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...
How to slay the Imposter Syndrome monster

How to slay the Imposter Syndrome monster

Have you ever felt like a poser in your personal or professional life? Do you ever feel like you haven’t achieved “enough” to be seen as a credible source? These thoughts creep into our minds at every stage in the game. Blame it on Imposter Syndrome. How does one slay this nasty monster? It starts with realizing we are human and all make mistakes. Instead of dwelling on our failures, take some time to focus on your strengths and how you can best apply them. Consider these three ways to move past this mindset: Help someone without expecting anything in return. Seek out, or at least be open to, people who are experiencing problems you might be able to tackle. You might pleasantly surprise yourself with your depth and scope of knowledge and how your peer can apply it. Be humble—but not too humble. It’s OK to own your success and acknowledge our role. Sure, no success happens in a vacuum, and there are many factors involved that come together to form the whole package that is you. While some people are privy to certain opportunities that others aren’t, that doesn’t negate the effort put forth. Success is no accident, even if the cards are stacked in your favor. Work through doubt. Questioning ourselves every so often is normal and healthy. Whenever these feelings take over, you are best served to examine and articulate your doubts and anxieties. Sometimes putting pen to paper is the best way to overcome and find a solution to the...
Innovation: Are you doing it right?

Innovation: Are you doing it right?

So you want to become more innovative? Now what? Innovation is not a concept you can embrace overnight. It’s more of a process than anything. Take into account these three key points as you make a cultural shift: 1. Think beyond ideas. What systems do you have in place to foster creativity? Ideas can fail, but methodologies can help you move forward and stay on track in terms of deadlines. 2. Test, repeat and refine. Ideas are only as good as their execution. Start by doing textbook research then actually test your concept on a pre-determined target audience in a specific time frame. Find out what works (and doesn’t) and repeat until you have a refined end product. 3. Evaluate your success. Check in every now and then. Don’t be afraid to halt the project or put it on hold. Evaluation should occur at every step of your journey, and you should always be thinking about its viability and how it fits into the larger picture. Don’t get caught up trying to make something succeed that simply doesn’t have legs. In other words, don’t innovate simply for the sake of innovation. It also doesn’t hurt to follow the efforts of innovative companies you admire. What can you learn from their successes (and...