Tag: Human Resources

You have options – work hard or work smart?

 “Give me a place to stand and a lever long enough, and I can move anything.”  – Greek mathematician Archimedes

That’s working smarter – that’s quality activity!

smart kidLet’s apply this concept to a modern-day project.  Imagine this scenario, you must move a heavy piece of old furniture out of your garage and to the curb.  You have options – work hard or work smart!

One scenario, working hard, would be to solicit a group of friends/family to tackle this project with you.  This would entail having to select and contact multiple people, coordinate a date and time among their varying schedules, and (if you are a good friend) providing some adult beverages afterward for their effort.  This is a perfectly viable option that will provide the desired result, yet it requires a lot of steps.

Another scenario, working smart, call that one friend or family member who owns a dolly and ask to borrow it.  Then you can do the job yourself and save those coveted adult beverages for the remainder of the weekend.  Another option producing the same result but this one demands far less time, energy, and effort – and keeps the fridge well stocked for the weekend.

Admittedly parts of every job will have tasks we can’t just eliminate.  Still, most jobs do have parts we can combine, delegate, or remove.  Ask yourself, “What existing activities of little value should we eliminate?  What existing activities of high value should we increase? What new activities of high value should we create?” 

Reflect on the questions posed above then take action!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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“Work smarter not harder.” – Duh!

The way we approach annual goals, meaning our specific work practices as opposed to sheer effort, does indeed provide greater results.  Think about those goals you have previously identified for the year.  Are you making forward progress?  Is your pace of progress on track?

Confined only by walls you buildWith the mid-year mark approaching, circle back on those goals and key activities being engaged.  Are you working harder? Smarter?  Neither? Both?

If you find yourself working harder, be aware!  You are spread too thin and falling into the complexity trap.  Thus, working smarter holds great truth.  Confirm that you have clear direction, reclarify your goals, and literally focus on “fewer” activities.

The smart way to work is literally “do less, then obsess.”  By no means does this imply slacking off – quite the contrary.  Author of Great at Work, Moten Hanson, sums it up perfectly – “As few as you can, as many as you must.”  By this he means we should do everything possible to discard non-essential activities.  Take the fewest steps – while retaining everything necessary to do great work.  Rather than “do more, then stress” we should “do less, then obsess.”

Reconfirm those goals.  Recognize the most critical activities needed.  Invest huge efforts into each activity and obsess over them!

What will you obsess about?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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Don’t be an elephant!

I recently heard an excellent story told by Dave Ramsey on his podcast, EntreLeadership.  The message sparked a profound awakening in me and my hope is that it does the same for you.  It went something like this…

You know how circuses tame a baby elephant?

They drive a “giant” metal stake deep into the ground with an “enormous” chain from it tied to the elephant’s ankle.  The infant mammal fights with all her might until eventually coming to an understanding that she cannot free herself.  Soon enough a mindset formulates, she accepts the situation, and no longer attempts moving the stake.

You know how they restrain her years later as a full grown, mighty adult?

They drive a “little” steak into the ground with a “tiny” rope from it tied to the elephant’s ankle.  Ironically, she chooses not to move.  Why?  The only thing holding this 10,000-pound mammal back is her belief in the past.

elephant-shackled

The reality is that many of us err on the side of perceived limitations, those that aren’t necessarily real.  Like the elephant in the story, we become immobile by past beliefs or at least they constrain us in some way.  By believing them, of what we can and cannot do, we become blind to future possibilities.  In doing so we impoverish our full potential.

Ask yourself, “What confines am I imposing on myself at work…are they real or just made up?”

Evaluate the story you might be telling yourself about goals.  Then shatter any limited beliefs that are holding you back.  The story of the elephant reminded me, and hopefully you, that we are confined only by the walls we build ourselves.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

 

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“Big Brother” meets “Undercover Boss”

Undercover-bossImagine if a reality TV crew followed us around for an entire work week.  Think “Big Brother” meets “Undercover Boss.”  What would they see?

While many of us think that we are 100% effective at work, the truth is that we allow distractions to creep into our routines.  We create busyness such as checking our handheld devices, checking Facebook, browsing websites for irrelevant articles, and so on.  Busyness is not effectiveness; and it certainly will not bring us closer to achieving our best.

Effectiveness is about managing your priorities, not time, so to work smarter rather than harder.  It is finding methods to be more productive in less time.  It is how much you get out of an hour as opposed to how many hours you spend.  As business guru John C. Maxwell says, “Time is an equal opportunity employer; everybody gets 24 hours a day, no more, no less – but not everybody gets the same return on their 24 hours.”

But what about all the unplanned interruptions?  Admittedly you cannot eliminate interruptions.  On the contrary, you do get a say on how much time you will spend on them.  It is in your power to decide what gets your time and attention and how much of it.

I think it safe to say that all of us could benefit from tweaking at least a few of our daily activities to become more effective.  It’s time to remove any self-sabotage or self-limitation you have around “not having enough time.”  Prioritize and schedule your work week for maximum impact, develop and maintain focus, and motivate yourself to achieve extraordinary things!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

 

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What Really is Professional Development?

This month’s blog was written by Will Richard of the JFC family.  A little about his military service: 4 years in the Army with a year tour in Iraq, Rank:  Sergeant, Company:  756th EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), MOS/Job: EOD/Bomb Squad

The term “professional development” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In its simplest form, it is the continual process of acquiring new skills and knowledge as it applies to their career. It requires turning your focus inward to self-reflect and take an honest appraisal of yourself. In my own self-reflection I found that there were two areas that had the greatest potential for personal and professional growth. Figuring out how to lead by inspiration rather than fear, and learning how to better handle personal issues when they leak into the business world.

It’s easy for managers to try and lead by fear and intimidation. While in the military, fear was the main tool taught and used on a daily basis. From basic training to everyday life, fear was used by most people in charge to keep the troops in line. It’s a quick and easy way to get people to listen and do what you say. Fear has its limits, though, making people comply only enough to avoid what causes their fear. Whether that’s a talking to, a ton of push-ups, or even losing their job. Fear is a short term solution and when it is removed so is the motivation. That’s why I’ve devoted a lot of my professional development energy to learning new and superior tools. I want to inspire and lead, not just manage through intimidation.

Fear is an easy, one size fits all method. And as most good leaders know, it is rarely the easy way that’s the optimal way. In order to get best results from people you have to take a more nuanced approach that’s tailored to each individual. You must find what makes them tick and what makes them want to give their best. This takes time and can be very difficult because it requires a leader to spend energy and use tools that are much more complicated. Fear is the fast food of a leader’s tool kit. Quick and easy but it won’t give you the best results. Over reliance on it can have devastating long term effects.

Fear is a strong emotion, but many strong emotions can creep into the workplace. I’ve always been very good at learning new processes, solving unique issues and handling stressful situations, but if you put a crying person in front of me I’ll have no idea how to handle it, or at least, that’s how I used to be. This can be a problem if you’re leading a team because, no matter how hard we try, personal circumstances can infiltrate the workplace. Growth as a professional for me has meant learning how to handle emotions in the right way at work.

fear

It becomes a delicate balancing act of showing concern for your fellow employees without overstepping boundaries. Some people like sharing and having others involved in their personal lives, while others are very closed and guarded. Showing care without pushing too far and maintaining a professional working relationship can be difficult. This is where learning different strategies for handling unique situations is so important. Talking out real and hypothetical situations with others who have experience is an excellent tool in a leader’s toolkit.

Ultimately, I want to be the type of leader that motivates and inspires my team to reach their full potential rather than bark orders and get the bare minimum. In order to do this, I will continue to hone my management tools, adding new ones and adjusting others for the situation. I’ll continue to balance being there for others in their time of need with the needs of the company. I’m still not much of a hugger, but if an awkward hug will brighten your day, then feel free to stop by anytime.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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How will you pursue your better self?

So many of us are not deliberate or intentional about our own professional development.  Maybe it’s fear, maybe its complacency, or a little of both.  No matter what the reason(s), all are unacceptable.  Rather than go with the flow we should routinely stretch our boundaries and push out of our comfort zone.

Legendary leadership guru, John Maxwell, said it best, “The smallest crowd you will ever lead is you – but it’s the most important one.  The first person we must examine is ourselves.  If you don’t look at yourself realistically, you will never understand where your personal difficulties lie.  And if you can’t see them, you won’t be able to lead yourself effectively.”

My personal advice…focus on the present.  Don’t put off today what you should have started yesterday.  Do something today that your future self will thank you for.  When you’re constantly focused on the future you’re actually much less productive in the current moment.  No one can control the future BUT what you do today will influence it.

future self

My personal request…take action and repeat.  When was the last time you read a book about professional development?  When was the last time you listened to a Podcast for learning?  When was the last time you sought out a mentor?  How about video TedTalks?

Discover untapped abilities by working toward your full potential; never stop growing into your better self.  Be a driving force that contributes to your future self!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

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@ Work, How Do You Create Space?

In 1993 NASA suffered extra pressure and great stress when the Hubble Space Telescope broke down.  They faced a daunting task of figuring out how to go up in space and fix the distorted mirror inside the telescope.  For months the brightest minds in NASA couldn’t identify a solution.

Then one day NASA engineer, Jim Crocker, was taking a shower in a hotel and noticed how the shower head was mounted on adjustable rods with folding arms.  Eureka!  The answer did not appear while working late hours in the lab.  It occurred when Jim was in the shower on vacation, when he created space (no pun intended) from the perplexity of his problem.

Mindset spaceCreating space allows our minds to process thoughts more freely and creatively.  Heck, Newton discovered gravity when sitting under an apple tree.  It requires purposeful separation from the typical problem solving environment in order to let your thoughts move more freely.  It happens when thinking on a problem while out for a stroll, riding a bike, or sitting out in nature (under an apple tree).

Why does creating space work?  Your brain is like any muscle in your body.  Imagine lifting weights multiple times per week but only on biceps.  Doing so will surely strain and fatigue those muscles.  Thus, when you are consumed by constantly tackling the same challenge at work, you actually lose mental energy needed to identify solutions.  This is when it’s time to create space!

June is the halfway mark.  You are six months into 2016.  Are you where you should be? Are you where you want to be?  Take time, create space, and allow deep thought to happen.  The goal is not to be perfect – it is just to be better than before.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

 

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Is motivation a skill?

Motivation is indeed a skill and actually, you are motivated all of the time. Bubble people

Think of the last meeting you attended.  Aware of it or not, you went into it with certain feelings and beliefs – your outlook.  This decided the direction of motivation you chose.

Your outlook either motivated you to actively participate or to tune out altogether.  Thus, the real question is not “if” you are motivated but “why.” Here is where the magic happens.  The true nature of motivation is that we can learn to choose and create the intentions behind it; positive or negative.

Let’s say you chose positive intentions going into the meeting.  You went into the meeting motivated to actively participate, you learned something new – even helped a peer learn something new.

Now let’s reverse those intentions.  You went into the meeting motivated to disconnect from the conversation, you were close minded – even disruptive of other’s learning experience.

Which scenario was more beneficial to you; to others?  Hopefully you are connecting the dots.  A positive outlook leads to positive intentions, leads to positive motivation, leads to positive results.

Motivation is a skill and just like any other skill; it can be learned.  The real power is not in being motivated but in “why” we are motivated.  I challenge you to learn to choose and create optimal outlooks and intentions.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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Best Places to Work in PA 2015

JFC Staffing Companies named one of the Best Places to Work in PA for 2015. The awards program, created in 2000, is one of the first statewide programs of its kind in the country. The program is a public/private partnership between Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Central Penn Business Journal.

“Our work family and culture mean everything to us.  Without our people there would be no company.” James M. Carchidi, CEOCentral-Penn-Business-Journal-Best-Place-to-Work-in-PA

This survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Pennsylvania, who are benefiting the state’s economy and its workforce. Employers are categorized based upon the total number of employees they have in the United States, 25 to 249 employees and 250 or more employees.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the 100 Best Places to Work in PA. The first part of this process was evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophies, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process.

JFC Staffing Companies will be recognized at the Best Places to Work in PA awards banquet on Thursday, December 3, 2015, at the Lancaster County Convention Center in Lancaster, PA. Rankings will be revealed at the ceremony. Tickets may be purchased online at www.CPBJ.com/events.

WANT TO WORK AT A CO. WHERE HAPPINESS IS A CORE VALUE & YOU NEVER WORK ON YOUR BIRTHDAY?

Life is too short not to have passion and purpose in the work that you do…

Throughout the course of our lives we will spend more time working than any other activity.  That dedication of time should improve our quality of life, rather than act as a weight that sucks the happiness out of us.

What we do here is BIG…we influence one of the most important aspects of people’s lives – how they earn their income.  Our contribution helps them pay their mortgage, feed their families, and purchase birthday presents for their children.

The JFC Staffing Companies are in the business of connecting people. We aim to elevate individual careers and accelerate company growth through extraordinary levels of customer service and performance. The decision was made to be GREAT. Providing positive experiences for our customers will be the driving force to our success.

Here you will receive the power to express yourself while being part of a company renowned for its fun, supportive culture. There is constant cross-departmental training and collaboration; anyone in the company, regardless of specialty your experience, is free to make suggestions, offer criticism, and participate in the developmental process. We put into place programs and resources like employee-taught JFC Universities that seek to improve and develop from within. …And there is much more.

Join our team and become an essential part of the business landscape; dedicated to creating a better, happier, and more engaged community where people want to live, work, and play.

If you’re interested in a company where your skills can be leveraged, where you will learn from the best and continue to grow – contact the JFC Staffing Companies!

Contact us for details of what winning in this position looks like!

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Is job tenure a thing of the past?

It’s safe to say that workforce trends have shifted over the past decade and especially after the last recession. Today there seems to be more of a self-oriented nature to the workforce and, along with it, job-hopping. Ryan Kahn, a career coach and founder of  The Hired Group, says that “job hopping is replacing the concept of climbing the corporate ladder.”

Let’s look at the numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average number of years that young employees (ages 20-34) have been with their current employer is 2.3 years.

Why is that?shutterstock_19393759

It must be that younger people are lazy or that they have no loyalty. Sound about right? While these seem to be reasonable reactions, I am here to tell you they are not. From my point of view, recent trends in job tenure or lack thereof, are not a product of laziness or a millennial mindset. Rather, the root cause of today’s abbreviated job tenure might very well rest on the employers and not the employees.

The past recession had employers scrambling to do “more with less.” And while this approach may have worked amid an economic crisis, operating the same way today is proving disastrous. Organizations and management hesitant to invest in their culture and employee engagement might just be the springboard of today’s transient workforce.

It’s no wonder the vast majority of U.S. workers (70 percent) are not engaged at work, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report. Simply put, too many employers are doing “business as usual.” I say, wake up and evolve with the times! It’s not that companies need pool tables, nap rooms, and Google-like amenities. Instead, try inspiring and leading the younger generation in meaningful ways. Some areas to shed light on are the following:

Today’s up-and-coming workforce is less position-focused and more purpose-focused. Rather than promotions in title only, assign side projects that stretch their human development. Be sure to provide routine feedback throughout the process. Also, the corner office is not so much a coveted item these days. Instead, the younger workforce desires open communal settings where they can collaborate and celebrate with their peers.

The next generation of talent is looking to work “towards” something and not just “on” something. Redefine your organization’s vision statement. Make it a crusade toward something bigger than any one person, like how your product/service influences the lives of many. Even if you manufacture widgets, you can still tie into the vision how they make a positive impact on people.

The next generation of movers and shakers do not want to work “under a manager” – they want to work “under a mentor.” The old days of “telling” employees what to do is being replaced with “asking” employees what they think they should do. Asking questions instead of advising or telling will cause employees to think, create answers they believe in and motivate them to act. Essentially, this moves individuals from mere compliance (job-hopper symptom) to sheer commitment.

My closing advice to the managers reading this: Exhausting precious time and energy on attempts to control situations and/or other people is futile. Focus on what you do control. Hire people most aligned with your vision. Invest in your culture. Open up the communication and make active listening part of every interaction.

I believe that until management figures this out and adapts, job-hopping will be the norm – or at least it will be in their organization.

What will you do today to move your employees from compliance to commitment?

The greatest compliment I receive is a referral from ecstatic readers and valued friends.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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