Be the Change

One of the interesting things about being human is that we are imperfect. We are constantly striving to be better. We keep changing and evolving.

What is the best way to encourage change in the people in your life? HBR recently posted the ten best tips for creating positive change momentum in the professional world.

Here are my top five:

  1. Embrace the power of one: “When you have 20 priorities, you have none. Research on multitasking reveals that we’re not good at it. Focus on one behavior to change at a time.”
  2. Make your goals specific and  SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely!
  3. Paint a vivid picture: imagine a detailed vision of a better future you can aspire to. It will serve as an emotional inspiration.
  4. Activate peer pressure: by nature, we are affected by what the people around us do. Our peers help guide our social behavior, so use that to build momentum.
  5. Hire and fire based on behaviors: people act based on the ramifications of their actions. Use it to motivate them.

What do would you add to this list? Please share!

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

The Fabulous Five

Landing a job can be harder than the job itself.

To give you a leg up, here are the five top traits employers look for, according to a recent article by Forbes.

  1. Professionalism: Potential employers assess this from the moment you walk in the door. “From the clothes you wear to the way you stand to the grip of your first hand-shake, presenting yourself as a confident, energetic professional is about as basic as career advice gets. “
  2. High-energy: you want to be the person who raises the energy level, not the stick in the mud. Think about it, who would you rather be around at work?
  3. Confident: sell yourself. If you don’t believe you’re worth it, why should anyone else?
  4. Self-monitoring: no one has the time to babysit you. Make it clear that you’re focused and on task without any help.
  5. Intellectual curiosity: “An employee who will grudgingly adopt a new database is not as attractive as one who is truly passionate about learning new things.”

Do you concur that these are the top five, as an employer or as a coworker? What other traits matter more?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Take the Leap and Clear the Hurdle of Fear

In an article on CNBC, author Tom Reiger discusses a key issue covered in his book Breaking the Fear Barrier: How Fear Destroys Companies from Inside Out and What to Do about It.

Due to the past and current economic climate, anxiety and fear has become a staple in the workplace. “In the midst of all of this uncertainty, managers and employees will inevitably feel compelled to build walls to protect themselves, regardless of the impact on the overall company. If left unchecked, this attitude can pit the good of the individual against the greater good of the organization—spelling death for companies.”

Two kids of courage are at play in this situation, and they are at odds:

  1. Vital courage: the inward focus of survival, which could be thought of as our Reptilian brain
  2. Moral courage: our compass of morality that leads us to take a path for the greater good

In companies that have a high level of fear, employees may be asked to make decisions that tap moral courage and suppress vital courage. But humans are wired to focus on our vitals. Thus Reiger advises companies to “make employees feel comfortable and motivated to perform acts of moral courage. The key is to design rewards and performance management in a way that balances and aligns both types of courage. ”

Have you even been in a situation where you felt at odds? Please share!

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

The Dark Side of Us

There’s a legend about the dark side in every person:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.”

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

An interesting INSEAD Business School blog talks about how people focus on their Dr. Jekyll and not only ignore the negative Mr. Hyde inside of them, but even project those traits onto others.

We need to engage in a process that acknowledges and accepts both our socially acceptable part and the shadow side. Denial and projecting reinforces the problem. It’s like taking the potion and wondering why Hyde becomes stronger and increasingly powerful.

That being said, you may not be able to do it on your own and might reach out to your lifelines for help. Author Michael Jarrett suggests: “These issues can be resolved but first need to be acknowledged, or else they can continue to unconsciously operate in ways that are detrimental to leaders’ self-efficacy, their teams, and their organizations…what makes the difference is the ability to mobilize internal regulation with the aid of a skillful helper.”

Do you believe that there are people in your life that can help you acknowledge and control your bad behavior? Please share!

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

Networking Mistakes You Can Avoid

It’s easy to get so swept up in the tides of social media and connection building or the urgency of a job search that you forget the key to successful networking: mutual generosity for mutual success. Recently Forbes published  Four Networking Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making that will help keep you on track.

Here’s the list:

  1. Don’t talk about yourself all the time, instead take some interest. There’s a reason we have two ears and only one mouth. By being curious about others, you show that you see their value and can build a sustainable relationship.
  2. Instead of expecting a job, add some value. The value train goes both ways. “If you’re looking for a job, don’t ask for it—work for it. Do some research into what your contact does both in and out of work and find ways that you can contribute your time or support.”
  3. Always say thank you. Pretty self-explanatory. Snail mail thank-you cards are a wonderfully thoughtful touch in today’s online world. Send them out as soon as possible.
  4. Stay accountable and always follow up. Stay true to your word to confirm the value of your brand.

What would you add? Are there some common networking mistakes you’d add to the list?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

You Are What You Think

“Improve your golf game by thinking powerful thoughts,” was the title of a recent Harvard Business Review “Stat of the Day.”

Think of the technique as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Forty-four percent more golf puts at 150 centimeters were sank by people who think of themselves as powerful than their not-as-positive counterparts.  In another study, people presented with authoritative words such as “influence” scored 29 percent higher in a game of darts than people who saw words such as “serve.”

The research suggests that thinking you possess power “induces better perception of information that is relevant to goals, leading to improved motor performance in pursuit of these goals.”

This idea can be extended to all areas of our lives. The next time you’re going into a big meeting, envision how you want the meeting to go. Think confident and your body will follow.

Do powerful thoughts give you power? Have you ever had an experience where it worked?

Ritu Walia is an FG Analyst.

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

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

Next Week: Keith Ferrazzi and LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman LIVE

On Tuesday, June 12 at 12:30pm ET, join Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, in conversation with Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn and author of The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career, at this month’s Social Capitalist Live Event.

Register here for the live Webex event!

During the lively, 45-minute discussion with audience Q&A, you’ll learn:

  • The backstory: how and why Reid launched LinkedIn
  • How thinking like a Silicon Valley entrepreneur enhances success in any career
  • How Reid personally leverages his LinkedIn page
  • The keys to maximizing your network literacy, the ability to conceptualize, access, and benefit from the information flowing through your social network

…And much, much more! If you can’t make it, register anyway – we’ll send you a recording and transcript afterwards.

What people are saying about The Start-up of You:

“The Internet has fundamentally changed the architecture of business and society. This terrific book shows you how to live, learn, and thrive in a networked world.”

“Crammed with insights and strategies to help each of us create the work life we want.”

“…start with an idea and work over your entire career to adapt it into something remarkable. This book distills the key techniques needed to succeed.”

See you there!