How I Emptied My Email Inbox?

In the first part of the this blog post, I discussed the very real and growing problems that are a result of the increasing volume of email.  In this post, I will tell outline the simple process that I use to empty my email box each week.

The important thing to remember is that there is not one method that will work for everyone.  The way you use email for your work is a function of many things including your job function, your colleagues, your managers and customers or clients, therefore, the solution for emptying your email box on a regular basis will vary.

This is how I approach the task. Read more

Reading List: Who Moved My Cheese?

This book tells the story of 4 characters– Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw– and the different ways they interpret and ultimately deal with change in their environment.  This story of adaptability is parable which makes the story fun and easy to read.  The characters in the story include two mice named Sniff and Scurry and two mice-sized people named Hem and Haw with all of the human traits and flaws (human characteristics).  The four characters live in a maze and search for cheese which represents food and happiness– the ultimate prize.

The story is woven around several key lessons about change: Read more

Only 11% of business leaders strongly agreed that graduates have the necessary skills and competencies to succeed in the workplace – Gallup Poll

Gallup recently released a report, What America Needs to Know About Higher Education Redesign, which offers some insight on the level of career readiness of today’s graduates.

Business leaders were asked to indicate their level of agreement with the following statement (on a five-point scale, where 5 means strongly agree and 1 means strongly disagree): Higher education institutions in this country are graduating students with the skills and competencies that MY business needs.”

  • 17%  =  1 (strongly disagree)
  • 17%  =  2
  • 34%  =  3
  • 22%  =  4
  • 11%  =  5 (strongly agree)

The report found that only “about one in ten business leaders strongly agree that higher education institutions in this country are graduating students with the skills and competencies their business needs.”

The survey also asked business leaders “In your opinion, what talent, knowledge, or skills should higher education institutions develop in students to best prepare graduates for success in the workforce in the coming years?”  The results are summarized in the table below.

Gallup Table Feb 2014 Report

Best Advice from Leading Executives

Business Insider compiled a list of “best advice” from 22 top executives. I’ve pulled the top 10 bits of advice that apply to new professionals and summarized it here.  The full Business Insider post will provide the context for each quote and reveal who the wise sage is behind each pearl of wisdom.

  1. There’s a finite amount of time you’re going to be doing this. Do this really, really well. – Terry J. Lundgren, CEO, Macy’s
  2. Never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing. – Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group
  3. I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great. – Marissa Mayer, VP, Google
  4. First, it’s good to solicit your people’s opinions before you give them yours. And second, your people will be very influenced by how you carry yourself under stress. – Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
  5. You’ve gotta learn to listen!” – Maureen Chiquet, Global CEO, Chanel
  6. Follow my instincts and take the risk. I wanted to create a new way of looking at retail – Tory Burch, co-founder and creative director, Tory Burch
  7. Never forget Warren, you can tell a guy to go to hell tomorrow — you don’t give up the right. So just keep your mouth shut today, and see if you feel the same way tomorrow. – Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
  8. Just remember, it’s a small business and a long life. You’re going to see all these people again. – Richard Parsons, former chairman, Citigroup
  9. Always have the courage of your convictions. Always state what’s on your mind. Follow your gut. And observe what other people are doing around you. – Joe Uva, former CEO, Univision
  10. Remember—you’ve got to make your deposits before you can make a withdrawal! – Steve Schwartzman, chairman and CEO, Blackstone Group

Facebook in the Office?

Facebook in the office?  This is a very complex issue.  And the answers will very by your role, position, company and industry.  One thing is very clear, however, and that is . . .

Facebooking as a professional is different than Facebooking as a student.  

A recent survey conducted by Fierce, Inc. that included more than 800 executives and employees in multiple industries found:

  • nearly one in three employees have witnessed or know of a coworker reprimanded for an inappropriate FB post
  • nearly 40% of employees engaged in some form of inappropriate communications such as gossiping or flirting Read more

15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 3 of 3

And here’s the final installment of the 15 point list. . .

11) Persevere – You will encounter many challenges in your career.  Your response to those challenges will say more about you than your successes.

Try not.  Do, or do not.  There is no try. ~YODA, Jedi Grand Master

12) Communicate with confidence – Communication via the spoken and written word are one way to demonstrate your professional abilities.  Practice public speaking and perfect your writing skills, until you far surpass your peers—the bar is usually not that high.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. ~Mark Twain

13) Display humility – Demonstrate humility and personal accountability in your career and you’ll never go wrong.

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. ~Ernest Hemingway, Author

14) Be flexible – As a recent graduate or new professional, be flexible in your career path.  Build career skills that transcend your current function, role and industry make you invaluable in the marketplace and provide more opportunities.

Change is the only constant. ~Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

15) Make connections – Networking is a key professional skill.  If you focus on what you can do for others, networking won’t feel like a chore.  Your efforts will be rewarded in what you’ve given and what you will receive.

Dig the well before you are thirsty. ~Chinese Proverb

15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 2 of 3

Continuing with our list. . .

6) Connect the dots – Consider the big picture and where your career fits in your company, industry and the worldwide economy at this moment in time, in addition to, the past and the future.

We often need to lose sight of our priorities in order to see them. ~ John Irving, Author

7) Display realistic optimism  – There will be plenty of opportunities in your career to be optimistic (or pessimistic) depending on which you choose.  Choose wisely.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ~Winston Churchill, Politician

8) Continued improvement – Throughout your career, there is one constant which is YOU.  Be the best professional you can be.

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. ~Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur

9) Commit – Your commitment to a task, the project, your job and your organization is being measured everyday by your subordinates, peers, colleagues, managers, share holders, customers and clients.  If it is not 100%, others will know it.

The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.  ~Henry Ford

10) Be alert – Opportunities in your career won’t always find you.  Be on the look out and willing to create opportunities for yourself.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. ~Milton Berle, Comedian & Actor

Stay tuned for “15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 3 of 3” next week.

15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 1 of 3

Ilya Pozin wrote a great post on LinkedIn titled, “15 Things Successful People Do.”  Here is the Career-ology version of Pozin’s list with a focus on your career and professional success.

1) Fail – At some point in your career, you will encounter failure—your position is downsized, you get overlooked for a promotion or bonus, you choose a job that isn’t the right fit.  You cannot have success without failure. Stop.  Assess. Adjust. Keep moving forward.

When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures.  So I did ten times more work.  ~George Bernard Shaw, Playwright

2) Set Goals – You must identify and develop the critical career skills with the same discipline of your formal college curriculum.  As a professional, you are responsible for establishing and working towards your goals.

People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. ~Brian Tracy, Author

3) Don’t rely on luck – Luck is only one small part of the professional success equation.  Without mastering the right skills, you cannot rely on luck alone.

I am a great believer in luck.  The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have. ~Coleman Cox, Author (interesting note: Thomas Jefferson is often incorrectly cited as the source of this quote)

4) Track progress – Like setting specific goals, tracking your progress against your career goals is important.  Make adjustments when required, but stay focused on your progress.

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. ~Benjamin Franklin

5) Act – This is your career.  Take responsibility and take action.

If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. ~Michael Jordan, Professional Athlete

Stay tuned for “15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 2 of 3” next week.

 

MOOCs for Your Professional Development

Continuing education is a critical part of your professional development.  There are many opportunities to further your education including a formal graduate degree (on campus or online), a professional certificate program from a college continuing education program, or a MOOC.

What is a MOOC and how can you utilize a MOOC for professional development?

A massive open online course (MOOC) is an online course aiming at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. In addition to traditional course materials such as videos, readings, and problem sets, MOOCs provide interactive user forums that help build a community for the students, professors, and TAs. [Wikipedia]

Last November, the New York Times declared that 2012 was The Year of the MOOC.  The leading MOOCs are Coursera, edX and Udacity.  These platforms are Read more