Happy Friday and Happy New Year! Each week I like to feature a resource that I have found to be beneficial to my own professional development and may also be helpful in your efforts to Maximize Possibility in your organization. Today I would like to highlight an excellent resource for small business owners - The American Express OPEN Forum. Enjoy!
The Resource: American Express OPEN Forum
What It Is: Open Forum is an online community sponsored by American Express where small business owners come together to network, share ideas and information, and work together towards the common goal of being more effective and successful business leaders.
While it is structured similar to other online forums you may be familiar with, the OPEN Forum offers much more than just than a standard question and answer format. Resident business experts frequently post informative articles aimed at improving your organization's performance and guest entrepreneurs share lessons they have learned in short but engaging video posts as part of its Small Business Rules series. The OPEN Forum even features one of my favorite business authors and bloggers - Guy Kawasaki - as a resident expert who regularly posts articles and actively interacts in many of the discussions taking place.
OPEN Forum is a great place for networking with other business professionals through its Connectodex feature. Connectodex functions like an online business Rolladex that makes it easy to find companies that provides services you may be in need of or to find businesses similar to yours that you can share ideas with and learn from.
You will also find the American Express OPEN Forum to be an excellent place to learn about upcoming professional development events and gatherings. Can't attend an even in-person? No problem, OPEN Forum regularly posts event recaps so you don't have to worry about missing out on a great learning opportunity.
Why You Should Check it out and Consider Joining: I'll be frank, there are a lot of places you can go online to connect with other business owners and professionals in your line of work. However, from my own personal experience I have found this to be one of the best places to learn from fellow entrepreneurs and grow as a business owner.
It is hard to say a whole lot more than that, so it is best if you head over and check it out for yourself. Even if you are not a business owner, there are many lessons to be learned at the OPEN Forum, so don't be shy and go Maximize Possibility!
Happy Monday and welcome back - I hope you a wonderful and joyous Christmas! I like to get each week started off by featuring five posts from the HR, talent management, and leadership development blogosphere that I found to be especially good reading. Below are my top five blog picks from the week of December 20th - 26th, 2010. Enjoy!
Marc Michaelson, Leaders. Better. Brighter.: Finding Your "Passion Nuggets" - The Work That Really Matters to You! - Deep down almost all employees want to do work that is meaningful, makes a difference, and adds value to their organization. However, many feel deprived of meaning in their jobs and as a result lack energy, enthusiasm, and a sense of purpose when they come to work each day. Marc has a nice post with some great suggestions for finding the "passion nuggets" hidden in your position that will help give you a greater sense of meaning in your work.
Ann Bares, Compensation Force: Learning & Advancement: Employee Reward or Employer Obligation - With the resources available for training and career development becoming increasingly scarce in many organizations, these opportunities have come to be seen as a form of reward by employees and managers alike. Given the limited resources available to them, many managers have been forced to try and empower their employees to take charge of their own professional development and career paths. This raises the question of whether learning and career advancement opportunities should be treated as employee rewards or an obligation of the employer to its workers. Ann takes a look at this issue from a total rewards standpoint and shares some interesting info from a recent Towers Watson survey.
Charlie Judy, HR Fishbowl: Goal-Setting is as Easy as 1 + 3 - For many organizations it is time for performance reviews and setting goals for the coming year. Sadly goal setting is something that many organizations and managers do quite poorly by making it out to be much harder and more complex than necessary. Ever the fan of simplicity, Charlie has a great approach to goal setting that is as easy as 1+3: decide on the goal/objective that needs to be accomplished and identify three key results that provide evidence of its success.
Amy Wilson, TalentedApps: Are You a Knowledge Hoarder? - Despite the wealth of communication and collaboration tools at our disposal the sharing of knowledge and information is still a challenge in many organizations. Some employees and managers still hold onto the misguided believe that "knowledge is power", while others simply do not recognize the need to share their ideas and insights with others. All this serves to support and reinforce organizational silos and ultimately hurts an organization's bottom line. Amy has a great post up about the importance of knowledge flow within an organization and hits on a key prerequisite for knowledge sharing to be successful.
Jon Hyman, Ohio Employer's Law Blog: When Did We All Stop Accepting Responsibility? - As a practitioner of employment law Jon is no stranger to seeing the blame, finger pointing, and general avoidance of accountability that has become pervasive in our society. This has led him to wonder when we stopped taking responsibility for our actions and prompted a call for everyone to make a resolution to be more accountable for our own state of affairs in 2011. Amen!
Happy Friday and Merry Christmas! This week marks the official start to winter (although you would have thought it started months ago here in North Dakota!) and with it comes the promise of yet another flu season. As the health and wellness of an organization's workforce can have a direct impact on its performance and bottom line I thought I would take this opportunity to share a great podcast from the folks at Maxim Health Systems to help you and your organization better prepare for this year's flu season.
The Resource: Maxim Health Systems' Flu and Wellness Podcast
What it Covers: In this short podcast Maxim Health Systems seeks to provide the knowledge and information necessary to prepare your organization and its workforce for the upcoming influenza season. Several key areas of workplace preparedness are addressed:
- What you can expect to see this coming flu season
- Who should be immunized against influenza
- What vaccine will be available this season and important information about its supply
- The potential benefits of raising the immunization rate of workers within your organization
- How you can minimize the adverse effect that the flu has on worker productivity
- How to reduce direct and indirect flu-related absences and their associated costs
- 10 things you can do to ensure operational continuity during this year's flu season
Why You Should Download The Podcast: As I mentioned, the podcast is very short. In just over 15 minutes you will learn a lot of important information about the upcoming flu season - I know I certainly did. For example, did you know that the average person misses 2.8 days of work when they catch the flu? Or that for every dollar an organization spends on employee medical care costs related to influenza, four dollars are lost in productivity? Ouch.
Also, with the Centers for Disease Control's recommendation of universal influenza vaccination for everyone over six months in age, the flu shot is sure to be an important part of your organization's health and wellness plan this year. This podcast will help you to better understand how these changes in the CDC's immunization recommendations can reduce the prevalence of flu related absences and also offers some great advice for steps your organization can take to increase the percentage of employee team members who are vaccinated.
All that said, the health and wellness of your workforce can have a major impact on your organization's performance. I can think of few, if any, employee wellness issues that have such a direct and measurable impact on an organization's performance as the absenteeism (and presenteeism) resulting from influenza. Quite frankly, companies today cannot afford preventable losses in productivity.
If you are concerned about the wellness and productivity of your organization (and I know you are!), I highly recommend you download this short but highly informative flu and wellness podcast from the good folks at Maxim Health Systems.
It was another great week for reading HR, talent management, and leadership development blog posts. For your reading pleasure I have culled through many of these posts to pick out five that I found to be especially good reading. Below are five posts from the week of December 13th - 19th, 2010 for you to check out. Enjoy!
Dan McCarthy, DDI's Talent Management Intelligence: Talent Management by the Numbers - The 20 Best Leadership Blog Posts of 2010 - The good folks at DDI (Development Dimensions International) asked Dan to take on the seemingly daunting task of identifying the 20 best leadership blog posts of 2010. Naturally Dan accepted the challenge.
However, instead of sifting through the tens of thousands of leadership posts and articles to hit the blogosphere this past year Dan took a different approach and tapped into his network of leadership bloggers and asked 20 of them to share what they thought was their best post of the year. Check it out for a powerful collection of great leadership reading material.
Sean Conrad, Respectful Workplace: How to Make Employee Performance Appraisals More Respectful - In many organizations the end of the calendar year means it will soon be time for that yearly activity dreaded by managers and employees alike: performance appraisals. To managers the performance appraisal is seen as a difficult and time consuming mandate coming from HR and to the employees who receive the review it is often a belittling and emotionally draining experience.
It is not surprising that the folks at the Respectful Workplace blog find these annual reviews ripe for an infusion of respect. Be sure to read this post for some great ideas on how to make your employee performance appraisals more respectful for both parties involved.
Lola Kakes, Effortless HR: How to be an Effective Leader - There are a lot of factors that affect a leader's level of effectiveness and no secret formula exists that will guarantee success in a leadership role. However, it seems that the best leaders often share certain traits and characteristics. Lola identifies "three Cs" that allow effective leaders to keep projects and initiatives progressing smoothly: communication, coordination, and collaboration.
Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership: Organizational ADD - Wally reports on an alarming trend of business leaders falling prey to management fads that translate into little more than membership in an organizational "Change of the Month Club". He explains the negative effects this form of "Organizational ADD" can have on employees and proposes a more effective approach to achieving lasting organizational change.
Tom Foster, Management Skills Blog: Why I Hold the Manager Accountable - Check out the latest in a series of telling posts by Tom on the ever important topic of performance accountability. In this post Tom identifies one of the key reasons managers are the ones held responsible for the results of their team - even when unexpected surprises come up.
Happy Friday! I hope you have had a wonderful week thus far and that I can help to end it on a high note with a great resource that will help you improve your performance at work and in your professional life. Today I would like to feature a powerful collection of free downloadable tools and resources from The Management Center. Enjoy!
The Resource: The Management Center Resource Library
What It Is: The Management Center (TMC) is a training and development company that works to improve the performance of not for profit organizations dedicated to bringing about a positive change in society. Through their work with numerous Clients TMC has amassed an impressive collection of training tools and management resources that it has made available free to the public.
These downloadable resources cover a number of important business topics such as project management, forecasting, organizational culture, employee selection, training and development, performance management, time management, upward delegation, as well as many others. All told there are over 40 different resources available for you to download and use as you see fit in your organization.
Why You Should Check It Out: First off, let me say that finding a collection of free downloadable resources like The Management Center has made available is incredibly rare. As a talent management consultant I can speak from personal experience that developing the sort of materials TMC has released in its resource library is hard and time consuming work. The fact that they have made over 40 of these resources available free for download in an editable document file speaks volumes to the commitment TMC has to its mission of helping non-profits to change the world. Paying Client or not, The Management Center wants to see all organizations improve their performance.
While The Management Center works primarily with non-profits, the materials available in its resource library are relevant for any type of business. Afterall, sound management theory and practice is applicable in any organization.
As I mentioned, these resources are available in an editable document download (Microsoft Word), so the material is easily customizable based on your organization's unique needs. The Management Center even takes things a step further and offers up suggestions for how you can tweak their materials so they make sense for your team or organization. Pretty impressive I must say!
Bottom line, this is a great collection of resources that is well worth your time to look over. Best off all, they are completely free (email registration required) and fully customizable to your needs. Head over and check out The Management Center resource library today!
Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are excited to embark upon another week of Maximizing Possibility in your organization and professional life. At the start of each week I like to round up five posts from the HR, talent management, and leadership development blogosphere that I found to be especially good reading. Below are my picks for the week of December 6th - 12th, 2010. Enjoy!
Knowledge@Wharton: Adjusting to the 'New Normal': The Consequences of Long-Term High Unemployment - As a society we are continually reminded of the stubbornly high state of unemployment that has resulted out of the economic chaos of the past two and a half years. While much has been reported about how this has impacted the lives of so many Americans, you do not read a lot about the impact high unemployment has had on organizations. The fine folks at Knowledge @ Wharton have a great article that explores some of the intermediate and long term ramifications that high unemployment can have on the way businesses manage their talent.
Nina Simosko, Nina Nets it Out: We All Need to be Critical - Have you ever worked with an employee or fellow team member who spoke with the utmost conviction about the importance of their position within the organization? While it might be tempting to think of such an individual as arrogant and full of themselves, Nina suggests it actually demonstrates a high level of employee engagement and pride in one's work that leads these individuals to believe they are so critical to the organization. She goes on to explain why we all need to feel we are critical to our employer's success.
Tim Tolan, Fistful of Talent: Should Sales Candidates Admit They Are Motivated by Money? - Often times job candidates will be coy about what motivates them - especially when it comes to money. However, when recruiting sales candidates Tim would not even consider hiring one who was not crystal clear on their desire for financial reward of excellent performance. Tim explains why and provides some great tips for identifying a sales candidate's motivation for money.
Maren Hogan, Marenated: The Sucky Thing About Mentors (Good Ones Anyway) - Maren reiterates something you already know and have heard before: you need a mentor. However, great mentors can present a unique set of problems of their own. Maren identifies several of these "problems" and provides some ideas for working around them.
Adam Toren, Young Entrepreneur Blog: How to Motivate Employees - While many employees are motivated by money (see Tim's blog above for more on that topic), not everyone is solely motivated by the financial rewards tied to their performance. Adam serves up some alternative ways to motivate your staff that won't break the bank.
Each Friday I like to share a resource I have found to be beneficial in my own professional life that I feel will also help in your quest to Maximize Possibility. Today I have an excellent resource for anyone who, like me, finds themselves traveling, working from hotels, or otherwise spends much of their work time away from a traditional office setting. Enjoy!
The Resource: Work Shifting
What It Is: Work Shifting is a blog dedicated to helping those of us who spend most of their time away from a traditional office environment and rely on the internet and modern technology to get work done from just about anywhere. The site features contributions for an impressive collection of writers (including blogging guru and social media rockstar Chris Brogan) who share their thoughts, opinions, experiences, and tips for utilizing the web to achieve high levels of performance regardless of where one is physically working from.
Why You Should Check It Out: As someone who has worked as a telecommuter, managed employees in remote locations, and now find myself working as much from a hotel room or airport terminal as I do from my company's headquarters in Bismarck, ND I can tell you that working in a remote setting or virtual environment presents a unique set of challenges. Work Shifting is a great site that addresses these challenges and provides you with tips and resources to be as productive and effective as possible from anywhere on the globe with internet access and a power plug in.
Whether it is staying disciplined without a boss or manager to watch over your every move, dealing with the loneliness and isolation that can result from a lack of human interaction, or sharing new collaborative technologies that will make your life easier and more productive, the writing staff at Work Shifting is committed to helping you perform at the highest level possible while reaping the benefits of working remotely.
The folks at Work Shifting recognize that no single person has all the answers for optimizing productivity in a virtual environment. As such they have amassed an impressive collection of writers and bloggers who contribute regularly on all things related to working remotely via the internet. At Work Shifting you will find two of my favorite bloggers - Sharlyn Lauby (AKA The HR Bartender) and Chris Brogan - as well as over twenty others who bring a wealth of experience and insight into the world of work that takes place away from the confines of an office setting.
If you work remotely or manage employees who work outside the office, I cannot recommend highly enough that you check out the Work Shifting blog - it is sure to open your eyes to the emerging world of work outside of the traditional workplace!
I like to start off each week by featuring five posts from the HR, talent management, and leadership development blogosphere that I found to be particularly good reading. Here are my picks for the week of November 29th - December 5th, 2010. Enjoy!
John Hunter, Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog: Don't Treat People Like You Want to be Treated - Growing up as a child your mother likely taught you the Golden Rule of treating other people the way you would like to be treated yourself. While it sounds great in theory, the truth is that the Golden Rule contains a fatal flaw that few people recognize. The flaw is that not everyone likes to be treated the same way you like to be treated. John has a great post debunking the Golden Rule and proposes a better approach to treating others.
Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership Blog: Breaking News: Introverts can be Great Leaders - When you think of a stereotypical leader the vision of a charming, charismatic, and outgoing individual likely comes to mind - the kind of person who could strike up a conversation with a doorknob and inspire it to his or her viewpoint. As a society we have been conditioned to think that an outgoing and gregarious personality is a prerequisite for being a leader. Wally has a news flash: introverts can be great leaders too and shares what characteristics are more important for leadership than one's personality type.
Michael Haberman, HR Observations: The Knowledge Retention Dilemma: A Few Suggestions - There is a lurking problem that many organizations have had the luxury of overlooking in recent years as the struggling economy artificially inflated retention rates and made retirement seem like a distant dream for many aging workers. That problem is "brain drain" and it refers to the loss of organizational knowledge held by employees who retire or are lured away by better opportunities with a new employer. The effects of "brain drain" can be quite significant as companies spend countless dollars and resources reacquiring the knowledge that is lost when employees leave their organization. Michael has three suggestions for approaching this knowledge retention dilemma.
Alexander Kjerulf, Chief Happiness Officer: My TedX Copenhagen Speech - Alexander recently presented at TEDx in Copenhagen on a topic that he is incredibly passionate about: happiness at work. Check out the video of his speech where he discusses a word unique to the Danish language - arbejdsglæde - which translates to "happiness at work" and goes on to share some ideas for how you can improve your happiness level at work.
Erica Pinsky, Respectful Workplace: The Power of Recognition - Erica shares a great personal story about how a small token of recognition and acknowledgement was able to re-energize her efforts at work and reflects on a few ways that managers can use the power of recognition to reward their employees, improve performance, and boost engagement and organizational loyalty.
Each week I like to share a resource that I feel can help you to Maximize Possibility in your organization and your professional life. Today I would like to shine the spotlight on The Conference Board - a leading source for business statistics and economic indicators.
The Resource: The Conference Board
What It Is: The Conference Board (TCB) is a non-profit organization that works to gather, analyze, and report information to business leaders in an effort to help them be more effective in advancing their organization's success. Its mission is clear and concise: "To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society"
You are most likely familiar with TCB as the publisher of highly followed reports such as the Consumer Confidence Index, the CEO Confidence Index, and the Help Wanted Online Labor Data Series. However, The Conference Board does much more than just report on leading economic indicators. With over 1400 member companies, TCB gathers high level executives to share their thoughts and opinions on the current state of the business environment and uses this information to drive further research and reporting that is shared with the masses to via conferences, webcasts, white papers, roundtables, and other peer learning sessions to accomplish its above stated mission of improving organizational performance.
The Conference Board seeks to drive thought leadership and business results by focusing on four key topical categories: 1) corporate leadership 2) economies, markets, and value creation 3) high-performing organizations, and 4) human capital.
Why You Should Check It Out: First and foremost, you should follow The Conference Board because it publishes several leading economic indicators gauging where the economy is heading which can be used to help make both strategic and tactical decisions in your organization. Numerous forecasting models are based off economic indicators like the Consumer Confidence Index and it is critical that you follow and understand how these leading indicators relate to your organization's operations.
I really like how The Conference Board takes a high level approach to monitoring the business climate. By regularly gathering top executives from major global organizations it has its finger firmly placed on the pulse of what business leaders are seeing in their respective industries and reports this information to help paint a broader picture of what is happening in the national and world markets. I cannot think of any other organization that has such close contact with as many high level executives and actively works to share the information it gathers with business professionals across the globe to help them be more effective leaders.
TCB is also a great example of how an organization should structure its mission and values that we can all learn from. As listed above The Conference Board's mission statement provides a clear purpose for existence and its carefully defined values of relevance, openness, collaboration, innovation, and integrity provide crystal clear guidance on how it will execute this mission. You might say they "eat their own dog food".
Much of the data and information that The Conference Board produces is available free of charge via its website and can greatly help to improve your leadership effectiveness and business management skills. I cannot recommend highly enough that you head over and check it out for yourself! If you really like what you see, consider a paid membership with TCB - it will open many doors of opportunity to you and your organization.