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VIA Sales Academy is back!

VIA Sales Academy – 7 Skills to Connect to more Clients and Customers!

With a proven selling process, you will increase your sales.  In 2018 the VIA Sales Academy will give you the tools and skills to succeed.  Starting on June 1st for eight
90-minute sessions, you’ll discover how to:

  • Create a Value-Based Presentation
  • Turn Objections into Opportunities
  • Negotiate Win-Win Outcomes
  • Increase Revenue by Managing and Organizing your Time
  • Deal with Difficult Buyers – Understanding Behavioral Styles
  • Digital Side of Sales in Today’s Market
  • Sell with Social Media

Program Dates:  June 1, June 8, June 15, June 22, June 20, July 13, July 20 and July 27

Time:  7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Location:  Stay Green, 26415 Summit Circle, Santa Clarita

Cost:  $399 for VIA Members
$349 (Members) if registered and paid by April 30, 2018
$699 Non Members

For more information or to register, call the VIA Office (661) 294-8088

Categories: Uncategorized

Voc-Ed Makes a Comeback

April 16, 2015 Leave a comment

I received the article below (Forbes, 4/16/15, Neil Howe) as a forwarded post from GetREAL California, a group highly invested in growing Career Technical Education in California.

Those of us in the Santa Clarita Valley are fortunate to have a strong Career Tech Collaborative that has been hard at work building our CTE (Career Technical Education) offerings for students of the William S. Hart District and College of the Canyons. I hope you’ll take a moment to review to better understand how critical CTE training programs are to business.

Voc-Ed Makes a Comeback

Neil Howe, Contributor
4/16/2015
Forbes

San Jacinto College, south of Houston, had no choice but to schedule a 10 p.m.-to-2 a.m. welding class. That’s how many students were trying to sign up. According to The New York Times, this uptick in technical enrollment has been caused by a surging demand for young people with specialized technical skills. Once the black sheep of education, voc-ed is gaining favor under a new name: career and technical education (CTE).

This comeback is taking place at community colleges and high schools alike. Businesses themselves also have gotten in on the action, teaming up with school systems to search for a new generation of workers. The building and fixing professions once dominated by G.I.s are getting a second wind as Millennials enter the workforce—giving an extra push to this voc-ed revival.

Over the past decade, voc-ed has undergone an extreme makeover. In the 1980s and early ‘90s, this path was considered the “plan B” alternative for underachievers. In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, when G.I.s and Silent retired in droves, voc-ed was reframed as a way to address the sudden shortage of skilled workers and rebranded as “career and technical education” in 2006 to remove its long-held stigma. From 2002 to 2012, the number of students earning sub-baccalaureate credentials in CTE fields rose 71%, compared to a 54% increase in all undergraduate awards.

This CTE revival is also happening in high schools today, though you wouldn’t know it by looking at official statistics. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the CTE percentage of total credits earned by public high school graduates steadily declined from 18% in 1990 to 13% in 2009. But today’s high schools are embracing CTE in the form of career academies, which aren’t included in these numbers. The number of U.S. career academies has more than doubled (from 2,500 to over 6,000) since 2008. These academies cater to career-bound and college-bound students alike—giving students both technical skills and academic know-how.

With CTE curricula that focus on student engagement, career academies produce phenomenal results. While the national high school graduation rate hovers at 80%, academies under the wing of the National Academy Foundation boasted a 97% graduation rate last year, with 93% of graduates planning to earn at least a technical degree.

In part, this sea change towards CTE is in response to increased skepticism toward the “everyone should go to college” model. Today, only 30% of young Americans actually end up earning a four-year degree. And low-income students, who would benefit the most from a degree, often have the worst outcomes: Fully 99% of college attendees from the top quintile graduate by age 24, while only 21% from the bottom quintile can say the same.

This shift is also buoyed along by economic forces, including the current and projected demand for middle-skilled jobs. According to Brookings researchers Harry Holzer and Robert Lerman, there will be new openings for 1.0 million computer specialists, 1.5 million health care workers, and 4.6 million skilled construction workers over the next decade. And the salaries that accompany these careers are remarkable, in some cases reaching six figures for entry-level positions.

A growing number of companies are partnering with high schools and community colleges to streamline the workforce pipeline. Along the Gulf Coast, energy companies like Fluor have contributed money, advice, and surplus equipment to nearby community colleges that train high-skilled workers. In Nashville, Tennessee, Country Music Television took over “The Academies of Nashville” program, which partners with over 170 local businesses. And Ford’s Next Generation Learning (NGL) initiative established career academies in 20 communities across the United States. These investments are a smart move because, in the words of Ford NGL’s Executive Director Cheryl Carrier, “[through this system] students, teachers, and businesses all win.”

There is a long generational drama behind this voc-ed revival. For the G.I. Generation returning from WWII, voc-ed was a modern and democratic innovation that prepared students for an expanding industrial economy. While many went off to college on the G.I. Bill, they also attended vocational schools to pursue careers in the trades. For Silent and first-wave Boomers, voc-ed continued to be a stepping stone to stable blue-collar jobs.

But for late-wave Boomers and Xers, who entered the job market in the deindustrializing late 1970s and ‘80s, voc-ed became a path to nowhere. The jobs that remained were filled by G.I. and Silent workers. Voc-ed also lost its luster once Boomer “yuppies” began championing schools that would prepare kids for an ideas-producing economy—not so much a goods-producing economy.

Times are now changing. Xer parents see CTE as an opportunity to keep their kids on track by teaching them practical life skills that produce measurable results. If public schools can put their kids on the path to a successful career, with or without the increasingly expensive bachelor’s degree, they’re on board.
The CTE curriculum also resonates with Millennials who crave structure and security. They’ve been taught to plan ahead to the extreme: A 2014 Nickelodeon poll found that 45% of 8- to 11-year-olds worry about finding a job “a great deal/a lot.” These risk-averse achievers view CTE as a safety net that fills the gap between high school and the working world—and that offers a long-term plan for achievement that is guided, monitored, and continuous.

Looking ahead, CTE will become an attractive option as students look for more efficient paths to successful careers. If the idea that “not everyone needs a four-year degree” continues gaining traction, doors may open for even more CTE options, such as for-profit schools. Affordable courses specializing in high-demand skills (like coding) have already launched dedicated students into the middle class. CTE (in its many forms) will continue to appeal to a “maker” generation like Millennials—just as it did for young G.I.s—in search of the American Dream.

For complete article, including embedded hyperlinks:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/neilhowe/2015/04/16/voc-ed-makes-a-comeback/

Categories: Uncategorized

Career and Technical Education Should Be the Rule, Not the Exception Gallop by Tim Hodges March 10, 2015

March 16, 2015 1 comment

It’s hard to argue with the success of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, which teach transferable workplace skills and academic content in a hands-on context. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently characterized CTE programs as providing “instruction that is hands-on and engaging, as well as rigorous and relevant.” He went on to say that CTE programs “are helping to connect students with the high-demand science, technology, engineering and math fields — where so many good jobs are waiting.” Furthermore, in recognizing CTE month on the House floor, Rep. James Langevin recently stated, “CTE is an investment in the future of our economy, our workforce and our country.”

Despite these benefits of CTE, only about one in four students (28.6%) earned five or more CTE credits, according to the most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Most students have some interaction with CTE during their high school experience, but few are immersing themselves in CTE programs.

One reason why more students are not pursuing CTE programs is that critics characterize it as a track for students who are less likely to attend college. This line of thinking is detrimental to students, employers and the future of our country. Students should no longer need to decide between college readiness and career preparation — it’s possible and increasingly necessary to achieve both.

A recent Gallup-Lumina Poll found that when hiring, U.S. business leaders say candidates’ knowledge and applied skills in a specific field are more important factors than where the candidate went to school or what their major was. To be successful in the workplace, college-bound students still need specific knowledge and skills, which they can get from CTE programs.

Additionally, the Gallup-Purdue Index finds that college graduates who had an internship or job in college where they were able to apply what they were learning in the classroom, who were actively involved in extracurricular activities and organizations, and who worked on projects that took a semester or more to complete, doubled their odds of being engaged at work. Yet, just 6% of college graduates say they had all three of these experiences. These are exactly the types of experiences that CTE programs offer to students.

Critics may argue that enrolling in a CTE program may divert college-bound students’ attention away from college preparation classes. However, a recent study found that 80% of students taking a college preparatory academic curriculum with rigorous CTE met the standard for college and career readiness, compared with 63% of students taking the same academic core without rigorous CTE. Further, while national graduation rates have inched up in recent years, students with a concentration in CTE are nearly 15 percentage points more likely to graduate high school than the national average. These data suggest that whether students take one CTE course or enroll in an entire CTE program, CTE should be a part of every student’s education.

As a student, I was actively involved in a variety of CTE programs. While the experience I gained through livestock judging may not seem like it directly prepared me for my role at Gallup, I often rely upon skills such as:

* working long hours toward a goal

* building relationships with instructors both in and out of the classroom

* keeping accurate records and managing budgets

* fundraising to cover the cost of materials, registration fees and travel

* representing the school or even the state at contests

* the joy of winning and the agony of defeat

* being part of a team

* serving as a mentor and being mentored by others

Regardless of the actual content being taught, these experiences build the transferable skills that lead to success in college and career, while painting a realistic picture of the future students will face in the working world. CTE should not just play a prominent role for a few students; it should be the new normal in education.

Tim Hodges, Ph.D., is Director of Research for Gallup’s Education Practice.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Real Reason New College Grads Can’t Get Hired

August 5, 2014 1 comment

I came across this article a few months back and was struck by how critical basic soft skills are to those about to enter the world of work. VIA’s Connecting to Success Program helps get high school students on the right track with those skills, but it is ever more important our students leave school equipped with the “right stuff” to get the jobs they seek!

The Real Reason New College Grads Can’t Get Hired
By Martha C. White Nov. 10, 20130

It’s because college kids today can’t do math, one line of reasoning goes. Or they don’t know science. Or they’re clueless about technology, aside from their myriad social-media profiles. These are all good theories, but the problem with the unemployability of these young adults goes way beyond a lack of STEM skills. As it turns out, they can’t even show up on time in a button-down shirt and organize a team project.

The technical term for navigating a workplace effectively might be soft skills, but employers are facing some hard facts: the entry-level candidates who are on tap to join the ranks of full-time work are clueless about the fundamentals of office life.

A survey by the Workforce Solutions Group at St. Louis Community College finds that more than 60% of employers say applicants lack “communication and interpersonal skills” — a jump of about 10 percentage points in just two years. A wide margin of managers also say today’s applicants can’t think critically and creatively, solve problems or write well.

Another employer survey, this one by staffing company Adecco, turns up similar results. The company says in a statement, “44% of respondents cited soft skills, such as communication, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration, as the area with the biggest gap.” Only half as many say a lack of technical skills is the pain point.

As much as academics go on about the lack of math and science skills, bosses are more concerned with organizational and interpersonal proficiency. The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed more than 200 employers about their top 10 priorities in new hires. Overwhelmingly, they want candidates who are team players, problem solvers and can plan, organize and prioritize their work. Technical and computer-related know-how placed much further down the list.

Jobs are going unfilled as a result, which hurts companies and employees. The annual global Talent Shortage Survey from ManpowerGroup finds that nearly 1 in 5 employers worldwide can’t fill positions because they can’t find people with soft skills. Specifically, companies say candidates are lacking in motivation, interpersonal skills, appearance, punctuality and flexibility.

(MORE: Black Swan Event: The Beginning of the End of Unpaid Internships)

One thing that does appear to make a difference is internships, according to a Harris Interactive survey of more than 2,000 college students and 1,000 hiring managers on behalf of textbook company Chegg: more than 80% of employers want new grads they hire to have completed a formal internship, but only 8% of students say interning in a field related to their major is something they spend a lot of time doing. Instead, the top extracurricular activities are hanging out with friends, working in an unrelated job and eating out.

And all internships are not created equal. Overall, only about half of college grads say they’re prepared for the workplace — and the number of bosses who think they’re prepared is lower than 40%.

Among students who don’t intern, only 44% consider themselves ready for the job market. That improves for students with unpaid internships; 58% say they’re prepared for the workplace. But among students who complete paid internships, that number jumps to 70%.

Part of the problem is that you don’t know what you don’t know, as the saying goes. Harris Interactive found a huge gap between students’ perceptions of their abilities and managers’ perceptions of those same skills.

None of the students think they’re entirely prepared for the workforce, but they’re a lot more confident than the managers surveyed.

There’s a 22-percentage-point difference between the two groups’ assessment of the students’ financial skills, which Inside Higher Ed calls “alarming,” in an article about the research. Managers also take a much dimmer view of students’ abilities to communicate with authority figures, prioritize and organize their work, manage projects, work in teams and with diverse groups.

It’s just harder to teach these skills, experts say. “It is hard to correct a lifetime of bad habits in a short period of time,” Roderick Nunn, vice chancellor for economic development and workforce solutions at St. Louis Community College, tells the St. Louis Beacon.

Categories: Uncategorized

Self Awareness

October 21, 2013 1 comment

Self-Awareness Can Be One of the Secrets to Success

 In talking to a business acquaintance the other day I was reminded of his strong opinions.  He is one of those people who puts up verbal roadblocks to any idea or suggestion that is not in alignment with his opinion of ‘how things should be’.  He is thereby missing new information or innovative ideas to consider because his mind is closed.

Have you ever been accused of only hearing what you want to hear or seeing what you want to see?

 Try this exercise. Ask a friend to look around and make note of everything that is green. Next, have him close his eyes. Once his eyes are closed, ask him to tell you what around him is red.

 Almost everyone you ask will not be able to tell you what was red because they were focusing on what was green. Our perceptions work the same way.

 If we have expectations or biases, we tend to see what we want to see.  Likewise, if people try to tell us something we do not want to hear, we simply do not hear them.

 With the increasing rate of change in the business environment, this is not a good time to be close-minded.  In the past, many businesses succeeded by maintaining the status quo, but in today’s marketplace, it is necessary to expand this narrow focus.

 One way to do that is to be aware of our own prejudices and expectations.

Categories: Uncategorized

YOU CAN’T SEND A DUCK TO EAGLE SCHOOL

September 12, 2013 4 comments

“YOU CAN’T SEND A DUCK TO EAGLE SCHOOL”

In browsing the teamwork section of a website for professional and personal growth I found the above book by Mac Anderson that captured my attention. In it he focuses on some important steps you can take to improve your business.

Mr. Anderson says: “my goal with this little book is to share some of my “lessons learned” in a brief, but engaging way. Because so many times, it’s not what is said, but how it is said, that turns the switch from off to on. For me, one of the most exciting things about business and life is that one great idea can change our life forever.”

This first excerpt I’ve included relates to employee relations:

“There is one question that every employee will love to have you ask … What can I do to help? So many times as leaders, we assume we’re doing all we can do, however, these 6 words:

“What can I do to help?” will usually prove your assumptions are dead wrong.

The question should address three areas:

1. What can I do to help you serve the customer better?
2. What can I do to make your working environment better?
3. What can I do to help you better balance your work and family life?

Obviously, it’s important to let them know up front that you may not be able to help with everything they ask, but you’ll do what you can. In other words, a chauffer to and from work is probably out of the question.

You’ll usually be amazed to hear about a few small things that will cost you next to nothing. You may find they need a new file cabinet, their chair is uncomfortable, they need flex-hours 1 day a week, a new headset for the phone, or a small space heater in the winter months.

The truth is, the fact that you’ve taken the time to listen to their personal concerns is far more important in their eyes than what you’ll “do” for them.

Gallop polled over I million employees who thought they had a great boss and asked them one question. Why? You got it! The number one reason was the boss was willing to listen to what they had to say.

Never forget:

It’s the little things not the big ones that will earn the respect of your people.”

The second excerpt isn’t quite as easy to implement as it is about recognizing your strengths/weaknesses and surrounding yourself with the right people in the right positions to keep the company moving in the direction you are reaching for.

He says:

“One of the biggest reasons many leaders fail is their unwillingness to accept their limitations. Ego gets in the way. They feel they’re smart enough to do it all, and mistakenly feel that what they don’t know they can learn “on the fly.” So many times it’s a recipe for disaster, especially for entrepreneurs.

Walt Disney failed many times early in his career. He had brilliant ideas, but his ability to execute them was painfully lacking.

He also, believe it or not, was a lousy artist. So after the third failure,
Disney was finally convinced that to succeed he must surround himself with great artists who could bring his animation ideas to life. He also needed his brother, Roy, to handle the financial side of the business. These two moves made all the difference and freed Walt up to do what he did best, which was using his imagination to plan their future.

I can definitely relate to the Disney story. From 1991-93 we were on a roll at “Successories”. We had gone from $5 million to $45 million in three years. Then came 1994, and Murphy’s Law hit us like a ton of bricks. We had grown too fast and no longer had the right people or infrastructure to handle it. Early in 1995, I realized that I had to make significant changes. After a lot of soul searching, I realized my strengths were people skills and creativity; however, my weaknesses were operations and accounting. To grow the business and rebuild the infrastructure, I had to hire good people who had been there and done that, people who could complement what I did best. This was a very painful wake-up call, but I learned some of the most valuable lessons of my life.”

We can all take a lesson or two from Mr. Anderson and learn to ask the question of “What can I do to help?” and also realize that we can’t “do it all”, should acknowledge our strengths, and understand our weaknesses to build the team that will drive our business success.

Categories: Uncategorized

5 Stories Every Entrepreneur Should Be Able To Tell

August 6, 2013 Leave a comment

Nothing has the power to engage people like a great story. From a carefully crafted elevator pitch to the perfect customer testimonial, a great narrative can propel your brand and business like nothing else. Stories that resonate attract incredible teams, devoted customers, investors, and press. Identifying the authentic, compelling stories of your company is something every entrepreneur should take the time to do. Here are five stories you should be able to tell at the drop of a hat:

1. Your origin story.

TaskRabbit was born on a cold Boston evening in 2008. My husband and I were about to leave for dinner when we realized that we were out of food for our giant yellow lab, Kobe. I thought about how great it would be to have the heavy bag of dog food delivered right to my home. Then I thought about how one of my neighbors was probably at the store at that exact moment — and they’d probably be willing to pick up Kobe’s dinner if only they had some way of knowing that I needed it.

From this idea I built TaskRabbit, a platform for delegating tasks and errands to friendly, background checked neighbors. The company has grown tremendously since then — we’re now live in nine U.S. cities with dedicated experiences for deliveries and businesses — and I tell our origin story almost every day. Our customers and the community here in San Francisco came to love Kobe so much that, when he passed away last summer, theChronicle ran a full-page obituary in tribute to him.

2. Your desired future.

What does the world look like when your company scales? Have you thought about this? Is it wonderful? Is it inspiring enough to attract a dynamite team, fantastic advisors, and potential investors? Telling the story of the future you want to help create will get the right people excited about your company.

At TaskRabbit, we’re on a mission to revolutionize the way people work. That future is like rocket fuel to me. I see talented people taking charge of their own schedules and making a great living that’s integrated with their lives. I see people increasing their productivity and happiness by leaning on one another to get things done. I see entrepreneurs getting qualified help as they grow their companies. I see this happening all around the country and all around the world. It’s a future I can already see unfolding — and a story I love to tell.

3. A learning moment.

Failure is awesome. Failure means you tried something, you tested it, and you learned some things. Failure gives you the tools to move forward. Telling people about the times when you fell short and learned something substantial is very effective. It shows that you’re working hard to do better.

At TaskRabbit, we’re very iterative about everything we do, so we pay careful attention to our failures (they’re pretty much our inspiration). Here’s a story of how a recent one helped us build something great: We’ve known for awhile that business customers make up a large percentage of our users, we’ve heard stories from these customers about how TaskRabbits are helping out as office managers, customer service representatives, even on-demand delivery engines. These customers told us how they hacked together solutions on our platform because we didn’t provide the features they needed. We learned that we were failing them. Identifying that failure was an “a-ha” moment for our team.

We reached out to these customers, heard more of their stories, and learned that we could offer them something truly revolutionary to help their businesses thrive. From this learning moment, TaskRabbit for Business emerged. This new platform is tailor-made for our business users, and it’s one of the best products we’ve ever released.

4. A truly meaningful anecdote.

Since TaskRabbits become part of the rhythm of people’s lives, our community is full of meaningful stories. Some are funny — like the one about the guy who had a pallet of 365 boxes of ramen noodles delivered to a coworker to settle a bet. Some are touching — like the one about the romantic who hired a TaskRabbit to take a photograph of him proposing to his girlfriend or the one about the grandmother who used her TaskRabbit earnings to take her grandson to Disneyland. And some are positively life changing — like the one about the mother who hired a TaskRabbit to sit with her son during his chemotherapy sessions, more than 3,000 miles away.

These stories illustrate, in a way slogans or taglines or ad copy never could, the impact we make in the lives of our customers. Meaningful stories like these can be worked into press interviews and keynote speeches, brighten up email marketing and social content, and give every single person on your team an arsenal of pithy, powerful tools to evangelize your brand.

5. Your inner monologue.

From your team to your board to the customers that keep your business alive, everyone who’s made a commitment to your company deserves to know what motivates you. Sharing the story of why you’ve dedicated your life to this thing that you’re doing is a powerful and authentic way to make an impression. My story’s simple: I love TaskRabbit.

I live it, I breathe it. It makes me smile, and cry, and laugh, and yes, sometimes it even makes me scream. I love it. Knowing that TaskRabbit — a company born from an idea I had one night and nurtured by a brilliant team, dedicated board, and incredible customers — is poised to revolutionize work as we know is what motivates me.

I wake up every single morning with a singular goal: To do everything possible to move my company forward in the next 24 hours.

Categories: Uncategorized

Generations, What Generations?

July 23, 2013 2 comments

Take a moment to watch this video. Great example!

I recently had the opportunity to attend a presentation on the Multi-Generational issues that face most companies today, and definitely will in the future! It was of the best presentations I have seen on the subject!

I give full credit to the team of Amy Lynch and Kim Lear from Bridgeworks for their excellent presentation. The company has also published two books entitled: When Generations Collide and The M-Factor: How The Millenial Generation Is Rocking The Workplace.

I have attached two summaries from them for your consideration. When you think of the different groups, we all know others, or fellow employees, that embody these characteristics, motivations, and skill sets. Each group has its’ unique strengths whose diversity, talents, and traits, when understood and embraced, can truly bring strength and opportunity to any Company or organization. Understanding these differences can also really make a big difference in success in selling or buying products and services.

For example:

What Traditionalists (born before 1946) really want is some of YOUR time. They want to talk, discuss, and have you explain things for them.

Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) are typically hard workers, very busy and stressed out so they really want you to help them save some of THEIR time.

Gen X-ers (1965-1979) are natural skeptics, and really want you to explain the WHY for them. You need to earn their trust.

Millenials (1980-85) like to work as a team, are very computer and media savvy, and are more socially conscious that the other groups.

What will the GenEdge group bring? The jury is still out, but they have a lot of promise. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

I hope this helps you to better understand the generational issues which affect our personal and business lives. Understand, and embrace, each of their skills and traits and you will benefit from it for generations to come!

genmatrix

Ethics

ETHICSYou read about it in the papers; you hear about it on the evening news; it’s plastered on industry publications and legal journals. Almost everyone is talking about it – almost everywhere you turn, it’s front-page news. The “it” is ethics … and it has quickly become today’s most critical business concern.

 

If you turn to a dictionary for help, you find definitions such as: “a system of moral principles or values; the rules or standards governing the conduct of the members of a profession; accepted principles of right and wrong.”

 

Our grandparents, and generations before them, would probably be amused (and disturbed) by the fact that we now create departments, appoint officers, and even write books – all to make sure we do what they knew as the only way to do business … thenatural way to behave. But then, they didn’t face the same intense workplace and career pressures that lead to temptations of stretching the truth, trading quality for expediency, managing by exploiting “loopholes,” and chasing short-term, end-justifies-the-means, quick profit.

 

The good news is that most businesses, and most people that work in them, are doing right, fair, honest things every day. And that’s how it needs to be – that’s where YOU need to be – because the risks are great for doing otherwise. The reality is your reputation and your organization’s is at stake.In the business world, reputation is everything. Fact is, your success hinges on it. Customers have choices. They research and compare vendors. And they do business with reputable organizations. Commit one ethical faux pas – which will overshadow scores of previous good actions – and you’ll watch your customers go elsewhere.

 

Your job is at stake. If your business loses business, there’s less of a need to keep you around. Whatever job protection you may have had becomes non-existent. And, with today’s increased sensitivity and focus on business practices – combined with the need for organizations to protect themselves – ethics violations can result in job loss. That’s precisely why you should care about ethics. Whether or not you have an ethicsdepartment, or compliance officers, or a “code of conduct,” the ethical make-up of your business begins and ends with YOU … and all the other “you’s” with whom you work. The actions you take, the decisions you make, and the daily behaviors you exhibit – whether big or seemingly insignificant – are ultimately how you and your organization will be judged.

 

One of VIA’s three topics for our Connecting to Success curriculum is ethics. While the rest of the curriculum is rich in needed guidance, teaching the concept of how imperative it is to understand the importance of ethicsand how it affects every part of your life to the high school juniors in our valley is the most valuable part of the program. When it comes to ethics, everyone is responsible.

Categories: Uncategorized

Loyalty to the country always. Loyalty to the government when it deserves it.” Mark Twain

Loyalty.  The word congers up something good… like a loyal friend, loyal employee, and of course, loyal pet.

Cognitively we know that the definition doesn’t change (‘the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations; faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.’) but our perception of how it’s applied may make loyalty good one minute and not so good another.

For example: being ‘loyal to a cause’; if you’re loyal to MY cause, it’s a good thing, but if you’re loyal to the other side, well…I may think you’re either nuts or your loyalties are misplaced.

What about ‘blind’ loyalty?  I’m embarrassed to say that on more than one occasion I have adopted the viewpoint of a friend rather than think and research the information to develop my own opinion. I think this is a kind of blind loyalty.

Too, I remember while growing up I did some things that my older sister talked me into doing that could have really hurt us both.  We now look back on and say, “What were we thinking?” Has blind loyalty ever affected your thoughts or actions?

More gray areas exist when it comes to loyalty in politics.   Thomas Jefferson wrote:  “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.”   Thought provoking words as local and national politics and philosophies often create divisions in our community.

From a business perspective, do you think the following statements true or false?

  • As a paid employee, my employer deserves my loyalty.
  • As a competitive business owner, my employees deserve my loyalty.

It would be helpful for each of us to determine how we think about loyalty at work well ahead of the time when we find ourselves in a situation that requires immediate action and where loyalty is in play.

I wish you a safe and happy summer!!!

Categories: Uncategorized

Why A Non-Profit Organization Should Join VIA

Seven Reasons Why A Non-Profit Organization
Should Join VIA

 

Regardless of the size of a Non-Profit Organization, its marketing budget, or years in business, there are valuable reasons why a Non-Profit organization should join VIA. Whether the Non-Profit Organization is on the national or local level, all non-profits strive for the same goals……to promote awareness of their organization, the services they offer to the community, and to raise the much needed funds to ensure that the organization and the programs that they offer will continue to serve their clients and the community at large. Via offers ways in all these areas to achieve these goals. Below is listed a few of them……

1. Visibility. Yes, you’ve heard it said time and time again, that “out of sight means out of mind”. By being a member of VIA, attending their events, and participating in business related activities, your nonprofit organization stays visible to the business professionals in our community and informs them of ways they can support your organization..

2. Access To Community Leaders & Elected Officials. When you join VIA and actively get involved you’ll discover that meeting prospects who may have an interest in your organization or who can refer you to the key contacts you’re trying to reach, is a huge benefit of membership. From being on committees or attending specific events where prospects are likely to be, you’ll find yourself in situations where you can identify and meet decision makers face-to-face.

3. Ongoing Training, Education & Professional Development. VIA offers leadership training for members through their Leadership Academy.  Members can stay updated, informed and educated all included in the price of their membership. VIA also offers training and education periodically throughout the year on a variation of topics.

4. Networking. From seminars, luncheons, the VIA B2B Show, VIA Rocks Networking Mixers, membership referrals and various business committees, there’s absolutely no excuse for not being able to meet new contacts, referrals and people who can help you with ideas and additional ways to increase the visibility and goals of your organization. These avenues are great for promoting your non-profits events and fundraisers.

The old adage, out of sight, out of mind, is so true when it relates to networking. VIA gives you several different venues to meet new people and always stay “in sight”.

5. Low cost advertising opportunities. As far as visibility at the local level, VIA offers a wide range of affordable advertising options and sponsorship packages for just about every non-profit, regardless of how big or small their budget may be. VIA offers news and advertising opportunities through its web and printed newsletter, insert opportunities at the Monthly Luncheon, sponsorship opportunities at various events, and exhibitor opportunities to showcase your organization at the annual VIA B2B Show.

6. Advocacy. VIA researches, lobbies and routinely discusses with local and regional government units, politicians and the media issues that are relevant to the needs, goals, and challenges of the Non-Profit Community. VIA keeps their membership up to date on central issues of importance pertaining to their membership and the community.

7. Credibility. As a member of VIA, your organization will be viewed as a reputable, professional Non-Profit Organization that is connected to its business community. This affiliation is also important when applying for grants and other donations.

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GOOD ADVICE: “Don’t wish your life away”!

May 13, 2013 4 comments

I was having a conversation with my daughter-in-law, who has a 3 year old and an almost 3 month old, when she said that she was “over this newborn stuff”.

Although I didn’t say anything to her, it reminded me of my mother telling me not to “wish my children older”. That I should enjoy the stages as they grew as much as possible or I would be sorry later since it goes by much too quickly and you can’t get it back.

She was right.

It is the same as the other moments in life and in business with the advice to stop thinking “I’ll be happy when…” such as:

“when we get that next contract,” or

“when we buy that new building,” or

“when business turns around”

Because, what usually happens when that “when” finally takes place?

We replace it with a new “when.”

My husband said to me last Friday, “It seems as if it was just Friday where does the time go?”

In reflecting on how quickly time passes I’m going to try and take this advice and work harder to enjoy life, family, friends, work, and the moment I’m in.

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It’s your ATTITUDE not your APTITUDE that determines your ALTITUDE by James Caan CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw

May 3, 2013 5 comments

To be successful in any area in life you need to have the right attitude, which means you have to approach any task or job with determination, tenacity and above all plenty of enthusiasm.

In business, when it comes to choosing the right individual for a certain post or promotion, I have always gone for people who have PMA – in other words Positive Mental Attitude.

Leadership and business management comes with its own set of challenges and pressures and it is a common mistake to let these problems and distractions become the major focus – that is why it is so important for senior managers to always look forward rather than backwards.

Of course, it is important for people to have skills, training and experience but I have always been a huge believer in putting attitude above aptitude. You can come fully equipped for a role but without real enthusiasm the best skill-set will count for very little. You can train somebody and give them the tools but you can’t give them the right attitude.

In my view there are two types of people in this world, and those who take the glass half empty approach are simply setting themselves up for failure no matter what targets they set themselves.

In any situation in life, people are looking for leaders to guide and direct them. That is particularly the case when you are going through a difficult or challenging period in the development of a company. Always remember there is only one person watching them and hundreds watching you.

I have always been a believer in leading by example and the nature or character of an organisation is more often than not shaped by the person at the top – that is why it is so important for senior executives to set the right tone and atmosphere.

Staff can instinctively grasp when something is not right within a business and it is vital not to panic and send out the wrong message during those difficult times and tough trading conditions – in other words stay positive.

More importantly, having the right attitude can have a real impact on the business in terms of its performance. There are too many organisations which allow a blame culture to flourish without properly understanding the negative effect it can have on the business.

When I have a bad month in my organisation, I get the senior management team together to discuss the reasons why performance isn’t the best. About 20 per cent of the meeting is normally taken up with looking at exactly what went wrong and the rest is spent discussing how to put the problem right.

Of course, it is really important to understand why something has not worked but it is even more important not to get caught up with the process of looking backwards. A firm which prefers to look to the past rather than to the future is always going to struggle in the long term.

The key to real success is an ability to adapt to change, and that will never happen if you approach every challenge with a negative attitude. People with the right mental attitude can always take something positive from a difficult situation and most important of all, will be constantly looking at ways of moving a business on to the next stage of its journey or development.

James Cann

James Cann

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“The easiest way to change your boss – or anyone else.”

December 11, 2012 1 comment

During the holidays, when time is at a premium, I especially appreciate these brief business tips from Paul Hellman.  This month’s tip:  “The easiest way to change your boss—or anyone else.”  Take a minute and take a look.  It might change your view… even just a little.  
CNBC runs these tips regularly on their website:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/100285228

To subscribe to these fast tips (no cost, no spam):
http://www.expresspotential.com/energize_performance.html

Happy Holidays, everyone!!!

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Top 10 Things Small Businesses Can Be Thankful For This Holiday Season

 

Well, we just all got through the elections and they may or may not have gone the way you had hoped.  Regardless of the outcome, we are all hopeful and optimistic that the future of businesses will continue to prosper and grow, especially for small business entrepreneurs.  After all, entrepreneurship is part of the American Dream! It is through entrepreneurial optimism that business owners are finding business and personal success. One way for small business owners (and the larger ones too) to remain positive and optimistic is to remember the things we have to be thankful for in our companies and careers as we start this Thanksgiving holiday week and move forward right into the holiday season. Below is a list I found created by AllBussiness.com of the top ten things small businesses can be thankful for.

So here they are….I hope you enjoy them and give thanks for them this holiday season.  The top 10 things small businesses can be thankful for this holiday season and throughout the year:

10. The economy really is getting better. No doubt about it, things are still tough for many people, but there are more and more positive signs out there, boding well for companies large and small. The major stock market indexes have shown surprising strength, credit card issuers report that delinquencies have slowed, and U.S. retail sales currently stand at their highest level in more than two years. That’s all good news for small businesses, especially consumer-facing firms. Even as most prices small businesses pay remain low, some small businesses are reporting that they’ve been able to increase profits by raising prices.

9. The Internet and social media. From Facebook to Twitter to eBay to email marketing, the Internet’s impact on small business is impossible to overstate. The Internet has made it possible for even the smallest companies to sell their products and services around the world, to work with suppliers and employees in remote locations, and to inexpensively market to millions (or billions) of people at once. On the Web nobody knows you’re a small business — in many ways you’re competing on a level playing field with the Fortune 500. And that’s not all. The Web also makes it easy to get the information you need to make your business successful — not to mention network with your peers for advice and support.

8. John Boehner is one of us. No matter what your political persuasion, it’s not insignificant that the incoming Speaker of the House comes from a small business background. Boehner often speaks in emotional tones about his experiences tending bar and mopping up the floors at his family’s small business, Andy’s Cafe, a pub in Carthage, Ohio. Before entering Congress he also worked as a salesman for Nucite Sales, a marketing firm for plastics manufacturers. It remains to be seen if Boehner’s real-world experience will prove a boon to small business once he takes the helm of the lower chamber — but the opportunity is there.

7. Small businesses can expect some relief on health care. The Obama administration is relaxing health care regulations so businesses can jump to another insurance company without having to conform to new coverage mandates. The biggest beneficiary of the recent ruling by the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to be small employers, which were just hit with a big rate increase.

6. Great employees. Small business owners have the privilege of leading some of the most dedicated, resourceful, productive workers in the world. And unlike large multinational corporations, small businesses often get the opportunity to work directly in cooperative teams with their employees, free of much of the bureaucracy and red tape that hobble bigger organizations.

5. It’s easier than ever to hire new workers. One positive side effect of the economic malaise is the creation of an employer’s hiring market. Small businesses that are hiring have access to better, more qualified workers than at any other time in memory. And many of these exemplary employees are happy to work for reasonable wages.

4. New financing options. Traditional bank loans and venture capital may be hard to come by these days, but we’ve also seen the emergence of innovative new ways to raise money. Small business grants and microloans, for example, are increasing in importance and availability. Angel investors are also taking on new importance. Perhaps even more important, if you can land a loan, interest rates continue to remain at historic lows.

3. Small is the new large. Revolutionary changes in technology– including the increasing consumerization of business tech, the rise of cloud computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS) are dramatically cutting the cost of equipping a business and building a computing infrastructure. Best of all, these trends seem tailor-made for the needs of small businesses — especially startups — not saddled with the legacy systems that can hinder many older, larger companies.

2. America. Small business owners like to carp about overregulation, taxes, and other problems. Those are all very real issues. But compared to most other countries, the good old USA still represents a unique combination of freedom; relatively low taxes and non-intrusive regulations; a skilled, diverse workforce; an entrepreneurial culture with unlimited opportunities; rich and varied sources of capital; and a transparent and consistent business culture maintained by rule of law, not connections, bribery, and influence. Really, where else would you want to run your small business?

1. You are your own boss! The best part of running a small company has always been that you’re in business for yourself, not someone else. So go ahead, take Friday off — the boss won’t mind.

Laura
Laura Kirchhoff
Development Associate-Special Events
Child & Family Center
21545 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita, Ca. 91350
661.255.6847 x3166   Laura.Kirchhoff@childfamilycenter.org
SCV Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year

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NUTS ‘N BOLTS LEADERSHIP

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

I came across this book called “How To” Strategies and Practical Tips For Leaders at ALL Levels” by Eric Harvey and Paul Sims. It appealed to me as a refresher to those of us who have been in management for a long time as well as a training tool for people just beginning in that arena.

I’ve copied some pieces of their message below:

“If you’ve been in management for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly come   to realize that it’s a multi-faceted profession – a somewhat complex calling that includes the classic and academically described duties of “planning, directing, controlling, etc.” … and much more. 

Like a coin, leadership has two sides. There’s the proactive side – the actions you initiate to positively affect people and their performance. And there’s the reactive side – the actions you take in response to unanticipated issues and situations. The key to these equally important sides is ACTION. And the way we see it, in order to act properly and effectively in these fast-paced times, your management “toolbox” needs to be filled with solid nuts and bolts techniques.

Here are some “How To” tips that should help:

  • Address Performance Problems Early. One of the surest ways to demotivate employees is allowing people to do sub-par work. When that happens, others have to pick up the slack. You owe it to the rest of the team to address an employee’s deficiencies as soon as you become aware of them. Waiting only increases the intensity of everyone else’s bad feelings.
  • Think “Development.” Make developing the members of your team (and yourself) one of your top priorities. Besides providing formal training, pursue opportunities for building skills, awareness, and confidence that require minimal time and resources (e.g., watching videos, distributing industry publications, mentoring).
  • Always Give the “Why.” A combined lesson from Human Nature 101 and Common Sense 101: There’s a much better chance that people will be motivated and give their enthusiastic support if they understand the reason behind a goal, assignment, or decision. So, always follow the what with the why
  • Teach Business Literacy. One powerful way to get people motivated is to teach them the business of the business. The more people understand how a successful organization is run, the better they’ll be able to contribute to your overall mission and the bottom line … and feel like they truly are a part of your success.
  • Let your employees lead. Help others on your team develop by letting them take the lead on certain activities and projects. Most of us like “being in charge” – at least some of the time. It’s a great way to build skills, commitment, and responsibility.
  • Involve them in Decision Making. Have an important decision to make? Let employees decide! Or at least ask for their ideas and suggestions. They are, after all, the ones who will feel the impact the most. Besides, you’ll probably end up with a better decision – one that your people will be inclined to support because they helped make it.
  • Keep them informed.Hold regular “state of the business” meetings to keep everyone informed on what’s happening within the organization (future plans, new products or services, planned purchases, etc.). Make sure people do NOT feel “kept in the dark.
  • Spread the wealth.Rotate the drudgework so that everyone shares part of the load. Likewise, spread around the high-profile assignments so that every person has an occasional opportunity to strut his or her stuff.
  • Respect their time. If you expect employees to believe that their work is important, you have to believe it, too. More importantly, you have to behave like you believe it! Don’t expect people to drop whatever they’re doing every time you need something. Instead, ask if they have a few minutes to chat. Better yet, ask for a time when they’ll be available to meet with you.”

All of these are very solid tips that can help all of us become and/or remain better leaders for our businesses.

Andrea McAfee

Bayless Engineering

www.baylessengineering.com

How to Run a Brainstorming Meeting

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

Recently I attended a Project Management Training that gave the advice “Never call your first meeting for a new team on a project a Kick-Off Meeting but rather call it a Brainstorming Meeting.”  I found the advice interesting and pushed the trainer further as to why that was the case.  The response I received was that the term “Kick-Off Meeting” can sometimes be misinterpreted that you already have a pre-set agenda for the project and that rather than trying to gain input and insight from your fellow team members in attendance, you simply want them to follow your pre-determined plan of action.  Once that was explained, I quickly recalled several “Kick-Off Meetings” of late that definitely did not go as I had planned them and wondered if simply changing the name would have changed the attitudes that came bursting into the room.  With that in mind, I found a handy article online about “How to Run a Brainstorming Meeting” and am greatly looking forward to my next “Brainstorming Meeting” rather than my next “Kick-Off Meeting.”  Hope you found it as helpful as I did:

http://scottberkun.com/essays/34-how-to-run-a-brainstorming-meeting/

 

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Make A Difference in a High School Student’s Life

October 15, 2012 Leave a comment

We all get so busy with work that sometimes we forget the importance and the value in imparting a few tidbits of real life experience with a teenager. So let me ask you, how would you feel knowing that you might have helped a teenager find his or her first part time or summer job? How would you feel knowing that you helped a teenager think of how he or she is seen in the virtual world before even completing a job application or a college application? How would you feel knowing that you shared with a teenager the value of managing his or her own personal finances responsibly? And, how would you feel knowing that, just maybe, a teenager is a bit more aware of how ethical his or her actions are on a daily basis?

Well, if you think you would feel good by helping a high school student be better prepared to take more responsibility for him or herself, then I ask you to consider spending half a day volunteering your time at the 10th Annual Connecting to Success event!

If this would be your first time facilitating, don’t worry! We’ll team you up with a returning facilitator. The topics you can help teach are:

  • Building Your Image for Success: branding yourself, interviewing, dressing for the interview, using social media to network, and preparing your resume;
  • Money Smarts: saving for the future, understanding basic money management, and understanding basic financial terms; and,
  • Ethics – Doing the Right Thing: applying the Rotary 4-Way Test – Is it the truth? Is it fair? Will it establish goodwill? Is it beneficial to all concerned?

So when can you volunteer? VIA’s two remaining dates are:

  • Thursday, October 18th
  • Thursday, November 15th

Contact the VIA Office at 661.294.8088 or leave a post here and we’ll take care of the rest. Remember, VIA is THE Place to Be…for business, for networking, for building instilling real world knowledge to teens!

Diana Meyer
2012 VIA Chairwoman of the Board
Logix Federal Credit Union

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Vote by mail

The application to vote by mail must be received by the Elections Official (Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk no later than October 30, 2012.  Go to the LA County website to download an application:  http://rrcc.lacounty.gov/Voter/PDFS/VBM_BALLOT_791.pdf

Happy Voting!

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Personal Branding – The Social Network Way

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

I attended the Professionals In Human Resources Conference (PIHRA) at the end of August 2012.  Besides exceptionally interesting workshops and keynote speakers, I learned new terminology “Employer Branding”.  Companies are creating their own Social Network brand in-part to recruit potential employees.  Did you know, according to Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey results 2012: As much as 92% of recruiting is now happening through social networks!   Most popular social networks being used for recruiting:  LinkedIn 93%, Facebook 66% and Twitter 54%.  Since implementing social recruiting, 49% saw an increase in quality of candidates, 43% reported an increase in candidate quality, 20% reported it took less time to hire, 31% saw increase in employee referrals, according to the survey.  Has your company created its Social Media Brand?  As you may know I have been advocating “Personal Branding” for jobseekers for several years; interesting, the way Social Media is changing the method individuals are recruited and employed.

John Silver

ITT Technical Institute

jsilver@itt-tech.edu

Oh, %$#&^*, I didn’t mean to do that!

September 12, 2012 3 comments

Ever hear those words coming out of your own mouth?   They usually follow immediately AFTER you hit the SEND button on an email you did not mean to send!

I am sure we have all had that wonderful experience.   Here are some very important tips to remember, especially when sending business emails.

First, NEVER put anything in an email that you would not like the whole world to see, because they just MIGHT.   Remember that email is forever.   Even if you delete it, it is still out there somewhere in the Cloud for others to find and use.   If you doubt this, you can just ask a few Ex-Congressmen about it!   If it is important, or is sensitive information, pick up the phone or meet in person.

Second, please DO NOT use Text Message acronyms in a business email.   You may have seen LOL, or CUL, CSL, or one of my personal favorites, WDALYIC!   These are fine for text messages or Twitter posts, but definitely not for business emails.   I suspect most of those of us in the over 30+ crowd don’t know what they mean anyway!.   If you are internet speak challenged, like I am, here is a link to a site that can help   www.netlingo.com

FINALLY, please DO NOT hit that *(**%  Reply All button unless you really need to!     Think of this before you hit that button.   If someone sends you an Email with just 20 recipients, and each person hits that Reply All button, 400 unecessary emails were just created!   I don’t know about you, but I have enough trouble just managing my regular Emails and all the SPAM I get, let alone 20 more with “Ditto”, or I’ll be there, or some other such nonsense.   Oh, Bill Gates, jsut where is that “Are You Sure” button?

Randy Moberg, CLTC

Chief Operating Officer

L/B/W Insurance & Financial Services, Inc.

www.lbwinsurance.com

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It’s Never Too Late!!

Well, with the Labor day holiday behind us, I guess Summer is officially over and Fall is upon us. This means we only have four more months to the end of the year. Back in January, were you one of the many people who vowed to make this year the year that you were going to become more aggressive in meeting new people and getting more involved with the business community? The growth and success of your business is counting on you! Yes, it may be September, but it is not too late if you have not yet started or have not gotten as far as you had hoped.

VIA offers you a chance every month to meet new people, promote your business, and get involved with the business community. The VIA monthly Luncheon gives you a chance to network before and after the luncheon program with the people you have been wanting to connect with. Each month, you will also enjoy a program focused on one of the many current topics of business that affect us all in Santa Clarita. Give Nancy at the VIA office a call today to reserve your seat at this month’s Luncheon on Wednesday, September 19th,  11:30am, at the Valencia Country Club. There are also numerous committees for you to be involved with that will put you out there and in front of many fellow business professionals and companies. Check out the VIA website for details on these committees and all the ways that VIA is there for you! Remember…..It is never too late!

Laura Kirchhoff
Development Associate-Special Events
Child & Family Center Foundation

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Employee-Oriented Metrics

August 27, 2012 1 comment

What are the key metrics that you use to manage your business? Undoubtedly, they include the “big three” of sales, profit and cash flow but do they include any metrics to measure employee related items. In a world where many companies profess that “people are our most important asset,” most companies are shockingly devoid of any metrics about the mindset and welfare of their self-proclaimed most important asset, their team members.

Does your company regularly monitor any employee-oriented metrics in its regular reporting?  Now I am not talking about some sophisticated survey of the employee base that takes a lot of time and costs a lot to properly design and execute. I’m referencing metrics like: Employee Turnover, Quick Turnover Cost as well as safety metrics like Lost Workday Injury Rate and Total Injury Rate.

Please share with your fellow VIA members what employee-oriented metrics work best for you and why.

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“How to Get Them to Pay Attention”

I came across this article written by Paul Hellman, founder of Express Potential.  Among other accomplishments, he is a business consultant and executive coach, helping businesses improve performance and productivity, which is why his message caught my eye.  It’s called “The 7 Laws of Attention”; it’s well-written and on target!  Laws # 3 and 5 especially resonated with me.  Please read the article and see if you agree with Paul’s message.

1) It’s easy to get distracted.

When Jimmy Carter was President, he was criticized for micro-managing requests to use the White House tennis courts.

You can see how tempting that might be—easier than negotiating with Congress, or dealing with tough foreign situations.

The challenge is to focus. What are you paying attention to? What should you be paying attention to?

In the last hour, my avoidance behavior has included checking email, scheduling a haircut, and eating almonds.

I don’t even like almonds.

 2) Your attention shapes you—and others.

“When a pickpocket walks down a street,” says a proverb, “all he sees are the pockets.” 

The boundaries of your life are determined by your attention. Sometimes we obsess about small things; we get small.

And if you’re a leader, others pay attention to you. What you say, and what you do define what’s important.

What do you say is important?

 3) Assume non-attention.

Attention spans are shrinking. There’s too much information, too much noise. So just because you said something, doesn’t mean anyone heard it. 

Imagine, the next time you talk that, instead of info, you’re delivering a truckload of furniture. Here’s the problem: the other person’s house is already fully furnished. 

Where are they going to put all your stuff?

They don’t even hear you ring the doorbell. They’re out back, in the swimming pool, drowning in information.

 4) Attention is a scarce resource; people kill for it.

We forget the value of paying attention to others. Managers, when coaching employees, often think they have to provide advice and make suggestions—and sometimes that’s useful.

But there’s power to just listening. Listen well, and others will say you have “presence.”

Are you present?

5) It’s not enough to pay attention.

You’ve also got to look like you’re paying attention.  “I was surprised,” a manager told me recently, “to discover how negatively people viewed my texting during meetings.”

Maybe you can multi-task, maybe you can’t (neuroscientists say you can’t), but either way, the optics are bad. 



6) Attention can be practiced, and developed. Could make you happier.

“A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” say Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert.

Their research (http://www.trackyour happiness.org) suggests that focusing on what you’re doing, even if it’s just washing the dishes, correlates with happiness; mind wandering, not so much.

 7) Your attention needs to be refreshed. Often.

Take frequent breaks—shift your attention to here-and-now sensory experience. Stand up and stretch, go for a walk, listen to music.

 

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Paralysis of Analysis

August 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Did you know, many companies are now being held back by the “paralysis of analysis.” Maybe it’s time to jettison some of data analysis and return to conventional thinking and develop a more creative vision for action. A sense of urgency and the ability to make prophetic decisions, not necessary data driven decisions, may end up being the difference between being successful and unsuccessful in a competitive world.

John Silver

ITT Technical Institute