Archive | October 2014

Don’t Leap Right to Your Worst-Case Scenario

ascribing-intentToday we are going to continue our discussion of a great article by Tim Hoch in Thought Catalog: “10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be.” Last time we talked about how making yourself the star of your own life’s movie can limit your perspective and your flexibility in your life.

The third way Hoch says that we make our lives harder than it needs to be is by “fast forwarding to the apocalypse.” In saying this, Hoch means that many of us have a very frustrating tendency to instantly obsess about the worst-case scenario of a given problem as soon as it arises. Even if that worst-case scenario is extremely unrealistic and unlikely to ever come to fruition, it’s easy to get caught in the “what ifs” of any given problem.

The problem with this is, this type of attitude will only create additional stress for us. As Hoch says, “negativity only breeds more negativity.” Obsessing about a potential “apocalypse” scenario does nothing other than make ourselves even more worried.

This can be a difficult habit to break. The best strategy to avoid this mindset is to simply take a deep breath, consider all of the possible ramifications of a problem and the likelihood that they will occur. In the vast majority of situations, the potential for a disaster is small.

Don’t obsess over worst-case scenarios — keep a positive mindset and understand that there is a solution to nearly every problem.


Maintaining Enlightened Leadership in Your Workplace

Enlightened LeadershipToday we are going to continue to take a look at some of the points made in the book Impending Crisis.  Let’s specifically look at the importance of maintaining what Roger Herman calls “enlightened leadership.”

Most employees typically have significantly more interaction with their direct supervisor than with the leader of their entire company. However, the morale within a workplace will be much better if employees on every rung of the ladder know and trust that the overall company leadership has a clear sense of direction with tangible, recognizable goals in mind. This is the idea of “enlightened leadership,” a feeling that company leaders are making educated and trustworthy decisions even when employees don’t necessarily interact with them on a regular basis.

With this idea in mind, the most effective leaders understand that they must also be both visible and accessible within their company so that all employees can see that their leadership is taking the necessary steps to move the company forward and that they aren’t a distant, unapproachable figure.

So long as leaders stay accessible and continue to operate by a strategic plan, the overall health of a company will continue to stay at high levels. This is the power of “enlightened leadership.”

Unemployment Rates Lowest Since the Recession

Now Hiring - Unemployment Rates LowMore good news for Americans in need of jobs: unemployment rates fell once again in October, giving us the lowest rates since before the recession.

The numbers were published in a recent article by USA Today, and as they stood at the end of the month of October, the unemployment rate was at 5.8%. That means that for the first time since 2008, unemployment rates are below 6%, a huge milestone in America’s recovery from the recession.

Now with the improved labor market, the average monthly job growth is rising above 200,000 this year as the unemployment rate continues to shrink. There is expected to be growth in available positions for jobs at all skill and pay levels.

The country has truly come a long way in the past few years — not so long ago, unemployment numbers were reaching their highest points in decades, and hope for a reasonable timeframe of recovery from the effects of the recession seemed bleak. Those who are currently on the hunt for jobs are now able to benefit from a much wider selection of types of positions and employers who have the luxury of being able to hire more people than they have in years.

For the foreseeable future, it would appear that these trends are likely to continue, meaning that people seeking jobs will continue to be able to benefit from increasing availability of positions.

3 Leadership Lessons from Mike Duke

leadership-lessonsMike Duke was the fourth CEO of Walmart, serving from 2009 to 2013. When you lead a company of such a massive scope, it’s extremely important that you understand how to be an effective leader. Mr. Duke regularly speaks with other business owners about leadership tactics, and given his standing in the business world, his advice is very relevant for anyone who manages a business.

In order of increasing importance, Mr. Duke said that leadership is all about the following:

  • Being an agent of change. Sam Walton was not afraid of change – it’s how he revolutionized the retail industry. Walton’s early stores were failures, but he learned through these failures to understand what new methods of building a retail empire would work. This allowed him to create the Supercenter.
  • The people. As CEO, David Glass told Lee Scott that although he was doing a great job leading Logistics, he couldn’t be promoted without a successor. Scott invested in recruitment and development, which led to the hiring of Mr. Duke. 90 days later, Glass called and asked Mr. Duke to lead Logistics. This shows the importance of not only hiring good people, but mentoring them and invest in growing them as people and employees.
  • Trust. Mr. Duke was impacted by a visit from a Walmart driver during which a driver criticized a manager for having no integrity and mentioned in incident of disrespect on the manager’s part. That incident had occurred two years previously. To Duke, this showed how a single misstep without an apology and a willingness to accept the consequences of one’s actions can truly damage employee trust.

These three facets of leadership helped Mr. Duke successfully manage one of the world’s largest companies, and they’re applicable for any size business.