Numbers are tangible evidence of your business success

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It's extremely powerful to be able to relate your achievements directly to numbers and business results.

They are easily understood by people in business.

And show that you understand the value of your contributions.

It doesn't sound like you're bragging when you have real data and specifics!

What do you think? Let's chat...

What to do when... you want to gloat (without being sickening)

We've all been there, right?

You've had a huge win that you're proud of and you'd love to tell the world (Or at least your boss. And their boss. 
And maybe a couple of others...).

But you don't want to look like you're showing off. On the other hand, you don't want what you've achieved or contributed to be missed. Because if you don't let people know about your successes how are they going to know?

The old "I'll-just-keep-working-hard-and-someone-will-notice-how-great-I-am" strategy just don't seem to work out that well!

Here's a few ideas to give your accomplishments a bit of help to be known:

Quantify what you've achieved

Numbers are easily understood in business and are tangible and independent verification of your achievements.

Always have a 'one-liner' ready

You probably get asked "How are you?", "How you doing?" or "Wassup?" multiple times a day. Have a short response ready that tells a positive story about what you are doing or have achieved. And include your numbers!! "I'm great, the team's great and did you hear that the new campaign I've been working on has increased sales by 20%?" is a pretty effective response!

Know what you have contributed

Ask yourself - What have you been working on? What did you contribute? What was achieved? What was the benefit for the business? Turn these answers into a couple of brief sentences and say them out loud.

Sounds impressive and not that hard to do!

Do this at the end of each project or at the end of a month or a quarter.

Share the glory

Acknowledge the contributions that others have made to your achievements. People appreciate being recognized. And they remember it!

Start using your one-liners in casual conversations, know your numbers and you'll soon feel more comfortable about being seen.

When you do good work and achieve good results it's okay to gloat. And it is possible to do it without being sickening!

How do you get your achievements known?

Let's chat...
- Karen
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Meryl Streep wins Oscar for portrayal of Iron Lady who had a healthy perspective on personal attacks...

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Well the Oscars have been awarded and Meryl Streep has taken home the little gold man for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, in The Iron Lady. A brilliant performance for sure - of a woman who had quite a unique way of looking at things.

She once said, "I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument left."

A pretty healthy way of looking at the criticism she faced.

Check out this great scene from the movie - where she is being attacked in parliament for being too 'emotional' (a familiar comment about women in business? Still in 2012?)...

Great advice. 

Cheer up if it's not your content that's being questioned! 

As Madeline Albright said, "It's not personal, it's business".

But back to the movie - well done Meryl - you have the business of acting under control!

What do you think?

- Karen

words worth pondering: from the philosopher Kahil Gibrain on simplicity...

So often things get over complicated.

When you want to simplify a key message so that it is understood and appreciated - it helps to focus on what is most important.

When it comes to your career and the value you add to your organization, perhaps this is a good approach to take also?

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Bill Gates, Colonel Sanders and Walt Disney. Do you know what they all have in common?

Bill Gates - Traf-O-Data computer business became obsolete. 
The well-known folks of Microsoft, KFC and Disney all had something significant in common - apart from their phenomenal business success, wealth etc. etc. etc.

Bill Gates, Colonel Sanders and Walt Disney all experienced significant business set-backs during their careers.

The computer business that Gates started with his high-school friend Paul Allen, Traf-O-Data, became obsolete when a free service was provided by the state of Washington to read paper tapes from traffic counters for local governments.

Harland David Sanders, who we know as "Colonel Sanders" went broke when a new interstate bypassed the motel where he had cooked his chicken recipe in it's restaurant for twenty years.

And Walt Disney lost the rights to 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit' (who?) which contributed to his financial setbacks and the $4 million in debt he had by the early 1930's. (By the way - that's equivalent to about $59 million today!) 

But, significantly, they all overcame their business setbacks and went on to great business successes.

Bill Gates and his mate founded Microsoft, Colonel Sanders franchised his chicken restaurant idea and Walt Disney scraped up enough cash to finance "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". And the rest, as they say is history.

As the old adage goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"

Or as Walt Disney so eloquently said, "You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." 

Have you come back, brighter and better than ever after a business or career set-back? Let's chat...


Career Resiliance: 5 Fast Tips... for handling negative feedback

By Karen Adamedes

Calling for some time-out is a legitimate response
 if you receive negative feedback
There are a number of disappointments in business that you may need to deal with in your career, and one common one is receiving negative or unexpected feedback about your performance.

Ideally, you want to try and avoid any nasty surprises like this by continually monitoring and evaluating your performance. Being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and taking remedial action when you need to. 

However, sometimes things go wrong, circumstances change or others have different expectations of us from what we understood and all of a sudden we are blind-sided by negative feedback.

Here's 5 Fast Tips to file away and draw on if this ever happens to you:

1. Acknowledge what has been said -  thank the person for their comments (and take a deep breath)

2.  Ask questions and clarify your understanding of exactly what has been said. Sometimes when we hear something negative we stop listening in shock or whilst we are framing our response. Make sure you know exactly what the issue is.

3. Ask for time-out if your need it. To think about what has been said or to gather more information. Just don't use this time to gossip or whinge about what has gone on.

4. Go into solution mode and take action - work this through with the person who has delivered the feedback and gain their agreement. This could be anything from resolving an issue to enrolling in a course to develop your skills. If you have legitimate reasons for what has happened, or the other person doesn't know the full story - make sure this is known. Just don't come across as defensive. Do it in terms of resolving the issue.

5. Be honest with yourself and evaluate what you have learnt, mentally file away the experience, and -     move on!

If you can - be calm, logical and self-confident, whether you feel that way or not!
Have you any tips to share on handling negative feedback? Let's chat...

Career Chick Hot Tip: After a disappointment at work...

Sometimes things happen (like negative feedback or you make a boo boo) or don't happen (a promotion or well-deserved praise) at work and you can't help but be disheartened.

It's important to acknowledge the experience and give yourself permission to be disappointed.

And then it will be time to move on.

Gathering feedback, asking questions and honestly reviewing the situation will give you the learnings and ideas so you can control similar situations in the future.

Don't let a disappointment erode your energy or self-confidence.

Take positive action and take charge!

What do you do when...things don't go your way at work??

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It depends.

It depends on what has (or hasn't) happened, and how important the issue is to you.

But the answer is not to hide out and try to avoid the situation. Or to hide out in a fridge!

No matter what the disappointment - missing out on a promotion, a bonus or a salary increase, to receiving negative feedback, having your ideas or proposals rejected, right through to subtler forms of rejection, like not having your contributions recognized - the workplace is a minefield of potential let downs.

And how you handle these disappointments (and are seen to handle them) are vitally important to how your emotional intelligence and Operating Style are judged in the workplace.

It is absolutely legitimate that you allow yourself to be disappointed, sad or angry.

But I'm from the school-of-thought that you don't let this be visible in the workplace. Take some time to talk, cry, whinge or kick the cat (this is an expression only - there is no endorsement of actual cat kicking). Do it with family, friends, a trusted mentor. People who support you, regardless of what happened or why.

Or if it's more your style - take some time-out on your own.

Just not so much time that you brood on the situation and blow it out of proportion or let it prevent you from focusing on what you need to do next.

As soon as you can, step back from the situation and evaluate what happened.

And then make the decision about what to do next.

Give yourself permission to be disappointed, then move on.
Have you had a disappointment at work? How did you handle it?

Let's chat...
- Karen

P.S. No woman was actually stuffed in a refrigerator for this blog. I took this photo at the Maurizio Cattelan installation at the Guggenheim Museum in New York last year!

words worth pondering: knowing how to fall


Knowing how to "Get Back Up" when things go wrong at work. In your career.

No matter how hard you try, you can't control every variable that influences your work life.

There's politics, personalities and conflicting priorities.

Sometimes these mean not every outcome will be what you want.

Learning how to "Get Back Up" when you fall is a skill to manage a successful career. And a key component of your Operating Style.

It will reflect well on you.

Have you had favorable perceptions about your ability based on how you've managed a career set-back? Let's chat...

- Karen

Did you know... about the importance of meetings to Steve Jobs and Apple?

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When I think about Apple Inc. I tend to think about innovative products, crowded but cool stores, black skivvy's and a whole lot more.

Funnily enough the concept of business meetings does not come to mind!

But Steve Jobs credited his Monday 'Marathon' meetings as being critical to operating the business.

(They were called marathon meetings as apparently they went on for quite some time!)

Jobs told CNN Fortune and Money, "every Monday we review the whole business".

This was the way that he shared information with his executive team so that they had the best information they could to do their jobs and make good decisions.

He also said that he put out an agenda each week, even though 80% of the content was the same each week.

And that "We don't have a lot of process at Apple, but that's one of the few things we do just to all stay on the same page."

Make you think that perhaps meetings are an important part of business and good decision making?

The trick is making sure the participants aren't on their smart phone whilst you are meeting!

How important are meetings to your organization? (And how do you keep people off the technology whilst you have them?!?) Let's chat...


5 Fast Tips...for making introductions at meetings

The ability to run enjoyable and productive meetings is a skill that is not that difficult, but sadly not that common.

Regardless of whether a meeting is face-to-face, over video or even a teleconference - introductions at meetings are important.

People like to know who is who in the room (or on the call), where they fit in the big picture and what their role or involvement is in the meeting.

They also like to know that everyone else understands who they are and why they are there.

Introductions also help 'break-the-ice' and establish an initial form of communication that make it easier to transition into the topic of the meeting.

Here's 5 Fast Tips for meeting introductions (whether or not you are running the meeting):

1. Make sure that all the participants have been introduced to or know each other. If you're not sure if people do know each other they generally don't mind this being confirmed. When you do try and introduce two people who know each other quite well this often turns into a humorous/light-hearted moment - which is an ice-breaker in itself.

2. On a video-call or teleconference kick off the meeting by announcing who is in each location, their position or where they are from and why they are on the call. If you're a participant and not chairing the meeting - let the person running the meeting know if you don't know everyone on the call.

3. Introduce yourself! Don't be backwards in coming forward. You need to be proactive and establish yourself  and let others know who you are. Always introduce yourself to anyone you don't know. Identify who you are, where you're from and what your role is in the meeting. "Hi, I'm Nicole from the Finance Department. I'm the accountant allocated to this project." Short and sweet.  (Given it's unlikely you are a Nicole from the Finance Department who is an accountant - probably best if you substitute your own details - but you get the idea!!)

4. Shake hands if it's a face-to-face meeting. It's polite, professional and establishes rapport. Offer your hand first - it removes any uncertainty about whether the other person should offer their hand.

5. Identify relevant information when you introduce people to each other. For example, a brief explanation of their expertise, accomplishments or their role in the company. If you know anything the people have in common or joint contacts it's good to include those details as well.

Once the introductions are done - you can get down to business!

Have you got any other tips for making introductions? Let's chat...

- Karen

Adele's Grammy Speech shows it takes a team to achieve career success

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When Adele gave her Grammy's acceptance speech for "21" being awarded album of the year, for her, a solo artist - she had a pretty big team around her on the stage.

There's no doubt that Adele dominated the awards that were given out - and each time she got up to accept one of her six awards she had different people to thank. From her doctors, producer, musicians, mother etc.etc she had a lot of people to thank for helping her achieve personal career success.

It's great that she thanked them all. But what I like even more is that she acknowledged how the people around her had helped her learn about herself and be better as a result of their input.

Whilst I, who sings flatter than the flattest tack is in awe of Adele and her abilities, it struck me that there is a real analogy her for business careers.

So often we think we need to do it all ourselves. (Or is that just me?) But in fact, we do so much better work when we surround ourselves with an "A" list team. Be they mentors, networking contacts, colleagues, career coaches, trainers, personal trainers - if they help us be better at what we do - even if they never meet - they are all part of the team that helps us be our best.

My team at the moment even includes my physio, 'Evil Evan', (my nickname for him after a particularly gruesome session) as without his coaching through a somewhat painful issue with a dodgy shoulder I would not be able to concentrate on work - let alone be able to do my best stuff.

If you got a call from the people in Switzerland to accept the Nobel prize in whatever you do - who would you have on the stage behind you as you accept the award?

Do you have the best team around you?

And more importantly, do you have enough people-in-your corner / on-your team?

Helping you be the best you that you can be?

Got me thinking!

Who's on your team?

Let's chat...

- Karen

Career Chick Hot Tip: It makes a difference if you...

As opposed to just rocking up, hide in the corner and check your email (or play a few games) on your phone.

Preparing for a meeting means that rather than just 'hoping for the best' - you will be in the best position to use the opportunity to progress the work that you do, make a contribution and showcase your capability.

Understand the purpose of the meeting. Decide what role you will take. Know the outcomes you require.

Just some of the preparation that needs to be done before a meeting.

Any other suggestions?

Let's chat...

- Karen

What to do when...actions are being assigned in a meeting...

When actions are being assigned in a meeting...your response really depends on your job, the type of action and your role in the meeting.

There's no one-size-fits-all answer.

But here are a couple of scenario's...

The action is clearly part of your day-to--day job responsibilities...speak up clearly, claim the action and let the other participants know when you will have a result or an update.

You need the action completed in order to do your job (or your part of a project)...this is going to be in  your best interest so take it on - ask for some assistance if need be. Make it clear to others why you are taking this on and how it links to what you need to do next.

It's a great opportunity to build your it! Just ensure that you have the time and resource and it's not going to have a negative impact on your workload.

It's your take on some extra work for the team. Fair's fair if everyone else has pitched-in at other times you need to do your share.

You are the only person with the skill or knowledge to do it...lend your skills and expertise to help find solutions. It may be that you have access to other resources who could assist or have alternate ideas that could get the job done (without you necessarily doing it!). If it is down to you...negotiate the time frames, resources and/or relief on your other accountabilities so you can get the job done.

No one else volunteers...unless it's part of your job, or meets one of the other criteria...think about it very carefully before you put your hand up to take it on. Your motivation to 'help out' may be admirable but think about the implications of volunteering for more work. Don't take on extra work just because you are seen as the person who will always take on the extra responsibilities. It can undermine the value of what your regular job is if you are always able to drop it to do the 'extra's'.

Don't let the peer pressure of silence get to you. Sit on your hands. Count to ten or 10,000. Whatever you need to do to resist the urge to volunteer just because no one else has taken it on.

So there's six possible possibilities for when actions are being assigned in a meeting.

Have you got some more? Let's chat...

- Karen

words worth pondering: Opportunity is missed by most people because...

This quote applies to so many situations.

I used it as the intro to the chapter in my book "Hot Tips for Career Chicks" about how to "Meet Successfully" (which is the theme of this week's posts here on Career Chick Chat).

It was really hard to find anyone who had anything positive to say about meetings.

Some of the quotes I found about meetings did make me laugh. Like John Kenneth Galbraith's quote, "Meetings are indispensable when you don't want to do anything". And, Thomas Sowell's, "People who enjoy meetings should not be in charge of anything".

We've all been to some shockers. And most people seem to dread them.

But meetings are where information gets exchanged, decisions are made and ideas are shared. They can be a brilliant opportunity to showcase your abilities and provide a great opportunity to advance your career.

Words worth pondering whilst you head off to your next meeting with a new spring in your step?

Karen Adamedes

"What do you think?" Tom Peters suggests these are the 4 most important words in leadership...

This week we've been talking about how the ability to Leadership is critical to your business Operating Style.

I came across this video from management guru Tom Peters on his view of what he terms the 4 most important words in leadership.

It's only 1:51 mins - have a quick look...

Are these the 4 most important words in leadership?

What do you think?

Let's chat...

- Karen 

5 Fast Tips...for communicating what needs to be done (when you're a leader)...

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The ability to deliver clear instructions about what is required forms part of your ability to communicate as a leader.

If you need something done, you don't want your requests to be treated as a suggestions.

The best approach is to be very clear and give specific instructions.

Adults (and pretty well anyone over 3 years of age) resent being told what to do. Part of the skill in this area is knowing when you require something in a certain way - and you need to be quite direct about the outcome you need delivered. The art is not taking this approach for everything that needs to be done.

Here's 5 Fast Tips for how to communicate what needs to be done as a leader:

1. Be specific and action-oriented when you give instructions. Clarity is the key. There should be no ambiguity or wriggle-room.

2. Clarify that the person has the resources, time and knowledge to complete the tasks that you are asking of them.

3. Listen to the response you receive and be aware of the body language to ensure that what you have asked for has been understood.

4. Adjust the level of detail you provide to the skill level and knowledge of the people involved. As the skill level of the people involved increases the level of detail that you need to give will decrease. Don't insult competent people telling them how to do the job. On the other hand - don't assume that new and inexperienced people know how to do what you want done. (Tricky - but that's why this is a leadership skill!)

5. Trust your people / team to deliver on what's required. Make sure they have the resources and support they need. Establish milestones and check-in points to be comfortable that all is on track. And then let them get on with the job.

Be crystal clear when you set accountabilities and assign tasks and this will add to your respect as a leader.

How have you approach this issue? Let's chat...

- Karen

Career Chick Hot Tip: Leadership starts when you...

The development of your skills and behaviors to lead and influence others begins well before you take on senior roles and management accountabilities.

Whether or not you are in a 'formal' leadership position right now - you have the ability to be a leader.

To set an example.

To influence the action of others.

To have an impact through the work that you do.

The ability to impact and influence others is leadership!

What do you do when...your team has a win...

Being known as someone who shares successes and recognition with your team, or others you have worked with, reflects positively on your leadership style.

Not to mention - it's the right thing to do when others make a contribution to your success.

When you lead, or are even part of a team, that achieves a positive result - it's important that you make this success visible to the business.

Quantify the success - know what it's worth to the business. It could be in revenue, profit, savings or changes in results over time.

Let the success be known.

And most importantly, acknowledge those who have contributed to the team and the result in any capacity.

Whilst there are always key contributors to a result (and they do need acknowledgement), it is often others in the team who maintain the 'business-as-usual' ability of a team that make it possible for a big outcome to be achieved.

These people also need to recognized and rewarded.

Being generous in your praise and recognition of others is an attribute of leadership. One that will have a positive impact on your Operating Style and professional reputation.

How have you recognized the contributions of others? Let's chat...

- Karen

words worth pondering: Margaret Thatcher on leadership...

'Iron Lady', Margaret Thatcher broke new ground as the first (and so far only) female British Prime Minister.

Some people credit Thatcher's political skills for her rise to power and others to her 'luck' of being in the right place at the right time.

Either way she made the most of opportunities as they presented themselves. And she did not accept limitations on what she could achieve.

According to Thatcher, there's plenty of room for leaders, a thought worth pondering....


Did you know..most successful people credit a mentor?

The potential benefits of having a mentor are many, including:

  • knowledge,
  • guidance,
  • someone to listen,
  • access to their network, and
  • honest, valuable feedback.

    Many top achievers acknowledge that a mentor (or coach) to guide, counsel and provide advice has helped them along the way.

    Someone who can look at their performance, provide a different perspective and advise strategies. 

    Top sports stars Michael Jordan, Roger Federer, David Beckham and Ian Thorpe all credit their mentors as being important to their success.

    Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Harry Connick Jr. have all acted as mentors to up-and-coming singers on TV show "American idol". Because their past experience (and talent) means that they have something they can share.

    In business Sir Richard Branson of Virgin brand fame acknowledges Sir Frederick Laker a British airline entrepreneur as his mentor. KFC's Hartland "Colonel" Sanders mentored Wendy's hamburger chain founder Dave Thomas for many years. And Paul Austin (Chairman of Coca Cola) mentored Jack Welch (GE CEO). Reportedly advising him to "Be Yourself".

    Having a mentor and being prepared to listen to feedback, whether it seems controversial or self-evident, is a smart way to develop yourself and your career.

    Do you have a mentor? What benefits do you realize?

    Let's chat...

    - Karen

    5 Fast Tips... where to find mentors

    A lot of managers and supervisors see their role as a mentor, providing expertise on how to do a job.

    This relationship does not need to be formalized with a "Will you be my mentor?" proposal on bended knee with accompanying soft music. That they will help you improve in your role kind of comes with their job description as your manager!

    But they may not have all the skills you need for all aspects of your current role or for the future roles that you are working towards as part of your career plan. You'll need to look further afield for the right person, with the right skills, knowledge or experience to support your Career Development.

    Knowing what you want to learn from a mentor is crucial to identifying who you need as a mentor and knowing where to look to find the right person for you.

    Here's 5 Fast Tips with some ideas of where to find mentors...

    1. To improve your results in your current role - look around for other people who are performing (or have previously performed) the same role. The successful ones. They may work in your team, elsewhere in your organization or even at another company.

    2. If it's technical expertise you're after - it may be someone who has in-depth knowledge about a particular process or technology. Keep in mind they do not have to be more senior than you to have knowledge, expertise or experience you want to learn.

    Consider people who,

    3. Work in your organization. The people around you who you work with every day. Identify experienced / successful colleagues and arrange to spend some time with them.

    4. Are in your organization but removed from your day-to-day activities. Previous managers and people you have met in training or on project teams can be good possibilities to connect with.

    5. You meet through your work or networking activities but are external to your current organization. Just because people don't work for the same company and don't feel obliged to support you doesn't mean they won't.

    If you're clear about what you want to talk to them about and extend an offer for a coffee, you'll be surprised how willing people are to help.

    Would love to know where you've found your mentors! Let's chat...

    - Karen

    Career Chick Hot Tip: When working with a mentor...

    A mentor will take you, and your request to work with them, seriously if you can describe:

    • where you are in your career, 
    • what you want to learn and why, and
    • specifically what you want to learn from them.

    You need to assure them that you are serious and seeking their help for the right reasons. And are genuinely interested in and committed to the process.

    When  you know what you need to know it makes it much easier to explain your motivations and what you hope to achieve.

    What types of things do you want to learn from your mentor? Let's chat...

    - Karen