Employee Appreciation Ideas for Employee Appreciation Day and Every Day

employee appreciation ideas

Some people say that you show employees appreciation by giving them a paycheck and that any more thanks is over the top. We call that old school management. And it doesn’t work.

The human brain thrives on recognition. People are more likely to replicate positive behaviors when those behaviors are recognized. If your employees are doing a good job and you appreciate them, don’t make them guess. “Well, my badge still works. So I guess things are going ok,” is not sufficient recognition.

Today is Employee Appreciation Day – a made-up holiday to remind us to say “thank you” to the people we work with, who contribute every day.

Don’t take your employees for granted, or you’ll be finding new ones.

Here are six ways to mark Employee Appreciation Day today and every day:

Employee appreciation ideas 1) Ask employees what’s important to them – why they accepted the job, why they stay, and how they would like to receive recognition.

Most employees will work their entire career without a manager ever asking these questions. Getting to know your employees better and differently costs nothing but a little time.

Employee appreciation ideas 2) Ask employees about the kind of work they want to do in the future and what they want to learn and gain exposure to. Write down what they say (so you don’t have to remember) and give employees exposure to this type of work when it’s appropriate (when there’s a business need and when they’ve earned it by doing good work.)

Employee appreciation ideas 3) Give very specific, positive feedback regularly. Giving specific feedback  demonstrates you’re paying attention to employees’ work and noticing the impact they’re making. Employees want to know how they’re doing. As odd as it may sound, feedback is a form of recognition. Taking the time to observe performance and give specific, timely feedback tells employees they matter.

Employee appreciation ideas 4) Tell the senior people in your organization what a great job your employees are doing. Employees have limited exposure to senior leaders. Don’t make the people who can influence your employees’ careers guess who’s doing great work.

Employee appreciation ideas 5) Take the time to write a handwritten note. In my 15 years of working in a corporate environment, I received one handwritten note from one of my managers. I kept it for 10 years.

Employee appreciation ideas 6) Spend time with your employees. Every employee needs face time with his/her boss. Don’t underestimate the value employees place on the time you give them. If you’re not meeting with your employees on a one-on-one basis regularly, start. Meet for 30-minutes once a quarter. Then meet once a month. Employees create the meeting agenda and come prepared to give you an update on their work. You should be prepared to give both positive and upgrade feedback.

Notice not one of the employee appreciation ideas or ways to recognize Employee Appreciation Day above is monetary in nature. Employees want your time and attention. They want to learn and grow. Provided employees feel fairly compensated, money is secondary.

Today, and every day, find a way to say “thank you” that’s meaningful to your employees. And the only way to know what employees will find meaningful is to ask.


How to Be Easy to Work With

communication skills in the workplace

In last week’s blog, I advocated for picking up the phone, even when you don’t want to, being patient, and asking questions versus accusing. Admittedly, it’s easier to be generous with some people than with others. Some people are just hard to work with. And no matter how much you want to do the right thing, when difficult people’s names show up on your caller-id, it’s tempting to let them go to voicemail, indefinitely.

There are a few behaviors that make people difficult people to work with. Avoid these communication blunders, and help ensure your calls don’t go to voicemail.

Five tips to be easy to work with:

How to be easy to work with tip 1: Don’t take things personally. Human beings are wired for survival. Most people are so worried about themselves – looking good and doing well – they’re not all that worried about you. When you get overlooked for a project or a meeting, rather than feeling slighted, ask what happened that you weren’t included. Or just be grateful you have one fewer meeting to attend.

How to be easy to work with tip 2: Remember it’s not all about you. People who think everything is about them are exhausting to be with. Be humble. Take an interest in others. And remember that no matter how talented and fabulous you are, you’re not the only one in your organization who is producing results.

How to be easy to work with tip 3: Give other people the benefit of the doubt. Most people are genuinely trying to do the right thing. If you question someone’s motives or actions, ask a question before making a decision about that person.

I like the question, “Help me understand…?” It’s neutral and invites the other person to speak. If you choose to ask this question, watch your tone of voice. If you can safely add the words “you dummy” to a question, you have a tone issue.

How to be easy to work with tip 4: Temper your emotions at work. You’re human and human beings have feelings. But sometimes our feelings can be off putting to others. Most people are uncomfortable when managers and coworkers yell, cry, or give the silent treatment. Manage your emotions at work. Wait to have conversations until you’re not upset. And if you can’t manage your emotions during a conversation, excuse yourself until you can.

How to be easy to work with tip 5: Be introspective and self-aware. The better you know yourself and how you impact others, the more you can work with others how they like to work. Periodically ask people you trust for feedback on the impression you make and what you’re like to work with. Listen to their feedback and adjust your communication habits to be easier to work with.

The bottom line – to be easy to work with you need to be sensitive to how you impact others. People who pay attention to how they impact others and make changes to work better with others, are enjoyable to work with. People who don’t pay attention to how they impact others and aren’t open to altering their working styles get sent to voicemail.

communication skills in the workplace


Effective Communication in the Workplace – Sometimes You’ll Get It Right and Sometimes You Won’t

Effective Communication in the WorkplaceAs someone who writes and teaches about effective communication in the workplace, the people I work and socialize with are expecting me to model good communication skills all the time. The good news: I try really hard to always do the right thing and impact people positively. The bad news, I’m human and sometimes I don’t get it right.

One of the things I’m proud of about Candid Culture, is that we are real people, working with real people. We work very hard to practice effective communication in the workplace and to always model what we’re teaching. And yet, like all people, we get busy, rushed, and tired. We read emails we intend to reply to, but then forget to do so. We occasionally send emails, when we should pick up the phone.

In my world, a good communicator is not someone who always communicates perfectly.

 A good communicator who practices effective communication in the workplace is someone who:

  1. Cares about people and consistently works to communicate in the way others need.
  1. Asks for and is open to feedback about how s/he impacts people.
  1. Listens and watches other people’s verbal and non-verbal communication.
  1. Alters his/her communication style to meet other people’s needs.
  1. Takes responsibility when things don’t go well.

This week I’m advocating for picking up the phone, even when you want to do everything but, being patient, even when you’re frustrated, and asking questions, versus accusing. And I’m going to admit, I’m working to do these things too. Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I don’t. I’m in the trenches with you, working to say and do the right things every day.

I promised you five tips to practice effective communication in the workplace and to be generous with people:

  1. Only call people when you have adequate time, attention, and patience to have whatever conversation needs to be had.
  2. If you need a few days to return a call, say so. Let the person know when you’ll call.
  3. Prepare for conversations. Plan what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.
  4. Don’t have hard conversations when you’re frustrated, tired, or busy. They won’t go well.
  5. If the conversation goes poorly, call back later and clean it up.

Being a good communicator doesn’t mean being perfect. It means caring enough to notice when you miss the mark, cleaning up your messes, and working to do it better next time. I’ll be working on the above recommendations too this week. And when I screw it up, you can be assured that my mistakes will become examples in our training programs of what not to do, followed by a new technique that will hopefully work for all of us.

Business Greeting Cards


Three Keys to Having Difficult Conversations

how to have difficult conversations

Avoiding having difficult conversations because you’re uncomfortable? Afraid you’ll hurt someone’s feelings? Worried you’ll damage your relationship? Why not just say so?

The people you work with want to work with other human beings. And part of being human is expressing how you feel.

It may seem that admitting that you’re nervous or uncomfortable weakens your position and diminishes your power. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Saying how you feel and being willing to be vulnerable are signs of strength. People with strong egos can admit when they are uncomfortable, people with weak egos feel too threatened to do so. Vulnerability and authenticity help other people see you as human, and make people feel closer to you. And people want to work with other human beings, not emotionless androids who never show their cards.

If you’re nervous, say you’re nervous. If you’re afraid you’ll negatively impact your relationship by speaking up, say so. If you’re not sure it’s your place to raise an issue, say that. You won’t lose anything by stating your concerns. You only stand to gain.

Starting difficult conversations could sound like this:

Having difficult conversations option one: “I’m not sure it’s my place to talk about our department’s Customer Service Survey results, but I care about our reputation and have a few thoughts. Is it ok if I talk about them with you?”

Having difficult conversations option two: “I’ve got some input for you that I’ve been hesitant to share, but I think the information could be helpful to you. I care about you and your career, and I want you to be successful. Is it ok if I share my thoughts?”

Having difficult conversations option three: “I’ve got a few things to talk with you about, but haven’t brought them up because I’m a bit concerned about how you’ll react. Is it ok if I share them with you? I’m saying these things because I care about our department, and I’m noticing a few things I think we can do differently, for better results.”

You probably noticed that in the examples above, I stated that I was concerned about speaking up, asked for permission to do so, and stated the reason I wanted to provide input. Your motive for having difficult conversations is very important. When people trust your motives you can say anything. When they don’t trust your motives, you can say little.

Don’t be afraid to say how you feel. If you’re afraid to speak up, saying so won’t reduce your credibility, it will likely increase it. State your concerns, explain why you’re speaking, and ask for permission to give feedback. Doing those three things will help any message be well received and is likely to make it easier for you to say what you want to say.

how to have difficult conversations


Managing Interruptions at Work

interruptions at workAs crazy as it sounds, it can be difficult to get work done at work. There are the drive bys –people who want your opinion on EVERYTHING before they make decisions, the interrupters who have just one question, several times a day, the visitors who want to update you on EVERYTHING happening in their personal lives, and coworkers who host meetings at their workstation, take phone calls on speaker phone, and who listen to music without headphones, while loudly eating potato chips. All of these distractions are enough to make many employees want to find a quieter place to work.

The concept that it can be hard to get work done at work is crazy. We’re at work to work. And yet many employees, with and without a door, get in at 7:00 am, before others arrive, so they can “get some work done” and stay late because they “got nothing done all day.”

Open work environments can be productive and interruptions can be minimized, but managing interruptions at work will require some clear guidelines and direct communication, which many workplaces are missing.

Managing interruptions at work – practices for creating a work environment that works for everyone:

Write workspace practices down, share them with all employees, post the practices in every work area, and discuss them frequently.

Examples of practices for managing interruptions at work:

  1. Use a headset for all phone calls.
  2. Pay attention to your volume. Speak as quietly as possible.
  3. If you have visitors at your desk for business or non-business related conversations that last longer than five minutes, take the conversation to a conference room, empty office, or local coffee shop.
  4. Use headphones to watch videos and listen to music.
  5. Avoid prairie dogging—calling down a row, hallway, or over a cubicle wall. Instead, walk to the person’s desk, call, or send an email or text message.
  6. Turn off all auditory alerts on computers and cell phones, so your coworkers don’t have to hear pinging and ringing all day. The people you sit with don’t need to know every time you receive an email, text, or Facebook message.
  7. Finally, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, give all employees permission to make requests and give feedback when workspace guidelines are broken. It must not only be acceptable but expected that employees will say something when a guideline is broken and the workspace gets too loud.

Most employees will not speak up when others are being loud. It’s easier to find another location to work than risk a coworker’s defensive response. And no one wants to be ‘that person’ who complains about how loud someone is. If employees aren’t comfortable speaking up and making requests, offer training on how to have these conversations, and provide written examples of what employees can say that is respectful and clear.

Guidelines for dealing with interruptions at work:

You’d think that having a door would make people immune to work place distractions, but that’s not the case. Employees with offices also deal with drive bys and interruptions. The key to dealing with both is communication.

  1. Don’t wait for problems to occur. Anticipate challenges and talk about them before guidelines are broken. It’s much easier to make a request than to give feedback.
  1. Each time a new person joins a team, department, or workspace, ask everyone on the team to share their work-related pet peeves, how they like to communicate, and how they prefer to be interrupted. Everyone deals with interruptions, so you might as well express a preference. If you’d prefer people email you and ask when you have time for a quick question, make that request. If you’re ok with people interrupting you without notice, let people know. If you’re not distracted by noise, tell people. If you are, make that preference known.

People are too hesitant to speak up at work for fear of damaging relationships and hurting people’s feelings. The best thing leaders can do to improve the working environment (or any workplace challenge) is to set clear expectations, create opportunities to talk about how things are going, and make it ok to speak up.

Suffering at work is optional. Everyone is accountable for the work environment, and you won’t get what you don’t ask for.

interruptions at work


Eliminate Your Business Blind Spots

You will be passed over for jobs, projects, and opportunities – personally and professionally. People will choose not to buy from you and they’ll choose not to be your friend and romantic partner. And that’s ok. Not everyone is our right “customer.” The key isn’t to win every opportunity. Rather, it’s what we do when we don’t get what we want.

When you’re done feeling disappointed, mad, and frustrated, get curious. Find out why you were passed over. I’ll never suggest you make changes. I simply want you to know what’s standing in your way, so you have power – the power to choose. Eliminate your business blind spots.

All of us have blind spots – things we do that are off putting to others, that we’re not aware of. For the most part, people won’t tell us our business blind spots, instead, they simply pass us over. Being rejected is feedback, it’s just not specific enough to help us make different choices. If you want to be able to change your behavior, you need to know what behaviors are standing in your way. Then you can choose what, if anything, to do about those behaviors.

When you get turned town for an opportunity, practice these strategies to eliminate your business blind spots:business blind spots

  1. Allow yourself to have an emotional reaction, to feel disappointed and grieve the loss.
  1. When your emotions dissipate, call people who can tell you why you were turned down, and ask for feedback. The goal of the conversation: Eliminate your business blind spots.
  1. Be humble and open.

Consider saying something like, “Thank you so much for considering me/us to support your needs. We were disappointed not to win your business. Would you willing to share what had you choose a different provider and what we could have done differently to be a stronger candidate? I’ll be grateful for anything you’re willing to tell me.”

Depending on the circumstances, you could also say something like, “I wasn’t put on the _______ project. I wonder if you have any information as to why? I appreciate anything you’re able to tell me. Your input will help me grow and eliminate by business blind spots.”

  1. Regardless of what you hear, thank the person for the feedback. You can ask for additional information and ask who else you can talk with, but don’t become defensive. The less defensive you get, the more feedback you’ll get. Make it easy to tell you the truth (as the other person sees it).

Remember, information is power, and power is control. Many people don’t give direct feedback because they’re afraid of the other person’s reaction. Surprise people by being open to feedback, and eliminate your business blind spots.

  1. Validate feedback that doesn’t feel right to you. If you’re not sure what someone told you is accurate, vet the feedback with other people you trust. Simply ask other people, who are aware of your performance, “I received this feedback. Does that resonate with you?”
  1. Sit with the feedback for a few days before taking any action.
  1. When your emotions have passed, decide what, if anything, you want to do with the input you’ve received. Perhaps you want to make changes. Perhaps you don’t. Either way, you have more power than you did before you received any input.

You won’t win them all. The key isn’t avoiding rejection, it’s what you do when you don’t get what you want. Be brave. Be open. Ask for feedback. And you’ll have the power to make different choices next time, if you want to.

business blind spots


When Giving Feedback, Less Is More

how to have difficult conversationsPeople often hoard feedback until a situation becomes so frustrating that they can’t help but speak up. And because they waited too long to say what they think, many more words come tumbling out than is either necessary or helpful.

When it comes to giving feedback, less is more. Be specific, give an example or two, and stop talking.

If you want people to be receptive to your feedback, make it easier to hear by saying less. By saying less, I don’t mean don’t tell the truth or provide enough information that the person knows precisely what to do differently. I do mean, don’t provide more information than is necessary.

You are likely familiar with the phrase “let someone save face.” Allowing someone to save face requires saying just enough that the person knows what to do differently, but not so much that the person feels attacked.

Here are two examples of giving feedback do’s and don’ts:

Too much feedback: Last week you turned in a report that had five typos and had important pieces of information missing. I’m surprised you’d be so careless. It made our entire department look bad. I’m perplexed that you’d submit work without checking it first. What is leading you not to check your work and submit incomplete reports?

Don’t repeat feedback. Say it once and move on. And remove unnecessary judgments (careless) and share just the facts.

Just the right amount of feedback: The report you gave me last week had a few typos and was missing some important information. The report went to the client with those errors which didn’t reflect well on our department. What happened?

Too much feedback: I noticed you didn’t speak up during last week’s department meeting. People won’t know the value you provide if you don’t share what you’re working on. You need to be more vocal. People’s only exposure to you is often during our team meetings. If you don’t speak up, you won’t establish yourself as a leader in your department. People really need to know what you’re working on and the impact you’re making.

Too much feedback sounds like nagging. Most people don’t want to work with their parents.

Just the right amount of feedback: I noticed you didn’t speak during last week’s department meeting. Often, team members’ only exposure to you is during our weekly meetings. How can I help you feel comfortable speaking up so you can establish yourself as a leader in the department?

It’s easy to get carried away when giving feedback. We’re likely frustrated. And when our emotions run the show, it’s easy to say too much.

Here are three practices for giving feedback:

  1. Practice the 24-hour guideline and the one-week-rule. If you’re upset, wait 24-hours to give feedback, but not longer than a week after an event.
  2. Plan what you’re going to say both in writing and out loud. Practicing a conversation in your head is not the same as speaking it.
  3. Let someone you trust hear what you’re planning to say and ask that person how you can improve the feedback. Ask what you can remove without losing any of the message.

Planning a conversation is like packing for a trip. When packing for a trip, many people put their clothes on the bed, then put the clothing in a suitcase. Realizing they have way more than they need, they start taking things out of the suitcase. Eventually they arrive at their destination with much less than they initially packed, but still more than they need.

Use the same principles when planning a feedback conversation. Put every thought you have on paper, and then remove what you don’t need, leaving only the necessary points that tell the person just what he needs to do differently.

When giving feedback, less is more. Tell the person what happened, why it’s a problem, and what she needs to do differently. Then stop talking and let her save face.

how to have difficult conversations


Increase Accountability in the Workplace – It’s Up to You

Stuff happens. People won’t give you what you need to complete projects. Things will break. And you will look bad. When breakdowns happen, I always ask myself, “What could I have done to prevent this situation?” or “What did I do to help create this situation?”

It may sound odd that I always look at myself when breakdowns occur, even when it’s someone else who didn’t do her job, but it’s just easier. I can’t control anyone else. But I can control me (admittedly, some days I do a better job at this than others). When I can identify something I could have done to make a situation go differently, I feel more in control – aka better.

accountability in the workplace

It’s like getting off a highway with bumper-to-bumper traffic. Your alternate route may take longer, but at least you’re moving. You feel like you’re doing something and thus have more control. Taking responsibility for everything that happens to you is similar. When you’re accountable, you can do something to improve your situation. When someone else is accountable, you’re at the mercy of other people and have very little control.

There are, of course, exceptions to the practice that “we’re always accountable.” Terrible acts of violence, crime, and illness happen to people, about which they have no control. But in general, in our day-to-day lives, there is typically something we did to contribute to a bad situation or something we can do to improve it.

Here are four practices for improving difficult situations, even when you didn’t create the mess (alone).

1)  Increasing accountability in the workplace: Ask more questions. If you’re not clear about what someone is expecting from you, ask. You’re responsible for doing good work, regardless of the type of direction you receive.

2)  Increasing accountability in the workplace: Tell people what you think they’re expecting and what you’re planning to do, to ensure everyone’s expectations are aligned. Clarifying expectations beats doing weeks’ worth of work, only to discover what you created isn’t what someone else had it mind.

3)  Increasing accountability in the workplace: Ask for specific feedback as projects progress. Don’t wait until the end of a project to find out how you performed.

4)  Increasing accountability in the workplace: Say “thank you” to whatever feedback you receive versus defending yourself. People will be pleasantly surprised and their upset will dissipate more quickly. That could sound like, “That’s good feedback. I’m sorry that was your experience. Thank you for telling me.”

5)  Increasing accountability in the workplace:  Admit when you make a mistake or when you wish you had done something differently. Don’t wait for someone to tell you. Saying, “I’m sorry. How can I make this right with you?” goes a long way.

I am always asking these questions:

“What could I have done differently?”

“What did I do to contribute to this situation?”

“What can I do now to make this situation better?”

And I encourage you to do the same, even when someone else drops the ball. You can’t control others, but you can control you. And your happiness and success is your responsibility.

accountability in the workplace


Setting Goals at Work – Take Control of 2015

Setting goals at work

A professional athlete would never get on the court, field, or ice without knowing the rules of the game. Athletes know every action that will result in points, penalties, and other positive and negative consequences. Yet many of us go to work without any idea of how we’re being held accountable and what a good job looks like.

In the next few weeks, way too many people will have a performance review during which they will receive feedback that’s a surprise.

Writing clear, specific, and measurable goals is the key to managing your own work performance and to not being caught off guard by performance appraisals. Writing goals may not be sexy or fun, but doing so is the key to taking control of your year.

Four tips for setting goals at work:

1.  Setting goals at work: Don’t wait for your manager to suggest writing goals. Ask permission to draft 5 to 7 goals.

2.  Setting goals at work: Discuss and finalize each goal with your manager, and ask that the goals be the criteria for your 2015 evaluation.

3.  Setting goals at work: Write such specific goals, that at the end of the year, it’s very clear whether you did or didn’t produce the agreed-upon results. When goals are specific, performance appraisals write themselves.

4.  Setting goals at work:  As business priorities and objectives change, goals change as well. Review your goals with your manager quarterly and make changes as appropriate.

Here are questions to answer when writing goals:

  • What results will you produce? What will be different in the organization at the end of the year? (X%) Assign each goal a percentage. Weight each goal by importance.
  • What actions will you take? What will you do, and when will you do it?
  • How will you know you’ve made progress or achieved your goal? What will be different as a result of your work?  (This should be quantitative. Use numbers.)

Here is a completed sample goal:

Results to produce:  Retain 90% of new customers. Weighting: 40%

Actions to take:

  • Have a setting-expectation meeting with each new customer.
  • Return all customer calls within 24-hours.
  • Call 10% of customers quarterly, and ask for feedback.

Milestones and year-end results:

  • Customer complaints will drop by 20%.
  • Customer change orders will drop by 10%.

Early in my career, I worked for an organization that did goal setting well. Each employee wrote 5 to 7 goals that were weighted and extraordinarily specific. It was obvious, throughout the year, if employees were meeting performance standards. And at the end of the year, it was so clear whether or not employees had done what they needed to do, employees could write their own performance appraisal. That’s the power of goals. Well-written goals drive performance, empower employees, and remove the debate about results.

When what you need to do during the year is clearly articulated, you’ve set yourself up to win. You know exactly what you need to do to be successful.

Not every goal or objective at work is numerical and clear cut, but many are. Write down what you need to do and what the desired outcome looks like, whenever possible, and you’ll feel more empowered and in control at work than you previously thought possible.

 

Setting goals at work


Goals for the New Year – Have the Best Year of Your Life

Now is when people set New Year’s goals. Our goal at Candid Culture is to help you have a year filled with the people and things you enjoy most. Here are 12 of our best tips for creating the best year yet.

goals for the new year

Goals for the New Year #1: Do what feels good.

How many ‘friends’ do you have that after you spend time with them, you actually feel worse? How often do you eat food you know you’ll regret later? Or procrastinate on a project that leads to late nights and lots of stress? If you know something doesn’t make you feel good, stop doing it. If you know someone makes you feel worse, stop spending time with that person.

Goals for the New Year #2: Pick your battles.

There are a lot of things you could legitimately get upset about. Wait to get annoyed. Time brings clarity. Chances are that what’s upsetting today, won’t be nearly as frustrating tomorrow.

Goals for the New Year #3: Help someone else be successful.

Make time to be available for your friends, coworkers, and family, and help them get what they want. The world is better when we focus on someone other than ourselves.

Goals for the New Year #4: Ask for more. Do something that scares you.

It’s so easy to play it safe. But safe is not where the juice is. I’m not suggesting you invest your life savings in risky investments or quit your job before having another one. I am suggesting you try something you’re not sure you can do and say yes, when you’re filled with fear.

Goals for the New Year #5: Avoid drama. Reduce the gossip.

Drama is just a way to say that you need attention. And we all need attention. Just tell the people in your life you need a little love, don’t be shy about it.

Gossip is inherently negative. Avoid people who are always complaining. Spending time with them is exhausting.

Goals for the New Year #6: Wear clothes that make you feel fantastic.

We always feel better when we look good. Take the time to look good. And then periodically lie around your house in clothing that should never see the light of day. And order a pizza, or two.

Goals for the New Year #7: Sleep more. Take time off.

Everything is bigger and feels worse when we’re tired. We get more done, are more patient, and feel better about everything when we’ve had enough sleep.

This ‘thing’ in our country that it looks bad to take time off and someone can’t possibly take all of their vacation time is, forgive me for being so direct, the most stupid thing I have ever heard. People aren’t judging you for taking a vacation. And if they are, then the company shouldn’t have given you the time off in the first place. Get a passport and use it!

Goals for the New Year #8: Do one thing at a time.

Multitasking is bunk. It doesn’t exist, unless you’re driving and talking on the phone, or washing dishes and talking on the phone. Working on a project, while intermittently checking and responding to emails is why you can’t take a vacation.

Goals for the New Year #9: Ask people’s expectations. Don’t assume.

Other people don’t necessarily need, want, or expect what you do. If you’re killing yourself to do something in the way you think someone else wants, perhaps ask what the other person is expecting, and give yourself a break.

Goals for the New Year #10: Ask for feedback. Wait 24-hours before responding.

Be courageous. Ask for feedback (when you’re in a good mood and have had a full night’s sleep), and wait to respond. We’ll say crazy stuff, that we’ll surely regret later, when we’re upset.

Goals for the New Year #11: Give people the benefit of the doubt.

It’s so easy to judge, make assumptions, and jump to conclusions. It’s so much harder and more time consuming to suspend doubt, inquire, and decide later. Many careers and relationships have been damaged by assuming first and asking later, if at all.

Goals for the New Year #12: Know that you’re a rock star. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

If you don’t think you’re great – at something –none of the nice things anyone else tells you will matter. Fill your own bucket.

Add a comment to the blog about which of the 12 practices you aim to do regularly, and we’ll enter your company into a drawing for a $1000 off your next training with us, because what makes me feel good, is working with you.

Happy New Year! Wishing you a year like no other.


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