Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Good morning, Innovation!

Whenever we hear the word 'innovation' we immediately think about the advancement and improvement of technology, processes, and products. The definition of innovation is 'to renew or change.' Innovation, when referring to a product, service, or technology, means that something is being implemented be more efficient and provide better performance. The question is, 'how are we changing or renewing ourselves daily?'

Here how you can get on the path to a renewed, better you:

  1. Get enough sleep.

    Here are some interesting statistics about getting proper sleep.

  • Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Sleep deprivation can actually be a form of torture!
  • Effects of sleep loss on work performance may be costing U.S. employers some $18 billion in lost productivity. (NSF 1997 poll on Sleeplessness, Pain, and the Workplace)
  • Poor sleep can contribute to weight gain, headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, an impaired immune system, and attention deficit disorder.
  1. Expand your knowledge base. Learn something new every day.

    Make it a practice to learn something new, a skill, an attribute about a colleague, or gain some information by watching a TV show or the news. Educate your mind on a constant basis and expand your knowledge so that you can pass it on to someone else.

  2. Think positively and you will achieve positive results.

    The old saying, "It's always darkest before the dawn." My personal favorite, which is one of my own, "Rain doesn't stop my sunshine." When things go wrong or there seems to be negativity all around you, don't let that stop you from being your personal best. Trouble doesn't last always (another one of my favorites). Having a positive attitude will result in positive results. This is called the Law of Attraction. Attract some positivity into your life. We definitely need it.

Every morning, you wake up to a new day. You may wake up with a new attitude, a new outlook on your situation, or a new way of thinking. If you don't you should!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

How to build your success portfolio

Need a quick ego boost? Want to impress interviewers? Creating a success portfolio will not only give you encouragement and motivation, but you will impress interviewers when you present them with a portfolio of your accomplishments at the time of the job interview.

Examples of what goes into the portfolio:

  • Positive feedback correspondence
  • Certificates and degrees
  • Resume and references
  • Past performance reviews
  • Personal mission statement

Your portfolio should be organized. Use a 2" binder (to start) and create tabs for each section. Here are some suggestions for possible sections:

  • Education

    Certificates and degrees are stored in this section.

  • Kudos

    Positive feedback from clients, customers, and co-workers are stored here. Any other honorable mentions are placed in the 'kudos' section.

  • Work/Career

    Performance reviews, your updated resume, and references are stored in this section.

The first page of the portfolio is your personal mission statement. Do you have one? A personal mission statement depicts who you are and where you are going on the journey of life. Stephen Covey says, "If you don't set your goals based upon your Mission Statement, you may be climbing the ladder of success only to realize, when you get to the top, you're on the WRONG BUILDING." If you don't want to end up on the wrong building, define your mission. Here is a great tutorial on how to identify your purpose.

Uses for the portfolio:

  • Job interview

    Of course, if you are going to use the portfolio during an interview, it should be condensed. You may want to purchase a smaller, professional report portfolio and include your resume, references, and any samples of work you have done that relate to the job in question.

  • Performance Reviews or Promotions

    The portfolio serves as a gentle reminder to your boss of what you have accomplished in the past year. Use it to your advantage, there could be a promotion on the horizon.

  • Motivational Tool

    Do you ever feel inadequate or as if you are not the right person for the job? Your portfolio will help you get your mind back in the game and encourage you to keep pressing on because of previous accomplishments.

So whether you need motivation or want to impress a potential supervisor, creating a success portfolio will benefit you in more ways than one. You are the product of your own success.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Customer service has become a disservice

The word 'service' in customer service has become obsolete. Why are customer service representatives irate? Clients tell me all the time about how debt collectors have called them at work and cause undue stress by upsetting them which results in loss in productivity and feelings of anger and frustration.

I was a debt collector in the mid-90s for 5 years for one of today's top credit card companies. I received numerous awards for being one of the most effective collectors in my department. Employee of the month, high commissions and bonuses were given to me because I practiced the following debt collection techniques:

  1. Don't take it personal.

    Don't act like the debtor owes YOU money. The money is owed to the company and you are hired to attempt to get the funds due. The goal is to collect as much money, if not all, on the debt. The first step in effective debt collection is to NOT put yourself in the equation. The equation is debtor + creditor = collect the debt.

  2. Remove the negative attitude.

    Having a negative attitude will only infuriate the debtor and reduce the chances of collecting on the debt. Obviously, there is a reason why the payment is past due, having a more positive attitude will increase the chances of at least making a payment arrangement versus creating a hostile situation.

  3. Use active listening skills.

    The debtor's situation is already stressful; they will provide an explanation why the payment is late, listen intently and allow them to finish their sentences. Don't interrupt. Make statements like, 'I am sorry to hear that'….or 'Let me see what options we have…' will make the conversation less stressful on both parties.

  4. Focus on a solution.

    Provide options for the debtor. The company's goal is to first collect the full payment. If full payment cannot be received, collect a portion of the payment rather than none. Aggravating the debtor by speaking in a condescending attitude will only add fuel to their fire. My motto was, 'collect some rather than none.'

  5. Use empathy and compassion.

    Put yourself in the debtor's shoes. It is hypocritical to act as if you, the debt collector, have never been late on a debt or have never had to contact a creditor to ask for an extension or a payment plan. Identify with the debtor's situation and come up with a solution.

  6. End the call on a positive note.

    After diffusing the situation by listening and devising a plan that is acceptable to both the company and the debtor, end the call on a positive note. Say something like, 'thank you and I hope your situation gets better.' It would be advantageous to setup a follow-up call a few days before the 'promise to pay' is made to remind the debtor of their obligation, determine if the situation has gotten better and that the payment will still be made as scheduled.

    Debt collection is a difficult job, but somebody has to do it. If you want to increase your commission, reduce your stress level, and meet your quota, practice effective debt collection practices. You, the company, and the debtor will thank you for it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Top 10 signs that let you know you no longer like your job and what to do about it

Whether you feel unchallenged at your job, overtly stressed, or work in a hostile environment, there is no reason to continue to work in these kinds of conditions, unless you have bills to pay, a family, and other financial obligations that require you to have a steady income.

Here are 10 sure signs that you are finally fed up with your job and need to seek employment elsewhere:

  1. You begin to count sick days as vacation days.
  2. You get sick only on Mondays.
  3. You go on interviews during lunch break.
  4. You use your office computer to conduct job searches.
  5. After completing job searches, you use the company email to send your resume.
  6. Every day is casual Friday.
  7. You laugh after each point your boss makes during your performance review.
  8. You don't return from lunch until your favorite soap opera is done running the credits.
  9. The word 'deadline' is no longer in your vocabulary.
  10. Anger, sadness, and frustration are the most frequent emotions you experience while at work.

So if you need a job (like we all do) and you have any of these signs, here are a few remedies for your woes:

  1. Ask to help on a project.

    This will challenge you in a way that you will be able to assist in making an impact at work, which could increase your skill knowledge, experience in working with others, and bragging rights (adding this to your resume).

  2. Take a mini-vacation.

    All of the signs above spell B-U-R-N-O-U-T. The best remedy for burnout is to take a much needed vacation to relax and enjoy the environment and your family. This means no Blackberry or email access. Vacation means to vacate.

  3. Evaluate your job.

    Conduct an evaluation and list the pros and cons of your job. If you have more cons than pros, it may be time to start seeking employment elsewhere. Staying in an environment that is toxic to you and causing you to be non-productive is a no-win for both parties. Don't damage your reputation, find a new job or seek an open position elsewhere in the company.

  4. Get a Work Life Coach.

    Do you want some sound advice and counsel on where you should go from here? If you are experiencing any of the top 10 above contact me today for a FREE 30-minute consultation. We can talk about the issues, your feelings, and possible solutions to improve your worklife.

Having an 'I don't care' attitude at work will slow your productivity, increase stress, and dilute your professionalism which will result in damaging your reputation and decrease your chances of getting a good job reference if you do decide to look elsewhere. Not to mention the ill feelings that will occur between you and your colleagues. Don't continue on this road to nowhere. If you need some help in getting on the right path, contact me today for a FREE 30-minute consultation to discuss your work life and how to improve it. It will be the best decision you can make for your future.