Practical Tips On Customer Acquisition During A Recession

business partnership concept. Multiple exposure...getty

Leading a company in a recession requires grit, perseverance, and determination coupled with IQ/EQ and real time problem solving skills. As boards look to coach their CEOs and executive leadership teams, I share a few practical / actionable ideas along with a philosophy and approach for consideration:

In times of great uncertainty, it is very important for CEOs and leadership teams to be present, in person, in front of employees. I believe it is valuable that the CEO is spending a very significant amount of time sharing the vision for the future with employees across geographies and regions.

Layoffs / financial austerity and restructuring are part of the tools many companies will use. Employees need the reassurance they are part of the go forward team. Employees need to hear the vision and what to expect going forward as the CEO shares the plan and more importantly on the EQ soft side, galvanizes the company around the company’s mission and creates cultural connectedness.

In these difficult times, employees look for positive points of reassurance. Recognize your employees who are high performing in these difficult times. Employees want to know they are appreciated, valued and that as they tighten their belts and lean in to do the really hard work of getting through this difficult cycle.

Find ways to celebrate and recognize incremental small achievements as well as big ones. Perhaps there is a new product feature being released, or a metric being achieved. Think about how you can more regularly celebrate the team’s achievement and recognize your top performers.

On the practical side, creating morale and esprit de corps is key. Having regular all-hands meetings as well as out in the field in person meetings is very impactful. Think of how you engaged with your team in the early days of Covid.

You may also consider, are there any inspirational motivational outside speakers that can be part of a rotation on all hand’s meetings. At Wynn Resorts WYNN -1.8% the company created deeply emotive and powerful internal videos celebrating the Wynn culture.

These videos were very effective, and they showed the wide range of diverse people and diverse roles and functions across the organization capturing the individuals authentic and genuine feelings creating a esprit de corps reinforcing what is special about your culture. Perhaps there are similar video artifacts you can create.

Employee engagement is key to getting through this tough cycle. Look at delegating some authority to managers and look at giving them a budget so they can give small recognition awards to their team members. Small things can range from hats, gift cards etc., but delegating the authority to the manager and giving them a budget is very effective.

Not everyone on the team has the skills, background and resilience to handle both the growth cycle and the current recession cycle. You may need to make the hard choices of who is not going to make it through the recession cycle. You need the team members who are motivated for the long term and fired up to go through this tough time.

You may want to ask management to review the employees with the lens of who are the right people for this cycle and to make the hard call of who will not make it early. Another important thing to ask your CEO and leadership team is to identify the top performers who really “move the needle”.

This would be a time to lock them in with differentiated equity and long-term incentives. Those that are your most important “life boat picks,” should be rewarded and retained in a differentiated way.

Customer Acquisition:

When looking at functional groups in the company in a recessionary cycle, one of the learnings that is often cited from other downturns is the importance of customer acquisition and retention. I think it is worth doing a very deep dive on some of the actual very small tactical things that the best sales leaders like Steve Benson have identified:

It is valuable to look at how you would forward plan the challenges your CRO CRO -3% and sales team will be facing in this bad economy, here are some examples from the software industry:

1. Great leaders face a crises and look reality in the eye. In times of great change you need to be action oriented and get an accurate picture of what challenges you think your company will face. Build a plan. Have a positive outlook, involve the team and be transparent about the action plan going forward. Identify your most successful reps and find out their customized playbook they are using. They have figured out how to crack the code. Make that rep the hero and teach those behaviors across the organization.

2. Sales leadership must be very close to every deal and be sure it is getting to the key decision makers. Sales leadership often will need to come in and assist to get the big deals closed.

3. Sales reps will need coaching in the down economy. There are new skills you need to help the team acquire. Assess if your sales leader is spending at least 50% of their time coaching the teams and doing in person joint calls.

4. Maniacally looking at the lead generation and qualified leads in all three sections of the funnel are key. (Understand if your deals are stalling at the middle of the funnel or at the end).

5. Buyers will negotiate tougher terms. Deals may get stuck and not close. It will be important to qualify if the buyer is actually authorized to go forward or if there is a companywide freeze. Deep focus on the sales operations and forecast KPIs so you are sure deals are really progressing to close.

6. Decide if you should change your commission plan. In this time of duress do you want to compensate on revenue, or do you want to compensate on margin? Historically in the software industry reps are paid on revenue. Do you want to consider paying them on profit / margin?

7. Look at upskilling your sales organization on negotiating and retrain the sales organization to sell the benefits of the solution. Plan ahead to defend your margins.

8. Your competitors may well become desperate and do significantly deeper discounting. Some companies will be under such duress they may liquidate inventory. Expect that there will be pressure to give away free consulting or other valuable products/services steal your customers.

In an ideal world you would hope to do one very deep layoff rather than multiple cuts. Given that this recession is new and uncharted for many companies you may be going through the pain of more than one cut. The board should consider the wisdom of encouraging management to do the tough planning to aim for one big cut and to try to avoid doing many frequent small cuts.

I hope reading this list has spurred you to your own tactical learnings and experiences. Think about applying this tactical lens to other functional areas and distilling down the most specific tactical decisions that can be made to move the company from its peacetime growth at all costs cycle to a wartime cash conversation profitability footing.

There is a lot of wisdom your friends, colleagues and board members who have been through cycles can share.

Think about allocating time in your next board meeting for a discussion about what learnings each board member has to contribute having lived through different recessionary cycles. You’ll energize your board by asking them to engage. You’ll be surprised by the vibrancy of the discussion as everyone collaborates to help iterate on which experiences and learnings are most appropriate for your company.

I am a 3-time CEO, serial entrepreneur & Founder of Baja Ventures. I cofounded Technology, CPG and Energy Companies. I am an operational executive leading companies

Source: Practical Tips On Customer Acquisition During A Recession

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Related contents:

“From Customer Management to Customer Engagement”. Forbes. Retrieved 29 December 2016.“Power Great Customer Experiences Across Digital Channels”. Retrieved 29 December 2016.

“Data Is The Fuel Of Customer Engagement”. Forbes. Retrieved 29 December 2016.Customer engagement interview with Richard Sedley by Dave Chaffey 29 April 2007, smartinsights.com,Smart Insights (Marketing Intelligence) Ltd.

Advertising Industry ‘Turned On’ by New Measurement Model Archived 2007-04-01 at the Wayback Machine The Advertising Research Foundation. 21 March 2006

“Marketers Mulling ARF’s ‘Engagement’ Definition”. ClickZ.com. 2010-07-14. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007.

Blueprint for Consumer-Centric Holistic Measurement World Federation of Advertisers wfanet.org Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback MachineVohra, Anupama; Bhardwaj, Neha (2016-01-01).

A Conceptual Presentation of Customer Engagement in the context of Social Media – An Emerging Market Perspective”. 4 (1).Fan, Xiaojun; Ning, Nanxi; Deng, Nianqi (2020-03-19).

The impact of the quality of intelligent experience on smart retail engagement”. Marketing Intelligence & Planning. 38 (7): 877–891. doi:10.1108/MIP-09-2019-0439. ISSN 0263-4503. S2CID 216507124.

“He got Facebook hooked on AI. Now he can’t fix its misinformation addiction”. Retrieved 2021-03-16.Guy, Craig the Computer (2021-02-18).

User Engagement” Is Code for “Addiction””. Medium. Retrieved 2021-03-16.Eisingerich, Andreas B.; Kretschmer, Tobias (March 2008). “In E-Commerce, More is More”. Harvard Business Review. 86: 20–21.Eisingerich, Andreas B.; Bell, Simon J. (October 2008).

Customer Education Increases Trust: Service Companies Shouldn’t Worry About Teaching Their Customers Too Much”. MIT Sloan Management Review. 50: 10–11.Bell, Simon J.; Eisingerich, Andreas B. (2007).

The Paradox of Customer Education: Customer Expertise and Loyalty in the Financial Services Industry”. European Journal of Marketing. 41: 466–486. doi:10.1108/03090560710737561.

Can Web 2.0 user engagement be measured? logs.zdnet.com CBS Interactive Archived November 14, 2006, at the Wayback MachineChris Anderson, (2006)

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, Hyperion, eBook, 288pp, ISBN 9781401384630“ARF on Engagement”. Archived from the original on May 29, 2007.

Blueprint for Consumer-Centric Holistic Measurement.wfanet.org Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback MachineCan Web 2.0 user engagement be measured? blogs.zdnet.com

“Traditional TV advertising is losing efficacy: McKinsey, wfanet.org, August 2006”. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.Social: GWI’s Flagship Report On The Latest Trends In Social Media. GWI. 2021. p. 27.marketingforecast.com Archived March 20, 2011, at the

“Advertisers are starting to find television a turn-off”. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007.2006 Annual Online CE Survey Cscape.com Archived March 2, 2007, at the Wayback MachineMark Ghuneim,

Terms of Engagement Measuring the Active Consumer Archived April 5, 2010, at the Wayback Machine, March 26, 2008, wiredset.com blogWebinar Notes: “Web 2.0 How to Measure Social Engagement: Blogs Podcasts and RIAs” by Jeremiah Owyang January 19, 2007,web-strategist.com, blog, Web Strategy LLC

New Media Frets Over ‘Engagement’ and Audience Measurement: Sounds A Lot Like Old Media Scott Karp, publishing2.com, October 25th, 2006See the ‘Blueprint for Consumer-Centric Holistic Measurement’ wfanet.org World Federation of Advertisers Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine

Like Nailing Down A Shadow: The Problem with Social Media Measurement brianoberkirch.com. Blog January 19, 2007

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Teachers Are Not Prepared For Students With Special Needs

Students in Montclair State University’s dual-certification program (Jackie Mader / Hechinger Report)

Strong progress has been made to integrate students with disabilities into general-education classrooms. Educator instruction hasn’t kept up. When Mary Fair became a teacher in 2012, her classes often contained a mix of special-education students and general-education students. Placing children with and without disabilities in the same classroom, instead of segregating them, was a growing national trend, spurred by lawsuits by special-education advocates.

But in those early days, Fair had no idea how to handle her students with disabilities, whose educational challenges ranged from learning deficits to behavioral disturbance disorders. Calling out a child with a behavioral disability in front of the class usually backfired and made the situation worse. They saw it as “an attack and a disrespect issue,” Fair said.

Over time, Fair figured out how to navigate these situations and talk students “down from the ledge.” She also learned how to keep students with disabilities on task and break down lessons into smaller, easier bits of information for those who were struggling.

No one taught her these strategies. Although she earned a bachelor’s degree and teaching certificate in math instruction for both elementary and middle school, she never had to take a class about students with disabilities. She was left to figure it out on the job.

Many teacher-education programs offer just one class about students with disabilities to their general-education teachers, “Special Ed 101,” as it’s called at one New Jersey college. It’s not enough to equip teachers for a roomful of children who can range from the gifted to students who read far below grade level due to a learning disability.

A study in 2007 found that general-education teachers in a teacher-preparation program reported taking an average of 1.5 courses focusing on inclusion or special education, compared to about 11 courses for special-education teachers. Educators say little has changed since then.

A 2009 study concluded that no one explicitly shows teachers how to teach to “different needs.” Because of time constraints, the many academic standards that must be taught, and a lack of support, “teachers are not only hesitant to implement individualized instruction, but they do not even know how to do so,” the report stated.

Fair says teacher-preparation programs should be doing more. At the very least, “You should have a special-education class and an English language learner class,” she said. “You’re going to have those students.”

Between 1989 and 2013, the percentage of students with disabilities who were in a general education class for 80 percent or more of the school day increased from about 32 percent to nearly 62 percent. Special-education advocates have been pushing for the change—especially for students who have mild to moderate disabilities like a speech impairment—in some cases by suing school districts.

Some research shows as many as 85 percent of students with disabilities can master general-education content if they receive educational supports. Supports can include access to a special-education teacher, having test questions read aloud, or being allowed to sit in a certain part of the classroom.

Students with disabilities who are placed in general-education classrooms get more instructional time, have fewer absences, and have better post-secondary outcomes. Studies also show there is no negative impact on the academic achievement of non-disabled students in an inclusion classroom; those students benefit socially by forming positive relationships and learning how to be more at ease with a variety of people.

Alla Vayda-Manzo, the principal of Bloomfield Middle School about 30 miles outside of New York City, said she’s seen the benefit of inclusion for students. The school serves about 930 students, nearly 20 percent of whom have a disability, according to state data. When students with disabilities are included in classrooms with their peers, Vayda-Manzo said the high expectations and instructional strategies “lend themselves to those students being more successful than they would be had they been in a separate, self-contained environment.”“It’s not just getting a child included … that is only a small portion of the battle.”

But as more districts move to make classrooms inclusive, they’ve been caught flat footed when it comes to finding teachers prepared to make the shift. Academic outcomes for students with disabilities have remained stagnant for years, even as more students with special needs are integrated into general-education classrooms. Students with disabilities are less likely to graduate and more likely to earn an alternate diploma that is not equivalent to a general diploma in the eyes of many colleges and employers. And year after year, they score far lower than their peers on standardized exams.

Experts say the problem is that it takes much more than just placing students with disabilities next to their general-education peers: Teachers must have the time, support, and training to provide a high-quality education based on a student’s needs.

Mike Flom, a parent and co-founder of the advocacy group New Jersey Parents and Teachers for Appropriate Education, said many factors impact inclusion’s effectiveness. His twin sons, now in seventh grade, were placed in an inclusion classroom beginning in fifth grade. Initially, Flom said his sons had “mixed reviews” on whether inclusion was beneficial.

“I think the teachers were really motivated to be helpful,” Flom said. “I don’t know the extent to which they were permitted to do the things, or had enough training to do the things, that were required to be more effective.”“It’s not just getting a child included … that is only a small portion of the battle,” he added.

These days, Mary Fair navigates her classrooms with ease. She has learned through experience how to teach students with a variety of disabilities and works with a veteran special-education teacher to modify lesson plans and tests.

On a recent morning in a seventh-grade math-inclusion classroom at Bloomfield Middle School, Fair and her co-teacher, the special-education teacher Christina Rodriguez, started a lesson on the order of operations.

Fair stepped up to the front of the classroom as Rodriguez circulated to make sure students were on task.“We’re starting order of operations,” Fair said. “It’s something you did in sixth grade, but today we are doing it differently.”“Ms. Fair, I want to see if they remember,” Rodriguez said to Fair, who smiled and nodded.“Put your hand up if you remember what the order of operations is,” Rodriguez said.More than half of the students raised their hands

“Who remembers ‘PEMDAS’?” Rodriguez asked, referring to the mnemonic device used to remember order of operations (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division, Addition and Subtraction). More students eagerly shot their hands in the air.

Fair cut in and explained that although they learned PEMDAS in sixth grade, they were going to learn a new rule about the order of operations today. “Take your yellow paper and fold it horizontally,” Fair said, referring to a yellow sheet of paper that sat on each student’s desk.“Like this,” Rodriguez said, holding up a piece of paper and demonstrating how to fold it horizontally.“Like a hamburger,” Fair added.

To an outsider, it’s impossible to tell who is the general-education teacher and who is the special-education teacher. Both Fair and Rodriguez have desks at the front of the room. They switch off during lessons, effortlessly picking up where the other has left off. They both give directions and explain content. They are careful not to fall into what educators say is a common trap: seeing general-education students as the responsibility of one teacher, and special-education students as the responsibility of the other.

That’s how a good inclusion class should be, Rodriguez said, but it takes practice and time. Like Fair, Rodriguez didn’t receive any training in special education before she entered the classroom. She became a teacher through an alternate program. When she got a job teaching special education six years ago, she relied on strategies she learned while working as an aide in a class for students with autism. In 2014, she received her master’s degree in teaching students with disabilities from New Jersey City University; she now teaches a class for Montclair State University’s dual-certification teacher-preparation program.

Although most traditional teacher-preparation programs nationwide do include some training on students with disabilities, usually in the form of one course over the entirety of the program, educators say this course is often generic and perfunctory. Aspiring teachers also may be given assignments in other classes that require them to adapt a lesson for a hypothetical special-education student.

Fair said she had some assignments like those, but “we didn’t really know what we were talking about, because we weren’t taught it.” Her colleague, the science teacher Jessica Herrera, said she was only offered one class in special education—called “Special Education 101”—when she went through a traditional teacher-preparation program in New Jersey.

“A lot of my training was for that ‘middle of the road’ kind of kid,” Herrera said. “I was prepared for the regular ed student.” In her 13 years as a teacher, Herrera has taught some inclusion classes; she said she picked up strategies from working with “good special-education teachers.” When she earned her master’s degree from Montclair State, she was finally taught how to teach a “range of learners,” she said.

Fair and her co-teacher Rodriguez say there are certain things they wish were included in all teacher-education programs, like an explanation of the different kinds of disabilities and ways to address the various struggles students may encounter. They also say teacher preparation should include more classroom management and “subtle ways” to keep students focused and on task.

Mimi Corcoran, the president of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), said teacher preparation should better address topics in special education. “We do a disservice to the teachers we’re sending [to schools] in the way we’re training, and we’re doing a disservice to kids,” Corcoran said. “We’ve got to step up to the plate and think differently and act differently, and that’s hard because everybody gets comfortable and systems are hard to change.”

Some teacher-preparation programs are trying to better prepare graduates to teach students with disabilities, especially in inclusion classrooms. At Syracuse University, George Theoharis, a professor and the chair of Teaching and Leadership, said the school’s elementary special-education program has been one of the leaders nationwide in training educators for inclusive education.

Every teacher who graduates from Syracuse’s Early Childhood or Elementary Education program is dual-certified in special education and spends time in inclusion classrooms. Theoharis says it’s an approach that more preparation programs should take. “All of our programs need to be inclusive,” Theoharis said, referring to teacher preparation. “Regardless of what job teachers get, people need to be prepared to work with all children and see all children as their responsibility.”

At Montclair State, students can receive a dual certification in special education and a subject-level or grade-level range. The school also offers a unique concentration in “inclusive iSTeM,” which specifically prepares science, technology, engineering, and math teachers for inclusion classrooms. Students in the program receive a Master of Arts in Teaching, a certification in math or science, and are endorsed by the state as a teacher of students with disabilities.

Jennifer Goeke, a Montclair State professor and the program coordinator, said the dual-certification program prepares teachers to be hired as either a general- education or special-education teacher. “They know how to perform both roles easily and effectively,” Goeke said.

On a recent afternoon, Goeke was holding class in the Bloomfield Middle School media center. She asked her 17 students to first discuss issues they were having in their “fieldwork classrooms,” where they are currently observing and working with general- and special-education teachers. She listened to a few descriptions of struggles and then reminded her students that part of their job is to be an example for other teachers.

“I’m not trying to minimize or trivialize what you might be learning in your content area,” Goeke said. “It’s very important that you have a strong grounding in the methodology and the philosophy of your discipline … and know how to teach your content.” But, Goeke added, “You have to remember that most people do not have any diverse learners in mind. Their training did not teach them to take those students into account.”

In Montclair’s program, students work with two mentor teachers for a year in an inclusion classroom and in small-group settings. They receive extensive training in how to work with students with disabilities as well as how to effectively teach content, like math and science, or grade levels, like early education or elementary education.

Bloomfield chose to partner with the iSTeM program in 2012, and has hired two graduates of the program, and offered teaching positions to several more, who eventually chose jobs in other districts. The Bloomfield Principal, Vayda-Manzo, says the graduates of the program are “like unicorns in the field,” as it’s rare to find teachers who are dual-certified in general and special education.

Current teachers at Bloomfield have also benefited from iSTeM, Vayda-Manzo said. The program provides professional development for inclusion teachers at the school who agree to be mentor teachers for iSTeM students, and those teachers also observe each other and work with professors from Montclair State. Vayda-Manzo said the school makes sure co-teachers have the same planning periods so they have time to plan lessons together each day.

Herrera, who mentors iSTeM teachers, said the professional development provided through the program has improved her ability to teach students with disabilities. “I feel like I got a lot of additional strategies through that,” Herrera said.

On-the-job training is essential to ensure teachers have the skills needed to teach all students in their classroom, especially those teachers who may have attended teacher preparation years ago or missed out on training about disabilities, according to Mimi Corcoran of NCLD. “We have to be fair for the educator,” Corcoran said. For “many that are already in field, the concepts of special education and how to include kids has shifted, and [teachers] need the supports.”

Vayda-Manzo said it has been an easy choice to continue the program.“I saw the impact that it made in our inclusion classes,” Vayda-Manzo said. “We saw tremendous gains.”

By Jackie Mader

Source: Teachers Are Not Prepared for Students With Special Needs – The Atlantic

Related contents:

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How To Deal With Weaponized Incompetence at Work

Photo: fizkes (Shutterstock)

We’ve all dealt with co-workers who are bad at their jobs, but very good at making their incompetence your problem—from the boss who over-promises, (only to expect you to do all of the work) to the co-worker who can’t quite do their job, (but is all too happy to pass their work off to you).

This habit of feigning incompetence at a task, so as to make it someone else’s responsibility, is called “weaponized incompetence,” and can show up at work in a number of different ways. Sometimes the co-worker may be genuinely incompetent; other times, they are capable of doing the work—they just don’t care to. Either way, their refusal or inability to do the work properly ends up becoming your problem as you are blamed for their failures or forced to take on work they will then take credit for.

How to recognize (and deal with) a boss’s weaponized incompetence

One major sign of weaponized incompetence in a boss is when they seem clueless about what it actually takes to finish a project. They might assume a particular a task takes 2 hours to complete, rather than the more realistic 12 hours. Or they don’t having a good sense of what their employee’s workload actually looks like.

For some bosses, this cluelessness may be genuine. For others, this incompetence is strategic, as they’ve learned they can make a whole bunch of big promises, the hard work of which will get passed off to their employees, who then have to scramble to get the job done, which the boss will get credit for pulling off, when in reality, they offered very little support.

“A lot of leaders get this way because organizations encourage this and reward it,” said Tessa West, a social psychologist at NYU and author of the book Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them.

This then turns into a self-repeating cycle, where the incompetent boss will make promises, force their employees to carry it out without offering much support, and then reap the rewards of their accomplishments, counting on the fact that they’ll be promoted into a different group before higher-ups realize just how little they did.

“The higher and more powerful someone is, the easier it is for them to get away with not doing what they should, often because they don’t want to do it and know that they can get away with it,” said Daphne Jones, a breakthrough career coach and author of the book Win When They Say You Won’t.

There is strength in numbers when dealing with a boss like this: “Their kryptonite is having their targets discover each other,” West said. If people can get together and show a pattern of incompetence, it’s easier to show upper management what is really going on, and how it is affecting productivity. “Widespread problems are scarier to a boss than one-off conflicts between two people,” West said.

How to recognize (and deal with) a co-worker’s weaponized incompetence

Similarly, if a co-worker can’t (or won’t) carry out a number of tasks that would be expected of them, given their position, that is a red flag. “In certain positions, people are expected to have certain broad or specific capabilities and competencies,” Jones said. “If you have them, your coworker likely should, too.”

If they don’t have these skills, they could either be in an ill-fitting role or their incompetence could be their way of passing off these responsibilities to others. When it comes to dealing with co-workers like these, Jones recommends assuming good intentions, but to try and find a way to address the situation, either with your co-worker or with your boss. “It starts with good communication,” she said.

If your relationship with the co-worker is good, you can try asking them if they are aware of any blind spots they might have. If not, it can help to bring up your contributions with your boss, as a way of ensuring that you are receiving proper acknowledgment for your work. “Let [your boss] know in a matter-of-fact way, not as a complaint, of the status of your project achievements and also how you assisted the other person who has deployed weaponized incompetence,” Jones said.

Source: How to Deal With ‘Weaponized Incompetence’ at Work

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Critics By

Incompetence means different things to different people, but generally it denotes the inability to do a job to a satisfactory standard. If an employee completes a task on time, without errors and the way he was asked to do the work, the employee is considered competent. If the final product goes beyond what was asked of the employee, the employee is more than competent. Signs of an incompetent employee include work being submitted late, over budget, with errors or requiring considerable help from others.

Simple Laziness

A common cause of incompetence is laziness, which can lead to errors, lateness and other problems. Not double checking your work is an example of incompetence, since anyone can do that. If you include typos in written communication, these can lead to making your company look unprofessional or can cause other departments to make mistakes. Not bothering to check the status of a project you are managing or not asking for commitments in writing are other examples of sloppiness and carelessness, since you can easily do these.

Poor Communication

Just because you give someone instructions doesn’t mean you’ve done your job, says India Employer Forum. Signs of an incompetent manager include a trail of incompetent employees. A competent employee asks coworkers or clients if they received the message, if they understand it and if they can meet the request.

Waiting until deadline to learn that a project won’t be delivered is another form of incompetence – you should check in with key stakeholders during the course of a project to evaluate its status. If you are not able to properly and clearly communicate your thoughts or your superiors’ instructions to others, leading to problems at work, you are not competent to work with others, no matter how good your intentions.

Lack of People Skills

Companies need to attract and retain customers and employees to stay in business. Examples of incompetence at work due to a lack of people skills include being tactless, overbearing, rude, unclear, upset or not inspiring confidence in the people with whom you work. Driving away a key employee because you only point out his faults and never praise him is an example of managerial incompetence. Trying to acquire a potential customer by telling her she is doing something wrong and making her feel stupid is another example of incompetence.

Lack of Training

Through no fault of your own, you may be given a task for which you have no training or experience. For example, an excellent salesperson can be promoted to a sales manager position, coordinating the activities of the sales department. If that person has no experience creating departmental budgets, setting sales goals, determining prices based on a company’s costs and the market demand and supply, designing commission plans, developing sales materials and otherwise operating as a manager, he could fail. According to Russell HR Consulting, training is one of the main causes of incompetence in the workplace.

Related contents:

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Litchfield, Paul (December 2013). “An Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment – year four” (RTF). publishing.service.gov.uk. London: The Stationery Office. Retrieved 27 December 2018.“ESA – descriptors to determine whether you have ‘Limited Capability for Work’ – Sense”. sense.org.uk. Retrieved 26 October 2015.

“Benefits rules changed for terminally ill claimants”. BBC News. 10 March 2022.“Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)”. gov.uk. “Work Capability Assessment independent review – year 5 – Publications”. gov.uk. Retrieved 11 September 2015.

“Employment and Support Allowance: outcomes of Work Capability Assessments, Britain” (PDF). September 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 September 2015. “ESA: WCAs, mandatory reconsiderations and appeals” (PDF). gov.uk. 8 December 2016. Editorial (23 November 2008). “The benefits of welfare reform outweigh the risks”. The Guardian. Retrieved 30 August 2015.

“A guide to Incapacity Benefit – The Personal Capability Assessment” (PDF). Jobcentre Plus. Retrieved 7 January 2016. McCue, Andy (16 March 2005). “Atos Origin wins £500m government BPO deal”. silicon.com. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012. Editorial (23 November 2008). “The benefits of welfare reform outweigh the risks”. The Guardian.

“Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future” (PDF). DWP. December 2008. “ESA Amendment Regulations” (PDF). March 2011. “David Cameron warns of a new ‘age of austerity'”. The Guardian. 26 April 2009.

“The Coalition: our programme for government” (PDF). “Mental Function Champions « Atos Healthcare blog”. atoshealthcare.com. Retrieved 14 September 2015. “Government response to the WCA independent review – year two” (PDF). “ESA and UC: changes to the WCA”. gov.uk. 29 September 2017.

Williams, Helen (8 February 2001). “Maintaining a harassment-free workplace: APC”. apsc.gov.au. Australian Public Service Commission. Archived from the original on 28 March 2012. Tehrani, Noreen (August 2004). “Bullying: a source of chronic post traumatic stress?”. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling. 32 (3): 357–366. doi:10.1080/03069880410001727567.

Rokonuzzaman, Md.; Rahman, M M (2011). “Workplace Harassment and Productivity: A Comprehensive Role of Strategic Leadership”. Journal of General Education. 1 (Dec): 41–50. ISSN: 2223-4543. PDF

Productivity Commission, “Psychosocial hazards”, in Productivity Commission (ed.), Performance Benchmarking of Australian Business Regulation: Occupational Health and Safety (PDF), Government of Australia, archived from the original (PDF) on March 7, 2014 Landau, Philip (2017-03-29). “Bullying at work: your legal rights”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-10-08.

Lewis, Jacqueline; Coursol, Diane; Wahl, Kay Herting (September 2002). “Addressing issues of workplace harassment: counseling the targets”. Journal of Employment Counseling. 39 (3): 109–116. doi:10.1002/j.2161-1920.2002.tb00842.x. Text.

Brooks, Rosa Ehrenreich (1999). “Dignity and discrimination: toward a pluralistic understanding of workplace harassment”. Georgetown Law Journal. 88 (1): 14–20. Pdf. Ezer, Marius; Ezer, Oana Florentina (November 2012). “Workplace harassment, mobbing phenomenon”. Perspectives of Business Law Journal. 1 (1): 298–304. Pdf.

U.S. Department of Labor. “What do I need to know about – workplace harassment”. dol.gov. U.S. federal government. Retrieved March 17, 2015. Layden, Dianne R. (1996), “Violence, the emotionally enraged employee, and the workplace: managerial considerations”, in Curry, Renée R.; Allison, Terry L. (eds.), States of rage: emotional eruption, violence and social change, New York, New York: New York University Press, pp. 48–49, ISBN 9780814715307.

Williams, Christine L.; Giuffre, Patti A.; Dellinger, Kirsten (1999). “Sexuality in the workplace: organizational control, sexual harassment, and the pursuit of pleasure”. Annual Review of Sociology. 25: 73–93. doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.25.1.73. JSTOR 223498.

Fitzgerald, Louise F. (October 1993). “Sexual harassment: violence against women in the workplace”. American Psychologist. 48 (10): 1070–1076. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.48.10.1070. LeBlanc, Manon Mireille; Kelloway, E. Kevin (June 2002). “Predictors and outcomes of workplace violence and aggression”. Journal of Applied Psychology. 87 (3): 444–453. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.87.3.444. PMID 12090602.

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18 Career Resolutions To Help You Improve Professionally

1

Making resolutions is usually an effective way of creating self-improvement goals. Regardless of your professional field, making career resolutions can help you plan out your career and determine how you intend to achieve your goals.

Knowing which career resolutions to make can be an important part of your future. In this article, we discuss why making career resolutions is important and list 18 potential resolutions that you can use.

Why is making career resolutions important?

The main reason that making career resolutions is important is that it appeals to the human brain’s executive function, which is a set of cognitive abilities that helps people set and achieve objectives. This means that consciously setting goals provides people with a clear vision and direction for achieving them, significantly improving the odds of success. Making career resolutions is also important because it can help you prioritize your goals based on how valuable you perceive them to be for your career.

Consider making some of these 18 career resolutions:

1. Learn a new skill

Regardless of your experience level, there are always more work-related skills you can learn. Try to identify the areas where you can improve and then acquire new information about how you can gain those skills. Depending on the situation, your organization may be willing to finance various training courses.

2. Improve your professional social media profiles

Advancing in your career may depend on the size of your professional network. One of the most time and cost-efficient ways to network with relevant colleagues and stakeholders in your field is by contacting them via a professional networking website. Doing so effectively typically requires you to update your profile with your latest achievements and actively seek to expand your network.

3. Clean out your desk and file cabinets

Having a well-organized workspace can improve your efficiency. Besides making things easier to find, it also helps you eliminate various documents and objects that you no longer use. Resolving to clean out your workspace regularly is a relatively easy way to improve workplace productivity.

4. Join a professional organization

Most professions have associations where fellow professionals can meet and share ideas. Joining one not only helps you expand your professional network but also helps you stay up to date with the latest industry developments. If you’re not sure which professional organization to join, you can ask your colleagues or search for one online.

5. Reassess your work-life balance

Being unsatisfied with how you split your time between your personal and professional lives can affect both negatively. When assessing your work-life balance, the first step is to determine what your ideal situation is and how it differs from your current one. You can also ask for feedback from friends and family, so you can get an outside perspective.

6. Get a new certification

Advancing in a career typically requires learning new skills or improving existing ones. Getting a professional certification can be a good way of doing so and it’s also an effective way of showing others you possess certain skills. Although earning a relevant certification can be expensive and time-consuming, the benefits certifications can offer your career are important to consider.

7. Stay active at work

If you work in an office setting and you’re not required to be physically active during the time you spend at work, you may risk various health issues in the long term. You can combat this and gain more energy during your work hours by finding small ways to stay physically active. Some things you can plan on doing are taking the stairs instead of the elevator, going for a walk every day on your lunch break or working at a standing desk.

8. Update your resume

Even if you’re well-established in your role, updating your resume regularly can prove beneficial. You can set a career resolution to review and update your resume once every year, even if you aren’t currently planning on changing jobs. The main benefit of this resolution is that if you ever consider applying for another job, you can have an updated resume available for the application process with your recent information already included.

9. Improve your communication skills

Communication skills are some of the most transferable professional skills, as they’re useful for any profession that involves interaction with other people. Improving the way you communicate with colleagues, supervisors, clients, suppliers and other people you work with can have a positive effect on your career. You can do so by making minor improvements, like being quicker to respond to emails, asking people what the status of their projects is, thanking those who help you and being more widely available for communication at work.

10. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to focusing on the present time instead of worrying about the future or being concerned with something that happened in the past. Being mindful can help you make better decisions, as it can help you avoid letting irrelevant factors influence you. You can also use it to increase your happiness levels, as practicing mindfulness can help you avoid work-related stress.

11. Read more books

One effective way of increasing your knowledge base is by reading about the things that interest you . If you’re having trouble finding the time to read, making a career resolution and setting aside time for reading every day or every week can help you learn new things and develop your skills. You can use audiobooks to learn while doing other things, like driving to work or exercising.

12. Plan a tech-free weekend

Although modern technology usually helps your productivity, too much of it can cause burnout and a loss of focus. Spending a weekend away from any electronic device from time to time can help you regain focus and clear your thoughts. If you find it hard not using your electronic devices at home, consider spending a weekend somewhere close to nature.

13. Define your next career step

Although it may be difficult to plan your career because of several unknown factors, you can make a resolution to figure out your next step. Having an immediate career goal can help you focus and motivate you to improve your skills. One way to find the next step is by asking your manager how they foresee your professional advancement. If you discover that there aren’t many ways in which you can advance at your current job, you may see it as a sign that it’s time to look for new career opportunities.

14. Research your company’s goals

Advancing in your career often depends on the success of the organization where you work. Understanding what your company needs to do to expand its operations can help you determine how you can help it achieve its goals. Also, knowing what your job’s impact is on the company’s future can act as a motivational factor.

15. Improve your physical fitness

Although working on your fitness is mostly a personal goal, it also provides career benefits. Having a healthy body gives you more stamina and energy to perform your professional duties, and exercising also helps you gain confidence and clear thoughts. A fitness resolution usually has higher chances to succeed if it’s specific, meaning that it may help make a schedule for various physical activities.

16. Get your dream job

If your current job differs from your ideal role, making a career resolution and setting a timetable for when to reach your ultimate career goal can help you achieve it. Research the requirements you currently lack and make a plan to consistently work toward them until you reach the level you want. You can then inquire about job openings and recruiters that may help you get opportunities in your desired role.

17. Track your achievements

Having a positive view of your career can help you improve and plan for the future. You can make sure you remember all your achievements by making a resolution to track them in a notebook or computer file. Reviewing them once a year can help you gain more career satisfaction.

18. Take on a challenging project

You can help advance your personal career goals if you constantly attempt to challenge yourself. By doing so, you can expose yourself to various complex situations and attempting to resolve them can lead to self-improvement. You can make a career resolution to volunteer for the next challenging opportunity at work.

By: Indeed Editorial Team

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The Pandemic Turned LinkedIn Into One of The Wildest Places on The Internet

COVID-19 is raging again, but you would barely know it scrolling through LinkedIn. Inside the social network for business professionals, everyone is constantly humbled, thrilled or honoured. Occasionally, they’re all three at the very same time.

By what, exactly? Their latest promotion. Or their newest client. Sometimes their most-recent deal. They always want you to know they were “humbled by the opportunity” and “grateful for the experience.” Often they’ll attach a glamour shot so you can see for yourself. Won an internal award for overseeing a product launch? Better post a photo holding the plaque.

The humblebrags are just the start of it. On LinkedIn there’s now everything from pregnancy announcements to weight-loss achievements, and people you barely know will write mini-essays about getting fired. They’ll also pen public love letters explaining why they absolutely, positively adore their jobs.

I’ve spent the past few months scrolling through this jungle to decipher whether it was always like this, and I just hadn’t noticed, or if something truly had changed. The very non-academic verdict: There’s been a remarkable shift, and LinkedIn has morphed into one of the wildest places on the internet.

Much of it is thanks to the pandemic. Stuck working from home, white-collar workers have been desperate for stimulation. LinkedIn says user engagement nearly doubled in 2020, relative to the year prior, and in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 there was a 35-per-cent jump in public conversations – that is, posts, comments and reactions – relative to the same period in 2020.

Early in the pandemic, this was comforting. “When COVID hit and there was far less opportunity for social interaction – going out to conferences, meeting people, going to church – I was looking for a replacement,” says Richard Rémillard, a consultant and former executive director of the Canadian Venture Capital & Private Equity Association.

“I’ve got a Facebook account, too, but it’s me going mushroom hunting north of Ottawa.”

Mr. Rémillard is a LinkedIn power user who pops up in my news feed daily. He says his goal has been sensible debate about business issues. It’s a lost dream. “The celebratory aspect of Linkedin has taken over entirely.”

It’s been quite the evolution. In its early days, LinkedIn was seen as a simple way to keep in contact with people from your personal network. Barely anything happened on it. You’d get a request to connect, accept, and then it was mostly radio silence.

If you cared to search around, you could get a few brief updates on former colleagues or classmates who had started new jobs, but the updates were all made with tact. The real value in LinkedIn was for recruiters and headhunters, because it was their dream database.

Around 2014, there was a noticeable shift and the service started to look more like a social-media platform, with LinkedIn pushing a steady stream of content on its news feed to give users something to keep coming back for. Staying true to its roots, LinkedIn invited business leaders to participate by developing relationships with corporate communications teams, and CEOs started posting quarterly updates and personal stories.

Most were boring, likely because human-resources departments and lawyers love to suck the fun out of everything. CEOs also rarely seemed to write the posts themselves – that’s what communications teams are for. But LinkedIn took pride in being a place for civil discourse.

“When people start talking about politics, you see this flood of comments beneath what they are writing, saying, ‘This isn’t Facebook. Please don’t put that here,’ ” LinkedIn’s editor-in-chief Daniel Roth said on the Recode podcast five years ago.

He also noted that ordinary users tended to self-censor. “When you write or share or comment on LinkedIn, your boss sees it, your employees see it, your future business partners see it,” he added, “so people tend to be much more careful about what they say.”

A lot has changed since then, including ownership. Microsoft Corp. bought LinkedIn for US$26-billion in 2016, and there’s also been the influencer revolution, in which individuals promote brands through their social-media accounts. It’s more common now to blur personal and professional worlds.

And then there’s the pandemic. So much of the content LinkedIn users post is the stuff they used to brag or vent about in person, to a small group. Food courts used to be lovely hotbeds of gossip. But that’s been taken away, so now people post for the world to see – with their job titles and company names attached.

I know my frustration about this is child’s play relative to what hospital staff are dealing with right now. But it also feels as if LinkedIn is on the precipice of devolving into something very dark. Scroll through the news feed for long enough and it becomes pretty rage inducing, and there have already been instances of bragging causing outrages, such as when law students bragged about the summer jobs they snagged – leaving their classmates feeling like crap.

What used to be a recruiting platform is far from it today, and that vice-president you barely know, who’s acting like one of your aunties on Facebook who just can’t help but post, is probably affecting you more than you think.

By: Tim Kiladz

Source: Opinion: The pandemic turned LinkedIn into one of the wildest places on the internet – The Globe and Mail

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