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How to Set Manageable Work-Life Boundaries

July 17, 2019


Here are a few tips to help you find the middle ground and be successful both at work and at home.

Let go of the work-life balance myth

You’ve probably heard that the idea of having a perfect work-life balance is a myth. This idea that you can be 100 percent present at work and 100 percent present at home – regardless of what’s happening in either place – is nearly impossible to achieve. Studies have found that striving for it can actually be detrimental to mental health and happiness. After all, we only have so much attention and awareness to give, right? 

That doesn’t mean that finding what the Buddhists call “the middle way,” or a place of balance between two opposites, isn’t worth working toward. In fact, seeking a balance between your work and your home life is healthy and can significantly improve both your professional success and your private life. You just need to have some realistic expectations.

 A 2016 study discovered that employees with firm boundaries, both physical and mental, between work and home, experience more stress and depletion in both realms than those who have a more fluid set of rules around home and work. This is a result of what is known as cognitive role transitions. This is essentially when your mind wanders to something outside of the current situation you are in, you think about something unrelated. Say, for example, you’re sitting in a late-night meeting at the office, and your mind starts to wander to what your kids are watching on television at home. Or you’re getting dressed for work, and you start thinking about what you need to pick up at the grocery store. 

The first step in finding work-life integration is to know who you are and your strengths. Never …

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How Paternity Leave Can Narrow the Gender Pay Gap

July 16, 2019


Before he became one of the four founding partners of Culhane Meadows, Grant Walsh had to fight his firm to get a single day off for the birth of his second child. This led him and his colleagues to create their own “cloud-based” firm – one centered on flexibility and work-life balance. Now that the tables have turned, Walsh is the one urging employees to take parental leave. 

“Men generally have a very hard time taking vacation or family time off because of the competitive pressures they feel at work,” Walsh said. “Requiring them to take time off from work when they welcome a new baby into the family may be the only way to really break this cultural stigma.”

For Walsh, company-mandated paternity leave is a win-win scenario for the firm and the new father – good work-life balance makes a satisfied employee, and a satisfied employee is a productive employee. There’s also a third party that benefits from mandated paternity leave: working mothers.

“When fathers have access to parental leave benefits, women are more likely to return to work sooner and achieve greater leadership roles,” said Mari Hegyi, people team manager at Limeade, which offers eight weeks of parental leave to both mothers and fathers.

In a global survey of 21,980 firms, the amount of paternity leave given was strongly correlated with the percentage of women on company boards, Hegyi added.

In effect, the more that men share the burden – and privilege – of child care, the more level the playing field. That’s not to forget the one benefit that transcends climbing the corporate ladder: “[Paternity leave] is also positively associated with development of children,” said Hegyi.  

The gender pay gap

Key to understanding what paternity leave can do for working women is understanding the …

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The 4 Entrepreneur Personality Types

July 15, 2019


There are so many misconceptions, stereotypes and blatantly wrong factual information floating around that its no wonder all entrepreneurs get slapped with a bad reputation label. The discrimination runs deep but thanks to a swift and positive upswing in the dominant demographical markets, these ideals are rapidly changing for the better.

We’re not all bohemian, airy-fairy, dream-chasers, who will likely crash and burn. If that’s what you believe, I’m here to tell you that you’ve got it all wrong. Until recently, everyone from financial lenders to the tax man treated the entrepreneur with an underlying tone of distrust or at least with caution tape.

All hail the Boomers and Millennials for infiltrating the entrepreneurial world with gusto. These demographic markets are not only the dominating force in society at the moment (dictating the sway of masses), they’re also embracing the need to create and build their own future, forge their own path, and the cherry on top is their seemingly innate ability to do so. As if they were born for this moment in history. As Amazon gobbles up retail and corporate America, the “new kids in town” aren’t hesitating to reinvent the wheel.

What to expect

  • Debunking Entrepreneurship Myths: Here we will debunk the stigmas and taboos surrounding entrepreneurialism that have society at large believe the self-employed are crazy risk-takers with no sense of direction or real purpose.
  • Substitute Risk with Truth: Find out what it means to be an entrepreneur and what it takes to be successful. It’s not about chasing a whimsical idea. It can be a sound, solid, executable and fulfilling opportunity to live your truth, instead of someone else’s.
  • Bring Your Gifts to the Table: Being an entrepreneur isn’t only for the hard-core risk-takers or risk-seekers who live for the thrill of the experience. Nor,
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Three Leadership Podcasts You Should be Listening to

July 15, 2019


We’re neither here nor there; we’re on our way from one point to another, usually sitting in traffic, reading email on a train or bus, or simply zoning out in the back of a shared carpool.

In my opinion, this in-between time offers the perfect opportunity to brush up on your leadership skills, take on a fresh perspective, and really dig deep into the things that matter the most to you in business. The best way to do that is to find some great podcasts to listen to as you shuttle from one place to another.

Podcasts are booming

You have probably overheard all of your coworkers and friends talking about podcasts lately. That’s because podcasts have seen a significant uptick in popularity in the last few years. 

Podcasts are easily consumable when you are on the go. Whether you have 15 minutes or an hour-and-a-half, you can find a podcast that will meet your needs, feed your interests or teach you something new.

Podcasts also fit comfortably into our busy daily lives. On your way to pick up the kids after work? Listen to part of a podcast. Waiting for your train from the city? Dive into that article you couldn’t read by listening to the interviews on a podcast. Anytime you want to make the most of that in-between space, you can just plug in a pair of headphones or connect your smartphone to your car and take advantage of any sort of downtime you might have. You can choose an educational podcast, something light and funny, a dark mystery, or something that lifts your spirits. It all depends on how you want to spend your time.

Podcasts have also begun to help build communities of people who share similar passions and interests. In an increasingly separated, divided, …

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4 Things to Consider When Working with a Business Interpreter

June 14, 2019


They are not supernatural omnipotent beings who can simply shrug off the most daunting of challenges. Even the most experienced interpreters fumble on certain occasions. Clients also have a role to play to achieve the most accurate interpreting for conversations, meetings or conferences.

Here are four vital details you need to consider when working with a business interpreter.

1. Help your interpreter prepare

To make sure that everything will go smoothly, provide everything the interpreter can use to prepare. If possible, share the documents or reference materials that will be used in the meeting or conference with your interpreter. If there are no sensitive details in the documents, provide the interpreter a copy. Anyway, it’s unlikely that you will be calling for an interpreter if the details to be discussed are strictly confidential that no third-parties should be allowed to learn about them.

Providing copies of resource materials or documents is necessary to orient the interpreter about the flow or sequence of the discussions and more importantly, so that the interpreter can get acquainted with unfamiliar terms or concepts. There may be uncommon terminologies or topics that will be brought up during the meeting or conference. The interpreter should be ready for this so they can find come up with the best translations beforehand and not struggle and drag the pace or miss some points of a conversation.

Interpreters are expected to be adept with business concepts, but they may encounter unfamiliar words or expressions that are exclusive to certain cliques. They need to be aware of such details beforehand so they can provide the best possible verbal translations. Consider doing a pre-meeting briefing or a question-and-answer session especially in cases when the topic to the discussed is complex or highly specialized.

It also greatly helps to try how things …

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A Beginner's Guide to Setting Reachable Business Goals

June 6, 2019


If you want a shot at business success, you need to know what you’re working toward. And for that, you need to set reachable business goals.

I make goals every single day. And I know I’m not alone. We set personal financial, career, health and knowledge-related goals. We put our goals in writing and give them a tentative date. According to one study, people who wrote down their goals were 33% more successful in achieving them. Apply that same goal-setting strategy to our businesses.

When I set personal goals, I make sure that I dream big while also staying grounded. Sometimes I reach my goals. Sometimes I don’t. Business is the same way. I can’t set random, impossible goals and expect them to benefit my accounting software and payroll software company, Patriot Software.

In my 30-plus years of entrepreneurship experience, I’ve managed to narrow down my goal-setting process. 

1. Brush up on popular business goals

Copying is rarely a good idea in business. Your originality is the thing that’s going to get customers to come to your business and stick with you.

But, it doesn’t hurt to know some common business goals other companies strive for. You can use them as a baseline when creating your own.

Off the top of my head — and after crafting business goals for more than 30 years of my life — here are some interesting ones:

  • Hiring your first employee

  • Hiring your 50th employee

  • Raising your gross profit by X%

  • Cutting your business expenses by $X

  • Growing your social media followers by X

  • Getting X more customers per month

  • Decreasing your absenteeism rate by X%

There are truly countless business goals you can set and tweak. But if you want to set reachable goals that will actually catapult your business to success, …

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How to Land Your First Tech Job

June 4, 2019


According to statistics from Cyberstates, in 2018 there were 3.7 million job postings for tech occupations. But, because tech jobs are so popular and sought after, there’s a lot of competition. With no work experience, you might be wondering how you can impress a prospective employer or even have your resume chosen for an interview. If you don’t have any previous tech experience to list on your resume, it doesn’t mean you can’t impress the tech employer of your dreams.

No experience? No problem. Here’s how to land your first tech job.

1. Network online and offline.

If you want to get noticed by potential employers and make some connections in the tech industry, you need to put yourself out there. Meeting people who are already in the tech industry is a great way to build up a name for yourself and get leads on tech jobs before they’re posted online.

First, spruce up your LinkedIn profile. Recruiters are often on LinkedIn, so make sure your profile stands out and includes relevant skills for the job you want. Next, build an online portfolio on a site like GitHub, where you can show off your skills and interact with others in the industry. You could also make a website of your own and start blogging to drive traffic (including potential employers) to your site.

Get out from behind your computer screen once in a while by attending IRL (in real life) networking events. Search for upcoming tech meetups, conferences, and hackathons in your area. If you can make meaningful connections with industry peers and professionals, the job will come to you.

2. Boost your skills with online courses.

Just because you’ve finished your studies, doesn’t mean you should stop learning. If you want to land your first tech job …

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A Guide for New Leaders

May 31, 2019


Whatever the scenario, leadership is all about charting out the path you need to take as a team or as an organization to achieve the desired objective. It’s basically impossible for a company to grow and flourish without effective leadership. In today’s dynamic times with ever-changing technology and changing ways of business and customer engagement, leadership becomes even more important. An organization without effective leadership in such times will be like a ship that sets sail without a captain.

What makes a great leader?

An effective leader is someone who creates an inspiring vision for the future, they set the direction. They then use some management skills to guide the people toward that direction in a smooth and efficient way.

  1. Decisive. In today’s complex business environment indecisiveness can prove costly for the business. Leaders are required to think on their feet and take strategic decisions quickly. Good leadership is all about informed decision-making. Also what’s important is for leaders to stick through the decisions, commit to it and see things through.
  2. Good examples. If you want to be a good leader and establish a positive culture in your organization, you’ve got to practice what you preach to others. You need to exemplify the values that you want to instill in the employees. Keep in mind that as a CEO or a leader, you’re a role model for your employees and they take cues from you about how to behave. 
  3. Forward looking. Great leaders are effective problem-solvers. They always have the bigger picture in mind and never lose sight of goals they set at the beginning. They focus on working toward the solution rather than dwelling on problems. 
  4. Passionate. As a CEO or a chief, you can’t see your profession as just a job. Good leaders have to feel passionate about
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12 Questions for Mentoring Success

May 17, 2019


The articles frequently say that mentors give advice and sponsors give opportunity. This isn’t always the case. Based on my experience and research working with hundreds of mentors and thousands of mentees, I have found that the most successful mentoring relationships are rooted in a two-way dialog where mentors and mentees ask each other (and themselves) questions that result in career-advancing insights and opportunities for the mentee. Here are some examples.

Questions Mentors Should Ask Their Mentees

  • What do you want to achieve for yourself, your team and your company? This question allows both mentors and mentees to zoom in on specific strategies and behavioral changes that are in tune with the mentee’s goals. It moves the conversation from general to specific.
  • Why is this goal important to you, your team and the company? In asking this question, the mentor is doing a non-threatening reality check. He or she is helping the mentee assess if the goal is worth the effort needed to make it happen.
  • What difference will achieving your goals make? This question opens up a big-picture discussion about what is likely to happen when the mentee’s goals are achieved. It allows the mentee to assess the potential impact personally, professionally and corporately. It’s not uncommon for possible negative outcomes to surface (e.g., more time away from the family). These are not necessarily deal-breakers, but they are needed eye-openers.

Questions Mentors Should Ask Themselves

Too often mentor/mentee relationships are defined by the mentor telling the mentee what to do. In my experience, these are the least successful relationships as they tend to be short-lived and disappointing. For best results, mentors need to think of themselves as listeners and sounding boards, helping their mentees broaden their horizons. Asking themselves questions like these will help mentors successfully fill those roles:…

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5 Reasons Remote Teams Are More Engaged Than Office Workers

May 15, 2019


But what about for businesses? In an effort to retain talent, attract candidates and stand out in today’s tight labor market, more organizations than ever are allowing members of their teams to work from home some or all of the time. In fact, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests the pattern will continue, with 73% of all teams having remote workers by 2028.

What’s less clear is the impact of these arrangements on organizations’ bottom lines. Do remote environments impact worker productivity? Is it possible to nurture both flexibility and increased engagement within your organization?

The short answer: yes. Remote workers regularly meet and exceed objectives, identify new processes, and contribute to company culture just as much as anyone in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting. In fact, they tend to accomplish more. According to a two-year study by Stanford University, remote workers are, on average…

  • 13.5% more productive than their office-based counterparts,

  • 9% more engaged in their jobs, and

  • 50% less likely to quit    

This may seem counterintuitive, but the stereotypical image of a virtual worker – someone sitting around in their pajamas, prone to distractions, and in desperate need of a shower – has little basis in reality. Instead, imagine a diverse community of empowered, autonomous, and entrepreneurially-minded professionals.

Consider a few reasons why remote, at-home working arrangements increase team engagement – and, by extension, organizational productivity:

1. A remote workforce is a more inclusive, higher-quality workforce

Common human resources wisdom states that engagement starts with recruitment. To maximize job satisfaction (and therefore, job performance) you need to hire the most qualified, relevant candidates. Unfortunately, businesses are frequently limited by their local talent pools.

Call center positions, for example, are typically entry-level jobs with high rates of turnover. It’s not that employers don’t care, …

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