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  1. 4 Work Habits to Help Increase Your Performance at Work

    March 31, 2015 by Jenna

    We all want to be top performers at work. We want to work hard, achieve goals and be recognised for our efforts.

    Here are four habits that will help you achieve more:

    1. Make Yourself Accountable: While working independently is advantageous, it is also important to have someone that you report your progress to, whether it is members of your office team or a supervisor. This can often enforce more urgency and effort to complete the task when you know you need to report your progress to someone on a regular basis.

    2. Discipline yourself to set priorities: It will make it easier to focus on the important tasks. Address the higher priorities in the morning when you are freshest and save the more repetitive ones for later in the day. If you receive assignments as the day is winding down, use the last five to ten minutes to prioritise for the next day. Lists are very helpful, and checking items off as you complete them will further encourage you to accomplish more.

    3. Don’t let fear prevent you from completing challenging tasks: If fear takes control of our daily lives it can paralyse us from completing tasks. It results in achieving less and we may start avoiding commitment to tasks. The remedy for fear is planning. Start by making a list of things you have accomplished (even if it’s only two or three) and keep it in a visible place to use as self-encouragement. Then make a list of things you want to accomplish and the steps to complete each one. The best way to successfully complete a big project is to break it down into smaller pieces.

    4. Avoid Procrastination.The longer you put off a task the more it will end up haunting you. You can save a lot of time and stress if you work on the difficult/important tasks first, then the rest of the day will seem less daunting.

    What steps do you follow to keep yourself performing at your best? How do you keep track of your progression? What works best for you?


  2. The time for change – By Narelle Hess

    January 6, 2015 by Jenna

    It’s strange how a brand new year makes us re-assess our life and priorities. As the clock struck midnight to the end of 2014, I know many friends and acquaintances that were so happy to open a brand new blank page. A new year provides us a chance to make resolutions for those changes we want to make. But as we all know most NYE resolutions fail. Why? For most it can be summarised in two key roadblocks: fear of change and our own self-doubt. We all know there are areas of our career, relationships or personal development that need to change – so how do we overcome the fear and self-doubt?

    The first key roadblock is the fear of change. Forced and unforced change leads to an unpredictable response. From denial to frustration to anger to tears to joy and right back around again. I’ve worked with those on the precipice of wanting to change, coached those leading organisational change, and supported those experiencing forced changes. All take effort, commitment, and hard work. But as one of my clients said to me just this week: “without risks come no rewards”. Without change there is no progress. However, for change to be successful we not only need to commit to the needed changes, we also need to identify a support team. Because you will go through that unpredictable emotional response, you’re only human. What changes do you need make? And more importantly who will help you keep accountable and cheer your successes towards the changes you need to make this year? (To watch a TED talk on what fear can teach us click here).

    The second roadblock is our own self-confidence to make these needed changes. Most of us suffer from imposter syndrome. I am constantly waiting for someone to unmask me. Discover my inferiority. Most of us feel this way. Even award winning scientists needing to “sell” themselves for a new job to leading executives tasked with taking a new leadership challenge. I have met clients from all corners of this country and even different corners of this globe. Analysed many psychometric profiles, coached, trained, facilitated, debated and had many invigorating conversations. People are fascinating and all have more strengths than what they acknowledge and appreciate. We each have so much potential to do amazing things, if we allow ourselves to. Take some time to identify and acknowledge your strengths, and value them. What are your key strengths that will help you make the changes you need to make? (To read more about the Self Saboteur click here).

    And with that, it must now be time for me to write my own new chapter. After 10 years building my career at Challenge Consulting, I’m about to embark on a brand new career adventure. I’m proud of what I’ve built and I’m equally excited to see where Steve and the team will go next. You are all in very capable hands. I’m taking with me fond memories, much laughter and joy, great friendships, exceptional mentors – and most importantly – the lessons that each of you have given me – be it a client that has challenged me, your moment of personal discovery, or an example of great leadership. You all have made the last 10 years exceptional and helped me to develop the all-important skills I need to jump into this next chapter. (To read more about how I developed my career click here).

    I wish you all an abundance of success. Take the time you need to identify the changes you need to make, develop your own plan, and more importantly develop the self-confidence you need to write your next chapter. For those that want to follow my next career adventure, you can connect with me on LinkedIn at http://au.linkedin.com/in/narellehess

    I will now leave you in the very capable hands of my colleagues at Challenge Consulting to support your recruitment, psychometric testing, career transition, and organisational development needs. Find out more about the team here or call the Challenge Consulting office on 02 9221 6422 to discuss your requirements.


  3. Bad Habits That Erode Personal Accountability

    July 15, 2014 by Jenna

    When it comes to taking on responsibility in a team environment, you quickly realise just how important personal accountability is. Each person on the team needs to play a part, it means taking on the tasks, following through and being responsible for the outcome.

    It means that there are certain bad habits that you need to banish, these include:

    Making Excuses/ Blaming Others

    For example:

    • ‘I have a lot to manage at the moment; therefore I won’t attend the team meeting. I’ll catch up next week’
    • ‘I’ll sleep in instead of going to training and I’ll make up for it later’
    • That you are ‘too busy’ to commit to the task and put it on the back burner, falling behind.
    • ‘So-and-so didn’t finish their part of the assignment so we fell behind’

    What could happen as a result of excuses: You will be considered unreliable or the group will not be able to trust that you are capable of delivering outcomes on time. Trust in the team is very important and once it is broken, it can take time to earn back.

    Possible solutions to excuses: We are all guilty of excuse making at times. When you find that you are starting to think or react this way, it is important to reflect on the task at hand and why you were chosen for this role. Reflect on how this task contributes to your team. Understand the implications of what could happen if you do not follow through.

    Do you have someone that you report to on a regular basis? If not, buddy up with someone on your team so that you both collectively can help keep one another on track. Sometimes a simple push is all you need.

    What could happen as a result of blaming others: Blaming others instead of trying to find a solution can create all sorts of unfavorable results. It can create tension in the team, break trust, communication etc. When problems occur, teams should be collectively looking for solutions together, not turning on one another.

    Possible solutions to blaming others:

    • If you have someone sharing a task with you and find that they are not performing then you need to address this issue directly with them. Start off one on one, as often the person may not realise they are doing it. If it still continues then get a manager or third party involved.
    • If you have a problem and choose not to communicate the issue or find a solution then you won’t achieve the desired outcome. Speak up if you are struggling, ask others for advice, after all, that is what your team is there for.
    • If you are being held accountable for a result of a group task that has failed a task, sometimes the simplest thing to do is say you’re sorry and offer to work on a solution for the future. Apologising does not make you weak, it shows courage. It shows responsibility.

    Lack of Motivation

    Examples are running late, being unprepared for meetings, not focusing or listening to what others are sharing, nor contributing thoughts or ideas to the team discussions.

    What could happen as a result of this: You appear distracted or disinterested to the team activity and other members will question your commitment levels. If you are unenthusiastic, others will not feel comfortable approaching you for help or provide you with further responsibilities. They will assume that you don’t care.

    Possible solutions: Organising yourself can be the best way to keep your goals on track and set your path towards success. If you have your tasks written down in front of you, it will remind you every day of what you need to achieve and keep you focused.

    You can start by asking yourself some simple questions:

    • Are you setting daily targets?
    • Are you writing the information down on a checklist?
    • Are you following up on your own progress regularly?

    As part of the team, members also have a right to know your progress, which should in turn keep you motivated knowing that not only does your work impact you but those around you.

    I personally become motivated when I see the time and dedication that my teammates are putting into their tasks. It makes me feel excited that goals are being achieved, and it challenges me to step up my level of commitment.

    Any great leader or manager that you know will tell you that they have to go through stages of being accountable for their team. It requires making decisions for the overall well-being of your team, taking responsibilities for mistakes or set-backs and collectively working together to find solutions.

    Remember these points next time you are in a group situation so that you can let the best part of you shine.


  4. Want to be more productive?

    April 22, 2014 by Jenna

    Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.

    –          Paul J. Meyer

    We all need productivity; it is the driving force in our lives that leads to the results we want. Being productive encourages us and motivates us to strive for something better and to be better. But there can also be times when we say to ourselves, ‘I could be more productive than this,’ or ‘How can I be more productive?

    For those of you that need a productivity boost, here are some helpful things to consider from an article I found on Careerealsim:

    1. Time Management

    Find those peak times of the day where you feel most productive to get the important tasks accomplished. For example, if you feel more refreshed in the morning, take that opportunity to utilise your energy and show your personal best.

     2. Exercise

    While it can be hard to find the motivation to exercise, once you begin a routine you will see the benefits. Not only does exercise make you look and feel better, but once you reach that level of accomplishment it creates momentum for you to strive for further achievement in your daily life. Plan a time that works for you, whether it’s before work, in your lunch break, after work or just planning outdoor activities on the weekends.

    3. Being Reactive

    While multi-tasking is a great skill to have, if you are the type of person that accepts each tasks and hops from project to project, chances are you are not going to be very productive. Taking on too many projects at once can also increase stress levels and be very bad for your health.

    Take charge of one task and complete it before moving on to the next one. This will make you more productive and appear more reliable to management when it comes to allocating future tasks.

    4. Priority List

    It is very important to establish what needs to be accomplished first and what urgently needs to be focused on so that you can manage your time and tasks better. If you don’t prioritise, the tasks will most likely run you. Establish time-frames, set it out in your schedule, avoid distractions and get it done! This can also apply to tasks that you may not necessarily favour the most, if you get them done early, then you won’t dread having to do them at the end of the day.

    5. Setting Boundaries

    This links to the priority list, and will vary for every person. But if you want to focus 100% on the task at hand you can set out boundaries so that you are not interrupted during that period of time. For example, you can try not taking phone calls for an hour, or if you are in sales, allocate 10 calls you need to make within the hour etc.

    If management or a supervisor approach you to ask you to complete another task, make sure to advise them of your current workload and availability. It is better that they are made aware of your workload so that they can advise you on how urgent the task is. It will also give them an indication on whether you currently have the capacity to complete it or if they need to delegate the task elsewhere.

     6. Commuting and Traffic

    Delays commuting to and from work can vary, so try assessing timetables and possible scenarios the night before to avoid being late for morning projects. Taking that extra time to plan and get in earlier will save the stress and anxiety you would feel if the worst case scenario were to happen.

    Some organisations may even provide you with the opportunity to work from home if you can access your emails and database remotely.

    What are some of your routines that help you stay more productive at work? What steps have worked and what didn’t work?


  5. 5 Steps to Interview Preparation – how will you win your next job?

    November 19, 2013 by Jenna

    You got that interview, congratulations! Now the most important step of the interview process begins, your preparation.

    1. Know your resume

    Your resume is what got you the first call. Don’t forget to take a hard copy of your resume along to the interview. A fresh hard copy is always nice to hand over to the potential employer and also if you are filling out any additional paperwork for an organisation you have an accurate record of your employment in hand.

    And most importantly know your resume in detail. Take the time to read through your responsibilities and key achievements listed  – nothing is more embarrassing than the interviewer asking you a question about your resume and you can’t remember what they are referring to!

    2. Dress to impress

    Not all of us will work in roles that require us to wear a suit and tie daily, but making a good first impression is critical. Rule of thumb is always to dress above the level of the role that you are going for.  Sloppy, unprofessional presentation will reflect poorly on your preparation and commitment for the interview.

    Professional presentation is not just about what you wear, but also your readiness for the interview performance. So remember:

    • Get a good night sleep – one can often get nervous about an interview but allow your body time to rest so that you are more alert and able to answer questions with a clear head. You don’t want to appear like you are lacking interest or look like a zombie.

    • Allow yourself plenty of time to get ready for  the interview – if that means getting up earlier than usual then it will make a difference. Usually if you are rushing, your appearance will often reflect this rush

    • Eat something before the interview – Again this will keep you more alert and active during the interview process and will usually reflect a more positive mood

    3. Know where you are going – Another important factor that will save you rushing at the last minute or even being late for the interview is finding out the company location. Look up the company address online and then look into the nearest parking areas and local public transport options. This will not only save you rushing at the last minute but if you leave early enough it can help you in the event of unexpected traffic or transport delays.

    4. Who is interviewing you?

    Make sure you know the name and position of who your interview or interviewers. In your preparation take some time to understand who they are, their experience, and where they sit within the organisation you are interviewing for. Also take the time to research and understand the details of the company – what does their website say? Have they been featured in the news or social media? What attracts you to work and grow within this organisation?

    5. What do you need to know?

    Especially if this is your dream job you don’t want to walk out of the interview realising that you had forgotten to ask a question or take up the interviewer’s time by doing the ‘umm’s’ and ‘ah’s’ trying to recall what questions you were wanting to ask.

    Make sure that your questions are tailored to the organisation that you are applying for, the position requirements and even if there are any opportunities within the future for this role.

    As a previous candidate and also working for a recruitment consultancy I can now say that I have witnessed both the excellent and awful in interview preparation. And I can say with confidence that if you want to win that next great job, then preparation is key so that you are ready to perform at your best!

    What do you think is most important in preparation?


  6. How often are you changing jobs?

    January 29, 2013 by Jenna

    Since I work in the recruitment industry, I speak to people looking to make a job change daily. As the New Year commenced I saw an increase in the amount of enquiries from potential candidates looking to make a fresh start for 2013. So it made me wonder how often do people change jobs, organisations, careers AND why?

    According to the latest Australian Labour Mobility statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, less than half of the Australian working population have been in their job for 5 years or more. 56% of Australian workers have been in their job for less than 5 years and 20% have been in their current job for less than 12 months.

    More than half of these job changes happened based on the choice by the individual, with 60% of men and 66% of women who changed jobs in the last 12 months doing so voluntarily. Most people went into similar jobs, with only around 5% of Australian Managerial staff and 10% of Australian Labourer staff who changed jobs also moved into a new career area. So with my recent career change, that puts me in the minority!

    We of course all know that the number one reason people choose to change jobs is their immediate manager or work environment. But what are the other incentives people ask for when looking for a new job?

    • better pay or conditions
    • job security
    • closer to home
    • more (or less) responsibility at work
    • more (or less) flexibility at work
    • career advancement

    For me what was most important was an increased flexibility. I worked in a job with an around the clock roster, which meant I was working strange hours and weekends most weeks. For me flexibility meant working business hours Monday to Friday so I could have time to pursue my outside of work interests. So my definition of “flexibility” is quite different to what others would be looking for.

    For others, increased pay could be at the top of list of “must-have”. However, pay can only take you so far, because if you do not enjoy the job or the work environment how long will you stay content in the job before taking the next leap? And although a new job can help you with your career advancement, can too many new jobs in too short a time period make you look like your lacking commitment or unreliable to a future employer?

    There are many advantages and disadvantages for making a job change, including:

    Advantages

    • develop your skills within different organisations or industry sectors
    • take the next step within your career
    • an increase in salary, depending on the new role you apply for
    • develop a new network of contacts within your industry to build your profile in the career area or industry

    Disadvantages

    • if you are changing jobs too frequently, will employers question your commitment or capability?
    • having to start from scratch – will you be able to develop the skills as quickly as you hoped if you are starting from scratch in new organisations frequently?
    • you may make a jump too soon, and realise you made the job change for the wrong reasons rather than for you really need in your career.

    Whether a job change is a good or a bad thing for you career depends entirely on the individual and their career goals. Always think about where you want to go, what’s most important for you? And is it a job change that will allow you to realise this goal or looking for new opportunities within your current organisation? Because sometimes, as the song goes, it is better the devil you know.

    Have you ever made a job change you regretted? What did you learn from the experience? Or what about one that was perfect for you? What advice would you give to those contemplating a job or career change?


  7. What Factors Do You Think Would Cause An Employee To Volunteer Their Resignation?

    June 19, 2012 by Jenna

    I recently saw an article on www.recruiter.com about ‘What Motivates People To Jump’, and it had me thinking why in today’s climate would someone be motivated to change their current career path to pursue something completely different? Is it a generational thing? Did the career you strived for not end up being what you had hoped it would be? Or do the current conditions of the workplace cause you to throw up your hands and say, ‘That’s it! I’ve had enough!’

    In one of my previous blogs, ‘Are more people today settling for any job as opposed to finding their dream job?’ I found that most people were settling more for a job that pays the bills as opposed to actively pursuing their dream jobs, so again this has me wondering, are we actively thinking this through if we are volunteering our resignation, whatever the reason may be? Is it that easy to find another job just around the bend?

    I came up with some possible reasons as to why I thought someone would volunteer to leave their current job, and this is what you voted:

    • Lack of motivation – Only 8% of you agreed with this
    • Poor relationship with higher management – 50% of you agreed to this
    • They want more money – Only 8% of you agreed with this
    • No opportunities for career advancement/ No job security – 33% of you agreed to this

    It’s good to see again that you consider the relationship factor more important than the money when it comes to workplace sustainability, and another website I observed http://hrdailyadvisor.blr.com confirms:

    • Employers who think their people leave for more money: 89%
    • Employees who actually do leave for more money: 12%

    It also goes on to say that four out of the seven hidden reasons why employees choose to leave is because of ‘Little or no feedback/coaching is provided in their roles, they feel devalued and unrecognized, they feel overworked and stressed out or lack of trust or confidence in their leaders.’

    Uh-oh management, are you reading this?

    That is not to say we need to point the finger at one cause, but to be successful as a manager you need to understand the needs of your employees before any growth within your organisation can take place. And with an environment that is constantly changing in terms of trends and needs, are you being adaptable? Are employees approaching you for advice because they know you will listen to them? If you are investing all of that time and money into your organisation, why not invest it in your employees?

    With that said, the attitude of staff members also need to be positive when dealing with constructive feedback and guidance from managers within the workplace. You may not be an identical personality type to your current manager, but as long as you can find an understanding in each other when it comes to the focus of the business then you can at least create less tension in your day to day activities. If you haven’t already, I found the Myers Briggs Personality Profiling to be quite advantageous in terms of finding out what personality type you are , as well as reviewing other personality types in the workplace and how you can best interact and co-exist with different personalities.

    A website called http://voices.yahoo.com also points out that a lack of clear direction because of the company structural changes can also cause frustration amoungst employees because they feel a lack of security as to what the future holds for them. I can relate to this, however, this can always depend on an individual’s viewpoint on change.

    Most organisations that I can remember working for have gone through some sort of structural ‘change’. Either changes in management or procedures, or just overall adapting to more modern methods of completing daily tasks. I have been offered full time roles as a result of theses, been promoted to then brought back to the same position again, I have been made redundant, you name it! And even recently our organisation is undergoing change. But when you can see the change overall affecting the greater good of the company, and you get to take part in that, that is when I find change to be good. It’s new, challenging/exciting and motivating is it not? That’s certainly how I see it now.

     

    A less dramatic reason to leave the current role would be because the job does not fit the talents or interests of an individual, or that the role was not what the candidate expected it to be. We have all been there one way or another, and each new role we take on is a stepping stone in the path to our future careers.

    One piece of advice that I would like to give any individuals that may be changing roles on a more frequent basis, from a recruitment perspective, would be to try and maintain a decent level of time within an organisation, as this will show company loyalty and commitment when reviewing your resume. Unless you are on a working holiday visa, if it appears that you are moving around every couple of months within organisations, employers who are looking for longer term commitments from applicants may question investing there time in you for the long haul.

    Do you have any feedback on this blog or anything else that you would like to add? Please have your say below. Don’t forget to check out our latest poll as well, Do you believe that the measure of success is through a dollar figure? You could be in the draw to win a Hoyts Cinema Double Pass!




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