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A Good Resume Is Not Enough– Five More Things Job Seekers Need To Land A Job Interview

After hiring for thousands of jobs over 20+ years of recruiting, I have seen many different styles of hiring. Sometimes, a company looks at resumes (submitted in response to a job posting or via a recruiting agency), picks a few candidates to interview and hires one person from that process. This is the traditional job search to which too many job seekers tailor all their job search efforts. However, that traditional hiring process is less and less common.

Companies are strapped for time and hiring power, and looking at stacks of resumes takes a lot of resources. I received over 1,000 resumes for a recent HR Director search. Companies know that some of the best talent is gainfully employed and not responding to job postings or even recruiters, so companies need to change their hiring to attract this desired candidate pool. For the most competitive jobs, I am actively building a candidate pipeline even before an opening is finalized.

The net result is that more companies are not selecting candidates from a stack of resumes, but rather identifying them by other means. Relying only on job postings or recruiting relationships to find job openings will not account for all available jobs. Companies are also vetting candidates earlier in the process, well before the first interview. Assuming you only have to drop a resume to get seriously considered will take you out of the running prematurely.

Having a good resume is not enough for today’s job search. Here are five things job seekers also need to land a job interview:

1 – Back door references

Most companies conduct a reference check before they hire someone. Even if you get a job offer, your offer letter might state that is conditional upon receipt of satisfactory professional references. Many job seekers are familiar with this reference check process and prepared to share a list of past supervisors and other professional references (though job seekers are not as prepared with their references as they could be!).

Back door references are different from this reference check process, in that these references are checked before an offer is decided (sometimes even before a first interview is decided). These references are also not supplied by the candidate, but rather dug up by the employer. For example, you list Company X as a former employer on your resume, and I contact a recruiting friend over at Company X to say, “John Smith was referred to me as someone who’s great at branding, and apparently he worked at your place.

Did he do well there?” This is clearly not an in-depth reference, but it’s a pulse check on whether to go any further. I have been involved with searches where my hiring clients would not move forward with any candidate where we couldn’t get at least one positive back door reference.

How would you fare in a back door reference check? Will former colleagues say positive things about you? Will former colleagues even remember you?

2 – Online profile

Even when I worked with Fortune 500, brand-name employers who had a large candidate database in-house, I still relied on LinkedIn research to identify candidates. Remember that employers love passive candidates who are not necessarily looking. These candidates surface because someone recommends them, they are well-known in their industry or they are found online.

Your online profile is not just your LinkedIn profile. It also is your activity, and everything the comes up when you do an Internet search on your name – media mentions, publications, social media activity. I once saw an executive search almost derailed because an internet search brought up a controversial comment by the candidate on a common online community (think Quora or Reddit). Some employers dig deep into your online activity. In addition, if your job or industry entails online activity – e.g., marketing, technology, media – your own online profile and activity is a reflection of your work.

Have you run an Internet search on yourself? Do you have a Google alert on your name? Is your online profile optimized?

3 – Work sample

Your online profile may already include work samples, such as a website you worked on, a report you wrote or a presentation you delivered. If you don’t want to broadcast these so publicly, you should at least have them readily available upon request. More and more employers are asking for a sample of work related to the job opening at hand.

This is partly to shave off time in the hiring process – by looking at samples in advance, employers can make even more cuts before the interview process. Asking for work samples also differentiates candidates who are willing and able to go the extra step to land the job. Candidates unwilling to provide a work sample might not be that interested in the job. Candidates unable to provide a work sample might not have the experience they claim. Better to find out now before investing any more hiring resources into that candidate.

Do you have tangible samples of your work? If you don’t yet have a portfolio of projects you have worked on, start curating now.

4 – Skills test

For a digital marketing job, candidates were sent two sample emails from a direct response campaign and asked to evaluate which was stronger and why. This gave a window into how they might design a direct response email. For a fundraising role, candidates were asked to write an introduction letter to a large donor asking for a meeting. For an executive role to lead a regional office, candidates were asked for a letter of intent to outline their particular interest in the organization.

Unlike the work sample which is something you have already done, the skills test is something completed during the hiring process and directly related to the job opening. Over the years, I have found more and more companies including a test of some kind. Many companies give a test after an initial phone screen, but some companies start with the test before any interviews. Most of these tests don’t take a lot of time, but similar to the work sample, they are effective in weeding out candidates unwilling or unable to go the extra mile.

How would you fare in a skills test for a job or company you want? Do you have the skills to do the job right now? Career changers, you cannot present like you need to learn on the job (a common mistake that career changers make!). Do you know enough about the company to write a letter of intent or outreach to its key customers?

5 – Recorded interview

Even if a company doesn’t ask for any of the above and jumps right to the interview, it still might not be the person-to-person interview you are expecting, but a recorded interview using an online service, such as Big Interview or InterviewStream. With these online services, companies pre-record screening questions and candidates conduct the interview remotely. While this simulates a first-round interview, it still requires extra work on behalf of the candidate.

Video interviews are not the same as live or phone interviews and require different preparation. You will have to learn how to use the specific technology for whatever interview recording platform the employer decides to use. Like a skills test or work sample, you have an extra step to complete before any chance of meeting someone at the company.

Are you prepared for a recorded video interview? For which jobs and companies are you willing to go the extra step?


Companies are asking for more upfront, and you decline at your peril

I once interviewed a marketing candidate who refused to take an Excel-based marketing test that would have taken less than 15 minutes. She said she was insulted to have to take it given her years of marketing experience, but since she initially asked me to send her the test, I wonder if she didn’t think she would do well. Regardless, she didn’t move forward in the process because my client only wanted to look at candidate resumes, along with their marketing test score.

I once recommended a friend to a consulting job, and the hiring company was using a video interview platform and also asked for a letter of interest and work sample. That’s three extra steps, but none of these were particularly hard or time-consuming. Video interviews typically have fewer than 10 questions, if not five.

A letter of interest is a cover letter but focused on interest for that job and company – you should have a template that can be tweaked in short order. Job seekers should always have work samples. Yet my friend refused to comply, stating that if the company were serious about her they would be willing to consider her on her resume alone.

That’s a dare that could cost her an interview. Yes, extra steps take time, but not that much time if you really know the job and want the company – which is precisely why these extra steps are becoming more common. If you are unwilling to go the extra mile, you may not move forward to the interview process.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

As a longtime recruiter and now career coach, I share career tips from the employer’s perspective. My specialty is career change — how to make a great living doing work that you love. My latest career adventures include running SixFigureStart, Costa Rica FIRE and FBC Films. I am the author of Jump Ship: 10 Steps To Starting A New Career and have coached professionals from Amazon, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, Tesla, and other leading firms. I teach at Columbia University and created the online courses, “Behind The Scenes In The Hiring Process” and “Making FIRE Possible“. I have appeared as a guest career expert on CNN, CNBC, CBS, FOX Business and other media outlets. In addition to Forbes, I formerly wrote for Money, CNBC and Portfolio.

Source: A Good Resume Is Not Enough– Five More Things Job Seekers Need To Land A Job Interview

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Strengthen This One Thing Before You Quit Your Job Or Change Careers

As my career coaching work has evolved over the years, I’ve trained my focus on helping mid- to high-level professionals who are at a decisive crossroads in their jobs or careers, and are committed to making the best next move. Most often, these men and women know something critical has to change in their work, but they’re confused as to exactly what needs modification. There’s so much going wrong that it’s hard for them to identify one thing to address first.

I’ve seen continually that when we’re deeply unhappy in our work, and experiencing pain, mistreatment, disillusionment and regret about the focus of our careers and the people we’re working with, we often want to run away as far as we can from the pain, to the opposite end of the working world.

Today In: Leadership

For example, an HR executive who’s fed up with their toxic leadership desperately wants to chuck it all and start an online lifestyle business. Or a Finance VP wants to stop obsessing about the bottom line and turn to working in the non-profit arena to feel he’s making a meaningful difference in the world, and so on.

While these might be the best moves for these individuals, thousands of times it’s not. Instead, unhappy professionals are engaging in what I call the “Pendulum Effect”–knee-jerking from the pain and trying to escape their chronic career problems. That often leads them to chuck everything they’ve built and start over completely.

I’ve seen (in my own life and hundreds of others) that running away to an entirely new career often doesn’t address or fix the real problem–and that is who you are when you are working. This includes your boundaries, your ego, your way of communicating, how you handle stress, your decision-making process, how you relate to others, how you deal with critique and challenge and so much more.

Those elements of your approach to living and working don’t change just because you’ve quit your job or career. They’ll show up again in the new field or job, unless you do the inner and outer work to become someone who is more confident, self-respecting, powerful and impactful and able to stand up calmly and resolutely for yourself.

Before you make any changes in your job or your career, it’s critical to address this one thing before you make any moves: the way you are operating in the world.

When you do the work to strengthen and grow personally, you elevate yourself and ensure that your career will become more satisfying and aligned with your values. The degree to which you are able to grow and expand yourself to operate at the highest level is what will ensure that you can experience more reward and success in your jobs and professional endeavors.

This strengthening process involves closing the seven damaging power gaps that keep professionals from thriving. And elevating yourself to the highest level involves honing what I’ve seen are the nine essential skills for success and happiness in your career. They all involve strengthening who you are and how you show up in the world.

You simply cannot have a happy, rewarding and successful career if you are seriously lacking in these skills:

  1. Self-Awareness and Emotional Intelligence
  2. Communication Skill
  3. Building Strong Relationships
  4. Decision Making
  5. Leadership
  6. Advocating and Negotiating
  7. Work-Life Balance
  8. Boundary Enforcement
  9. Career Planning and Management

(Here’s more about three of those.)

How can we tell if we’re deficient in these skills and need more development to thrive? Below are some prime indicators that these skills need improvement now:

If you review this list and feel a bit overwhelmed because you feel many of these skills need development, that’s ok, and there’s good news. It means you have the self-awareness to understand that in order to be happier and more successful, some growth is required.

Choose one or two skills from the list above that you feel need the most development, and take proactive measures this month to build these skills. You can do this in many ways, whether it’s taking a leadership training course, working with a coach on your communication style, seeking help from a therapist to address your emotional pain from the past, prioritizing your life outside of work more highly, or deciding how and when you want to negotiate your next raise or promotion. Don’t wait. Take concrete steps now to change how you see yourself and how you interact with the world.

This one small step on the path to your growth and expansion can change everything for you.

To build a happier, more rewarding career, take Kathy Caprino’s Amazing Career Project training course and her new webinar The Most Powerful You: Close Your Power Gaps and Rock Your Career.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I’m a career and  executive coach, writer, speaker, and trainer dedicated to the advancement of women. My career coaching firm—Kathy Caprino, LLC—offers a wide array of programs, training, assessments, videos, and courses that help women “dig deep, discover their right work, and illuminate the world with it.”

Along with contributing to Forbes.com, I write on Thrive Global, LinkedIn, and my own blog at kathycaprino.com/blog and am a frequent media source on careers and women’s issues. My book Breakdown, Breakthrough and my TEDx talk “Time To Brave Up” share critical ways to stand up and speak up for yourself and transform your life.

My new book, The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths To Career Bliss, is due Summer 2020 from HarperCollins Leadership.

For more information, please visit kathycaprino.com, the Amazing Career Project course, and my Finding Brave podcast.

Source: Strengthen This One Thing Before You Quit Your Job Or Change Careers

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It’s said that job-related, or hard skills, may help you land the job. But these days, candidates who also possess strong people and relationship skills have a real edge in getting an offer. Soft Skills for Career Success provides valuable insight on how to get along and get ahead in your job. In this video, explore the top soft skills sought by hiring managers: communication skills, being a team player, a strong work ethic, flexibility, and positive attitude. You’ll also learn some smart tips for using your smart phone in the workplace. It’s part of the Job Genius series, presented by Express Employment Professionals, a staffing company with hundreds of locations and over 35 years of experience in finding great jobs for great people.

I’ve Interviewed 300+ Successful Women. Here’s What I’ve Learned About Creating a Career You Love

Over the past few years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of successful women. They have every type of journey you could dream of: There are women who have reached the C-suite in Fortune 500 companies and well-funded startups, women who have started and run their own ventures, and women who have made dramatic career turnarounds.

They’re all extraordinarily unique, of course, but there’s one thing they have in common: They’ve charted the path to work that they love.

That doesn’t just mean big jobs with important tiles and sizable paychecks (though in some cases, that’s true). Instead, these women have thoughtfully built careers around their innate strengths, their personal passions, and the type of work that brings them meaning and purpose.

Yes, creating a career like this may seem like a lofty goal. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from these interviews over the years, it’s this: Every single one of us has the power to find work we love. It’s just a matter of confidently taking steps to get there. As Katie Fogarty, founder of The Reboot Group, shared on my Facebook Watch show, Work It: “Do not wait for people to give you permission. Seize your permission. Seize control of your career.”

Ready to get started? Straight from some of the most successful women in the world, here are five crucial lessons about taking the reins and crafting the professional life of your dreams.

Today In: Leadership

1. Expand Your Idea Of A Dream Job

Often, we have a pretty narrow view of our ultimate goals. We envision achieving a specific job title or working for a particular company. But what happens when we achieve that singular goal, and it doesn’t live up to expectations? That’s all too common—and so the most successful women I’ve interviewed have made it clear that it’s key to widen your perspective.

For example, Kristin Lemkau, Chief Marketing Officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., emphasizes that it’s critical to be flexible when thinking about your dream job. If you’re only focused on getting your current boss’ job, for example, you may miss other options—inside or outside of your company. “By staying flexible and open,” she explains, “you might encounter an opportunity that you had never before considered.”

Lindsey Knowles, VP of Marketing at Winc Wines, echoes this sentiment. “Be open. And try different things. There’s so much you can’t know until you do it,” she shares. “Until you’ve been in a few different types of workplaces, you can’t know what your preferred working style is or the types of problems you like to solve.”

2. Pursue What Matters To You—Not To Anyone Else

Similarly, we’re conditioned to believe that the traditional markers of success, like money or a C-level title, will make us happy, too. But for most people, that’s not the full story. Instead, it’s key to dig deep and understand the very personal factors that drive meaning for you—whether that’s constantly learning new skills or being involved in radical social change—and pursue jobs that incorporate those elements.

According to Aditi Javeri Gokhale, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Northwestern Mutual, a good place to start is thinking about the people you want to work with and the issues you’re passionate about. “I have always identified with jobs where I have a good connection with my leaders, with the mission of the company, and with the team that surrounds me.” When you have that connection, it’s easier to excel at—and enjoy—a job, no matter what your title is.

3. Be Intentional About What You Say Yes To

Cathleen Trigg-Jones, journalist and founder of CatScape Productions, once explained to me her strategy for evaluating opportunities. She would yes to the things that would move her closer to her dreams, and she would say no to the things that didn’t serve her. (Even if they looked like good opportunities on paper!)

This simple rule can move you toward a career you love in two important ways. First, it pretty much guarantees that you get to do more of the work you’re excited about. Second, you get to incrementally step further away from the tasks you don’t enjoy and that don’t help you get where you want to go—even if there are certain aspects of them that may be tempting. Keep following this formula, and you will organically move in the right direction.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks

If you want a meaningful professional life, you have to be willing to take risks. Why? “If you don’t do things because you’re scared to fail, you’re not really getting the best out of yourself,” Sabrina Macias, Senior Director of Global Communications at DraftKings, once told me. “Risk is healthy; it makes you more creative.”

A risky move, of course, doesn’t necessarily spending your life savings to start a company—maybe it’s accepting a position you’re not sure you’re qualified for, asking for more responsibility, or volunteering to head a bigger project than anything you’ve ever tackled.

Maybe it’s simply giving yourself permission to try something wildly different. Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn, explains the concept this way: “Stop and ask yourself what would make you happy, and design that.” That might be advocating for a new offering at your company or working on that creative side project you’ve been thinking about. “Just start doing it,” she said. “You’ll be amazed at how many people will be drawn to somebody who is doing things differently—and enabling other people to do things differently.” But that’s the key: You have to first be willing to do things differently.

5. Know That Change Is Inevitable

Finally, know this about career paths: What you want and what works for you is likely going to change over time. As Carol Lovell, founder and CEO of STOW put it: “The meaning of success for me has altered throughout my life. What you think it means at 25 is very different to what you know it means at 50.” The lesson? Don’t be afraid to adjust course when you realize that you’ve changed.

On a smaller scale, even if you have a specific goal you’re working toward, you’ll undoubtedly encounter new information, opportunities, and roadblocks that make you rethink your course. And that’s OK. “It’s not a matter of creating this rigid plan of like, do this step, do this step, no matter what,” explains former CEO and board director Shellye Archambeau. “And things will happen! There will be roadblocks, things will happen that’ll cause you to change and that’s okay. You have to be open to that.”

The road to a career you love isn’t easy. It requires saying no, taking risks, and sticking to your guns. But as a result, you’ll be doing the work you’re passionate about and building a life that works for you. Take it from hundreds of women: It’s worth it.

Carrie Kerpen is CEO and co-founder of Likeable Media, an award-winning digital agency that achieved Crain’s 6th “Best Place To Work in NYC.” She is the author of WORK IT: Secrets For Success From The Boldest Women In Business and the host of the popular podcast All the Social Ladies. Follow her on Twitter @carriekerpen or visit her at carriekerpen.com.

Source: I’ve Interviewed 300+ Successful Women. Here’s What I’ve Learned About Creating a Career You Love.

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After running through what to wear for a job interview with a friend, I thought it might be fun to run through some options depending on the kind of workplace you’re interviewing for. If you’ve got your own tips on what to wear to a job interview or if you have a go-to piece, I’d love to see it or know what it is! Hope you’re wonderful! X Jodie

John Legend Wants To Improve Job Opportunities For People With Criminal Backgrounds

In Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Grammy-winning musician John Legend announced the second cohort of participants in Unlocked Futures, a 14-month accelerator program for social entrepreneurs who have been incarcerated and urged business leaders to be more inclusive of job applicants with criminal backgrounds.

Unlocked Futures launched in 2017 as a partnership between the philanthropic venture fund New Profit and Legend’s criminal justice reform initiative FreeAmerica, with financial support from Bank of America.

“We started this as a collaboration, saying, ‘Let’s not just tell folks to hire formerly incarcerated individuals, but to invest in their ideas,’” says Legend. “All of the members have business ideas that will help them feed their families, employ others and strengthen our communities.”

Today In: Leadership

In 2007, Teresa Hodge, a member of the inaugural Unlocked Futures class, began a 70-month prison sentence for a nonviolent white-collar crime at Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia⁠—the same prison where Martha Stewart famously served her time. After her experience with Unlocked Futures in 2017, Hodge, 56, became the cofounder of R3 Score, a background screening company.

The U.S. is home to 5 million formerly incarcerated people who face severe obstacles when trying to find a job after their release. Returning citizens are unemployed at a rate of more than 27%, nearly seven times higher than the unemployment rate for the general U.S. population.

Unable to secure employment, many formerly incarcerated people turn to entrepreneurship. But they often lack the business skills, social networks and capital needed to launch a successful company.

That’s where Unlocked Futures comes in. Participants receive coaching on leadership skills such as board governance, fundraising, communications and talent strategy. They also undergo an assessment that gauges areas for improvement and team up with mentors from a network of organizations, including Bank of America, which provided $500,000 grants for both cohorts, a total $1 million commitment.

“Six hundred thousand inmates are getting out every year, and if we want to lessen the risk of them recidivating, programs like this are important,” says Andrew Plepler, the environmental, social and governance executive for Bank of America.

Many formerly incarcerated people experience a revolving-prison-door scenario after their release: At least 95% of people incarcerated in state prisons are released into  their communities, yet more than half of them are arrested again within three years.

To be admitted into the Unlocked Futures program, applicants must have fully operational businesses. “We come in when you’ve established your proof point, you have your model built and you’re ready to figure out sustainability, growth, and measurement and expansion,” says Tulaine Montgomery, a managing partner at New Profit.

Participants are each awarded a $50,000 unrestricted grant. Hodge, whose first business venture upon release was Mission:Launch, a nonprofit that helps formerly incarcerated people reenter the workforce, says that many returning citizens are unable to gain access to growth capital because of their criminal history.

She put her $50,000 from Unlocked Futures toward performing user surveys and designing the algorithm for her background screening platform. In July, Hodge participated in the Techstars Impact Accelerator, which backs founders who are building technology aimed at solving social and environmental problems.

Through this program, she was able to raise another $500,000 from the Motley Fool, American Family Life Insurance and others. Now in the seed stage, her goal is to raise $2 million by the end of the first quarter of FY 2020.

“It’s certainly a challenge to be a black woman raising money, not to talk of being formerly incarcerated,” Hodge says. “But we know that we have a solid business model because there’s a strong upside for investors.”

Since January, more than 700 individuals and companies have signed the Society for Human Resource Management’s pledge to give qualified applicants with criminal backgrounds the same opportunities as those who haven’t served time. And just this week, JPMorgan Chase announced an expansion of its efforts to hire people who were formerly incarcerated, continuing the trend of  companies removing questions about criminal history on employment applications and offering opportunities to those with records.

“If we want the full human potential that is contained in our communities to be maximized, we need to include formerly incarcerated people in conversations around hiring and how we develop the workforce,” Legend says. “These folks are valuable and they’re worth reintegrating into our society.”

At the kickoff event for the second Unlocked Futures cohort, participants sat down with Legend and discussed their personal stories, business ideas and aspirations for the future. As business leaders begin to shift their attitude toward hiring and investing in returning citizens, that future may start to look a little rosier.

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I’m a reporter covering the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in business and society at large. Previously, I was a reporter at CNBC, where I focused on leadership and strategic management. I’ve also dabbled in video journalism, working as a breaking news digital producer for New York Daily News, followed by a yearlong stint as a producer at Rolling Stone. My work has been featured on New York Daily News, Yahoo Finance and Time Out. I’m a proud alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, receiving honors for my investigative thesis on the alarming number of physicians dying by suicide. Tweet me @ruthumohnews or send tips to rumoh@forbes.com.

Source: John Legend Wants To Improve Job Opportunities For People With Criminal Backgrounds

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Applicants with criminal backgrounds, including those with nonviolent criminal convictions or even arrests, are increasingly being driven into poverty. Even if it has been years since they’ve served time for past criminal infractions, those applying for jobs are often unable to find work — especially in a climate of extreme job competition. NewsHour’s Stephen Fee reports.

How To Best Communicate Your Appreciation In The Workplace

Last week, our fifteen-year-old daughter told me about a “really cool” online quiz* her French teacher had the class take. As it turns out, the quiz had nothing to do with French.

My daughter stated that the quiz was geared around identifying your “love language,” and surprisingly, when she and her classmates and teacher shared their results, it spurred conversation, curiosity, and some a-ha moments.

The quiz was based on Gary Chapman’s classic book, The 5 Love Languageswhich suggests that each of us has a preferred “love language” and that we can improve our relationships by knowing one another’s.

In its broadest sense, “love” can be expanded beyond the romantic variety. For my daughter’s teacher, it became a creative way to get teenagers to think about how to understand their preferred communication styles better.

Today In: Leadership

This concept is so universal that it was later adapted to the work environment, shifting from “love” to “appreciation.”

“Because we don’t normally think in terms of our co-workers loving us — the word appreciation fits much better — but it is meeting that deep need to feel that somebody cares about me, and somebody appreciates me,” says Chapman.

Chapman teamed up with Dr. Paul White to pen The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplacewhich aimed to improve workplace relationships simply by learning your co-workers’ language of appreciation.

“Every person is unique in the way that they feel love or express love in personal relationships, but it’s the same in how they feel appreciated and valued in work relationships,” explains White.

And when leaders, co-workers, and employees feel appreciated, says Chapman and White, you improve staff morale, create a positive workplace, and increase employee engagement.

Here’s a breakdown of the five languages of workplace appreciation, how to effectively communicate using them, actions you can take to support each style, and things to avoid.

1. Words of Affirmation 

How To Communicate

As this language’s name suggests, use words to affirm, encourage, and appreciate people. Employ empathy to understand your colleagues better and actively listen to them to signal your interest.

Actions To Take

Provide verbal praise in front of others—in a team meeting or when you’re with customers, for instance. Regularly send unexpected messages, emails, or texts of encouragement to foster closer work relationships.

Things To Avoid

Offering non-constructive criticism or failing to recognize your workmates’ efforts, which will leave others feeling frustrated and unappreciated.

2. Quality Time 

How To Communicate

The best way to use this language is to give others your undivided attention.

Actions To Take

Schedule time for one-on-one, uninterrupted, and focused conversations. Maintain eye contact. Arrange activities outside of the office to hang out together with colleagues . each of these actions will build trust and deepen team relationships.

Things To Avoid

Four words: put away your phone!

3. Acts of Service 

How To Communicate

With this language, actions speak louder than words.

Actions To Take

Help alleviate a colleague’s workload by offering your assistance, and then perform the service in a way the recipient wants it done. Use phrases like “I’ll help…” to let them know you’re with them and be clear about how much time you have to assist.

Things To Avoid

Not following through on tasks you promised to take care of.

4. Tangible Gifts

How To Communicate

Despite its name, this language is less about the “gift’” and more about the thought behind it.

Actions To Take

Get to know what is important or valued by the recipient and ensure the gift reflects this knowledge. A caffeine junkie would love a gift card to her favorite coffee house, and a team that’s been working around the clock might appreciate spa gift cards to unwind.

Things To Avoid

Forgetting special milestones or a giving a generic gift with no link to its recipient.

5. Appropriate Physical Touch 

How To Communicate

This language uses appropriate physical touch to demonstrate appreciation.

Actions To Take

Offer a high five, handshake, fist bump, or a pat on the back when acknowledging someone for a great job. These spontaneous displays of celebration help build positive work-based relationships.

Things To Avoid

Personal boundaries are important to keep in mind with this language of appreciation, so avoid unwanted touch.

Bringing It All Together

In the workplace, effectively communicating authentic appreciation and encouragement isn’t one-size-fits-all, nor is it restricted to a single language of appreciation. The best way to express your gratitude in the workplace starts with asking others their preferences so you can better relate to one other and deepen your relationships.

*Curious about your love language? For a fun diversion, take the Buzzfeed quiz here.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I’m a social media ghostwriter who helps leaders craft their stories to communicate and connect better. As a former branding consultant, my role is to make it easier for my clients to share their unique talents and insights on a consistent basis, magnifying both their reach and impact. Throughout my career, I’ve attracted people eager to tell their tales of transformation. I’ve been a professional storyteller who helped my clients share their stories in a clear and engaging manner, and thus better connect with their intended audiences. Or, as my tagline long said, “People tell me things; I write their stories.” I’m also a frequent speaker, and co-author with Bruce Kasanoff of “I Am: Escape Distractions, Unlock Your Imagination & Unleash Your Potential.”

Source: How To Best Communicate Your Appreciation In The Workplace

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Clear communication in the workplace is a valuable skill. Get the Free Download pdf Quick Guide to Professional Communication Skills: http://www.communicationskillscoach.c… Full List: 1. Concise Communication: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DLWN… 2. Clear Communication: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCGJv… 3. Listening Skills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWPkH… 4. Positive Relationships: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8Wq6… 5. Collaborative Problem Solving: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qp0EE… Get the Free Download pdf Quick Guide to Professional Communication Skills: http://www.communicationskillscoach.c… #communicationskills Communication Coach, this channel, helps rising leaders like you increase your impact and lead your teams with more excellence. The channel focuses on communication skills for leaders, presentation skills, group and team skills, and conversation skills. If you’re looking for self-pace communication skills training, this is the channel for you.

 

 

Turn Strangers Into Friends With 8 Great Questions From Harvard

“So, what do you do?” “Where do you live?” “How do you know [Name of Host]?” are some of my least favorite kind of questions, because they don’t elicit interesting answers.  If you want to get to know someone, you’ll have to do a lot better than this.

As a coach, I’m paid to ask provocative, probing, powerful questions and in social situations, I often wish strangers would ask some of me. Sadly, they don’t. Mainly because it’s considered rude. However, what I’ve found is that if you’re prepared to risk seeming rude by being the first to ask a provocative question, strangers are usually only too happy to follow suit.

Today In: Leadership

Helpfully, the Harvard Business Review has now published 8 great questions to ask at any kind of networking event. They’ve also written up their findings on how colleagues get on better, enjoy work more, and stay connected for longer if they share common experiences outside of work. Sociologists refer to these connections where there is an overlap of roles or affiliations from a different social context as multiplex ties.

So, next time you’re at a social function or networking event and you feel bored by small-talk but fearful of asking profound questions, you can dive right in, backed up by the knowledge that, far from being inappropriately nosy, you’re on the quest of making multiplex ties. What’s more, you’re endorsed by Harvard. Who knows, instead of simply adding a connection, you may actually make a new friend. And that, says the Harvard Business Review, is the whole point. “Research findings from the world of network science and psychology suggests that we tend to prefer and seek out relationships where there is more than one context for connecting with the other person.”

What excites you right now?  I love this question because the answer can be as intimate as you want to make it. You can share your excitement about your upcoming vacation, your boat, your son’s dance competition or your daughter’s soccer game Or you can talk about a book you’re reading or a profound experience you just had.

What are you looking forward to? Having things to look forward is what brings us joy in life See the article I wrote about the pleasure of planning for Forbes Whether it’s a planned vacation, something in your work-life or a personal milestone you choose to share in itself speaks volumes. Finding out about someone’s anticipated joy is a wonderful way to get to know them better. And if they say they are not looking forward to anything, you may want to take this as a cue to move on.

What’s the best thing that happened to you this year?  A wonderful, fresh, open-ended question, similar in some ways to the previous one, but instead of this being about anticipated joy, this question elicits remembered chapters. Sometimes, with the perspective of hindsight, the most difficult events offer the most growth and learning  So, losing my job or suffering an illness could end up having been the best thing that happened all year.

Where did you grow up?  This question reminds me of the usefulness of the pre-fix “I’m curious…” Essentially, this is asking a stranger to share their life story in as much or little detail as they’re willing. However, you could modify this to “I’m curious, WHEN do you think you grew up?”

What do you do for fun?  Unless you’re asking a painter, a poet, a singer a dancer or the odd entrepreneur, most people’s work is not what brings them the most fun. So, this question takes your interlocutor right onto the ski slopes, the golf course, the beaches or oceans where they have the best times.

Who is your favorite superhero? I’m sure that much insight could be gained by understanding the distinctions between a Batman lover and a Wonder Woman aficionado. However, I have a confession: I don’t have a favorite superhero, because I don’t watch superhero movies. To that end, you could, if you wish, modify it to, who is your favorite fictional character  Read my piece for Forbes on Crew mates

Is there a charitable cause you support?  You could tailor this to If you could pick one charitable cause to support, which one would it be? This is a question that will help you understand immediately what they care most about, what their values are. And you’re sure to have some shared affinities.

What’s the most important thing I should know about you? OK This is a big one, and not everyone will feel up to asking (or answering) it. As with all of the questions, the best place to start is with your own answer. If you feel stuck, don’t ask it. However, many people are longing to tell you that they have a hidden side (or hidden qualities) which their appearance or manner belies.

Since I started playing with these questions, I’ve met a Police Chief who told me her 9-year-old daughter frequently reduces her to tears;  a corporate raider who confessed that his favorite fictional character is Mowgli from The Jungle Book and a Catholic priest who does Zumba dancing for fun.  I’ve found I have surprising things in common with people who I’ve only just met.

Check out my youtube channel

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I coach leaders to play the game of life with purpose, grace, and ease. I specialize in sectors fueled by innovation and creativity, including Arts and Culture, media, television, film, fashion and advertising. My clients include directors of national arts organizations, worldwide ad agencies and a wide range of entrepreneurs. Before training as a coach, I launched my first TV Production company out of my bedroom and sold it eight years later to the world’s largest production company. I have served the creative board of Endemol UK and later the board of ITV Studios where I was the director of Formats I have been a special advisor to TF1, France’s leading commercial broadcaster. I have led creative forums for Cap Gemini University in Les Fontaine and have worked with the London Business School on their programmer for Entrepreneurs. I have created, produced and sold dozens of the world’s most groundbreaking, successful reality TV shows. Often the TV shows I have produced have been about exploring the edges of society. I have twice been ranked in the top twenty most influential gay people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday and have been featured in the New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, Drum, Broadcast, The Hollywood Reporter, Monocle. I first certified first as a counselor (Institute of Counseling) then as a grief counselor before completing the core curriculum at Landmark Education and subsequently working intensely with three of the world’s pre-eminent leadership coaches. I am qualified as a co-active coach from CTI, the Coaches Training Institute, which is the world’s oldest coach training body.

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Source: Turn Strangers Into Friends With 8 Great Questions From Harvard

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In this fascinating session from Summit LA18, famed relationship therapist and bestselling author Esther Perel digs into the three hidden dynamics governing every relationship, explores the self-imprisoning paradox of social media, and lays out why certainty is always the enemy of change. Interested in attending Summit events? Apply at summit.co/apply Connect with Summit: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMGl… http://www.summit.co http://www.instagram.com/summit http://fb.com/summit https://twitter.com/summit

A New Study Reveals Hiring Effective Female Leaders May Be the Best Thing for Your Company’s Success

Do you believe in your company — its mission, purpose, and what it stands for? Belief in a company is one of the main factors behind why employees work and what they do.

The belief that the company is moving in the right direction, has room for personal and professional growth, and that the employee plays an active part in the strategy are all crucial to keeping employees engaged.

For leaders guiding the way, belief in a company is something that is earned and must come naturally for employees. And according to a new study, attracting and promoting more females into leadership roles is the way forward.

Employees respond better to women-led companies

A recent Peakon study found that employees of women-led companies, meaning those with more than 50% female leaders, feel a stronger connection to the company and their products.

When over 60,000 employees were asked the question of “how likely is it that you would recommend [Company Name] products or services to friends and family,” those at women-led companies answered 0.6 points higher than employees at male-led companies.

Women-led companies also answered higher in terms of satisfaction in the company, an important part of being an active, efficient employee.

Female leadership could be a major enabler in driving the company culture, and female-led companies are proven to be better in communicating mission and strategy, and managing more engaged employees.

Why belief in a company and its products is so important

Belief in the company is also strongly tied to the company strategy. When employees believe in the company — the origin, mission, and value the company offers to consumers and clients — they will subsequently have stronger belief in the strategy as well.

According to Roger Dooley, an experience marketer and author, believing in your company and its product makes you more persuasive. Employees with a strong belief in their product will be more able to effectively sell products or services the company offers, and will have a stronger connection to the company itself.

Belief in a company and its values is also critical to employees’ commitment and persistence. Employees with stronger belief in their company tend to be more willing to continue in their hard work when they trust the path the company is moving on.

According to the Harvard Business Review, belief in a company and its goals will enforce motivation throughout all of the employees — both to get work done when needed, and to keep up the same work ethic when it gets harder.

Belief in a company also helps leaders. When your company supports the same goals, it becomes easier to manage and communicate.

In Authentic Happiness, psychologist Marty Seligman writes that employees become their “happiest” selves when they are doing work they find worthwhile. Leaders who are able to motivate others to work towards a communicated, shared goal — and a shared belief in the goal — are able to maintain morale and engagement throughout the employee lifecycle.

Moreover, belief in a company and its goals also creates a feeling of solidarity among employees and their leaders. If at any point there is a disconnect between employees and leaders, it can be mended quickly and easily when there is a strong belief that the company is going in the right direction.

Ari Weinzweig, a founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, points out that belief in a business is one of the most productive foundations that employees and leaders can both share. It creates a shared purpose that may otherwise not be found, as most beliefs are formed before a person is even old enough to be in the job force.

Forming a community where there is a belief in a business allows for clearer actions towards the shared belief, and helps everyone’s job within a larger company make sense.

Clearly the research proves that you must care about the belief in your company strategy and its product. But we must not ignore the key component. As Peakon’s study revealed, investing in female leaders will help you bring deeper conviction about the company and its services, and therefore empower your business to grow in a sustainable way.

By:By Marcel Schwantes Founder and Chief Human Officer, Leadership From the Core @MarcelSchwantes

 

Source: A New Study Reveals Hiring Effective Female Leaders May Be the Best Thing for Your Company’s Success | Inc.com

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Why are there so few women leaders? Weaving together scientific research and personal narrative, Alexis Kanda-Olmstead explains why women may be reluctant to take on leadership roles and what we – women and men – can do to disrupt the powerful internal forces that undermine women’s leadership aspirations and confidence. 1. Alexis Kanda-Olmstead leads talent and diversity initiatives at Colorado State University for the Division of University Advancement. Throughout her twenty-year career in higher education, Alexis has worked to help students, faculty, and staff actualize their potential as leaders through self-knowledge, personal empowerment, and service. As a student and practitioner of women’s development, social justice, and organizational psychology, Alexis believes that with grace and humor we can create positive change that benefits everyone. Alexis is a blogger on women’s issues and the founder of AKO Collective, a women’s leadership development company based in Northern Colorado. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

 

Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely | Inc.com

So you finally decided to find a new job. After months of contemplating, you’ve come to the realization you’ve hit one of three specific career roadblocks and the only solution is to find a new employer. But, now what? How do you make sure you don’t, as the saying goes, “jump out of the frying pan and ito the fire.” You’re wise to be worried. As a career growth coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of people who left bad jobs only to end up in worse ones. The result is a massive crisis of confidence that’s tough to bounce back from. So, what can you do to minimize the risk of making a bad career move?

The G.L.O.W. Method for career self-improvement

In my first book, I introduced the four-step methodology I use to help people create career satisfaction on their own terms. The G.L.O.W. Method teaches you a simple process you can use throughout your career to drive professional growth.

  1. Gain Perspective = force yourself to look at your situation from a new point of view.
  2. Luminate the Goal = dial-in tightly on a specific result you want to achieve.
  3. Own Your Actions = map out the specific habits you’ll need to succeed.
  4. Work It Daily = set up systems to build those habits consistently.

Let’s look at how that second step can help identify what your next job should be.

Your next job needs to meet 2 criteria…

To Luminate the Goal, you’ve got to shine a bright light on what you want. Getting clear on what a good job means to you is vital. When it comes to building a satisfying career, no two people want the same things. Unfortunately, many job seekers start looking for work based on the wrong criteria. They make a long list things like the ideal salary, benefits, location, etc. While I think those things are important and should eventually be outlined, the real first step in the process is to define your next job based on the following two criteria:

1. Does the job let you work on solving a problem you care about?

Today, we want our jobs to have purpose. When we believe our jobs have meaning, we feel more satisfied and engaged in the work. This leads to greater productivity and success. If you don’t feel the job will let you contribute to something you care about, you’ll struggle to stay motivated and positive on the job.

Now, I’m not saying that the job needs to change the world. On the contrary! What I’m saying is you need to make a connection between your job and the impact is has.

For example…

I worked with a client who came from a family of dentists and lawyers. She felt incredible pressure to have what she referred to as a “serious” job. However, her real passion in life was make-up. She loved doing her friends’ faces. When I asked her why, she explained the intense joy she felt when she saw their expressions of excitement when they looked in the mirror. In her words, “Each time I feel so much power knowing I made my friend feel better about herself.” That’s when I pointed out to her that this work had deep meaning and purpose to her, which meant she’d be more successful and satisfied working in cosmetics. She took my advice and now is an executive at a make-up company and couldn’t be happier.

2. Will you be using your preferred workplace personas to do the job?

We all have lots of skills and abilities. But, that doesn’t mean we want to use all of them on a daily basis. Understanding how you like to execute tasks and create value for employers is a vital part of the job search process. These are referred to as your “workplace personas” and they are the easiest way to narrow down the type of job you want next.

Let me prove it to you…

If you go to a job board right now and search for open positions with the job title, “Account Manager” you’ll come up with dozens of opportunities. However, as you start to read through them, you’ll see no two are alike. Some companies call salespeople Account Managers. Meanwhile, other companies see that as a customer or vendor support role. Each job would require you to use a different set of skills. If you don’t know the workplace personas you want to leverage, how can you narrow in on the jobs that would suit you?

Create an interview bucket list to help make sense of your criteria.

One of the first exercises I have our clients complete when looking for a new job is an interview bucket list. It’s a list of companies whose products and services you admire. It helps them understand how they feel connected to certain employers so they can map out the two criteria above. When you explore why you’re drawn to a company you reveal key information about yourself that makes defining your criteria easier. Better still, it will actually get you excited about the job search process.

 P.S. – If what I’m explaining makes sense so far, check out my next article which explains how you can Own Your Actions once you decide what type of job you want.

By: J.T. O’Donnell

Source: Why These 2 Criteria Will Help You Choose Your Next Job More Wisely | Inc.com

Scott Dinsmore’s mission is to change the world by helping people find what excites them and build a career around the work only they are capable of doing. He is a career change strategist whose demoralizing experience at a Fortune 500 job launched his quest to understand why 80% of adults hate the work they do, and more importantly, to identify what the other 20% were doing differently. His research led to experiences with thousands of employees and entrepreneurs from 158 countries. Scott distilled the results down to his Passionate Work Framework – three surprisingly simple practices for finding and doing work you love, that all happen to be completely within our control. He makes his career tools available free to the public through his community at http://LiveYourLegend.net In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations) This talk was shot shot and edited in stereoscopic 3D by Golden Gate 3D and Area 5. http://gg3d.com http://area5.tv To view in 3D, click here: http://youtu.be/5o1nCKGk5Bs

Ten Things Never, Ever To Do Unless You’re Getting Paid

Dear Liz,

I read your columns, but I still struggle to take your advice.

I left my job in December because they cut my hours.

My boss’s boss reached out to me in January and asked me if I wanted him to introduce me to a guy he knows who has a company here in town.

I said, sure! I was flattered. I got a call from the guy who owns the company, “Martin,” the next day.

Martin wanted to have coffee and talk about his need for a new project manager in his company.

We had coffee. It was a great meeting. We were at the coffee shop for two hours. When we left the coffee shop, Martin said, “Let’s try to put something together next week.”

I sent Martin a thank-you email message right away. Three days later, I heard from his admin “Becky.” She asked me to come to the office the following day. I did.

That was a three-hour meeting with Martin and two of his Project Managers. It was another great meeting. I asked Martin, “Is this a full-time position, or a contract?” and Martin said they weren’t sure yet.

A week went by. I heard from Becky. They said they wanted me to come in and work for half a day. I wrote back to ask, “How does that work in terms of your payroll?”

Becky said, “I don’t know. Just come in on Friday and we’ll figure it out.”

I did. I worked a half day last Friday. There was a planning meeting and I sat in on that, I asked good questions and everybody seemed to be glad I was there.

Around 10:30 in the morning I asked Becky, “How will I get paid for today’s work?” She said, “Let me find out.” She disappeared. After 45 minutes she came back and said, “We’ll pay you for this half day once you’re on the payroll.”

That was two weeks ago. I haven’t heard a word from the company since then.

I’ve left email and voicemail messages. I just got a voicemail message ten minutes ago from Becky. She said they want me to come back next week and work on a “small project.” When will these people hire me? Or are they just stringing me along? What should I do?

Also, Liz, what steps did I miss? I feel that I should have been more assertive, but how?

Thanks!

Malinda

Dear Malinda,

When Becky said she wasn’t sure how you would get paid for your half day of work on Friday, your next step was to ask her to figure that out and get back to you (in writing).

You can’t agree to take a consulting engagement before you’ve settled on the business terms.

You cannot agree to work for free again and let them pay you “once you’re on the payroll.” What if you never get on the payroll?

Now you have a new opportunity to straighten things out. You can call Martin directly, and tell him that you were happy to jump in two weeks ago and participate in the planning meeting. Tell him that you’re looking forward to firming things up so you can come back again next week.

You cannot go back in there without a job offer or a legal contract. Right now, you are working for free. Don’t dig an even deeper hole for yourself (and lower your perceived value) by working for free again!

Here are 10 things never, ever to do for free:

1. Sit in a staff meeting or show up at work like a person who is employed by the company. If they want you to do that, they can either hire you onto the payroll or hire you as a one-day or half-day consultant at an agreed-upon rate.

2. Create a marketing plan, website copy or any other type of deliverable just because you’re a nice person. I understand that you may have to donate some work time to let them see how smart you are. Limit that donation to one hour of your time. No marketing plan ever took just an hour to write!

3. Interview candidates or sit in on interviews.

4. Visit clients or prospective clients, work the booth at a trade show or participate in a virtual client meeting.

5. Travel on behalf of the company.

6. Develop a training program, Power Point presentation (beyond the one-hour limit) or otherwise teach what you know. They may never hire you or anyone else. They may schedule a whole week of dog-and-pony shows just to get free ideas from job candidates.

7. Interview more than three times.

8. Solve the company’s biggest problem in detail. If they ask you do this, tell them, “I’d love to dive into that project if you’re ready to formalize our relationship with an offer letter or consulting agreement.” Tell them how you would step into the project — not what your conclusions are likely to be.

9. Give up your personal contacts.

10. Take phone calls from your hiring manager or others in the company who simply want to pick your brain. Politely guide them back to the topic at hand, which is the current job opening they are interviewing you for (and the status of your candidacy).

Here’s a script to guide you:

RRRRRRING!

You: Malinda Smith!

Them: Hi, Malinda! This is Greg from Itchy Systems. We met last week. I wanted to talk with you for just a minute about your thoughts on a client issue, if you have a second.

You: Hi, Greg! That sounds great. Listen, where are we in the recruiting pipeline? I’ve lost track. Is there an offer letter on its way to me? I’d love to help you, of course. If we’re coworkers, then we’re in great shape.

Them: I, uh, umm, I don’t know. I think you still have to meet with a few more people here.

You: Oh, OK — thanks for that info! That sounds good. I’ll wait to hear from HR in that case. Maybe you and I can talk once that’s all settled.

Them: I just need a little of your time now —

You: I understand Greg and I’d love to talk, but it’s not appropriate — I don’t work for the company yet. Maybe there are wires crossed somewhere or the process is just winding its way through. If you want to find out and have somebody contact me, I could even call you back once everything is official.

Them: Er — OK.

Nobody ever got a great job by hoping against hope that the company would do the right thing while keeping their mouth shut and tolerating every type of disrespect thrown at them.

The only way you will clarify whether they really need you or whether they’re just taking advantage of you is to call them on it. Set a boundary. You are a professional. It’s time to speak up!

Mother Nature desperately wants you to learn this lesson now. You’re ready for it. Go ahead and take the next step!

Yours,

Liz

Follow me on LinkedIn.

I was a Fortune 500 HR SVP for 10 million years, but I was an opera singer before I ever heard the term HR. The higher I got in the corporate world, the more operatic the action became. I started writing about the workplace for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1997. Now I write for LinkedIn and Forbes.com and lead the worldwide Human Workplace movement to reinvent work for people. My book Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want and Career You Deserve is here: amzn.to/2gK7BR7

Source: Ten Things Never, Ever To Do — Unless You’re Getting Paid

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If You Understand How You Fit, You’re Five Times More Likely To Be Inspired At Work

Few work experiences are as demoralizing as not knowing how your work fits into your company’s larger strategy or goals. It’s hard to thrive when the day-to-day feels meaningless, and I’ve got the data to prove it.

My firm recently conducted a study of 13,771 employees and asked them whether their bosses have explained how their work fits into the department or organization’s strategy or goals. As you can see, a paltry 21% of bosses are “always” connecting their employees’ work to some larger strategy or goal.

But there’s an even bigger twist: We also discovered that people whose bosses “always” tie their work to a larger strategy are nearly five times more likely to be inspired at work than those whose bosses “never” does.

While it might be momentarily satisfying to blame all the bosses for not doing a better job at connecting employees’ work to something bigger, the truth is that individual employees also have some responsibility.

In this same study, we asked people to rate the statement: “When I get an assignment, I find out how it fits into our organization’s strategy and goals.” And here again, we found that a minuscule 18% are “always” taking the extra step to find out for themselves how their work fits into their organizations’ goals.

But as you might expect, the people who do take that extra step are 5.7 times more likely to be inspired at work than those who “never” do.

If we want to enjoy and succeed at our jobs, the implication of this study seems obvious—we’ve got to proactively learn how our work fits into our organizations’ strategies and goals. This is accomplished with a four-part conversation, which, when done right, can also teach your boss how to share this information in the future without being asked.

But a word of caution before I give you the script: This conversation cannot feel like an attack on, or an end-run around, your boss. If your boss suspects that you’re looking for ways to usurp or chastise them for poor leadership, they’re likely to respond defensively (or worse).

There’s also a chance that your boss may not always know how your work ties into a larger strategy (your boss may actually feel in-the-dark about his or her own work). So always approach this conversation with caring, genuine curiosity and the mindset that you may not get every question answered.

Here’s the four-part script for talking to your boss about how your work connects to the organization’s (or department’s) larger strategy or goals.

Step 1: Find an agreeable time to have deep conversation by asking your boss, “Would you be willing to have a conversation with me about this new assignment? I find it really interesting and I’d love to learn more.”

It’s always a good idea to start the conversation by asking permission (i.e. “would you be willing”). Your boss will be instantly disarmed because you’ve made it clear that you’re approaching the conversation as an opportunity to learn, not to accuse. Additionally, the phrase “I find it really interesting” alleviates a common and understandable fear among bosses that employees only want face-time in order to gripe about something.

Step 2: Having opened the conversation, now say, “I appreciate you taking the time to give me your advice and thoughts on this project because I’d love to learn more about it and I really want to knock it out-of-the-park. So the first thing I’m curious about is whether there was some kind of strategic initiative or goal that sparked the need for this project?”

It’s important to reinforce your genuine interest and curiosity in the project before you ask about the impetus for the project. Don’t skip this step unless you have a sufficiently deep relationship with your boss that allows you to approach this conversation more forcefully. In general, it’s better to err on the side of tact and caution in these conversations.

Step 3: Ask, “Is there anything you’d like me to know about how this will get used (or incorporated into a larger project or initiative)?”

You don’t want to come right out and demand to know what the boss really intends to do with your work on this project. While there are certainly bosses who will appropriate employee work as their own, it’s awfully accusatory for a conversation like this. Instead, give them the choice to share or not share. This actually increases the odds that they will share, telling you a great deal about how this project connects to larger strategic initiatives.

Step 4: Finally, ask “Do you envision more projects like this coming in the future?”

If this is the only project of its kind, there’s a good chance there isn’t a grand strategy or goal underneath. But if this is just one of many similar projects, that’s a big clue as to the shape of your organization’s larger strategy and goals.

You probably noticed that this conversation is focused on specific assignments, rather than on your job as a whole. The reason for that is simple: If you directly ask your boss “How does my job fit into the company’s larger strategy?” there’s a very good chance you won’t get a coherent answer. That’s a big, abstract question, and most leaders won’t have a prepared response.

Instead, by gently probing for information about your current or latest project, you’re can tease out and piece together how your work connects to a larger strategy.

You may have to conduct this conversation a few times to fully glean how your work relates to a bigger strategy. But with enough repetition, you’ll typically find that your boss will start to proactively offer these insights.

Ready for the next challenge? Tune in on August 6 for Day 7.

Miss a challenge? Click here for Day 5: Take stock of your days.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I’m the founder of www.LeadershipIQ.com, a New York Times bestselling author and I teach the leadership course What Great Managers Do Differently I am the author of five books, including “Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your People to Give It Their All and They’ll Give You Even More.” Some of my research studies include “Are SMART Goals Dumb?,” “Why CEO’s Get Fired,” “Why New Hires Fail,” “High Performers Can Be Less Engaged,” and “Don’t Expect Layoff Survivors to Be Grateful.” I’ve lectured at The United Nations, Harvard Business School, Microsoft, Merck, MasterCard, Charles Schwab and Aflac, among others.

Source: If You Understand How You Fit, You’re Five Times More Likely To Be Inspired At Work

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