6 bad habits holding you back from success

improve yourself

“We all have bad habits, but bringing your baggage along to the office can be the difference between soaring or stalling in your career. Below are six common workplace bad habits to break if you want to continue moving up the career ladder:

1_Being a lone wolf. Collaboration is the key to workplace success. You need to show you can play well with others. After all, managers and those in charge need to be able to lead a team.

2_Saying sorry. Are you apologizing too much in the office? Saying sorry about every little thing implies you are constantly making mistakes, and can undercut your position in the office and with managers.

3_Taking on every project. Do you get excited by new projects? Do you like jumping in with both feet and finding new challenges? These are great attributes to any employee, but it’s time to learn your limits. If you say yes to every single project, you might soon find yourself unhappy, burnt out, and badly overworked. The word “no” is a powerful thing. Be protective of your time and abilities, and know when one more task is just too many.

4_Being negative. Enthusiasm and passion are traits managers look for in superstar employees who get promotions and excel within the company. No one wants to promote someone who looks miserable to step into the office each day. Ask yourself what would make you wake up excited about your workday, and chase after your dreams.

5_Doing things the way they’ve always been done. Innovation is the lifeblood of any company, yet many workers just come into the office to punch their time cards and collect their paychecks. Lack of innovation in companies, it turns out, is a two-way street.

6_Being disorganized. Imagine how much of your work life is being frittered away every time you misplace a report under a pile of desktop debris. People walking past your cluttered workspace are judging you for your organizational chaos.

Your bad habits don’t have to hold you back from career success. If you tackle these habits head-on, you might just find yourself moving on up the ladder.”

Ilya Pozin serial entrepreneur, writer and investor

Anuncis

the 7 things successful people never say

improve yourself

“Here are the seven things you should strike from your workplace vocabulary if you want to achieve the success you richly deserve:

1_“That’s not in my job description”. When you accepted your current position, you had a good idea of what the responsibilities and workload of the role would entail. Throughout the months or years since you settled into your job, however, your role has expanded and changed shape. Some of these changes have probably been good, while others have made you wish for simpler times. When a boss or manager piles another responsibility on your already sore shoulders, it might be tempting to pull out this classic gem of work avoidance.
The better option, however, is to schedule a time to talk to your boss about your role. A specific conversation about your place in the organization is a good time to bring up the particulars of your job description, not when you’re asked to get something accomplished. No matter how stressed you are or how valid the complaint, dropping this phrase only makes you look lazy and unmotivated.

2_“It can’t be done”. Throwing in the towel makes you look like a quitter — and quitters don’t get promoted. Instead of giving up on a project entirely, frame your response in terms of alternative ways to get the work accomplished. Very little is truly impossible, and most managers and executives want forward-thinking problem solvers to climb the corporate ladder. If you offer solutions instead of giving up, you’ll be seen as a valuable member of the team.

3_“It’s not my fault”. No one wants to work with a blame shifter. After all, it’s just a matter of time before this person eventually shifts the blame onto you. Take ownership of your mistakes instead of pointing out where others have fallen short. Admitting to a mistake shows character and the ability to learn and grow from problems. Pointing the finger at someone else strongly implies you’ll never truly learn from your errors.

4_“This will just take a minute”. Unless something will literally take only 60 seconds, don’t overpromise and underdeliver. Saying something will only take “a minute” also has the side effect of undermining your efforts. Most likely the reason the particular task won’t take long is due to the benefit of your professional experience and acumen. By saying it will “just” take a minute, you’re shortchanging what you bring to the table.

5_“I don’t need any help”. The rugged lone wolf type might be the hero of most action movies, but they’re unlikely to become the hero at your company. You might think you can go it alone on a project or in your career, but teamwork is essential. Being able to work with others is the hallmark of a good leader; you’re unlikely to climb your career ladder always flying solo.

6_“It’s not fair”. Life isn’t fair, and often your career won’t be as well. Instead of complaining, you should look for specific and actionable workarounds to the problems you encounter. Is it unfair a coworker got to run point on the project you wanted? Maybe, but instead of complaining, work harder and go the extra mile. Finding a solution will always be preferable in your professional life to whining about a problem.

7_“This is the way it’s always been done”. Doing things the way they’ve always been done is no way to run a business. Just ask some of the companies which toed the line, accepted the status quo, and went under. Adapting to an ever-changing marketplace is really the only way to survive in an economy constantly being disrupted by the next big thing.
You don’t have to be a slave to the trends, but you also can’t stick your head in the sand and hope things go back to normal. Instead, come up with creative solutions to new problems and innovate, and you’ll soon be in the driver’s seat taking your organization into the future.

Everyone wants to be successful, so make sure your words aren’t holding you back. These seven phrases are career kryptonite — by avoiding them, you can fly into your future and become a successful superstar.”

Ilya Pozin founder of Open Me and Ciplex

6 CEO productivity tips to steal for yourself

work smarter

“Everyone knows that leading a company is one of the toughest gigs around. Whether running a small business or a multi-national corporation, CEOs have to manage time, resources, and multiple demands while finding the time and head space to make decisions and plot strategies that will determine the course of their business.

Check out this list of CEO-proven tips that you can apply to any facet of your life:

1. Take breaks every 90 minutes. Human bodies have an energy cycle that operates at 90-minute intervals throughout the day. When we’ve been working on something for an hour and a half or longer, it’s natural that our alertness levels will go down and our attention will wander or we’ll feel drowsy (or start checking Twitter or Facebook).

2. Make yourself uninterruptable sometimes. There’s nothing more frustrating than finally getting into the zone working on a big project, and then being interrupted by a co-worker or boss who drops by your desk. Worse, research showsit can take up to 25 minutes to get back on track after an interruption.

3. Manage your energy, not just your time. You know it’s important to budget your time wisely, but it can actually be more effective to also manage your energy. So try to optimize your workday by doing your most concentration-intensive tasks during your peak hours, those golden hours when your energy levels are at their highest, and avoid meetings during these hours.

4. Don’t be a slave to email. Instead of feeling that you have to respond to emails the minute they hit your inbox, you can save time and stay focused by setting a schedule for checking and responding to email (for example, once in the morning and once at the end of the day).

5. Keep your emails short and sweet. CEOs don’t have time for reading novel-length emails — or writing them, either. Andrew Torba, co-founder of Kuhcoon, even goes so far as to sometimes write one word emails and suggests treating your emails as if they have the same 140-character limit of Twitter.

6. Delegate, delegate, delegate. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by feeling that you have to do everything yourself. Delegating, however, is one of the best ways to manage your time. Passing projects off to other members of the team lightens your load and lets you focus on the projects that you do best. Delegation is the most important fuel for productivity.

Tackling your to-do list may sometimes seem impossible, but if you try making these small changes from the masters, you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish during your workday.”

by Nina Tamburello for The Muse

mission and vision

concepts & definitions

_Why you need it? It fosters discipline, alignes effort and creates focus.
> A mission and vision are crucial for your company: your mission is your reason for being, while your vision provides you the focus for that mission.

_What is a mission? It’s a formal, short statement of the purpose of a company.
> A mission tells everyon why you exist. It’s the reason why your company was first created: to fill a need. So keep it short, simple and operative. And it must clearly define what you do, how you do it and whom you are doing it for.

_What is a vision? It’s about what you want to be and become.
> A vision is complementary to the mission: it helps to provide a focus for it. A vision takes into account the current status of your company and serves to point the direction of where your company whishes to go. So it must be aspirational and it must inspire.”

 Henrik-Jan Van der Pol entrepreneur, management consultant, OKR evangelist

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

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