Archives Erika Aguirre

Going Through the Motions

Ever had that recurring nightmare where you’re running as fast as you can, but you aren’t going anywhere? Processes in your organization can work like this, slowing or killing productivity.

Processes are meant to streamline, but your day can quickly get eaten up by all kinds of tasks.

Asking permission before acting on assignments.
Filling out reports or time sheets.
Attending unnecessary meetings.

If an organization’s focus is shifted heavily toward process, productivity may diminish and morale will likely drop.

Ask yourself these questions.

How many meetings are you having each week? Are they all necessary?
Do you have a clear vision and company goal that everyone understands?
How much employee time is spent on administrative duties like filling out reports and time sheets or answering irrelevant emails?

It boils down to priority and balance. Sometimes processes need to be reevaluated and streamlined themselves. As we change, so must those.

Praise Protocol

Praise is among the most powerful ways we communicate. It can be a true motivator.

Effective praise can lead to positive performance. Likewise, poor praise techniques can be devastating.

One of the worst types of praise is called the “sandwich approach.” Management sandwiches negative feedback between two pieces of positive feedback. This is all too common, and it undermines not only the feedback being given, but also relationships with employees.

Be transparent. Share negative feedback in a straightforward manner and allow employees to understand your reasoning. Chances are, those certain unwanted behaviors won’t be repeated.

For praise to be most effective, it should be sincere and specific. Don’t praise every little thing. The impact will be lost. Save it for moments that really deserve it.

Identify exactly what your employee did well. If you want that behavior to be replicated, describe it as it’s being praised.

People in management are most successful when they are confident enough to ask their team members to teach them, too. Sometimes that can be the most powerful piece of praise they give.

Whistle While You Work, Part 2

Employees get burnt out sometimes.

What can you do as a manager?

Make conversations count. Go beyond the basic step of assigning a task. Recognize employees’ specific skill sets and make them feel irreplaceable.

Include others in the praise. Show them that they are appreciated by clients, co-workers, and executives. If a client sends a complimentary email about the work done, pass it along to everyone. Remind them about how important their role is within the company.

Strike a balance. Grunt work is a reality in any job, but make sure that you are challenging your workforce. This shows that you trust them.

Give recognition on an individual level. There is nothing wrong with singling out an individual employee to make them feel valued. Small gestures can make a big difference.

Whistle While You Work, Part 1

When you hear the word “job,” does it bring up feelings of dread, obligation, or boredom? All of the above?

Well, maybe you’re in the wrong job.

Life shouldn’t be about working for the weekend or going through the motions until you can retire. Each day is a chance to experience happiness while filling a need within a company.

So, as an employee, what can you do?

Give and you’ll get. When you help others on the staff increase their happiness, you will increase yours as well.

Get the right start. Before leaving for work every morning, find one thing about your job for which you’re grateful. Say it aloud and hold onto it throughout the day.

Evaluate the situation. If you take a hard look at your current situation, and you don’t feel valued or respected or find that it’s difficult to bloom in the current environment, you may need to consider changing careers.

Take Your Aim

As a company, how can you expect to get leads if you don’t know who you’re going after?

Imagine an archer. She sets her arrow, breathes deeply, pulls the bowstring back to her ear, then releases.

What’s missing here?

Where does her arrow go?

Even an amateur archer knows that it’s essential to focus on your target, to aim your arrow, and measuredly release.

You must use this same technique when selecting your clients. Don’t blindly spray arrows and hope they land somewhere. Find out exactly who you want your clients to be and cater to them specifically.

Set your sights on your target first and foremost. Success is sure to follow.

Never Let a Conversation Go

The best advice I’ve ever received was this:

Never let a conversation go where you don’t mention your business or what you do.

If you let even one conversation slide, you’ve immediately lost an opportunity—an opportunity to network, to connect with someone, to gain a supporter, to learn something valuable.

When you do talk about your business, always have a solid elevator pitch prepared. Fewer words rich in content are much more powerful than many words lacking in substance.

Strategically and subtly tie your profession into the conversations you have. You never know what could come of it.

Did You Earn It Today?

Everyone has off days.

You find yourself dazed at work, your mind spacing out or your eyelids drooping. Maybe you can’t seem to concentrate or you find yourself jumping from one task to another, not giving your full attention to any one project.

Get up. Take a break. Take a walk. Get your body moving and the blood flowing. Exercise your mind and body for 10 minutes, then return to your desk refreshed.

Your job is not simply about getting a paycheck. The work you do advances not only you personally and professionally, but also your company and your employer.

Ask yourself, “What have I done today to push my company forward?”

“Did I earn it today?”

Everyone has off days. Don’t let those off days turn into a repeating pattern of behavior. Curb them and introduce healthy habits into your routine.

Work hard, but work smart. Your company depends on you to be at your best.

Just Delete

We need to delete, erase, and otherwise eliminate the word “just.”

Don’t qualify your statement by using the word.

“I just think that…”
“She just does it.”
“I’m just an employee.”
Just checking in.”

You may think it’s a harmless word, but what you don’t realize is that you make your statement ambiguous when you add “just” and can even on occasion undermine your own meaning by sounding too apologetic or unknowledgeable.

Be clear, confident, and assertive in your speech or else you won’t have an audience that actually listens.

Making an Impression

Much has been said about the pressures of “making a good first impression.” We treat our first meetings with others with care, attention, and conscientiousness.

So why is it any different in a restaurant?

We’ve all been there. You go to a restaurant with a friend, have casual and polite conversation with the waiter, order, sit back to enjoy yourself and then, right when you’ve settled in for an enjoyable evening, someone bussing a table nearby begins their discordant symphony of slamming dishes and throwing silverware around.

It happens even in the best restaurants. It also ruins the whole experience.

This flippant type of behavior in the workplace does not solely apply to restaurateurs and their employees. We can each apply this logic to our everyday lives.

Modify your work mannerisms and attitude, no matter what your profession might be. Make a conscious effort to treat all of your work interactions with the same care and consideration that you would an important first impression.

Stay on your toes. You never know what opportunities will come along—or what opportunities you might miss due to negligence or thoughtless disregard.

Metrics Sell

Before you go to your boss with a problem, have a solution. And before you present that solution, make sure it’s measurable.

Your clients and your company want results. How do you show them?

Point to your work, and they may be impressed, but how do they know it’s effective?

Analysis. Metrics.

Measure every increase, improvement, gain, or otherwise, whether progress is tracked in dollars, hours, clicks, etc.

Metrics sell. They are what show true, tangible results.