Practical Practice Management

Define Successful….

Last week I went into our local Subway Sandwich store to pick up breakfast sandwiches for the office team.  It was early in the morning and there was one woman working the whole store.  I gave her my order and as she was making it, I asked her what time she had to come into work, she replied “that she worked from 6 a.m. until 3 p.m. each day.”  I commented that it was early to start, but then she got to go home early.  She said “yes, but then I get ready to go to my second job from 5:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m.”

I think my mouth dropped open at this point.  I asked what she did for her second job and she told me that she cleaned the whole kitchen of a local fast food restaurant and then prepped food for the next day.  Then I asked her if she liked her work and she immediately got a big smile on her face and said “oh yes, I have three children who are 14, 16, and 18.  I am a single mother and am so happy to have my jobs to provide for my family.”

I could tell by her enthusiasm when she spoke that she was telling the truth and she was so happy as she told her story.  She was very proud of her accomplishment to provide for her family.

She told me that she worked everyday, but on Sundays she did not have to go to work until 5:30 in the evening and she could have the day to enjoy with her family and friends.  As I checked out I thanked Elisabeth for being such a great example of a strong, successful woman.  The smile on her face was worth a million dollars.

When I left the store, I could not help but continue to think about Elisabeth and her story.  So often, we find people who complain about all they would have to do to be successful in their eyes and how they will never reach it.  Not Elisabeth, she was excited about being a successful woman, able to take care of her family and home by herself.

I am glad that I got to meet Elisabeth and took the opportunity to talk to her, such a lesson I learned that morning.

Success is truly in the eyes and heart of each individual being, no one can measure it except for oneself.

Be inspired!

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Are You Stuck In A Rut?

We all have experienced a time, maybe a few, when we have gotten stuck in a rut.  We feel down, maybe sorry for ourselves, and just cannot seem to pull ourselves out.

Times like this may be triggered by some bad event or unhappy change in our life.

If we do not pick our self up quickly the issue can become serious, possibly requiring outside help to recover.

I was talking with a friend of mine who had been experiencing just such a time in her life, she was in a rut.  She had been transferred at work and was not happy about the change. Instead of trying to embrace it and getting to know her new coworkers she became resentful and withdrawn.

Her husband realized that something needed to be done to help her and he came across the challenge above and decided he would approach her with it.  He knew that his wife had been wanting to get some new flooring, and he had been holding off, but he knew that it would be worth the purchase if his wife could do the “grateful” challenge.

He challenged her and she was to find three things that she was grateful for each day for 21 days, write them down, and tell the family each night at the dinner table.  She not only had to tell them what she was grateful for but why.  His wife jumped at the challenge.

To make a long story short she not only got her new floors, but during the process she became grateful for her new job and coworkers.  He said about two weeks into the challenge she was coming home telling the family about her new job and how much she was enjoying the new challenges it brought.

I think this was one smart husband.  I also think that this challenge is a great one and you do not have to be in a rut to take it on.  How much better would each of our lives be if we did this challenge everyday?

Are you up to it?  Let me know what happens.

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Be More Optimistic

If you asked 100 people if they would like to be happy at work what do you think they would say? I am sure they would love to be happy every day at work. I try to promote happiness each day at the office. If I had to work in a place or for people where there was oppression and apathy I would just hate it.

We know that finding a job where it is total nirvana while you are there is probably not going to happen.  But, you can do the next best thing and bring a little bit of happiness and sunshine with you each day you go to work.

Start by evaluating your behavior and attitude toward work, it is good, do you like going to work and what you do? By starting with self-evaluation you can make sure that you are not someone who comes into the workplace with a “half-empty-glass attitude.”

People in the workplace who are generally happy and have a positive attitude tend to be more productive and creative at their job. This of course makes pretty good sense because when you are feeling good and optimistic you are motivated in most other areas of your life.

Self-motivated employees are highly desired by employers, because of the many benefits that they bring with them to the workplace as a whole. People naturally gravitate toward happy people; they enjoy being around them because they make others feel good.

Here are three things that you can do to inspire a culture of happiness at your workplace.

1. Be more optimistic.

2. Focus on getting tasks done with a smile on your face. (Smiling is infectious)

3. Offer solutions to problems.

We spend a third of our Monday to Friday workweek actually at work, a third sleeping and a third taking care of our personal life. That is a lot of time invested at work so wouldn’t it be better if it was a happier place to be?

The article below is excellent. Take a few minutes to see what the Happiness Officer has to say about being happy at work.

10 Reasons Why Happiness At Work Increases Productivity

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Workplace Culture Is Not Created Overnight

In my consulting business I often encounter business owners who think running a business, developing a company culture, hiring the right people, making them happy and productive should be an easy task.

What is wrong with this picture? All of the above take time and effort and then more time and effort just to begin developing the right business culture that you desire to have.

A good, solid and sound business culture that will embrace employees, lift them up and give them the tools to be successful is not created over night.
Most business cultures and environments are developed after an employer or supervisor realizes what was in place to begin with is not working and they need to figure out how to make it work before the business crumbles.

If this sounds like your business or the one that you work with, know that not all is lost. There are things that you can do to build and create a great work environment that you and employees will thrive in.

The article attached from Inc.com gives 7 great key tips in creating an awesome work culture that will take your business to where you envision it to be.

Creating Your Workplace Culture 

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How Can Employees Produce More?

With so many different aspects to managing a business, managers and business owners have a hard time knowing what should come first in order to keep things running well.  An article on the Forbes website titled “The Open Secret to Motivating Employees” asked the following question of business owners; “Could a 5 minute interaction with an employee increase your weekly production?” What do you think, could spending 5 minutes with an employee improve their overall production at work for the week? You may be surprised, but the answer in most cases is ‘yes.’

What type of interaction is needed to take place in that 5 minutes in order to make a difference that employees would want to produce more? There are three major factors that will influence employees and make them want to jump onboard and produce more at work.

1. Task significance – Everyone needs to know what the need of the company is and how is it that they can help achieve the goal in order to make the company they work for successful. This must be individualized for each employee so that they can see what it is that they can do to help achieve this. Knowing how their job has a meaningful, positive impact on others (those they serve, i.e., customers, other employees or their boss) makes employees happier and more productive. They see and understand their purpose.

2. Face-to-face interactions – When employees are told directly, not by e-mail, memo or a phone call what it is they (personally) do that contributes to the success of the company it make a tremendous impact on how they feel and that translates into what they do, which is higher job performance.

3. Reinforce employees’ awareness – Employers need to create ways that reinforce employees’ awareness of whom they are serving and the benefits that they personally are providing customers, co-workers, their boss or the company as a whole. Collect and tell inspiring customer stories, take pictures of happy customers, show them the profit and loss report when things are improving. Whatever you can think of that will show your employees what they contribute to the overall success of the business will make a big difference to how they function and desire to produce more.

Five minutes really is not that much time, even if you have 100 employees it only comes to approximately 8 1/2 hours for a weeks worth of interaction with the most important assets you have for your company. Isn’t it worth the investment?

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Focus On Small Things To Succeed

Ever since I was a child I have had a hatred for ants. For some reason just seeing them walking along in a line gives me a cold shiver up my spine and then I get the feeling that they are crawling all over me.

It really is a terrible feeling and I will totally wig out if they come into my house. I must have at least 10 cans of ant spray place strategically in drawers and cupboards all around my house and my exterminator is on speed dial.

As much as I hate these little critters, I realize they were created for a purpose and one of them is to show us lessons on how to be a great team and work to the best of our ability for the common cause.

An article by Brad Isaac has 10 great traits we can learn from ants; here are four that we can apply to building a great work team.

1. Ants see defeat as only temporary – I know this one all to well.  I have an exterminator who sprays for ants on a regular schedule, but it seems the ants always seem to come back just before my exterminator is scheduled to spray.  Why don’t they just go away for good?  Nothing seems to really defeat them; if they have to climb to the top of the house and go down the chimney to get in they do it, because it is what they have to do.  If only we could think this way, all too many times we are totally defeated by defeat.  Instead we need to work together like ants and allow nothing to stand in our way of being successful.

2. Ants are determined – You never see ants give up if they are going after water, they will find it and nothing stops them.

3. Ants work together – They find a dead cricket or other bug hundreds of times their size, they just team up and all pitch in to move it to the nest.  No complaints and no one walks off the job they just do it.  All for one…and one for all!

4. They stay focused until they succeed – When ants are working they work, nothing else.  They take no breaks, no wandering off, they know what is expected from them and they are focused on it until it is done.  I remember in grammar school when my teacher brought in an ant farm for us to watch over the year.  It really was amazing that they always had something to do and were never idle and each day the farm grew as they stayed focused on building their home. Imagine what we could accomplish if we stayed as focused.

I recommend that you read the article, as it is good food for thought.  We really can learn a lot from those pesky ants.

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You Only Live Once, Have No Regrets..

Bronnie Ware, a palliative hospice nurse, wrote a book on her observations of the dying patients she took care of.  The title of the book is “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.”

You can get the book on Amazon in paperback or kindle version.

Below are the five regrets and the link takes you to an article about the book.  Life is short and there is no room for regrets, only lessons learned.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

5. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

 

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Can You Find Passion At A Job You Hate?

The time you spend at your work may be the least favorite part of your day, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.  If you are working a job that you have come to dislike there may a be a few things you can do to turn that around according the article that appeared on MSN Money (see below).

More often than not, when we become dissatisfied with our job, that becomes our focus and we can see nothing else.  We dread each day at work like it were the plague and this affects our home life as well.

If you want to make your job work, you will need to step back and assess your situation then, take the following steps that can be used improve your situation and bring life and passion back into your work.

1. Talk to your boss about opportunities within the company – Are there special projects that you could work on to inspire your creativeness?  Are there other tasks that you could learn that would be interesting to you?  You will never know what opportunities are available unless you ask.Try to control your trajectory as much as you can – We know that if we can lay out our daily course we feel much better about it.  You may not be able to control all of how and what you need to do, but what can you control?

2. Identify a mentor – This may be someone within your company or not.  I found mine outside of my industry and it was the best step that I ever did to move ahead to where I ultimately want to go career wise.

3. Try to control your trajectory as much as you can – We know that if we can lay out our daily course we feel much better about it.  You may not be able to control all of how and what you need to do, but what can you control?

4. Get a certificate or degree – Take a night course or two that offers training in an area that you would like to pursue.  Education is the key to growth and opportunity.

5. Seek out positives – This is the one that I like the best.  Ask yourself, “what did I like about this job?”  There had to be a good reason you thought you would like it.  What is it that you do in your job that gives you satisfaction?

For example: You work in a busy restaurant, it is hectic and demanding of your every moment, but when that customer says “thank you, that was a great meal” it makes you feel good.  Focus on that feeling and then try to bring it out in each customer you serve.

It may take time to change that feeling of dread, but if you seek out what you are passionate about and apply it at work, things really can change.

This quote from the Fish book pretty much sums it up.

“There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is no choice about the work itself. We can choose the attitude we bring to our work.” ~ Stephen Lundin, Author of “Fish!”

5 Ways to find passion even at the job you hate

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How Do You See Yourself?

Far too often we allow how we see ourselves to be influenced by how others see us.  It may be difficult, but we need to put away what others may think and reach deep down inside of ourselves to pull out who we know we really are.

That is what matters, that is what will take us to the dreams we envision for our self.

Even though we may have baggage from when we were younger, not meeting the expectation of our parents or others, we need to throw that baggage out the window and rejoice in who we are and who we want to be.

Have a great Thursday and give yourself a pat on the back for moving forward and truly loving who you are!

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