Make your Team a Happy Team – Part 3

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It is a proven fact, happy employees add more to your business and increase your profitability.

They are way more productive, less likely to change jobs, take less sick leave, and have more energy which they are willing to invest in your business.
They will also have a higher achievement rate than their unhappy counterparts.

But there is a big difference between happiness and engagement factors, and the key to a happy team lays in knowing how to combine both in balance.

 

These are a few suggestions you can try to help achieve this balance, plus a higher level of profitability.

 

  1. Team engagement starts with your commitment

Take the time to get to know your team members as individuals.

Getting to know them will tell you how to motivate them. It’s the details what will show them you care about them as people, not just workers –only, in order to do so, you will genuinely have to care.

 

  1. Give them the tools and training for their personal growth

They will know that you’re invested in them if you take the time to develop their skills, challenge them to learn more, do more and accomplish more; give them the ability to move forward within the company.

 

  1. Listen to your team members

Every member of your team is motivated differently, so review them often so you can learn how to find what is the perfect combination of programs and resources for that person.
Once you get their feedback, act on it.

 

  1. Boost teamwork through team-building activities

Your relationship with your team members is important, but so is the close relationship between teammates.
When you encourage this kind of friendship through team-based projects, and team-building activities, this creates a sense of responsibility and accountability within the team –they don’t want to let their mates down.

 

  1. Use rewards and incentives

These are huge motivators for most workers, also non-cash related awards, and inside-the-team recognition programs are excellent tools for engagement.

 

An engaged workforce is a happy, productive workforce, and that is always good for your business.

Work towards developing your team members as individuals, help them become their best versions of themselves, and you will be well on your way to happy and engaged teams.

 

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this Team Happiness series of articles, and that you were able to implement them into your business strategies.

 

See you next week.
Stay strong!

Make your team a Happy Team – Part 2

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The key to create and maintain a happy team is to take charge as a business owner, design a company culture that leads to members’ contentment.

Here are some practical strategies to start with: Mainly, you need to understand your team’s personality

You got to know each one of them in order to know what would make them happy; you need to understand their workplace personality profile so you place them in the right position according to their skills and disposition.

For this, you need to create a hiring, training, and promotion protocol that assesses their DISC profile.

Now let’s take a closer look at this DISC thing:

D stands for Dominance

Those people who operate best when allowed to be direct, results-oriented, decisive and competitive, are often skilled negotiators, problem-solvers, managers and leaders.

 

I for Influence

Those charming, enthusiastic, optimistic, persuasive and inspiring, are usually the influencers; those capable of working collaboratively with a wide variety of teams.

S for Steadiness

People who consistently exhibit understanding, team-minded, patient, stable, and sincere capabilities are often dependable for managing or collaborating with others.

Finally, C for Conscientious

These are the people who are known for being analytical, diplomatic, precise, compliant and objective; those valued as work-horses in business because of their ability to remain objective to the goal in spite of the direst of circumstances.

For our next blog, we’ll finish this triad understanding your own business identity.

Until then, stay strong!

Make your team a Happy Team – Part 1

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Not everyone knows where to start when it comes to team happiness. Many managers –whether in sports, business, or any other category, mistakenly think that providing incentives (paid vacations, bonuses, or foosball tables) will make their people happy.

In part, those tangible benefits contribute to retaining a workforce, but to achieve real happiness and fulfillment, you’d need something more.

As a starting point, you must ensure that your organization core values are aligned to produce a commitment for excellence besides contentment.

We all know this: a happy team creates a happy business, scores, and achievements in general.  But what does “happy” mean in this context?

Basically, it is about the need every human being has to be significant. It also has to do with contribution, and finally, with growth. We all need to know that what we are, and what we do, matters; and that it helps make a difference in the world. That’s the way we grow, and become better.

 

In all this, the team or company culture plays a pivotal role.

Research indicates that not only money makes team players happy; it takes something far less tangible: trust.
Trust in a team makes each member more productive, excited and innovative in whatever it is their task at hand.
Brain physiology studies demonstrated that oxytocin enables trust, connection, and generosity, which in turn allows contentment.
There is a flip side of this coin, high levels of stress (the opposite of happiness) inhibits the oxytocin, decreasing team bonding and positive interaction.

If you intend to take your team to a higher level, take every measure possible to reduce stress so that team members can get their jobs done efficiently and without burning out.

All in all, the best strategies to ensure team happiness and performance are leader recognition, peer recognition, achievable workloads and assignments, clear leadership, and deliberate relationship-building.

 

 

Next week we’ll talk about team members’ personalities and how to leverage this in favor of the team.

Until then, stay strong!

 

 

 

 

 

One of the core values we have as a company is to inspire and empower people in all aspects of their lives. Additionally, if you want to read about our Custom Software Solutions and Consulting Services, please visit www.isucorp.ca

Put Your Procrastination under the Magnifying Glass

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We all had fallen into the bottomless pit of procrastination; I know I had, more than once… and I’d bet that you had too.

When it happens, we tend to think of it as just one unique way to avoid something; but if we were to get a magnifying glass and look closely, we would see that there are actually different reasons why we tend to get into procrastination mode.

Before we can work on getting rid of or circumventing our delaying habits, we need to understand where they’re coming from.

Let’s look through that glass and see the main reasons we fall into procrastination, and also some simple ways to overcome them:

1.    Feeling Overwhelmed

There are times when you’re faced with the complexity of a task at hand, and you think “there is no way I can get this done by x time… let’s channel-surf for a while instead”…
Surely you’re familiar with this kind of Overwhelm-procrastination, which is the urge to avoid tasks that are just too big that you don’t know how to tackle them; you don’t find a way into it, so you put it off for as long as you possibly can, and find all kinds of excuses.

One easy way to overcome this feeling is to break big goals into small, concrete steps (often called “chunks”) you can work on right away.

2.   Fear

There are times when we avoid taking action just because taking that next step requires us to push ourselves into the unknown territory of “the Next Level”. Setting a higher year income, getting into a new market, writing your new chapter, or submitting the book to a publisher… we put these things off because they are Uncertainty incarnated… The Unknown, and we tend to assume the worst.

In this kind of situation, we go into survival mode; something that must have been helpful to the average caveman back in prehistoric times, but it is not for our own state of mind or achievement.

In this case, the best remedy against fear is faith, trust, confidence, and resolution. There is nothing to worry about, what doesn’t go well becomes a learning experience.
Again, tiny first steps are the best way to start; remember: you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take one step at the time.

3.   Lack of Incentive

We, humans, are wired to instinctively seek comfort. In order to motivate us out of the couch, we need a clear benefit –that or a big mean dog chasing our butts into discomfort. In other words, if we don’t think going to the gym is bringing us a tangible value, we won’t do it… why change things when we’re so comfy, right?

If we want to get results when there is no sense of urgency, we have to be able to visualize the potential pain that inaction will bring to us. Pain is a bigger motivator than pleasure, but we also have to envision the rewards of actually taking action.

This way, we have the stick and the carrot that will make us move and keep us moving.

Let’s say you want to lose some weight; it’s much easier to stay watching television and eating ice-cream than it is to face the reality that, if we keep this behavior, in a year or less we might look like the giant rock ball that chased Indiana Jones at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

That image alone might be enough to get you to the gym.

Next time you’re faced with a project you just can’t seem to tackle, no matter how many times you write on your planner or put it on your to-do list; you need to figure out exactly why you’re avoiding it.

You need to see things clear first in order to lean the ladder against the right wall.

That way, every step we climb is getting closer to the right place.

When you get there, you will feel really, really good.

Stay strong!

Keep Your Cool and Find Your Way to Success

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The ability to remain calm under pressure is an almost certain way to create success.

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance.

Research made with more than a million people found that 90 percent of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

Prolonged stress causes degeneration in the area of the brain responsible for self-control. The tricky thing about stress though (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress.

As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless; it is the intermittent stressful events that keep the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,

Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.

 

This is what they do that most people don’t:

They appreciate what they have.

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces drastically the stress levels in the body.

 

They avoid asking “What if?” negatively

Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control.

 

They stay positive.

Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. The key is selecting something positive to think about.

 

They disconnect.

When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control.

 

They squash negative self-talk.

The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts.

 

They reframe their perspective.

You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective.

 

They breathe.

The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do every day anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back.

 

They use their support system.

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it.

 

 

So, what can YOU do to enter your calm state?

See you next week. Stay strong!

 

 

 

 

(source: Travis Bradberry)

Learn to Say YES to the Great!

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How do we learn to say NO to some good things so we can say YES to the great things in life?

This is one of the biggest skills we all need to learn.

When you say NO to those things that aren’t really adding value to your life, taking you closer to your goals or in alignment with your values; you’re actually saying YES to something else that is. It could be time with your family, workout, meditation, reading or studying something you love, or even a little shut-eye time.

That NO can be hard sometimes, but it’s nothing if you compare it to some other time when you reluctantly said yes and regretted it later on. Think about all the sorrow that one decision caused… You might have kicked yourself for a while, but then, you’d surely resented the person or circumstances related to that task.

Saying no in the first place to a task you don’t want or you don’t have the time to do, ends up being a lot easier than having to struggle with it out of time and resources; so, the sooner you learn to do it, the better.

In the end, this underrated time management strategy will help you devote your time to the things that you really care about.

 

See you next week to close this series of strategies.

Stay strong!

Time to Minimize Distractions!

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Welcome back! Last week we laid the path for you to discover your core purpose; now we’ll find out what is taking you off course by distracting you.

Is it email? People in your workspace? Texting? Social media? All of the above combined?

 

Whatever it is, it’s time to eliminate distractions and the stress that comes with it.

Block the websites, mute or turn off your phone, install concertina wire around your office if that’s what it takes!

Take control of your space so you can be productive in whatever you decide to devote your time to. Don’t make excuses, this is your time.

One of the most efficient time management tools is to minimize distractions; those things that don’t get you close to your goals.

Try doing this for a week: Next time you allow yourself to get distracted and interrupted, stop and write down what you were doing, what interrupted you, how you were feeling right before you switch tasks.

Why?
Sometimes we allow ourselves to go adrift when we’re experiencing uncomfortable emotions like frustration, boredom, or lack of interest. These reactions are a crutch and a compulsion; learned addictive responses that we can learn to overcome and change, starting simply by becoming aware of them and why we’re actually using them.

Let’s face whatever task we’re working on as a challenge, and take it head on, keeping our eyes on the end goal.

 

 

Next week we’ll talk about how we can learn to say NO to daily pleasurable distractions in order to say YES to the greatness of life.

Stay strong!

 

 

Clarity Really IS Power

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If you want to leverage the real power of clarity, you need to be specific about what you want and build your outcome around a significant way of measurement.

Let’s assume you want to make more money this year, and you ended up earning 10 extra dollars… technically, you’ve achieved your goal, I mean, you earned “more” money this year; but I doubt that was your idea when you set that goal, right? The difference was probably more in the area of the tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands.

You always want to set a clear goal for yourself, always.

If you are specific with your outcome and have a clear picture of what it is and why do you want it, your actions will be like a big, sharp telephoto lens that will achieve them.

Now, following the precepts we established in the previous articles, you know you need to be working toward your core values, and follow your personal rules in the process… so, how can you be sure?

Make a core values audit:

Keep a close track of your activities for two weeks, take note of which values your actions are connecting with, and evaluate yourself as you move closer to your goals.

Once you have several weeks of progress written down, take a thorough look at how you’ve spent your time; highlight any activity that you know is unconnected to your values and goals –like checking social media every other hour- and take it out from your schedule. Replace them with something else that can contribute to your ultimate plan.

After a while putting this procedure into practice, you’ll notice you don’t miss all those time-consuming tasks anymore.

Next week we’ll be talking about how to minimize distractions by, among other things, learning to say NO.

Until then, stay strong!

Creating Your Action Plan for 2019

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Goals without plans are just wishes”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Another New Year is here, and everybody is making their list of goals again.

What most of them are failing to do, is an action plan for them.
Action is the fuel that powers our Life engines. Without action, we can’t be able to realize our goals; kind of being stuck in neutral…
We tend to get constantly sidetracked, unable to focus our energy and efforts on consistent action.
This is mostly all because of our poor habits, but also our inability to set goals correctly; we only get an abstract notion of what we want, but we lack the specifics and a concrete plan.

From Anthony Robbins to Napoleon Hill and Jim Rohn; all the greatest coaches always stressed the need for taking action as a fundamental part of any success in goal achievement.
A good example of how to correctly approach goal settings is that of an airplane. Think about it for a moment…
When it takes off, say, from LAX heading for Hawaii, that’s its goal, and everyone on it relies on that.

Before taking off, the pilots set a plan, direction, general speed, and altitude; but the plan isn’t specific about them, because the plane, like us, might encounter some obstacles along the way (turbulence, traffic, etc.) forcing it to make adjustments, but keeping the overall goal of making it to Hawaii.
It only takes constant tracking and evaluation to realize it.
If you’re serious about your goals, then you must create an action plan, and then constantly monitoring and adjusting your approach where required until you succeed.

In order to do so, you have to consider these 6 basic steps:

1. Visualize specific, time-based goals

This is the most important step. You need to set perfectly clear what, how much, and by when.
2. Create monthly milestones

This will give you specific monthly targets that you want to hit in order to evaluate if you’re making good progress or not.

3. Create a weekly action plan

Now that you have your monthly milestone, you may want to chunk it down into 4 weeks to help you move closer and swifter… what can you do this week to reach your monthly target?
4. Make and prioritize a daily to-do list

Chunk your plan down again into day-to-day priorities… think about all your powerful reasons to attain the goal. The more efficient you get managing your time, the more likely you’re going to be to accomplish your goals.
5. Measure, track, and adjust

You need to constantly measure and track your progress so you’d know whether you’re getting closer or further away from your target. Also, action plans should be flexible as well as massive so you can make necessary adjustments that come out of your progress evaluation.
6. Face your failure and suck it up

Let’s face it, no matter what you’re pursuing; life is going to get in the way. The only thing that sets apart successful people from the rest is their refusal to accept defeat; they simply don’t give up.
Failure is a part of life; your goal is to overcome that failure… and by doing so, you not only are going to reach your goal, but you’re going to become a bigger and better person, and that is the ultimate value of goals.
Give it a try, don’t wait until next New Year to evaluate the goals you’re setting this 2019… get serious now, and do it.
Stay strong!

Use Openness to Build Effective, Stronger Teams

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The key to building stronger teams is to, first and foremost, build stronger relationships and connection between the people on them. Learn about each other and build a deep and authentic relationship that will help the team navigate challenges together.

More and more people from schools, companies and all kinds of organizations are starting to use this approach. It might seem a little touchy-feely at times, but through time and experience, even the most skeptical person turns around and loves it.

These are some examples of exercises you can implement within your organization:

 

  1. Lifelines

Ask everyone to describe a few key moments or events in their lives that have made them who they are today. This task helps break the barriers between them and allows them to gain a deeper understanding of one another. The confidential nature of these exchanges helps them build enormous trust.

 

  1. Storytelling

Building upon the previous exercise, this one encourages all teammates to open up and tell a significant story about themselves, and it helps them appreciate the courage of those eager to share so much; and this exposure makes everyone more willing to open up as well.

 

  1. Appreciations

One of the most effective methods to build trust within a team is appreciation. At the end of a sprint, or a project, ask your group to share things they appreciate about each other; go at it in turns, letting everybody chime in with reasons why they appreciate that person. It might be awkward to be so openly appreciated, but it is extremely moving. We rarely take the time to tell people around us why we appreciate and admire them, and when we do, it is surprisingly great.

 

All these kinds of activities build deeper and meaningful relations among colleagues, helping them work more effectively together. It can also help with conflict resolution, since the stronger the foundational relationship between two people, the easier these conflicts are resolved or avoided in all.

If you get your team to know each other, everything after that just comes more easily.

Put these techniques in practice and see how it turns out.

 

Enjoy your long weekend, and have a Happy Thanksgiving Day.