What Leaders Can Learn From Great Teachers

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leaders great teachers

“The best teachers are leaders, and the best leaders are also teachers,” says Harvard Business School Professor Thomas DeLong, who has taught over 20,000 MBAs and executives across the globe since 1997. According to him, teachers, as with leaders, “should be like a mad scientist who can’t wait to get to the classroom to share the experiment. If you adopt this mindset, students will remain intellectually and spiritually in the classroom with you.”

With that in mind, as parents are rejoicing their children are returning back to school, here are some leadership lessons they can learn from teachers.

Have the ability to influence.

Leadership ability is often measured in the context of business performance in many organizations, Will Fan, CEO of NewCampus, writes in Forbes. However, there is more to it than just a focus on the bottom line.

“I’ve found it’s actually the ability to inspire individuals with their own agendas and cause others to rally behind a common goal that makes an effective leader,” he adds. “In a single word, it’s influence.” Efficiency gains follow.

“If you think about it, influence is largely about communication,” says Fan. “It’s about casting a vision so clearly that people get behind it with the full extent of their talents, abilities, and strengths.” Then, like teachers, the most influential leaders allow their team members to reach their full potential.

Keep your eyes on the big picture.

There are times when learning can be tedious, complex, and even dull. And, yes, great teachers are aware of this. However, by acknowledging their feelings, they help students see the bigger picture. Which, in turn, helps them move past these moments.

They know that challenging times are necessary to reach the ultimate learning goal. Moreover, they have a perspective that students cannot have and use that perspective to help people overcome challenges.

Successful leaders have a similar perspective. And, because of this, help those they lead through the mundane by raising their eyes towards the future.

Offer incentives.

“To keep my students on their toes, I give extra credit points every day,” says Dawn Bevier. “I offer three points to students who raise their hands and correctly answer simple questions during class discussions.” For difficult questions, I award five points.

“And when the school year begins, I make it clear to them that there are no extra credit points to beg for at the end of the semester,” she adds. “I tell them they have to gather them in the here and now.”

The semester ends with some students having seventy-five points or more.

“I think this ‘on your toes and in the moment’ extra credit opportunity is initially successful for obvious reasons,” Bevier explains. A student’s grades are important to them — and grades make a difference in their lives.

However, as time passes, it subconsciously motivates for reasons beyond extra credit points, which is ironic (and wonderful).

The reason for this is twofold.

  • It becomes a competition. In order to prove their intelligence, a student wants to “one-up” each other.
  • It is a source of pride. The more difficult five-pointers they get, the more confident and assertive the students become.

In what way does this teaching strategy relate to your business?

“When I offer these small incentives and competitive aspects to my instruction, students are constantly engaged — always thinking, listening, and working,” Bevier states.”And isn’t this the behavior every business owner wants their employees to display?”

What’s more, research shows that incentive programs “[increased] performance by an average of twenty-two percent,” and when “team incentives were offered, performance was improved by as much as forty-four percent.”

Best of all? These incentives don’t have to be cash-based. You could, for example, offer time-based rewards like leaving early on Fridays. But, most important, incentives should be based on the individual interests of your team members.

Turn expertise curriculum.

To attract and engage their target market, businesses engage in content marketing by sharing highly valuable resources and tools online, states Scott Barron, Founder of Yabwi. Getting the attention of key decision-makers is an essential part of business development. Why? There are too many competitors on the market, and people are distracted by so many media sources.

“Business leaders would be wise to tap into the expertise of educators in order to utilize modern approaches to curriculum design to build engagement internally (with employees, managers, etc.) and externally (with clients and communities),” Barron adds. “Understanding how people learn and how to craft instructional experiences that strengthen relationships offers a unique marketing advantage.”

“We’ve proven that such a platform of influence works through our own growth strategy, Barron says. “And we’ve shared this expertise with companies like 3M, Johnson Controls, and many others.”

Inspire trust by practicing empathy.

The job of an educator involves working with a whole bunch of different people like administrators, parents, community members, and students. They come from varied backgrounds, hold multiple priorities, and express their ideas in diverse ways. Because of that, educational leaders don’t make assumptions or dismiss anything anyone else has to say.

Similarly, leaders should also foster strong relationships with business partners, employees, stakeholders, and shareholders by developing emotional intelligence. Leaders should learn to value different perspectives and respect others’ points of view. It is important to remember that every individual sees things differently, so leaders can take the opportunity to use compassion in most situations. Compassion is a large part of emotional intelligence — and you can learn it.

Additionally, trust plays a crucial role. Despite a certain degree of authority associated with teaching, good teachers instill a sense of trust among learners. Leaders can also use the same method to support their teams.

Care about others’ success.

Students’ success is the top priority of exemplary teachers. They’re patient, and they’re willing to go the extra mile. And as a result, they do whatever it takes to help the student succeed.

Even though they understand and are willing to play their roles, they understand ultimately; that students are responsible for their performance. But, they still set up their students for success through knowledge, support, and guidance.

And this is true among business leaders. In the words of Stephen Covey, “An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organizational success.

Plan purposefully.

As a teacher, planning is a must. After all, by planning lessons in advance, teachers enter the classroom prepared to teach new concepts and facilitate meaningful discussions rather than winging them. In the absence of a lesson plan, it is easy for students to lose focus, and teachers are left scrambling for ideas.

In addition, when teachers and students are both engaged in the educational process, every day can be transformational.

Moreover, teachers use purposeful planning to identify where students are headed, what success looks like, and what is the most efficient way to achieve that success.

This is precisely the same (in all its variety) with successful leaders. It’s an imperative skill as planning archives the following:

  • Helps you determine future goals.
  • Expands decision-making.
  • Establishes abilities and expectations.
  • Encourage your team to develop new skills, engage them in new and challenging activities, believe in them, and take an interest in their career development.
  • Encourages creativity and innovation.
  • You will be able to identify your resources, who is currently available, track time, and manage time effectively.
  • Focus on what truly matters. In turn, this reduces overlapping and wasteful moments.

Learn to be flexible.

It’s not uncommon for educators to have a tough time getting students to understand lessons and concepts. A variety of factors can cause difficulty in understanding lessons. For example, those without basic math skills may struggle to comprehend complex formulas. There’s also a chance the teacher delivered the content in a way that was hard for students to understand.

There’s no way a great teacher would overlook this issue. So instead, they analyze their teaching methods and identify the underlying problems. As a result, they adjust their teaching styles to fit the needs of their students.

There are times when business leaders become too consumed with their projects. Despite not getting the desired results from current strategies, they refuse to acknowledge they aren’t working. The business world would benefit from learning from educators. Specifically, being ready to change directions at any time. Leaders can experiment with different approaches and see if they work for their teams.

Bonus tip: It can be almost impossible to be flexible if your calendar is too cluttered and rigid. So, just like teachers have a prep period, I would leave some white space in your calendar. For example, you could leave the block from 11:30 am to 12:30 am open for a prep period. Then, we can use this time to grab some food, return emails, or plan for an afternoon meeting. Or, you can simply relax.

Embrace teachable moments.

A teachable moment occurs when a teacher offers their classrooms a unique insight into a topic that has captured their attention. To seize teachable moments, the teacher or parent must sense and seize them when they occur. In most cases, it’s a brief tangent from a lesson plan or conversation about something relevant or interesting. Kids are inherently more interested in topics they can relate to and feel how they apply to their day-to-day lives.

“When leaders teach is almost as important as what they teach,” writes Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College for HBR. “The successful leaders I studied didn’t wait for formal reviews or check-ins. Instead, they seized and created opportunities to impart wisdom.”

For example, Costco Wholesale co-founder and retired CEO Jim Sinegal knew lessons could appear at any time when working with Price at Price Club. Apparently, Sinegal “spent day and night teaching,” whether advising on retail tactics or making himself a more effective manager.

Likewise, Chase Coleman III, a protégé of hedge fund CEO Julian Robertson, said that Robertson was similarly “out to teach you a lesson” by showing “how to do things and how to run a business.”

“Some leaders ensure on-the-job learning by working in open offices that allow them to observe employees, project accessibility, and encourage frequent conversations,” adds Finkelstein. “Others opt for more-conventional offices but make a point of maintaining open-door policies and spending lots of time circulating among their staff, which means they can offer lessons on the spur of the moment—when people can best process and embrace them.”

Image Credit: Max Fischer; Pexels; Thank you!

What Leaders Can Learn From Great Teachers was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Thinking of a Career Change? Take it From Possibility to Reality

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career change

Deciding to change careers is a huge one. There are a lot of different opportunities out there for many people. There is no reason to stay in a career that is not right for you. You may not like your job. You could be looking for a brand new start in a completely different field. In other cases, you may want to advance.

As you think about your future, consider how you could get there. Often, giant leaps in careers take some time to plan. You need to consider many variables to know when to make your move and how. That is especially true for older people who may have obligations to meet. In all cases, your first objective is to create a plan.

To take your goal from a dream to reality, work to focus on a few simple tools that can help you to get there. Of course, every situation is a bit different, but most career changes can happen with some planning and organization. Here’s what to consider.

Document Your Goals

The first step to take is to document what your goals are. That’s a big one. You don’t have to be specific just yet. Write down what you want to do. Make it your dream job or career path. Then, write down other things you would like to do.

Within your goals, document objectives as clearly as possible. For example, who do you want to work with and why? What type of work do you hope to do? What are your “whys” for this process? Then, when you put these thoughts and ideas onto paper, you make them a reality. That is, you define what you want. Now, you can start planning for how to get to that point.

Discuss What Your Strengths and Weaknesses Are Next

No matter how big your dream is, you have to be qualified for it. To know where you stand, write down all of the strengths you have. Then, be sure to list things that could help you do well in this new field. Be specific here so that you can see what your opportunities really are.

Outline your weaknesses next. As you work to plan for your goals, you need to know what you need to work on. These could be career skills or technical abilities. It could also be a list of objectives you have for soft skill development. That could be taking a leadership course or two.

Next, make a plan for achieving improvement in all areas that impact your desired career. For example, you may need a certification from a college program. Set a date for achieving these objectives. It may be a few months out or longer. By putting a date on that goal, you further make it real and give yourself something to work towards.

Get Yourself Organized

Now that you have an idea of where you want to go, create some objectives to achieve. That includes working on those weaknesses. The most critical first step is to consider a timeline.

How long will it take you to obtain the education you need to work in the field you want? Use a calendar app to give yourself that amount of time. Set a date for achieving that objective based on the length of time it takes.

Next, consider the process of reading yourself — like, listening to audible books, and reading hard copies, also. Amazon has an incredible selection of business books and audible books. You may need time to network and build relationships. You may need some time to work in the field in a stepped-up position before taking on a significant role. Again, use a Calendar App to put that into place. Give yourself enough time for learning.

No matter what you need to do for the position, place a time goal on it. That makes it a bit easier for you to continue to pursue your education, skill training, and other objectives. You know what you need to do. You have a timeline to do it. Let that motivate you to make it happen.

Consider Your Financial Needs

Money is often one of the most common obstacles stopping people from taking the giant leap. You may be taking a pay cut. You may need to take some time off work to return to school. These things are scary for those who have financial responsibilities.

If you need to save money, determine how much you need to keep. Your need will be based on your current budget and financial need. It may look like a lot of money. Instead of seeing it as one big chunk, break it down into a weekly or monthly number. How much do you need to put into savings to be able to do this every week?

Here’s a trick. Set up an auto draft into your savings account from your paycheck each week for a portion of the amount you’ll need. You can use your calendar app to help you a bit here. It can remind you to move money where it needs to go, for example.

Make Some Plans to Get Things Done

What is going to help you make a move? While you work on training and building skill, don’t forget the small things that really add up. Begin to make appointments with yourself for specific tasks — and also to connect with others who can help you build and widen your career choices.

For many people, a new resume is necessary. Spend some time updating your resume. Be sure it is focused heavily on the specific type of job you plan to have. Adjust all your skills and abilities to match the kind of work you plan to do. Here’s a tip to do this well. Use the job websites to check out the wording and requirements that many employers have in the field you plan to pursue. Make sure your resume has those words and skills in it. Be sure to be honest, but thorough.

Next, take some time to update your LinkedIn profile. Many employers use social media as a way to gain some insight into the person they are hiring. Be sure your LinkedIn profile matches your resume. It needs to help you to shine through this process. You can also write content and some tremendous informational pieces about the industry you are interested in or the work you’ve done. That way, would-be hiring managers can see your passion in the field.

Work to freshen up your soft skills, too. You may want to volunteer in groups that are important to you. Become a member of the professional association associated with your potential future career. What other qualifications do applicants in your field have? Work towards earning those.

Start Networking

Many employers today spend a lot of time networking with would-be employees. They turn to similar platforms, too. For higher leadership positions, it helps to have a few connections. Work to meet people. Punch in a few more events into your calendar app — such as professional events or networking events. Set up some time to meet with someone in the field for lunch. Talk to people already working in the field. How did they get their job?

Consider Your Long-Term Goals

A career change is excellent, and it is what you are planning for now. However, now that you have some goals to work towards, it is time to think about your very long-term objectives. What’s the most significant and boldest goal you have?

Use this as a way to choose where to work. You want to be sure that your next career move is going to support all of your future goals. The right company, people, and opportunities make a big difference.

It takes a lot to plan for your future. But stay organized through it all. Use a calendar app to help you stay on track of your goals and the work you plan to do. Doing so can help make your vision become a reality.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thank you!

Thinking of a Career Change? Take it From Possibility to Reality was originally published on Calendar by .

How to Offer Fun Summer Activities to Clients

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fun summer activities

Summer is the perfect time to put together some activities for your clients. Doing this allows you to connect with them more, establishing deeper relationships for long-term partnerships. While also strengthening loyalty, summer events can also bring in new customers to continue growing your business.

The question now is how to decide on a summer activity and execute it effectively. A lot will depend on your business and its specific client base. However, there are a few universal tips that should come in handy this season:

Make it Family Friendly

When it comes to planning summer activities, most clients will have their families in mind. With school out for summer break, they’ll want to spend as much time with their kids as they can. This is why any summer event you put on for your clients should be family friendly.

Renting out a pool or waterpark for your clients and their families will be a lot more fun than a cocktail brunch with little flexibility. Besides, this way the kids can have their fun while the adult clients can enjoy a piña colada in the shade. You’ll have plenty of time to interact with your customers while simultaneously putting on a fun family event.

While it might take a little more effort to accommodate entire families, the effort is worth it. Consumers love a brand that is friendly and outgoing to people of all ages and family compositions.

Sponsor Community Events

There are typically more local events going on during the summer. This will make it more difficult for your business to run an independent event. You’ll be competing with sporting events, parties, parades, and all of the other gatherings planned during the warm weather.

Instead of trying to force your summer activities into every calendar, consider piggy-backing on some of the more prominent events in the area. For example, you might find a lot of success by sponsoring a tent at the county fair. You can notify current customers that you have some prizes specifically for them if they attend the fair, incentivizing them to go. You can also gain more exposure for your brand and hopefully meet some future clients.

Other examples of summer activities you can sponsor can include:

  • a theme night at a baseball game
  • a fireworks show for your town
  • an outdoor movie night in the city park
  • a company parade float

As long as you can find a way to make sure your active clients are included, summer sponsorship opportunities can be a great opportunity for your business.

Embrace the Spirit of Giving

The spirit of giving might be heavily associated with the holiday season, but it’s always welcome in the summer. Any activity or event that you put on for your clients should be done with the intention of providing them with something. Whether that’s a unique experience or a load of prizes, they should be leaving with more than what they arrived with.

Let’s say you decide to put together a summer picnic at the park for all of your employees and clients. You prepare some delicious food for the occasion along with some games and activities for all the families in attendance. Don’t stop there! Raffle off some prizes, such as concert tickets, cool gadgets, or even free services. This combo will be the perfect way to say thanks to the clients who have supported your business.

Consider Current Needs

This has been a record-breaking summer in some areas in terms of heat. With temperatures climbing, a lot of people are opting to stay indoors rather than participate in outdoor activities. Your clients may very well feel this way, and you should keep that sentiment in mind.

For a summer like this, you might opt for an indoor or digital event. Next summer the weather might be more reasonable for an outdoor event, or you could try a fall event. This is an example of how current needs and circumstances will impact how you offer fun summer activities to your clients.

Create a Tradition

Every season comes with its traditions, and summer is no exception. For some families, it’s the annual Fourth of July parade. For others, it’s taking trips to the lake. Traditions are powerful, and your business can play a part in creating a new one for the summer.

Think of the summer event you want to put on. Perhaps this is a poolside barbeque event where you rent out a large facility for your customers and their families. If you can plan this event at the same time each year, you can turn it into a tradition everyone can look forward to. Execute your event perfectly and you’ll have people adding it to their calendar for 2023 as soon as they return home.

Summer is full of amazing opportunities. Be sure to take advantage of the ways you can reach out to and connect with your clients this year and for years to come.

Image Credit: Christina Morillo; Pexels; Thanks!

Have Better Financial Health by Using Your Calendar

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It’s incredibly easy to lose track of your financial obligations when you’ve got so much on your plate. But, it’s not just about keeping a budget on track either. It’s also about paying bills on time and saving money.

Thankfully, using a calendar to schedule essential milestones and reminders is one of the best ways to take control of your finances. Calendar apps are readily available for all mobile devices. Or, if you prefer to go old school, you can download and print one for your home or office. If you do that, you can stay on top of your monthly, quarterly, and annual financial obligations in just a few minutes a week.

Of course, this can be daunting. But, here’s our advice for getting the ball rolling.

Maintain a monthly schedule of financial obligations.

Keep track of monthly financial commitments with a calendar to avoid becoming overwhelmed. How? By focusing on the following areas:

  • Budgeting. Budgeting is an excellent tool for getting your finances in check. Effort and time are required, though. So, make it a habit to track your spending and ensure it’s within your budget. And that’s easy to do by setting up calendar reminders. By making this a routine, you’ll be able to avoid overspending before the next paycheck comes.
  • Contributions to savings accounts. You should dedicate a portion of your income to one or more savings accounts first. Not only can a savings account help you prepare for unforeseen events, but it can also help you make down payments on a home or vehicle. It can also help you save for a family vacation. Every week, set aside some time on your calendar to see if your budgeting efforts resulted in extra savings.
  • Paying your bills. It’s easy to set up automatic payments through your bank. But you’re still on the hook when it comes to paying your bills. Ensure your account has sufficient funds and receive a gentle reminder each week to make sure these automatic payments are paid correctly and on time by using a calendar.
  • Deposit tracking. Is your paycheck deposited directly into your bank account? To ensure that your funds have arrived on time and are in the correct amount, set a reminder on your calendar. Direct deposits can be delayed or incorrectly credited to your account due to accounting errors. At the same time, they are rare.

Assess your financial health every quarter.

Take the next step by setting up reminders for checking in on your budgeting progress, checking for savings opportunities, and paying bills on time.

  • Examine your financial situation holistically. Each quarter, set aside an hour to review your financial progress. Did you save $1,800 for holiday gift-buying expenses this year? Will you be able to reach this goal at your current savings rate? Budget adjustments are necessary if this is not the case.
  • Find out what the current interest rates are. Has there been a change in interest rates since last quarter? It may be beneficial to refinance your mortgage or consider growing your money in a term account if rates go up.

Be prepared for significant financial commitments by using annual reminders.

New year’s resolutions are great and all. However, it’s also a great time to prepare for future financial commitments like:

  • Tax season. Make a note in your calendar to begin collecting essential tax documents as soon as possible. At the very least, you’ll need your W-2 from your employer, 1099s for dividends, mortgage interest, child care costs, and receipts for deductions.
  • Exemptions from property taxes. Property tax exemptions such as homestead, disability, and others can also be filed at the beginning of the year. Depending on your state, you may qualify for various exemptions. Contact your county’s tax assessment office for more information.
  • Make sure your credit report is accurate. A free annual credit report is a great way to ring in the new year. Using this report, you can view the status of credit cards, car loans, mortgages, and more associated with your name and social security number. Examine this report thoroughly to identify errors so you can contact the vendor directly to resolve them before your credit score is affected.

As you can see, you can drastically improve your financial health using your calendar. But, let’s take your financial planning to the next level by preparing a personal finance calendar.

Sample Month-by-Month Personal Finance Calendar

How you create a personal financial calendar is totally up to you. What’s more, everyone has their key dates. For example, if you are a student, you don’t have to be concerned with dates like when to apply for financial aid. With that said, here’s a sample month-by-month personal finance calendar you can use as a template.

January: Get your finances in shape.

  • Calendar yourself out of debt. Put a three-to-six-month emergency fund together. And, if you haven’t already, pay off all your high-cost, non-deductible credit cards.
  • Create (or update) a statement of personal net worth. This would be the prior year’s income minus expenses.
  • Your portfolio should be reevaluated, and its asset mix should match your risk tolerance and time horizon.
  • Verify your workplace retirement plan’s eligibility and contribution limit. Then, make sure you contribute enough to take advantage of any employer matching benefits.
  • Check your insurance policies. If you don’t have health insurance, January 15 is crucial. If you’re getting health insurance through HealthCare.gov, it’s the last day to enroll in or change plans for the year. After that, only special enrollment periods after this date will allow you to enroll or change plans. And, while you’re at it, check your other insurance policies, like auto and life, to ensure you’re not paying too much.
  • You must file your fourth-quarter estimated income tax payment by January 18 if you don’t pay enough income tax through regular payroll withholding.
  • It is recommended that you receive your tax forms 1099, 1098, and W-2 by January 31 (for some 1099s, by February 15).
  • Rebalancing your investment portfolio can be combined with your cash-flow planning if you’re retired.

February: Organize your tax documents and go frugal.

  • The first week of the month is the best time to organize your W-2s, interest and dividend statements, and other tax documents.
  • A popular idea that has been around for several years is the Frugal February Challenge. Here you would spend a bit less, save a bit more, and get your money situation more organized during this shorter-than-average month.

March: Plan your refund and bonus.

  • If you’ve received a tax refund, bonus, or pay increase in March, choose a date to allocate it.
  • Additionally, use your employer’s annual bonus thoughtfully to maximize its potential benefits. You might be tempted to splurge on a bonus, but consider using it to pay off debt, build an emergency fund, or contribute to your retirement account.
  • Also, Medicare enrollees have until March 31 to apply for Parts A and B for coverage starting in July. If that applies to you, mark this date down.

April: Pay your taxes.

  • Tax returns must be filed by April 15. Any taxes you owe by April 15 still have to be paid, even if you’re getting an automatic six-month extension.
  • IRA and Coverdell Education Savings Account contributions for the prior year must be made by April 15.
  • The 15th of April is the deadline for first-quarter estimated income tax payments, if applicable.
  • You might want to mark April 22 as “Teach Children to Save Day” if you have kids. This program is sponsored by the American Bankers Association and aims to encourage young people to save.

May: Maintain a healthy debt load.

  • Make use of this month to determine your debt load. Provide a detailed breakdown of your debt. And make sure you include all your monthly debt payments in your debt-to-income ratio. Ideally, you want to keep that ratio under 36%.
  • Will you be attending a big event or performing a great activity in the next few months, such as a wedding or summer vacation? Make sure you plan ahead and budget accordingly to avoid unnecessary debt.

June: Assess your finances mid-year to ensure you’re on track.

  • You should compare your projected cash flows with your actual income and expenses.
  • Do you have enough money saved for retirement and other expenses?
  • Make sure your cash flow projections match your actual income and expenses. Also, withhold or pay quarterly taxes.
  • If you’re a college student, mark June 30 in your calendar. This is the last day to apply for federal student aid for the upcoming academic calendar year.

July: Improve your financial IQ.

  • Take advantage of the dog days of summer to build or refresh your money skills. For instance, your summer reading list should include at least one book on investing or personal finance.

August: Take steps to improve your credit score.

  • Put a reminder on your calendar to check your credit score with Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. Then, make sure it stays healthy by learning how to maintain it.
  • You may also want to compare what you actually spent on expenses like summer vacation or back-to-school supplies. You can use this to budget for next year to avoid debt.

September: Review your benefits and quarterly taxes.

  • The 15th of September is the deadline for third-quarter estimated income tax payments, if applicable.
  • Usually, employer benefits enroll in the fall and last for four to six weeks. Don’t forget to review your health choices, 401(k), and other benefits you receive as an employee.

October: Get ahead on college funding.

  • While you can wait until next year to file your FAFSA for the 2023-2024 school year, you can start on October 1. This is because some colleges use a first-come, first-served policy.
  • If you requested a six-month extension in April, you must file your income tax return by October 15.

November: Plan for next year’s health care costs and holiday spending.

  • Enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace for 2023 begins on November 1. There will be an open enrollment period on HealthCare.gov between Nov. 1, 2022, and Jan. 15, 2023.
  • You might also want to start planning your holiday shopping at this time. Make sure you don’t charge more than you can comfortably pay back in full on your credit card statements in January

December: Celebrate another year in the books.

  • Consider how your financial decisions before the end of the year might affect your taxes next year before the new year arrives. For example:
  • Would you like to make one more 401(k) contribution?
  • Is there any way to deduct donations from charity?
  • To possibly lower your tax liability and better position your portfolio going forward, consider tax-loss harvesting if you’ve lost value in your investments this year.
  • If you’re doing well financially, perhaps it’s time to watch the ball drop, relax, and get ready for the New Year.

Image Credit: Image by Bich Tran; Pexels; Thank you!

Have Better Financial Health by Using Your Calendar was originally published on Calendar by John Hall.

Better Content Management Using Your Online Calendar

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Content Calendar

Whenever marketers talk about marketing and begin to construct a content calendar, there’s a phrase they like to throw out. And that phrase is “Content is king.”

It’s believed that Bill Gates coined the phrase back in 1996. And, it turns out, he was right. When you consistently create valuable content, it builds meaningful relationships with your audience. It also improves brand recognition and establishes you as an industry thought leader. Content is also crucial for SEO and marketing your products and services.

Here’s the thing, though. For content to reign supreme, you need to take a strategic approach. In other words, you can’t just wake up and wing it. For instance, by sharing random social media posts or writing a blog post for the sake of having content on your site.

Instead, it needs to be relevant. And more importantly, it needs to sync with your long-term goals.

While it is essential, this can be time-consuming. Thankfully, you can use your calendar for better content management.

Content Calendars: What Are They and Why Do You Need Them?

In terms of content planning, a content calendar is simply a spreadsheet or calendar that details the content you will be publishing over the next few weeks, months, or even years. Besides giving you a quick overview of your content schedule, your content Calendar can also be shared with your team to keep them informed.

Your blog probably doesn’t need a content calendar if it’s just a hobby. However, staying organized is crucial if you’re using content marketing to grow your business.

Your content marketing strategy can benefit from content calendars in the following ways:

Keeps you organized and saves you time.

You can compile your ideas with a content calendar whenever you have the time. As a result, you won’t need to multitask. As a result, you can spend your time on other things instead of wasting time on ideation and creation.

Ensures you post regularly and on time.

In social media and SEO, consistency is the key and is rewarded with better metrics. As well as keeping your audience hooked, consistent content can help you recall your brand more effectively. For example, to make your audience feel more personalized, you can select specific events, holidays, or seasons that are important to them and post accordingly.

Collaboration is made easier with your content calendar. 

With most calendars, you can collaborate with the calendar and have multiple editors and creators on the same calendar by using team collaboration tools. Team members can stay informed and work together more effectively this way.

Errors and mistakes are reduced for you and your whole team.

It is easier to proofread multiple times when everything is planned and organized well before time. Furthermore, since numerous eyes are on the content calendar, mistakes are spotted quickly and corrected immediately.

You can develop your strategies for distributing content and using social media.

By keeping everything in one place, you can keep track of all the activities on your social media. By thinking long-term, you can devise strategies for what to do next.

It keeps you up-to-date on the latest trends.

A comment on a trending topic will always get you more traction than a non-trending one. You can make content according to all the trends when you use a content calendar. Instagram hashtag contests could be a simple example.

Tracking and improving content performance is made easier with it.

You can identify gaps and improve upon them quickly when you keep track of your daily or weekly activities. A/B tests can help you determine the content mix that gets your audience the most attention using your calendar.

Content Calendar Best Practices

Content management strategies can be made more successful by developing a content calendar. These tips will help you create steady content that meets your marketing goals and elevate your organization’s content calendar.

Pick a format you like.

For hosting your content calendar, you can use a variety of platforms. For example, you can use a spreadsheet, content management software, or a calendar app. It really depends on what works best for you and your peeps.

If you want to track more than just deadlines, a traditional calendar may not be the right tool. If this is the case, a spreadsheet might be a better alternative. Why? Because you can neatly organize everything into columns and rows. And this lets you include more information about each piece of content, such as the author, keywords, current status, and links.

Calendar and project management functions are included in content management software such as Asana and Trello. To improve your team’s efficiency, you can also use spreadsheets alongside these tools.

Come up with content ideas.

After identifying the correct format and tools, the next step is brainstorming content ideas. In addition to being topics that fit your brand persona, they should address any concerns your audience may have and demonstrate your expertise in your field.

Looking for some inspiration? To get you started, here are some ideas:

  • Regular blog posts.
  • Videos, webinars, or how-to guides.
  • A recurring post, series, or theme, such as Motivation Monday.
  • Case studies.
  • Customer success stories.
  • Business-related infographics, statistics, press releases
  • Make use of popular culture, news, holidays, or trends.
  • Reading lists.
  • Product or service launches.
  • Interview with a leader in your industry or business.
  • Business behind-the-scenes.
  • Business-related infographics, statistics, press releases
  • Upcoming industry events

Also, to save time, look for ways to repurpose existing content. A blog post on how to use your product could be turned into a video, for example.

To schedule content as far in advance as possible, you should come up with enough ideas. At least a six-month supply of ideas is ideal for me. But, there are some content ideas that I can plan further out. For instance, I can map out a content marketing strategy for the holidays a year or so in advance since key dates are pretty much set in stone.

Identify the channels and frequency of your publications.

Decide where and when to publish your content once you’ve brainstormed ideas. After all, there will be a different purpose for each channel. Using varying content means your content is written and relevant, uniquely suited differently to each channel.

Blog

Your business and industry insights are published as “how-to” content. A blog post should be published every day, ideally. The best thing you can do is share 1 to 3 quality posts a week if this isn’t possible.

Website

Using landing pages, videos, and gated content can improve your credibility. In addition, it improves your search engine optimization. If your business or industry changes, this type of content only needs to be updated once it is created.

Social Media Networks

You can promote your new content on these channels, build brand awareness, and engage your audience through social media channels. Depending on the channel, the frequency changes; Facebook once or twice a day, Twitter three times daily, LinkedIn once per day, Instagram 1.5 times per day, and Pinterest five times per day.

Video Sharing Sites

YouTube has become a great chance to mix your content up a little. YouTube is used to upload explainers, training, and interview videos (or even something funny about your company or brand). You can publish videos as often as you feel necessary. Don’t start thinking you can do a video every day if you haven’t made these vids before. Making YouTubes are hard to keep up with every day. Choose a weekly or every other week schedule to start out — depending on your audience. You will need to plan long video sessions where you get several done for your upcoming calendar obligations.

Emails

Content such as newsletters, press releases, surveys, and seasonal content should be tailored to specific audience segments. Find the best time for your emails through A/B testing. Avoid annoying your audience by sending arbitrarily timed emails.

Develop a content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy will help you achieve the best results from your content calendar. The first step is to determine your goals each quarter or year. Then, if you’re stuck, ask the following questions:

  • What is a content creator, and why do you create content?
  • Do you want your blog to attract more traffic?
  • Are you looking for more leads?
  • Do you want to be a thought leader in your field?

It is crucial to identify your goals before creating any content, determining where and when it should be published and how often it should be published.

Next, determine who will be involved in the content. Setting up team roles will help you determine how much content you can put out based on your team’s capacity, whether you have a dedicated content marketing team or outsource. During this stage, a content planner can be helpful.

To determine your context mix: and the type of content you will create, you need to identify your goals and establish who will be involved in the process. In order to get the best results, you should set up a consistent posting schedule.

Map out your content calendar.

The next step is to create a content calendar based on your content creation process and content marketing strategy. Depending on your business, your calendar will differ. To keep everything cohesive, you should only plan 2-3 months ahead. It’s also possible for content ideas and goals to change.

Here are some things you might want to include in your content calendar:

  • Title or Topic
  • Due Date
  • Publish Date & Time
  • Writer/Author
  • Target Keyword
  • Content Description
  • Promotional Channels
  • Notes & Resources
  • Status
  • Links

A calendar may also help map everything out. As Choncé Maddox explains, “I like to set up days dedicated to brainstorming, outlining, creating/scheduling, polishing, and promoting. Yes, the content production process is pretty tedious, but having a solid plan laid out in writing can make all the difference.”

Additionally, you can use your calendar to “set reminders to hold yourself accountable for meeting specific deadlines and allowing yourself enough time to prepare what you need to complete the content.”

Schedule posts.

“Once you’ve organized everything in your editorial calendar, you have another useful tool at your disposal,” suggests Max Palmer in a previous Calendar post. “Most blog platforms allow you to schedule posts to go live at a specified date.” Content for the upcoming weeks and months can be created by your team and scheduled to publish at the appropriate time. You can schedule posts for social media as well.

“Dashboard services like HootSuite allow you to enter posts and schedule them to go live on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, or all three at the same time,” he adds. “By always working in advance, a team also has the opportunity to tweak posts as needed before they go public.”

Promote and measure.

The final stage of creating a content calendar is promoting the content. Again, the most effective way to achieve maximum results is to plan a consistent posting schedule. Also, figure out what promotional channels you’re using and when.

You can measure your content’s success in a variety of ways. For example, you might measure brand awareness, lead generation, or SEO depending on your content marketing goals. Then, to plan for the next quarter, track these metrics consistently every quarter.

Be sure to leverage both web and social analytics, as well as revenue data. With this information, you can optimize existing content, such as titles, introductions, outbound links, etc., to increase visits and engagement.

The Bottom Line

There is no one-step formula for creating a quality content calendar. However, to achieve the best results, you must plan, create, complete (along with the image and SEO), and post steady content regularly. With a content calendar, you will remain organized, facilitate team collaboration, keep on top of deadlines, and increase your content marketing success.

This article was originally published on Calendar.com. Image Credit: Judit Peter; Pexels; Thank you!

Face-to-Face Meetings are Important for SO Many Reasons

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Face-to-Face Meetings

You may ask whether face-to-face or in-person meetings are still vital in today’s digital era of communication. Yes, they are; let’s see why.

Despite technological advancements, many firms still prefer face-to-face meetings because they allow for more effective communication, the development of solid connections, and increased participation.

Learning how to hold an effective face-to-face meeting will help you reach your objectives to lead, organize, or contribute to improved workplace communication. This post will examine why face-to-face meetings are crucial, their advantages, and how to conduct them with your team, customers, and coworkers. Unfortunately, hybrid work models can be challenging to implement.

What are the benefits of face-to-face meetings?

Because we build our companies on connections, face-to-face encounters are essential. While digital communication has come a long way in recent years, face-to-face interactions are still crucial for fostering a strong culture, developing rapport with customers, and engaging with individuals on a deeper level.

Many organizations prefer face-to-face meetings over other kinds of communication — so knowing the advantages and how to manage a great meeting may help you succeed in your career.

Face-to-face meetings provide many advantages.

Because of the many advantages they give, face-to-face meetings remain a popular choice for organizations. Meeting with coworkers, customers, and colleagues face to face may help you increase your capacity to achieve the following:

You should watch for and interpret nonverbal indications.

People don’t always convey the most critical information via words. Meeting people face to face helps you analyze micro-behaviors like body language, facial expressions, and eye contact. Simple nonverbal communication may help you judge how involved other people are in the discussion and provide insight into how they feel. You may use these nonverbal clues to direct your replies and discussion.

For example, if you’re at a meeting with a customer continually checking their watch, you may employ a more exciting tone or change the subject to refocus their attention.

Come up with creative ideas.

When individuals can discuss their thoughts in person, collaboration occurs more naturally. Face-to-face meetings also simplify attendees to detect when someone speaking is complete. Consequently, allowing them to feel more comfortable contributing their thoughts.

It may also allow participants to graphically exhibit their thoughts on a whiteboard or piece of paper to ensure everyone is on the same page. Finally, consider scheduling a face-to-face meeting when you need to discuss challenging strategic or creative ideas with a group.

Limit the use of technology.

While technology has its advantages, having a meeting without dealing with a camera or audio problems, internet connection issues, or other technical issues may save time and reduce stress. In addition, make face-to-face meetings a priority for critical discussions so that everyone can hear and see what is going on.

Make new connections.

Long-term company success requires strong partnerships. Meeting customers, employees, and colleagues in person allows for more human engagement, which may assist in creating trust and make it simpler to form deeper bonds. Consider meeting face to face with a new customer or someone with whom you haven’t yet developed a solid connection over coffee or in the office to build your relationship.

Pursue meaningful small chat.

You can lose small chats in digital interactions. However, asking someone how their day is going comes naturally in a face-to-face chat. For example, asking what they have planned for the weekend may demonstrate that you care. Indeed, it helps you discover mutual interests that can enhance your bond. It may also assist you in gathering information for a future project or proposal.

Spend a few moments at your next face-to-face contact, getting to know the person.

Deal with delicate problems.

When dealing with a delicate topic, face-to-face conversation might help you convey the situation effectively and avoid misunderstanding. It’s also simpler to demonstrate empathy and understanding, making it easier to work through the problem together. Try to meet with someone face to face the next time you have to handle a sensitive subject with them. You can show them you care about them and want to assist them in fixing the problem.

Effective communication is essential.

Face-to-face meetings facilitate successful communication by offering nonverbal clues and the capacity to pose questions to participants. This reduces the chances of misinterpretation of messages, emails, and other communications. To improve clarity in your business, consider holding face-to-face meetings.

Do not allow yourself to be distracted.

It’s generally simpler to have their full attention when you’re in the same room as someone. Participants in face-to-face meetings are more likely to remain focused. Outside distractions are less apparent, and people resist the impulse to multitask. Schedule a face-to-face meeting for essential matters that demand everyone’s full attention.

Increase involvement and engagement.

Clients, employees, and colleagues may be more engaged and participate in face-to-face meetings by encouraging them to be completely present. When meeting attendees can see each other in person, they are more inclined to participate in the discussion.

Consider organizing face-to-face meetings if you want to enhance engagement and involvement in your company.

Face-to-face meetings will help your employees form tighter bonds and will help retain talent. Additionally, face-to-face meetings will benefit marketing efforts with client and customer efforts.

This article was originally published on Calendar.com. Image Credit: Helena Lopes; Pexels; Thank you!

5 Methods Your Employees Can Start Using for Better Time Management

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better time management

Companies have training regimens in place that help onboard new hires as quickly as possible. More often than not, company mandated training focuses on hard skills required to perform daily tasks. While it’s important to know what you’re doing when filling a role, soft skills shouldn’t be overlooked.

One of the most important and impactful soft skills is that of time management. There are workers out there who might not have hard skills developed in their trade just yet, but excel at managing how they use their time. These employees typically have a much higher capacity than their peers.

Time management can be taught. As a business leader, you should make an effort to help your employees, both new and old, to improve how they use their time. These five methods can be introduced to them with that goal in mind:

1. Weekly Planning

An old adage reads as follows: failing to plan is planning to fail. There is a lot of truth in that statement. While a plan might not be carried out exactly as listed, it’s the preparation that’s important. Entering each new week with ample preparation makes it much easier to ultimately use your time wisely.

If you know when all of your upcoming meetings and deadlines are, you can better plan around them. You’ll know just when you can check your emails, return some phone calls, and finish up a marketing pitch. Without weekly planning, you’ll be in more of a scramble. This leads to a lot of stress and burnout among employees.

2. Task Prioritization

Another soft skill that tends to get overlooked is learning how to prioritize a task list. Each daily task has its own size and importance. Much like a puzzle, the fastest way to finish is by deciding where to start and figuring out which pieces go where.

A common way to approach task prioritization is the Eisenhower Matrix. Named after the former U.S. President, this method can help even the least experienced learn how to prioritize effectively. The matrix consists of four quadrants based on their importance and urgency. Tasks of high importance and great urgency are moved to the top of the to-do list.

This is a simple way to quickly determine which tasks should be first on the schedule. With a prioritized list, employees can manage their time more effectively while completing the most important tasks.

3. Calendar Upkeep

Few things help with time management like a good old fashioned calendar. Digital calendars in particular are very helpful for tracking and planning your time. You can create and edit a variety of events whether they’re work-related or personal.

Company calendars are helpful but can only get you so far. A personal calendar can be customized to fit the needs of the user. For example, if one of your employees needs numerous reminders to stay on top of their schedule, a personal calendar can be equipped to do so.

A personal calendar can also help employees learn time management skills outside of work. If workers can implement time management strategies with parenting, hobbies, and daily routines, they can come to the office better prepared for a busy day.

4. Task Management

There is such a thing as trying to do too much. Companies that overload their employees can’t expect them to be very effective or efficient. This is something you can work on as a manager. However, even if you provide the best working conditions possible, employees should still learn how to manage their capacity.

Let your employees know that they won’t be penalized for using their time off or focusing on work-life balance. This is something you should both enable and encourage. Happy, well-rested employees will work much harder and much more effectively than they would otherwise.

One method you can consider is enabling remote work or hybrid work. Employees who work from home often have an easier time balancing their work with the rest of their lives. Instead of continuing to overload their schedule, time with family can easily take place.

5. Goal Setting

Time management is often easier to tackle when you have a goal set in mind. Goals with designated deadlines give you a greater sense of resolve. Instead of running on autopilot, you’ll be more motivated to manage your time in pursuit of the goals you’ve set.

In some roles or particular times of year there aren’t many goals that get assigned by others. In these cases, employees need to learn how to set their own goals. If they can create that sense of urgency and direction, they will have more motivation to manage their time in order to reach said goals.

Let’s use a sales team as an example. If they’re compensated by commission, they’ll only be paid as often as they close. Setting personal goals for sales numbers will force them to manage their time to make things happen.

Time management can be taught. Set the example, and provide your team with the tools they need. Improved time management can allow them to get their jobs done in less time with greater satisfaction.

Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio; Pexels; Thanks!

5 Power Foods to Offer Customers at Appointments

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waiting room

Many people don’t think about eating or hydrating before their appointments. Sitting in the waiting room on an empty stomach can quickly put visitors in a bad mood. One of the ways you can ensure your customers are happy and taken care of is by offering free refreshments.

While it’s not your responsibility what others put into their bodies, consider offering some healthy alternatives to the typical refreshments. Healthy eating can lead to a boost in mood and energy. Visitors will enter and leave their appointments feeling so much better thanks to a combination of good service and quality refreshments.

This list contains five power foods that your business can consider offering to your customers:

1. Trail Mix

Trail mix is a prepackaged snack that frequently gets overlooked in favor of more sugary treats. The typical pouch of trail mix is full of protein and fiber. This is thanks to the nuts and seeds that are staples for the recipe.

Another great aspect of trail mix is that it comes in so many varieties. You can get bags that contain M&M’s, yogurt bites, or dried fruits. These add-ins don’t compromise the healthiness of the snack. Rather, they add a little bit of extra flavor and excitement to every package. Different flavors will also appeal to the variety of customers who visit.

2. Granola

Another great snack food is granola. This treat consists of rolled oats, often with nuts and honey. A good batch of granola is packed with protein and vitamins, such as iron and zinc. Just be sure not to purchase a variety that contains a bunch of added sugars. While this might be more flavorful, it changes it from a power food to a sweet treat.

A more common snack is the granola bar. The concept is similar, but the granola is packed tightly into a travel sized snack. These bars often have chocolate chips, peanut butter, or even marshmallows added in. While not as nutritious and power boosting as old-fashioned granola, this is still a solid choice. It sure beats a bowl of candy sitting on your front desk.

3. Yogurt

Yogurt isn’t typically top-of-mind when it comes to snacks, but think about the portable options at a hotel breakfast bar. It is quick, easy, and prepackaged. With the variety of flavors, it’s also often a kid-friendly option. Parents waiting with their kids at an appointment can appreciate this choice.

Yogurt is a great source of calcium, which is important for teeth and bone health. It’s also delicious and easy to eat, which is perfect for kids! Parents can ensure that messes aren’t made, and you’ll have some happy families entering and leaving your establishment. If you choose this choice, make sure to also have spoons available.

4. Fresh Fruit

Few snacks rival the power of fresh fruit. Fruit is part of a balanced diet, yet many Americans are failing to include it in their meals. Providing fresh fruit for your customers can help patch those holes in their food pyramid.

Fruits, unlike many snacks, are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. More importantly, they lack a lot of the additives found in packaged foods, such as artificial coloring and added sugars. Fruit isn’t lacking in taste either. Bananas, apples, and oranges are full of unique flavors and can be eaten at any age without utensils.

The only thing you need to worry about with fruit is ensuring its quality. Fruit needs to be monitored much more frequently than other foods. They expire much more quickly and may need to be washed before consumption. You should make sure any fruit that has gone bad is disposed of quickly to avoid gnats or fruit flies.

5. Juice

When it comes to beverages, water is the easiest and most preferred option. Most people just don’t stay as hydrated as they should. After that, coffee and soda are often the most common drinks available in a waiting room. While these are popular beverages, there are some better options to consider.

Just like fresh fruit is more optimal than sugary snacks, fruit juice can be more rejuvenating than even a cup of coffee. While customers can get a quick surge of energy from coffee, their energy can take a sharp dive after the caffeine wears off.

Juice can provide all the energy needed for a busy day without the threat of a crash later on. Not only that, but the nutritional value is far superior to that of a can of soda. Any sugar found in natural juice is just that — natural.

A good snack can really make a difference in the days of your customers. Supplying your body with better nutrients from the snacks you consume, has mood-boosting power. If you provide the same healthy foods to your work team, you can witness a change in their attitude as well. Healthy eating should never be underestimated.

Image Credit: Helena Lopes; Pexels; Thanks!

Meetings Should Be Run Effectively To Be A Successful Leader

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meetings should be run effectively

Leadership is shown in a variety of ways and locations. But, the most visible day-to-day expression is frequently how leaders conduct meetings.

The criteria for leadership may not be fair and maybe unduly simple, but the fact remains that excellent leaders conduct good meetings and terrible leaders have awful meetings. Period. It all boils down to who controls your schedule?

While they are not the same, leadership and management are strongly related. Meetings tend to be more about control than leadership, but management and leadership are tightly correlated. Both jobs are complicated and include much more than just gatherings, to be sure.

Most of a leader’s responsibilities occur behind closed doors, away from the confines of a conference room. So when asked whether a manager is an effective leader, it’s not unusual for the reply to take a few moments. But do you consider how that individual conducts meetings in the first place?

Meeting Leader and the Questions to Ask in Advance

Is the meeting leader someone who can organize a productive and efficient meeting? Are they able to keep a meeting interesting? Are the appropriate individuals in attendance? Do folks feel like they have a voice in the meeting? Do they take part in the game? Are you able to complete the agenda? Are you respecting the time of attendees? Is the meeting scheduled to begin and conclude on time? Is the group capable of generating ground-breaking concepts? Did you consider a healthy exchange of ideas and debate? Can the group come to terms with the leader’s efforts and reach a consensus? Is action taken, or are choices made due to the discussion?

The higher one’s position in an organizational structure, the more people are likely to add the meeting to their schedule. So, for example, someone working in the mailroom often has fewer meetings than a mid-level manager. But the CEO, on the other hand, will have more meeting needs than executives higher in the organizational hierarchy. It is what leadership sometimes refers to as their pound of flesh.

Indeed, according to some estimates, managers and executives spend anywhere from a quarter to a half of their time in meetings. Moreover, even at meetings, they are absent from other arrangements because they have been double- or triple-done

Is there an excessive number of meetings taking place inside organizations? Is it possible to limit the number of meetings? Should individuals attend fewer meetings than they now do? Yes, this is true virtually universally across all industries.

There will, however, be meetings as long as organizations can’t find ways to opt-out of them. And they will be led by managers and leaders who employees will evaluate based on how well they conduct themselves in meetings — or let’s get real — the “meeting evaluation” is really about how much power or authority that leader has over the employee.

More Productive Meetings

So, do you advocate for more productive meetings or more excellent skills? The most straightforward argument is to add up the number of hours spent — or squandered for any given task. And, depending on the situation — how much time is spent in meetings and multiply that total by the hourly cost per employee.

Adding together all of these figures always gives astonishing results. Each company may squander millions of dollars each company, and maybe billions of dollars are spent in aggregate. To no one’s surprise, unproductive meetings are one of the most significant sources of time, money, and productivity loss inside businesses. Furthermore, a less apparent but possibly essential indicator to consider is the decline in morale resulting from attending poor meeting sessions.

Although the loss or decline in morale is somewhat perplexing, new managers (let alone experienced ones) receive little training on conducting good meetings. To be sure, this is a symptom of a bigger problem. Leaders promote individuals into new positions without obtaining enough training for the new work in question.

If managers are fortunate enough to get a short training session on the necessity of drafting agendas, that would be lucky. And that’s all; now go out into the world and manage your team, and best of luck.

Significance of Leader Training to Conduct Meetings

Consider the enormous significance of meetings. In terms of time, money, and morale, a close look is warranted, especially when considering the beneficial impact that even basic training can have on employees and leaders. Indeed, businesses should prioritize teaching managers effective meeting management techniques.

What are the long-term benefits of managers being responsible for leading meetings for hours weekly, year after year? What if each event is 30 or 50 percent less productive than the last? That high percentage may seem like negative thinking — but consider how many managers are out there without formal training.

Various other skills are essential to other professions, and learning to conduct meetings and bring value to the table is a learned skill. Up-skilling for this job saves time, effort, and money. Considering that bookkeeping and code writing are carefully cultivated and developed through many years of education and training, you can see it makes more sense that managers shouldn’t be left to fend for themselves. This is true with all critical aspects of their jobs, including meetings.

As for managers, whether new or with experience, if your firm does not train for meeting skills, your company’s investment in top management and leader may not return the benefits you are hoping for.

Image Credit: Elevate Digital; Pexels; Thanks!

Meetings Should Be Run Effectively To Be A Successful Leader was originally published on Calendar by Hunter Meine.

5 Ways to Improve Your Employees’ Happiness and Productivity

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employee happiness

Several studies on happiness and productivity have shown that the happier an employee is the more productive they will be. Think about it. On a good day, you’re probably able to accomplish a lot. On a bad day, however, you might struggle to even get out of bed. Well, the same rules apply to the workplace.

If an employee doesn’t feel important or valued, there’s a good chance their work will suffer, negatively impacting your company’s success. To increase productivity, make sure your employees’ happiness comes first. This article shares a few ways you can help your employees feel good:

1. Review Your Technology

Chances are, you have several systems in place meant to streamline productivity. Maybe you’ve integrated Slack to promote effective communication internally, or maybe your company uses project management software to keep everyone on track. While the right technology can benefit your company, the wrong technology can significantly decrease productivity.

It’s a good idea to spend some time reviewing your current systems and processes. Make a list of what’s working really well and what isn’t. This is a great time to ask your employees for feedback, as they can probably shed additional light on how they use technology.

Once you have a good idea of where you can improve, look to technology for guidance. It’s important to note that there are many different systems available — some of which do relatively the same thing. Take your time researching the right system for your company. And don’t be afraid to change your mind. Often, the only way to know if something works is to integrate it first. If you’d like to do that and save money, look into free trials.

2. Create A Culture Of Transparency

As a leader, your employees looked up to you. Because of this, you might think it’s essential to demonstrate control constantly. You don’t want your employees to see you sweat, right? Unfortunately, that could be counterproductive. The truth is, no one is perfect. It’s important that your employees know it’s okay to make mistakes and not have the answer to every question.

To create a culture of transparency, admit when you’re wrong and be open with your emotions. This doesn’t mean you should spend an hour telling employees how stressed you are. But showing that you’re a human being, just like them, can go a long way.

Being transparent also creates an honest and open culture. There’s a good chance your employees will be more comfortable sharing their ideas and taking risks that could enhance their productivity and the success of your company.

3. Connect With Your Team

Employees want to feel like they matter. And while you probably appreciate your workers, do you take the time to show it? If you answered “not often” it’s time to change that.

This doesn’t mean you have to remember every employee’s birthday, but taking the time to check in is crucial. Make sure you say hello when you pass your employees in the office.

Even if your company is remote, there are things you can do to connect. For instance, you could email, set up team happy hours, or schedule one-on-ones. Regardless of what you choose, getting to know your team can help them feel valued.

Not to mention, it can help you make strategic business decisions. For example, by communicating with an employee, you might learn they have a skill or new idea that could help grow your business.

4. Give Your Employees Freedom

Prior to the pandemic, working remotely wasn’t as common. However, things have changed in the last couple of years. Not only are more people working from home, but many companies have found their employees are just as productive — if not more so — than in an office setting.

Regardless of your opinion, it’s important to ensure your employees have the freedom to work in a way that’s best for them and the company. With that said, remote work isn’t for everyone. Some employees want the opportunity to visit the office. You also might have workers who need to be in person from time to time.

Before making any decision, talk to your leadership team. This is another great time to ask employees for feedback on what type of setting they prefer.

You should also pay attention to what other companies are doing. While you want your decisions to be unique, you want your business to remain competitive. If offering remote work can help you hire and retain top talent, it might be worth trying.

5. Provide Feedback

According to a recent study, employees work harder if they feel “heard and valued.” One way to ensure that happens is by providing feedback. Contrary to popular belief, feedback shouldn’t be negative — it should be constructive. This means you should praise employees who perform well and provide feedback to help those who are struggling.

As a leader, you might find it difficult to provide your employees with feedback. While it can be uncomfortable, there are ways to make the process easier for you and them. One way to do that is to avoid giving unsolicited advice.

Don’t stop by a worker’s desk and randomly give them feedback, even if it’s positive. Instead, set up a process for providing feedback so no one is thrown off guard. That might mean having regular one-on-one calls between an employee and their supervisor or quarterly performance reviews. Both options ensure your employees know what’s coming, and they can prepare accordingly.

Employee happiness can make or break the success of your company. That’s why it’s important to ensure you’re creating a comfortable workplace where people feel valued. The tips above are just a few ways to help employees feel happy and, in turn, increase productivity.

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