Strategists in Human Capital!
Affinity International Consulting presents Futurepoint

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

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Change is inevitable
Change is overwhelmingly pervasive and constant in today’s labour market, but many organisations are not ready for them.
Because people are naturally fearful of change both in their personal and professional lives, managers are either not able to implement the required changes or don’t have the skills to empower their team members to do so.
In fact, there are a tremendous amount of misconceptions about change management, the three most common ones being:
Change Affects Only Specific Departments
In medium to large organisations, senior managers lead change management, but they don’t really understand that it doesn’t only affect specific departments.
A boss can meet with the director of communications to discuss strategies to communicate the changes to clients, employees and partners.
They will work with the project management team to create a set of deliverables that must be completed in order for the change to take place.
They may also meet with the IT department, but then fail to alert all of the other employees.The biggest misconception about change management is that it doesn’t affect every single person in your company.
That is false!
You must make sure that all of your employees are aware about upcoming changes and are able to handle them.
Employees Easily Adapt To Change
Another misconception about change management is that employees will easily adapt to change.
Certain managers think it’s enough to hold a staff meeting to announce what is in the works, and that staff will naturally embrace and implement changes.
That is not the case.
First, if you want your team members to truly try their hardest to embrace change, you need to be upfront and explain to them why the changes are happening and how the entire process will roll out.
You should explain in great detail how they will be impacted by the changes, what you hope to gain from it, and what can go wrong.
You also need to provide adequate training to each person, focusing on individual strengths and weaknesses to make sure each and every party will be fully ready to jump on board when the time comes.
Change Will Happen Quickly
When trying to change the status quo, it can be tempting to get it done as quickly as possible.
However, believing that change will happen quickly, especially if it’s not a small change, can lead to trouble.
Managers need to “build an appetite for the change across the organisation and that takes time… The more prepared you are with customised communications, preliminary feedback and active champions….the smoother the path to change,” states a source.
Make sure to give yourself and your employees they time they need to process and come to terms with the changes, train themselves on the what needs to be done and the time to conduct small rollouts.
To your success!

Sean McPheat

Monday, October 8, 2018

The social side of EQ

Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few—the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It’s easy to fall prey to this misconception. In reality, being likeable is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ). In a study conducted at UCLA, subjects rated over 500 adjectives based on their perceived significance to likeability. The top-rated adjectives had nothing to do with being gregarious, intelligent, or attractive (innate characteristics). Instead, the top adjectives were sincerity, transparency, and capacity for understanding (another person). These adjectives, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in the social side of emotional intelligence.

Here are 13 of the best:

1. They Ask Questions The biggest mistake people make when it comes to listening is they’re so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost. A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening, you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions.

2. They Put Away Their Phones Nothing will turn someone off to you like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all of your energy on the conversation. You will find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.

3. They Are Genuine # 1/4 Being genuine and honest is essential to being likeable. No one likes a fake. People gravitate toward those who are genuine because they know they can trust them. It is difficult to like someone when you don’t know who they really are and how they really feel. Likeable people know who they are. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin. By concentrating on what drives you and makes you happy as an individual, you become a much more interesting person than if you attempt to win people over by making choices that you think will make them like you.

4. They Don’t Pass Judgment If you want to be likeable you must be open-minded. Being open-minded makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen. Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require you believe what they believe or condone their behavior, it simply means you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what makes them tick. Only then can you let them be who they are.

5. They Don’t Seek Attention People are averse to those who are desperate for attention. You don’t need to develop a big, extroverted personality to be likeable. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly, confident, and concise manner, you will notice that people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what—or how many people—you know. When you’re being given attention, such as when you’re being recognized for an accomplishment, shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help you get there. This may sound cliché, but if it’s genuine, the fact that you pay attention to others and appreciate their help will show that you’re appreciative and humble—two adjectives that are closely tied to likeability.

6. They Are Consistent Few things make you more unlikeable than when you’re all over the place. When people approach you, they like to know whom they’re dealing with and what sort of response they can expect. To be consistent you must be reliable, and you must ensure that even when your mood goes up and down it doesn’t affect how you treat other people.

7. They Use Positive Body Language Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic. Using an enthusiastic tone, uncrossing your arms, maintaining eye contact, and leaning towards the person who’s speaking are all forms of positive body language that high-EQ people use to draw others in. Positive body language can make all the difference in a conversation. 2/4 It’s true that howyou say something can be more important thanwhatyou say.

8. They Leave a Strong First Impression Research shows most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this you can take advantage of it to make huge gains in your likeability. First impressions are tied intimately to positive body language. Strong posture, a firm handshake, smiling, and opening your shoulders to the person you are talking to will help ensure that your first impression is a good one.

9. They Greet People by Name Your name is an essential part of your identity, and it feels terrific when people use it. Likeable people make certain they use others’ names every time they see them. You shouldn’t use someone’s name only when you greet him. Research shows that people feel validated when the person they’re speaking with refers to them by name during a conversation. If you’re great with faces but have trouble with names, have some fun with it and make remembering people’s names a brain exercise. When you meet someone, don’t be afraid to ask her name a second time if you forget it right after you hear it. You’ll need to keep her name handy if you’re going to remember it the next time you see her.

10. They Smile People naturally (and unconsciously) mirror the body language of the person they’re talking to. If you want people to like you, smile at them during a conversation and they will unconsciously return the favor and feel good as a result.

11. They Know When To Open Up Be careful to avoid sharing personal problems and confessions too quickly, as this will get you labeled a complainer. Likeable people let the other person guide when it’s the right time for them to open up.

12. They Know Who To Touch (and They Touch Them) When you touch someone during a conversation, you release oxytocin in their brain, a neurotransmitter that makes their brain associate you with trust and a slew of other positive feelings. A simple touch on the shoulder, a hug, or a friendly handshake is all it takes to release oxytocin. Of course, you have to touch the right person in the right way to release oxytocin, as unwanted or inappropriate touching has the opposite effect. Just remember, relationships are built not just from words, but also from general feelings about each other. Touching someone appropriately is a great way to show you care.

13. They Balance Passion and Fun People gravitate toward those who are passionate. That said, it’s easy for passionate people to come across as too serious or uninterested because they tend to get absorbed in their work. Likeable people balance their passion with the ability to have fun. At work they 3/4 are serious, yet friendly. They still get things done because they are socially effective in short amounts of time and they capitalize on valuable social moments. They minimize small talk and gossip and instead focus on having meaningful interactions with their coworkers. They remember what you said to them yesterday or last week, which shows that you’re just as important to them as their work. Bringing It All Together Likeable people are invaluable and unique. They network with ease, promote harmony in the workplace, bring out the best in everyone around them, and generally seem to have the most fun. Add these skills to your repertoire and watch your likeability soar!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

The Future Of Work

CEO'S can take a proactive approach to preparing the workforce for the tremendous technology-enabled changes required to compete in the years ahead.

Digital technology is having a profound effect on the human side of the enterprise, affecting where, when, and how employees get work done. The results of Deloitte’s recent Future of Work survey confirm that C-level executives view the ways in which new technologies will shape their organizations and their own roles as a topic of critical importance. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed say it is a strategic objective to transform their organization’s culture with a focus on increasing connectivity, communication, and collaboration.
Even as more business functions are augmented by new technology capabilities, people remain the most critical asset of an organization. Going forward, those people will be working in a more networked, distributed, mobile, collaborative, and real-time fluid manner. Such significant shifts will demand not only increased adaptability on the part of employees, but deliberate forethought from executives introducing new systems and processes to make sure the transition goes smoothly.

Forward-thinking CEOs will ensure that work, increasingly done by human and
machine in concert, is coordinated to create maximum value for the company and its employees.
When approached with consideration to the impact on work and workers, digital technologies offer the opportunity to create a more engaging environment for employees and a more adaptive organization for the future. The survey offers a glimpse of what executives expect this future to look like as well as six lessons for business leaders who will usher in the technologies to enable new ways of working and also manage the changes within their own talent organizations.
Pay attention to culture. More than two-thirds (69 percent) of those surveyed believe company culture will be critically important to their organization’s ability to realize its vision in the future. The larger the company, the more important this issue becomes. Just 14 percent of those who responded say that culture has no, little, or neutral impact on their ability to realize their vision and mission—and the majority of respondents were from smaller companies.

Developing a common mission and a sense of belonging in a workforce that is increasingly dispersed will grow ever more important. Just 14 percent of leaders say they are completely satisfied with their organization’s current ability to communicate and collaborate. CEOs and other executives who want to achieve the full value of digital transformations will pay close attention to the development and dissemination of communication around workplace changes. Putting in place more efficient decision-making structures and tools (42 percent) and allocating more employee time and resources to innovation by making current processes more efficient (41 percent) are the two
most important changes respondents expect to make within the next two years.
Increase transparency. About three in five (59 percent) corporate leaders say transparency in communications is a critical priority for achieving their organization’s goals. Involving employees in technology-enabled changes will be more challenging than in the past. After all, 37 percent of the global workforce is mobile, 30 percent of full-time employees now do most of their work outside of their employers’ location, and 20 percent of the workforce comprises temporary workers, contractors, and freelancers, according to another Deloitte report. More clarity and openness around the exploration and introduction of digital technologies will help employees adapt to significant and more
frequent shifts in their roles.

Manage generational expectations. By 2020, millennials will make up half of the workforce. However, individuals are also more commonly working into their 70s and 80s. As leaders manage a workforce comprising up to four different cohorts, managing across generations will be more important than ever. Nearly four in five (78 percent) 1/3 executives say generational differences in employees’ expectations will drive an increased emphasis on devolved collaboration, whereby ownership of decisions is delegated down through the organization. The key will be building
an environment that supports flexibility and tools that enable all employees to collaborate and exchange ideas easily and transparently. Measure the business impact. The strategic importance of transforming collaboration and communication is based on the assumption that such advances will yield hard business results in an increasingly competitive, interconnected, and fast-moving world. The biggest benefits executives expect to derive from improved collaboration and communication include identifying and exploiting new business opportunities and increasing rates
of innovation C-level executives spearheading the digital transformation of work can identify the specific business benefits their organizations are targeting and regularly measure. They can then report on key indicators associated with those goals, making adjustments to strategy as required based on performance. Create context. The way we work in five years may look little like it does today. For example, 76 percent of executives surveyed predict their organizations will move away from email and toward more sophisticated  2/3 collaboration tools. Nearly three quarters (72 percent) expect a significant increase in cross-cultural virtual teaming technologies. And around 8 in 10 (78 percent) think mobile will be the dominant technology environment within five years.
But new tools alone are not enough. The time that workers spend today answering email (an average of 25 percent of the day) or checking their mobile phones (around 150 times a day) is not necessarily increasing productivity. As leaders sit on the cusp of potentially more sweeping technology-enabled changes, they can take this time to develop the right cultural context for these new tools and adapt their workplace processes and policies to make the most of digital capabilities on the way.
Build networks, not hierarchies. More than 40 percent of respondents expect to place more focus on facilitating the exchange of ideas, enabling the flow of conversations across the organization, and providing greater autonomy at team and individual levels going forward. This shift from a “top-down” to “side-by-side” organizational construct will be a critical component to the future of work. CEOs will play an important role, enabling an empowered network of employees capable of acting autonomously rather than waiting for direction.

—by Stephen Redwood and Mark Holmstrom, principals, Deloitte Consulting LLP; and Zach Vetter, managing director, Deloitte LLP

Friday, August 24, 2018

Ten Habits Of Incredibly Happy People - Travis Bradberry

There are a lot of "influential thinkers" out there - Travis is the real deal!

Here is a good piece😊 

We’re always chasing something—be it a promotion, a new car, or a significant other. This leads to the belief that, “When (blank) happens, I’ll finally be happy.” The mistaken notion that major life events dictate your happiness and sadness is so prevalent that psychologists have a name for it: impact bias. The reality is, event-based happiness is fleeting. Happiness is synthetic—you either create it, or you don’t. Happiness that lasts is earned through your habits. Supremely happy people have honed habits that maintain their happiness day in, day out. Try out their habits, and see what they do for you:

 1. They slow down to appreciate life’s little pleasures. By nature, we fall into routines. In some ways, this is a good thing. It saves precious brainpower and creates comfort. However, sometimes you get so caught up in your routine that you fail to appreciate the little things in life. Happy people know how important it is to savor the taste of their meal, revel in the amazing conversation they just had, or even just step outside to take a deep breath of fresh air.

2. They exercise. Getting your body moving for as little as 10 minutes releases GABA, a neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel soothed and keeps you in control of your impulses. Happy people schedule regular exercise and follow through on it because they know it pays huge dividends for their mood.

3. They spend money on other people. Research shows that spending money on other people makes you much happier than spending it on yourself. This is especially true of small things that demonstrate effort, such as going out of your way to buy your friend a book that you know they will like.

4. They surround themselves with the right people. Happiness spreads through people. Surrounding yourself with happy people builds confidence, stimulates creativity, and it’s flat-out fun. Hanging around negative people has the opposite effect. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. Think of it this way: If a person were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with negative people.

5. They stay positive. Bad things happen to everyone, including happy people. Instead of complaining about how things could have been or should have been, happy people reflect on everything they’re grateful for. Then they find the best solution available to the problem, tackle it, and move on. Nothing fuels unhappiness quite like pessimism. The problem with a pessimistic attitude, apart from the damage it does to your mood, is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you expect bad things, you’re more likely to experience negative events. Pessimistic thoughts are hard to shake off until you recognize how illogical they are. Force yourself to look at the facts, and you’ll see that things are not nearly as bad as they seem. Subscribe To The Forbes Careers Newsletter Sign up here to get top career advice delivered straight to your inbox every week.

6. They get enough sleep. I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to improving your mood, focus, and self-control. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, removing toxic proteins that accumulate during the day as byproducts of normal neuronal activity. This ensures that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your energy, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough quality sleep. Sleep deprivation also raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Happy people make sleep a priority, because it makes them feel great and they know how lousy they feel when they’re sleep deprived.

7. They have deep conversations. Happy people know that happiness and substance go hand-in-hand. They avoid gossip, small talk, and judging others. Instead they focus on meaningful interactions. They engage with other people on a deeper level, because they know that doing so feels good, builds an emotional connection, and is an interesting way to learn.

8. They help others. Taking the time to help people not only makes them happy, but it also makes you happy. Helping other people gives you a surge of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, all of which create good feelings. In a Harvard study, employees who helped others were 10 times more likely to be focused at work and 40% more likely to get a promotion. The same study showed that people who consistently provided social support were the most likely to be happy during times of high stress. As long as you make certain that you aren’t overcommitting yourself, helping others is sure to have a positive influence on your mood.

9. They make an effort to be happy. No one wakes up feeling happy every day and supremely happy people are no exception. They just work at it harder than everyone else. They know how easy it is to get sucked into a routine where you don’t monitor your emotions or actively try to be happy and positive. Happy people constantly evaluate their moods and make decisions with their happiness in mind.

10. They have a growth mindset. 2/3 People’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged, because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed. People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. This makes them happier because they are better at handling difficulties. They also outperform those with a fixed mindset because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

Bringing It All Together Happiness can be tough to maintain, but investing in the right habits pays off. Adopting even a few of the habits from this list will make a big difference in your mood.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Getting A Promotion! Easy?

I cannot agree with everything here, but certainly one of the better articles I have come across recently. 

Looking for a promotion? Here are the 7 simple steps to getting there.

GETTING A PROMOTION in work is no mean feat – the competition is fierce, and the ladder is a tough climb. There can often be ‘rules’ around getting promoted that will never appear on paper, and office politics can play a role, too. Clara Whitaker, a ‘Career Doctor’ specialising in bringing a spark back to burned-out executives, says that there are two main factors that hold people back from promotion. Firstly, “a misalignment with their managers and/or the company”. And secondly, “lack of trust in [a person’s] own ability to pull it off.” Misalignment is difficult to get around – your job may only promote after a certain amount of time in a role, or not at all. But a lack of trust in yourself can be even trickier to manage. If you’re ready for that extra responsibility, though, these tips will help to get the spotlight on you.

1. Know exactly what you want “When I work with my clients, I always use a set of tests and questionnaires to clearly map out what they want out of their careers and lives, why they want it and how they’re going to get there,” says Clara. “So they can have a clear vision of what success looks like for them, instead of for other people.” This helps them understand where they can fit themselves into a new role, as well as the promotion market at their company and beyond. It is, in Clara’s words, being “smart about your career”. Kieran O’Connell, an executive with DIT Hothouse, also recommends having a clear roadmap for yourself. “You have to have a permanent campaign for career progression,” he says.

2. Decide whether you need to upskill “Investing in education, learning and development is one of the single biggest factors influencing both employability and the ability to progress,” says Dr Ronan Carberry, Senior Lecturer in Management at UCC and the Irish Management Institute. It may not seem like the most obvious thing to do, but going back to education can have a real impact on your job aspirations. Kieran O’Connell recently completed a Masters in Business in order to keep up with the demands of the market. “When everyone has a degree, no one does,” he says. “So one of the best ways to differentiate yourself is to upskill.” Not only does it differentiate you, but letting your boss know that you’re working on something new shows initiative and drive. “The ability to articulate what specific skills and competencies have been developed as a result of completing a course or programme is hugely important [to career progression],” says Dr Carberry. If you can’t take on a degree – and let’s face it, many of us can’t – you might have a think about night or online courses too.

3. Prepare, prepare, prepare Once you decide you want a promotion, it’s best to set the wheels in motion – so that by the time a position crops up, you have everything ready to go as if the interview were tomorrow. “For starters, assess your current skill set, check out what the new position would entail, and prepare, prepare, prepare for the role,” says Clara Whitaker. “Look beyond your current position to see where else you can add value: what opportunities or threats can you perceive?”

4. Find a mentor Another tactic is to ask for help within the organisation. Dr Carberry recommends “seeking out mentoring or sponsorship opportunities.” Having a powerful employee on your side can make all the difference, he says. “Here the sponsor acts as an advocate for an employee when it comes to career opportunities, promotions, and who has the power to effect change.”

5. Help your manager succeed “If you want to get ahead, you have to start thinking and acting like you’re ahead.” says Clara. “That means understanding the differences in scope, responsibility, skills and vision that will be necessary to the new role, and preparing accordingly.” In other words: start acting like you’re already in the role you’re coveting. Taking on extra responsibilities and working as hard as you can get you noticed by a superior – in all the right ways. “You are more likely to be noticed as someone deserving if you consistently help your boss succeed, and rally the troops to help you help her succeed,” according to Clara. Dr Carberry recommends preparing “a concise document that clearly outlines your proven track record and provides concrete details on the impact you’ve had on the business”. Aligning this with the company’s objectives, where possible, is a sure-fire way to stand out.

6. Know where the company is going “What helps [with self-promotion] is to think about the position you want and then build a compelling argument as to how it aligns with the objectives of your boss and the organisation,” says Dr Carberry. Many companies have a long-term strategic plan or vision for the company, as well as for the staff – it’s worth finding and studying this, as more often than not it’s a bible to management. Knowing it inside out not only impresses in an interview setting, but it can help you build a coherent strategy for your new role. Clara stresses the importance of doing your homework too. “Know what the company’s short and long term goals are and how you can add value to them. And research the market to find out what it pays someone with your experience and qualifications.”

7. Have a plan B (and be ready to look elsewhere) Much as the idea of being told ‘No’ may turn your stomach, Clara says it’s important to be ready for rejection – without expecting it. “Always have a plan B” she advises. “Companies are not always able or willing to promote employees at certain times. It happens. So what would your next steps be if your request for a promotion was met with a ‘No’?” If you’re knocked back, try not to take it personally – it really is just business. At the very least, your boss knows that you’re willing, ready and able to up-skill – and it also might be a good time to shop around, says Dr Carberry. “Research shows that one of the best ways to get a pay raise is to switch organisations between three and five years after you started there. Less than three years may be too little time to develop the most marketable skills and after five years people become tied to the organisation.” So maybe if your time is up, and you’re not getting that promotion, it’s best to take your newly sharpened skills elsewhere.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

How To Reduce Human Errors

How To Reduce Human Errors

The Culture Perspective by Karen Zimmermann on Tuesday the 10th of July, 2018.

How To Reduce Human Errors ; The Culture Perspective

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if someone has the courage to admit them.” - Bruce Lee

People make mistakes. We always have and we always will. To be able to answer the question “How To Reduce Human Errors?”, you’ll first need to know WHY we are making mistakes.

Why are we making mistakes?

1. Physiology You may be fatigued, have a low physical condition, feel stressed, have issues at home or you are used to certain routines.

2. Environment Many people require your attention (distraction), the systems are outdated, there is not enough light, the temperature is too high or too low or you are afraid to honestly report issues due to the organizational culture.

3. Task You may have insufficient experience, received incomplete information, are responsible but not authorized to make decisions, or there is a mismatch between the person and the task. The reason why we are making mistakes is that….. we are human beings. You don’t go to work thinking “Today, I feel like making a mistake”. Instead, you go to work, and many different issues require your attention. When trying to solve human errors, we tend to look at the “easy to solve” reasons. You update the procedure, train personnel. Thankfully, this is no longer accepted by the regulatory authorities.

But how do you do proper Human Error Reduction?

The complexity of Human Errors I would like you to meet Brian (not his real name). Brian is a line operator. With his salary and bonus, he provides for his wife and children. Last week, he had a tough conversation with his supervisor. He was disappointed in Brian’s output. Overwhelmed by this pressure, John’s team had missed a blue capsule during line clearance. He noticed this tablet during manufacturing of the next batch; Isotretinoin red/orange colored soft capsules. In a split second, he picked up the capsule and placed it aside. He continued manufacturing without reporting the incident. Of course, this is not acceptable. Brian should have informed his supervisor, a deviation report should have been initiated and followed by a thorough investigation. Yet, his choice is understandable. Reporting this line clearance issue would have resulted in a deviation on Brian’s name, less output and financial consequences affecting his family. The story of Brian is illustrating the complexity of human error reduction. Brian has indicated several times that the old machines are very difficult to clean. It is impossible to guarantee that no tablets or capsules have been overlooked. Yet, no real preventive action has been taken other than additional training and long painstaking checklists. Insufficient torches and mirrors to properly inspect the machines, result in losing time searching for materials. And on that specific day, he also had a massive headache, and not feeling at ease due to his supervisor’s warnings. Conclusion? Brian’s story is not unique. At PCS, this is what we see happening in most organizations: updating procedures hoping it solves the problem. But human error reduction is complex and challenging, it is part of the organizational culture. It requires leadership and an atmosphere of openness and honesty. And as Brian said later on “I do understand that not all issues can be solved at once. But being part of improving the process and getting support makes me feel responsible.” How to continue? You may wish to answer the following questions about your organization: How do we look at human errors? As a symptom, or as errors that should be removed as soon as possible? Are human errors openly discussed and welcomed as opportunities to improve the system? Are managers and supervisors trained on human psychology?

Kind regards, Karen Zimmermann

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Unlimited Holidays!

How would you feel about your employees deciding when and how long their holiday leave should be?
Most organisations not only track how much of their annual leave employees use, they track their daily hours.
Individuals who work a five-day workweek are obligated to receive 28-days off per year
However, that is less than 10 percent of the days in the year and is likely not enough time for holidays, doctor appointments, obligations to children and family members, and simply time to relax, when needed.
Many employees end up saving their annual leave for emergencies, ending up with unclaimed paid holiday days.
Others simply don’t want to ask their manager for a day off, believing it will reflect poorly on their commitment to work.
About one percent of companies, according to Bloomberg, started offering unlimited time off to their employees.
This includes Netflix, Groupon, HubSpot, and, most recently, The Virgin Group. Sir Richard Branson, founder and chairman of The Virgin Group, announced that he will implement this “non-policy” for employees in his U.K. and NYC offices, and, if it goes well, he will want his subsidiaries to follow this example, as well.
Most managers would balk at giving their staff the power to decide when to take time off, but is it possible that this policy can provide benefits to your firm?
In this article, we will argue that unlimited holidays can benefit your organisation in the following ways:
Less Stress
Feeling as if you are unable to take a day off when you need to is very stressful.
This lack of balance between one’s personal and professional lives leads to marital and relationship problems and guilt about missing out in children’s lives.
These issues cause anxiety for employees, which increases more and more with time.
Stressed employees underperform at work because they are too overwhelmed and tired to concentrate and complete their tasks.
When a company offers an unlimited holiday policy, employees are free to take a day off when they need it.
Whether it is for a doctor’s appointment, a quick out-of-town holiday, or simply a day to relax after a hard project, the freedom to pick their own time off reduces employees’ stress and promotes their well being.
When employees are less stressed, they are more creative, more energetic, and more happy at work!
Increased Loyalty
Offering an unlimited holiday policy will make your employees much more loyal to you.
After all, since only one percent of companies worldwide are offering this perk, your staff will think twice before leaving your firm for a competitor.
While the main reason that people switch jobs is a better salary package, it will be hard to go back to having to ask for approval on a total of 28 days off per year after being able to decide when and how much holiday leave to take.
More Responsibility
When you allow your staff to decide for themselves when and for how long to take their annual leave, they have to prove that they are responsible enough to do it.
They must either complete their tasks before their holiday, after they come back or come to some sort of arrangement with their colleagues.
Your employees will need to become more responsible over their own workload, and how to manage it.
Instead of having a manager check in with them daily and assign their tasks, they will need to be on top of their own projects, work in teams with others, and keep track of their own schedules to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
This will benefit the company by creative responsible, engaged and self-motivated employees!
To your success!
Sean McPheat

Monday, May 21, 2018

Breaking the Interview Rules!

Candidates are used to it. Most candidates will answer an interviewer's question in a sentence or two and then fall silent, waiting for the next question.
The interviewer is likely to ask another question in that silence, and the candidate will answer, and so on.
I encourage you to make your interviews more natural and conversational by doing these three things:

1. Don't wait for the interviewer to ask you a question before speaking (examples below).

2. Answer some of the interviewer's questions with a tag (a question inside your answer) to gently nudge your interviewer off the script. Here's an example: "I did a mix of customer support and sales support things in my last job. Is this job more involved with customer support, or sales support?"

3. Take every opportunity you can (for instance, when you are asked an open-ended question like "Tell me about yourself!") to get off the script and into a human conversation. Ask a question about the role, or ask your interviewer to tell you more about the organization and its culture.

The more free-wheeling and relaxed the interview conversation is, the more comfortable you and your interviewer will be. You will be more memorable. You will be in your power. Go ahead and break the old rule that says you must sit silently and wait for your interviewer to speak first!
Here are three ways to start a conversation with your interviewer as you sit down in the interview room (rather than waiting for him or her to start the interview):
Thanks for inviting me. I'd love to hear about your history with the company! (Almost everyone likes to talk about themselves, and doing so will also make your interviewer more relaxed)."
"You must be busy with [a project you read about on the company's website, or a recent news item]."
"I'm glad to meet you! I'm interested to hear about your role, if you've got a moment to share."

You are not trying to take over the conversation and control it, but rather through your friendly and open manner to give the interviewer social permission to put the script aside. Interviewers across the U.S. and around the world tell me that they're dying to get off the script but that most candidates are trained to followed the scripted approach.
Most candidates dare not disrupt the traditional interviewer/candidate dynamic -- but I hope you will!

Of course, there are other interviewers who would rather die than give up their interview script. They love it. They swear by it. They write to me to defend the stupidest interview questions you can imagine.

God bless them. They are on their paths. Your job is to spot people like that and steer clear of them. If you get a bad vibe from the people you meet on a job interview, it's a signal from Mother Nature. Don't take the job.

Here are ten interviewing rules you can break now -- and you must, if you want to get as much out of a job interview as you deserve to get.

1. Break the rule that says you have to sit across the table from the interviewer, hands folded and back straight, and crisply answer each question before going quiet and waiting for the next question.

2. Break the rule that says you have to wait for a predetermined spot in the interview agenda -- typically near the end of the interview -- to ask questions. If your question is organic to the conversation, ask it when you think of it.

3. Break the rule that says you have to keep your answers strictly on point like an oral exam in school. You can always answer a question with a quick story, even if it's not a story-type question like, "Tell me about a time when..." If the interviewer asks you how long you've been using Excel, for instance, you can tell a story about how you used Excel to rock the house. Then you can ask the interviewer, "How will the person in this job use Excel?"
The interviewer may not know the answer! Their question "How long have you used Excel?" was a dumb question because they were only collecting data points like "One year," "Two years," and so on. That won't help them decide which candidates truly understand Excel. Your story, by contrast, will stand out in the interviewer's mind.

4. Break the rule that says your interview demeanor should be deferential and meek. If you are naturally meek, go ahead and meek your brains out.  If you are not meek and you feel stupid trying to play a meek character, don't do it. Only the people who get you, deserve you after all.

5. Break the rule that tells you to keep quiet about an energetic disturbance in the room. Sometimes a job seeker goes on an interview and realizes that the job is a terrible fit for them. They'd hate the job, but they don't say anything. They are trained to stick it out through the whole interview, even if they are scheduled to meet three or four different people.

You don't have to do that. You can name the elephant in the room. It's a great thing to do.
You can tell the person you're with, "It's fantastic to meet you, but it's obvious that this isn't the right role for me. I hate to waste your time. What do you think we should do?"
They might say, "Don't worry! If you are game, we'd love to keep talking with you because we always have different job openings becoming available. Does that sound okay?"
Speak your truth. Don't stay silent if there's something that needs to be said. You will open up the energy by speaking up, and you and everybody around you will benefit.

6. Break the rule that says you have to tell the interviewer whatever they want to know. Don't give away personal information like your current salary, your managers' contact info or your marital/parental status just because the interviewer asks for it. Anyone who has taken a mojo crushing job before will tell you that there are worse things than other month of unemployment. Walk away from organizations that don't respect your privacy.

7. Break the rule that says you can't take a pause. If your conversation goes on and on, go ahead and ask for a quick break. Get a drink of water or a cup of tea or coffee. It is easy for interviewers to forget that a candidate may have been sitting in dusty rooms for hours.

8. Break the rule that says you must wait around in windowless conference rooms while people figure out what to do with you. Break the rule that you must overlook any impoliteness on the part of your interviewers, be infinitely patient with an organization's incompetence and put up with bad treatment. You don't have to do any of those things.
You can get up and leave the interview if things get really bad.
When you enter the interview facility, keep track of your location relative to the exit, no matter how many twists and turns you take.  Also, do not hesitate to ask anyone you see, "Where is the exit, please?" rather than wander around in a strange building trying to escape.

9. Break the rule that says you must try to be the applicant the interviewer was expecting to meet. Sometimes, you'll be in an interview conversation and see a flick of surprise mixed with disappointment on the interviewer's face.
Sometimes there is even a flash of irritation on the interviewer's face, as though they are thinking, "How dare you walk in here not being from the person I envisioned?"
You may see the interviewer's face change when you answer a question differently than they expected you to.
That's fine. Don't make a course correction. There is nothing to correct. Let your interviewer get the learning Mother Nature wants him or her to have. You  are already more memorable for not having been the cookie-cutter candidate the interviewer pictured in their mind.
That's a victory!

10. Above all, break the rule that says the interview is a dog and pony show during which you, the applicant, get to prove that you are worthy of employment.
A job interview is a two-way street. You are checking the organization and its representatives out as much as they are checking you out. If you feel insulted, dismissed or treated badly at the interview, things will not get better once you get the job.
Take heed of red flags, and take off!

A job interview is nothing to dread. You have no one to impress.
You are you, and you are awesome. The people who interview you may appreciate your brand of jazz or they may not. Who cares what they think? They are bit players in your movie.

The right employer for you is out there. You will know when you meet them.
In the meantime, focus on the amazing path you have already followed and the many people you have helped. It will be easier for everyone to see your awesomeness when you feel it yourself!

Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns. Liz's book Reinvention Roadmap is here.

11 Signs That You Lack Emotional Intelligence

When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a
peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the
time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the
sole source of success.

Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star
performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90% of top
performers have high emotional intelligence.

No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is
actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it.” – Jack Welch

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we
manage behaviour, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive
Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it very difficult to know how much
you have and what you can do to improve if you’re lacking. You can always take a scientifically
validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book.

Unfortunately, quality (scientifically valid) EQ tests aren’t free. So, I’ve analysed the data from the
million-plus people Talent-smart has tested in order to identify the behaviours that are the
hallmarks of a low EQ. These are the behaviour that you want to eliminate from your repertoire.
You get stressed easily. When you stuff your feelings, they quickly build into the
uncomfortable sensations of tension, stress, and anxiety. Unaddressed emotions strain the mind
and body. Your emotional intelligence skills help make stress more manageable by enabling you
to spot and tackle tough situations before things escalate.

People who fail to use their emotional intelligence skills are more likely to turn to other, less
effective means of managing their mood. They are twice as likely to experience anxiety,
depression, substance abuse, and even thoughts of suicide.

You have difficulty asserting yourself. People with high EQ s balance good manners, empathy,
and kindness with the ability to assert themselves and establish boundaries. This tactful
combination is ideal for handling conflict. When most people are crossed, they default to
passive or aggressive behaviour. Emotionally intelligent people remain balanced and assertive by
steering themselves away from unfiltered emotional reactions. This enables them to neutralize
difficult and toxic people without creating enemies.

You have a limited emotional vocabulary. All people experience emotions, but it is a select
few who can accurately identify them as they occur. Our research shows that only 36% of people
can do this, which is problematic because unlabelled emotions often go misunderstood, which
leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions. People with high EQ master their
emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do
so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally
intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or
anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you
are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.

You make assumptions quickly and defend them vehemently. People who lack EQ form an
opinion quickly and then succumb to confirmation bias, meaning they gather evidence that
supports their opinion and ignore any evidence to the contrary. More often than not,
they argue, ad nauseam, to support it. This is especially dangerous for leaders, as their under-thought.
out ideas become the entire team’s strategy. Emotionally intelligent people let their
thoughts marinate, because they know that initial reactions are driven by emotions. They give
their thoughts time to develop and consider the possible consequences and counter-arguments.
Then, they communicate their developed idea in the most effective way possible, taking into
account the needs and opinions of their audience.

You hold grudges. The negative emotions that come with holding on to a grudge are actually a
stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a
survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a
threat. When a threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when a threat is
ancient history, holding on to that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating
health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding
on to stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding on to a grudge
means you’re holding on to stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all
costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your
You don’t let go of mistakes. Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their
mistakes, but they do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance,
yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes
refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too
long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely
makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures
into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall

You often feel misunderstood. When you lack emotional intelligence, it’s hard to understand
how you come across to others. You feel misunderstood because you don’t deliver your
message in a way that people can understand. Even with practice, emotionally intelligent people
know that they don’t communicate every idea perfectly. They catch on when people don’t
understand what they are saying, adjust their approach, and re-communicate their idea in a way
that can be understood.

You don’t know your triggers. Everyone has triggers—situations and people that push their
buttons and cause them to act impulsively. Emotionally intelligent people study their triggers
and use this knowledge to sidestep situations and people before they get the best of them.
You don’t get angry. Emotional intelligence is not about being nice; it’s about managing your
emotions to achieve the best possible outcomes. Sometimes this means showing people that
you’re upset, sad, or frustrated. Constantly masking your emotions with happiness and positivity
isn’t genuine or productive. Emotionally intelligent people employ negative and positive
emotions intentionally in the appropriate situations.
You blame other people for how they make you feel. Emotions come from within. It’s
tempting to attribute how you feel to the actions of others, but you must take responsibility for
your emotions. No one can make you feel anything that you don’t want to. Thinking otherwise
only holds you back.

You’re easily offended. If you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say
or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and
open-minded, which create a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other
people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor
and degradation.
Bringing It All Together
Unlike your IQ, your EQ is highly malleable. As you train your brain by repeatedly practising new
emotionally intelligent behaviours, it builds the pathways needed to make them into habits. As
your brain reinforces the use of these new behaviours, the connections supporting old,
destructive behaviours die off. Before long, you begin responding to your surroundings with
emotional intelligence without even having to think about it.

Dr. Travis Bradberry is the award-winning co-author of the #1 bestselling book, Emotional
Intelligence 2.0, and the co-founder of Talent Smart, the world's leading provider of emotional
intelligence tests, emotional intelligence training, and emotional intelligence certification,
serving more than 75% of Fortune 500 companies. His bestselling books have been translated
into 25 languages and are available in more than 150 countries.

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