In my opinion, we don't succeed in the workplace. We achieve in the workplace. Success implies that we have reached the end. We don't want to plant the idea in our mind that one success is the ultimate, that we have reached our capacity for success. We determine that we have succeeded when we are ready to end our workplace journey. At that time we can look back and determine our level of success. Until then we want to continue to achieve new things.
Dr. Ben Carson, author of Gifted Hands - The Ben Carson Story, writes that "Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”
To achieve in the workplace you must continue to meet your employer's or your customer's expectations in four areas:
1. Performance - find ways, large and small, to inspire those around you as well as to be a champion at your job.
2. Trust - every action you take should deepen your employer's reliance on you.
3. Consistency - be aself-starter, someone who understands the mission and knows what to do every second of every day.
4. Deliver peace of mind - be great at 1, 2 and 3.
The great actor, writer, comedian and musician, Steve Martin, when asked how to achieve in Hollywood, said, "Be so good that they can't ignore you." That's what an inspired performance is all about. Learn as much as you can about your job, expand your knowledge, become a leader by setting a good example and make yourself invaluable.
Prove that you can be trusted by silently communicating your core. Your employers and your customers will watch you carefully, just as you observe them, and they will determine by your actions whether you will earn their trust. Outfluence coined the term "Constant Messaging" which references the fact that everything we do sends a message to anyone within our sphere of influence. Learning to control your message while also being aware of the incoming messages of others is at the foundation of trust.
How can we consistently demonstrate our commitment to mission? Let's look at it from the perspective of an employer evaluating the value of a prospective employee. In my book Outfluence, the Better Way to Influence, I describe how NBA scouts assess a college player's assets. Here's what I wrote: NBA scouts have an interesting method of assessing a player’s assets. They ask five questions about a college basketball prospect:
1. Does he have a weapon? For example, the “sky hook” that Kareem Abdul Jabbar had in his day.
2. Does he have a position? Can he play either guard, center, or forward so well as to leave no doubt as to what position he should play?
3. Can he get his own look? In other words, can he work the court in order to get a shot at the basket from his highest percentage spot on the floor?
4. Can he defend his position? A player has to move his feet quickly in order to stay in front of his opponent and keep him from scoring, or at least to make it difficult for him to score. It takes commitment to play good defense.
5. Does he “get it”? Can he lead? Does he have a work ethic? Is he responsible? Will he be a team player?
You can make the same assessment about yourself. A prospective employer will want to know the same things about you that the basketball scout wants to know about a player. When making your personal assessment here are a few basic questions you will want to address:
1. Do you have a weapon? What makes you nearly impossible to replace?
2. Do you have a position? What’s your specialty?
3. Can you get your own look? Are you self-sufficient? Are you a self-starter?
4. Can you defend your position? Do you know your stuff? Can you express yourself?
5. Do you “get it”? Are you a responsible individual? Are you a team player?
These five questions get right to the heart of the matter, don’t they? To begin your assessment, make an honest determination of your attributes. Next, evaluate the requirements of the position to which you aspire. Finally, formulate a plan to fill in any gaps between your current attributes and the requirements of that position.
Peace of mind is what every employer wants every employee to bring to his or her business. Peace of mind can only be delivered by an individual who has developed a strong set of personal ethics, a person who is confident, aware, educated and is able to communicate well in any circumstance. The Outfluence program You Are Here . . . Now What? teaches high school students how and why to develop those attributes. We teach them how to persist in pursuit of their goals and we teach them the skills needed to complete the pursuit.
"Silver Oak Academy is a residential program that inspires learning, growth and positive change for at-risk and disadvantaged youth. Silver Oak utilizes evidence-based practices and cognitive behavioral approach, and is guided by our belief that each youth has strengths."
Silver Oak Academy opened in 2009. The Keymar, Maryland sleepy country community which surrounds the 65-acre Academy was anxious but welcoming. Silver Oak's predecessor closed following the tragic death of a resident/student several years earlier.
I attended an event at the Academy last evening. Local government officials, residents and other interested citizens gathered to discuss security policies and to receive an update on the status of the program. Community support for the work Director Kevin MacLeod and his staff have been doing was overwhelmingly positive. Stories of the community volunteering at the Academy, attending events, and generally supporting the resident/students at Silver Oak were unabashedly shared.
Kids, teenagers, are placed at Silver Oak Academy because they broke the law. Drugs, assault, petty theft are among the violations. The kids are removed from an environment of obstacles with little to no hope for anything productive into an environment of love, structure, discipline, expectations. It's a difficult learning environment for a very few who are sent elsewhere if behavior becomes an issue but most graduate from the Academy and move on to great opportunities. For example, of 15 recent graduates, 6 were offered college scholarships. Seven students are moving into the Navy SEALS program.
It was exciting to listen to the stories of the neighbors surrounding Silver Oak. They talked about their fondness for the residents/students, their pride in their accomplishments, their joyful support of them as they slowly move forward and embrace community. Living an others-focused life is incredibly rewarding, and the residents/students at Silver Oak Academy are discovering it every day.
Outfluence, LLC, is the developer of "You Are Here . . . now what?" a soft skills and leadership program for middle school and high school students. Contacttraining@outfluence.com or call Kay Betz, MBA, 410.365.0741 for information.
Astute educators with an eye to the future embrace opportunities to win on behalf of their students. On the second day of a recent implementation of our program for high school students titled "You Are Here . . . now what?" a teacher who was observing said, "I just have to learn your program!"
He noticed immediately the impact our professionals were having on the students. They were engaged, they were interested, they were learning. Our program prepares students to persist in the pursuit of their educational (and later, workplace) assignments and complete them successfully.
Dr. Nancy Grasmick, former Maryland School Superintendent, recently wrote an article in which she said, "It is past time for us to design and implement a new high school model that is innovative, technologically savvy and focused on the interrelatedness of knowledge and skill in the 21st century and which teaches grit and perseverance. American high schools must undergo a radical sea change if they are to maximize the potential of every student and meet the workforce needs of corporate America."
If you are an educator, I encourage you to contact Outfluence, LLC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Al Betz at 410.365.0742 to schedule an introduction to our program.
(Designed by professionals, tested in 50+ years of life experience and in 20 years of classroom application, You Are Here . . . now what? works.)
Is it important to finish what you start?
Yes, say these finishers:
The Importance of Finishing What you Started, by Larry Lewis –
But to me once you start something you’ve got to stick with it no matter what. You’ve got to finish what you start. Success in whatever it is you do is very much down to self-discipline and perseverance. But there is one element that to me is absolutely key, and that is …..
Our inner thought process is what is behind our successes and failures, it is responsible for us completing a mission that we set out on or giving up. It’s when we start to think: this is so difficult; I can’t do it. Or I hate this; it’s not fun anymore.
Well cut the crap. No longer allow your negative self- talk to stop you in your track and prevent you from finishing what you started. When paralyzed with doubt, remind yourself that you have gone that far in the project and you can complete it if you stick with it.
Why It’s Important To Finish What You Start, by Alex Mullan –
Every morning, people awake bursting with brilliant ideas. Many of these ideas have the potential to change the ways of the world. Some of these ideas hold the potential to shape one’s surroundings into something fresh, invigorating and alter their course to take him or her on an entirely new path. These ideas, if fulfilled, have the power to transform the life of the creator.
Yet, these brainwaves are often ignored, neglected and cast aside, much like trash and last night’s stale meatloaf.
Looking back now, I realize I was afraid of failure and rejection, two things which I believe are the guiltiest culprits of the ever-accumulating wasteland of abandoned ideas and shattered dreams.
The Secret of Finishing What You Start, by Time Management Ninja
Are you good at starting things? Can you get a project or idea in motion quickly? Some people are fast to charge into a new task. However, finishing them is another matter. Undone projects litter their desk, inbox, and to-do list. How are you at finishing things?
Being good at starting things is an important skill. After all, you cannot finish if you don’t start. However, being good at completing things is an entirely different skill. Many people spend their lives “starting”things…However, the ones who are successful are the ones who actually finish them.
Lots of people come up with great business ideas. Few people actually make a business a success. Many people start writing a book. Few people actually publish one. Most individuals have a dream. Few fully realize it. As a general rule, we are good at starting things but we tend not to finish them.
Here are a few Things You Should Finish…
- The Thing You Should Have Done Last Night
- The Promise You Made to Someone Else
- The Item You Forgot
- The Todo That Is ALMOST Done
- The Never Ending Project
- The Dream You Started
The attributes needed to finish what you start include tenacity, integrity and creativity. The subsets of those attributes are what Outfluence can help you to understand and to develop. Those subsets include awareness of the soft skills, knowledge of communication elements particularly the 90% of communication that happens silently, ability to inspire your performance, and familiarity with sensory gateways and sensory perimeters. These subsets form the foundation of success in your personal life as well as in your business life because they enable you to put your focus on others and relate to their motivations.
75% of businesses own a company page, like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
But only 69% of that percentage actually post.
Who cares? Well, it seems, everyone does nowadays.
A shocking 73% of Americans use social media today. (1) That's a large potential audience for your business. And not everyone is micro-blogging about what brand of dental floss they use, or Instagraming their duck lips. For the business professional, social media can be the most valuable tool in your kit, whether you are an owner, a marketer, or just a member of the workforce.
In the business world, the quickest way to sell is through visibility. The consumer sees your product, likes it, and thus considers buying into it. Social media can be your best introductory 'handshake'. You present your cause the way you want it to be seen, more easily than ever before. Most sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are free to use, which effectively eliminates other costly methods meant to increase visibility, like newspaper ads, or radio segments.
You also have the opportunity to attract more customers. In 2013, 52% of all marketers attracted new customers via Facebook alone. (2) The relationship between the company and the consumer has become closer, and easier to nurture, with the advent of immediate personalized messages.
Customer service is easier than every before, too. Every consumer can reach out, and feel like they are safe in your company's hands. Check this out:
Possibly your greatest advantage, when using social media, is the ability to observe your audience first hand. What do they need? How can you better serve them? These are questions your marketing department is asking themselves everyday, and now we have exact answers. Got a new idea? New product? Share it with your followers and friends, and get instant feedback. You can also distinguish your group of people with a hashtag, like #Outfluence, to promote a feeling of unity, and keep up with everyone's latest point of view.
"If you can write with a smile and insert emotion into your respectful and coherent messages, you are again sending a silent message. The person you are communicating with will know that he or she is important and worth the extra time you take to get the message just right."
-Al Betz, Co-founder of Outfluence
There is such a thing as online etiquette, though. For example, you may want to avoid doing this:
Bottom line? Start Tweeting.
Need help? Have questions? Chat with us today on Twitter @OutfluenceLLC, or visit our contact page http://www.outfluence.com/contact-us/. We are always happy to help you.
(1) According to Statista.com
A videographer arrived at a legal proceeding dressed in tennis shoes, blue jeans, open-collared shirt, and no sport coat. All of the other professionals were attired appropriately in business suits and related professional apparel. During a recess in the proceeding, the videographer engaged one of the parties in a conversation in which he expressed the fact that he only did legal video to keep busy, that his real passion was in making television pilots. He said, in language that matched the subject matter in vulgarity, that he was currently working on a pilot following the tasteless and crude Girls Gone Wild format. By his insensitivity to the environment in which he was working, the videographer silently branded himself as unprofessional, vulgar, and possibly untrustworthy.
The bottom line? Maintain professionalism, no matter what. Be aware of how you come across, to anyone, because everyone is watching.
(This is a story from Outfluence, The Better Way to Influence, which is the basis for our high school program You Are Here . . . now what?".)