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Category: Strategy

The Secret to Entrepreneurial Employee Performance Reviews

Filed under: Insights, Leadership and Management, Professional Development, Solomon Page, Strategy, Success, Thought Leadership

Entrepreneurs create opportunities for their companies and people to grow.

For a forward-thinking leader, facilitating the development of their most valuable assets, talented people, allows each individual to realize their potential. They ensure that boundaries are minimized and innovative thinking is rewarded – no matter what the nature of the outcome. The most sustainable growth is born from creativity and calculated risk-taking, in conjunction with analysis and contemplation.

The non-linear nature of such growth means that it is hard to fit in a one-size-fits-all box.

When a professional journey is so fluid, it doesn’t fit well within a formal framework. Big corporations have long championed the quarterly and annual review process as a tool for continuous assessment and appraisal, but as it has to be suitable for a wide range of employees, it is often the case that something that is “good” for all is rarely “excellent” for any.

An entrepreneurial mindset within such a large organization would find such a cookie-cutter review process incredibly limiting. A more individualized approach is desirable.

At Solomon Page, our divisions have long enjoyed a significant degree of autonomy. One of our core values is agility, and mandating that each practice leader develop their teams following the exact same framework is counterproductive. A shared set of core values, combined with a flexible approach, guides our organizational growth strategy.

We try our best to take a page out of the entrepreneurial playbook.

One of the most important things to consider in an entrepreneurial review is to approach the conversation from the point of view of the employee and employer rather than just the employer. It is empowering to have an employee participate in their career growth and goal-setting, rather than having goals dictated for them. People commit when the fire comes from within and they hold themselves accountable. When you provide an employee with an opportunity to participate while leading them in the right direction, it is incredibly powerful and productive.

The second consideration is to ensure that performance is rewarded and acknowledged.

When you have such an approach where excellence is rewarded, it is important to encourage people to aim high. With this comes the probability of failure. An entrepreneurial culture should factor in this possibility in every developmental conversation. When failure is normalized in the decision-making process, it fosters an environment of healthy risk-taking and engagement. The review process should encourage people to aim high to reach their potential. Setting ambitious goals, and plotting a path towards them, is one of the most rewarding aspects of a manager / employee relationship, and builds a shared commitment to a unified set of objectives.

The employee review process becomes a staging post towards excellence.

4 Behaviors That Slow Down Productivity

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Efficiency, Focus, Productivity, Strategy, Stress, Time Management
You know that work is supposed to be challenging—but there’s no way it’s supposed to be this challenging.

Even the simplest of tasks take you twice as long as anybody else in your office, and you’re beginning to think that you’re the problem.

Here are four ways that you might be making things way harder than they need to be.

1. You’re clinging to outdated processes

Change is hard—I get it. Sometimes it seems way easier to hang on to your standard way of doing things than to adjust to your company’s new process.

But, here’s the thing: That change was probably introduced because it’s better and more efficient. So, white-knuckling that tired and outdated workflow is really only slowing you down—not to mention frustrating your colleagues.

The Fix

Figure out what you need to do to familiarize yourself with that new approach. Do you need a tutorial from a team member who has already mastered that piece of software? Do you need to write detailed instructions for yourself so you remember what to do next time?

Getting up to speed can take a little work, but I’m willing to bet it won’t be long before you’re glad that you did it.

2. You’re seeking everybody’s stamp of approval

Personally, I thrive on confirmation that I’m on the right track. It not only makes me feel like I’m knocking things out of the park, but it also prevents me from sinking too much elbow grease into something that’s heading in the wrong direction.

However, if your boss has already given you the go-ahead, that should be enough for you to move forward. You don’t need that same affirmation from every department manager, your entire team, and even the UPS delivery guy. Seeking that is only adding unnecessary bloat to your work.

The Fix

Perhaps much of your desire to get a stamp of approval from a dozen different people is the fact that you aren’t sure who has the final say on whatever project you’re working on.

When starting a new task or assignment, figure out exactly who is the key decision maker. That will give you the confidence you need to move forward—without hearing from absolutely everybody involved.

3. You’re forgetting previous feedback

You’re beginning to feel like you have to complete every assignment twice. There’s your original attempt, and then your second one after everybody has torn your work apart with a red pen.

Revisions and constructive criticism are inevitable. But, you might be adding extra hassle by not remembering or implementing feedback that was offered previously. There’s nothing more frustrating for you (and everybody else!) than needing to change the same thing time and time again.

You can continue reading this article on The Muse.

4 Metrics Recruiters Love to See on Resumes

Filed under: Job Market, Job Search, Recruiting & Hiring, Resume Tips, Strategy

For one, “we know that the human eye processes numbers faster than words,” career expert J.T. O’Donnell said in an interview with Glassdoor. But beyond that, they also “help me as a recruiter give context to the size and scope of the work that you did,” O’Donnell explains.

In any given workday, though, there’s no shortage of specific numbers you could call out: the amount of emails you send, the amount of meetings you attend, the amount of projects you work on. So how do you know which metrics to include?

Glassdoor uses the following four-step framework in their Job Seeker’s Toolkit to help you decide which numbers pack the most punch. Once you add the right metrics throughout your resume, don’t be surprised if the interview offers start rolling in!

1. Growth: What did you add to the company?

When deciding which metrics to include, it’s important to think about the key performance indicators, or KPIs, for your role. For example, salespeople are often assessed on how much revenue they drive, how many new clients they bring in, how many of their customers renew, etc. Whatever your role, think about the numbers that matter most for you: perhaps they’re ones that your boss brings up in weekly meetings, that you find in your performance review, or even that you see in the LinkedIn profiles of people with the same job title as you.

Of these different metrics, think about which ones represent ways you added to the company and helped it grow. Depending on your role, this might include:

  • Website visits
  • Revenue
  • Deals closed
  • Partnerships secured
  • Candidates hired
  • New technologies/processes adopted

Examples:

  • Authored 150 articles over the course of one year, driving 500,000 unique website visits
  • Vetted and reached out to roughly 30 prospects per day, resulting in 20 closed deals in Q1 and $120,000 in revenue (+22% to quota)
  • Optimized 15 landing pages during the course of the internship, resulting in 17% lift in organic search traffic

2. Reduction: What did you help the company save?

In many cases, what you help your company reduce or eliminate can be just as important as what you add to it. In fact, certain roles focus their energy entirely on helping companies save or reduce in order to operate more efficiently. Think about whether you have a concrete way to measure how you’ve helped your company save or reduce the following:

  • Time
  • Budget
  • Client turnover
  • Employee turnover
  • Website bounce rate

Examples:

  • Identified three major bottlenecks in the hiring process and spearheaded taskforce to implement new technologies and strategies to overcome them, resulting in 31% faster time-to-hire
  • Led website architecture redesign, leading to a two-second faster load time and 16.5% decrease in bounce rate
  • Conducted internal budget audit and discovered five key areas of redundant spending, saving $23,000 per year

3. Impact: How many people did your work help?

A great way to illustrate how much value you can add to a company is by showing them how many people you’ve previously helped. This doesn’t just have to be people outside of your company like users or clients; it can also include those within your company. Look through the following “people” metrics, and think about which ones might be relevant to your role:

  • Number of team members you’ve led
  • Number of users or customers your work impacted
  • Number of stakeholders involved in a project
  • Number of clients you managed
  • Number of employees you supported (for a function like IT or HR)

Examples:

  • Coached, mentored and led a team of seven direct reports on the factory floor to ensure top-notch quality of products used by millions of consumers
  • Conceptualized and executed a multi-touch blog, social and email marketing campaign that reached 200,000 unique impressions
  • Oversaw both day-to-day and strategic HR operations for a company of 75 people

You can continue reading this article on Glassdoor.

6 Simple Ways to Prepare Your Career for Fall

Filed under: Career Advice, Goals, Professional Development, Strategy, Your Career

A long, relaxing summer can leave you feeling like you’re ready to hit the ground running this fall. Consider pausing for a moment and thinking about what you want for the rest of 2018, plus what you think it’ll take for you to make it happen.

Here’s how to make sure you’re in a good place professionally this fall and beyond.

1. Spruce up your workspace

While you can’t control what’s going on around you — especially in an open office — there’s nothing like being able to really focus because you aren’t bogged down by clutter where you work. This also applies to your home office — whether it’s a desk in a formal room or the dining room table.

Whether you’re a fan of Marie Kondo or the ancient art of feng shui, the concept that you can be influenced by your environment — for good or for bad — is nothing new.

“By organizing, you hone your sensitivity to joy and you also clarify your sense of value,” Kondo tells CNBC. “You can use that knowledge and ability to better enhance decision making skills to your own career, and really you’ll be able to better answer questions such as, ‘What am I looking for in my looking for in my career? What makes me comfortable?’ So in that way it creates real transformation in your career as well.”

So take some time to optimize your space in a way that makes you feel happy and efficient.

Schedule an Ikea run for convenient hanging files and bins, or pull a Lifehacker and go vertical — creating a wall full of shelves and storage. Make space on your computer for incoming files by moving things you don’t need immediate access to onto a hard drive, and delete things that aren’t of value.

Your workspace likely also includes your cellphone — so if you’re having storage problems, you might want to look into how much space photos and other items are taking up and then purge the ones you don’t need or back up the ones you love to the cloud, just in case!

2. Re-evaluate your goals for the year

What are the top three things you want to have done between now and the end of this  year? You may feel behind, but there are three full months left before December 31 yet, so you still have time!

It’s worth writing them down, making a vision board  and taking a good, hard look at what you’ll realistically have to do to get there.Set yourself manageable goals so you don’t feel disappointed if you can’t reach them.

3. Assess the value of this year’s achievements

Instituting a gratitude practice, no matter how small, can help you focus on what you’ve achieved with the right mindset and free you up to move on to the next accomplishment. Take a minute to reflect on how you felt when you got a positive response from your manager after submitting that huge project — or if you were recognized for your work at a company benefit.

Revisit these feelings by writing down what you’re most proud of having accomplished professionally this year, and let yourself absorb them for as long as you need.

4. Reconnect with your network and mentors

Most of the time, people only reach out to far-flung professional connections when they need a new job. By then, it may be awkward to honestly rekindle a stalled relationship. It’s even better to keep those connections fresh, periodically filling in your network on what’s been going on with your work and life.

Remember that networking is a two way street. Be generous with your help as well, and offer to help your connections if there’s something you have that they need.

If you belong to professional groups that took a summer recess, get excited about getting more involved again this fall. Clubs and affinity groups can be incredible sources of professional and personal inspiration.

Also don’t forget to chip away at your side hustle or passion projects. Block out time to make concrete plans, and make any necessary adjustments to your schedule to accommodate them.

You can continue reading this article on Ladders.

 

How to Work More Efficiently (Even When You’re Feeling Unmotivated)

Filed under: Efficiency, Focus, Good Habits, Productivity, Strategy, Time Management

Research shows that kids experience a “summer slump.” When they’re out of school, they’re not actively focused on learning, and their brains check out. But they’re not the only ones susceptible to summer slumps. Adults seem to channel their inner child during the summer, making it hard for them to be productive at work.

A 2012 study by Captivate Network reveals that workplace productivity drops 20%, workers are 45% more distracted, and it takes 13% longer to complete projects in the summer. Also, 53% of workers who leave early on Friday report a decline in productivity. People often work longer Monday through Thursday to make up for leaving early on Friday, and 23% of them believe that schedule causes an increase in stress.

So how can you stay productive during the summer and throughout the year? We asked Dana Brownlee, the creator of the New Time Management Model. She’s the president of Professionalism Matters and a corporate trainer and speaker..

According to Brownlee, the New Time Management Model involves four questions:

  1. Should I do this?
  2. How should I do this?
  3. What’s the right level of effort?
  4. How can I increase my efficiency?

Should I Do This?

Brownlee recommends starting every week by assessing the most important activities for the week. Then, every day, do a reassessment. “Resist the temptation to just add a task to your to- do list because someone asked you to do it,” she says. “There must be a mental ‘vetting process’ to determine if any activity should be on your list.” Her own to-do-list only includes five items for each day.

“Another technique that I sometimes use in my classes is to ask each person to write down each of their tasks for the next day on a small slip of paper.” Then she tells them that one of those items can’t be completed – and they have to decide which one it will be. The participants have to throw away that sheet of paper and start over with a shortened list. They continue the process, until the list is down to five items. “These types of activities are just meant to reinforce the mental process that you’d go through weekly and daily to identify your truly important activities,” Brownlee says.

She also recommends using the 80/20 rule. “Figure out which 20% of your efforts will yield 80% of the results.” For example, you may need to determine which clients or client types are providing most of your revenue, and then adjust your business model or activities accordingly.

How Should I Do This?

This is a strategic step that encourages you to work smarter, not harder. Should you do it alone or with a group? Should you do it yourself or delegate or outsource it? Could the task be automated or streamlined in some way?

“As a small business owner, I often resisted outsourcing because I didn’t think I could afford to pay someone else to do things for me,” Brownlee says. “However, when I started using assistants, freelancers, and other specialists, I quickly realized that I couldn’t afford not to outsource (particularly those time-consuming tasks where I had little expertise — like website updating and newsletter formatting).”

She says that pausing to answer the “how” question can save a lot of time later. “For example, if you’re developing a client list, consider putting the information into a simple database so that it’s easily retrievable, sortable, and exportable later (and you’re inputting the information only once).” Next to each task, Brownlee recommends making a note of how you can work smart to complete the task.

What’s the Right Level of Effort?

When deciding how much energy to expend, consider assigning a percentage (from 0% to 100%). Another option is to set a time limit for each task. Brownlee uses this method with her assistant. “Instead of using vague terms like ‘don’t spend too much time on it,’ I’ll often say, ‘don’t exceed 90 minutes.’ Those limits can be helpful for us as well.”

It’s also helpful to add the times together to see if your daily plans are realistic. “If you add up your to-do-list tasks and it adds up to 4 hours of tasks (to be completed outside working hours) and you have a 1.5 hour round-trip commute, that list probably isn’t realistic.”

You can read the rest of the article on TalentCulture.

How to Boost Productivity During the Dog Days of Summer

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Distractions, Focus, Good Habits, Organization, Productivity, Quick Tips, Strategy

You may have loved your job when you started, but it’s not unusual to get in a rut. If you’re experiencing burnout, changing your mindset can bypass it, says Daniel M. Cable, author of Alive aWork: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, during his interview with Stephanie Vozza of Fast Company.

“Our brains are not wired for routine and repetition at work,” he says. “Disengagement isn’t a motivation problem; it’s a biological one.”

Cable was a professor at the University of North Carolina when he says he lost his zest for his own job and slowly descended into boredom. After being diagnosed and treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, his perspective changed, and he found a sense of gratitude for his job. He stumbled on research about the part of the brain called the ventral striatum, also called the “seeking system,” and its role in being your best self.

“This part of our brain urges us from the time we’re babies to explore what we don’t know,” he says. “Little kids can be given an awesome toy with noises and buttons and they’ll be really into it for a week or few days. Then they find something else that hadn’t seen before, like car keys, and they find that way more interesting. It wasn’t because the thing is cool; it’s because the thing is new.”

When we succumb to these urges, our brain delivers dopamine to reward us and that makes us feel more alive, and the same thing can happen at work, says Cable, currently a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School.

“When we’re in the rut of routine for the 502nd time, this part of the brain shuts off,” says Cable. “Your brain is saying, ‘You’re better than this. We’re not built of this. We’re built for bigger things.’ Then the brain stops the release of dopamine, which makes it seem not only boring but that it takes forever.”

There are three ways you can trigger your brain release dopamine, and get out of your rut, says Cable.

1. Play to your strengths

Identify your signature strengths and the impact you can have by using them on a daily basis. “How can you bring value to the team by using your unique strength?” asks Cable.

When he started tapping into his strength—humor—Cable says he regained an appreciation for his job. “It made me feel good and I saw my students lean in when I used humor,” he says. “As a professor, it was something unique to me. I decided to bring it when I teach class instead of leaving it at home.”

Think of your job as a flexible vehicle and determine how you can bring your strength to it.

2. Be willing to experiment

Avoid the risk of routine by shaking things up. Cable decided to develop new classes instead of teaching the same class over and over.

“A sales manager who was promoted and never got a chance to get out in the field might start going into the field again to talk to clients,” suggests Cable. “It’s just a way to refresh and learn new things.”

Activate that seeking system by going outside of your comfort zone, suggests Cable.

3. Tap into purpose

Finally, analyze cause and effect in your role. We all want to see the impact of our actions, says Cable. Leaders can help employees personalize the purpose of work by providing direct conversations with the people who use work as well as internal decision makers.

“Try to think about the story you want to tell yourself about why you do your job,” says Cable.

You can read the rest of the article on Fast Company.

Market Insights Report: 2018 Job Satisfaction Survey and Salary Analysis

Filed under: Career Advice, Job Market, Research, Strategy, Thought Leadership

The Solomon Page Market Insights Report: 2018 Job Satisfaction Survey and Salary Analysis is now available for download. Get your copy here.

This is the inaugural study of this scope for Solomon Page—and we are very proud to be sharing it with you. Solomon Page has been a leader in staffing and executive search since our inception in 1990, and we continually strive to raise the bar and add value for both our candidates and clients. For job seekers, this study will provide insight into how you rank versus your peers in both job satisfaction and compensation. For companies, you will learn what makes a job offer attractive, and key factors in the retention, growth, and satisfaction of your workforce.

As we set out on our mission to produce this study, we partnered with Inavero, a market research firm specializing in the staffing industry, to conduct research and analysis on relevant trends for both candidates and clients in today’s employment market. We gathered close to 1000 responses from a cross-section of junior-, mid-, and senior-level employees.

The methodology of the study was to evaluate the lifecycle of a job search and analyze findings throughout each stage of the process: search drivers, the offer, retention, and contemplating a change. We have coupled this with market sentiment and perceptions of temporary vs. full-time work to create the Market Insights Report Part One: Job Satisfaction Survey. We then gathered and analyzed current information from the Solomon Page database to compile Part Two: Salary Analysis.

Our findings suggest a positive perception of the current job market, and that this optimism will most likely increase in the three years to come. Considering that the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 18 years, we are not surprised. More intriguing findings include the fact that training / continuing education ranks as the most impactful engagement factor, and that company culture and work / life balance have the largest impact on retention and satisfaction.

We hope this report helps you gain insight and perspective while you strive to achieve your job search or hiring goals.

How to Pull Off One More Career Win Before the Year’s Over

Filed under: Goals, How To, Professional Development, Strategy

How many times have you already said that you can’t believe it’s September? And then went through your mental list of everything you said you’d accomplish this year way back in January and felt resigned to the fact that those will now have to be 2018 goals?

Well, before you write off the year, I have a little bit of good news for you. And that good news is that there’s still plenty you can do to set and achieve a new career goal by the end of the year!

Here’s are four steps that’ll get you to where you want to be:

1. Document Your Goal

Your goal might be to get a promotion with your current company. Or you might want a fresh start at a new job. Or, perhaps you just want to learn a new skill.

Whatever you’re hoping to do this year, start by tuning out what everyone around you is working toward right now. No really, forget their goals and focus on your own. After all, just because Jaime wants a promotion, doesn’t mean that’s what you should want.

Once you’re focused on you, write your goal down somewhere that’ll you see it a lot. A sticky note on your bathroom mirror, a reminder in your phone, a tattoo on your hand—whatever you know will work best.

For example, last year I stayed on top of my goal by setting a calendar event for December 31st and creating monthly reminders for the first day of every month. This might sound silly (and maybe even a little annoying), but it really kept me on top of things.

Continue reading on The Muse…

7 Skills Managers will Need in 2025

Filed under: Leadership, Leadership and Management, Professional Development, Relationships, Strategy

We all know that the work landscape is changing. The jobs that will be in demand are shifting as more are automated by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robots. Teams are becoming more disparate and globalization has added new collaboration challenges. At the same time, more millennials are taking on management roles, and even our work spaces will undergo changes between now and 2025.

“Change will be happening so quickly that 50% of the occupations that exist today will not exist 10 years from now. So we’re going to be living in an environment that is extremely adaptable and changing all the time,” says Liz Bentley, the founder of Liz Bentley Associates, a leadership development consulting firm.

Amid all of this flux, managers are going to need new skills, too. The staid, hierarchical structures of the past aren’t going to work, she says. So as you plan your future managerial career, be sure to keep these skills at the forefront.

TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Technology is going to “grow alongside of us,” says Bentley, and there will be no job that is immune from its effects. Of course, it won’t be a straight line from where we are now to machine learning and robots taking over the workplace, but technology will become an ever-present factor in the workplace. That will create new challenges, conflicts, and opportunities related to skill building, workplace roles, data management, privacy, and others. Managers will need to understand technology enough to keep abreast of and anticipate emerging issues.

Some technological developments will work, some won’t, and some will evolve, she says. But the constant is that managers will need to not only be comfortable with embracing new technology, but they’ll also have to be adept at managing the changing relationship between people and emerging tech.

Continue reading on Fast Company >>

15 Habits of Self-Made Millionaires

Filed under: ambition, Career Advice, Goals, inspiration, Professional Development, Strategy, Success

Success doesn’t crop up overnight. All self-made millionaires had to start somewhere.

Much of their transformation from ordinary to seven-figure status can be attributed to “rich habits,” a term coined by Thomas C. Corley, who spent five years researching the daily habits of 177 self-made millionaires.

“From my research, I discovered that daily habits dictate how successful or unsuccessful you will be in life,” he writes in his 2016 book “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.”

“There is a cause and effect associated with habits. Habits are the cause of wealth, poverty, happiness, sadness, stress, good relationships, bad relationships, good health, or bad health.”

The good news is all habits can be changed, Corley notes. Here are some “rich habits” of self-made millionaires that you can start developing today:

They read consistently.
The rich would rather be educated than entertained. As Corley writes, “Eighty-eight percent of the rich devote thirty minutes or more each day to self-education or self-improvement reading … Most did not read for entertainment … The rich read to acquire or maintain knowledge.”

Corley found that they tend to read three types of books: biographies of successful people, self-help or personal development, and history.

Continue reading the original article on Business Insider…