Monthly Archive for December, 2010

Positive Resolutions Lead To Positive Changes

Have you made resolutions to accelerate your career in 2011? Experts say that making resolutions improve by a factor of 10 your odds of achieving positive changes.

If you haven’t resolved to make specific changes in your life in the world of work and in your personal life during the new year you can expect to get the same results you experienced

in 2010. Ask yourself: “Will that be good enough to get me where I want to go?”

Some people rely on hopes, wishes, or desires; they are more apt to fail to achieve success than those who set out in writing specific plans and have a plan of action to advance their careers.

Despite this reality, fewer than half of those who make resolutions keep them for at least six months. Only about 19% stay true to their vows for two years.

People who think about making specific changes in their life and their career, but don’t get around to actually codifying resolutions, fail at a higher rate than those who set goals and make specific plans to change their daily behavior, according to John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Eight Tips To Carry Out Your Resolutions

Here are eight tips that will help you to carry out your resolutions for 2011:

1. Think of your resolutions as a contract with yourself. Put the deal in writing.

2. Set specific, measurable goals.  Be realistic; don’t set yourself up for failure. Break down your resolutions into small, bite-size steps. Have a timetable and a plan for specific actions to advance toward each goal. Rome was not conquered in a day.

3. Tell your friends about your resolutions. This will result in self-imposed pressure to not stop short of reaching your goals. After all, you don’t want to be seen as failing. And, by the way, ask them for help.

4. Think back to what you did with your resolutions in the past year. If you fell short, make sure you break the habits that were at fault.

5. Expect setbacks; they are inevitable. Take a deep breath. Get back on that horse that threw you off as quickly as possible.

6. Hold yourself accountable. Review your resolution on a regular basis against established measurements. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Be ready to change or add to you resolutions if you see an opportunity improve them.

7. Reward yourself as you reach milestones on the way to achieving your resolutions.

8. Have an alternate back-up plan for each resolution in case you fail to reach your goal.

Remember this admonition from a wiseman: “Good resolutions are a pleasant crop to sow. The seeds spring up readily, and the blossoms open so soon with such a brave show. But when the time for flowers has passed, what as to the fruit?”

I wish you career success in 2011.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Avoid Overused Words In Resumes

Linkedin has just published a list of the ten most overused words in resumes with the advice to “scrap the words altogether from…resumes and profiles and instead focus on details of the job (being pursued), like how many people they supervised or how much they increased sales.”

The words and phrases to avoid are: innovative, dynamic, motivated, extensive experience, results-oriented, proven track record, team player, fast paced, problem solver and entrepreneurial.

These words may look good, but “(They) can appear empty to a potential employer and may do more harm than good when you include them in your profile or resumes,” declares Lindsey Pollak, a Linkedin spokeswoman and an author of career books.

Good advice, well worth heeding.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Goals, A Key To Happiness

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.”  Words of wisdom from Andrew Carnegie, the richest American in the early 1900s, worth pondering as you set your goals for 2011.

I wish you career success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Now’s The Time To Set Goals and Plans For 2011

If you continue doing in 2011 what you did in 2010, you are very likely to get the same results–good, bad or indifferent. So, if you want to step up the pace of your career, now’s the time to set new, higher goals and lay out a plan of action to achieve them.

If you act now, odds you will get a jump on your competitors for career rewards, because most of them won’t have set goals and made plans. (It’s been said that more people spend more time planning their grocery list than thinking about their future.)

I recommend that you create what I call “A Gap Plan.”

Gap Planning is composed of three steps: (1) take an inventory of what you accomplished in 2010, and where you are today; (2) set stretch goals for the coming year; and (3) lay out a plan to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be December 31, 2011.

Step 1: Review 2010

Begin with a detailed review of the year just closing. Write a comprehensive overview covering at least these seven points:

1.Changes in job responsibilities.

2.Changes in compensation.

3.Your performance, positive and negative, as you see it, and as your employer judges it compared to previous years.

4. Achievement of your stated goals for the year.

5.Progress in education/training related to your career.

6.Status of your on-the-job relationships, with your boss and    your co-workers. Any changes during the year as compared with the past?

7.Business conditions for your employer.

Conclude with a summary of the year as a whole. Build it around these six questions:

1. Are you satisfied with what you accomplished? If not, why not?

2.What were your three greatest achievements?

3.What were your three greatest failures or mistakes?

4.What impediments, if any, held you back?

5. What did you learn from your experiences?

6. How satisfied were you with your current situation at work as compared to the past?

Step 2: Set Goals For 2011

Spend time carefully reflecting on your review document. Don’t rush it. Then set your goals for 2011.

Make certain your goals are a real stretch, but still attainable with your very best effort. Don’t set yourself up for frustration and disappointment.

Step 3: Set A Plan To Fill The Gap

Develop a detailed path of action in writing to bridge the gap between your current situation and your goals for the next 12 months. Include ways to measure progress at specified intervals. Set rewards to be handed to yourself as you reach milestones along the way.

Here are four final thoughts on Gap Planning:

1. Always think of your Gap Plan as a binding contract you have made with yourself.

2. Don’t let the sheer size of the challenges defeat you. Think of each goal as a series of smaller, manageable tasks to be accomplished day to day and plan accordingly.

3. Guard against straying off your plan. Do not accept any diversions that hinder your campaign for the achievement of your goals.

4. Start now, this day.  Don’t let a day slip by – lost forever – without measurable progress toward your goals.

It has been said, “He that resolves upon any great and good end has, by that very resolution, scaled the chief barrier to it.”

I hope you have a Great Holiday Season

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work