June 18, 2015

How involved fathers deal with work life balance

My husband coaches my son's sports teams, helps review spelling words, and spends most of the weekend shuttling kids to activities. He also works 10 hour days. 

The more time my husband spends with the kids, the more relaxed he seems and the happier he is at work and home. 

As research comes out on today's working fathers, we are learning that for men, being an involved dad helps them at work. The increased interaction with their children makes them more satisfied and committed to staying at their jobs. It helps them bond with other parents at work and better manage their staffs. And, it even can increases their productivity.

But men are walking a fine line. 

Research also found that many men feel stigmatized at work if they are too “conspicuously” involved at home  - if they use flexibility formally or take paternity leave. “Being a little bit involved is good,” Ladge told me. “Being too involved is perceived as a bad thing.”

Today, it's a given -- especially with the younger generation -- that moms and dads will be involved in childcare.  Yet, the workplace still operates as if men had wives at home doing all the childcare and housework. While fathers often work long hours and find themselves on-call at all times, many of them balance work and family by bypassing formal flexible work policies and just slipping out a bit early or coming in late. 
 
I randomly interviewed a dozen fathers and all of them talked about how they balance work and family life by moving between work and home in a way that has them answering emails at 10 p.m. but also coming in late if they need to take a child to the pediatrician. Some fathers even bring their children to work when needed. Spencer Gilden loves his job in sales because it allows him to work from home and spend time with his 4-year-old daughter, Julie.
 
Spencer
(Spencer and Julie)
 
 
When workplaces support involved fathers, the payoff is huge -- especially when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. 
 
 
I received this email in response to my column in The Miami Herald on Working Dads' Changing Roles:
 

Dear Cindy, 

I loved your article today, especially because the first thing you see coming into our conservation studio is 6 month-old Jack's bounce chair.  His dad, Oliver, my senior conservator, has been bringing him to work since Oliver's three month paternity leave ended.  My kids grew up in the studio (yes, among Monet's, Dali's, etc.) and Oliver grew up in his dad's studio.  We love being baby Jack's village. 

Thanks for a plug for involved fathering....

Best,

Rustin Levenson

Director

ArtCare Miami

Here's another email from an involved father: 

Hi Cindy!

I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your article about working dads being more involved in their kids’ lives. I am a father of two boys with my wife. One is three years old and the other is four months old. I own my own PR firm but I made a commitment to my wife and myself before the first one was born to be part of his life. 

And I agree on many things in your article! It was refreshing. I don’t want to work 80 plus hours to the point of burning myself out, and not enjoy these precious years of my kids’ lives.

Thank you again for the write up! I forwarded to several dad friends who have the same mind frame as me. 

Jose Boza

President & Digital Boss

Boza Agency

 
Fathers, how are you balancing work and family? Do you consider yourself an involved father? Has your employer made that easier or more difficult for you? 

 

June 10, 2015

How to be a strategic thinker at work and home

When I was younger, I aimed to be strategic at work. I aligned myself with editors who were most respected in the newsroom and proved myself to them. By doing so, I was better able to balance work and family and they were able to sing my praises to those above them. 

Thinking strategically is a crucial skill for achieving advancement, and one that can make your work and home life better in myriad ways.

Aaron_olson-6215 croppedMy guest blogger today is Aaron Olsen, Chief Talent Officer at Aon, a global firm specializing in risk management and human resources. In his spare time, Aaron also serves as an graduate instructor at Northwestern University and is co-author of the book Leading with Strategic Thinking. Aaron and his co-author, B. Keith Simerson, say you become a strategic thinker and leader by going about it in a focused way. Below are their suggestions:

  • Recognize patterns. Strategic leaders  make connections that others do not, taking an active approach to reviewing relevant data and seeking out information and experiences that can provide new insights.
  • Make choices. Strategic leaders take a disciplined approach to decision making that identifies all options and then they select the one that creates the most value.
  • Manage risks. Strategic leaders find ways to maximize the balance between risk and reward, identifying and handling challenges to ensure that a good plan isn’t undermined by unexpected surprises.

By doing these three things well, strategic leaders create results. They also stand out from the crowd, which can open doors for additional career opportunities.

How can individuals get better at doing these three things? One place to start is by looking for opportunities to generate new ideas and get creative.

Here are some practical things you can do to stimulate creative thinking:

  • Get uncomfortable. Engage in communities, conferences, or reading that is outside your typical area of expertise.
  • Ponder. Set aside time in your week that doesn't involve completing routine tasks and think about your work. What works well? What could be done differently?
  • Explore. Visit places where you will encounter unfamiliar people, cultures, or ideas. How do they go about work or life differently?
  • Circulate. Spend time with coworkers in your organization with different roles. What are they doing and how does it relate to your work?
  • Embrace change. Debate commonly held assumptions about your work or business. Are technology or trends creating change that you should apply in your work?
  • Think differently. Imagine a situation in which you (or your organization) could no longer work the same way—what would you do?

Each of these activities can open up a new way of thinking and reveal unexplored opportunities. Finding time for one or more of them in your schedule can be a practical first step towards thinking and acting more strategically.

This summer, ask yourself whether you are spending too much time on low-value tasks and not enough on big-picture strategic thinking. If you're frustrated with your lack of advancement, stagnant personal growth or unclear priorities, take time to put some more effort into strategic thinking and leadership. By fall, you should be able to see results.

Olson_r2_3d

June 09, 2015

When the boss is on vacation, are you?

                                               Boss on vacation


A friend has been going in a little later to work, dressing a little more casual, taking longer lunches, leaving a little earlier....

The reason is her boss is on vacation. She sees his absence as a mini vacation for her, too.  I can understand that line of thinking. But, I'm not sure I agree with it. To me, work ethic is self generated. Either you're a responsible worker, or you're not. I wouldn't want my boss to feel as if I took advantage or as if no one was minding the store. I also look at the boss going on vacation as an opportunity for my friend to show her traits as a leader and advance her prospects with others at the company.

Some studies have found that workers are more productive when their boss goes on vacation, because being micro-managed isn’t slowing them down. 

My friend argues that she deserves the leniency. During the year, she puts in long hours. She says the combination of summer and her boss being on vacation signals an opportunity to regain some personal time. I do understand that line of thinking, and I feel like it's okay to kick back a little. But I also feel like my friend's boss deserves to go on his summer vacation without worrying that his staff is slacking off.

What are your thoughts? When the boss is away, is it time to play?

June 04, 2015

Why high school graduation is tough on parents

 

                                    Grad

 

The day you become a parent your life changes. Everyone warns you this will happen and it's true. This experience is emotional in a way that feels odd and exciting at the same time.

Eighteen years later, a parent feel as emotional on high school graduation day as we do the day our first child came into our life -- maybe even more emotional. Regardless of how much we know it is coming, graduation day catches us off guard. Tonight, my oldest son, Jake, will walk across the stage and get his high school diploma and while he prepares for the pomp and circumstance with excitement, I face it with a strange, difficult to explain feeling.

I wonder if other parents feel as I do. I think part of it is bewilderment, the feeling that 18 years went by and I can't account for every day of those years. Part of it is fear, the feeling that I am getting older and entering a new phase in my life as my son is entering one in his and I don't know how it will play out. Part of it is excitement, the feeling that there is so much opportunity ahead for him, which I have learned from benefit of hindsight. Of course, part of it is pride, the feeling that I have shaped another human being and guided him to this day of accomplishment.

From having an older daughter, I know this life event is pivotal. Regardless of whether your son or daughter goes to college, high school graduation marks a change in the parent/child relationship. From this day on, you treat your teen differently,  You give him or her a little more independence and engage in conversations on a different level.

As a parent, there are so many adjustments as your children mature into adults and leaves home. It's not easy but you come to accept that you may not know where or how they are much of the time. They are out there living their own lives, and as a parent you can only hope for the best.

As I head into the auditorium tonight, I will look around the room and see the faces of little boys who played dodgeball in my backyard, now young men who shave, and drive, and like my son are leaving home to go make their way in the world.

Somehow, I feel as if watching them graduate will be happening in slow motion. I  honestly can't see the road ahead for any of us. But as strange as that is, it is also freeing. The responsibility for making sure my son's homework is done, he gets to his activities on time and he gets to bed at a decent hour is behind me. Tonight my son graduates, and in many ways, so do I. There's an interesting path ahead for both of us, and tonight we are one step closer to taking it.

June 03, 2015

How to be healthier at work

                            Summer2


As I slipped on my shorts and t-shirts to brave the summer heat, I got mad at myself for indulging during the winter months. As I do most summers, I vowed again to be healthier. For the last few days, I am eating more fruits and vegetables and forcing myself to exercise at least every other day.

I'm sure I'm not that different than the rest of American workers who get a dose of reality when they peel their jackets and slacks off to celebrate the summer months and suddenly notice cellulite that we hadn't noticed a few months ago.  So what can we do about our exercise and eating habits when we work hard for a living? If you're like me, it's so easy to say, "I just don't have time for exercise."

Sue Blankenhagen_CeridianMy guest blogger today is Sue Blankenhagen, Wellness Program Specialist & Certified Wellness Coach with Ceridian LifeWorks ( I happen to be a work life blogger for Ceridian LifeWorks)

Sue notes that while we benefit from a healthier lifestyle, our employer benefits as much as we do.  Reserach shows employees who spent 30-60 minutes at lunch exercising boost their workplace performance by 15%, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Additionally, 60% said their time management skills and ability to meet deadlines improved on the days they exercised.

Here are some of Sue's suggestions for how we can become healthier and still have work life balance:

                        Summer

1. Get moving:

·         Take a brisk walk for just 30 minutes a day or choose the stairs over the elevator. Schedule and participate in “walking meetings.” If you are planning a face-to-face meeting with a colleague and you do not need access to a computer, plan to walk around your building while you meet.

·         Schedule and participate in “walking meetings.” If you are planning a face-to-face meeting with a colleague and you do not need access to a computer, plan to walk around your building while you meet.

·         Get your heart pumping by taking the stairs to another level. Walk laps on one of the floors or go outside and walk around the building perimeter or campus.

·         Taking a walk during the day with a co-worker while in a meeting or during a break - even if just for 15 minutes - will re-energize you and help to clear your head so you can remain focused and productive.

·         Try measuring your progress to help you stay motivated. Use a device to record the number of steps you take each day to help you keep track of your fitness goals.

                                     Desk
2. Fit exercise into your busy schedule while at work.

·         Sitting at a computer all day can strain the upper body causing back and shoulder pain. Use a standing desk, or purchase an adjustable platform to be able to use your laptop in a sitting or standing position.

·         Use an app on your phone, tablet or computer to remind yourself to get up from your chair and stretch during the day. While you are sitting, make a conscious effort to pull your shoulders back to encourage good posture, rather than remain hunched over your computer.

·         Give up your desk chair for an exercise ball. Sitting on an exercise ball will keep your back straight, force you to use your core muscles and serve as inspiration to stretch more often. You may also want to bring some light weights or stretch bands to work (keep them under your desk) so you can do arm exercises/curls while on phone meetings, behind closed doors.

·         Look for apps or YouTube videos with 5-10 minute workouts that can be done in the office, with no equipment.

·         Have sneakers and workout clothes at your desk or in your car, so you can take a walk or go to the gym right from work. Have a few travel-size toiletries at your desk to freshen up with after a lunchtime workout or walk. Or coordinate with co-workers to have a communal stash of toiletries in the ladies or men’s room, including spray deodorant, powder, wipes, hairspray, a blow dryer, etc.

·         Get your co-workers involved.  Create interoffice health and fitness challenges to spark some motivation and friendly competition amongst colleagues

                       Healthyfoods
 

3. Keep nutrition in mind.

·         Supply the office pantry and fridge, or your desk drawer, with healthy (yet still budget-conscious) snacks such as fruit, nuts, etc.

·         Offer healthier versions of treats as an alternative for celebrations.

·         Bring a water bottle or cup to work, and be sure to drink your water.

                                 Download
 

4. Look for ways to decompress mentally, not just physically. 

·         For stress relief, put up photos, bright fabric, or other visual items that make you smile and reduce your stress level.

·         Take a music break, or listen to music that you enjoy during the workday – making sure not to cause a distraction to your co-workers. If allowed, use ear buds to listen to your favorite music.

·         Find a restful spot for lunches or breaks, where you can take a few minutes to relax and recharge.

·         Practice random acts of kindness in the workplace. Send someone a thank you email, recognize them with employer-sponsored rewards programs, leave a healthy treat on someone’s desk – anything to brighten someone’s day. You never know when it will be your turn to be on the receiving end.

·         Smile more! The act of smiling, whether on the phone or when meeting others, can automatically put you in a happier state of mind. Who knows – your smile might make someone’s day.

For employers, Sue suggests considering providing resources, such as LifeWorks Employee Assistance and Wellness programs, to help employees struggling with their health on a more personal level. 

I just read an article on Examiner.com that suggest employers help us become healthier by blending healthy breaks into our work day rather than restricting our self-care to non-work hours. To me, that's the ultimate incentive. What are your thoughts? 

How involved do you want your employer to become in your health? Do you want your employer to help make exercise part of your work day,  or would you rather have your employer encourage you by giving you a flexible schedule that allows exercise and relaxation on your own time?

 

June 02, 2015

The critical thing a working parent needs in a job

Yesterday, I was on the phone with an expecting new mother when I heard myself doling out advice. She and her husband both work in high pressure jobs. I found myself telling her that one of them will need flexibility if they are going to balance work and family.

As I was giving her advice, I was looking at paperwork my 13-year-old son needs to complete by early next week to start his job as a summer camp counselor. The application requires he get fingerprinted and that can ONLY be done on a weekday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Because my job is flexible, I can take him to the government office. But if I was in a job without flexibility, either my husband or I would have to take time off work to get it done. A difficult boss who doesn't believe in giving flexibility might make that impossible.

It is this type of work and family conflict that starts when your child is born and continues until he or she graduates high school -- and sometimes even beyond. Lately, I've seen more fathers in the doctor's office or orthodontist with their kids. The need to take kids places and be at their events during work hours is a dilemma mothers AND fathers now face.

No wonder that flexibility is becoming valued over pay. I'm not sure that employers understand this need, even at a time when the majority of people in a workplace are part of families in which both parents work.

I found myself telling this mother-to-be to have a conversation with her husband and her boss before her child is born. If she is going to balance work and family, flexibility will not be an option, it will be requirement. Getting that flexibility can and will become one of the biggest stressors a working parent will face. It might even lead to search for a new job.

I'm curious to know how other working parents handle this dilemma. Do you argue with your spouse over who is going to take time off? Have you ever been given grief for taking time off to take your child to an appointment? What do you see as the solution for parents who need flexibility in their schedule and can't get it from a boss?

 

May 28, 2015

10 Ways Working Parents Can Prepare For Summer

                                         Summer camp
  

 

 

Many summers, I would scramble to leave the newsroom by 4 p.m. to pick my kids up from summer camp. Still, I would be one of the last parents in the camp pickup line. When my kids complained, I wondered how other parents made their summer schedules work.

For working parents, summer can be one of the most challenging and expensive times of the year. The free and low-cost day camps usually fill up quickly. Most camps end at around 3 or 4 p.m., and aftercare programs charge an additional fee — if they are available at all. This week, I tackled the topic in my Miami Herald column about planning ahead for summer

I also asked Linda McKnight for her thoughts. As a working parent, founder of TheChildCareSquare.com and a former owner of a child care center, Linda has a lot to say on the topic of putting steps in place to ensure a smooth summer while balancing work and family.

Here are her 10 tips for preparing for summer season:  

1.     Start early – Summer camps have limited space and fill up quickly. These days there are a myriad of resources for finding summer camp options. Camp guides are offered by local parenting magazines, the YMCA as well as local county Parks & Rec Depts. Guides are generally available by March and April. Be sure to be on the look out for the printed guides at your local libraries or check websites for online versions. Additionally, a quick google search for “Summer Camp” in your city will produce even more options.

2.     Do your due diligence – When enrolling your child in a summer camp program you want to give the same attention to due diligence that you would when enrolling your child in a school year program. To check on licensing status visit the Florida Dept of Children and Families at www.myflfamilies.com. To further assess the quality of summer programs you are considering, remember to look for reviews on review sites like Yelp, Yahoo Local Listings and even the BBB. For a comprehensive checklist on how to check out a child care program visit http://thechildcaresquare.com/doing_your_research.php

3.     Include your child in the decision – A week or more in a program that your child dislikes can be an eternity for both your child – and you. Make sure to interview your child as to the kinds of things they are interested in participating in this summer and have your child weigh in on picking which programs to sign up with.

4.     Try to enroll with a friend – Even the most gregarious children can experience angst when faced with a new situation and new people. The transition to a new environment can often go off without a hitch when there is a buddy in toe.

5.     Mitigate separation anxiety – Children who experience separation anxiety or are shy can find the short stay in a new environment uncomfortable at best. The best remedy for separation anxiety is information, information, and more information. Keep your child completely in the loop as to where the camp is, what they will be doing while at camp and how long they will be there etc. If possible, pay a pre-first-day visit to the facility so your child can meet the staff ahead of time. Visit the program’s website and Facebook page and any other social media sites to see pictures of some of the activities and the children having fun.

6.     Fees and Discounts - Be sure to inquire about additional fees or even discounts. The base tuition may be what you are quoted when you inquire about a program, but there may also be additional fees for special activities, events or field trips that are planned.

7.     The right clothes can make or break the experience - Be sure your child is dressed appropriately. Summer activities often involve water, mud, sand, watermelon and/or pie eating contests and more, hence, expect messiness. One of my best tips for parents is to visit your local second hand store and buy 6 or 8 outfits that are “camp only” clothes. This relieves everyone from worrying about stained-beyond-salvage situations. And don’t forget about appropriate shoes. Shoes with laces or buckles are out. Sandals can be a tripping hazard. So if sandals are worn they should be in good condition and fit well. And finally, use a Sharpie to label everything with your child’s last name.

8.     Stay up on communication – After you decide on a program, make sure you are signed up on any email list that the program uses to communicate with parents. Also be sure to join any social media they participate in so you can stay abreast of any and all new development that will affect your child’s participation.

9.     Read the fine print – Generally there is plenty of paperwork that goes along with signing your child up for any camp program. Be sure to carefully review program details for items like extra registration or insurance fees, closure days that are out of the ordinary or maybe special fieldtrips that you may want to participate in.

10.  Consider traffic patterns - When evaluating summer camp programs, they will likely be located outside of your normal routes. Summer traffic patterns can be different than when school is in session and can cause extended time on the road.

Summer can be a nice break for working parents -- no homework to supervise or lunches to pack. A little planning can make it even better!

 

 

May 22, 2015

A Millennial Commuter's Survival Tips

I am stuck in morning traffic. The truck in front of me is dropping pebbles on my car. The guy next to me looks like he wants to kill someone. I am frustrated. It's just another day on Miami roads.  

For those of you who commute to work every day, you have my sympathy. The Miami Herald just published a four-part series on commuting. It even profiled some extreme commuters. The upshot: commuting stinks but lots of people do it anyway. 

Today, my guest blogger is Zachary Sisco, a Communications Associate at TINYpulse. Zachary shares his experience striking a work/life balance while juggling a substantial commute. He recounts the perils, struggles, and delights of beginning a job as a commuter. He also shares the little inventive tricks he learned for making his commute more enjoyable.

Here is his perspective as a millennial commuter:


About a month ago, I received a job offer from TINYpulse, a passionate team on a mission to boost Zacharyemployee engagement (you can check us out here). Upon graduating I had spent months editing cover letters, filling out applications, and going on interviews. Finally things were lining up. The job was right, the culture was perfect, and I’d have the added benefit of going home each day knowing I’d done something good for the world. I accepted the job with little thought and slept well that night.

I don’t recall exactly when the reality of it hit me, but there was a big loose-end I had left untied. I now had a full-time job in Seattle. Somehow then, it seemed problematic that I had no place to live in Seattle. It’s not that I ever had the threat of homelessness looming over me. I’m blessed with a wonderful, supportive network of family in the area. But that was the problem: this network was all around Seattle. Not one of them actually lived in Seattle. I had without much thought committed myself to a substantial commute. And thus my tale begins…

Now the daily commute comes in many forms. Some spend an hour navigating a ballet of tail-lights. Some while away their time staring at the back of strangers heads on a train. For me after arranging to stay with family on Bainbridge Island, I joined the Cult of the Ferry.

The Cult of the Ferry

No, it’s not the cyanide in the punch kind of cult. It’s more like the cult that all Jeep owners belong to. There’s a silent community among ferry riders. It’s never spoken, but everyone on the ferry knows that we’re all in this together. For 80 minutes a day that’s literal. But it goes beyond that. We all know the same struggles that the ferry and commuting brings. It’s a neat feeling actually. But that’s just an aside.

Currently I ride a bus to get to the ferry, then one to get from the ferry terminal to work. I rinse, lather and repeat. My best-case scenario day is 12 hours from door-to-door. But that involves leaving work a little early, catching the perfect bus, and running a few blocks. More often, that number is 13 and another obligation can push it back as far as 15! Quite frankly, it’s exhausting. 

My Little Tricks

No two commutes are exactly alike, so everyone’s little tricks are going to be different. But there are a few pearls of wisdom that I can offer. Anyone should be able to apply these to their commuting experience to tip the work/life balance back in their favor.

Use Your Downtime - Whatever form your commute may take, you’re going to have downtime. It’s entirely too easy to let this slip by the wayside. But this time need not be wasted. If you’re navigating the tail-light ballet, why not put in an audio-book? If you’re really ambitious then maybe a language learning tape is more your speed. Personally, I’m a big fan of reading. If you see me on the ferry in the morning, chances are I have a newspaper in my hand. In the evening I’m turning pages in a novel.

Love the Little Things - This’ll vary for everyone so I’ll just give a few examples from my experience.  First is the ferry-ride...beautiful! Even on a cloudy day, you can adore the slowly approaching Seattle skyline. On a sunny day, Mt. Rainier pops into view and sitting on the deck of the boat is a must. Second, is my bus driver. It’s a tiny thing, but my morning bus is driven by the most wonderfully cheery man. Just greeting him as I pay my fare lifts my spirits a little.

 Treat Yourself - Even if you follow all this advice, the truth remains...commuting is just not that great. So be sure to occasionally splurge on yourself. Buy some candy. And if you ride the ferry, they sell over-priced beer. Don’t make it a habit, but a little here and there goes a long way.

 

To you Commuters

I’m new to commuting. But the last month has given me a little taste of what many people do permanently. To those who do my hat goes off to you. Some of you, I’m sure, are superheros who can rise at 4 am with ease. But for the rest of you the true significance of it needs to be acknowledged. If you’re commuting, your days are long and exhausting. And for many, that’s not the end of your day. Utilizing downtime and the other tips I listed can help. But ultimately, the decision whether or not to commute is substantial. When making it, seriously consider the value of your time and energy.

 

 

 You can connect with Zachary by email at zachary@tinypulse.com or via twitter: @zacharysisco1

 

May 20, 2015

You Can Be A Rainmaker and Still Have Work Life Balance

Yuliya

(Yuliya LaRoe and Marla Grant talking to women lawyers on how to develop business)

It used to be that "rainmaker" was a term exclusive to men. It was used mostly for men who spent lots of time on the golf course or dining at lunch clubs with big wigs whose business they were trying to land.

Today, rainmakers are male or female. They are anyone who is able to bring in new business. Honing this skill makes you valuable as an employee, manager or owner. While some might think of rainmaking as a time consuming task, it can be part of your daily activities. The key is knowing how to ask for business and where to look for it.

If you're a parent, start with your kids. 

When Paul Ranis got a call from the owner of a large Canadian company asking to retain him for its legal employment work, Ranis asked an obvious question: “How did you find me?” The man replied with the name of the person who referred him. After a few minutes, it clicked. “Oh, that’s A.J’s dad,” Ranis responded.

When Ranis is attending his daughter’s soccer matches or his son’s math competition, he extends a handshake to other parents and builds the kind of relationships that often lead to new business. “The opportunity for business development is much greater than through a typical meet-and-greet where you will see 50 attorneys and everyone is handing out their business cards,” Ranis says.

Next mine your contacts.

Look at your Rolodex and peruse your LinkedIn. Who might you want to reconnect with? Who can refer you business? Think about former co-workers, classmates, neighbors, friends, people in your book club or poker group who would want what you offer, says Marla Grant, a South Florida business coach.  “A lot of us are sitting on a gold mine, and we don’t even realize it.”

 
Send an email. 
 
Business development can happen from the comfort of your desk with a quick email. “It’s about reminding people what you do and saying something like, ‘If you have these issues, call me, I can help you with that,’” Grant says. Having built a giant contact list, Sallie Krawcheck, owner of  owner of the women’s networking community Ellevate, will send out “Hi, how are you?” emails, and other times she will take it a step further and ask for business. In fact, Krawcheck finds it easier to ask for business by email than face-to-face: “I feel bolder.” However, the email always reflects what she can do for the other person: “It has always got to be about them.”
 
Join groups.
 
Years ago, men bonded and formed inner circles at country clubs or lunch clubs. Today, there are all kinds of professional organizations, advocacy groups, church groups and even fitness clubs where people are introducing each other to prospects who can throw business their way. The important step is move the personal relationship into a professional relationship and get comfortable with asking for business.
 

Use your hobbies.

Successful rainmakers are passionate about multiple and diverse interests and use those passions as way to connect with people and drum up business. Miami banker invites his clients to concerts with him, using it as an opportunity to deepen relationships and see his favorite bands. “The key with rainmaking is to incorporate it into your life rather than letting it take over,” he says.

Make speeches.
 
Speech-making can be an important part of rainmaking. It allows you to get in front of larger crowds of potential clients and position yourself as someone they would want to hire.
 
Use meal time effectively.
 
The people who are most successful at business development do not commit “random acts of lunch,” says Sara Holtz, founder of ClientFocus, a coaching company that helps lawyers become rainmakers. By that, she means inviting prospects to lunch without knowing much about why they would need what you offer. She says more effective rainmakers take existing customers to lunch and get them talking about their needs. They then let them know how they can address those needs.


Rainmaking is not as difficult as some people think. Yet, lots of people go about it wrong. They oversell, over-promise or convince themselves they aren't good at it without even trying. What do you find difficult about rainmaking? Have you tried any of these approaches?
 
 

May 18, 2015

How being a working mother benefits your children

One day my daughter came home from school and told me she looks forward to the day she has a job she loves and can come through her front door telling her family about her great day at work. She said she knows she is going to be doing something that will benefit children and that she is sure it will be rewarding.

That was one of the best single moments of my life.

As a working mother, I have worried (like most moms do) about how my job might take away from my kids. This was particularly true when I worked long hours from the newsroom. In that moment when my daughter said that to me, I realized she had learned passion and drive from seeing me work.

An article yesterday in the New York Times gave new comfort to working mothers. The article notes new evidence is mounting that having a working mother has some economic, educational and social benefits for children of both sexes. "That is not to say that children do not also benefit when their parents spend more time with them — they do. But we make trade-offs in how we spend our time, and research shows that children of working parents also accrue benefits," .

As working mothers, the ways our kids benefit are huge.

This new study of 50,000 adults in 25 countries found daughters of working mothers completed more years of education, were more likely to be employed and in supervisory roles and earned higher incomes. Having a working mother didn’t influence the careers of sons, which researchers said was unsurprising because men were generally expected to work — but sons of working mothers did spend more time on childcare and housework.

Here are some mighty interesting statistics: daughters of working mothers earned 23 percent more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers, after controlling for demographic factors, and sons spent seven and a half more hours a week on child care and 25 more minutes on housework.

 

So, we can lose the mommy guilt because kids will be just fine if their mothers work -- and they will even benefit from it.

I found this research especially interesting because it comes on the heels of an article I read last week that found mothers have become our daughters mentors. "A growing number of women managers and professionals today are mentoring their own daughters—sometimes in the same fields—as the young women build careers," wrote Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Few of today’s senior managers had their own mothers as professional role models.

I'm excited about the next generation and I feel great that my kids see mom and dad as role models who contribute to the household and the family income. Instead of feeling guilty for missing school events or feeding our kids fast food some nights and instead of feeling overwhelmed by the challenges of work life balance, let's focus on the advantages to our kids.

Julie Talenfeld, president of BoardroomPR in Plantation, Florida, invests a lot of time in building her public relations/marketing firm and pleasing clients. This often means attending evening events. Talenfeld says she often feels guilty but she also feels like she is a good role model for her daughter, currently a college student. 

For all those successful working mothers like Julie, it's time to pat ourselves on the back. We're inspiring the next generation -- whether or not we realize it.

J&J

(Publicist Julie Talenfeld and her daughter, Jacqueline)