September 8, 2016

Office Ergonomics Stand-up for Back Relief

I have written blog posts on computer work areas and general work surfaces, primarily for organization with a few tips here and there on ergonomics.  Work area ergonomics is still a topic of interest in most businesses.  Currently standing desks are the suggested way to relief back stress and get employees moving a little during the day.  After seeing many advertised on TV, I was considering doing a post on why buy one and how to pick the best one for your work area.  Before I could start my research, I was contacted by two different organizations about an office product and a mobile version.  This was great for me as it saved my research and writing time.  It is good for you because you have the ability to compare in one place!

If you are looking for a desk that converts from sitting to standing for your office, check out The Best Standing Desk research and review on nine products by  The review post compares desks for stability, warranty, assembly, noise-level, and ease-of-use.  It includes photos and videos, as well as tips on why and how to use a standing desk verses sitting all day.  You may also want to check out 4 Ways To Use Standing Desks to Hack Your Health.

If you are a mobile worker and would like to get the same benefits when traveling that you get in the office, consider the X-Stand.  This is an affordable lightweight stand for laptops that allows you to turn any flat work surface into a standing desk. Go to their website to see a video and learn more.  You can use a portable stand:  in your hotel room, as a podium during client presentations, or when doing tasks at the local coffee shop.  If you want five more portable standing desk options, see the video below.

August 29, 2016

Top Nine Tools for Recruiter’s Productivity

Modern Recruiters face an increasingly challenging landscape. Finding great talent in today’s noisy recruitment market requires a lot of efforts that can be sometimes frustrating and time-consuming.

As recruiters gear up for their talent hunt aggressively in today’s arena, it becomes important for them to be extremely productive and extra smart with their skills. Luckily, there are some awesome tools that can help recruiters optimize their recruiting efforts and become a better more resourceful recruiter.
Top 9 Tools for Recruiter’s Productivity:
  1. Osclass: An absolutely free tool where you can manage your vacancies and candidates profiles from anywhere at any time, you only need a browser and internet connection. 
  2. Interview Mocha:  Filter out the irrelevant candidates using online screening tool. This software can help you screen the candidates online without any hassles. You can test the skills of candidates easily without your technical team’s help. Interview Mocha contains updated skill tests that help you filter your applicants before you bring them in your interviewing process.
  3. Rapportive: This tool will help you know your candidate better. It reveals them across their entire social media presence. It shows you everything about your contacts directly in your inbox.
  4. Calendly : Recruiters spend a lot of time scheduling things. Calendly is a great scheduling app which you can use to easily manage your calls / meetings / skypes / interviews etc. You can send and share your calendar to your candidates or hiring managers and they can pick a time instead of the usual mail slinging which costs valuable time.
  5. Buffer : You can plan, schedule, publish and analyze your content with your candidates on all popular social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.  It will save a lot of your time and let you manage your social media efficiently.
  6. Evernote: It lets you prioritize your to-do list, store all your notes, projects, ideas, read-later e-mails, and blogs.
  7. Sidekick: It is a free app from Hubspot that will let you track your emails. It will give you an idea when and how should you follow up.
  8. SaneBox: SaneBox saves you from a cluttered inbox. It learns what emails are important to you and filters out what are not.
  9. Boomerang: This is an amazing tool to schedule mails, reminded to be sent or returned at a later time. Follow up with your candidate and keep them warm. 
I hope this post can get you there faster with increased focus and productivity. 

Would you add any other tools to this list? Please share your favorites in comments below.

August 9, 2016

Procrastination Types and Prevention Tips Infographic

Below is an emoji-based infographic from Luxafor containing 6 Tips on How to Prevent Procrastination, as well as 5 Types of Procrastinators.  Go to their site if you want to see a larger version of infographic so you can read the fine print. Infographic provided with their permission.

July 26, 2016

Meeting Time and Cost Infographics and Statistics

I was recently asked to provide some references for all the meeting statistics flying around in the business world.  Most are very old but are still being quoted today.  In checking the web, I not only found the same old statistics, I found them graphically displayed in infographics.  So I share some of them below.  Just so you know, I have a RARA meeting infographic based on my meeting management approach on what is needed have better meetings rather than quote stats.  The book R.A!R.A! A Meeting Wizard’s Approach has a flow chart of how to use the approach to have more effective and efficient meetings, as well as forms to aid in the process.

Check out this ”You Waste a Lot of Time at Work” infographic from IT company Atlassian on how business people waste time.  The #2 reason is meetings.  As graphics go, I find the average meeting attendee images are very clever.  Here are their sources for the meetings potion of their infographic: Meetings in America and The State of Meetings Today.
In “America Meets Alot” post, Attentiv provides some different statistics than you typically see in a few charts they provide.   Their six meeting types are more specific, yet they fall under the same five general meeting types I present.

I also found a clever “Meetings in the Digital Age” infographic” from Lucid Meetings with some updates from the original 1970’s and 1990’s sources used in most infographics I saw.  So you may want to scroll down and check out the words and numbers in the blog post following the graphic.  Here are their extrapolations as updated findings. 
   1, Every day in the US, there are somewhere between 36 - 56 million meetings, not 11 millio
   2. There is NO consensus on what percentage of meetings are effective
   3. The cost of ineffective meetings is higher than $37 billion!
BTW: I like Lucid Meetings and find them trustworthy.  Why? Because they retweet my meeting articles and blog posts quite often! If you want to help improve their stats, take the five minute survey at the bottom of their post.

If you just want some numbers for a PowerPoint presentation, check out the stats listed in in 2WorkSMART post “The Impact of Bad Meetings on Your Business.”

You may also want to review “The Ugly Truth About Meetings” infographic from INC. magazine’s blog. The infographic mentions many common meeting problems and touts video conferencing as a solution to lack of attendee focus.  Obviously they have not seen how some people work at their desk while listening in on a meeting just so they can be marked as attending, even though they did not actively participate.  You can prevent most of the meeting problems this infographic mentions with tips from my book above or having someone who understands meeting management and facilitation do a simple training session.

Not yet convinced that bad meetings are costing your business unnecessary dollars?  Read the Money Watch article ”How much do useless meetings cost?”

July 12, 2016

Meeting Application for Smart Phones

In my book R,A!R.A! A Meeting Wizard’s Approach, I share tips for preparing and evaluating meetings, as well as how to run them effectively and efficiently.   Because I am a certified meeting facilitator and author of various business books, I get asked to recommend technical solutions in addition to the meeting leadership and participation guidelines found in my book. For that reason I wrote the post on evaluating meeting planning and measurement tools that are free on the internet since not many people know about the options I listed.  Most people already know about holding meetings with internet tools like GoToMeeting, Skype, and WebEx, so I just encourage them to improve their virtual meetings with tips and toolsfrom my book and articles. Now I will share a new tool businesses may be interested in.

The video below introduces an easy-to-use application for meetings and webinars called ThinkRite Assistant.  This application could be very handy for field sales team meetings as the sales representatives can easily join meetings when on-the-road from their mobile phone.  This solution may also be a good fit for global project teams who must collaborate virtually rather than physically.  The option to use a smart phone for checking into webinars also makes this app a great way to make sure continuous learning is available to off-site employees who are not able to come to a central location for seminars and training classes.  After watching the video and if you are interested in learning more, review the website at

June 30, 2016

Forty-Seven Principles Leaders Use To Reach High Levels of Success

Shu Hattori, former management consultant with McKinsey and Company consulting, put together a book that focuses on principles her learned while working with them.  He shares ideas for ways to self-improve, communicate with and influence teams, increase productivity and performance, and focus energy towards career.
Below are Hattori’s 47 Principles from The McKinsey Edge book:
  1. Focus on what really matters
  2. Start with the hard stuff in the morning
  3. Catch small signals and make a difference
  4. Have a 30-second answer to everything
  5. Frontload your project
  6. Create the right end output image
  7. Smile when you are under stress
  8. Go beyond your self-perceived limit
  9. Always imagine the worst-case scenario
  10. Start following up
  11. Push back with less emotion
  12. Be flexible on the perception of your passion
  13. Find your role models
  14. Know what gives you the most energy in your day
  15. Go jogging to smell the flowers
  16. Create a commitment plan
  17. Always memorize the first 3 sentences of a presentation
  18. Communicate using fewer words
  19. Pause 3 seconds before answering difficult questions
  20. Question more and talk less
  21. Turn no into yes
  22. Do not show half-baked output
  23. Instantly find a connection in the room
  24. Be a giver, not a receiver
  25. Find the best intent in people
  26. Learn team members’ defining moments and personal sides
  27. Think of everyone as a helpful individual, not a “resource”
  28. Go out for a meal with interesting people every week
  29. Consciously gauge your people
  30. Assign team members meaningful tasks
  31. Create followership through deliberate on-the-job coaching
  32. Deliver feedback using positive criticism
  33. Please your assistants and support staff
  34. Always prepare an agenda before meetings
  35. Create “4 boxes” to dos
  36. Focus on outcomes not activities
  37. Know your meeting modes in advance
  38. Proactively manage e-mail communication using the 5d rules
  39. Speak up as early as possible
  40. Create a minimalist presentation tool kit
  41. Create an easy-to-use template for updates
  42. Give away knowledge and tools unsparingly
  43. Get rid of your physical barriers
  44. Ask the second order questions
  45. Learn to write fewer notes
  46. Prepare to renew your life
  47. Create your own “profile” as a leader

June 7, 2016

Bring America’s Money Back to a Gold-based Economy


In reading the book Reviving America by Steve Forbes (editor of Forbes Magazine) I found his ideas on the gold standard for money interesting.  As well as sensible, after all we must agree the fluctuation in dollar values can bring down an economy where government just prints more money rather than backing it with value-based gold. 
In part three, Forbes shares “If the U.S. and global economy is ever to fully rebound, we must return to a monetary system based on a sound dollar.  Allow today’s destructive policies to continue, and the nation faces a disheartening future of sub-par growth, declining living standards, slowing upward mobility, and growing discontent.  America will no longer be a bountiful land of opportunity for people who want to better their lives and improve the prospects of the children and grandchildren.”
To support that statement, he gives the example that what the government’s desired  2% inflation rate means to a family making $50,000 (which is supposed to be lower than median income level of 53K, although individual per capita is less than 29K) a year means their cost of living goes up $1,000.  How does having $1K less help this family spend more to boost the economy?
What does this have to do with the gold standard?  In part 3, chapter 12 Forbes gives understandable briefs on three different gold standards and highlights the benefits of each.  Then he proposes a hybrid that includes the best of each method and how it should be set into motion.
Another example in part three was credit given to small businesses (BTW: SBO is where the job market is going) in the past five years grew only 6%.  It is nearly impossible for these businesses to get loans based on the current reserve restriction.  Whereas credit increases to government is at 36% and 32% to corporations/big business.  How does that build business commerce and encourage innovation?
After these startling facts about how the Federal Reserve controls money, the book quotes Steve Moore, (past editor at The Wall Street Journal). “Here we are at the lowest interest rates in 50 years, but many businesses and aspiring home owners can’t qualify.”

May 10, 2016

Managing Five Generations of Employees

Multi-generational Workers
Harvard Business Review asks business "Are your managers ready for five generations of workers?"  Yes there will be some challenges.  But does it scare businesses as much as it used to when we were prepping the work environment to change for Gen Y? I think we are ready because companies continue to embrace technology, diversity, and look for workers who do the same in our new business climate.  The non-techie generations have grown to use and understand the role of technology.  And the techies are learning to work with various personalities and are willing to communicate differently (not just via social networks) to get projects done.  Yes, as long as mutual understanding and commitment exist.

So what are the labels everyone is calling the generations now?   Below are some of the terms.  And yes they are confusing because so much of the documentation that is meant to help us understand the differences in the generations as experts picks different years for the generations.  Stop confusing the issue! 

Traditionals/Traditionalists a.k.a. The Depression Babies - born before 1945.
Baby Boomers a.k.a. The Woodstock Generation - born 1946-1964.
Generation X a.k.a. The Latchkey Generation - born 1965-1980?
Generation Y/Millennials a.k.a. The Entitled Generation - born 1981-1995?
Gen Z/iGen a.k.a The Facebook Crowd or Linksters or Gen 2020 - born after 1995.

April 7, 2016

Ten Differences between Leader and Manager Tasks

Over the years, I have read various books and articles that say there is a difference between a leader and a manager.  Below is my version of tasks that set the leaders and managers apart.  This list does not mean a manager cannot also be a leader or that leaders are not managers.  Both job titles require training, skill, and the need to acknowledge where personal growth may be necessary to move from one function to the other.

Leadership Tasks
Management Tasks
·         Build relationships
·         Coach/Mentor
·         Create change
·         Build teams
·         Set direction
·         Implement vision and goals
·         Motivate followers
·         Overcome barriers
·         Inspire people
·         Influence potential
·         Reinforce organization
·         Direct/Delegate
·         React to change
·         Instruct groups
·         Make plans
·         Establish budgets and timelines
·         Hire employees
·         Identify problems
·         Control process
·         Set policy

For more thoughts on the difference between leaders and managers, check out this research paper on Understanding the Difference between Management and Leadership or this post What’s the difference between leaders and managers?

March 8, 2016

Google Notes Five Building Blocks as Keys to Team Effectiveness

An on-line article from World Economic Forum (released in December 2015), Google shares what they believe to be the five keys to effective teams within their organization. I agree with them from my experience teaching team-building and facilitating teams through various stages of development.  So I thought I would do a comparison of their keys to skills taught in typical team-building training, programs, and books
1. Psychological Safety equates to team members building trust for each other so they are not afraid to voice ideas or opinions in meetings, as well as take risks in improving their work processes. See RARA A Meeting Wizard’s Approach to improve team meetings and start getting action items done. 
2. Dependability means all team members are accountable to one another for assigned action items or projects, and getting necessary work done. See TAPP Steps in Time Management if team members do not know how to plan their time.    
3. Structure and Clarity happens when team members understand their roles, help develop plans, and set goals.  This is especially important for team start-up and when new members are introduced to the team.  See Team Building Primer for how to do this.
4. Meaning/Motivation in a team’s work leads to higher commitment because their work is important to each member and they all are able to participate in developing their goals, assigning tasks, making training plans, and designing (or redesigning) their processes for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
5. Impact/Results come when the team reaches milestones and goals along their development path and truly understand that their work matters to the organization.  Then the team members will be able to take greater risks, be more flexible on project assignments, and be comfortable leading change efforts.  See OPIE Project Planning and Implementation for Teams for work teams occasionally working on small projects which do not require all aspects of full project management.