Loading

Maintaining productivity in the age of quick and easy distraction

jason-kulpa-productivityDistraction is essentially the bane of productivity. You can’t get anything done if you can’t concentrate, and you can’t concentrate if you are constantly being distracted. This is the key reason so many people complain about the constant noise being made by their phone, the constant drip-drip of e-mail notifications and the endless rabbit holes of the internet, which is only a click away.

But there is more to this problem. If you examine the dynamics of it long enough it is not hard to notice that loss of productivity is a symptom of a bigger problem, and that is overreach. It’s not necessarily the fact that a person can’t accumulate enough productivity at the end of the day, it’s more a function of the fact that no amount of productivity will overcome the burden they have placed on themselves. They simply have too much on their plate. At that point, distractions aren’t necessarily preventing productivity, they are an escape from the impossible.

Simplify

Work that can be done — and done well — is both more engaging and capable of mitigating distractions. The human mind is more than capable of engaging fully with a task and tuning out distractions if a person really wants to do what they are doing. On the contrary, when the work itself is distracting because it is disorganized, unclear or obviously pointless, then practical distractions have a much easier time derailing the productivity train because the person attempting the task is looking for a reason to quit. Some tasks must be completed regardless of their desirability, but those less desired can usually be made more approachable via simplification or consolidation of efforts.

Planning

Authors have a trick for reaching their writing goals each day, and that is to plan out what they are going to write in advance. It does few authors any good to sit down to a blank screen and try to compose on the fly unless they are very good at weaving a compelling narrative out of nothing but imagination. In this vein, it is far easier in most cases to make some plan and then try to adhere to the plan along the way.

Planning is the natural enemy of distraction because it is likely to produce a list of actions that will engage the person performing the work. Since workers are authoring the plan in the first place, they can avoid the kinds of distracting tasks that will derail their own efforts.

Please follow and like us:

Fostering Employee Productivity: What Not to Do

jason-kulpa-productivitySuccessful business managers know that there are many ways to accurately and efficiently foster employee productivity, but the best ones also recognize that there are just as many ways to botch this process. Productivity can be a delicate trait to hone at first, and your approach will almost exclusively depend on the unique strengths and weaknesses of the employee in question. Avoiding common pitfalls will make this process much easier — especially if you have just stepped into a managerial position.

That said, here are several mistakes to avoid en route to creating stronger employee productivity.

Being too formal all the time

As a manager, there is a time and place for formality; it is the backbone of your company, the foundation that all workers must adhere, in some capacity, to keep the workplace exactly that: a workplace. That said, too much formality can be detrimental to employee productivity if unhealthily implemented. Make sure you take time to humanize interactions with your direct reports; ask them about their lives, schedule bonding activities when appropriate, and maintain a demeanor that will keep them feeling comfortable and supported. If you can achieve this type of relationship, everything will likely go much smoother for everyone involved. Work is work, but that is not to say work has to be cold and emotionless.

Not being transparent

Perhaps a subsection of the previous point, transparency is a huge variable in any healthy manager/report relationship. By not being forthcoming about important feedback, you jeopardize the growth of your employees while creating an unnecessary divide that may create additional issues in the future. Specifically, be as direct as possible about mistakes, conflicts with office policies, and general areas of improvement; these are the talking points that will make your workers stronger and more cognizant of what it takes to succeed in their role. You will create another layer of approachability along the way, too.

Forgoing individualization

Individualization is one of the most important factors to consider in employee development, so forgoing it essentially chalks up to lazy management. As previously mentioned, the pursuit of employee productivity encircles the process of constantly pushing the envelope and testing employee thresholds. In this same sense, push yourself as a manager to learn as much as you can about your workers, and tailor your development plans based on this information. During new employees’ first weeks of work, schedule one-on-one meetings to tease out immediate strengths, weaknesses, concerns, fears, points of confidence, and any other relevant factors that will help you individualize their work experience. Not only will this approach help with productivity, it will generally help your employees feel supported at a personal level from day one.

 

Please follow and like us:

The Final Push: Three Ways Your Business Can Close 2018 on a High Note

Every company has had 12 months to make some progress toward their goals. Even if there have been more failures than achievements, it’s important to acknowledge the good parts and plan for the next year. There are three ways for businesses to end the 2018 year on a positive note.

Increase Work Productivity

Increasing productivity means working less, working faster and getting more results. Work less for greater results or work faster and get more work done in a shorter period of time. Everyone has one or two habits that result in hours of wasted time and effort each day. For most office workers, it’s checking their emails for too long or conversing with fellow workers around the office. For managers, it’s doing tasks by hand instead of using faster, automated computers and software. Overall, owners should focus on improving the levels of work productivity in every department from accounting to management.

Be Open to New Things

Being innovative is a hidden advantage in business. Every entrepreneur wants to be trendy, but the idea may be impossible because of social and financial risks. A small business owner doesn’t want to lose an investment for an idea that only works for other businesses. There is also the risk of being ridiculed for trying a new idea. An example is placing self service kiosks around a store. It may work flawlessly for some stores, but it could increase the risk of shoplifting in others.

Reduce Miscommunication

Miscommunication is reduced when communication lines are opened. This means finding more ways to communicate by phone, email or text. Some offices send out memos every morning as reminders of what happened in the past and what needs to be done in the future. One company could encourage coworkers to text each other regularly.

It’s possible to reduce miscommunication but not get rid of it completely. There will still be times when coworkers misunderstand each other every now and then. However, when some improvement efforts are made, the staff is more unified and works more efficiently.

At the close of the year, every business owner should reflect on what was accomplished and what was missed. Every new year should start with a list of new goals and the steps to complete them. The only way for a business to remain successful is to move ahead and to reflect back.

Please follow and like us:

Tips for Balancing Business Ownership and Philanthropy (Pt. 2)

 

jason-kulpa-balance

There is no question that philanthropic involvement can be both enriching and beneficial to recipients and benefactors alike. By reaching out to a charitable cause, a business leader can expand his or her presence in the community by forging vital new relationships — all while raising awareness for an issue or bringing attention to an individual or entity in need. Now, perhaps more than ever, businesses have shifted paradigms to include a blend of profit and societal impact.

Still, however, it takes a fair amount of organization and tact to successfully balance business ownership with philanthropy. Speaking from experience in my own philanthropic involvement with UE.co, both endeavors must be handled with care so that they may co-exist in a constructive, successful manner. I recently explored this notion in a previous blog post, but here now are several more considerations to keep in mind as you work to effectively your entrepreneurial and philanthropic lifestyles.

 

Utilize smart marketing

Marketing, in most cases, is a crucial component of any successful business strategy. However, many business leaders fail to leverage marketing for their philanthropic programs. This fact is not surprising, as the promotion of any charitable activity can feel uncomfortable and awkward. After all, you don’t want to come off as self-serving in attempt to serve others.

The key is to exercise your marketing with a steady hand, and this means keeping two important points in mind:

  • A successful philanthropic initiative will serve a charitable purpose, but should not be pursued for selfish financial gain and advertisement alone.

  • In many cases, a corporate philanthropy program must garner a considerable audience in order to endure for years to come.

In other words, your marketing campaign should reflect a balance of modesty and promotion. Look at it this way: your best philanthropic intentions will probably be fully realized if your initiative is given healthy exposure. Tip too far in one direction, however, and you run the risk of dooming your cause in terms of longevity and/or public perception.

 

Never stop networking

Given the growing emphasis on social media and widespread interconnectivity at large, it is no shock that networking has become a clear asset to business professionals worldwide. Still, despite this notion, some businesses find themselves lagging on networking in order to focus on other seemingly more important parts of their daily workload.

Instead, networking should sit at the front of every leader’s mind, and this is especially true of those leaders hoping to expand their presence in the philanthropic community. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone in meeting new people, establishing new relationships and partnerships, and ultimately laying the roots necessary to bring new and exciting initiatives to fruition. This approach allows for increased efficiency and less redundancy for both organizations and donors alike.

Please follow and like us:

Tips for Balancing Business Ownership and Philanthropy (Pt. 1)

jason-kulpa-philanthropy

There is no question that philanthropic involvement can be both enriching and beneficial to recipients and benefactors alike. By reaching out to a charitable cause, a business leader can expand his or her presence in the community by forging vital new relationships — all while raising awareness for an issue or bringing attention to an individual or entity in need. Now, perhaps more than ever, businesses have shifted paradigms to include a blend of profit and societal impact.

Still, however, it takes a fair amount of organization and tact to successfully balance business ownership with philanthropy. Speaking from experience in my own philanthropic involvement with UE.co, both endeavors must be handled with care so that they may co-exist in a constructive, successful manner.

 

Exercise foresight

It is crucial to have a plan when venturing into business philanthropy; this is common knowledge. Still, though, fallout from ill preparation is an unfortunate commonality, and depending on its severity, it can lead to misconceptions and poor representations that can subsequently create backlash from the public. An aged, yet enduringly relevant observation is that there are two types of philanthropic failure: constructive ones and unconstructive ones. The former refers to failures providing clear evidence as to what went wrong, while the latter results from an inability to “inform future practice.”

By studying high-profile instances of constructive philanthropic failure, we can extract a number of important lessons:

 

  • One must have a strong, or at least working, knowledge his or her chosen cause — not to mention passion. If you truly care about housing the homeless, for example, do not focus on another cause simply because it is convenient or trendy.

 

  • The aforementioned point in mind, a philanthropic initiative should not be driven by marketing performance and public image alone; this is immoral and stands as the antithesis of genuine philanthropy.

 

  • At the same time, a lack of proper knowledge can lead to a breakdown in your philanthropy’s effectiveness, and it can quickly lead to additional problems that knock the wheels of the entire process despite your best intentions.

 

Build lasting relationships

Most successful charitable partnerships yield the potential for a continued working relationship. This longevity can be instrumental in ensuring the success of future initiatives, which in turn can also make the ownership/philanthropy balancing act easier to approach. A philanthropic relationship allows both participating parties to learn about each other in a different way, which can lead to longer standing interaction as a result of mutual loyalty.

Building this trust and intimacy not only aids in the preservation of the cause in question, it can also strengthen employee engagement, build up the brand of both the business and the philanthropic recipient, and ultimately foster a stronger sense of community and cohesion.

Please follow and like us:

Tips for Transitioning into a CEO Role

The role of Chief Executive has been romanticized in most cultures, sometimes to the point where the reality of day-to-day responsibility and the actual impact of a leadership role are frequently overlooked.

Taking the highest office in any organization is a major step in anyone’s career. It is important to understand the proper path to both effectiveness and success. Here are some things to consider.

 

Command

While it may be apocryphal, Admiral Halsey’s admonition to his fellow naval officers is instructive. “When you’re in command, command.” This is advice that should be heeded, especially on a new CEO. The natural tendency for the average person is to try and get along with others, but this can lead to all kinds of problems when “a” manager becomes “the” manager

Ultimately, a chief executive’s main responsibility is to give orders and to see to it they are carried out. Few tasks are personally carried out by a CEO for a number of reasons, not the least of which is if the CEO is doing basic tasks, nobody is in charge.

 

Delegate

A leader’s second major responsibility is to assign tasks to subordinates. These tasks can be both basic day-to-day jobs or the responsibility to be in charge of others. It is not a mistake that most every king in history had a considerable retinue of underlings to carry out their wishes.

Delegation is vitally important. CEOs who do not learn to properly delegate can often find themselves overworked and/or spread too thin to be effective. More than a few well-known chief executives have had their companies and careers damaged by over-reliance on their own talent and skill. One person can only do so much.

 

Communicate

Being in charge and delegating only work properly if a leader is available and listens to his or her subordinates. Without the necessary information from other managers, employees, consultants, ownership and governance, a CEO has little to no contemporary knowledge upon which to base their decisions.

When complaining about their bosses, nearly every employee brings up communication as a chief reason they do not approve of management. A leader must be willing to listen, or they will find it is impossible to be effective or efficient.

Being a CEO is without a doubt one of the hardest jobs in the world. It isn’t for everyone, but even those who have little to no experience will find their task much easier if they learn the fundamentals and put them into practice.

Please follow and like us:

Three tips for building rapport with a new employee

The addition of a new employee can be an exciting time for your workplace. Current employees are given a chance to make a new acquaintance while you, as a leader, are able to watch a recent hiring decision pay off for both the hiree and your company. During this period, it is crucial to make new employees feel welcome and comfortable, as the first week at a new job can be stressful and, in some cases, nerve wracking.

Here are some tips for building strong rapport with new employees.

 

Make an effort

As a company leader, it is not great practice to simply throw a new employee to the wolves in terms of workplace integration. Make an effort to learn about these employees; ask them about their personal lives, their interests and hobbies, and their goals in joining your company. The quicker you develop this bond, the quicker you will lay a foundation for this employee’s comfort as a contributor.

 

Give them time

Getting to know a new employee is important, but so is the idea that every worker has a different transition process. Some individuals have trouble adapting to change at the drop of a hat, and therefore, it is important to be cognizant of this notion when dealing with an introverted new employee. In many cases, this employee is probably just adapting to a gauntlet of social interactions with their eager new co-workers. In time, your empathy and patience will pay off once this employee begins to speak up in meetings and actively engage his or her peers.

 

Be available

A new employee is likely going to have a lot of questions in the first days, weeks, and even months of their new role. Though it may seem tedious and exhausting to answer potentially elementary questions, you must be open-minded and remember that these basic matters are, in fact, probably foreign to a new worker. Keep yourself as available as possible to all inquiries; this should be a regular part of your leadership role anyway, regardless of the employee in question. Furthermore, follow up on questions and confusions to make sure they have been fully resolved and that the employee is back on track. Again, this approach will facilitate both employee comfort and productivity.

Please follow and like us: