Re-thinking Failure

Re-thinking Failure

In our culture today, we hear a lot about success, but rarely the other side of the coin. Yes, we can’t really talk about success without putting failure in context. How do you increase the chance of success and limit failure? Consider this insight when approaching your next big project or endeavor: 1) Carve out space for self-reflection. Where do you thrive? What work makes you feel the most alive? In contrast, what types of work or projects give you trouble or produce anxiety? When you get to the point where you can decline work and focus on what you do best, i.e. specialties, is when you are poised to produce consistently good work and keep clients coming back for more. 2) Beware of burnout. Physical and mental fatigue can really do a number on quality and productivity. The secret is to find time for rest and relaxation every day. Whether it’s reading, yoga or unplugging for 30 minutes, you have to make time for yourself or else deal with the negative consequences. 3) Be picky. We all can’t excel at everything. Likewise, you can’t be all things to all people. By turning down projects that don’t fit your long-term goals, you are actually turning a “no” into a “yes.” While you might be leery of passing up paid work, know that you and your business will benefit in the end. 4) Reframe the conversation about risk. Next time you are presented with a potentially life-changing, opportunity, take a step back. Ask yourself: “what do I really have to lose”? Know that even if it’s an epic fail, it...
A case study for why honesty matters

A case study for why honesty matters

Trust is a variable that is under-valued in today’s marketplace. Think for a moment about your go-to brands. What factors make you return time and again? Chances are, reputation enters into the equation. A case study for what can happen when companies compromise their values is that of the Honest Co. The socially conscious startup introduced a line of products marketed as alternatives to traditional cleaning products on the market, like laundry detergent. According to their website, “(w)hen we were trying to think of a name for our company, we thought we should choose something that reflected our core values and highest aspirations. The Honest Company was the clear choice.” Yet the Honest Co. didn’t live up to its name. The company was outed in a Wall Street Journal article last fall. It’s laundry detergent wasn’t as clean as it was reported to be. The company entered a downward spiral with a product recall and later legal trouble. They were forced to reformulate the product in question, but no doubt the damage was done in the form of weakened reputation and eroded trust. To make matters worse, imagine the reaction when founder Jessica Alba announced in March that it would replace its CEO with a former Clorox executive. The brand promise that Alba as a founder worked to develop and deliver was nearly destroyed overnight. So what’s the takeaway here? Follow through on your promises. The Honest Co. is a cautionary tale in what can happen when you abandon values for the sake of profit. Failing to deliver on your promise hurts your pocketbook just as much as the...
The truth about vacations

The truth about vacations

Everyone needs some down time every now and then. As Americans, we are often afraid to take time off for fear that it will negatively impact our careers. But that truth is, the opposite may be true. When we allow ourselves time for rest and renewal, we are happier and more productive. There’s more to it than the physical. Here’s why: 1. It’s good for your mind. We are used to always being “on” and that demands a lot of brain power to get through the work day. Turning our minds off helps to reset and fosters clarity. In fact many people find that they are more creative upon returning from some time away. 2. It keeps emotions in check. When we are burnt out, emotions are heightened. It’s easy to lash out to a co-worker or spouse and lose self-control. At worst, people might feel like they need to walk on eggshells around you. 3. Your focus can sharpen. When we are too close to things, we lose perspective and are sometimes close-minded to new ideas. On contrast, time away can give you the distance you need to return with a renewed drive and openness to that can serve your business. 4. You may experience overall increased satisfaction. Vacations are good for the soul. When you happy, that spills over into your personal relationships. And improved relations might mean increased sales. Work-life balance is critical to performance. When was the last time you took time off? If you’re long overdue, why not plan some recharge time? You owe it to you and your business. Whether it’s overseas or...
Rethink your customer loyalty marketing

Rethink your customer loyalty marketing

There’s a lot to be said for a loyal customer. The best loyalty strategies are smart, intentional, customized and effective. Follow these tips to make success in reach for your next campaign: Clearly define your objectives. It’s easy to say, “I want more loyal customers,” but what does that mean in the end? What call to action do you want to put out there? Buy more of your product or upgrade to a more expensive widget? Get customers to recommend your product to others? It’s critical that you set out with a goal or else you won’t have anything to measure results against. Get in their heads(in a good way). It’s important to find out what customers expect and what’s important to them. A good place to start is a customer’s past purchases as indicators of future ones. Using this data, you can send personalized email campaigns that appeal to their interests and needs. No one wants to feel like they are just targeted as part of one broad marketing campaign. Fully commit to it. Effective programs shouldn’t just exist in a vacuum. Instead, think of how they integrate into your broader strategy. You need to stay committed to engaging your customers over the long term if you want to see a return. Remember, if a new customer is silver, then a loyal customer is gold. Are you treating like as...
The mindful leader

The mindful leader

Mindfulness. It’s more than a buzzword. It’s a way of life. And the best part? You don’t have to limit it to your personal life. You don’t have to attend a weeklong yoga retreat to embrace the basic principles. Yes, mindfulness in leadership can serve you and your team well. Consider these three ways to improve your interpersonal relations at work: Be More Present: Meetings are a time when people tend to zone out, which is counterproductive for everyone. Consider adopting a “resetting” break at the start of a meeting by observing a two-minute long moment of silence. During that time, you might find your mind fixating on the nitty gritty, like who’s picking up the kids or what’s for dinner. Instead, try to recenter and refocus on the task at hand. People should leave the meeting feeling calmer than when they first entered it. Create: It’s proven that activities that require use of the right side of brain can help us tap into creativity and innovation we didn’t know we had. For example, the mere act of coloring in a coloring book designed for adults can be a way to detach and unplug from life’s stressors. If this option doesn’t fit your workplace culture, you might consider going to an offsite painting studio or even enrolling in cooking classes as a group. Don’t underestimate the power of creative expression in developing a team. Sleep: There’s no substitute for a good night’s sleep–and the research backs it. People who succeed in the business world tend to make a point to get more shuteye. They also tend to be more...
Debunking the open-plan layout myth

Debunking the open-plan layout myth

Open-office spaces have become synonymous with trendy start-ups, but are they all glitter and not gold? Some research might influence your opinion. For example, the results of a 2013 Harvard Business Review study underlined that employees in open-office formats experience distractions that can impact productivity and performance. Think factors like lack of sound privacy and visual privacy. At the end of the day, an open-office set-up is counterproductive. Generally speaking, this format cancels out the effects of team building and weakens work performance. While employees might find this approach refreshing at first, ultimately, they lose out in terms of attention spans, productivity, creativity, and job satisfaction. Health even enters into the equation, as germs are spread more easily in tighter quarters. Yuck! Despite these conclusions, why do employers continue to buy into the mystique of open-office formats? Such a layout is conducive to maximizing a company’s space while keeping costs down. Some managers also appreciate the opportunity to monitor employee activity closer. While these concerns are valid, the cons outweigh the pros. If you are considering switching things up at the office, you might want to re-think your approach. Factors like the color of walls and on-the-job perks might be more effective in motivating your...