Five Ways to Maximize Your Influence as the Most Junior Person on a Team

Last week I went on my first business trip. As could be expected, I was a little scared but mostly just excited. I was the most junior person on the team, and realized quickly that I could make a difference even with my limited experience. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Over prepare. If there’s even the smallest possibility that you might need that digital recorder, take it. You never know!
  2. Be prepared to be flexible. You’re probably not going to know where you’re needed in the next 15 minutes, let alone the next hour. Take cues from your environment and find a way to be useful even if things aren’t going exactly according to plan. Believe me, usually they don’t. Continue reading

Company Cultchah: Habit Labs

Recently I highlighted to-do managing app Asana’s list of Company Values. This week I ran across another company with a great list.

Habit Labs is devoted to “writing the code for human behavioral change” – literally. They build apps designed to (so far) help people adopt new habits, achieve goals, and empty their email inboxes.

HL has an entire page devoted to their Company Axioms, part of which covers 8 Core Values:

  1. Believe, or leave
  2. Everyone gets true autonomy
  3. Create opportunities for everyone to do their best work, every day
  4. Show people how they are making an impact Continue reading

Networking Takeaways from “Madmen”

“Madmen” fans: Have you ever found yourself at work asking, “What would Don Draper do?” (Hopefully you’re not asking yourself that when it comes to his personal life…)

My favorite professional takeaway from “Madmen” so far is actually a networking tip you can learn from Don or from Peggy: They both recognized early on that even though they were hyper-talented, they needed relationships to advance their careers, and did a great job developing them.

Don pushed his way into the world of advertising by stalking the well-connected Roger Sterling. This is interesting, since if anything their lasting relationship dynamic is as peers. They each know they bring something important to the table—Don, his talent, and Roger, his upper-crust network. Roger isn’t so much a mentor as a connector, although he does still sometimes school Don on the finer points of business relationship savvy. Continue reading

Why Christine Comaford Says You Should Approach Your Next Contact Palm-Up

Christine Comaford is an entrepreneur, author, and consultant. In her Social Capitalist Live Event interview she said that she has been through at least 11 reinventions of herself. Here she shares some of her best advice about building relationships based on generosity.

Christine says:

“The number one thing is networking palm up. What most people do is palm-down networking. “What can I get?” They go to a cocktail party, they’re trying to grab stuff. That’s palm down. Palm-up networking is finding out what somebody needs and helping them get it. You’re going to get yours later, the universe has a perfect accounting system. So if people simply change their networking approach to be palm up, you walk around at a cocktail party, you ask what business they’re in: “Wow, that’s cool, how did you get into that business?” Everybody has a great story as to how they’ve gotten into their business. “Wow, what’s your ideal client?” “Oh, I might know some of those guys. I’ll follow up with you next Tuesday.” Continue reading

Relationship Roundup

This week in the roundup, career advice for maintaining balance and being an accountable leader. Plus, a real life example of networking’s importance to your success and using social media to generate generosity.

Healthy career advice – Sales expert Geoffrey James offers great advice for managing your career to maintain your sanity. Read Geoffrey’s Inc. blog here: http://bit.ly/MMSxOS.

Calling all aspiring leaders – Futurist Edie Weiner offers insight on the role that wisdom vs. intellect plays in the success of future leaders. View Edie’s Big Think video here: http://bit.ly/M3xVPM.

Networking for a win – Networking took center stage on the latest episode of TechStars where entrepreneurs aspiring to win the big prize had to network their way to a win. View the episode here: http://bit.ly/OB04zq.

Oh what a wonderful world – Author of Culturematic, Grant McCracken, investigates the possibility of a utopian world where kindness reins in even the most unfriendly civil landscapes. Read Grant’s HBR blog researching social media designed to generate generosity here: http://bit.ly/K26CmZ.

Accountability is key – Three simple words can build trust with employees. No, it’s not “I trust you”.  “I was wrong,” shows self-accountability and reinforces your character as a leader. View the Smartbrief blog from internationally known leadership expert, John Baldoni here: http://bit.ly/KUSAtz.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Director.

Joe Navarro: Building Harmony Through Seating Arrangements

As one of the original founding members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program, Joe Navarro mastered the ability to read nonverbal body language. When he retired in 2003, he discovered his expertise and skills could be taught, to benefit everyone from professional poker players to executives who wanted an extra edge. Since then, he has authored numerous books, including the classic What Every BODY Is Saying.

When Navarro sat down with Tahl Raz, co-author of Never Eat Alone, he shared some insider observations about where and how to stand to appear less threatening.

Walk up to somebody and stand right in front of them. If we were to put meters on you, we would see that your blood pressure goes up – and yet we know that if you were to stand at an angle to that person, your blood pressure would go down and you’d actually feel better about talking to this person. So, the angle is important to helping someone relax.
Continue reading

Everyone Needs a Coach

The Peter Principle states that we’re all susceptible to the inevitable fate of failing to meet the high expectations of our organizations and those expectations we put on ourselves. As we rise in all areas of our lives, we enter new territory that will require skills and/or experiences we may not possess. As Marshall Goldsmith so eloquently put it, “what got you here, won’t get you there.”

Aiming for the next rung of any ladder in our sights requires considering how we will condition ourselves for that journey. I’ve yet to hear any gold medal athlete brag that they trained themselves. Homage is always paid to the coach who was charged with laying down the work plan that would allow them to increase their skills and acknowledge and work around their weaknesses in order to achieve their best. Getting to gold medal status in our business and personal lives requires similar effort. A guided plan paired with constructive and instructive encouragement from a coach.

According to the International Coach Federation, the worldwide revenue produced by coaching is $1.5 billion (USD) per year and growing. It seems the word is out on the value coaching can bring to our personal and professional lives, so the next question is: How do you select the coach that has the right qualifications to get you from here to there? Here’s the thought process that could get you a win along with some personal insights from my recent selection of the coach pushing me through my wins.

It all boils down to relationships: Rapport is probably the most important factor to effective coaching. Next to the relationship with your significant other and certain family members, this is going to be the most intimate relationship in your life. If you can’t see yourself getting vulnerable with this person, think twice. Do your due diligence and interview more than one person. As you do, pay attention to the following in your initial contact and decision making phase. How are their interpersonal skills upon first contact? What does your gut instinct about this person tell you?  How are their verbal and nonverbal cues matching up? Are they listening to you? Do you feel accepted in their presence? How vulnerable are they with you? Do you have similar value sets?

I didn’t even know I was looking for my coach Doc Barham. We were connected through social arbitrage by a mutual friend who thought we should know each other. After our first interaction, I remember thinking, I like the way he thinks. When he invited me to an initial discovery session a couple of months later, we very easily shared conversation and hit on common values, passion points, and mutual interests. By the end of the hour, I knew without a doubt that this was the guy to guide my journey. Continue reading

The Ups and Downs of Workplace Flexibility

Since 2005 the percentage of employers allowing (at least some) employees to work some of their regular paid hours at home on a regular basis has increased from 34 percent to 63 percent, according to the 2012 National Study of Employers.

In this Glass Hammer article, Day-to-Day Flexibility Increases, While Career Flex Drops, the cost of such a change is questioned. Although there is an increased amount of flexibility in the daily lives of employees, in regards to time and location, it seems harder to incorporate more long-term changes.

A lot of the flexibility comes down to the technology advances that we have seen in last couple of decades. Due to the fact that most work can now be done virtually, productivity isn’t harmed in this process.”On the other hand, companies do not seem to be acknowledging the importance of retaining long-term, experienced employees who may need to decrease their work-schedule for a more extended amount of time due to personal pulls,” the author writes. Continue reading

I’m a Fraud – Are You?

I interviewed corporate-trailblazer-turned-business-owner Patty Azzarello this week for the Social Capitalist (transcript to come soon!) and I particularly loved this quote:

“People who achieve success are willing to be scared and uncomfortable to do it. If you try to build your career and be comfortable and confident that you know everything along the way, it just takes too long. You just cannot get there. What I realized is that all executives are bluffing. This actually came to me through an executive coach. I was confessing, ‘You know, I feel like I’m going to get found out, because I don’t know everything.’ And she just laughed at me. She said, ‘Patty, every executive in the world feels the same way.’ And I was like, ‘Really?’ And then I realized, ‘Man, is that ever true.’”

I think this is particularly great advice for women. As Jodi Glickman, another previous SC guest, once told me, “Women tend to round down. Men round up. It’s time to round up.”

In other words, sometimes it’s OK for a little bit of confidence to float the gap between our expertise and our vision. We don’t have to have done something 100 times already to feel we have the right to stand up and say, “I can do this.”

When your work takes you to new places, you’re not a fraud. You’re a bright, intrepid do-er who can roll with a hefty dose of learning. The key is to make sure you’ve got the tenacity, the persistence, and most importantly, the right partners, to follow through with excellence.

Sara Grace is myGreenlight’s Program Director.

Three Terrific Young Bloggers

Did you know that 53.3 percent of the blogging population is between 21-35 years old?

Here are three terrific bloggers that are at the younger end of that age group, in their early- to mid-20s:

  1. Matt Cheuvront of Life without Pants shares “the message that defines the metaphor behind life without pants – that life, both personal and professional, must ultimately be approached without restrictions.” This blog is able to capture those amazing moments of candor and reflection that we all have and make them an enjoyable read that is relatable and provocative.
  2. Jeff Goins of GoinsWriter.com introduces himself with, “I love compelling stories, worthy causes, and Pez candy. I’ve been writing for most of my life and started this blog in 2010.” With a very honest and no-BS writing style, this blog can be truly inspiring and make you finally take the leap into your next project.
  3. Grace Boyle of Small Hands, Big Ideas offers ” ideas and life as a woman in a tech startup, daily inspirations, career, moving, relationships, and ideas as a 20-something.” Grace wants to change the world, one word at a time.

Have you noticed a trend in the age of the bloggers you read? How does that affect your view of the blog? Please share!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.