Monthly Archives: February 2012

Quick Totally Awesome and Creative Business Ideas

Click the link below to check out my latest guest blog post.  You will find some great (FUN) management tips that you should use.

http://www.mikekerr.com/humour-at-work-blog/quick-totally-awesome-and-creative-management-ideas/#more-3339 

 

BE AWESOME! 

-MR. BIZ

 

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What to say when they ask your opinion

For some, it is the moment to shine while for others it is the most frightening.

Imagine you are at a staff meeting. Your boss just finished giving a long drawn out presentation about his future vision for the team. After a long pause, he turns and looks right at you as the follow statement pierces the silence, “what do you think of our new vision?”

It can be said that your opinions will make or break  your career, no matter how much hard work you put into your job. It is more than just what opinions you have, but how and when you communicate them.

Here are some tips on how to voice your opinion at work, and knowing when you should or shouldn’t let it be known. Let’s take a look in the context of few different scenarios:

  • When you have no clue: Whether it is because you dozed off during your boss’ lecture (like the scenario above) or because it is not one of your areas of expertise, when you don’t have a clue the first thing to do is admit it.  Your peers will hate if you completely BS an answer and there is a good chance that your boss will see right through it.  But don’t just leave it at a confession, offer an action plan to find the answer.  For example, say “that is a great question and I need a little time to research the topic. Give me 3 days and I will have an in depth analysis for you.”  Once you make this commitment it is paramount that you follow-up and followthrough. Provide your boss with status updates and ask for clarification if you aren’t sure.
  • When you hate the way things are: There are times when things don’t go our way. When given the opportunity to voice our opinion on a part of work that we don’t like it is important to be mindful of what we say. Don’t let your jaded side get the best of you. Remember that someone made things the way they are, and those people are pretty territorial about the projects they have worked on and the programs they implemented. While they are likely less than perfect executions of flawed plans, the people involved have some pride in the work they did. Be mindful of their egos and don’t openly slam something you hate. When you are asked your opinion, instead offer your suggestions to improve things and more importantly find little ways to change things (step-by-step without stepping on toes).
  • When you are passionate about how you feel: Just because you feel a certain way and you want to share it with the world does not mean everything feels the same way. Odds are someone out in your team won’t like it (often because it was not their idea).  It is important to do two things when you are passionate about the opinion you are sharing. (1) Get buy-in. Make sure to share the WIIFM with everyone (what’s in it for me) and get everyone to understand how they benefit from your opinion or idea. (2) Speak only for yourself. I have seen on an almost daily basis someone will complain about how “everyone” feels the way the way they do when in reality it is just them (or them and one other person). Take ownership of your opinion and the leave the floor open for others to agree or disagree instead of assuming where they stand for them.

Remember that your opinions are good things (that show your uniqueness and value to your organization) but should be shared in the right way and at the right time. Make sure to read your emotions and the situation, taking the three points above in mind and it is likely that you will respond in the right way when your opinion is asked.

BE AWESOME! 

-MR. BIZ

 

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Business Lessons From Movies (part 1)

It’s no secret, I LOVE movies!

While they mainly provide endless entertainment value, from time to time parts of movies offer solid advice on how to be successful in business (as well as good illustrations of how NOT to be successful).  In the spirit of illustrating my affinity for film, here are some notable quotes from some awesome movies that also have a business lesson within:

  1. Catch Me if You Can: “Two little mice fell into a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned, but the second mouse, he struggled so hard that he eventually churned that cream into butter and he walked out. Amen.” For those that recall, this line came when Leonardo DiCarprio’s character was put on the spot by his soon to be father-in-law to say a prayer at the dinner table.  Lesson- people love to hear stories and analogies. Make sure to use them whenever possible.  Moreover, have a few carefully crafted stories that are effective and memorable that you can pull out of your hat whenever possible. Stories make lessons memorable. When explaining my own management style I refer to “Aaron’s Allstate Hands.” For those familiar with the insurance company’s logo, I adapted it to be one hand below (to support my people) and one hand behind (to push my people to do their best)… it is a bit quirky, but it is memorable and effective.  Side lesson- this quote itself has a good message, don’t be the one who gives up.
  2. Boiler Room: “A sale is made on every call you make. Either you sell the client some stock or he sells you a reason he can’t. Either way a sale is made, the only question is who is gonna close?” Ben Affleck’s character is pretty right on with this direct statement. Most people assume if they are not in a “sales” role that they are not really selling.  The truth is that you are selling every day, from selling your ideas to your boss and peers to selling the value that you would bring to a company in a job interview; if you are not comfortable with selling, you better find a way to get comfortable with it. Morever, when selling don’t focus on telling the other person all about the benefits of the product, find out what is important to them and key in on that– then you will capture their interest.
  3. Steel Magnolias: “Smile. It enhances your face value.” I know this may seem like a strange reference, but there is a message behind Dolly Parton’s character’s cute statement. People generally respond positively to happiness. If you rely on anger and generating stress for others you will create fear and resentment. Instead when you build a positive branding for yourself then you create empowerment, trust support and buy-in from others.
  4. American Gangster: (I needed a bit of redemption for the Steel Magnolias reference above) “The loudest one in the room is the weakest one in the room.” As the old saying goes, we were born with two ears and one mouth and we should use them accordingly.  Especially as a young professional it is important to be quick to listen and slow to talk. When you listen, you gain key lessons and often can build off of what was said to gain buy-in for your opinions.  If you focus on talking, there is a higher likelihood that you will hurt yourself politically in your workplace (and there is more of a chance you will say something stupid).  The less you talk, the more people will listen when you actually do talk.
  5. Office Space: “My only real motivation is not to be hassled– that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough no to get fired.” No reference to business related movies would be complete without mentioning Office Space… Oh Peter Gibbons, you make a solid point here.  While coming out of school the idea of making loads of money does sound pretty fantastic, money as a complete motivator has a short shelf-life. People need to be challenged and need to feel like they are part of something they believe in to be truly empowered and to operate at their highest potential.  Look at what you are passionate about and find more ways to do those things. Ala Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech, ask yourself what is motivating you and if you love what you are doing from time to time. This will tell you when it is time to do something new. Don’t be motivated by avoiding hassle and defensively keeping your job. Go on the offensive with things you are passionate about.

There are definitely more quotes and lessons where these came from.  Keep an eye out for future posts in months to come and remember that the lessons within movies can have solid advice that is valid in the context of building success in the corporate world.

BE AWESOME! 

-MR. BIZ

 

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Lesson: Take the Equity

Unless you have been under a rock recently, you have heard of the Facebook IPO announcement.

$100 billion valuation, over 1000 millionaires, and on and on.

With all the hype and publicity, I wanted to highlight an interesting story (click here for more details).

Call him lucky, smart or otherwise but one word associated with David Choe is multi-millionaire.  In the early Facebook days, David painted the inside of the company’s headquarters. Instead of taking cash payment, he was offered stock, which he took.  Now that stock is worth $200 million!

Yes it is a risk, but it had a big payoff for David.  But he is not the only relevant story…

Many of us know William Shatner as the face of Priceline (as well as Captain Kirk)… What many do not know is that when the company first hired him as a spokesperson they offered him stock instead of paying him cash. Shatner took thes stock (instead of passing up the opportunity). While Shatner decided to sell half of his shares alloted right after the dot-com bust according to some sources (missing out on part of an 865% rebound of the company), he still really benefited from the other half he held on to… His Priceline holdings are unknown but it is clear that it has netted him millions.

The moral of the story?… Whether a painter, spokeperson, photographer or janitor, if you do work for a start-up (especially a hot start-up) the risk of taking payment in stock may be worth the cash you pass up on the front end. Choose the start-up wisely though, since most start-ups fail.

BE AWESOME! 

-MR. BIZ

 

Follow my blog by clicking the link at the bottom right of your screen.  I’d really appreciate it!

If you found this article useful, then please retweet and share on Facebook by clicking Like.

And please leave your comments and suggestions below

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