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Tuesday
Dec022014

5 Things to Do This Month: December 2014

Though winter doesn’t start until Sunday, Dec. 21, some of you have already been hit by Jack Frost! As you buckle down for a long winter, here are five things to do this month!

Plan an Office Holiday Party

December is a great time to spread holiday cheer with friends and family. So as you celebrate the holidays this month, be sure you are sharing the same cheer you have outside of work with those in the office. Decorating and planning holiday parties are great ways to enjoy workplace camaraderie and celebrate a successful year.

Make Your Resolutions Stick

Every year, millions of people participate in the art of resolution making. However, according to research by the University of Scranton, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals. It’s one thing to make a list of what you want to achieve—it’s a whole other animal to actually follow through. This December when you’re making a list of what you resolve to accomplish, set up steps of how to achieve them. In 2015, vow to be a part of the 8%.

Pay it Forward

We all have things to be grateful for, and this month is a wonderful time to share our blessings with others. From serving the less fortunate to making a child’s dream come true, you can make a life-changing difference in another’s life. Opportunities like the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program are great ways your team can get involved to help brighten a child’s holiday season.

Review Department Performance

Most likely, you are holding performance reviews for your employees this month, so consider having one for your whole team to look back on this year’s accomplishments and failures. Before you know where you’re going, it’s important to think about where you’ve been. You may have your own opinion of what happened in 2014, but it’s important to get others’ views and insights on what they experienced. Make a note of what the team saw as positives and negatives throughout the year and figure out what you can do to make 2015 that much more successful.

Stock Up on Staffing

As the year comes to a close, a large amount of your staff may opt to take time off for vacation. But just because your team may be smaller this month,
doesn’t mean you have an excuse to get behind on your year-end goals. Instead, stay ahead of the curve and plan to use extra workers to help maintain productivity. Staffing agencies, like Express Employment Professionals, can provide a much-needed safety blanket to keep your company moving forward and innovative in your market.

What are you doing to celebrate the holidays and ring in the New Year this December? Let us know in the comments section below!

Thursday
Nov272014

GIVE THANKS: THE IMPORTANCE OF FOLLOWING UP

The big job interview you’ve been stressing over and preparing for is done, and now you can breathe a sigh of relief. However, if you think your part in the interview process is done and you’re just waiting to hear back, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to shine.

As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s important to think about how you can show gratitude in all areas of your life. For example, giving thanks after an interview could be the deciding factor in a job offer. According to some studies, only 10% of job candidates follow up after a job interview with a thank-you letter. Don’t assume the interviewer knows you are thankful – take the time to actually express your gratitude. If you’re among that 10%, you have the perfect opportunity to stand out.

So, how do you handle this important post-interview correspondence? Give thanks by using these six tips below.

1. Follow up quickly.

As soon as your job interview is over, send a follow-up email or letter to the company. Following up is a critical step in showing your continued interest, but don’t pester the recruiter. A carefully written thank-you note or email will help keep your name at the top of recruiters’ lists.

2. Make the message personal.

Don’t send a standard thank-you template to every person who interviews you. Find the significant points you discussed in the interview and mention the little details you learned about the company and the interviewer. This shows that you not only paid attention during the job interview, but remembered what the company thinks is important.

3. Always say thank you.

The first line of your message should always start with sincere gratitude for the time and interest of the interviewer. After that, be specific about how your experience and skills can benefit the company. Add any other skills that you didn’t get a chance to talk about during the interview, and end the message with another heartfelt thanks.

4. Fit into the culture.

When crafting your message, consider the company culture. If the company is more traditional, craft your thank-you letter in a more formal manner with a hand-written thank-you note or business letter. In some instances, an email may be more appropriate.

5. Proofread and proofread again.

Before you send your thank-you note, proofread it. Then proofread it again. Have a friend or family member proofread it after that. A well-written thank you falls flat if your note is full of errors or if you spelled the interviewer’s name wrong. Be conscientious when crafting your thank-you letter.

6. Follow up, but don’t pester.

Once you’ve sent your first thank-you message, allow for a week to pass before contacting the company again. During your interview, you may also ask for a general time frame as to when to expect an answer. If you didn’t get the job, request feedback on how to improve your interview skills, and follow up any feedback with another thank-you message.

You can’t go wrong by expressing thanks. Whether you aced the interview or bombed it, you at least had the chance to show off your potential. Interviews are stressful for both the job seeker and the employer, but a well-crafted and sincere thank-you note can ease the agony of waiting to hear back.

What tips do you have when following up after a job interview? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Thursday
Nov272014

Peak Performer’s Life with Walter Bond: Desire Is Your Problem

This week on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond discusses where the problem lies with achieving your goals. As Walter puts it, a lack of desire is only part of the equation.

According to Walter:
“Desire plus discipline equals results. If you struggle with discipline, your problem is desire, because desire activates discipline, and discipline is what gets you the results.”

How do push yourself to be more disciplined? What habits do you instill to help you retain desire with your goals? Let us know in the comments section below.

New messages each week!
Walter Bond and Peak Performer’s Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. Don’t forget to check back each Wednesday for a new message from Walter Bond! If you missed an episode of Peak Performer’s Life, visit the archive to catch up.

About Walter Bond
A former American professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. For more information, visit WalterBond.com.

Friday
Nov212014

Self-Sabotage: 3 Ways We Get in Our Own Way

There are plenty of things that make your role as leader difficult – troublesome employees, small budgets, technology problems, demanding customers. But, if you’re having problems within your company and you’re having trouble pin-pointing the cause, there might be one other place you should look. Try taking a good look in the mirror, because sometimes the problem is actually you.

Nothing is more damaging, or frustrating, than when you get in your own way. So check out these three forms of self-sabotage and make sure you aren’t behind your workplace woes.

Avoiding Taking Responsibility
Admitting you were wrong, taking responsibility, and apologizing is hard for anyone to do, and it can be especially difficult for leaders because there often people who look to them for guidance. Your reputation is a valuable asset.  Not taking responsibility for your own actions is one of the biggest forms of self-sabotage and could have a significant impact on how you are viewed as a leader.

In an article in Forbes, contributing author Erika Anderson explains, “Apologizing freely requires a good deal of courage. It’s not comfortable for any of us to admit an error, or to acknowledge that something we’ve done has caused others harm or inconvenience.” However the consequences of being courageous and honest are actually usually positive. “When someone truly apologizes, we know he or she is putting honesty and honor above personal comfort or self-protection.  It’s inspiring, and it feels brave.” And generally employees, customers, and the public respond quite well to brave, inspirational leaders.

Not Standing Up
Similarly, leaders who fail to stand up for what’s right, best for their team, or in the best interests of the business are severely damaging their reputation and influence. Most leaders have others, who are higher up, that they have to answer to, from top executives to share holders. And that can often place you in uncomfortable positions.

But, the reality is that, as another Forbes article reveals, Leaders that don’t stand up for what they believe in are difficult to respect and trust. Too many leaders today battle the gulf between assimilation and authenticity.” That, in turn, causes more problems as “it becomes a challenge (for others) to trust their judgment, self-confidence, self-awareness and overall capabilities.”

Giving Advice Too Quickly
Another type of self-sabotage that is easy to slip into is spoon-feeding your employees. In an article forInc. magazine, Jay Steinfeld, founder and CEO of Blinds.com and advocate for amazing (and profitable) company culture, explains “many bosses do more harm than good by not encouraging a culture where employees self-evaluate and think for themselves. When employees need help, rather than just give them the answer, it’s better to ask them to propose solutions. Then try to understand how they came up with those proposals.”

Whether giving advice too quickly stems from a sincere desire to help others or a need to control, it’s doing more harm than good. You’re not only sabotaging your own efforts and leadership position, you’re also sabotaging your employees’ and company’s future growth and performance. Successful businesses need workers who can think for themselves, and employees can’t gain that ability until they’re allowed the opportunity to do their own thinking.

You’ve worked hard to get where you’re at today, so don’t let your own actions sabotage your career. Take an honest look at yourself and see if you are getting in your way. All that might be needed to get you back on track is some slight attitude and behavior changes.

How have you self-sabotaged your career? What behaviors from leaders often seem to be counter-productive? Share your experiences with us below.

Friday
Nov212014

This Week on Peak Performer’s Life with Walter Bond: I Have a Dream

This week on Peak Performer’s Life, Walter Bond discusses the famous “I have a dream” Martin Luther King Jr. speech and the importance of being committed to your dream. Dr. King’s actions lined up with his dreams, so in order to achieve success, your daily actions must also line up with your dream.

According to Walter:
“Before you get committed to your dream, it’s going to be impossible to stay focused over time to make the dream come true.”

How do your actions show your commitment to your dream? How do you get other people to buy into your goal? Let us know in the comments section below.

New messages each week!
Walter Bond and Peak Performer’s Life is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals. Don’t forget to check back each Wednesday for a new message from Walter Bond! If you missed an episode of Peak Performer’s Life, visit the archive to catch up.

About Walter Bond
A former American professional basketball player, Walter Bond’s NBA career included 153 games with the Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Detroit Pistons. Now, Walter takes what he learned from his life on the court and translates it into motivational and educational messages for thriving businesses and careers. For more information, visit WalterBond.com.

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