Buzz Words – Indicate a Lack of Clarity

The following summary of buzzwords and their overuse by GetVoIP is interesting and worth sharing. Which ones cause you to groan inwardly? Which ones are you using? I admit that “unpack” has been one I have used and will now be finding another more suitable word to express the need to look deeper.

“The problem with buzzwords is that most are overused, clichéd, and unclear,” said Reuben Yonatan, whose cloud communications company GetVoIP came up with a study on the 25 most annoying buzzwords.

Here’s the complete list of 25 buzzwords that irritate your colleagues along with an estimate of their usage increase over the past while according to GetVoIP:

  • Bring to the table – up 1738%
  • Cutting edge – 10%
  • Deep dive – 207%
  • Deliverable – 151%
  • Ducks in a row – 485%
  • Empower – 411%
  • End of day – 57%
  • Fast track – 360%
  • Game changing – 341%
  • Guru – 21%
  • Hit the ground running – 578%
  • Innovative – 21%
  • Ideate – 14%
  • Knowledge transfer – 1077%
  • Low-hanging fruit – 955%
  • Move the needle – 100%
  • Pain point – 182%
  • Reach out – 53%
  • Synergize – 119%
  • Take to the next level – 3714%
  • Take offline – 1579%
  • Unpack – 70270%
  • Value-added – 88%
  • World-class – 305%

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.

For more info about GetVOIP – check out https://getvoip.com/blog/2018/03/13/25-business-buzzwords-infographic/

 

 

Soft Skills are Essential in Today’s Workplaces

Working with hiring managers in several different industries including mining, safety, manufacturing, and health care the one common denominator for skills from the Executive Suite to the frontend office has been soft skills. Yes – soft skills – those skills that require having good to great people proficiencies. Most managers agree that technological skills are taught in higher education or learned on the job. Soft skills on the other hand are a learned behavior that is not typically taught in the workplace.

Soft skills in this case refer to interpersonal communication skills, relating to others, being approachable, having a good attitude, being pleasant to work with, having cognitive or emotional empathy, and having harmonious interactions with others. Mastery of these skills enables a person to engage and influence others.

The person with great soft skills leads with confidence. They are also able to manage stress. Another attribute is patience. By that I mean knowing when to take action steps and when to slow things down until the timing for a change process is more fully aligned.

Having a good work ethic in terms of being present to the situation, with a willingness to learn something new is part of having well developed soft skills. Lastly engaging in business behavior that mirrors truthfulness, has integrity, and is transparent are key aspects of the soft skills toolbox.

It turns out that people with an Arts degree may have the right type of soft skills to succeed in areas that are uncertain and murky.  That being the case – here are the soft skills that people with a Liberal Arts education tend to have:

Being curious and willing to try new things. It is speculated about 70 % of working people want to be told what to do and when to do it over and over again.  Enter the need for curiosity, and the ability to make up the rules as you along, a strong characteristic of Arts grads.

Decoding or analytic skills. Unpacking systems and processes are what Arts graduates are generally better at than others.  Using critical thinking skills developed during the degree courses is invaluable in terms of putting all of the puzzle pieces together into a logical framework.  It is also valuable when it comes to unearthing details overlooked by others.

Reading people and communicating. Having empathy and being able to see people as they are is a skill that Arts graduates have in spades.  Focusing on what others want and need and then being able to communicate that clearly is hugely beneficial.

What soft skills do find are essential in your workplace? And which team members demonstrate these skills in spades? Are they by chance Arts Degree holders? Do let me know as I am genuinely interested.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.

 

Employee & Company Growth Are Often at Different Paces

You were hired for your dream job at company XYZ. For the first few years you were in the zone – you meshed with the company culture and were a great fit in terms of your attitude and behaviour.  Suddenly or maybe gradually you began to feel less aligned overall with the company.

As an employer you notice that one of your star employees is indifferent. The person maybe quieter or appear to be less involved. An underlying tension or apprehension is evident. The company or the employee may have grown by leaps and bounds. What started off as a great fit is no longer.

When facing a situation with an employee who is no longer a good fit there are some steps you as the employer can take to mitigate the situation. First you can meet with the employee and develop a transitioning out plan.  Working with other businesses to find a home for the employee is a win-win scenario. Another option is to look internally to determine if there is a role that will use put the talents and skills of the employee to good use.

What have you tried to ensure both you and an employee come out as winners when the fit is gone?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

Hire that Contract Worker

Companies today face many challenges with most being taxed to address the constant changes that are being undertaken to keep pace with client demands. Coupled with the volatility of the dynamics involving environmental and organizational transformations that are occurring the circumstances provide the perfect storm for the use of contractual consultants.

  1. Contract workers take the edge off of overwhelm due to overwork and or contraction.
  2. Contracts allow a business to keep its overhead manageable.
  3. Contracts with consultants add a different perspective to the workplace that in and of itself leads to positive change.
  4. Contract workers take the edge off of peak vacation periods and ensure that projects and or production stay on track saving costly financial overruns.

Contractors are a beneficial investment of time and resources especially in relation to the challenges of ongoing change.  The true value of a business is the people who work in it.  Shorter term contractors provide invaluable assistance in addressing current and future volatility.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant Change & Transition, info@effectiveplacement.com.

Managing Work Performance Utilizing Continuous Feedback

Over the past 10 years the issue of measuring employee performance based on a traditional model of the annual performance review has received a great deal of attention. The annual performance review has been shown to be ineffective for several reasons. A common factor in the demise in popularity for the annual performance review is the lack of relevant feedback to the employee from the manager in a timely way.

Employees today value feedback that is timely and constructive. Those in a leadership position would do well to focus on the on the merits of taking the time to shift their focus from employee performance reviews as a chore to one of addressing providing the feedback that employees desire.

Businesses that have embraced an approach that offers regular feedback are using a Continuous Feedback Model. The model relies on regular feedback to employees. Feedback is not always on work related issues. It may take the from of inquiry as to special traditions or plans around a public event or holiday. Good communication is the hallmark of the model and requires managers and employees alike to focus on improving their own communication skills and style.

The approach is designed to make a point of letting an employee know when they excelled or when there is an improvement required. Discussions between a manager and an employee occur one-on-one. Leaders ask employees questions that facilitate growth in the form of identification of behaviours that lead to success or a lack of it. Leaders and employees both benefit from the approach in terms of opportunities for growth and correction.

Implementation of the model does require a cultural workplace change or transformation. A period of transition is required for leaders and managers to adjust to providing timely and relevant feedback to their teams. It also requires that leaders improve their own communication styles. This often requires specialized training or mentoring. Employees also require training or mentoring in relation to requesting feedback. The process of requesting feedback becomes the basis for further cultural change in that it brings about sharing and trust. These attributes in turn are the basis for employees and managers alike to change their behaviours to have a different result.

Once leaders and employees are comfortable with a communication process that encourages feedback the process moves from occasionally as in quarterly to a more continuous style. Team members may also offer one another feedback as the comfort in the model grows.

Has your business changed its style of performance appraisal to a form of Continuous Feedback? If yes what have the results indicated? Do let me know as I am genuinely interested.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

Business Conduct & Transparency

Transparency in business conduct is a challenge that requires alignment from the executive all the way to casual staff. A blueprint for conduct alignment that is worth sharing follows.

  • Take the time to develop a business code of conduct and ethics. Ensure you have input from all levels of the organization when developing the code.
  • Orientation for all employees from the CEO / President to the part time casual staff is mandatory.
  • Ensure employees understand and appreciate that decisions they make and activities they engage in reflect the principles in the code of conduct.
  • Encourage employees to refer to the code when faced with a decision or challenge.
  • Provide a safe and confidential method for employees to voice concerns or areas that may need to be reviewed.
  • Engage a random selection of employees from different divisions or departments to review the code of conduct every 2 – 3 years. Incorporate recommended changes to the code and have all employees re-oriented to the differences.

Transparency is present at every level as is the level of engagement. Employees typically buy in and those who do not leave to pursue other opportunities.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com

Trends in Business – Solid Stable Practices

Focus on the client. Tailoring service offerings to the client needs and staying focused on what is important to the client while juggling competing demands has a long history. Staying the course is a virtue especially when the client is looking for a quick fix to a long standing issue. Letting the client know a quick fix may not be the solution while maintaining open lines of communication and being transparent throughout a process is a top priority.

Sharing of information. Being clear in all communication is critical.  Sharing communication on various platforms is important for all levels of the organization to be up to date and informed.

Showing appreciation and giving thanks. Thanking those who are working with me on a project or initiative and appreciating that they are doing so on top of their day-to-day work is important. All of us require thanks and appreciation that is genuine and sincere.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Change & Transition Consultant info@effectiveplacement.com

Why Gamification Works

Gamification works because it taps into the motivators of recognition, competition, and reward. Gamification tools tap into psychological behavior we exhibit – specifically everyday decisions we make at work. The gamification process provides a relatively light-hearted as in fun platform to share work achievements, and work progress. It also allows for friendly competition building.

A successful gamification tool works when users are provided the following:

  • Motivation to perform the task and to receive the offered rewards or to gain recognition.
  • Ability to carry out the tasks by breaking them into bite-size chunks thereby increasing perceived capabilities of the user.
  • Trigger to complete the action.

Where in your business or organization has gamification shown up?

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.

 

 

Addressing Burnout

The other day I posted about burnout indicating some of the symptoms of what is now officially noted as a disease by the World Health Organization (WHO). Research indicates that the recovery period for burnout takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 2 years with the average period being 6 to 9 months.

Following is a short list of strategies that address the condition and promote well being:

  • Develop a list of self-care processes that may include journaling, meditation, massage, yoga, reading, music, mindfulness, stretching, tai chi, dancing, and breath techniques.
  • Assess weekly where you are at in following through on the strategies you have chosen.
  • Adjust your list as needed for the upcoming week.
  • Detect early signs of deteriorating health then do something about it.
  • Make a point of identifying what burnout looks like for you (anger, frustration, exhaustion, etc.).
  • When you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help, delegate tasks, or reset priorities.

What other approaches have you or someone you know used to tackle and recover from burnout? Do let me know I am genuinely interested.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.

Signs of Burnout

It may not be a condition that is popular in terms of the admission of having it. That does not change the fact that many employees and professionals alike are suffering from it.

A recent announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that “burnout” is now recognized as a disease. WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

Symptoms of burnout include the following:

  • Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
  • Increased mental distance from your job;
  • Feelings of negativism or cynicism related to your job;
  • Reduced professional efficacy.

Recognition of the symptoms of burnout is important for the next phase of addressing and treating what is now officially categorized as a disease.

What strategies have you found that are effective in tackling burnout? Do let me know I an genuinely interested.

Marie-Helene Sakowski – Business Consultant – Change & Transition – info@effectiveplacement.com.