Jan 27

5 Ways To Get Noticed At Work

Stand Out

Good news. The US Economy is coming back! Corporate profits are up, inflation has slowed, lending requirements have eased and gas prices are $2.00 a gallon. WOW! Even the website Profit Confidential, in the midst of their usual tirades, had to admit things are going quite well.  All this upward momentum  might just trickle down to your company creating advancement opportunities for greater numbers of employees. You will need to boost your profile to be one of the chosen few. Here are 5 ways to get yourself noticed.

 

1.  Adjust your priorities

Face it, upper management doesn’t have any idea what you’re working on. And if it doesn’t align with what’s important to them they probably don’t care. As much as we may think that corporate executives don’t know what’s going on, they do spend an inordinate amount of time coming up with business goals and targets. The way to get their attention is to make what’s important to them, important to you. Look at all of your goals and prioritize those that support the goals of your executive team. When you report out on your work frame it with the stated business goals. This makes upper management feel like you “get it”. You understand what’s important and you make it a priority.

2.  Lead on trends

We’ve all heard of Big Data. Well big data can be a big problem. There is so much information out there that it’s hard to keep up with it all. Your supervisor and those above them aren’t always plugged into the next greatest thing. You to have you finger on the pulse of the next greatest thing and also know what other businesses are saying about the greatest thing. The goal is to be relevant. You want to in-the-know with everyone else during both business and casual conversations. People in whatever business you’re in expect you to know what’s on the horizon. Think about it, why should you be promoted if you don’t know what’s going on?

3.  Strategically Participate at Meetings

Following on from point #2, be mindful about what you say in meetings. Meetings are dominated by two types of people; the people who just can’t wait to say something and the people that can’t wait for the meeting to end. You want to stand out among your colleagues by always adding value to the conversation by contributing valuable information. Ensure that your comments either advance the conversation or present valuable information. And whatever you do, don’t parrot back what someone else has already said. No matter how brilliant it may be!

4.  Get on key committees

Every company that I’ve worked for has set up cross-functional teams. These teams get a lot of regular work done by bringing diverse talent together. However, a select few have high profile deliverables. You want to find your way onto those select teams. Participation can quickly put your talents on display to influential audiences and top executives. Positive press gets you noticed and helps you advance.

5.  Know your numbers

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched managers squirm when senior executives ask them about their “numbers”. All business work is numbers driven. Numbers relate to activity. Activity relates to money earned or money spent. The top brass is interested in both. When you are asked about your “numbers” what you are really being asking is “How valuable are you to this business?”. If you don’t know the numbers then you can’t prove you’re adding value. And if you’re not adding value, how do you expect to advance?

Jan 17

3 Sites to Boost Your On-Line Presence

Job Hunting

If you’re looking for a new job in 2015 you’re gonna have to get creative. The Internet and Social Media have changed the way companies find talent. Interestingly enough, once you get past the recruiter and into the interview not much has changed. Some of my coaching clients have reported to me that the questions interviewers are the same old ones from 20 years ago!

“What’s your greatest strength? …your greatest weakness? …your biggest accomplishment? …Why are you looking for employment at this time?” 

Like I said, once you get to the interview it’s all familiar territory.

Getting in the door of a company can be tricky. Employers are using LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites to learn more about their candidates than what their resumes show. But there’s more to you than your resume! Plus resumes are static. They are a snapshot of you at the moment. Aren’t you evolving all the time, taking on new responsibilities, expanding your skills and making new connections? Your resume is outdated long before you get to the interview.

Since employers are trolling the internet anyway give them something that sells the complete YOU! Here are 3 sites that can help.

REBELMOUSE

This is a paid service that creates a collage of your social media posts. You can highlight a picture of yourself then have your social media activity stream onto your page. It’s like an advertisement to your potential employer letting them know who you really are and what you’re interested in. Hopefully what you love is something that your potential new boss is excited about too!

ABOUT.ME

Very cool free service. Your face or full body shot or professionally taken photo is front and center on your personal site. Put a great image of yourself there. Your potential employer will recognize you at the interview in an instant. “Oh yeah, you’re the guy who loves…..” Talk about breaking the ice! Now you can easily launch into a conversation about your interests then transition into talking about the job.

VIZIFY

This tool allows you to bring your work history onto your personal page. So not only will the potential employer learn about who are they will also get your work experience all in one place. Sweet! Be sure to include your accomplishments in your work summary. Potential managers like to hire a winner!

Good luck with your job search.
BD

Jan 06

Dang, it’s 2015 now what?

Live Your Dreams 2

I have friend who’s turning 50 this year. He’s stressed because he feels his life is half over. He’s raised his kids. One is doing well. One is struggling a little. Both are in their 20’s. Both live on their own. He’s settled in his career and started pursuing an advanced degree. He lives alone. He questions what’s left for him in this world as a single guy with few responsibilities.

My answer…

EVERYTHING!

He actually said to me out loud; “I’m already in school, I’m comfortable at work, the kids are pretty much ok.  What’s left?” You gotta be kidding me! If it were me I’d launch 2015 by  spelling out all sorts of crazy and wild things I’d have to do before kicking the bucket. I’d pressure my kids to tell me what the heck they plan on doing with their lives. Just so I can decide if I’m staying put or moving into a studio apartment in NY City! Hmmm….maybe I’ll move someplace warm of live abroad for a while.

In 2015 I’d take Spring Cleaning seriously. How much stuff does one dude need anyway? If I didn’t use it in 2014 chances are I don’t need it. Feels like there’s a garage sale or an “in-front-of-the-stoop” sale in my future. What’s left over goes right to the Salvation Army. They pick up!

There must be something that I’ve put off doing because I was too busy working and raising kids. Let’s do some research and get into that. Try something new to expand my mind. Take on a health and wellness project. I’ve heard that a sure-fire way to slow the onset of memory loss and debilitating health is continuous stimulation of mind and body with new things. Sounds like a plan to me!

I could go on.

After a while my friend admitted that there were a couple of things he could do differently this year. Hopefully you picked up a few ideas yourself from this post. Or maybe you’re stimulated to investigate other things. Either way, make 2015 an exciting year. It’s all yours and it’s right her in front of you!

 

Dec 29

5 Reasons to click “Unsubscribe”

Unsubscribe

Tis the season for eNewsletters, eAnnouncements, eUpdates, eDeals, eDiscounts, eSpecials and all sorts of other “e-nesses” that you subscribed to all year. Remember when you subscribed to them? These convenient alerts were meant to keep you informed and save you time. Great idea then. A year later they’re jamming up your Inbox and sucking the life out of you. If you’re like me you have to clean out your Inbox from subscription based announcements twice a day. Just clicking Delete on each one can take 15 minutes. At times I spot a subject line that appears interesting and I’ll explore a bit further. Now I’ve spent 30 more minutes on useless information. UGH!! Nine out of ten times, the content provided or the offer presented is pretty useless.

I recently overheard a colleague say; “I’m going to unsubscribe to everything and start over next year.” That’s actually not such a bad idea. In the spirit giving here are 5 reasons you should follow his lead.

  1. Automated eSubscription messages clutter your Inbox. They are like the commercial that you invited in one time that keeps getting replayed randomly throughout your work day. Who needs that?
  2. You can waste up to an hour sifting through and deleting useless messages. I’ve spent hours trolling through messages, clicking onto websites and filling out registration forms in search of the Pot of Gold, only to come up empty time and again. What a waste.
  3. Chances are you can’t remember why you subscribed in the first place. When I looked closer at my eSubscriptions I could hardly remember why I signed up for them in the first place.
  4. You can always get them back. Yep…these companies aren’t going anywhere. If you really need their information you can always subscribe again. No harm…no foul.
  5. The subscriptions you really need will quickly become clear. First “unsubscribe”. Within 30 days you will know which ones are important. Simply subscribe to again. The others….what others….?

Here’s the best part. Once you have purged yourself of  eSubscriptions you’re free to re-subscribe in a meaningful way. Before signing up for new ones or renewing old ones ask yourself; “Why do I you need this subscription?” and “How do intend you use it going forward?” These two little questions could mean the difference between a manageable Inbox or an overcrowded one.

 

Dec 28

Happy Birthday To Me

Happy Birthday

Birthdays are always a reflective time for me. Maybe because I was born so close to the new year. Maybe because I’m always on some “self-improvement” kick. Maybe because I have more questions than answers. Regardless I like to hope that each year I’m better off than the last. So to put myself over the top in 2014 I’m launching a new theme for my blog. I’ve been blogging now for over a year and I think my initial look needs a face lift. I chose a theme that displays images better and highlights post information in a more consistent way. In 2015 I plan to increase the frequency of posts and add guest authors in an effort to provide a variety of  relevant content to help readers live their dreams

Also in the works is a home page that describes other services that I offer like  Executive Coaching, Leadership Training and Program Assessments. I’m still working on some of these elements so only the blog portion is being launched today. But I’m excited about the direction that PiVI is going. Keep visiting regularly there’s much more to come.

Happy Holidays!

 

Sincerely,
Brian Dunn

Dec 22

The Procrastinator’s Christmas

Gift - Red and Ornaments

December 22nd and you still haven’t finished Christmas Gift Shopping. Well I’m here to help out those procrastinators out there with 3 gifts ideas guaranteed to please the last few adults on your list.

1. Gift Box Subscriptions. Boy oh boy was this one a lifesaver for me this year. Surprise them with a box of unique grooming and cosmetic items picked fresh each month. These cool boxes have toiletries, cologne and even a gadget in the men’s version. You can order 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions. To me the best value is 3 months. It gives them a taste of the subscription then the giftee can choose to keep up the subscription on their own. BIRCH BOX

2. Give an eBook. I discovered this while coaching one of my clients. We were talking about reading resources to help him with leadership development and I suggested a few titles. He was eager to get going right away and I wanted to gift him his first resource. I was all set to send out a hard copy of one of my favorites the next morning. Unfortunately that day and the next 5 got away from me. By the time I remembered his book it was a week later. How could I get him the book he needed right away? Send him an electronic version of the title from Amazon.com. Find some great titles at AMAZON EDITORS PICKS.

3. Tickets to an  Eat-In Movie Theatre. Before you turn up your nose at this one consider a “Date Night” where you bring the kids AND leave the kids at the same time! You arrive at the movie theatre and send  them on their way to watch a movie and get some grub while you go your way to watch yours. On top of that they get to eat their favorites movie food with a soda – while you get to eat yours with a cocktail!  AMC Theatres satisfies both audiences; FORK & SCREEN  for teens and CINEMA SUITES for adults. Give 4 tickets to your favorite family and watch 8 arms hug you!

Happy Holidays my friends. Well it will be after you buy these last gifts. :-)

Dec 17

3 Important Pre-January Questions

During the holidays you might find some down time to think about next year. Most people create New Year’s resolutions and set personal goals in the first weeks of January. This could be a stressful time as people expect you to have something to strive for next year. Take some of the edge off this process with these three reflective questions.

Take out your 2014 goals then ask yourself these 3 questions;

“Is this goal still valid?” Sometimes we make goals based on specific conditions. Twelve months later those conditions may not exist. Try not to carry goals into the new year that are no longer relevant. As creator of your goals and the master of your destiny you have the freedom to leave the bad ones behind! Make room to add truly exciting goals to your 2015 list.

“Am I still excited about this goal?” The more passionate you are about your goals the greater chance you have of achieving them. Steer away from goals that are thrust upon you. They produce anxiety and are quickly abandoned when you’re stressed. Even well intended goals like losing weight or changing your diet because “the doctor said so” can be hard to achieve if you’re not passionate about them yourself. Add these goals after you have created the 2015 goals that you’re really excited about. This way you enter the New Year with renewed energy and great expectations.

“Where do I want to be in March and in June?” One of the easiest ways to procrastinate is to focus on the entire year. Here’s a typical procrastinator conversation…

“Twelve months is plenty of time to get things done. What’s the big deal if we waste 2?
 
“Ten months is still a lot of time to get things done. I’ll get energized in the Spring.”
 
“Ok, now I need to get moving! I have 7 months to reach my goals.”

 

You see where this is going. Before you know it you’re shopping for Thanksgiving Turkey! Set interim targets. It’ a great counter-strategy to procrastination.

Use these three questions when you begin working on your 2015 goals. I’m sure you will achieve more by using them.

Dec 15

4 Reasons to Abandon Your 2014 Goals

Just-Give-Up

Ahhhh….it’s that time of year again. We are firmly into the holiday rush. How much can you possibly fit into these last few days of 2014? Um, probably not completing your goals. Listen, if you’re not close to finishing them off  already, you’re better off abandoning them until next year. Here’s why…

1.  Anything that’s not more than 95% done you won’t be able to finish. This is just simple math folks. We only have 2% of the year left. Face it…you’ve run out of time.

2.   Anxiety over achieving your goals will ruin the Christmas party. Don’t be the  poor loser sitting in the corner of the room lamenting what you haven’t completed for your boss while the office slacker is dancing on the table with mug full of eggnog. “…it’s fun to stay at the Y M C A….” Isn’t it funny that both these you guys will have a job in 2015? Take the hint. Enjoy yourself while the buffet is open and the free drinks are still flowing!

3.  Your performance review is already baked in your boss’ head. If you haven’t impressed him all year, attempting to do it now is like picking up a winning lottery ticket that someone accidentally dropped. Not gonna happen!

4.  Santa won’t be evaluating you on your goals. Shoot, he doesn’t even know what they are.

Here’s my advice. Enjoy the festivities, go to every party, dance with people you know and some you don’t. Eat, drink and be merry. Gorge yourself on the good times now because come January 1st you’re gonna be very busy!

Dec 02

Parents Need Goals!

HG1

I have always been a goals oriented person. I wouldn’t consider myself a high achiever but I’m definitely somebody who gets things done. Since my college years I’ve been this way. I entered Manhattanville College with a plan to earn my Bachelor’s degree in 4 years. Considering that roughly 59% of freshman complete their degree in 4 years , creating a goal to get out on time was a pretty good idea. I reached that goal, started my first job the summer of my graduation and it’s been goal after goal ever since.

Actively working towards goals became a habit.

Then my daughter was born. Now months go by without me even taking a glimpse at my list of goals. In the past I used to hit my targets like Kathiss Everdeen in the Hunger Games! Nowadays my bow and arrows sit leaning in the corner as I tend to the needs of my toddler. With the end of 2014 looming ahead of us – yes folks it’s December  already – I began cataloging just how much I did NOT get done this year. To my surprise there was good news. Back in February I committed to just 5 goals and today most are nearly 75% done! Considering all that’s on my plate, I’m ok with that progress. If I push myself I can complete 4 of the 5 by the end of January 2015. Not bad.

I can’t imagine where I would be today if, early on, I hadn’t set aside time to create 5 achievable goals for 2014. Having written them down months ago, today I can easily determine where to focus my energy. Yesterday I had anxiety. Today I’m totally energized.

Parents more than anyone need to set realistic achievable goals. Without them our bows and arrows will sit in a corner collecting dust as the years go flying by.

Sep 25

It’s All About You

It's All About You

It’s All About You

Lately I’ve been watching this TV show called Undercover Boss. The premise is that a CEO in disguise visits the company’s business units to get a bird’s eye view of the operation. You can imagine that what they discover is often startling. Beyond the stories of people struggling financially or dealing with health issues or managing family matters there is also a persistent theme of general dissatisfaction with the company. After watching about a dozen episodes I’ve noticed that there are two types of people profiled; the “Disgruntled” employee and the “I’ll Make Things Work” employee.

Disgruntled employees don’t like their job, believe the company doesn’t care about them and equate customers to spoiled brats always looking to get something for free. With this attitude they jump right in and tell the “new guy” just how horrible things are. They explain; “I only stay in this wretched job because I have no other choice”. (Not such a good thing to be telling the CEO of the company.) Sometimes, this freedom of expression goes horribly wrong and people get fired by the end of the show. OUCH!

Those that try to make it work typically fare better with the disguised CEO. Their positive perspective gets them handsomely rewarded with wads of cash, bills paid, job promotions, scholarship money, family vacations…you name it. Happy endings all the way around. But even if they never made it to the Undercover Boss show, these employees tend to have better days at work than their angry counterparts. They make the best of work even in the worst conditions by holding on to two simple beliefs;

It’s Not Only About Me

These employees understand how much of their job they control and how much they don’t. They then make the conscious decision to do their best everyday at work. The company sets the rules and they simply play by those rules. It’s not that they don’t complain. They do…and they offer suggestions. In addition they don’t take corporate decisions personally. It’s just part of the job. This perspective goes a long way towards minimizing day-to-day frustration.

I Own My Attitude

The second belief is “I control my attitude”. These employees believe they can be happy today or any other day; at work or outside of it. No matter what the circumstance they realize that the one thing they control is how they respond to each situation they’re in. It’s not that they don’t get upset about poor working conditions, long hours and bad bosses. They just choose a positive response. This one simple choice helps them effectively manage petty frustrations found in any job.

 

So I ask you, which employee do you want to be?

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