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Friday, February 15, 2013

We've Moved!

Our blog has moved to our website at: 

We've added a new series of posts related to Career Development that will come on Thursdays as we continue with our Leadership posts on Mondays.   We hope you'll find that this new location and look will provide you with great info that gives you access directly to Horizon Point's website.

Thank you to our subscribers by email!  You can still subscribe by email to the new location simply by typing in your email address on the left side of the new page.  

Monday, February 11, 2013

Flexibility to Reduce Workplace Stressors

I attended a seminar last week discussing ways to improve productivity and communication in the workplace.   One thing that stood out to me in the presentation was the emphasis the presenter placed on eliminating stressors so that people could be innovative and creative.   He placed a value on innovation and creativity as the only differentiating factors in creating a sustainable advantage. 

What if standard or traditional work arrangements are creating workplace stressors and reducing innovation and creativity?

This leads me to consider a tie to a book I mentioned last week,  The Elephant and the Flea  and its emphasis on employing free agents.   Charles Handy writes, 

"Meantime, more and more people are going to become aware that their knowledge which drives innovation and creativity has marketable value. They will be reluctant to sell it for a time-based contract, a wage or a salary.  They will want to charge a fee or a royalty, a percentage of the profits.  The difference is that a salary is paid for time spent, whereas a fee is money paid for work produced, irrespective of the time spent on it."  italics mine.

The beauty of this model is that you not only get results, but you get people who are less stressed because they are in control of their own situation, which allows them to be creative and innovative and produce better results.  It also may cost you less.  Many who charge a fee for work produced don't come with the added cost of a benefit package.

Or consider the FutureWork Institute described in the book Now You See It.  Describing the founder of the institutes philosophy, the author Cathy Davidson writes, 

"The workplace of the future had to start taking into account the life desires, not just the work ambitions, of workers.  She was convinced that the best, most creative workers in the future might not be workaholics with the eighty-hour workweeks, but people who had figured out what way they love to work and how they work best."

My two year old snoring is eliminating my stress and fostering my creativity...

As I sit hear writing this post on a Saturday at home, my two year old is asleep in my lap.  Although it took a little maneuvering to get him situated so that I can type,  I can't help but think that creativity does come when we are in control of when and how work gets done. But maybe thats the point... blurring the lines of work and life so much that you don't realize to consider it work, which fosters creativity and innovation.   What could eliminate stress and make writing more enjoyable than two year old contently asleep in your lap?

What way do you love to work and how do you work best?

Like this post? You may also like this one as well. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Addition to Thursday- Career Development Series

I will be starting a weekly blog post on Thursdays (in addition to our leadership focused blog post on Mondays) that focuses on Career Development.  Although this will be useful information for people of all ages, it should particularly be helpful for students.  Hope you enjoy this new series!

Here's what we'll cover:

Part 1: Your Horizon

A.  Know Yourself:  Explore your talents, passions and values to make wise career decisions.
-Talents as employers see them- KSAOs (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Characteristics)
-Passions through your Holland Code
-Values- know your ideal workstyle and lifestyle

B.     Understand the Market
-Are you useful?
-Explore bright outlook careers
-What do employers want?

C.     Match Yourself:  Explore Your Horizon
-Use what you know about yourself and what you know about the market to learn about careers 
-Conduct informational interviews
-Job shadowing keeps you from hiding in someone else's shadow
-No one gets a good job these days without an internship(s)

Part 2:  Success Tools

A.     Define your mission
B.     Be a 3%er- set goals
C.     Practice Makes Perfect, why you need 10,000 hours and grit to succeed 
E.     Create a network and find a mentor
F.     It isn’t all about the money
G.    Don’t neglect happenstance
H.   Give Back!

Monday, February 4, 2013

2 Tips if you have Bored Employees

Last week,  I talked about how boredom at work is one of the worst employment states and offered suggestions for how employees can improve bored working conditions.  I want to focus now on leaders who have bored workers.

If you have people who are bored on the job, I believe there are two primary reasons and two primary tips for curing the boredom.

1. They are bored because you don't need them, or you don't need them full-time. 

Long gone are the days where every single position on the face of the planet needed to be a 40 hour a week job.  Nothing is a waste of money and talent more than paying people for time in a chair rather than time being productive.  Yet we are so enthralled with the 40 hour work week.

If your people are sitting there with nothing to do 50% of the time, then you need to either delegate (see below) tasks to them, or find a modified way to employ them in the time that it takes them to complete the job, whether this is full-time or not.

Tip 1: Consider Contract

In an interesting article entitled The Forgotten 5th?, by Erik Pages, an emphasis is placed on 1/5th of the workforce that operates on a contract basis.  Maybe contracting is an option for you to maximize your money and maximize others' talent.

In addition, Charles Handy, a great British thinker who was way ahead of his time, talks about the usefulness of the nimble "flea"  in his book  The Elephant and the Flea instead of the cumbersome "elephant" as an organization and a workplace.  Maybe you need to employ more "fleas" or "free agents" and think creatively about how to design jobs and working hours to get work done as efficiently and effectively as possible.

2.  They are bored because you have the I can do it better than everyone else syndrome. In other words, you have trouble delegating. 

I recently had someone tell me, "Well, I don't just hand it over because it takes more time to hand it over than it takes for me to do it myself."   I'll admit, I've had these feelings before myself, but in actuality, if this thought is occurring to you more often than not, and you're also overwhelmed with your workload (the person I am referencing definitely is overwhelmed with his workload), then why aren't you handing things off to people you are paying to get work done for you?

Tip 2: Delegate

Map out what you have to do every day or every week.   Pinpoint is what is critical for you do to, then delegate the rest.  Oftentimes we have an emotional attachment to certain task(s) or clients.  Instead of considering who we employ that could learn and thrive on these tasks or client interactions, we take them for ourselves because we are emotionally attached. That emotional attachment is often, to be quite honest, tied to wanting to get the credit for the work.  But leaders make more leaders, and credit does not matter so much to leaders as developing people does.  Delegate to develop.

Why are your employees bored on the job?