presentismo laboral

random thoughts

“El tradicional presentismo laboral, consistente en permanecer en el puesto de trabajo las horas que haga falta para dar la impresión de que se está implicado con la empresa, aunque se rinda a medio gas, es un hábito que no acaba de desaparecer. Pero si estás muchas horas, te cansas más, eres menos productivo, te quemas y pierdes salud. Además, el problema del presentismo es que te concentras menos porque sabes que tienes que aguantar muchas horas; el trabajo se dilata en función del tiempo del que dispongas para llevarlo a cabo (si tienes 50 minutos para realizar una tarea, le dedicas los 50 minutos; si tienes 20 minutos, acabas en 20 minutos).”

Nuria Chinchilla profesora del IESE

Anuncis

Avanzando

publications

Los autores de este libro examinan las habilidades de los mejores directivos de este país y como se gestiona el día a día de las grandes empresas. Por sus páginas desfilan ejemplos como Desigual, el Grup Alimentari Guissona, Mango, Mercadona, Grífols o Vueling. Y con ellos abordan formas de mejorar los modelos de ingresos – desde ocupar el espacio de competidores que desaparecen a fidelizar clientes-, de costes y financieros. Y muestran los factores diferenciales de las empresas de alto crecimiento: priorizan la calidad total, apuestan por su equipo y por innovar, son flexibles, prudentes financieramente y están orientadas al cliente.

Avanzando, de Oriol Amat y Pilar Lloret
Profit Editorial, Barcelona, 2014
208 páginas

mejor desayunos de trabajo que comidas de trabajo

work smarter

“Las comidas de trabajo de tres horas se tienen que acabar. Es mejor realizar desayunos, pues la gente está más despierta y son más cortos y baratos. Además, hemos de ser puntuales. Las reuniones de trabajo deben tener hora de incio y hora de finalización.”

José Andrés Rodríguez para el suplementeo ES de La Vanguardia

China became the biggest trader of goods in the world in 2013, overtaking the U.S.

news & events

“According to figures released by Beijing on Friday, the value of China’s imports and exports in 2013 reached $4.16 trillion. This will almost certainly surpass the American figure, which won’t be released until February — but seeing as U.S. goods traded from January to November 2013 amounted to $3.57 trillion, there is little likelihood it will be higher than China’s.”

notícia de http://business.time.com

42 practical ways to improve yourself

improve yourself

“I’ve compiled 42 of my best tips which might be helpful in your personal growth journey. Some of them are simple steps which you can engage in immediately. Some are bigger steps which takes conscious effort to act on. Here they are:

  1. Read a book every day. Books are concentrated sources of wisdom. The more books you read, the more wisdom you expose yourself to. What are some books you can start reading to enrich yourself? Some books I’ve read and found useful are Think and Grow Rich, Who Moved My Cheese, 7 Habits, The Science of Getting Rich and Living the 80/20 Way. I’ve heard positive reviews for The Tipping Point, Outliers and The Difference Maker, so I’ll be checking them out soon.
  2. Learn a new language. As a Singaporean Chinese, my main languages are English, Mandarin and Hokkien (a Chinese dialect). Out of interest, I took up language courses in the past few years such as Japanese and Bahasa Indonesian. I realized learning a language is a whole new skill altogether and the process of acquainting with a new language and culture is a totally a mind-opening experience.
  3. Pick up a new hobby. Beyond just your usual favorite hobbies, is there something new you can pick up? Any new sport you can learn? Examples are fencing, golf, rock climbing, football, canoeing, or ice skating. Your new hobby can also be a recreational hobby. For example, pottery, Italian cooking, dancing, wine appreciation, web design, etc.  Learning something new requires you to stretch yourself in different aspects, whether physically, mentally or emotionally.
  4. Take up a new course. Is there any new course you can join? Courses are a great way to gain new knowledge and skills. It doesn’t have to be a long-term course – seminars or workshops serve their purpose too. I’ve been to a few workshops and they have helped me gain new insights which I had not considered before.
  5. Create an inspirational room. Your environment sets the mood and tone for you. If you are living in an inspirational environment, you are going to be inspired every day. In the past, I didn’t like my room at all because I thought it was messy and dull. A few years ago, I decided this was the end of it – I started on a “Mega Room Revamp” project and overhauled my room. The end result? A room I totally relish being in and inspires me to be at my peak every day.
  6. Overcome your fears. All of us have fears. Fear of uncertainty, fear of public speaking, fear of risk… All our fears  keep us in the same position and prevent us from growing. Recognize that your fears reflect areas where you can grow. I always think of fears as the compass for growth. If I have a fear about something, it represents something I’ve yet to address, and addressing it helps me to grow.
  7. Level up your skills. If you have played video games before especially RPGs, you’ll know the concept of leveling up – gaining experience so you can be better and stronger. As a blogger, I’m constantly leveling up my writing skills. As a speaker, I’m constantly leveling up my public engagement abilities. What skills can you level up?
  8. Wake up early. Waking up early (say, 5-6am) has been acknowledged by many (Anthony Robbins, Robin Sharma, among other self-help gurus) to improve your productivity and your quality of life. I feel it’s because when you wake up early, your mindset is already set to continue the momentum and proactively live out the day. Seth recently wrote a waking up early series which you should check out to help cultivate this habit.
  9. Have a weekly exercise routine. A better you starts with being in better physical shape. I personally make it a point to jog at least 3 times a week, at least 30 minutes each time. You may want to mix it up with jogging, gym lessons and swimming for variation.
  10. Start your life handbook. A life handbook is an idea I started 3 years ago. Basically, it’s a book which contains the essentials on how you can live your life to the fullest, such as your purpose, your values and goals. Sort of like your manual for your life. I started my life handbook since 2007 and it’s been a crucial enabler in my progress.
  11. Write a letter to your future self. What do you see yourself as 5 years from now? Will you be the same? Different?  What kind of person will you be? Write a letter to your future self – 1 year from now will be a good start – and seal it. Make a date in your calendar to open it 1 year from now. Then start working to become the person you want to open that letter.
  12. Get out of your comfort zone. Real growth comes with hard work and sweat. Being too comfortable doesn’t help us grow – it makes us stagnate. What is your comfort zone? Do you stay in most of the time? Do you keep to your own space when out with other people? Shake your routine up. Do something different. By exposing yourself to a new context, you’re literally growing as you learn to act in new circumstances.
  13. Put someone up to a challenge. Competition is one of the best ways to grow. Set a challenge (weight loss, exercise, financial challenge, etc) and compete with an interested friend to see who achieves the target first. Through the process, both of you will gain more than if you were to set off on the target alone.
  14. Identify your blind spots. Scientifically, blind spots refer to areas our eyes are not capable of seeing. In personal development terms, blind spots are things about ourselves we are unaware of. Discovering our blind spots help us discover our areas of improvement. One exercise I use to discover my blind spots is to identify all the things/events/people that trigger me in a day – trigger meaning making me feel annoyed/weird/affected. These represent my blind spots. It’s always fun to do the exercise because I discover new things about myself, even if I may already think I know my own blind spots (but then they wouldn’t be blind spots would they?). After that, I work on steps to address them.
  15. Ask for feedback. As much as we try to improve, we will always have blind spots. Asking for feedback gives us an additional perspective. Some people to approach will be friends, family, colleagues, boss, or even acquaintances, since they will have no preset bias and can give their feedback objectively.
  16. Stay focused with to-do lists. I start my day with a list of tasks I want to complete and this helps make me stay focused. In comparison, the days when I don’t do this end up being extremely unproductive. For example, part of my to-do list for today is to write a guest post at LifeHack.Org, and this is why I’m writing this now! Since my work requires me to use my computer all the time, I use Free Sticky Notes to manage my to-do lists. It’s really simple to use and it’s a freeware, so I recommend you check it out.
  17. Set Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs). I’m a big fan of setting BHAGs. BHAGs stretch you beyond your normal capacity since they are big and audacious – you wouldn’t think of attempting them normally. What are BHAGs you can embark on, which you’ll feel absolutely on top of the world once you complete them? Set them and start working on them.
  18. Acknowledge your flaws. Everyone has flaws. What’s most important is to understand them, acknowledge them, and address them. What do you think are your flaws? What are the flaws you can work on now? How do you want to address them?
  19. Get into action. The best way to learn and improve is to take action. What is something you have been meaning to do? How can you take action on it immediately? Waiting doesn’t get anything done. Taking action gives you immediate results to learn from.
  20. Learn from people who inspire you. Think about people you admire. People who inspire you. These people reflect certain qualities you want to have for yourself too. What are the qualities in them you want to have for yourself? How can you acquire these qualities?
  21. Quit a bad habit. Are there any bad habits you can lose? Oversleeping? Not exercising? Being late? Slouching? Nail biting? Smoking? Here’s some help on how you can quit a bad habit.
  22. Cultivate a new habit. Some good new habits to cultivate include reading books (#1), waking up early (#8), exercising (#9), reading a new personal development article a day (#40) and meditating. Is there any other new habit you can cultivate to improve yourself?
  23. Avoid negative people. As Jim Rohn says, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. Wherever we go, there are bound to be negative people. Don’t spend too much of your time around them if you feel they drag you down.
  24. Learn to deal with difficult people. There are times when there are difficult people you can’t avoid, such as at your workplace, or when the person is part of your inner circle of contacts. Learn how to deal with them. These people management skills will go a long way in working with people in the future.
  25. Learn from your friends. Everyone has amazing qualities in them. It’s up to how we want to tap into them. With all the friends who surround you, they are going to have things you can learn from. Try thinking of a good friend right now. Think about just one quality they have which you want to adopt. How can you learn from them and adopt this skill for yourself? Speak to them if you need to – for sure, they will be more than happy to help!
  26. Start a journal. Journaling is a great way to gain better self-awareness. It’s a self-reflection process. As you write, clarify your thought process and read what you wrote from a third person’s perspective, you gain more insights about yourself. Your journal can be private or an online blog. I use my personal development blog as a personal journal too and I’ve learned a lot about myself through the past year of blogging.
  27. Start a blog about personal development. To help others grow, you need to first be walking the talk. There are expectations of you, both from yourself and from others, which you have to uphold. I run The Personal Excellence Blog, where I share my personal journey and insights on how to live a better life. Readers look toward my articles to improve themselves, which enforces to me that I need to keep improving, for myself and for the people I’m reaching out to.
  28. Get a mentor or coach. There’s no faster way to improve than to have someone work with you on your goals. Many of my clients approach me to coach them in their goals and they achieve significantly more results than if they had worked alone.
  29. Reduce the time you spend on chat programs. I realized having chat programs open at default result in a lot of wasted time. This time can be much better spent on other activities. The days when I don’t get on chat, I get a lot more done. I usually disable the auto start-up option in the chat programs and launch them when I do want to chat and really have the time for it.
  30. Learn chess (or any strategy game). I found chess is a terrific game to learn strategy and hone your brainpower. Not only do you have fun, you also get to exercise your analytical skills. You can also learn strategy from other board games or computer games, such as Othello, Chinese Chess, WarCraft, and so on.
  31. Stop watching TV. I’ve not been watching TV for pretty much 4 years and it’s been a very liberating experience. I realized most of the programs and advertisements on mainstream TV are usually of a lower consciousness and not very empowering. In return, the time I’ve freed up from not watching TV is now constructively used for other purposes, such as connecting with close friends, doing work I enjoy, exercising, etc.
  32. Start a 30-day challenge. Set a goal and give yourself 30 days to achieve this. Your goal can be to stick with a new habit or something you’ve always wanted to do but have not. 30 days is just enough time to strategize, plan, get into action, review and nail the goal.
  33. Meditate. Meditation helps to calm you and be more conscious. I also realized that during the nights when I meditate (before I sleep), I need lesser sleep. The clutter clearing process is very liberating.
  34. Join Toastmasters (Learn public speaking). Interestingly, public speaking is the #1 fear in the world, with #2 being death. After I started public speaking as a personal development speaker/trainer, I’ve learned a lot about how to communicate better, present myself and engage people. Toastmasters is an international organization that trains people in public speaking. Check out the Toastmaster clubs nearest to you here.
  35. Befriend top people in their fields. These people have achieved their results because they have the right attitudes, skill sets and know-how. How better to learn than from the people who have been there and done that? Gain new insights from them on how you can improve and achieve the same results for yourself.
  36. Let go of the past. Is there any grievance or unhappiness from the past which you have been holding on? If so, it’s time to let it go. Holding on to them prevents you from moving on and becoming a better person. Break away from the past, forgive yourself, and move on. Just recently, I finally moved on from a past heartbreak of 5 years ago. The effect was liberating and very empowering, and I have never been happier.
  37. Start a business venture. Is there anything you have an interest in? Why not turn it into a venture and make money while learning at the same time? Starting a new venture requires you to be learn business management skills, develop business acumen and have a competitive edge. The process of starting and developing my personal development business has equipped me with many skills, such as self-discipline, leadership, organization and management.
  38. Show kindness to people around you. You can never be too kind to someone. In fact, most of us don’t show enough kindness to people around us. Being kind helps us to cultivate other qualities such as compassion, patience, and love. As you get back to your day after reading this article later on, start exuding more kindness to the people around you, and see how they react. Not only that, notice how you feel as you behave kindly to others. Chances are, you will feel even better than yourself.
  39. Reach out to the people who hate you. If you ever stand for something, you are going to get haters. It’s easy to hate the people who hate us. It’s much more challenging to love them back. Being able to forgive, let go and show love to these people requires magnanimity and an open heart. Is there anyone who dislikes or hates you in your life? If so, reach out to them. Show them love. Seek a resolution and get closure on past grievances. Even if they refuses to reciprocate, love them all the same. It’s much more liberating than to hate them back.
  40. Take a break. Have you been working too hard? Self-improvement is also about recognizing our need to take a break to walk the longer mile ahead. You can’t be driving a car if it has no petrol. Take some time off for yourself every week. Relax, rejuvenate and charge yourself up for what’s up ahead.
  41. Read at least 1 personal development article a day. Some of my readers make it a point to read at least one personal development article every day, which I think is a great habit. There are many terrific personal development blogs out there, some of which you can check here.
  42. Commit to your personal growth. I can be writing list articles with 10 ways, 25 ways, 42 ways or even 1,000 ways to improve yourself, but if you’ve no intention to commit to your personal growth, it doesn’t matter what I write. Nothing is going to get through. We are responsible for our personal growth – not anyone else. Not your mom, your dad, your friend, me or LifeHack. Make the decision to commit to your personal growth and embrace yourself to a life-long journey of growth and change. Kick off your growth by picking a few of the steps above and working on them. The results may not be immediate, but I promise you that as long as you keep to it, you’ll start seeing positive changes in yourself and your life.”

Celestine Chua founder of Personal Excellence

how to kick ass at public speaking

improve yourself

“Does the thought of speaking in front of a large crowd or even a small group of respected professionals send a chill down your spine? If so, you’re not alone: 74 percent of people suffer from speech anxiety. Glossophobia, or the fear of public speaking, is one of the biggest fears of the average human.

Kicking ass at public speaking doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that takes time and practice to nail down. Here are 10 things great public speakers do, that you can do, too:

1. Find the happy medium between “winging it” and over preparing.
Great public speakers like Martin Luther King Jr. knew the importance of finding a happy medium between these two levels of preparation. The “sweet spot” varies from speaker to speaker, but don’t focus on completely memorizing every word of your speech. Instead, work to understand all of the messages you’re planning to drive home, and your speech will flow naturally.

2. Get to the heart of your audience.
The most effective and captivating speakers are those who can get to the heart of their audience. All great speakers know this trick. Putting together a great speech could be a huge waste of time if you don’t take the time to get to know the audience you’re speaking to and find ways to engage them. Make yourself more approachable and get on the same level as your audience by studying their demographics, interests, values, and desires.

3. Know your end goals.
Every speech should have a clear purpose. Our world’s greatest orators always had their message in mind the entire time they were speaking. Begin writing yours with the end in mind. Maybe it’s to persuade, inspire, or even just inform. Knowing this as you begin writing and preparing is going to work wonders for you in the long run.

4. Get inspired.
Sometimes being more successful at speaking comes down to seeking out inspiration. Many great public speakers thrive on topping their rivals, so why not do the same? Start getting inspired to be a better speaker by watching some of the greatest speeches of all time online, or visit nearby college campuses to attend lectures or speeches from professionals there. Then spend time carefully analyzing their body language, how they weave together their thoughts, how they use accompanying visuals like a slideshow, and how they address the audience. Model yourself to be more like these figures.

5. Record yourself practicing.
No one particularly enjoys watch themselves on camera, but this reflective activity can completely transform the way you speak. You’ll start to realize you tend to fidget a lot or stumble over your words at certain points. Recording yourself speaking will help you to make the necessary tweaks and get you more comfortable with your speaking persona.

6. Get straight to the point.
Avoid overwhelming your listeners by rambling endlessly. The great speakers know the importance of getting straight to the point in their speeches. Keep things as simple as possible and focus on driving home your main message, rather than building up to them in a long-winded or boring manner.

7. Don’t rely on PowerPoint or props.
Sometimes building the coolest presentation to accompany your speech actually takes away from what you’re talking about. In fact, building the best PowerPoint presentation possible can actually confuse and lose the attention of your audience: your message alone should be powerful enough. Having a presentation or props as a part of your speech should only be necessary to back up points or make them easier to remember. And remember to never, ever read directly from a PowerPoint slide. Your audience can read for themselves — you’re there to add and synthesize information.

8. Tell personal stories.
This ties back to connecting with your audience. One great speaker who knows the importance of injecting his speeches with personal stories is President Barack Obama. Almost all of his great speeches drive home personal stories and anecdotes that help better convey the points he’s making. By doing this, you’ll show more passion and make your speech personally relatable.

9. Be aware of your body language.
Don’t forget the importance of nonverbals during your speech. Focus on your facial expressions, where you’re resting your hands, fidgeting, etc. Moving around or using hand gestures is encouraged — it will help you to appear more confident, calm, and collected during your speech. You don’t want to be a stiff, awkward orator.

10. Showcase your passion.
The best speakers are truly passionate about what they’re saying. Aside from the personal stories you may share in your speech, you’ve got to find a way to kick up your passion and let it show. How much you care about your speech will directly correlate to the interest you derive from the audience. People are more apt to listen to someone who truly enjoys what they’re speaking about.

Now, calm your nerves and focus on using these habits of great public speakers to kickstart your transition to a great public speaker.”

Ilya Pozin Founder of Ciplex and Open Me

85 ricos suman tanto dinero como 3.570 millones de pobres

news & events

“La mitad de la riqueza del mundo esta en manos de apenas el 1% de la población.

El 1% más pudiente de EE.UU. concentra el 95% de crecimiento tras la crisis, según Oxfam. Mientras que en Europa, los ingresos conjuntos de las 10 personas más ricas superan el coste total de las medidas de estímulo aplicadas en la Unión Europa entre 2008 y 2010 (217.000 millones de euros frente a 200.000).”

noticia publicada a El País

5 ways to do nothing and become more productive

work smarter

“Sometimes the best thing to do is: nothing.
Here’s a checklist I use for when to do nothing:

_Do nothing when you’re angry.
_Do nothing when you’re paranoid.
_Do nothing when you’re anxious.
_Do nothing when you’re tired.
_Do nothing when you want to be liked.

That’s my checklist. If I feel any of these conditions occurring — like a sniffle in the night that turns into a flu by morning — then I stop. What do I do when I stop? I do nothing. I read a book. I write. I watercolor. I take a walk. I sit and do absolutely nothing.
Think about when you’ve been happiest with your life (and if that’s not a reasonable goal then what is?). Is it during those moments when your thoughts have been frenetic and all over the place? Or has it been those moments when your thoughts have been calm – the depths of a peaceful ocean instead of a stormy surface.
It’s when we are in touch with the magic of our silence that we find our inner creators and can change the universe.”

James Altucher entrepreneur, investor and writer

don’t be a robot

improve yourself

“Personalized and thoughtful professional habits seem to have fallen by the wayside since the digital technology takeover. The fast-paced nature of our workplaces requires instantaneous communication that’s starting to leave us stiff. So drop your robotic ways and save your professional image with these thoughtful tips:

1. Use your phone
Email and instant messaging seem to have taken precedence over the traditional phone call. Sure, it may seem more efficient to shoot someone a quick email, but you run the risk of engaging in a long and unproductive email chain. Instead, pick up the phone and give your customer, client, or coworker a call. Not only will you be able to get to the bottom of things in a more timely manner, you’ll also initiate a more engaging and personalized approach to your communication.

2. Send thank you notes (a thank you email doesn’t count)
Break away from the robotic monotony of sending off less-than-thoughtful emails and start using thank you notes as a part of your professional routine. You’ll leave a more personalized and thoughtful impression on whomever receives them.

3. Personalize your networking endeavors
The point of networking is to build valuable professional relationships, but this can be a challenge if your approach lacks personalization. Find time to meet in person on a more regular basis, whether you catch up over coffee or take a half hour to discuss projects in the office. Facetime is far more personal than regular email and social media correspondence.

4. Lend a hand
Sometimes we end up getting too focused on managing our own work and forget to reach out to our coworkers. Boost the thoughtfulness around your office by lending a hand whenever you have a moment of downtime. Even if someone needs help with something that isn’t directly applicable to your role, you may save them a great deal of time — and learn something for yourself — in the process. They will also be more likely to return the favor in the future.

5. Listen
Tuning out your work environment has become a rule for reaching productivity on a daily basis. But you may actually be missing out on more than you think. Listening to what’s going on with your managers, coworkers, and your company will help you to be a more thoughtful employee and leader. For example, spending more time listening may help you to recognize someone for their work on a particular project.

6. Don’t forget to keep in touch
When the pace picks up at work, keeping in touch often falls to the wayside. Break this thoughtless habit by scheduling a time each week to touch base with the important people in your professional life. This may mean sending a note to valued customers, calling your clients to see how they’re doing, or even taking a coworker out to lunch.

7. Be courteous
Leave your mark on everyone you interact with professionally by increasing your level of courtesy. Picking up the tab, creating a calendar invite before your coworker, or offering to meet at your client’s office rather than having them travel to your own will never go out of style. It’s the little things that will send a more thoughtful and courteous message.

8. Give credit where credit is due
Have we lost the ability to give compliments? Today it seems that we’re so focused on perfecting and promoting our personal brand online that we rarely give credit to others. Step away from promoting your personal work on your social media platforms and give some credit to friends, coworkers, and even your potential competitors. For example, share an article you love and praise the author directly.

Having a professional image doesn’t mean going overboard on the stiff formalities. It’s never too late to make your professional interactions more personalized and thoughtful.”

Ilya Pozin founder of Ciplex and Open Me

how to delegate

work smarter

“To make sure that your investment in an intern, contractor, or employee pays off, follow these strategies:

1) Block out specific tasks and timelines before you hire
Prior to bringing someone on, clarify exactly what you want him or her to do. “Help with administrative tasks” isn’t specific enough. Think of specific job responsibilities and outcomes such as “write monthly newsletter,” “follow up with clients,” or “organize events.” Then estimate about how much time you think these activities will take. (Make sure to plan for more time than they would take you, since you’re the pro.)
Once you’ve define the specific activities, you should start to get a sense of how many hours a week you need someone to work for you or if you only need help around certain times, such as the holidays or a big conference. This clarity on what exactly you expect others to do for you will help you look for the right skill set and hourly commitment (and give you something to measure against after you hire).

2) For the first few weeks: you’re the teacher
If you’ve found someone who is smart and eager to learn, you can expect that in time she will have the capacity to act on her own. But at the beginning, you need to slow down and explain the action steps required for each assignment. This means not making assumptions about what she knows or doesn’t know, providing both good and bad examples, and offering to review work when it’s still in the initial stages.
This keeps the person you manage from heading down a divergent path or producing work that you need to redo. Your new hire can be the most entrepreneurial self-starter in the world, but if you don’t take the time to teach her the ropes, you put her in a position to fail. Remember: delegate, but don’t abdicate.

3) Establish a communication rhythm
Constant interruptions with questions throughout your day have a huge negative impact on productivity. Conversely, never knowing the status of projects can leave you on edge. From the beginning, set expectations for when you both should communicate with each other. It’s likely the work will determine the frequency of status updates. For example, weekly one-on-ones work with some individuals, while others will need check-ins daily or multiple times a day. Clarify how frequently you want communication and the mode that will work best, such as e-mail, instant message, phone, or in-person meetings. This puts your mind at ease and helps set expectations for your new hire.

4) Track the tasks
It’s very easy for to-do items to get lost or forgotten in the swirl of activities. One of the best ways to ensure that what you delegate gets done is to set up a tracking system. This could look like a shared document, task list, or project management program. The tool isn’t as important as the purpose of both you and the person you hired having a clear understanding of what needs to get done and if it has been accomplished.

5) Give feedback, early and often
Not telling someone that something she’s doing or not doing is driving you crazy until you’re ready to fire her is not helpful to you or to her. Give feedback early and often about what’s going right and about areas where you would like to see improvement. Set up monthly lunches or quarterly meetings where you can each focus on the big picture of what is working and what isn’t. When you give ideas for growth, keep your focus on specific enhancements that can be made to the work instead of giving blanket judgments of the work, and even more confidence-busting, criticisms of the person’s character.”

Elisabeth Grace Saunders founder of Real Life & Time Coaching & Training

20 business lessons you don’t want to learn the hard way

work smarter

“Here are 20 reminders that just might save you a headache:

  1. You can’t do everything on your own. Building a team is essential because there are only so many hours one person can devote to a business. Exactly when you reach that limit depends on your other obligations. If you’re a young single person, you might be able to do everything for a year or two. But if you have a family, your dedication will eventually hurt those relationships. Build a team that can carry on when you’re not around.
  2. You may think your product is perfect, but your clients won’t. Listen to user feedback: Your opinion may not be the best one. The key takeaway here is “release your product early and release it often.” You won’t know if you have a great product until it’s in the field and users are beating it up. It’s like some of the contestants on American Idol. They think they’re talented, and their friends and family think so, too, but when they get on a bigger stage, their flaws become obvious.
  3. Do one thing really well. Entrepreneurs try to be everything to everyone, but it’s hard to be the store that sells bait and baby toys and vintage Beatles albums. Specialize, and you can charge for what you do provide. That said, if there is a skill or service that would make your core product better, provide it.
  4. Get paid before you hand over a project to a client. This is especially important if you provide a service. Once you turn over that contract or website or design project, you won’t have much bargaining power. When I was a graphic designer, I watermarked all my projects and hosted websites on a private domain until the bill was paid.
  5. Undercharging is not sustainable. You think, “I don’t need to charge $150 an hour, I can charge $70 and make way more than I was making as an employee!” But you might find out a short time later that your “great” rate is unsustainable. By the time you pay taxes, employees, business licenses, insurance, etc., that $150/hour is looking more realistic. Compete on quality, expertise and your niche focus (see #3) instead of price. When competing on price alone, the clients who are price-shopping will always leave for the person or company that undercuts you.
  6. Patience and flexibility help you survive the lean times. ShortStack started out as a side project at my web and graphic design studio. We weren’t a software development studio, but when a client asked us for a software product, we didn’t say no. We were patient, scaled slowly — partly out of necessity — and it allowed me to build with company without debt.
  7. Build for your actual market. All of my software-building experience so far has been in answer to a demand. It is purely opportunistic. If you’re an app developer and you think “Wow, I think xx industry could use xx,” you might be disappointed. Put another way: I would never start a restaurant without having worked in one…for a long time!
  8. Never enter a partnership without a buy/sell agreement. No matter how well you think you know someone, you just don’t know when he or she will want to retire or do something else. Even if it’s on amicable terms, know how you can get rid of one another when it’s time for one of you to move on.
  9. Be grateful. Appreciate loyal customers who show you there is a demand for what you do. There is no dollar amount you can put on brand advocates. Good will translates to loyal customers.
  10. Look after those who look after you. We offer referral commissions at ShortStack, but it’s very much under the radar. We want people to recommend the product because they like it, not because they’ll say anything for a dollar. If we notice someone said nice things about us publicly, we might send them a t-shirt as a thank you. If they do it again and again, we might say, “Hey, you should become a referrer and earn a percentage of the business you send our way.”
  11. It’s not a sale until it’s paid for. This sounds obvious, but I’ve known small business owners who get very excited about orders and/or meetings with prospective clients. But until the money for those products or services is in the bank, it doesn’t count.
  12. You’ll make more money being “wrong” than proving you are right. Rather than fight with an unhappy customer and say, “You’re using it incorrectly,” or “You don’t know enough CSS to use our product,” we just refund their money. In the long run, these people consume so much of the support team’s time and energy that it’s more cost effective this way. They’re not our ideal client, and that’s OK.
  13. People don’t leave companies — they leave management. This lesson goes for both employees and customers. A manager will lose staff if the employees think they’re not being listened to or valued. Customers will stop using your products or services if they are dissatisfied with them. The quality and reliability of your products and services is a reflection of management.
  14. The way you present your business should be a reflection of your audience. If you have serious clients, be serious. If you have hip, fun-loving clients, have a sense of humor. You have to find your niche and build your content to suit them. For example, Constant Contact and MailChimp do essentially the same thing, but their marketing content reflects very different client bases.
  15. Agree on scope in advance. Have a clear contract before work begins. Once a project goes beyond the documented plan, charge for it. If you agreed to build a website with 10 pages, but soon the site is 20 pages, the client should pay you for them. If your contract makes that clear at the outset, it is easier to control scope creep.
  16. If your company sells a variety of products, make sure you know how to use/operate every single one of them. It might sound like a tall order — depending on how many products your company sells — but learning to use what your company sells will help you look at things with fresh eyes.
  17. When you think you’ve tested your product enough, test it some more. Never release a product until it has been tested and tested and tested by people who don’t work for you.
  18. Understand how social media networks work. When Twitter was first available for businesses, I’d see people use it like an ad in a newspaper. If you go on a channel and use it the wrong way, it could do more long-term harm than good.
  19. Save up. You can operate at a loss for a number of years but you can only run out of cash once. Have a rainy day fund that has at least two or three months’ operating costs in it. And have a line of credit available, even if you don’t plan to use it. Having a CPA look at your books once a quarter is also a must.
  20. Always let the CFO pay for drinks. Cheers!”

Jim Belosic co-founder and CEO of Pancake Laboratories

Ikea rep 100.000 currículums per a 400 llocs de treball a València

news & events

“La multinacional Ikea ha informat de l’inici del procés de selecció de la seva plantilla per a la futura botiga València Alfafaruna vegada tancat el termini de presentació de candidatures, que ha estat operatiu durant més d’un mes –des del dia 2 de desembre del 2013 fins al 5 de gener del 2014– i al qual s’han presentat 100.000 persones, ha anunciat l’empresa en un comunicat.”

elperiodico.cat (9 gener 2014)

I aquest és el futur que ens espera? Quin panorama…

should we all have a 4-day work week?

random thoughts

“Does an extra day at the computer really produce that much more work? Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson thinks the answer is “no” and has structured his company to prove it. This excerpt is from a 2012 post on his blog:

There are so many benefits to working less. It’s hard to list them all, but here are the major ones:

  1. Recruiting is easy (we still pay full salaries and offer a very generous benefits package).
  2. Retention is easier; one of the team told me he regularly gets emails from Facebook trying to win him over, and his answer is always the same: “do you work a 4-day week yet?”
  3. Morale is boosted; on Mondays everyone is fresh and excited – not jaded from working over the weekend.
  4. I get to spend 50% more time with my kids then almost all other dads (three days versus two). Fifty percent. It’s insane! For those on the team without kids, they get to spend this extra 50% on their hobbies or loved ones.

At the time of writing (12-2013), the company was profitable and the company has since removed all managers. Read his entire post here.”

Sean Blanda for 99u.com

rituals not only reinforce behavior, they make us enjoy it more

work smarter

“In a new post by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, she illustrates how rituals go even deeper than previously thought. We all know they can help to make changes stick (think of “hazing” rituals, like Google’s silly hats on new members that makes previously-outsiders feel like part of the team), but they also make us enjoy the ritual, and subsequent subject of, even more.

In one study, participants tasted chocolate, either ritualistically (i.e., with the instruction to break the bar in half without unwrapping it, unwrap half the bar and eat it, and then unwrap the other half and eat it), or as they normally would.  Those who performed the ritual reported finding the chocolate more flavorful and enjoying it more.  They also took more time to savor it, and were willing to pay nearly twice as much for more of it.

This may be old news to marketing companies though. Think about how you might drink one specific brand of beer very differently than others:

Then there’s Guinness – the best-selling drink in Ireland and a global powerhouse available in 100 countries, with nearly two billion Guinness pints consumed annually.  And it all starts with the proper Guinness pour – at an angle, allowing it to settle for two minutes when only three-quarters of the way full, then gently topping off. Guinness fans will fervently swear that a proper pour elevates the stout to heavenly heights and will riot when the pour is botched.

But now that you know as well, adapting this to your own workplace’s culture, product, or even if you’re trying to make a new habit for yourself stick.”

Sasha VanHoven for 99u.com

5 habits of creative masters

work smarter

“Masters of creativity are masters of creativity because they know ‘how’ to think and not necessarily ‘what’ to think. For example:
_Switch perspectives; the more often and the more diverse, the better.
_Question everything; don’t accept [just] anything.
_Chunk up (generalize the problem at hand by making it more abstract) and also chunk down (go deeper and deeper to the root of the issue by making it more specific).
_Change the sentences and the words of the problem statement by rephrasing it; use whatever words you’d like to.
_There’s no right and wrong; separate the parts from the whole.”

Andreas von der Heydt country manager of Amazon Buy Vip in Germany

what we wear affects how we think

improve yourself

“There is a large amount of evidence showing the profound effect clothing has on our thinking style, how we feel, and on the way others perceive us. Use clothing and props to improve your work performance through these simple steps:

a) Dress for the task: the “lab coat” effect
Consider the findings of a study published last year by the Kellogg School of Management. They showed that students were far more accurate on tests of attentional focus and sustained concentration while wearing the white lab coat of a scientist.

b) Be yourself and respect your own style
As well as affecting our mindset, our clothes can also alter how we feel about ourselves. U.S. research published in 2007 found that employees described themselves as feeling more productive, trustworthy, and authoritative when they were wore a business suit at work, but more friendly when wearing casual clothes.

c) Choose your weapons (and accessories) wisely
The psychological effects of clothing on performance extend to tools and props. A 2011 study led by Charles Lee at the University of Virginia showed that university students perceived a putting hole to be larger (thus making more putts) when they used a putter that they thought belonged to the pro player Ben Curtis, as compared with a standard putter.

d) Dress to impress
If you want to appear authoritative it really does make sense to dress smart. A raft of studies have shown that people in more formal attire get served more quickly in shops, have more luck soliciting charity donations, and are usually judged to be more intelligent and academic. A study that looked specifically at female applicants for a managerial job found those who dressed in a smart masculine style were perceived as more forceful and aggressive and were more likely to get hired.

e) Consider your audience
Formal suits aren’t always the way to go. Research shows that people who wear more daring outfits are perceived as more attractive and individual, which could be advantageous in more creative industries. Casual dress can also be more persuasive, depending on your audience. In 2010, a female experimenter reported that students were far more diligent in following her detailed instructions when she was dressed casually (like they were), as opposed to smart and professional.

So the next time you’re getting dressed for work in the morning, be mindful of the psychological impact that clothes can have. Your choice could literally affect your mindset, so try to match your outfit to the type of work you’re planning to do. If interacting with other people is on the cards – consider who they are, the impression you want to make, and especially whether you want to impress them or be one of them. A polished professional look can certainly give you authority. But if you’re collaborating with quirky creatives, or you want to cultivate a friendly atmosphere, you may find it’s advantageous to adopt a more casual, individual style for the day.”

Dr. Christian Jarrett psychologist turned writer

propósito para el 2014: no seas envidioso

random thoughts

“Sólo una persona generosa es capaz de sentirse genuinamente contenta por los éxitos de los demás, incluso cuando él o ella está teniendo problemas. Deja de sentir celos o resentimiento por lo que han conseguido otros, y pensar que si ellos tienen éxito es porque lo han tenido fácil o porque han jugado sucio.
Piénsalo: si relacionas en cualquier medida el éxito con ser deshonesto o aprovechado, nunca vas a poner de tu parte para tener éxito, porque tú no quieres ser percibido como deshonesto o aprovechado. En vez de eso, aprende de ellos. Si han recorrido un camino que les ha llevado hacia el éxito, encuentra en qué medida puedes seguir sus pisadas, y siente respeto y admiración.”

Isabel Anthony Torres La Fórmula Empresarial (seeseuno.es)