Monthly Archive for February, 2010

DO.
 DO IT. 
DO IT NOW.

The reason most people don’t accomplish as much as they could is simple. They don’t take that first step that will break the lock of procrastination.

Why?

To escape unpleasant tasks. The undertakings seem too large to overcome. Fear of failure.

The results of procrastination are always the same: frustration, anxiety, missed opportunities, defeat.

Some wise person has said, “…dreading work is always harder than doing it.”

Getting started with work toward a goal is to be half way there. After that first big step a second wind takes over, just as it does for a runner.

The keys to overcoming procrastination are:

• Have a plan with a clearly stated goaL.
• Break down the actions to be taken into bite-size pieces.
• Get going.

DO.
DO IT. 
DO IT NOW.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: Bad Boss Behavior Is On The Rise

Bad behavior by bosses such as selfishness, impulsiveness stubbornness, impatience and harsh, undue criticism are on the increase, according to studies comparing five years–2004 through 2008.

“In stressful times, such as a recession or a frenzied work pace, childish, bad boss behavior are exacerbated,” declares Lynn Taylor, author of TAME YOUR TERRIBLE OFFICE TYRANT.

According to Ms. Taylor, employees in the United States spend almost 20 hours a week worrying about “what a boss says or does.”

Bad-boss behavior goes into overdrive during periods of high unemployment and economic stress. Obviously, this distracts employees from the work at hand. Productivity falls off. Everyone loses.

Of course, there is no reasonable excuse for such behavior; but none the less the reality is that much of it should be brushed off to cut the boss a little slack. Remember he or she is under enormous pressure, just as you are. Besides, with conditions in the job market such as they are, this is not a good time to challenge the boss and put your position at risk.

Instead, see if there are steps you can take to relieve the pressure on the boss and help him improve his performance.

I wish you success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: Five Components of Happiness

There’s a great deal being written and discussed these days about happiness…what makes for it and how to attain it. There’s a whole “happiness industry.”

There’s even a website (happier.com) offered by “a personal trainer for happiness.”

I guess that’s not expected in these stressful times.

The dictionary defines happiness as “a state of well-being and contentment; joy; a pleasurable or satisfying experience.”

One of the wisest things I’ve encountered is contained in a opinion piece written by Amy Bloom for the New York Times Book Review: “…Top Five Components of Happiness: (1) be in possession of the basics–food, shelter, good health, safety. (2) Get enough sleep. (3) Have relationships that matter to you. (4) Take compassionate care of others and of yourself. (5) Have work or an interest that engages you.”

Take time out of your helter-skelter schedule to run a test of your state of mind as measured by Ms. Bloom’s wisdom.

I wish you happiness in your career.

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Career Coaching: Conquer Fear Of Mistakes To Make Career Progress

People losing their jobs; survivors being asked to take on more duties, often with fewer resources; businesses going bankrupt; mortgages being called. These conditions translate in to more tension and apprehension in the workplace.

“People are feeling anxious, so they’re being short-tempered, passive and unproductive,” says Martin Yate, a career adviser at GoSavant.com>

In this environment people tend to hunker down. They spend a lot of time looking over their shoulders, afraid to take chances and assume more responsibility for fear they will make mistakes.

Negative Impact On Careers

The result is that careers are slowed down, even stalled or derailed, because advancements can only come by taking calculated risks and reaching out to take on more responsibility.

“Tough as it is for cautious people like me to accept, if you don’t take calculated gambles you won’t get ahead as quickly as those who do,” declares Alexandra Levit, a columnist for The Wall Street Journal. “You will also never get over your fear of the unknown and life will be predictable and dull.”

So, saddle up and go forward with all the vigor you can muster with common sense to take reasonable risks in improving your performance and profitability of the organization that employs you.

Recognize that everyone who successfully travels a rewarding career path makes mistakes at one time or another. The only people who don’t make mistakes are those who sit around in isolation contemplating their navels.

Minimize Fallout From Mistakes

Here are eight steps you can take to minimize the fallout from your inevitable mistakes.

1. Don’t retreat into a shell of self-denial, hoping the error will correct itself. Chances are it won’t. Assess the situation. Get all the facts. Why did the mistake occur? How much damage did it cause? Why did it occur? What lessons can be learned, so as to avoid a repeat performance. What’s the worst thing that can happen?

2. Admit your error. If an apology is in order, speak up right away with sincerity. Report the situation, unvarnished, immediately to your boss. Sooner or later your mistake will surface anyway. By stepping up promptly you are in a better position to exercise damage control.

Centuries ago Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, advised, “Be not ashamed of mistakes and thus make them crimes.”

It’s natural to feel regret, even humiliation, and try to act as if the incident never happened. Don’t go down that path. Your boss and your associates are certain to be ticked off if you seem to not care that you made a mistake.

3. Have a plan to correct the mistake.

4. The first rule of damage control after a mistake is to reveal all of the facts immediately. Unwanted attention on your error is renewed when you dribble out the story bit by bit.

5. Accept responsibility. Don’t blame others. It’s easy and tempting to get defensive and look for scapegoats. That sort of behavior only exacerbates the problem.

6. Be prepared to receive some criticism from your boss and your associates. Listen carefully. Is it valid? If so, learn from it. Expect that some of the negative feedback will be simply carping, probably from those who envy your courage in stepping up and taking responsibility. Don’t even think about retaliating. You’ll only make matters worse. Look ahead.

7. It’s okay to feel the pain, even to mourn a little, but don’t make a hair shirt part of your wardrobe. Get back up, dust yourself off and go back to work full speed.

8. Once you’ve processed the mistake, learned from the experience and started remedial actions. Then leave the misstep behind.

The only truly unforgivable mistake is to repeat a mistake.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

To read more of Ramon Greenwood’s common sense work advice on how to protect and advance your career during tough times, sign up for a free subscription to his widely read e-newsletter and  participate in his blog at http://www.CommonSenseAtWork.com> He coaches from a successful career as Senior VP at American Express, author of career-related books, and a senior executive/consultant in Fortune 500 companies.