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9 Critical Common Sense Success Factors for New Employees

9 Critical Common Sense Success Factors for New Employees


    New employees are often lavishly courted, persistently pursued, and even occasionally cajoled by hiring organizations, especially if they have rare, unique, or high-demand skills or experience. But once they’re inside the door…watch out!  Often, the corporate indoctrination machine takes over despite the best intentions of an organization and new employees are left to the firehose tour of policies, personal benefits forms, nondisclosure agreements, and the process of orientation. Even in organizations with effective mentoring programs, new employees are often assumed to know the following nine points and are never actually told them.  Time and again, promising employees fall victim to the merciless consequences of not knowing these success factors.  Forewarned is forearmed…

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    1. All organizations have a culture that is an amalgam of laws, regulations, practice, history, mores, and politics – learn it. You cannot be successful by ignoring organizational culture, and sometimes you can’t by following it. It contains many unspoken rules, including what constitutes appropriate dress for the office and how you address problems on an informal level. I mention dress because business casual is not the norm for many offices and dressing down can make you appear unprofessional or lazy to people whose decisions matter. In some offices, business casual is more like “This Old House” and either gender wearing a business suit will stick out like a sore thumb. That being said, it never hurts to dress like the leaders of your organization, but endeavor not to outdress them.
    2. Adhere to the established chain of command. They exist in non-military organizations, too. It can take forever for good ideas to make it up where they do some good. “No” isn’t always a negative comment about your idea. Good managers know their organizational culture, and they know when the timing may be wrong for your idea. It’s good if they tell you that the time isn’t right, but even good managers don’t always tell you everything you need to hear. And, if you skip a management layer without approval, don’t be surprised when the layer with which you speak informs the subordinate layer.
    3. You cannot be friends with your superiors, but you can be friendly. Apuleius said, “Familiarity breeds contempt, while rarity wins admiration.” It is difficult not to become familiar with managers and coworkers in offices where first names are the norm, where people often lunch together or socialize after work, and where the working environment is friendly. Friendliness does not make people unprofessional, it makes the work environment more pleasant; however, expecting to capitalize on friendships in the workplace at the expense of accountability is unprofessional. Your managers will do you a great disservice if they fail to mentor you, including corrective action, and you will do them a great disservice if you expect them to overlook your needs because you or they want to be friends.
    4. Do not play in office politics. You cannot remain outside office politics. While seemingly paradoxical, both statements are true. Politics exists in any office on many different levels. You need to observe and understand what is going on in the office and it helps to learn where skeletons are hidden – moreso because you don’t want to be putting the broom away and have the boss come along and think you’re putting the skeleton away. You will be “in” office politics even if you never gossip, make it a rule never to have lunch with coworkers, never socialize with coworkers after work, and always toe the administration line. Most of those things, by the way, will make your life very lonely, at least in the office. Chat, have lunch with someone if it suits you, but never gossip about or denigrate coworkers or your leaders.
    5. Email is a powerful tool and greatly facilitates communication, but it is lacking in an essential element. Remember that there is no body language conveyed in email. Things often get misconstrued. If at all possible, conduct conversations in person or on the phone and follow up by email for a record. Official communications should not be accompanied with emoticons…Email is fast and convenient, but professionalism requires you to treat official communications with dignity. Email is forever and generally is subject to the legal discovery process. Don’t put anything in email that you wouldn’t put on a postcard or that you wouldn’t want seen by someone you respect. If you need to write an email that criticizes someone or something, write it but don’t send it. Put it away and read it in an hour. Read it again in two. A blistering email sent is a negative impression of you that cannot be recalled, and it may be many people’s first impression of you.
    6. Don’t blow your own horn. Harry S. Truman said, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” You’re very lucky if you’re blessed with a boss who gives credit where it is due, even when he or she would look really good if they took credit. However, if you aren’t so lucky, never blow your own horn. Excellence speaks for itself, even if it occasionally takes a while. If you do excellent work and are professional about your response both when you get credit and when you don’t, your reputation will grow.
    7. Don’t lollygag, but be available where managers congregate. Remember that areas where people casually congregate at work are natural places to have conversations. Managers often have ideas crystallize on the spot and frequently issue assignments to the person they’re talking to if they believe them capable. This isn’t always the best way to make assignments, but it happens. If you believe you aren’t getting assignments because you don’t hang out in the conversation area, you need to become much more proactive about how you seek assignments.
    8. Seek out several mentors. Having one mentor is like having one friend. You miss out on the incredible gifts possessed by different people. Every person has something positive to offer, and having several mentors, both inside and outside your organization, is essential to becoming a well-developed person. Not all managers have faced the same trials, and good mentors will be able to recount how they recovered after failures. They will also tell you how you can improve yourself. Remember that personality plays a large part in mentoring, and not all people are compatible. You can learn your most valuable lessons from people who aren’t like you.
    9. Participate in social activities with your office. You don’t have to attend everything, but attending some functions is a good idea and it allows you and your managers to get to know each other in a less formal environment. Go to the holiday parties, occasionally go to happy hour, even if you’d rather go out with friends from your personal life rather than work. If you cannot drink responsibly, do not go to office social functions.

    (Photo credit: Young Businessman on White Background via Shutterstock)

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    Published on December 18, 2018

    How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

    How to Brand Yourself and Make Your Business Stand Out

    You’ve been in business for years and have finally hit your plateau.

    The tactics you’d implemented for your customers aren’t working as they’ve used to. You feel like your business has fallen out of the spotlight and now you’d have to settle for any business you get. It’s how businesses work, right?

    The truth is that some brands will fade off the business world–while others will adapt well and continue to grow. You shouldn’t be too hard on yourself for where your business currently stands. After all, you’d kept applying tactics that provided predictable results.

    Instead, decide to not settle for average results and spend more time building your brand. To make your business stand out from your competition, you need to be unforgettable. But how can you?

    In this article, I’ll cover timeless tactics that have worked for other businesses. If you apply these tactics correctly your competition won’t be able to copy them. Here’s how to brand yourself and make your business stand out:

    1. Win Your Audience’s Hearts with Authenticity

    The truth has always shined.

    Even without the technology we have today, people always had a way of finding out if someone was lying. And, with everyone engaging in social media today, it’s hard to hide from the truth. Yet, this seems to be what many businesses fail to do.

    For example, companies like Listerine have been fined for lying.[1] A quick buck today won’t be worth it in the long run. Instead, practice being authentic to your customers and they’ll eventually rely on you.

    Allow your customers to buy your products with a money-back guarantee – then deliver on your promise. Be consistent with the content you provide and stay true to your brand.

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    For example, if you provide coaching services for entrepreneurs, don’t sponsor irrelevant brands. If you stop caring about your brand’s mission, your audience will notice. They’ll question your integrity with your business and stop trusting your brand.

    But if you gain your customer’s trust, you’ll start standing out from your competition. Your customers will feel safe purchasing from you since they’ll know you’re honest.

    2. Share a Story No One Will Be Able to Copy

    A few decades ago, a brand would’ve gotten away without being unique. That’s because back then starting a business was not accessible to most people. You’d either need enough money to launch your business or have the credentials. And even if you had all these qualifications, you needed to get past the gatekeepers.

    Today, technology has disrupted many of the barriers that were present a few decades ago. For example, today a college student can launch a Podcast within a week. He can create a website in a few hours and record a few Podcast episodes. If he’s persistent, he can build a large following overtime and get paid by sponsors.

    This is great news for aspiring entrepreneurs but there’s more competition than ever. You can only do so much before other businesses begin to copy you. But what no business can copy is your story.

    That’s why you need to share your story with your audience.

    For example, if you have a money blog, share how you’ve overcome your financial struggles. If you run a freelance writing business, share how you’ve overcome writer’s block. The more your audience can relate to you the better.

    Without a story, your business won’t stand out. And if you copy what’s working for other businesses, you’ll experience short-term success.

    Take some time to share your story with the world, your audience will love you more for it.

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    3. Stop Reinventing Every Single Thing

    “Don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it.” – Anthony J.D’angelo

    You may have heard that being original is the way to stand out. While this is true to an extent, you also shouldn’t be original when something is already working.

    For example, if your competition has a successful Podcast in your field, then so can you. Don’t search for better alternatives to a Podcast if it’s already working.

    Why?

    Because this is a waste of time. Instead, copy what’s already working and make it your own.[2] If your competition has a Podcast, figure out which areas you can improve and tailor it around your brand.

    Knowing this you can now spy on your competition and determine which areas you can improve. But, know that it also works the other way around. Others will view your business and copy what’s working for you.

    That’s why it’s important to stay true to your brand and be authentic with your audience. When you do, your competition won’t be able to copy your unique traits. Have an abundant mindset and feel confident for what your business has to offer.

    4. Shine Because of Your Uniqueness

    Stop trying to help the entire world and focus on helping a specific group of people instead.

    I get it, you’re willing to help almost everyone because you want to bring in more business. But the truth is that if you resonate with everyone, you resonate with no one.

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    Take, for example, a marketing agency that helps businesses promote their product. This business doesn’t speak to anyone but gets occasional sales throughout the year.

    But what if there was a similar marketing agency dedicated to helping real estate agents? If there was a real estate agent looking for help in marketing–who do you think they’ll choose? That’s why niching down is necessary if you hope to stand out from your competition.

    Determine which customers you enjoy working with the most and determine which customers bring in the most revenue. Once you’ve gathered enough data, focus on servicing your ideal customer.

    Don’t expect immediate results since this won’t be an easy transition. If you’re currently helping a narrow audience, slowly transition into a niche audience. Niching down is crucial to building raving fans.

    5. Be the Brand Everyone Can Depend On

    Being the brand your customers can depend on is important. How many times have you bought a product that’s failed on its promise? Or have settled for an average service?

    Exceeding your customer’s expectations is a sure way to make your brand stand out. In the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, studies on human psychology prove that when you give to others, they’ll reciprocate. Offer your customers free consulting, a free ebook, or free quality content. Eventually, they’ll be happy to reciprocate after receiving value from you.

    View what your competition is doing and surpass their offers. For example, if your competition offers a free 15-minute consulting call, offer 30 minutes. When you focus on helping others more, your customers will notice.

    Make it your mission to serve your customers first and then worry about making a profit. Other ways for your business to be reliable is by inspiring your customers. That’s right, a business isn’t only about selling, it’s also helping customers achieve their goals.

    For example, you can write content that will inspire your audience to take action. You can interview guests that will push your audience to break bad habits. Get creative and look for more ways in which your audience can depend on you with.

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    The Bottom Line

    Imagine serving fewer customers and getting paid more than ever.

    Despite the fierce competition, you’ve got fans wanting to buy your products and services. Although this may seem impossible right now, it’s not. If other brands have been able to stand out in a crowded industries, why can’t yours?

    The truth is that standing out from your competition isn’t easy. There’s no secret formula that’s available to the rest of the world. The trick is to do what most brands are unwilling to do.

    Many businesses don’t want to niche down because this will mean a loss in sales. But that’s sacrificing short-term gains for long-term success. Niching down is necessary to build a brand your customers will love.

    Many businesses will spend a lot of money looking for ways to innovate, but won’t apply what’s working. But, not you.

    You’ve got what it takes to stand out from your competition. Start slowly and master each principle covered here. Now go and make your business stand out like never before.

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    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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