Coworkers Will Be Watching you at Office Parties


IF IT’s December, it must be time for holiday parties. If you are quite the social animal, you probably have been or will be invited to numerous gatherings in upcoming weeks. Parties are fun, but there’s one key thing we need to remember: A party with the people you work with is still work. Say what? Yes. A work party means your company or nonprofit is footing the bill to spread goodwill and holiday cheer. So you get a date, and a holiday party is probably not the best venue for a first date! Your date needs to understand all of the “rules” below as well. Your co-workers consider your date as an extension of you. You get a baby sitter, if needed, and buy a sparkly outfit (if you’re a woman) or clean your suit or decide what fun sweater you will wear. Then off you go to the party place, and it’s generally not where you toil daily. You may see this as a night of revelry and fun, but remember that people are watching. And by watching, I mean judging. Their first … [Read more...]

Holiday Button Reduction Program


Growing up, I absolutely loved to put three little "red hots" on my gingerbread men before I baked them. They were buttons, of course.  One sat centered just between the others, simulating a perfect gingerbread man's jacket or gingerbread lady's dress. Now, "red hot buttons" have a whole new meaning. In the iPEC coaching world, we teach our clients about buttons and how "People can't push your buttons if there's no button for them to push." Eyes light up when we share these words. YES! It makes so much sense. Now, what can we do about it? First, it helps to get real. Everybody has buttons. For some, the buttons are big and for others they are small. For some it's the "I'm not smart enough" button. For others, it's "I'm a fraud". At holiday time, the rush and stress, not to the mention the reunion with certain family members, can result in an excess of button pushing. And, the bigger the buttons, the easier they are easier for others to push. Our past experiences, … [Read more...]

Susan’s Top 5 Etiquette Tips

1950s etiquette_crop

Susan’s 5 Top Etiquette Thoughts on Common Courtesies That Seem to Have Gone by the Way Side In today’s world of texting and self-absorption, we have, as a community, lost much of our civility. I don’t live in a Pollyanna world of wishing it were the 50’s again…but I do wonder why some very common courtesies have gone by the wayside. I am not a credentialed authority on etiquette but I have spent much of my life responsible for ensuring etiquette of events while following the proper protocol. The manners appropriate for the European Courts came to be called “courtly” manners or “courtesy.” We have been working on these for a long time! My top 5 Etiquette Thoughts are really just common courtesies that should be, in my humble opinion, followed to the letter. It is very difficult to pare down to five thoughts but I believe these are the items that everyone deals with often and that will annoy others if not followed. Take a moment to stop and think about these in context to your … [Read more...]

Building a Personal Brand

Just a face in the crowd

In today’s culture, a résumé is practically a formality. It can be a great reference for a potential employer, but to be considered an expert in many fields, a digital identity is crucial. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn offer insights into the life of any professional—whether or not they’re on the clock. Just like the brand development of an organization, development of your personal brand must be strategic, purposeful, and genuine. Value Proposition When you look at the brand platform of a company, there is a clear value proposition. A value proposition will tell someone what a company has to offer… not just in tangible product, but in quality of life. How will this product or service improve an area of your life to the point that it’s worth paying for? A value proposition also delivers something unique about that company—arguing that it’s better than the competition. Consider Evernote: "Your life’s work. For everything you’ll do, Evernote is the workspace to … [Read more...]

Team Building Exercises Take the “ME” out of Team


Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success." Pondering Henry Ford’s quote above, I asked myself which task is most challenging for a leader: building a team, keeping the team together or getting the team to work together. I believe all three have levels of difficulty; however, I find that getting a team to work together is the most difficult and at the same time the MOST rewarding. Individuals all join a team for their own reasons and with their own agendas. Leaders have the responsibility to share the vision and goals with their team and then get each individual with their expertise, skills, and agendas to all work together to fulfill that vision and meet the goal. Just thinking about this can feel daunting. Never fear. Team building activities can be extremely helpful in moving people from thinking about “what I can do” to performing together as a team. Team building exercises are fun, quick and engaging … [Read more...]

Overcoming Tune Out: Engaging with Dynamic Communication


When it comes to marketing, there is both external and internal communication. Internally, employees have an uncanny knack for tuning out the most well crafted corporate communication, thwarting the best efforts of internal brand managers, HR and management. Winning the battle against the workplace daily information avalanche requires a fresh approach to reignite the spark of engagement. The goal of internal communication and branding is to present a message that is ultimately received and acted upon. HR professionals succeed by successfully cutting through the communication clutter with radically new strategies as well as successful tried-and-true traditional approaches. To be effective, it’s vitally important to “walk a mile in employees’ shoes” and discover what they respond to and what they deal with each day. Are they swimming in paperwork? Then adding one more memo or employee newsletter wouldn’t be a good option to grab their attention. HR professionals often face the … [Read more...]

Minding the Gap


I recently was approached by a blue collar worker whom I have witnessed in action on many occasions. I know this manual laborer gives more than 100 percent and possesses an excellent work ethic. The individual said to me: “Help! I want out. I need to return to an office setting. That’s where I feel most comfortable.” The problem? No computer skills. Around the same time, I heard about an upper-level executive at the same place of employment. This person commanded a six-figure salary and occupied a plush office. Underlings were at this individual’s beck and call to perform such tasks as sending and responding to the boss’ emails. The problem? No computer skills. A tale of two employees who share the same skill set deficiency. The difference is that one has job security and the other has job frustration. Another difference? The job climber is a woman, and the reached-the-pinnacle employee is a man. Does gender make a difference? Should it make a difference? Maybe the computer … [Read more...]

Dear Fearless Leaders and Slayers of Generational Differences


"What?  Wait a second - I thought there were three, maybe four and now I am learning there soon will be FIVE generations in the work place"? If this question has crossed your mind and you even have said it out loud, then you are in good company!  Yes, fearless leaders and slayers of generational differences- there are soon to be five, count them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 generations emerging into the battlegrounds called work. By 2020, our workforce will be dealing with a whole new set of challenges. Exciting challenges at that! So as we wait for the "next generation"  to come onto the scene, we still need to ensure we have fine tuned our skills for dealing with the Traditionalists, the Boomers, the Gen Xers, and the Millennials. These four distinct groups add diversity, creativity, experience, and valuable lessons in the workplace and yet problems can arise from differing mindsets and communication styles of workers born in different eras. The key is to be able to effectively address and … [Read more...]

Leaning In

Sheryl Sandberg

The May Quarterly Networking Event at Stevenson Ridge found us viewing Sheryl’s Sandberg’s TED Talk on Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders. If you haven’t seen it yet, I’d encourage you to take 15 minutes to view it. THEN I recommend that you purchase Sheryl’s book, Lean In, and read it. While I liked the talk and book because of their contents, I’m not sure any ideas presented were new, but the ideas were supported by lots of research that, for this academic, gave proof! For example, I had never really thought about the differences between men and women when offered a job. Let’s say a woman is offered a job with a $100,000 salary and standard benefits. Her response, at least internally, is “this is how much I am worth.” She’s content to be compensated for what she’s worth, so she takes the job without considering that she might be worth a wee bit more. She doesn’t even consider asking for additional benefits. Remember, the company offered her what she’s worth! Conversely, when a … [Read more...]

Online Search Tips for Savvy Job Hunters


We all love a bit of social networking - and so do recruiters, it would seem; because social media is now pretty big business when it comes to recruitment. Some people are even receiving job offers online - and if you want to be one of them, you need to get up to speed. Here are some tips to help you in your online job search: Be prepared to interview at the drop of a hat.  With today’s technology, employers are scheduling phone interviews and making immediate offers in some cases.  Make sure your résumé is updated on all social media sites you are utilizing in your job search. Your profile on any social media site, if used to its full potential, is like a digital résumé - publicizing skills, awards, groups, organizations, hobbies, and even references. And the best part? You can mold them to suit any image you want to portray. If you have more than one social media profile, give yourself even more exposure by connecting the dots and navigating people to each one. Include the … [Read more...]