Goals 2014: Here’s 1 Action To Help You Improve Your Personal Presentation

Here are some questions for you to reflect on over the weekend.  How much effort do you put into the visual side of your personal brand?  Could your choice of work wear represent who you are more effectively?  What action will you take to improve your personal presentation this Spring?

What Does Leadership Look Like?

What Does Leadership Look Like?

Not too sure how to answer? No worries.  Here is a short video you can watch now as part of your personal improvement goal.  It was filmed at Ad Week Europe and in 4 minutes Gok Wan, Kathleen Saxton, and the Guardian’s John Plunkett outline some useful key presentation concepts.  Could this be another theme for you and your coach to explore when you discuss your goals and your values?

Feel free to look at the further ideas relating to your work and life goals in the Archive section on Facebook and Google+ too

Is Improving Your Work Your 2014 Goal? Here Are Your 3 Key Actions To Take In The Next Week

Was your week a mix of Highs and Lows?  Was one low your boss telling you that your
performance ‘must improve’?  If the answer is ‘Yes’ here are 3 actions to help you move forward in the next week, towards your performance improvement goal:

  • Review the evidence of your previously Successful, or Excellent, reports.  This helps you top up your self-esteem.  Positive customer feedback has always reflected the quality of your work.  Cultivate it from this point
    Your Improvement Strategy Will Move You Forward

    Your Improvement Strategy Will Move You Forward

    onwards.  Also plan how you will add to your key strengths, respect your values and earn more feedback.  Remember your boss’s view is probably changeable.  If not your psychological contract with your team may have ended.  Other bosses are out there.

  • Record the specifics of your next steps strategy, so you identify an immediate, positive, action you will take to start moving forward.  Call this Phase One of your plan.  Make it something constructive, that you know you can do well.  If that is not possible within your present role find another role that allows you to reassert your ability to do good work.  Outline what you want to accomplish in Phase Two of your plan, at the same time.
  • Recruit a skilled ally, ideally an experienced coach who: understands the significance of your work goals; recognises the importance of your values; will remain supportive as your performance rises and you start to fill in the detail of your Phase Two outline.

You are now good to go for Phase One of your plan.  Take these 3 constructive steps and your week ahead will be focused on improvement and positivity.

Good luck and feel free to get in touch with me to talk about your coaching needs, beyond the #MustImprove stage:  use the Contact tab above or visit me on Facebook  and Google+ too.

Goals 2014: When your manager says your work must improve which 3 steps should you take?

Is Your Performance Going Up Or Down This Year? (Image under creative common licence from Morguefile.com)

Is Your Performance Going Up Or Down This Year? (Image under creative common licence from Morguefile.com)

This year, like every year, thousands of civil servants made the Government’s presentation of the Budget seem effortless.  Behind the scenes collaborations, across the various departments, over many weeks came together smoothly yesterday.  Meaning that as the Chancellor sat down, a comprehensive suite of Budget publications appeared online .

How will some of those civil servants feel, should they now learn that they ‘must improve’ their performance to meet their work objectives?  It is a knock to one’s self-confidence to be judged in that way by a line manager.  More so if that outcome bucks the trend of years of evidence-based good performance.

Guidance on ranking staff for appraisal purposes

This year a ‘must improve’ judgement will flow from the strict application of guidance in the new Civil Service Appraisal system.  The system is one part of Civil Service Reform (whose goal is delivering better services for less money).

The guidance – available to managers across different Departments, Directorates and teams – is to use the sector-wide appraisal system to determine who has had a successful year.  The system seems to mean that appraisal markings can be distributed along a curve.  On that curve approximately:

  • 20 % of staff in a grade will have exceeded their objectives
  • 70 % will have achieved expected outcomes
  • 10% must improve

One appraisal system but two perspectives on how it works

The dialogue around performance management is led by the Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake.  He has blogged about the new performance management system, which he believes, reflects consistency across the organisation and looks at what civil servants achieve and how they achieve it.

Many Senior Civil Service (SCS) staff and their junior colleagues have replied to the blog (although it seems the distribution curve does not to apply to members of the SCS).  In unusually frank replies staff express their views about the system’s apparent use of quotas and its effect on morale.  They also note that HMRC staff downed tools over this issue in February.  So seemingly there is one appraisal system, but two perspectives on how it works.

It is also worth noting there may be an impact on workplace equality, since the sector employs more women than men below SCS level.  Black and minority ethnic staff, and disabled staff, are also concentrated in the grades where must improve ratings will appear.

3 steps to take when your manager says your work must improve

Are you someone whose performance ‘must improve’ this year?  How about rising to that challenge?  Once that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach subsides, you should focus on moving forward.  Here are 3 actions to help you to move forward beyond your appraisal:

  • Review the evidence of your previous successful, or above successful, reports (to highlight your favourable customer feedback, transferable strengths and as a reminder your present rating may be quite subjective)
  • Record the specifics of your strategy to take an immediate, positive, next step to achieve a short-term win (something constructive you know you can do well, within your present role, or one that allows you to reassert your ability to achieve good quality results)
  • Recruit a skilled ally, ideally a coach who: understands the significance of your work-life goals; recognises the importance of your values; will remain supportive as your performance returns to its former state.

Civil Servant or not, how will you improve the quality of your work this year?  Why not dip into the Archives, to the right of this post, to get some inspiration as you move forward.

Goals 2014: 2 Action Points To Add Value To Your Professional Social Media Strategy

How LinkedIn Are You?

How LinkedIn Are You?

How often do you update your LinkedIn profile, compared to your professional Blog, Facebook, or Twitter content?  Go on, be honest.  Here’s another question: What goals are you addressing by using social media for professional purposes?

Don’t worry, you are not alone if you said you: refreshed your LinkedIn presence much less frequently than your other profiles; have no specific outcome related to your social media posts.  With the sea of media out there to dip into focusing on creating content can be difficult.

Recent coverage of professionals use of social media

This week two writers, Paul Boag* and Ross McGuiness** have separately pointed out that LinkedIn can be a real asset to advancing your work life goals, if you use the platform strategically.

Writing as part of the In Focus section within the Metro  Ross’s article highlights the value of building up an organic network of connections, via LinkedIn.  Connecting with people outside your immediate circle, can mean you get to offer your talents to an ever widening pool of curious people, who are already interested in your skill set.  Those connections can be in another city, country or continent.  You get attention in Denver, Delhi or Darlington if you want it.

The blog post Paul wrote reminded me of the advantages in keeping profile content fresh.  Your connections and other visitors like to dip into fresh material.  Your well-presented comments about your latest project, or newly acquired skills are valuable.  So are your contributions to discussion threads.

What actions can you take to sharpen your social media use?

I think there are two actions for you to add to your schedule this year (or focus on if they haven’t had too much of your attention before now).  These actions will help you if your goal involves consolidating your professional reputation on LinkedIn, or other social media platforms in 2014.

  • Update your content on a regular basis, to reflect your recent achievements, your newly acquired skills, or freshly gained qualifications.
  • Connect where possible to others with shared professional interests.  If that is not an option contribute regularly to online discussions about current key topics affecting your work area.  Perhaps you could even start a new conversation, based on your knowledge of upcoming trends?

Good luck with sharpening up your goal and turning your LinkedIn presence to your professional advantage.

Do check out the Archive section for more thoughts on work and life issues and feel free to look at the further ideas relating to your work and life goals on Facebook and Google+ too

 

*Paul is @boagworld on Twitter

** Ross tweets as @McGuinessRoss

Goals 2014: 3 Key Questions To Ask Yourself Before Jobhunting

Banana Skin

Focus On Your Goals & Avoid Life’s Banana Skins

As The British Chambers of Commerce forecasts  that the economy will be back to its pre Recession peak over the summer it is a good time to ask, how is your goal focused plan for 2014 going?

Are you still action planning to change jobs this year?  Maybe you are unexpectedly between jobs at the moment, and wanting to make the right move into a secure job niche?  If so you are in luck, as this post contains 3 key questions to get you moving in the right direction.

  • What job sector do you want to work in and what kind of employer do you want to work for?
  • Which jobs will you excel at, given your skills and values?
  • What other work will you take if you can’t get what you want?

The answers to those straight forward questions will unlock a wealth of insight for you.  Tuning into your inner wisdom means knowing what is best for you.  That knowledge provides you with a starting point from which to actively look for your ideal next role.  It also establishes the outline of a Plan B in case the ideal isn’t available just yet.

So, when are you going to take the action that moves you one step closer to the job you want?  What support, including coaching input, will you draw on as you move forward?

Good luck and don’t forget there are further ideas relating to your work and life goals on Facebook and Google+ too

Goals 2014: How Will You Inspire Change After International Women’s Day?

Logo For International Women's Day

Logo For International Women’s Day – More information from http://www.internationalwomensday.com

Do you know that next Saturday, 8 March, is International Women’s Day (IWD)?  You can get a range of IWD information here  and learn how this themed day has been influencing the lives of women and men since 1911.

It’s amazing to think – at the time I write these words – that there are several hundred IWD events scheduled to take place in the UK.  There are 1000s more in the United States, Canada, Australia and countries right round the world.

These events will all be highlighting this year’s theme of Inspiring Change.  Which of the events near you will you be following, or drawing to the attention of a woman you care about?

Stay tuned.  I’ll be blogging this week about ideas which you may want to consider when you work on your goals after IWD.

Goals 2014: 3 key questions to help you get more from your networks

How is your job treating you at the moment?

Do you ever feel like your job skills are not being fully engaged?  Perhaps you are stuck in a dead-end post which does not help you meet your career development goals?  Or maybe your manager is not sufficiently interested in allowing your career to flourish?  Stressful isn’t it?

You probably want to do more to have your needs met.  The good news is that there are actions you can take, if the situations I described ring bells with you.

It doesn’t matter if you are in the US, the UK, the EU or further afield.  Your situation will improve if you are able to network effectively with peers, mentors, friends who can support your growth and whose growth you can also nurture.

Your three key questions

My experience suggests the basis of your action plan will flow from the following questions:

  • What precise outcome do you want from the professional people who will help you achieve your career goals?
  • In what way do you want your social network to provide you with more support?
  • As you take action on your own behalf what contribution will you make to the development of the people around you?

Your next step is to write down your responses, refine them, and fix a time to start your programme of action on the most important area on your list.

If you would like to see these principles at work, take a look at the link contained in the tweet below.  It sets out advice to an underemployed jobholder who wants their job satisfaction goal to be fulfilled.   Remember, taking action increases the likelihood your goals will be achieved; coaching support makes that outcome even more likely.

What’s your self-development goal this spring?  Check out the Archive at www.experienceyourlife.me for some inspiration.  There are more ideas On Facebook and Google+ too

Goals 2014: 3 Questions To Help Your Personal Growth

Cup Of Tea

How Are You Planning To Develop This Spring?

Friday was Valentine’s Day, one of the few days in the year where your goal is simple to define: happiness.  How did it feel to take action to improve the quality of your personal relationship?

Congratulations on starting the ball rolling.  This weekend is the opportunity to take a 30 minute tea / coffee break and do some wider work on your goals.  When will you take further action to make your personal and professional life even better?

When you are doing this work – to help yourself develop in the direction you want to this spring – why not use the three questions below to kick start your thoughts.  Write down the answers and identify the action you are going to take.  Include the exact time in the coming week when you will take the action (and reward yourself when you do).

  • How will you seek more support from the people who will help you achieve your career and personal goals?
  • When will you influence your social network to provide you with more support?
  • As you take action on your own behalf what contribution will you make to the development of the people around you?

Good luck with your actions.  Feel free to feedback on your progress via the Contact page or on Twitter @RogerD_said (you can use On Facebook and Google+ too)

Goals 2014: Three Strategies To Help Get Back To Work After 50

 

The Journey To Work
The Journey To Work

 

How happy are you with your commute to work?  The Office for National Statistics reportedly says that 30 minute plus commuter journeys make people unhappy and anxious, especially if they travel by bus.  ONS Guardian Article

People between jobs – following redundancy – may not have the commute to contend with, but they have to face other stressors, like getting another job.

If you are in that situation your immediate goal may involve taking action to secure another job before the summer.  If so you probably know what steps you are going to take to get you there.

How would you feel if your actions didn’t produce results this summer?

What would you feel like if you didn’t secure work over the next two summers either?

How much more of a challenge would you face if you were now in your early 50s?

That is the situation highlighted in an enquiry to the Guardian newspaper from a fifty something former academic.  He describes his situation in negative terms.  Luckily he has options, if he feels positive about pursuing them.  Your positive attitude would be crucial too.

Take a few moments and follow the link in the tweet below to find out more.  There is a lot of positivity in the three valuable strategies of

  • Networking with former peers
  • Maintaining a Professional Online Presence
  • Publishing Material That Enhances Your Reputation

Your circumstances as a fifty something between jobs may be different.  Nonetheless there are some questions the scenario may raise for you:

  • What would your first step be to return to work after redundancy?
  • What would your Plan B look like if you needed one?
  • Where would you get support from whilst your plans came together?

If these are hard questions to answer you may want to spend 30 minutes, this week, writing down your responses.  That investment of time is worth it.

Keep your responses in a safe place.  Hopefully you won’t need to use them.  However if your circumstances unexpectedly change you and your coach may need to work through that material, as you plan your journey back to work.

(To find out more about coaching you can follow me On Facebook and Google+ too)

 

Goals 2014: Six Actions To Help You Manage Your Stress Levels This Week

Life is full of coincidences.  Fresh from posting about the impact of workplace stress, caused by poor management, I read a really useful article* by Lucy Dimbylow – @lucywriter on Twitter.

Lucy is responding to the question posed by the half a million UK workers whose stress and anxiety levels are too high: What actions can I can take to manage my levels of work stress?

The key actions I took away from Lucy’s article are:

  • Taking regular Exercise reduces stress
  • Following a healthy Diet aids positive mental health
  • Taking the Rest periods you are entitled to is beneficial
  • Making time to have Fun with family is important
  • Adopting a positive approach to Mindfulness helps you manage the aspects of pressure you can change
  • Seeking Support from those in a position to affect workloads, and job objectives, also helps

Having read that list here’s a final question for you:

  • What key action will you take, this week, to more effectively manage your workplace stress?

*The article appears in the spring edition of Benenden Healthcare Society’s subscription-only magazine ‘benhealth’.  Information on the society’s work can be found online at www.benenden.co.uk