Time Management – get more done.

Everyone says get to bed early and wake up early. And for about 90% of us that is the right recommendation. And if you are part of the 10%-night owls I’m not going to try to get you to change. And frankly, as work requirements are more flexible, adaptable and virtual of late, there are fewer challenges for night owls to get into work by 8AM… for many professions.

But, here is one truth that is important for all of us to know – no matter when you like to get up.

We are all strategically at our best from about 1 hour after to about 5 or 6 hours after we wake up. Even if we feel tired because we cared for a newborn or an aging parent, you can’t argue that we are still most rested after we wake up.

Three other amazing best practices that help early birds and moderates get more done:

1. Get to work early.

When we get to work early, it is usually the quietest part of our day. Before other coworkers, customers or suppliers get organized and begin bugging us we can get lots done.

2. Don’t plan meetings until at least 10AM or 11AM.

Meetings are often some of our most unproductive time. So, try to get as much strategic time in as possible. Remember, you are at your best up to 5 or 6 hours after you wake up so use that as your guide. Create a policy that restricts early morning meetings for your team. Try not to let meetings happen before 10 or 11AM.

If you lead a team or department and can’t get the meeting moved, check to see how critical it is that you attend. Perhaps you can send someone else from your team and then have them give you a quick update early in the afternoon. This time management best practice has two additional benefits including:

  • It’s likely a career development opportunity for a junior team member
  • A quick update will take less time than sitting through a whole meeting.

3. Use your travel time strategically.

I don’t necessarily mean work work work. Sure, getting a bit more work done may be your decision for today, but good time management also could mean giving yourself time to do some inspirational reading, or to hand-write a note to a friend, family member or an employee who has done a great job living up to the corporate values.

What I mean by use your travel time strategically is do something that is planned – even if your plan is to rest or daydream. Mixing up your routine and turning off the radio, or turning on a podcast is often one of the healthiest things we can do and is often one of the things we don’t often allow ourselves to do.

Little things matter.

Happy communicating, leading, mentoring and getting more done.

We facilitate courses including email etiquette, time management training, leadership skills, generational differences training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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15 Ways To Be Sure Your Business Meeting Isn’t A Waste Of Time

How you manage a business meeting with colleagues, clients or a combination of both can be a good indication of your leadership abilities. And while I’ve outlined 15 ways to be sure your business meeting isn’t a waste of time, I’m sure you’re already doing some. So perhaps, add them up your ‘Do’ column and ‘Need To Do’ column and see which list is longer.

Why is it important to review your business meeting management best practices?

It takes far less time to organize a great meeting (and reinforce a great personal reputation), than it takes to sit through a poorly organized meeting that is a waste of time… for everyone.

Great business meetings are about choice. Do you choose to:

  1. Plan the meeting with no more than 3 key objectives to discuss or 3 key decisions to make?
  2. Invite only the people who need to be there?
  3. Build a reputation that your meetings start on time in order to respect everyone’s time?
  4. Build a reputation that your meetings finish on time in order to respect everyone’s time?
  5. Send your agenda out days in advance?
  6. Stay on topic, on agenda?
  7. As a participant, do you read the agenda in advance?
  8. As meeting organizer or participant, do you arrive prepared with the background and / or support documents you need to participate?
  9. Listen with purpose to learn? During the meeting, are you trying to understand (not necessarily agree with), other points of view? Please say yes.
  10. Participate? Stay relevant? Ask questions / provide your opinion only when you have meaningful contribution? Do you create value? If people have questions they will / should feel free to ask.
  11. Use a ‘Parking Lot’ for new topics… and new business meetings?
  12. Be respectful when you agree and when you disagree?
  13. Get to the point, not waste time, don’t ramble. Do you choose to be efficient and effective… especially if you have executives in the meeting.
  14. Review decisions and action items before you close to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  15. Document and distribute agreed-upon decisions and action items?

Conclusion
Far too many meetings leave us with the feeling our time and/or our opinion aren’t appreciated. And while much responsibility sits with the organizer, I believe it’s each of our responsibility to know what we can do to make sure business meetings are not a waste of time.

Happy communicating, leading, mentoring, learning and hosting great meetings.

We facilitate courses including Email Etiquette, Time Management training, How To Run Effective MeetingsLeadership Skills, Generational Differences, Difficult Conversations training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Employee Burnout May Point To Time Management Challenges.

Are your employees burning-out doing the same thing over and over for 10 or more hours a day? There are five main challenges with that:

  1. There are now more Millennials in the job market than Boomers.
  2. Millennials want work-life balance / work-life integration as well as autonomy and opportunities.
  3. Millennials want to keep growing – they don’t like the same thing over and over.
  4. Gen Z employees are beginning to enter the job market (and they also like balance, autonomy and opportunities).
  5. Most Boomers and Gen Xers want the same thing Millennials and Gen Zers want.

Most people don’t want to leave the company they have chosen to work for. People quit because they don’t feel:

  • They are respected as individuals
  • Their work and efforts are respected
  • They are given opportunities (and challenges) to grow
  • They have the flexibility / autonomy most workers want

Unfortunately for both individuals (and the companies they work for), sooner or later if leaders don’t take care of high-potential employees… their most dedicated employees, they usually quit. You know the saying, “People don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses.”

While most employees don’t want to quit their work or the company they work for, they do quit to survive. They quit because they know they can do better elsewhere – either working for someone else or starting their own business.

Is this a time management challenge?
At first glance no… but on a bigger scale, absolutely.


Studies show Millennial job loyalty / job retention increases when their responsibilities change… when their new responsibilities give them new opportunities to grow.

To keep your best people it’s important to pay attention to both the work that needs to get done and the needs of the people doing that work. Some of the best companies don’t keep the best people by slotting them into pre-existing jobs; they find (and keep) the best people by designing flexible work and workspaces that meet their employee and company needs… and therefore their customer needs. When employees see the companies they work for trying hard to create balanced, flexible workspaces, many of those same employees become even more loyal.

A great leader takes the time to learn about their employees. Great leaders also take the time to recognize the potential (and dreams), within those employees and then develop that potential and helps support those dreams.

Is employee burnout a time management challenge? At first glance no… but on a bigger scale, absolutely. If you are overworking your employees, not helping them grow and be proud of their work, be ready for high turnover and high recruitment and on-boarding costs that are unavoidable when you have an never-ending stream of new employees.

Little things matter.

Happy communicating, leading, mentoring and learning.

We facilitate courses including email etiquette, time management training, leadership skills, generational differences training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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Work-life balance: How not to be buried in email when you return from vacation.

One of the challenges of work-life balance is getting ready to go on vacation… and coming back from vacation.

First, lets look at how you can prepare to be away. Then, we will look at what you can do while you are away (and not checking your email), so that you are not buried in email when you return from vacation.Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 5.48.04 PM

Before You Are Away

Two best practices that I like to use to prepare to be away are to:

  1. Notify all of your important contacts a few weeks before you go.
  2. Use an Out-of-Office email notice while you are gone.

Notifying your important contacts is a great best-practice. This lets you and your network either take care of important tasks before you leave – or plan to take care of these tasks when you are back. In short, you are managing their and your expectations – and I don’t think there is a better way to show respect to your network than managing their expectations.

There are two relatively easy ways that I like to notify your important contacts before you go on vacation:

  • One of the easiest is to remind people when you are speaking with them. I like to create a list of important people to tell and then check their name off as I go. This way I am not telling the same people over and over again – which can sound like I’m bragging about being away.
  • Another is to add a short message to every email you send – just before your salutation. Again – this is a note you add to the email you write for the week or two before you go. This message can be as simple as, “Please note, I will be on vacation from X to Y and will not be accessing email or voicemail during this time. Please contact Amy or Bob while I am away. Thank you.”

While You Are Away

Use an Out-of-Office email notice is pretty easy as well… but this is one place where you can make your work-life balance so much better upon your return. Here is a trick of the message you might like to write,

“Please note, I will be on vacation from X to Y and will not be accessing email or voicemail during this time. Experience tells me most issues will be addressed / taken care of by the time I return, therefore I will be archiving and not reading any of the many email I expect will come into my mailbox while I’m gone.

If you do need me to act on something when I return on Y, please send me a new email on Y. This will help me address your email as quickly as possible because it will not be buried in a very full in-box. 

If you need immediate information / help, while I am away Amy or Bob will be covering my main files. Thank you.”

This last approach seems a bit extreme. The beauty is that this approach stops you from reading weeks worth of email and an endless number of long email strings only to discover the issue has been resolved and/or is no longer important. In short – archiving and not reading any of the email really that come in while you are away will help you manage people’s expectations and help you be productive quickly and efficiently. The one thing I want to clearly point out is that you make sure you archive the email / not delete them. For some situations going back and reading the email string will be important.

I hope these tips on how to keep a sense of work-life balance both before you go and after you return from vacation.

Bruce

Happy communicating, mentoring, learning and vacationing.

We facilitate courses including email etiquette, time management, leadership, generational differences training… and more.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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How Busy Professionals Improve Work-life Balance: Time Management Tips for home and work

The sacrifice is worth it” says many professionals who take pride in being dedicated workaholics. They even take their smart phone on vacation with them. And then they suddenly realize they’ve put on 50lbs, haven’t seen their partner or best friends in a year, don’t know their children’s favourite colour, book, food or sports team and likely can’t even remember the last time they socialized in a meaningful way (weddings and funerals don’t count). In short, their work-life balance is out of balance.

I’m not knocking working hard. As an entrepreneur I love what I do and don’t expect to retire; I hope I’m still delivering keynote presentations and communication skills training when I’m 65. I also totally agree there are crunch times when sacrifices must be made. But, when sacrifices go on for most of a year or two or more, many people who study organizational behaviour and productivity believe long-running sacrifices rarely benefit us personally, financially or professionally – or from a healthy living perspective.

Really? Perhaps you think “If I work hard I’ll make more money and be more successful?” For a sort time, yes… that is often the case. But, if we work all the time and are chronically exhausted, we are likely:

  • Not going to make the best strategic decisions
  • Going to make some mistakes we would not otherwise have made
  • Short tempered – perhaps hurt important relationships
  • Building a work environment that Reacts not Responds to client needs or business opportunities
  • Putting our mental health at risk
  • Dramatically increasing our risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes & more
  • Growing apart from our family and/or friends
  • Creating an invisible barrier called unfamiliarity with the people who should be close to us
  • Causing resentment in our family and/or friends
  • Losing our family and friends trust that you care… and will be there for them when needed
  • Missing important dates / occasions causing resentment, disappointment and further emotional distance

Question 1:
“How does a busy professional find work-life balance that involves all aspects of their lives?”

Answer: We must all make time for each (not some), of the following:

  • Work responsibilities
  • Home / living responsibilities
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Physical and Mental Health
  • Personal interests

Question 2:
“Why should bosses care about work-life balance for their employees?”

Answer: When we feel valued, respected and supported in our work life and our family life we feel more loyalty to our boss and to the company. When we feel our contribution and our time are respected we also care more about the quality of work we do (and we make fewer mistakes because we are not chronically exhausted).

When our personal and professional lives are in balance we are happier, more positive, more creative, more collaborative (I can go on), in both our work and family lives. This balance also enables us to pursue our professional goals which is again, benefits the company and our family.

Question 3:
“How do we make time?”

Answer: We also have to take more responsibility for our schedule than most of us currently do. We also need to recognize we all do better when we follow routines. Not only do routines help us manage our expectations and the expectations of others, they help us build memorable experiences with important people. Routines also help us save time by letting us prepare in advance and put hardware, software and support systems in place to help us with our routines. So:

  • Have a morning routine
  • Have a predictable routine at work
  • Have a routine in the evening
  • Have a routine for Saturday
  • Have a routine for Sunday

One ‘event’ many professionals feel helps balance work and family promises is committing to family dinners. Breakfasts might be out of the questions if you leave early for work, but a 6:30PM family dinner should be manageable for most professionals most of the time; especially if you get to work early in the morning.

Dinners with your partner and/or family are amazing for many different time management and relationship building reasons. One significant time benefit from a pre-scheduled meal routine is it makes grocery shopping efficient. It can also save you money because you know what to stock up on when they are on sale. Other benefits include:

  • You are not wasting time dashing out for last-minute items or making bad ‘fast food’ choices.
  • You may be able to make extra and freeze left-overs saving you time and effort in the future
  • You can bring left-overs for lunch giving you a healthy and cost saving alternative to food courts

Family dinners enable you to involve your children in all aspects of meal planning including meal choice, shopping, cooking and cleaning up. Not only does this teach children how to cook, involving your children teaches them responsibility, social skills and how to confidently care for themselves. Involving children in meal preparation also can develop a sense of pride… and can exercise their creativity if they start experimenting with recipes – adding ingredients they love or finding alternatives for ingredients they dislike… like Brussel Sprouts).

For example, a family end-of-day meal schedule children can participate in is:

  • Slow Cooker Stew Mondays
  • Homemade Veggie Pizza Tuesdays
  • Burger Wednesdays
  • Mexican Chicken Veggie Stir-fry Thursdays
  • Spaghetti Fridays
  • Surprise Saturdays (you might even go out)
  • Roast Sundays

Three More Things:
Three more things busy professionals with a family can do to improve time management both at home and at work:

  • Prioritize your to do list – plan your week not your day. Possible solution, spend 5 minutes planning at night and then 5 more minutes first thing in the morning.
  • Have discussions at work and at home about expectations, values and responsibilities.
  • Embrace delegation – share responsibility – and accept responsibility with your coworkers and family. When you delegate, use it as a mentoring, learning experience.

Conclusion:
One of the best ways to start your day is to get a good night sleep – that means get to bed at a decent hour. This helps you wake up refreshed in the morning.

Some of the most successful professionals believe it’s critical to have a good morning routine that includes some exercise and a healthy breakfast. For example, Sir Richard Branson says, “I seriously doubt that I would have been as successful in my career (and happy in my personal life) if I hadn’t always placed importance on my health and fitness,” says Branson to FourHourBodyPress. Branson continues,“I definitely can achieve twice as much by keeping fit”. Mark Zuckerberg (who usually exercises first thing when he wakes up) says, “It keeps the brain functioning well”.

Every morning might be slightly different but routine helps you, your children and your co-workers manage expectations, increase productivity and experience work-life balance. The following is a sample morning schedule.

Time Management Morning Schedule for Professionals

Routine is critical as well as calendar management. Let either of these out of your control and you can kiss productivity away.

Final Note:
Have a weekend schedule: For example, on Sunday:

  • Sleep in
  • Family pitches in together to streamline:
    • Everybody helps clean the Kitchen, Family room, Bedroom & Bathroom
    • 50% of you do Laundry
    • 50% of you go Grocery Shopping
    • Everybody helps on Pre-Meal Preparation
    • Reward Brunch in a restaurant with the kids and friends
    • Sunday night – no plans
    • Schedule some downtime
    • Schedule 30 minutes to get acquainted with the next week.

Happy communicating and training… and taking responsibility for your schedule and work-life balance.

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Work-Life Balance & Results Only Work Environments (ROWE): Myth or Reality?

I feel there is a resurgence to strive for work-life balance… with work as the evil twin in the relationship. But to find something you have to first know what you’re looking for… so…. ‘What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance is very personal. It’s different among co-workers doing the same or similar work; it’s different for each partner in a relationship; it’s different for each of your friends. Even your definition of work life balance will change over time… especially if you:

  • Have / adopt a child
  • Get a promotion / change jobs
  • Move
  • Inherit money
  • etc. etc.

Work-Life Balance Is More Achievable Than Ever

While we’ve been striving for balance for decades, I think it’s more achievable than ever for a few reasons:

  • Awareness / Desire
  • Technology (Assists collaboration, information sharing and much more)
  • More work is thought based
  • Millennial expectations and influence
  • Organizations are realizing it’s cost effective

I do a fair amount of Productivity & Time Management Training and I hear over and over how many of us do a few hours of quality work after dinner before we hit the sack. Is that wrong – or is that the new way of working? I’m certain that work-life balance is showing us flexibility is possible and integration is the new norm.

Older Productivity & Time Management Training Studies Are Right… But…

There are tons of studies that demonstrate we are at our strategic – creative best in the morning. That’s why traditional best practices suggest avoiding mundane, low-strategy work until the afternoon and to protect evenings as valuable family time (and give your brain a rest).

But what about parents who don’t go to bed at 10PM and wake refreshed at 6AM… or the typical Millennial who is used to integrating all parts of their life (which now means work), throughout their day and evening? More and more people follow a nontraditional schedule where free time might be ‘when they can schedule a spare hour’.

I’m not saying this older model is wrong, I just think it needs to become more flexible. I believe that after a good rest everyone is more creative and more strategic… and as we become tired it makes sense that we become less creative and strategic (throughout an 8 or 10 hour marathon work day).

So, what if we changed the rules? What if we began taking mental breaks throughout the day? We all experience feeling refreshed and bright again after a break (even if our ‘break’ was going to the gym).Results Only Work Environment

Enter ROWE (Results Only Work Environment).

With a ROWE, it doesn’t matter when an employee does their work or where they do it, as long as they meet agreed-upon project goals on time and on budget. Employees get to decide where and when they work – and what they work on.

If employees are required to get to an office they are punching a time clock – even if there isn’t a time clock in sight.

ROWE’s are a BIG opportunity for organizations to reduce costs while increasing productivity, creativity, employee morale and employee loyalty… especially in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, New York or LA where the average commute is at least an hour.”

How You Can Build a ROWE Performance-Driven Work Culture

Critical to your success is to have measurable results and hold employees accountable for their work. It’s also important to cut the connection between salary and goals because $$ can actually demotivate your employees (see previous blog: Link).

Make sure your employees work stands for something. I believe some of the key responsibilities of leaders is to help employees take pride in their work, reflect on what they have learned, and to see how their efforts make a difference for the company and/or their customers. That’s the kind of leader I want to be.

Take companies like Influitive in Toronto that develop Marketing solutions for Corporate clients – or Fireman & Company an international management consulting firm that specializes in the legal industry. Both of these organizations operate with a ROWE and benefit from having employees in different time zones and / or countries.

The added beauty of a ROWE is that organizations are able to hire the best talent from anywhere in the world – not being limited to geography… like within an hours drive.

Do Flexible Work Hours Count?

Flexible work hours count but are not a ROWE. A flexible schedule that allows an employee to come in at 6AM and leave at 3PM is still all about organizational control and making sure people put their bum in a seat; flexible work hours just provide a few more options. So it’s important to ask – do you want to make sure people show up… or are you more concerned about what they accomplish and the quality of their work?

If you are interested in what your employees accomplish (not where or when they do it), you have already making the mental transition to a Results Only Work Environment.

Autonomy at work is one of the greatest motivators emerging in today’s workforce. Autonomy is about setting your own work schedule with your teammates to ensure the people responsible do the work on time, on budget, and exceed expectations. This approach of ‘anonymity’, ‘team work’ and ‘self improvement’ is high – and I mean really high for Millennials.

ROWE Will Attract Loyal Millennials… And Other Generations

Millennials are known to have a more entrepreneurial spirit, wanting more anonymity along with mentoring. ROWE and anonymity helps employees feel like they are their own boss – even when working for a large organization. It helps employees design their own work-life balance. This can be a perfect solution for the organization trying to integrate Millennials into their work environments but having challenges with loyalty.

ROWE allows all employees (Millennials and other generations), to choose… to be in control of how, when, where and often what they are working on. For ROWE to exist it has to be supported by reliable metrics goals, objectives. It also means that reward has to reach beyond extrinsic motivators like $$… and must be supported by intrinsic motivators like C.A.P.S. (see previous blog: Link).

As time goes on I believe it will be an employees job-market… and employee flexibility will be key. With this new generation coming in, conversations are going to change between employers and labor unions about employees wants / needs and their productivity.

  1. Many Millennials don’t separate work and life or work and family / community.
  2. Millennials see work-life balance is whatever they are doing (volunteer, work, cooking, relaxation etc). I recently spoke with a Millennial and they said, “Work is in my life – my life doesn’t act outside of paid time – it happens all the time and this way I don’t have to miss out on any part of my life.”

It’s Critical To Measure Deliverables

When you measure deliverables and quality you can measure an employees real performance… and, over time a pattern always forms. As leaders, we all know the employee we can count on and the employee we can not count on… even though they both spend valuable time each day commuting to your office… IE: punching a time clock.

The anonymity employees want becomes their responsibility. They are ultimately responsible for their deliverables and therefore, their impact on everything else including their personal and professional reputation.

Involve your employees in all aspects of a project. Get their ideas on how to track the work – not the hours. ROWE has to be a corporate culture – and you have to hire the right people. You have to hire people based on values, ambition AND talent. Far too often we hire people on talent or who we like…. Therefore… people most like ourselves. EEEK.

This Blog is getting far too long, so in my next Blog I will further explore questions like:

  • Won’t employees abuse their freedom?
  • How to integrate ROWE into my work structure?

Happy communicating, mentoring, motivating… and training.

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Best Time Management Books

Sure this is subjective. But as a corporate trainer and coach I’ve read a lot and do a lot of Time Management training.

I’ve customized my Time Management training course based on my experience and what I’ve read / studied. Because of my experience I see first-hand what time management techniques make sense to professionals,  what tips people are able to adopt quickly… and what time management tips don’t work well.

I often get asked what I feel are the best time management books. Even though not everything in every book will help every person, I offer you this list.

Please note – they are not in a specify order. All images and names are Copyright.

Getting Things Done

 

In Getting Things Done, David Allen shares his methods increased performance. David’s approach is one that suggests that when we are calm and organized our productivity and creativity goes up.

I agree; being mindful of our goals lets us prioritize what we do and when we do it.

 

 

 

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

 

In The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, the late Stephen R. Covey shares his 7 steps. Without doubt it’s my most highlighted, underlined and used time management book.

Stephen goes beyond Time Management and indirectly gets into how to be a good people manager and leader.

 

 

The Now Habit

 

In The Now Habit, Dr. Neil Fiore looks at the impact of procrastination. It’s one of the biggest challenges I see / hear of when I deliver time management training.

Dr. Fiore shares the good and bad impact of procrastination – and how when we are aware we can all make the right choice.

 

 

 

The One Minute Manager

 

In The One Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson have great theories that work well with a multigenerational audience; One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands.

Even though it’s been around for over 20 years this book is still relevant.

 

 

 

 

rework

 

In Rework Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson give us the updated approach to work, work/life balance, innovation and reward.

It’s not really a time management book – but one that looks at all aspects of business and innovation and explores how to do it differently / better in our current environment.

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy my perspective of the best time management books.  Please note I am not (unfortunately), being paid to support / review any of these books.  Also, all proprietary images and names are copyright and owned by someone – not me.

I would be remiss if I also didn’t mention Do More Great Work by Michael Bungay Stanier and The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.

Happy communicating and Time Management.

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Digital Etiquette

Digital etiquette are guidelines on how to use the internet to increase engagement, productivity while not annoying people. In other words, how office etiquette can build – not hurt your reputation.

As with face-to-face communication, one of the best things to remember when considering digital etiquette is there is a real person receiving your message. This means they have their own needs, pressures, time constraints and frustrations… just like you. So, communicate with them with patience and thoughtfulness just like you want others to use when they communicate with you.Digital Etiquette

Digital etiquette protects your reputation and by extension is important for your productivity. If people see that you demonstrate respectful and trustworthy behaviours, they will not only want to work with you – they will go out of their way to work with you. Digital etiquette will also increases the chances that people will give you the information you need when you need it and therefore improving your productivity even further.

Here are a few of my favourite digital etiquette / office etiquette best practices

Keep Your Computer Virus Free

You don’t want to be the person / company that sends a client an email with a virus. Even if you are lucky and their system catches it before it does harm, you will have lost personal and professional trust – maybe so badly you may lose the relationship (especially if it did infect their system).

Digital etiquette when it comes to computer viruses is very important because the result can be very costly in many ways.

Use Consistent And Approved Technology

If your office uses PowerPoint for presentations, don’t begin to use another package. You may be more familiar with the another package and perhaps it does have more flexibility… but by using it your co-workers may see you as arrogant. Also, your fantastic presentation may not get seen if your associates and/or clients don’t have the software needed to run it.

If you feel strongly that the company would be better off with different / new technology, follow smart office etiquette by submitting to your executive team asking for approval. That’s how you get a reputation as a visionary not a trouble maker.

Digital Etiquette Means Using The Phone – Not Email

One of the most important business email etiquette best practices is to not use email.

It is often better to use the phone (or walk down the hall), especially if you have complicated things to discuss. Phone calls and face-to-face are also much better ways to build personal relationships.

In urgent situations, phone calls or face-to-face is also better. I recommend sending an email and phoning; this way email is a great back-up because they may see it if they are in a meeting – and therefore can step out of the meeting.

Only Open Email When You’re Ready

Email comes in 7/24 and if you have all of your alerts on it’s very tempting to interrupt what you are doing and look/answer. That is a hugh negative impact on your productivity (and perhaps relationships).

Another email etiquette best practice is to turn off your personal email notifications. My recommendation is to only check email a few times per day (I know – easier said than done). The objective is to plan on spending a few hours each day (especially in the morning), without email or phone notifications so you can focus on your Important Work. It is proven that almost everyone of use is at our strategic / intellectual best in the morning, so, the last thing you want to do is lose that brainpower responding to email.

Confirm Your Objective Before Hitting Send

Especially if you are angry it’s important you reread; anger will come through loud and clear… and you may not want to share your anger with your clients. Doing this is a life-saver when it comes to digital etiquette and your reputation.

Even when you are having a terrific day, take some time and be sure you are meeting the important objectives before you hit send.

BONUS Digital Etiquette Best Practice

We all know that email can be a huge waste of time so I hope that these tips will help you out. Here are a few more quick digital etiquette / business email etiquette best practices.

    • Don’t assume the recipient knows all the details. Remember – the person you are writing to doesn’t have your knowledge or experience; so did you give them enough information… or too much? Tone can be easily misconstrued.
    • Make sure your subject lines are relevant. Conversations about different subjects are more easily tracked when you use a relevant subject line… especially when you get email on different topics from the same person – which us common at work.
    • Use email signatures. A great email signature has your name, title, company name and phone number. Sometimes they include a link to your company’s website, but be careful – some company servers are blocking email that have web links.

Happy communicating using digital etiquette.

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John Nash’s Game Theory Applied To HR & Leadership

Nash’s Game Theory has intrigued me of late. I like how although it is often used in economics, Nash’s Game Theory can be applied to everyday situations including how people can make engaged and thoughtful businesses decisions.

That said, this theory wasn’t all 100% Nash’s. Using a technology term, Nash “upgraded” an existing theory proposed by von Neumann and Morgenstern.

von Neumann and Morgenstern Zero Sum Game

Von Neumann and Morgenstern proposed that the best decisions is when individuals approached decision-making as a zero-sum theory, or (in my interpretation), if I win you have to lose. The concept is that if we as individuals all work at winning, in the long run we will all do better.

Thankfully, most real-life situations are not usually zero-sum so this theory often falls short.

Nash’s Game Theory

John Nash Game Theory

Bruce Mayhew interpretation: Nash’s Game Theory vs. von Neumann and Morgenstern Zero Sum Game

Nash saw a better way to make decisions by pushing the zero-sum theory closer to altruism (again in my interpretation), altruism being an ethical philosophy in which the happiness of the greatest number of people within the society is accepted as the greatest good (source business dictionary). Nash believed that the best solution is when we consider what is best for the individual (zero-sum), AND the group.

I agree that zero-sum is a poor way to run a company or a department. Considering that when one person wins and the majority lose is disheartening. From the point of view of a business leader, my belief (and there are many general studies that support this), is that if work is a zero-sum game, it destroys collaborative team dynamics, individual motivation, costs go up, production & quality goes down and soon employment turnover goes up.

But Nash’s theory provides a simple mathematical equation for modeling any number of competitive situations. Nash’s equilibrium as it is sometimes called, offers the idea that a best response equilibrium exists. Again, from the point of view of a business leader, consider it a theory that guides us to use empathy and our listening skills to prioritize our actions so that we can make decisions that serve our purpose and do the best to support others impacted. Those impacted can represent our co-workers, clients, investors or even the environment.

Fredrick Herzbers Motivation – Hygiene Theory

If you let me take a leap of faith, in the HR world we can better support the collaborative idea of individual and team benefit by using elements of psychologist Fredrick Herzbers Motivation – Hygiene theory as guides to what benefits the company (ROI because it is important and what almost all decisions include), AND the greater good.

Fredrick Herzbers Motivation – Hygiene theory studies Factors for Satisfaction and Factors for Dissatisfaction (which are not opposite and which I promise to write on soon). For example, Herzberg’s research identified true Factors for Satisfaction motivators were:

  1. Achievement
  2. Recognition
  3. Work (as in respectful work)
  4. Responsibility
  5. Advancement

How many times do you make decisions also considering the impact those decisions make on Herzberg’s 5 Factors for Satisfaction? If you don’t, you may be making decisions that have short-term gain but long-term negative impact on productivity, employee engagement, quality, customer satisfaction and employment turnover… all things that are very expensive costs for the organization.

Staying with the idea of HR, motivation and job satisfaction, one of Nash’s truisms is that even when working toward the greater good, there is often more than one best response. This was an early criticism of Nash’s theory, but one that I think we should celebrate. Why? Because choice and change are exciting. Because our personal and professional needs, goals, likes and dislikes are different which means that within a collaborative team where each person giving their unique best, there will be many ways for the team to meet their goal. If one person was taken away from or added to the team – the team would still find a great solution… but it would likely be a bit different.

Conclusion

The long and the short of it (that sounds like my dad speaking), is that if the purpose of economic theories is to predict which one (single), outcome will occur, Nash’s methodology doesn’t help. But, what it does do is give us space to explore options where we try to find a solution where we all win.

Happy communicating.

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If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

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Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

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Time Management Quiz

This Time Management Quiz may be just what you need to help you focus on your priorities.

At 15 questions, this time management quiz will only take you a minute or two to complete. It’s a snapshot of the time management questions I’ve designed when I customize time management training and quiz’s for clients.

Time management is about what you do with the time you have – and how you feel. Do you feel good about what you accomplish – or stressed? Are you inspired, engaged and enjoying your time at work and with family/ friends – or are you not quite there?

This time management quiz will help you evaluate your priorities and best of all, it will help you immediately identify any areas of your time management where you need assistance.

Before you do one more thing, take this short time management quiz and see how you are doing.

Time Management Quiz by Time Management Training Facilitator, Bruce Mayhew Consulting.

Time Management Quiz by Time Management Facilitator, Bruce Mayhew Consulting.

Thank you for taking our time Management Quiz.

Do you feel there is no way for you to be both productive at work and fulfilled in your personal life? Especially now since you took this time management quiz, do you want to make sure things change for the better?

You may be ready for time management training. Time management is less about bad behaviour as it is about habits we learn from others. So in time management training we learn how and why we can form new habits – better habits. For example: Do your coworkers expect you to drop everything to help them with their work when they ask? Time management training shows you how and why you can stay focused on your important work and still be helpful.

Our goal at Bruce Mayhew Consulting is to provide you support to improve your time management and by extension your productivity, success and happiness. We have many blog posts on this topic as well as other business etiquette topics like Managing Difficult Conversations, Working With 4 Generations, Email Etiquette and Leadership Development.

Happy Time Management and business etiquette.

Click here to join our priority list to receive our latest Business Communication blog posts.

If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like:

Bruce Mayhew Consulting coaches leaders and facilitates business etiquette courses including Business Writing, Email Etiquette, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Bruce Mayhew on Canada AM

Click on the image to watch us on Canada AM.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Call us at 416.617.0462.

View Bruce Mayhew's profile on LinkedIn

Bruce Mayhew Consulting

I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

 

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