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  • feedwordpress 17:37:09 on 2017/08/23 Permalink
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    When Mercury goes retrograde: How businesses can survive & thrive 

    If you believe in astrology, then you know when Mercury has gone retrograde. That means the planet Mercury passes between the earth and the sun, appearing to move in the opposite direction of the earth. As it slows down and appears to stop, it creates the illusion of a planet spiraling backward. According to believers, during this three-week time frame, the planetary influence wreaks havoc with your life.

    Because Mercury governs communication, travel and technology, it seems everything that can go wrong does. Technology malfunctions. Business deals are botched. Flights are missed. Communications are misunderstood. Computers and cell phones go haywire. You may even find yourself getting into bizarre arguments with people for no apparent reason. It feels like swimming against the tide. Everything that can go wrong seems to go wrong. Even though there is no scientific proof to back this up, if you are wondering what in the world is going on, chances are Mercury is retrograde.

    Recently, I felt the effects of Mercury going retrograde. It started when prior to presenting at a well-attended leadership event, my computer refused to project. No matter what we did, nothing worked. Despite precautionary measures that included having all of my slides and videos on a memory stick and stored in the cloud, even the professional IT staff couldn’t figure it out. The show went on without my slides and videos.

    Then there was the car rental issue. The windshield wipers didn’t work which I discovered in the middle of a tropical Florida rain storm. During the same time period, at it’s debut, my newly released book Ordinary People: Extraordinary Lessons had a printing issue and had to be re-printed. At home, the washing machine broke. The TV cable box went on the fritz and our phone lines went out. I should have known it was a sign of bigger trouble to come.

    The date was March 2. A friend called to warn me our company might have been hacked. I thought she was wrong. Then other friends and business colleagues started calling to say they received what appeared to be a suspicious email from me. My friend was right. Within minutes, malware had invaded our company database, deleting contacts and sending out emails to hundreds of people from my personal email address asking them to click on a document which would corrupt their database as well. Unfortunately, some clicked before we realized what was going on and alerted everyone.

    Here’s what happened. Earlier that day, I had received an email from a magazine editor I knew. She asked me to open a link and approve some edits to an article I wrote that she wanted to run. It appeared to come from her email address and a program called DocuSign that looked like the real DocuSign. Since I use that program, I clicked, thinking nothing of it. Unfortunately, the email tricks you into opening an attached file which downloads and installs malware on your computer. Since then, DocuSign revealed they were the victim of a data breach of customer email addresses that led to massive phishing attacks.

    For us, the damage was devastating. Even though our company has multiple back-up systems, while attempting to restore current information, much of it was compromised and unable to be restored. Not only did we lose years of contacts and notes, but current information was replaced with outdated information. Today, nearly six months later, we’ve recovered, but are still feeling the effects when looking up contacts that no longer exist.

    Advice to take precautionary measures before a retrograde spell is common sense business advice that we should all heed. Back up your computer, calendar and cell phones. Expect travel delays and double-check contracts and documents before you sign.

    However, there is a bigger lesson that applies personally and professionally other than being extra careful until Mercury returns to direct motion. What can you and your business do that you haven’t done to prepare for the unexpected? Even if you’re prepared, as we thought we were, what other steps can you take to manage chaos if it arrives at your doorstep? Consider these ten tips:

    1. Back up important data every day. Whether using an outside service or doing it manually, just do it!
    2. Have a crisis communication plan. Who will manage the issue? How will you communicate information? Who will be the spokesperson?
    3. Establish social media accounts and monitor them.
    4. Anticipate most likely situations in advance and draft basic message responses for each.
    5. Like going to the dentist, it’s important to get regular checkups to assess where the holes and weaknesses are.
    6. Identify subject experts who you can call immediately. If dealing with a public crisis, these people may also be able to speak on your behalf.
    7. Hold practice and training sessions which will help you identify strengths and weaknesses as well train your key spokespeople.
    8. Re-read all important contracts, documents and bank transactions
    9. Re-confirm appointments and travel arrangements
    10. Google yourself. Are the results positive or negative? What can you do to improve or enhance your digital footprint?

    Like the period before Mercury retrograde, quiet times are often the best times to prepare for the future. In our case, I never thought something good could come out of something so awful. Yet there was. Our database is now updated and more organized than ever before. This has led to more efficient and productive email notifications. We’ve also implemented an additional backup system that we didn’t have before. I am more careful than ever when it come to clicking on links and opening attachments. That means taking extra time to check email addresses even when an email appears to come from someone I know.

    Whether the planet Mercury is to blame or you’d rather label the circumstances bad luck, the key to both is planning in advance so you survive the ride; then recognizing how you can improve so you’re better prepared next time. Yes, next time.

    Mercury goes retrograde three to four times each year. Astrologers say it’s important to be extra cautious during these times. Crisis management experts claim a number of small problems occur in companies every week. They say sometimes managers don’t recognize the crisis or they refuse to accept a crisis is happening.

    When my friend first called to advise we may have been hacked, at first, I didn’t believe it either. I remember thinking, how could this happen to us? After all, we have precautions in place. Despite that, it did happen to us.

    If you think it can’t happen to you, perhaps you need to think again.

  • feedwordpress 16:15:05 on 2017/08/02 Permalink
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    Is it ok to leave the office for lunch? 


    Each month we feature a question from our friends at Business Management Daily’s Admin Pro Forum. Please enjoy engaging in a conversation over this month’s question.

    Question:“I’m starting to feel a little natural pressure to eat lunch at my desk—not because I’m so busy, and not because anyone’s recommended it, but just because there are so many people around me who do it, and I get the feeling that when I leave the building for lunch, there’s the perception that I’m not quite as dedicated as others are. Simply staying in my cubicle seems to give off the impression that I’ve never broken stride, even though I’m simply eating and browsing the web. Has anyone else felt this way? Do you think you gain points somehow when you stay desk-bound (but idle) at lunch as opposed to heading out?” – Maeve, Publishing Admin

    Comment below, and send your own question to editor@adminprotoday.com.



    The post Is it ok to leave the office for lunch? appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 15:56:33 on 2017/04/28 Permalink
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    5 Ways To Amplify Your Personal Brand 


    “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” ~ Seth Godin

    It’s no secret the world has changed. You are doing more with less. Things are moving at the speed of light. And Google has become the new resume. The question is … what are you doing about it?

    How are you standing out? What are your points of distinction? And most importantly, how are you articulating that to your clients, your prospects, your boss, and your leadership?

    The real challenge in today’s society is simply getting the attention of the people that can buy from you, hire you, promote you and/or recommend you. You have to find a way to stand out and you have to do it in a way that is authentically you. This doesn’t mean you have to be an extrovert in order to “stand out”. You can be your amazing introverted self and still find a way to rise above the noise.

    Bottom line: If you want to build career stability you need to be looking for ways to amplify your brand. And you have to do it now. The world is moving way too fast. The competition is way too fierce. It’s not “if” the economy will shift again, it’s “when”. So, what are you doing to protect the largest asset you own … the brand of YOU?

    Here are 5 things you can do right now to turn up the volume on your personal brand:

    1. Live in Permanent Beta
    It’s hard to get stuck somewhere old when you are always learning something new. This is what permanent beta is all about. It is about making a lifelong commitment to continual personal development. How do you do this? A few ideas:

    • Attend industry conferences.
    • Take a class at a local university.
    • Watch 2-­‐3 TED Talks per week. I literally write these into my weekly calendar to make it a priority.
    • READ! There is a study that shows if you read just 10 minutes per day, which typically equates to 10 pages per day, you will have read approximately Nineteen (19) 200-page
      books! Imagine how much your life will change if you are reading 19 life, business and personal development books a year. #MicDrop

    2. Know Your Points of Distinction
    Before you brand yourself you have to understand yourself. Do you know what makes you different than everyone else out there that does what you do? What sets you apart? What makes you unique? No one does it your way. No one has your unique set of skills, gifts and ideas. So be proud of who you are and own it! You should be able to answer these 2 questions:

    1. A company would hire you (or promote you) over another event professional because?
    2. What do you offer that’s hard to come by?

    3. Promote Yourself Internally
    You have to find ways to stand out within your current organization. When push comes to shove, will you be the one they can’t live without? Are you the one that provides the most value? Here are some things you can start doing at work right now:

    • Read the industry pubs and blogs, and then share articles and ideas with your team, leadership, boss and/or other departments that could help them do their jobs better or motivate them.
    • Volunteer to lead the next sales or team meeting to share that really cool idea you learned from the last book you read or the last industry conference you attended.
      Mentor someone in the company.
    • Start a task force to help solve a problem you see happening.
    • Always be looking for ways to help other people within your organization get what THEY want or need.

    4. Promote Yourself Externally
    You also have to put yourself out there on a larger scale. If you really want to expand your network you need a seat at the table. We are so lucky to work in an industry where you have so many choices to get involved at your fingertips. A few ways to start include:

    • Lead and volunteer within an industry organization -­‐ this right here is the secret sauce to all career success. So pick an industry association and get involved!
      Sit on industry panels.
    • Speak at the next conference.
    • Get published in a trade pub or start a personal blog.
    • Join Social Media Groups and be active by providing value and sharing resources to help others solve problems.

    5. Ignore the Haters
    I saved my favorite for last. This is the golden nugget. I bet the #1 reason you don’t put yourself out there is you are worried what other people will think. That they will judge you, make fun of you, or find you annoying. Guess what? People already don’t like you, find you annoying and are judging you. The Q is: Who are you living your life for? You … or them!

    By mixing up a recipe of these branding ingredients. You WILL amplify your brand. You will expand your network. You will create a competitive edge. Life is too short to blend in. Plus, who wants to stay stuck, and safe, and just the same?

    The world needs that special gift only YOU have.

    By Judi Holler

    Judi is an expert on personal branding who helps professionals learn how to expand their network, embrace fear and get a competitive edge. Judi will be speaking at our 24th Annual Conference For Administrative Excellence in October.


    The post 5 Ways To Amplify Your Personal Brand appeared first on Office Dynamics.

  • feedwordpress 17:31:05 on 2017/04/11 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , political, Politicians, Uncategorized   

    Leadership Lessons from Political Campaigns 

    As I exited Amtrak at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and made my way to the escalator destined upward to the grand train lobby, the oddest thing happened. The moving staircase that was still packed with people heading down to the train platform suddenly changed directions and headed up. Like a scene from a bad You Tube clip, surprised passengers stumbled over their own feet trying to walk down the up staircase while spectators laughed out loud when suddenly, the irony of the situation struck me.

    How often do we step backward when trying to move forward? How frequently are our personal and professional goals thwarted with unanticipated hurdles that threaten to prevent us from accomplishing our goals? The lesson is not in the answers to these questions but rather how we learn to turn these mis-steps to our advantage. I believe some of the best examples can be found in political campaigns which can teach leaders’ volumes about communicating more effectively in today’s fast-paced attention challenged workplace.

    More than a decade ago, I ran for the Pennsylvania state house and lost in one of the closest state races in the Commonwealth’s history.  At the time, I was hard at work building my own business which included coaching and training members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The state representative in my district had received a lot of negative press for allegedly smacking his girlfriend in public so opposing party leadership saw a good opportunity to reclaim the seat and thought tapping a former television reporter with name recognition was a great strategy. When I was first approached, I laughed out loud as the conversation went something like this.

    Leadership: “How would you like to run for PA House?’
    Me: “Not a chance.”
    Leadership: “Why not?”
    Me: “Should I tell you the truth or tell you what you want to hear?”
    Leadership: “Oh please, we want the truth.”
    Me: “For starters, I’ve interviewed hundreds of politicians and was never that impressed so no offense, but I have no real desire to be like any of you.”

    Then I signed up.

    Like any product, promise, service or idea, the key is to inspire and motivate so people believe in what you’re selling. As an example, politicians have to sell themselves every time they speak. Let’s say a candidate appears warm, friendly and sincere but when you meet them in person, they are scowling, not as happy as they appeared on TV, offer a droopy handshake and seem distracted as you speak to them. You would probably re-think your decision to vote for that person just as you would probably not be inclined to follow their lead in the workplace.

    While social networks were not as prominent when I ran for office, they were already forcing people to have conversations in order to motivate and empower others. That meant talking with listeners instead of at them as I had learned form a twenty year career in television news. When we interviewed people, they wanted to share their stories. When we edited it for broadcast, we wanted snippets of information that made our viewers and listeners feel what it must have been like to be at the scene of that story. That meant making information relevant to others.

    Step One: Keep the Conversation Real
    When I ran for office, urban sprawl was a hot issue and my opponent was a member of the township planning commission and a self-proclaimed topic expert. Every time we were both questioned about it, she talked from experience and was usually quoted. I was not. That’s when I realized I needed to keep the conversation real and speak people’s language so I changed my approach. The next time I was interviewed I said: “Traffic has gotten so bad out here in Montgomery County, that I could balance my checkbook on the way home from work.” Granted, you don’t need a college education to come up with that one, but it resonated with readers and every time I said it, I got quoted so of course, I said it all the time.

    Politicians understand the importance of using real life examples and storytelling to impact listeners but business communicators often lag behind fearing what’s appropriate in other settings is not appropriate in the workplace. Quite the opposite is true. In medicine, it’s the stories of sick patients that inspire researchers to search for cures. In war time, we cling to stories that offer hope about people who have overcome insurmountable odds. The stories of grief, hope and optimism that immediately followed the horrific events of September 11, 2001 are forever etched into our personal and national psyche. Stories are real and create rapport communicators need to share if they hope to drive the message home.

    Step Two: Be Accountable
    In my campaign office, we had a young woman in charge of our door to door walking campaign. It was up to her to determine what neighborhoods we canvassed and how many times we returned. There was a big map in the office with colored pins stuck on streets that illustrated where we had trudged. Shortly before the election, I noticed we missed an entire section of the district. When I questioned her, she became very defensive and claimed her strategy never included campaigning in this area. As it turned out, she made a mistake and was embarrassed to admit it. If she had taken responsibility, we could have changed course and potentially secured additional votes.

    When people are unaccountable, they often make excuses, blame others or play dumb which can create an atmosphere of mistrust. In campaigns as well as business, accepting responsibility and not being afraid to say you erred in judgment makes you real and can actually increase confidence in your ability to lead.

    Step Three: Have Heart
    My older son was only nine during my short lived political career but he taught me a lesson I will never forget. It was a very competitive race where many people said they would only vote their party regardless of personal beliefs. On election night, my son and husband were assigned to hand out literature at a polling place. Every time someone would walk in the door, he would run up to them, hand out my flyer and scream “vote for my mom”. On the way out of the voting booth, an older man grabbed my husband’s arm and said: “I’ve never voted for another party in my life until tonight and I did it because of your son.”

    Without knowing it, this nine year old instinctually knew that politicians can’t win races without good grassroots organizations, but more importantly, he cut through the politics and grabbed at their hearts.

  • feedwordpress 19:09:50 on 2017/03/30 Permalink
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    4 Ways Businesses Can Approach the New Generation Gap 

    According to Pew Research, millennials surpassed Gen Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. That may be good news for companies looking to diversify their employee talent but can create issues with a growing generation gap between millennials, Gen X and baby boomers. Many millennials think baby boomers are old-school and bad with technology, while baby boomers often complain about the entitlement of the millennial generation.

    In reality, both complaints warrant a second look, as each generation approaches business and work-life balance differently. Boomers may just need some additional, recurrent technology training, while millennials are willing to work hard as long as flexible hours and remote work is involved. But it can still be tough to bridge the generation gap. Start by reshaping your company culture to embrace the differences as invaluable insights. Here are four ways to get started:

    Promote Cross-generational Mentoring

    Modern mentoring opens the doors for younger generations to step in as advisers. Create a mentoring program for employees to lean on their managers and learn about everything from technology to networking. A millennial might learn more about effective in-person networking and lead nurturing from a baby boomer or Gen Xer. Meanwhile, a baby boomer may get an in-depth look at how to use social media and why it’s important to customer engagement.

    Offer Ongoing Tech Training

    Baby boomers often struggle with mastering new technologies like CRM tools and online project management systems. But that doesn’t mean they’re inherently poor at adapting to technology, and instead, need ongoing education. Offer recurrent tech training in areas your employees need most.

    However, all generations can benefit from education on phishing scams and identity theft. It’s not uncommon for baby boomers to miss the signs of email phishing and click on links leading to malware and personal information stolen. And millennials may not realize posting their whereabouts and personal updates on social media can lead to password phishing and property theft. Make a service like LifeLock that monitors identity theft and suspicious activity part of your company’s technology training and education.

    Encourage Engagement

    Research from Gallup found baby boomers have the lowest level of engagement and the highest level of active disengagement for all generations. However, while millennials may be more engaged, they are also prone to job hopping and show little loyalty to companies. They are also the most likely of any generation to say they will leave their company within a year if the job market improves. Either scenario costs companies in productive hours lost and re-hiring and training expenses.

    Encourage more engagement among all generations by honoring their unique interests and work ethic. Focus on assigning projects that match baby boomers’ unique skills, and offer ongoing performance reviews and raises. Millennials aren’t usually as motivated by salary, and instead, want challenging work and flexible office hours to foster a work-life balance.

    Mix up Your Teams

    The only way to truly bridge the generation gap in the workplace is by giving employees more face time with each other. Assign employees to team projects based on their skills and strengths, rather than their age. The more multi-generational teams can see how the other works and where their talents lie, the more likely they are to respect each other for the long haul.

    The post 4 Ways Businesses Can Approach the New Generation Gap appeared first on Office Dynamics.

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