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What Women Entrepreneurs need in 2018?

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

It’s been an interesting year for women in business. Women in many industries have told their stories of harassment, glass ceilings and pay inconsistencies and it’s made front page news. But for women looking to take the path of entrepreneurship, will the inevitable changes in the workplace that come from this, equate to success in their ventures?

 

What do women entrepreneurs need in 2018? How can they take the changes of 2017 and use them in their marketing strategies to achieve real improvements in profit? 2018 is the year that women can push their strategies and for the first time the feminine approach might be taken a bit more seriously.

  • More emotional engagement - this is already happening in the world of advertising and marketing and is seen as highly engaging, especially for women. Female entrepreneurs need to see more of this. In fact, they are both the target market and the producers - they understand it better than most.
  • Focus on the customer - by harnessing creativity and using storytelling as a device to win customers, it is possible to place the focus more directly on the target market. This is a more collaborative approach where the customer is the pivot point around which marketing strategies are developed.
  • Move from product to experience - in the world of B2B, companies are more often using the device of relaying experiences rather than product knowledge. It is the assumption that the product is already known to the customer, they want to know how that product can change their lives.

 

These changes in marketing strategies are ideal ones for the natural business approach used by women. The masculine approach of pushing sales has never been seen as more negative and 2018 might be the year that the female entrepreneur can shine. By using the above techniques there’s a good chance she will.

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How to deal with the Know-It-All at work

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

There’s nothing quite like that feeling when you know that your colleague is trying to tell you how to do your job. They seem to think they know your job inside out, they want to tell you all about how they would approach a task and they think that the way they do things is absolutely and unequivocally the best and only way.

How can I deal with a know-it-all?

Other than simply ignoring, there is plenty you can do to manage the office know-it-all and it doesn't have to mean that your sour the relationship. You may find that you can actually improve how you work with this person and maybe even learn from them. In many cases this depends on the hierarchy in your office, if they are senior to you or if you work closely with them. But there are plenty of subtle ways to make them realize what they are doing.

  • You can just tell them...wrapped up as feedback. If you are senior to them, this is a great approach. You can use a specific example, point out that their railroading may have been off putting and suggest another easier way to say what they mean. You might have to do this over and over - but it will probably get through.
  • If you are colleagues, you might want to simply tell them that their behavior is causing friction. Use an example and don’t be too blunt. But the fact is they will never know unless someone tells them.
  • If it’s your boss who is the know-it-all you need to tread carefully. Chances are that they genuinely do know it all (they are the boss after all). You could try asking them to consider other options by being proactive. This means proving your point with data and research. If they are wrong, they might not like having it pointed out but they will have to admire your tenacity. Oh, and allow them to take some of the credit - it will soften the blow and make sure your boss still likes you.
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Empathy and leadership

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

This article is based on Simone Sinek very famous book called “Leaders eat last”. 

Empathy is the most important leadership quality

 

What is leadership? Is is about telling people what they should be doing, what you need to be done and then making sure they do it? That’s what many people will assume to be the case, after all that’s what their boss is like. But what if empathy was the cornerstone of leadership ? How would that change the face of the usual business hierarchy?

 

We are actually biologically designed to put the needs of others ahead of our own. Any parent will tell you that - it’s innate. But it can extend to the workplace and often does - in great leadership.

 

Endorphins and dopamine are designed to make us stick to a task despite it being difficult - we push through barriers because the rush of feel good chemicals at the end makes it worthwhile. These are experienced individually. As a team however, the chemicals serotonin and oxytocin bring about a sense of pride in our work and how it is valued by others. It reinforces the workplace bond and helps to establish feelings of trust and empathy. These are incredibly powerful in a work setting.

 

Look around you at work and especially those in leadership roles. Are they exhibiting the selfish chemicals of endorphins and dopamine or are they taking advantage of the feelgood chemicals serotonin and oxytocin? Are they individual workers or collaborative? Who do you admire most and who would you follow when the chips are down? Put simply who offers you more empathy and who do you trust?

 

Good leaders have discovered that putting others first feels good and is a successful way to run a business. It results in loyalty and a sense of pride that comes from the top and the bottom. These are the leaders who ask their staff if they need help, if they are feeling valued and if they are happy and they are the ones who actually care what the answer might be.

 

These are the leaders who last and for whom success is more meaningful - interestingly they are the ones who achieve more success overall.

Creative thinking as an important soft skill

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Let your creativity push you towards your goals

 

As children we eagerly tell stories, paint pictures and let our imaginations rule our world. It’s fun, it’s exciting and we do it naturally. At some point (and for most of us) this natural, innate creativity is lost, pushed to one side and seen as unimportant in the world of work.

 

But what if your creativity could be harnessed and used to improve your work? This so-called “soft skill” is increasingly being seen as an important part of achieving our work goals - and our personal ones. But how do we rediscover those delights of our inner child?

 

  • Choose the right environment - whether your creativity shines when you are in the shower, going on a long walk or while you are driving - you need to allow your less practical side, the space to get creative. If your day feels like it is grinding, take the time to go for a walk and to think of something else. The answers to your work questions are more like to leap into your subconscious if you give them space to do so.
  • Brainstorm in the right way - once you know what environment suits your creative brain, use it to your advantage. Introduce pressing issues into this environment and see what happens. Keep a pen and paper handy because the ideas you get might be fleeting - but brilliant.
  • Be challenging - the way you think about things, or the way you have been taught to think is not always conducive to creative paths. You need to be willing to cast those preconceived ideas to one side and to create your own. Start fresh - bring back those ideas that you know work and come up with new solutions to new problems.

 

The result will be fresh ideas and new perspectives. In work, as in life, this is immensely valuable.

 

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How to encourage employee accountability

 

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

We know that employees who feel accountable are more engaged and therefore more productive. However accountability can be quite a difficult concept as employees need to balance giving enough, but not too much. The question is, how to make employees feel accountable, without of course giving too much responsibility too quickly?

 

Hire the right people

Hire people you can trust and who will also want to take on responsibilities. During the interview process ask candidates to talk about their prior roles and use this to ascertain if the individual has truly been accountable previously. Competency based questions are a great way to find out what people have done before. “Tell me about a time when….?”

 

Delegate authority

Absolutely fundamental to this is actually delegating authority. Unless you devolve some responsibility, there will be nothing tangible for employees to be accountable for.

 

Reward accountability

Reward employees who are responsible and accountable. This will typically happen in most organisations through the performance review process and may include bonuses and/or promotions.

 

Avoid the blame game

This is absolutely about accountability, but not about blame when things go wrong. Employees who are fearful of the consequences of incorrect actions will be very wary of being held responsible for work outputs.

 

Set SMART goals

The thing about being accountable is that you need to know when you are going right and wrong. It is important as an employer to set SMART goals for results – specific, measurable, achievable, results focussed, and time bound.

 

In Summary

Productivity will be higher within organizations when employees are truly accountable, understand what good looks like by being set SMART goals, and are rewarded when they do great work.

 

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Encouraging Employees to Live the Company Vision

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

The company vision or mission statement is hugely important. Why? Because it sets the tone and direction for every employee within that organization. It is a common goal that all can be united in working towards. To be effective the following points should be considered:

 

Write an inspiring statement

The statement itself is important – it needs to inspire and motivate. Take Microsoft’s – “Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” and Google’s – “To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

 

Hire the right people

It begins with the hiring process, before you even ask candidates in to interview. Speak to the recruiter or hiring manager and make sure they understand the company mission so that they hire candidates who would live that vision.

 

It starts at the door

The induction process into any organisation is incredibly important. It is the best opportunity to set the new employee on the right path and ensure they are in alignment with the company vision from the beginning. One great way to do this is to use a buddy or mentor system to guide and support the new starter.

 

Annual reminder

A lot of businesses do annual kick offs or other types of meeting which are often off site. This is a great opportunity to get the employees to live and breathe the company vision and work out how that can be delivered at a more practical level, i.e. what they can do in their own roles to deliver the company vision.

 

In Summary

A company vision or mission statement can be an incredibly powerful way to align employees with the goals of the business. It also allows customers to buy into the organization. To be effective, it needs to permeate the business and be at the heart of all lower level strategies.

 

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5 Tips to Create a Successful Employee Retreat

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

Employee retreats are a popular way to get the team together offsite, build relationships, and boost morale. It gives individuals an opportunity to get to know each other and appreciate each other’s strengths and capabilities. If run well, employees themselves should return to the workplace reinvigorated and with renewed motivation. These are our top 5 tips to create a successful employee retreat:

 

  • A developed agenda

A free flowing event does not typically result in overly productive conversations. To make the best use of time it is important to have a clear agenda with objectives for each session.

 

  • Senior managers should be involved

For employees to really feel that the event is important, senior colleagues should also be invited. Their support and participation should convince others that the output of the retreat has the support of the leadership team.

 

  • Hire a guest speaker

Hiring a great motivational speaker can be a brilliant way to spark lively debate. It also differentiates the retreat from regular meetings. That said, it is important that the speaker is a good fit for the team and the event.

 

  • Include activities

Energizers, break-outs, games, and other sorts of activities will keep the interest levels up. This is a useful way to encourage interaction between participants – perhaps among those who do not usually get a chance to communicate in the workplace.

 

  • Include social events

Set up a meal out and some drinks or another social event during the retreat. This is not a time to talk business, but some time for relaxation and to have some fun in what might otherwise be quite an intense agenda packed retreat.

 

  • Action plan

To avoid the outputs from the day fading away into a distant memory, it is important for individuals and teams to come away with clear action plans and this should include follow ups once back in the workplace.

 

In Summary

Employee retreats can be really powerful events to build team working and employee engagement. However to be most effective, they do need to be carefully planned out, taking into account the 5 top tips we have shared above.

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When to change how you lead

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

It’s fair to say that the world of business is becoming increasingly demanding due to the fast paced and often challenging times we live in.

 

This often means that business leaders are forced to respond to change faster than ever before. But does this mean that you have to change the way you lead? And, if it does, when’s the right time to change?

 

There are a number of different leadership styles, all offering their own pros and cons, and each potentially effective in their own way. However, that’s not to say that all leadership styles are appropriate or effective for all businesses, employees, and leaders.

 

The main management styles are:

 

  • Directive

 

The leader closely controls employees and motivates them through threats and discipline. The classic, “do it the way I tell you” manager.

 

This style of leadership is most effective when there is a crisis or when deviations are risky, but is not effective with underdeveloped or highly skilled employees.

 

  • Authoritative

 

The firm but fair manager who gives employees clear direction and motivates through persuasion and feedback on performance.

 

This style of leadership is most effective when the leader is credible and when clear directions and standards are needed, but ineffective when employees are underdeveloped or the leader is not credible.

 

  • Affiliative

 

The people first, task second manager who avoids conflict, focuses on good personal relationships between employees, and motivates by trying to keep people happy.

 

This style of leadership is most effective when used in conjunction with other leadership styles, for routine tasks, and managing conflict. It is not effective when performance is inadequate or when a crisis situation requires direction.

 

 

 

 

  • Participative

 

The everyone has input manager who encourages employee input in decision making and motivates by rewarding team effort.

 

This style of leadership is most effective when employees are working together, when staff have experience and credibility, and in a steady working environment. It is least effective when employees must be co-ordinated, when there is a crisis, or when there is a lack of competency.

 

  • Pacesetting

 

The ‘do it myself’ manager who performs many tasks personally and expects employees to follow by example. Motivates by setting high standards and expects self-direction from employees.

 

This type of leadership is most effective when people are highly motivated and competent, requiring little direction or co-ordination.

 

  • Coaching

 

The developmental manager who helps and encourages employees to develop their strengths and improve their performance. Motivates by providing opportunities for professional development.

 

This leadership style is most effective when skills need to be developed and when employees are motivated and keen to embrace development.

 

Before you change your leadership style, it’s important that you understand what type of leader you are and why change is needed.

 

Changing your management style certainly isn’t easy, but it’s worth it in the long term. There are a number of times in which change can be highly effective, or even essential.

 

Of course, you might not see results instantly, and it can be all too tempting to fall back into your old ways. But stay aware of your personal progress and keep yourself on track.

 

But that’s not to say that you can’t rethink your approach. If you find that, despite your best efforts, your new management methods aren’t proving beneficial for your team, you might need to alter your approach again.

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Decision making: is it as simple as it seems?

By: Morgan International Staff Writers

Decision, decisions; every day we make hundreds of decisions, many of them totally subconsciously but some being more demanding and requiring more concentration and attention. But how do people make these decisions and what factors come into play?
Whether we are involved ourselves in the decision making process or we are subjected to this in our line of business, it is an unavoidable part of life. If we are involved in sales of any type then working with the client to reach the right decision can be complex and taxing. As financial professionals we also find ourselves involved in this process when customers make use of our services and by understanding how decisions are reached we are better able to advise our clients.
How are decisions made?
Whether people are making financial decisions or those related to something else such as career or family, judgments have to be made. If the choices are complex then using a multi-step process to break down the path towards the conclusion can be very helpful. Here we are going to look at some of the factors that can impact upon decision making.
• Past experiences
Events that have occurred in the past can impact greatly upon decisions made going forward. Much depends on whether the results in the past were negative or positive as those involved are more likely to use the same methods if the outcome a good one. The problem here is that decisions made now based upon past experiences do not always result in the best result.
• Cognitive biases
These are patterns of thinking based upon generalizations that can result in judgments that are faulty and inaccurate. Things such as prior knowledge, omission and hindsight may kick in with people being so affected by the influx of this information that the decision reached is not the right one.
• Escalation of commitment and sunk outcomes
People may make a decision based upon how much money, effort and time they have sunk into it. This can play out by people ending up making a risky decision purely because they have invested so much they do not want to go back i.e. they are now so far down the line, it seems like the only way to go is forward – right or wrong.
• Individual differences
Particular differences such as age, cognitive ability and even status socioeconomically can all impact upon the way in which decisions are made. As we get older, our ability to make a decision can become harder as cognitive ability diminishes whilst younger people may be over-confident with the arrogance that comes from youth. It is definitely worth noting that the older we are, the fewer decisions we like to make.
• Belief in personal relevance
When people feel that what they decide really matters, they are much more likely to come to a decision. For example, constituents are far more likely to vote if they think that their support will change things.
• Decision Making Heuristics
Heuristics are strategies used based to make a decision based upon a small amount of precise information. Think of it as a mental short cut; a judgment can be made by focusing upon just one or two aspects of a very complex problem, ignoring others.

As financial professionals we can see that decision making is a very important area to understand and by having knowledge of the process, we are able to develop a greater comprehension of not only our own decisions but those of others.

Check out some of our training programs now and get yourself fully equipped with a thorough and detailed understanding of decision making, enabling you to interact far more effectively with clients, professionally and competently.

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4 Tips to Personalize the Employee Experience

 

By Morgan International Staff Writers

The importance of personalizing the employee experience is often overlooked and underrated by employers with severe and often unacknowledged consequences. Providing a personalized experience to an employee plays a vital role in their overall engagement with the company and ultimately influences whether they choose to remain working for them. When you consider the financial implications of recruiting new employees, putting more effort into retaining employees makes huge commercial sense.

 

  1. Utilize recognition schemes

 

Recognition takes many forms and even a small gesture can go a long way in personalizing an employee’s experience. Even if you don’t have a large budget to work with, improvise with alternatives to financial rewards. A popular way to do this is to use intranets or similar digital platforms to enable colleagues to provide peer-to-peer recognition as well as management acknowledgements.

 

  1. Develop a talent management program

 

Professional development is a major motivational factor for employees. An employee who feels that there is no career pathway or way for them to further develop their skillset will become disengaged and demotivated. Developing an effective talent program will not only boost engagement levels of existing employees, it will also help to attract high calibre job applicants.

 

  1. Conduct regular evaluations/appraisals

 

Dedicating time to review and feed back on employee performance is hugely beneficial for both enhancing the personalized experience and to help reach business targets. Constructive feedback from management on a regular basis will help to boost performance and make the employee feel valued and more motivated.

 

  1. Build strong relationships

 

Whilst all of the first three tips are highly effective, for some employees they will still feel it is part of a corporate process. To really personalize the employee experience, putting in genuine effort to know and understand an employee can make a huge impact.

 

In summary, providing a personalized experience for employees is a critical aspect of a successful business and should never be taken for granted. The business benefits that can be gained are huge and although the overall results can be difficult to measure, the costs of employee retention vs. recruitment will ensure that it is a very worthwhile exercise.