Here is a Good Example:   When you have a potential hire with years of experience, education, and a successful background in the area they  are applying for - and you the employer  turn around and  list their  skill sets and qualifications in a rejection letter, as a reason for overlooking them.  It is pretty obvious you didn't read the candidates information.  This sets a very unprofessional precedent for your companies, it's  reputation, and your ability to lead effectively. 

Breath!  Usually these letters are written by someone with NO skill sets in the area they are writing about.  Either that, or they are deliberately writing  to demean and lower your standing in their personal point of view.  Trust me, it has nothing to do with your experience nor your successes.  Your skill sets are probably just fine.  
AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVqAAAAJDI4NmU2ZjE1LTA5YWMtNGQwOS1iNTMwLTZiY2JiNDZhYzgyMw Integrity or Disruptive Employees?Unfortunately letters like this generally come from lower level directors of operations who do  not  have a high enough experience level  to write a letter,  that is both professional, and allows the participants some level of integrity.  

Trust me, it has nothing to do with your experience nor your successes.

Customer Satisfaction

Increasing  customer satisfaction should  always be a top priority, we all know that.  Even when you are looking to hire new employees, customer satisfaction still matters.  New employees can also be viewed as  your customers.  It begs the question however, when did appeasing management over the customer concerns become the new norm?  

Some managers and/or lower level  directors of operations are  masochist who thrives on stress.   We have all seen them, or know one personally.  They never turn off - they are on  24/7.   These  are your disruptive employees. 
AAEAAQAAAAAAAAagAAAAJDQwZDE5YzIxLTU3NGMtNDFiNi1iZTkzLTVlZTZjNDI0NDZhYQ Integrity or Disruptive Employees? These types of individuals are frantically working nights and long hours hoping to achieve that “golden child” status. 

In truth that mentality  is zombie in nature.  What they do is bring that attitude of superiority  back into the office  day-after-day, and that attitude  is exhausting to everyone around them.   To compound the matter, when  administration or other positions of power allow these masochistic employees to write letters to people on the outside, it potentially sets the company up for failure.  

Tracking  when your directors of operational management  get in the way of progress might be something you need to consider in your business if:

  • Do they demean potential new employees by crafting letters with negativity? 
  • Are they always going after the new guy?
  • Constantly bringing up old issues? Why? 
  • Can you link your customer satisfaction to key management decisions that have been the target of some internal personal issue?  
  • If your top management team isn’t doing a whole lot of work-and your regular employees are supplying most of the data and putting in the work load – who is taking credit for that work? 
  • Are your directors of operation forwarding along other employees hard work  as their own work; and then complaining about those employees who  actually did the work?
  • Does your organization have that disruptive employee environment  from too many derogatory attacks on the general public, potentially new employees and current ones? 
  • Do your operations look like a high school gossip hit squad? 

No one is able to navigate and survive, let alone negotiate the  business channels under any of the above unnecessary circumstances.   With that type of disruptive environment - expect  the loss of potentially  new and current valuable employees - and the knowledge they possess.   That can, and will affect your bottom line. 

Management Revolving Door

If you are  trying to hold on to the staff you have - then you  better be listening to them.  Their  feedback can make or break certain possess. But  If you are constantly throwing  ambiguous tasks (like scraps of meat)
AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKrAAAAJDVhZTU5MmQ4LTBmOWUtNDI1OS1iNDQ2LWQ5YzQ1NDI4OTMwNA Integrity or Disruptive Employees?to your employees– don’t wonder why people walk out the door. 
That type of management style is both exasperating   and non-sustainable.   Like a revolving door, these types of directors of operation  use up people for what they can take from them and pass that information  along as their own.  

Work-Life Balance

Your employees understand  that there needs to be a  work-life balance, and if not, they will leave - especially the good ones.  Setting up an environment that is free of negativity is mandatory if you plan on surviving in the real world. Sometimes the answer is as simple as “leave your employees alone and let them do their job”.  But provide them with the necessary tools to do those jobs. 

Look long and hard at your employees  concerns:

  • Where do your employees go to get answers to questions  that might be needed for projects or communication with real world clients?
  • What grief will employees get for asking questions?
  • Do you play favorites with your employees?
  • Do you allow your current operational staff to craft  letters concerning someone's qualifications on the outside of your organization? How about the inside? 
  • Do managers harass and threaten employees  to choose sides in an organization?
  • What moves your needle when deciding who you will like one day, AAEAAQAAAAAAAANkAAAAJGY1NWI2YWM2LTVkMTQtNDNlOS1iZWU1LTgwMTY5YjM0ZTFiYw Integrity or Disruptive Employees?and dislike  the next?
  • Is integrity written into your plans for operations or have disruptive employees  kind of taken over  the place?...and not in a good way.  

The Big Idea

When you begin designing and implementing new processes and procedures, are you thinking in the long term or is the matter a short term “let’s try it out and see if it works” type of process?

A word of caution:

  • New interviewees will quickly pick up on your lack of organization and decide your  total operations is little more than a deception  designed to sink people into positions that don't have much substance. 
  • Changing up the office landscape and dumping in changes that are made to look  long-term , but really are not,  make  people nervous. 
  • If your company isn’t turning a profit, lofty long-term plans  never feel comfortable to anyone.

Office Politics

 Everyone wants to feel of value.   But when you have a group of  aggressive employees each with an edge in their own field and you put them into an environment without built in processes, you might find yourself  in a predicament  of being  a stone’s throw away  from a coup. Especially if your employees have already been approached to choose sides by operational managers or directors.  This type of  political maneuvering  is generally introduced quickly, sometimes as early as the interview stage.   Your ship might already be sunk before you get to set sail. 

Have your employees been asked to choose sides by a manager or director? 

When your managers are constantly throwing changes into the mix, and  hinting of uncertain futures,  unsurprisingly you  will get people stabbing each other  in back and running the bus back and forth over each other.  Regaining control is hard, and winning back over the trust of those  employees that relied on you is an uphill climb. 

Moving The Needle

AAEAAQAAAAAAAANQAAAAJGQyMDU3ODcwLWEwNWItNGRjNi1hZDNhLTIwZWUxZmVlYzk4MA Integrity or Disruptive Employees?Maybe it's time to cut out that layer of masochist operational management and allow your employees who actually produce to carry your projects to completion. Provide employees with the tools they need to be successful as well.   Help encourage  those great employees and potentially new employees to "manage up"  and take on tasks willingly instead of grudgingly.  Then your time can be freed up to  spend on improving products and or processes. Move the needle – get your edge back.   Show integrity in all your dealings. 


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Bureaucracy vs. Free Commerce

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJiAAAAJDQyYjcxOWQzLTA4MzItNGY5Yi04ZGY5LWFhYTJkYjI2YjI5MQ Bureaucracy vs. Free Commerce

Bureaucracy vs. Free Commerce

 Migrating from bureaucracy  or meritocracy  to the world of free commerce is a journey of  new learning, and that learning curve is steep. You quickly learn that the blue collar/white collar tags are real.  The way business is handled within both sectors is uniquely different as day and night.Within your institutions you have departments and policies and procedures that govern your everyday operations to a fine line. Job subsidies and cushiony benefits hold  many employees in their place.   In the world of free commerce you have a business plan, and expectations in meeting your next payroll.    Your staff is made up of people from various backgrounds; some from corporations and institutions, and the remaining have never seen  a mission statement or walked the halls of education.  Fed up with the bureaucracy many often  are attempting to take their lives back in a meaningful way.  Through exploring new career paths and innovation, Americans want more than to be spoon fed tasks day in and day out.

Where we as a society decide to take our country is contingent on the free will of the people to keep bureaucracy at bay. While a cushiony office with the many perks may sound like the ideal dream job,  it’s not without its downside.  When overwhelming policies start to absorb the very creativity of your work force, you end up with corporate zombies.  Those same policies and procedures often bastardize individuals against one another, splitting relationships that were once solid into many pieces.  Bureaucracy is a heartless wheel – and many rats turn upon its squeaky wheel.

Bureaucracy is a heartless wheel 

There is a lot to be said about the free market and those who work in that arena.  They still provide this country with a fair amount of innovation and “guts”.  The “guts” to get out there and change the structure of the market with   new ideas and concepts.  Bureaucracy on the other hand wants to own all your ideas and hand those ideas out to others who really have made no contribution.  It’s like writing an essay and giving the guy In the next cubical part of the credit.  It doesn’t work.     

Hard working free Americans – that is what this country is made up of.   Bureaucracy is not necessarily American.  It is socialist in form, and tends to batter the little guy with its strength.  Money can’t fashion the heart muscle, it can only corrupt it.  When bureaucracy becomes too large, it is used as a weapon to hurt others, all in the name of power. 

Hard working free Americans – that is what this country is made up of.

Helping small businesses to succeed – that is the real dream . If you want to put your money somewhere – put it into small business.  Bureaucracy is bloated and needs to get its hands out of the working mans (and women’s) pocket.


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Dance $ Sticker Shock $

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJYAAAAJDIzOWRhNmY1LWQ1OTUtNDE1NS1hZDJkLTliYzc3OGRjNjc4Yg Dance $ Sticker Shock $

Dance $ Sticker Shock $

In the business world of dance a lot of things go on behind the scenes that the average dancer is unaware of.  First off before I continue,  let me state by saying I'm not defending anyone or studio.

kj Dance $ Sticker Shock $The actual business portion of dance is a financial venture. There are overhead costs that eat at a business’s net worth.   Tuition and Fees help cover  those overhead costs. Overhead costs can consist  of a number of things ranging from:

  • Registration Fees
  • Gym Rental Fees
  • Dance Studio Rental Fees
  • Music Fees
  • Costumes
  • Choreography
  • Team & Solo Competition Fees
  • Advertising
  • Internet to communicate and send billings
  • Teachers
  • Taxes
  • License
  • Loan fees and interest payments
  • ...and more

Tuition and fees are the glue that help keep your studios operational.  Since most dance studios don't have grants available to them unless they are an accredited institution, it becomes necessary to charge fees to help cover the overhead.  There really isn't any profit gained out of the fees.  Yet fees are a necessary component to any dance studio. Tuition alone just doesn't cover it. 

Billing and Contracts

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAKEAAAAJDU4YTQzNTIxLWI4YzMtNDQzMS05ODAxLWQxYTYyYTI4MjQ0Ng Dance $ Sticker Shock $A parent signs a contract at the beginning of the year that says they agree to pay so much money, for so many months out of the year - for their child to dance.  If the parent then receives a bill after the normal competition and/or recital due dates, it is important to make note that a lot of the reason you are charged at this time is to cover overhead costs that are charged back to the studio at net 30 and 60 days.  It's just like a power bill.  Bills for the current season can and will still be coming in 30 to 60, and even 90 days after dance has ended.   Your student may not dance in the last month of your contract, but the overhead still exists.  That is why you sign a contract for a set number of months.

When a studio is not able to collect their tuition and fees then it can become necessary for them to bring in a collection agency.  No studio likes to do that.  But it does happen in the business world.  Unfortunately, when it does happen that bad debt is placed on an individual's financial credit record. 

If you have sticker shock when you get your dance bill, it’s a good idea to:

  • Communicate with your director. Ask your director to list the tuition charges separately from fees.  Just seeing the fees listed separately helps to clarify the billing process
  • Don’t let your bill pile up
  • Don’t assume that if you pay your bill late that interest isn't piling up somewhere else. Someone has to pay it
  • Consider how many dances you can feasibly pay for, before placing your child in classes
  • Also consider that dance is a business, and like any business the rules are in place to make sure the business continues to provide a service in the future. Businesses must have a financial base to operate from

Communicate with your director. Ask your director to list the tuition charges separately from fees.  Just seeing the fees listed separately helps to clarify the billing process

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMSAAAAJDI3MWFiYmZiLTE2NjctNDFiNi04ZjczLTBmYjQ1M2JhNmE1ZA Dance $ Sticker Shock $

Woman and teenager handshake, on blue sky

Opening your own business caught your eye?

The small business administration loan program has new business startup loans in the tune of $30 to $39 thousand dollars.  If you are venturous and looking for an entrepreneurial  venture - this might be your ticket.  

 I get it now!  How can I help?

I know for a fact that the amount of pro-bono work that goes on throughout the dance season is often extensive.  Pro-bono means work done for free. Yes, many of your teachers and directors have worked for free to help individual students continue with their dance studies, particularly when hardship has placed their families in a greater need.

Families who have suffered hardship and can’t provide an avenue for their child to dance can be awarded scholarships to help them until their families can meet their financial needs again. 

Older dancers can be asked to assist in  teaching  in the classrooms to help offset their tuition and fee costs.   Assistant teachers are probably the best thing since sliced apple pie, since many of them bring with them fresh ideas and choreography.  While not for everyone, advanced dancers have a definite calling in this area.

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJHAAAAJDQ0ZDhiYjJjLTMzMDItNGU3ZC1hNmNiLTg3YTI5ZWIzNjJlZg Dance $ Sticker Shock $

Those items listed above are just a few ideas of how you can help.  Teach, offer a scholarship to a needy family, build props, work with your director in financial matters, brings water and healthy treats for long events.  Be creative!

Summary

Running a dance studio is a business, just like any other business.  You have overhead costs associated with a dance studio just like any other business. Contracts have a purpose and need to be respected. 

I wish all interested dancers success in their dance studies, and I wholeheartedly respect those who may opt out due to financial difficulties. It is very understandable. 

 


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The philosophy and principles of business cannot be fully taught from a lecture podium

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAV_AAAAJDY0Y2Y4OGMxLTZiMDAtNDhjNC05YTNlLWY0ZGRiNTg4YWYwOA The philosophy and principles of business cannot be fully taught from a lecture podium

The philosophy and principles of business cannot be fully taught from a lecture podium

 There is a fairly large gap between academia and the business world. What you are taught in college is not necessarily going to equate to real world settings.  Life is not a pre-defined scenario.  Rather, it is more like a jungle of pandemonium; or simply organized chaos.  There are those in academia that tend to struggle with the concepts of business and social welfare when confronted with honest debate about current affairs.   

An unfortunate turn for students attending college or a university is locking horns with a tenured professor who has not worked in the business or social realm for decades.  Their views often can be harsh and demeaning toward anyone who is not willing to see things the way they do.  Their stances is, " You either see it my way or its the highway". 

You either see it my way or the highway.

As harsh as the above statement is, by not following it - it can equate to a student not getting a passing grade or a working recommendation from a department or dean.  The philosophy and principles of business cannot be fully taught from a lecture podium.  You may gain from learning about certain ideologies,  but  unless you have put your practice to the test, an ideology it shall remain.    The business world waits for no one; and is in constant change.

The business world waits for no one, and is in constant change.

What I have found from my own experience is that  professors who have held positions in the business economic sector, tend to be better versed in their styling and presentations.  They speak from knowledge they have gained while working in an active business environment.  They also tend to be more conservative in both speech and demeanor, and often have more engaged students.  Their lectures are rich in culture and diversity, and filled with real-world experiences.  

We all have our past university professors that have either encouraged or inspired us.  I have to acknowledge a few from the Logan and Wasatch Utah areas:  Dr. Scott Allred,  Dr. Dwight  Israelsen, and  Dr. Ronda MenLove.   While there were many others professors in the technological field in which I  was involved, that is another story.   

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAQ6AAAAJDViM2E5ZmU5LWQ1YTEtNDU3MS1hMmM2LWZkZDc5NzY0OGYxOA-1024x768 The philosophy and principles of business cannot be fully taught from a lecture podium                                Dusty and the Crew at Graduation

It is hard to find instructors who have a strong background in business, as well as  social, economic or political backgrounds. What we have to fear from academia are those professors whose ideologies  have taken a more progressive stance, and refuse to adhere to common sense rules, and sound foundations.  They often try to put the horse before the cart,  by injecting too much of their own opinions and biases.  Students miss out on valuable learning processes due to these inadequacies.  While change is inevitable, teaching from a podium filled with one’s own personal opinions, while leaving out key concepts,  defeats the purpose of academia.   

There is a big difference between experience and opinion.  We all have opinions, and we need to form them.  But first we must be taught the smaller concepts so the horse doesn’t run us over right out of the chute.  

Some things to consider while you are preparing your students to enter the chute of life:

  • Practice discipline in oneself, and think before you say it
  • Practice listening to your students, and not your own thoughts
  • Try not to make up your mind before you have even heard what someone has said
  • Your opinion is just that – an opinion. Until it is proved otherwise adhere to the tried and true
  • Don’t destroy your students careers because you do not have the same viewpoint
  • Don’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong, and you will be wrong
  • A cushiony environment where you control all the elements – doesn’t necessarily equate to a happy environment.  
  • Listen to your staff.  They are in the trenches, they report to you
  • Remember, you are also expendable
  • Respect differences, but don’t draw negative or positive attention to them
  • You are not a student, it’s not your learning experience, it’s theirs. If you learn something in the process, you are probably an excellent instructor. 

Your students.


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Leadership, Social Media, Community Outreach, Research and Training, they all mean very different things to different people

AAEAAQAAAAAAAATNAAAAJGQ4NmQ1ZjI4LTRlMmYtNDFjOC05Y2I1LWY4YmY5MDIxMDYzOA Leadership, Social Media, Community Outreach, Research and Training, they all mean very different things to different people
 Leadership, Social Media, Community Outreach, Research and Training, they all mean very different things to different people
 
 Leadership, social media, community outreach, research, and training, they all mean very different things to different people.  What I  have learned is that you need to be able to show your work.  In a job interview, that can become a very interesting prospect to have thrown at you - unaware.  It's those little questions....

  1. Show your work
  2. Show me leadership. 
  3. Tell me how you perform community outreach. 
  4. How many hours a day do you work in social media? 
  5. How many social media applications can you link?
  6. What is content marketing for social media? 
  7. While doing research did you actively engage in experimentation that provided you with factual data that could be useful to your organization or business? 
  8. Training usually has some long-term benefit, plus you provide your learners with material or backup data, where do you store your assessment data?

Have we reached the end of sensibility?  The honest answer is – maybe.  We can’t all be social media managers.  Nor can we thrive in a  constant research environment without some form of monetary benefit keeping us afloat.  Researching a paper is not the same as research that has value leading toward the benefit of society, or changing guiding principles for an overall operation.

Back to my initial statement, leadership, social media, community outreach, research, and training, they all mean very different things to different people.Words DO matter.  Depending on the words you use, they may ultimately define your role in the working environment.  They may also generate feelings, good or bad.   I have learned the meaning of stress, and words that I associate with that stress are called project management and strategic planning.  I'm  not saying they are bad positions, but anyone who has even been in a position  where a large chunk of your daily role was finding yourself buried under a deadline - you'll understand. They can be fun roles also; if you like the fast and furious pace that they often take.   Yea...I live for that crap! 

Yea...I live for that crap!

Leadership verbiage is probably way over-used by many.  Leadership has to deal with taking a lead role in a project or endeavor. Leadership  is not teaching someone how to turn on a computer or find information, that’s training or guidance.  It's not leading a meeting where all you do is discuss the same thing over and over again - that's training.  Leadership is more about directing others and assuming a role of authority and taking responsibility for that position.  When you do community outreach, that generally entails that you have many contacts and work through those contacts to form some sort of alliance that has a similar goal.  It is a bringing together of large circles of people, businesses, and  community leaders for the common good.   

When you do community outreach, that generally entails that you have many contacts and work through those contacts to form some sort of alliance that has a similar goal.  It is  bringing together  large circles of people, businesses, and  community leaders for the common good   

Some people may have a completely different ideology about what constitutes some of the above skill sets.  I have an aversion to those who claim certain skill sets that are not unique to them.  On-the-other-hand, I  enjoy those professionals who put Microsoft Word or Excel on your list of skills.  Basically, unless I know you personally, the only thing I  can pretty much assume is that you can type.  I can probably glean a fair amount of information from your writings, but there has to be more.  Details tend to matter. 

Here are some fun little tools to test your skills.  It’s all hypothetical, it won't determine your life work.  You might be a master in your craft, and end up with a weak score.  It’s a reality check, but a fun one.  What are you really good at?  Are you too good? Can you laugh at yourself and with others when you look at your own scores? 

Have fun with these freebie tests  

 

When you go into an interview it is always handy to have first done a little research about the job you are applying for.  True there are some professional interviewers who can buffalo their way through just about any interview scenario  – but those individuals are rare.  Generally, they do tend to be older and probably come  over-qualified, and they know it.  I hope you are not one of the ones who will  discriminate against them due to age or fear they are after your job.  You might be turning away your companies next Einstein.  Okay, maybe not.   But let's just say your training curve will be lower if you hire them, and we know how training affects your bottom line, not to mention your stress levels.

Have fun learning what you are good at.  Take a good hard look at your resume.  If you have done the skills, and actually understand the meaning of the skill, leave it on there.  If you have tinkered with a skill, be very caution about misrepresenting who you are and what you do. 

I’m to the point where I would like to see more companies go back to a just detailed application and lose the cover letter.   I've seen too many cover letters that don't necessary  represent the true individual, or give me enough information that would be beneficial to my company.   Another issue that clogs the process involves the use of resumes. Who really reads the  resume all the way through?  The federal government has a computer that reads  resumes for them. You have to take a class just to know how to design a federal resume.  It's comprehensive and labor intensive.    

When we did our interviews for our staff, one of us was selected to develop questions based off potential candidate resumes.  A lot of companies do not do that. They read a few lines and put it back into the stack with the other resumes.  I read all of ours.  I was  better able to  gauge the sincerity of many of the candidates that we interviewed.   Read those resumes, and use them to develop your questions. 

I’m not a fan of traditional interviews either.  I dislike the questions that  immediately tell me  a lot about the person holding the interview.  Some really do not  put a lot of thought into the interview process, and probably are just as unsure as the candidate, about what is needed. I am also not a big fan of the behavioral questionnaires either.   The one question that should be banned from all interviews is, “where do you want to be in five years?"  ALIVE! 

Where do you want to be in five years?  ALIVE! 

I understand the need to ask those questions that are burning in your bosom, but geez whiz, lighten up on those older folks - okay?  You gotta have a sense of lightness in an interview.  If I like you and your environment - I'm going to make sure you know before I leave your office - I will be paying you a compliment.  Ask people "how do you feel about this working environment"?  People don't think about the environment they are stepping into very often.  That is the first thing I would look into - because you are going to be spending a lot of time there! 

 For the younger generation who hasn’t yet learned to respond or develop their own questions,  there is a lot of feeling or emotion that determines their selections.    It’s humorous to hear them talk about “I like that one”, or “I think he would be a perfect match”.   Even if their skills are below the standard, they will select that person, based on emotion.  Skills be damned.  It is kind of a slap in the face to higher education and those with experience who are up against a younger touchy-feely kind of interviewer. Okay, to be honest, some of the older and more seasoned interviewers  get emotional as well - but not as much.  Still doesn't make it right.  You do want the right fit, but what are you really gaining?  Tough questions that we often have to ask ourselves after the storm has settled and new staff are learning their places. 

 Age matters as well in some organizations.  Seventy Five  percent of the staff that I hired were all older than I was.   I wasn't biased at all - the  younger individual’s I interviewed did not have the qualifications for the job.  I had people who were in their 60’s and even a couple in their 80’s that worked under me.  I didn’t feel threatened at all.  The age myth is just that - a myth.  The real threat is hiring people who are NOT qualified regardless of the age.

Take your tests, rewrite your resumes, and re-evaluate your skills that you list.  Your endorsements might be all smoke and mirrors if you can’t back them up in an interview.  You will come away looking really bad.

I am a professional  who looks for those out of the ordinary individuals who just want to work.  They don’t have anything to prove, their education and experience shines through.  Now that makes me all emotional in a touchy-feely kind of way; because I've just hired the best! 

 

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A Real Team

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A Real Team

 Ever wonder what a real team looks like, feels like, acts like? I’ve worked on a multitude of different professional teams in my lifetime.  Some were good, some were so-so, and some were just flat out disappointing.  One particular team that I had the privilege to be a part of, rocked in every dimension. It was at the  Chamber of Commerce (Moab) when I was first starting out in the business world, almost 23 years ago.  The Chamber of Commerce at the time was located in the same complex as the local Grand County Travel Council.  The Chamber owned the building.  If you can imagine tourists from all walks of life, business professionals looking to relocate to the area, and local entrepreneurs seeking all forms of statistical information lining the counters and desks – that is where you would find me.  Phones ringing off the wall, a million questions coming at you, and staff running around trying to get literature out to the visiting masses. That was my world.

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There were a number of things we as a team had memorized by heart, the brochures, and all the local attractions:

  • The restrooms are located around back and just across the bridge over the small dry creek
  • Please don’t forget your sunscreen and take plenty of water
  • When asked where the Arch was, we would go into a 2-minute informative speech about Arches National Park, and the many Arches contained inside the park
  • Yes the Chamber board is made up of elected local business owners and concerned private citizens
  • Economic development packets are available at our office or downtown at the County office
  • The film commission does not have an office in our building. Yes we have a brochure for that too
  • The pool, movie theater, bike repair, and where to eat were all hot topics

 As you entered the Chamber of Commerce/Travel Council building, there was a small room off to the left as you first walked in. Housed in this room were tons of  brochures and flyers on the local city and recreational areas.  An overhead TV played continually the lengthy jingles from the ads that helped to  teleport visitors minds to the great attractions that lay before them.  Often sunburned and chapped lipped youngest just off a river or jeeping excursion would run to and fro before exhausted parents could gather them up in an attempt to quiet them down. 

Our miracle gals behind the front counter were Jacque, Melissa, and Annie.  One
of them would burst out with the candy jar and take that heavy parental load off the parents; making little frowns turn into smiles as the children would gladly take the candy and whatever paraphilia was given to them.  Stickers and pens, key chains and other free swag kept the kids at bay, while mom and pop looked over the brochures, planning their next family adventure.

Tucked away in the back were Judith and Rene.  They were always working steadily on the next travel council brochures and upcoming travel events.  They were designing some of the first displays for their overseas trips to sell the world on the idea of the Grand Circle tour ( Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches,Canyonlands and Grand Canyon national parks).

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Val and I  had desks next to each other out in the open for the world to find us. She could be found busy entering all the travel information requests and filling out forms and making labels for all the seasonal guiding companies who came in weekly for marketing information.  I would be planning Chamber events and dealing with the business community concerns; or planning parades and Chamber luncheons,  and making my own packets for relocation and small business development. 

Five o’clock was a good time.  We did things together.  We celebrated each other’s life moments.  We had Saturday coffee down the river road, or gathered at someone’s house for a team get together.   We all knew our rank in the organization, it was team member.  Sure we all had titles, but friend was the best one. 

So many organizations have lost the title of team and friend.  Those titles have been replaced with negative titles that strip the humanity from a person, and leave an empty soul in its place. 

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Being part of a team means

  • You get up and help the gals or guys behind the counter when she or he is swamped with customers
  • You grab the Chamber or Travel phone and ask for a number and  get a call back
  • You help your team mate by going outside with them, to tell that visitor that the bird bath is for the birds and not bathing
  • You gently bring out the fire extinguisher when you light your best friends 30th birthday cake at 7:30 in the morning
  • You lock up when  others can’t
  • You open the building up with a smile on your face and you do it all over again with each other helping along the way
  • Being a part of a team and helping to meet goals and deadlines. Just getting to the bank or the post office can be difficult.  Your team helps you with even these small steps
  • Group hugs – priceless

Watching a team member move away, or move on to bigger adventures is bitter sweet. But we celebrated each other’s success and we acknowledged the fact that they were a part of who we are today – because they were in our lives. It is true I have worked on other great teams, but you never forget your first one. 

A team can be a complex unit of individuals helping each other to research and discover new things.  A team can also be a group of like minded kind people just doing what they do every day.  Simple or complex - celebrate! Celebrate each other in your lives. 

Thanks Ya'll!

 


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The Power of Words

power-of-words-main The Power of Words

The Power of Words

The words we choose to get our point across can be mighty in their delivery or conveyed in the simplest of form. Whether mighty or simple it’s the actions behind those words that make them effective or ineffective.

Words are meant to convey something or prompt action. Those words could be power selling, resume words, inspirational words, words that hurt, mind blowing words, healing, moral, ethical, or inspiring words, etc. When we combine lists of power words with the use of social media in the work place, who benefits the most from their usage? This is a question that a lot of organizations struggle with today. Who is going to monitor the network? How much power are we really talking about when we hook everyone up to the network? Who gets to be the word police?

When working under a global network within an organization, there is usually a standard set of keywords that are unique to that network. The more educated or experienced someone is within the network, the more words they will have available for usage; thus, potentially more power to influence others. When constructing organizational networks for global usage, there needs to be a set of checks and balances for guiding operational use. In the most recent past I have heard rumblings from some about setting up a social system and putting everyone one on it at the same time. Weeeeeeee…look at us.

setting up a social system and putting everyone one it at the same time. Weeeeeeee…look at us.

I believe in keeping the entire organization in the loop when it comes to communicating with employees, middle management, as well as administrative and executive branches. However, how that communication is broken up and what communication is delivered to each department is critical to manual operations as well as research and development, marketing, HR, financials, etc. Words are powerful, and words can be quickly misunderstood and emotional at best. Words change communication within an organization, and can present unforeseen internal challenges. Challenges can be good, so can change. It’s how much change that is taking place at any given time that needs direction. Being able to guide words that are producing change, that requires positive focus on everyones part.

There is any number of communications within an individual department that really doesn't need to be shared with others. “How” information is shared is more the point. The security of information or intellectual information (or technology) must be protected. Not everyone has a need to know.

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It is possible to use interactive video conferencing, desktop meetings, and a host of communication systems to communicate within an organization and its departments. What is not always known is how much information each should share with the other. As well, when do we reach a communication/meeting overload with digital media? It is possible to find yourself in interact conferencing meetings and remain unproductive all week long. Words can also produce non-productively. Words can affect your bottom line. Hint: Lighten up on the meetings okay?

Lighten up on the meetings okay?

To counter balance all these lists of words, we formulate and set up committees, and develop templates for examination and analysis. Employees are given access to certain levels of communication systems (list serves). We tell our employees that this group gets this list of words, and that group gets another set of words. Words can be powerful within your scope of expertise.

We need to keep our employees in the loop about the overall well being of our operations, but only as it relates to the overall productive state of our work environment. Social media tools are great to speed up communication across the distances. But, reality tells us “less is more”.