May 24, 2017

Will Billy Bush teach us how to recover from a career setback?

 

This morning, I watched Good Morning America as former Today Show co-host Billy Bush spoke with Robin Roberts about his vulgar exchange with Donald Trump from years ago that was caught on video and released during the Presidential election. While Trump went on to become President, the viral video of the incident cost Bush his job.

Bush is the latest public personality to be embarrassed by previous behavior and an illustration how easily one incident can harm a career. While most of us strive to live our work and home lives ethically, we can appreciate Bush’s attempt to bounce back from a huge career setback.

Clearly, in my career I have made mistakes. I have found the more that lands on my plate, the easier it becomes to make mistakes – big and small. 

So, what happens when your mistake is big, maybe even a career setback like Bush experienced in this visual and digital age...How do you recover? The steps are clearer than you might think. Here’s what we can all learn from Billy Bush.

  • Admit your mistake and apologize. In my workplace, and I’m sure in yours, you have had people who make mistakes and try to cover them up. Almost always that makes the situation worse. Bush will continue to have critics but coming out on camera and explaining his actions and stating there is no excuse for his actions was a start.
  • Lean on experts. Billy Bush admitted to Robin Roberts that he has spent the last seven months doing a lot of soul searching. He now meditates, practices mindfulness and yoga. "He knows it's a process which led him to be ready and able to do the interview, Robin Roberts told the audience after the interview.  DUring the seven months, Bush went to Tony Robbins workshops to better himself. He said Tony pointed at him and said: "One bad moment does not define who you are."
  • Redefine yourself. How will the mistake make you better at your job going forward? Bush said at the time of the video, he was "insecure and a pleaser." He says he is ready to get back to work because there is purpose, clarity and acceptance of his mistake. "I feel like a better man." Bush says he has redefined himself and wants to do purposeful reporting going forward.
  • Share your lessons. Everybody has made a mistake, but what have you learned from yours? Sharing what you have learned is a path toward moving forward. Bush said his advice for young men entering his profession is "believe in yourself. Be confident. Stay true to who you are. I think I sacrificed my own dignity in that moment," he said of the Trump incident.

Whether or not you are a Billy Bush fan, or believe in the sincerity of his apology, recovering from a career setback isn't easy and watching how Bush fares offers lessons for all.

April 04, 2017

What Equal Pay Day Means for Our Daughters

Today is Equal Pay Day. It's the day to bring attention to the pay disparity between men and women.

The reality is that most workplaces won't acknowledge it. Regardless, it is the most important day of the year for women. Today is the day when real change happens because of small actions and big resolve. It's the day when we focus attention on making the workplace better for our daughters, our nieces, our granddaughters. 

By now, women have been in the workplace for decades, holding high level jobs, becoming bosses and running large agencies. In many workplaces, they are the human resources directors who do the hiring. Why then, do women still earn on average 20 percent less than men for the same jobs? (Click here to see how your state stacks up against the pay gap)

Yesterday, I heard actress Gina Rodriguez speak on television about her partnership with LUNA nutrition bars to drive awareness for the pay gap. Listening to Gina, what I liked most about what she said was her plan. Instead of just urging employers to do something about the pay gap or pushing for legislation -- two strategies that haven't been enough --Gina talked about how LUNA is sponsoring AAUW Work Smart salary negotiation workshops for women across the country.

LUNA and AAUW are working to close the pay gap one workshop at a time by empowering women to negotiate their salary and benefits packages. The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

“We know that salary negotiation is not the only variable in the gender pay gap, but it is true that women tend not to negotiate, and that affects their earnings all the way through to retirement," AAUW Board Chair Patricia Fae Ho said. “We are so grateful to have LUNA’s support spreading our negotiation workshops, because we know how well they work. We hear from women every day that they used what they learned in AAUW Work Smart immediately – and that it worked!”

I look around me and I see many women working the same long hours as men, and putting their passion into their jobs. We all know it's not acceptable that they earn less for men, particularly as they struggle with trying to raise families and serve as role models, too. Working women first need to pay more attention to who gets hired and at what salary and speak up for change. More important, we need to put the power to eliminate the pay gap it in the hands of our daughters by showing them how to ask for what they deserve at the beginning of their careers. We can rally for brands like LUNA to bring attention to champion women's equality. We can have conversations with the young women in our lives about how and why to go after any job they want, research what the men in the job are paid, and have the confidence to negotiate salary and benefits. We can even take those young women with us to a workshop. Here's the link to free workshops across the U.S.

The AAUW website offers some other actions: Bring a workshop to a campus or community. Sign up to become an AAUW salary negotiation ambassador to help spread the word, or train to become an AAUW salary negotiation facilitator so that you can take the reins in empowering women.

Today is a day in which small actions count. Take them for the young women in your lives. You can help close the pay gap and this is the time to do it.

 

 

 

March 21, 2017

What It's Really Like Working From Home

 

                                             Work

 

It's noon, and I'm still in my pajamas, trying desperately to finish my article and take a shower. I work from home and why it sounds awesome, it isn't always awesome. Sticking to a routine isn't always easy.  I never have to fight traffic, which is a huge benefit. But I also have to make an effort to keep to a routine and sometimes I have to fight the feeling of isolation. Today, my guest blogger weighs in with his thoughts on working from home and the surprising results of a new study on remote working.

Let me introduce you to Dan Schwabel.  Dan has tons of knowledge at his fingertips. He's a guru on personal branding and an expert on millennials in the workplace. He is also the New York Times bestselling author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0, and the Research Director at Future Workplace.  I think you're going to enjoy his perspective:

 

 

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Dan Schawbel enjoys working from home


 

After I graduated college back in 2006, I landed my first full-time corporate job at a Fortune 200 company. As an introvert who needs space in order to think creatively and be productive, I always wanted the flexibility to work remote but never received that benefit. In fact, after my third role at the company, as their first social media specialist, I was told that I would have to run the social media accounts from the office daily. I once asked my manager if I could work from home at least part-time and he said “we can’t allow for that because it will make your colleagues jealous”. After I quit my job to start my own company, I finally was in a position to work remote seven days a week.

I’ve now been working from home almost full-time for over six years. I’m not alone in my quest for a more flexible work life. After interviewing over 25,000 employees globally, in partnership with Polycom, our study found that about three in every four employees say their company offers flexible working and almost a third regularly work remote. The emergence of collaborative technologies has enabled the remote workforce, lowering commuting costs and empowering people with the freedom to manage their personal and professional life.  

The main finding from the study is that remote work is driving people to pick up the phone more and focus on personal relationships. I see this with my organization, as I feel the need to schedule more phone meetings in order to have a human connection despite being alone in my New York apartment. While working from home can be isolating, it can also be freeing but you have to manage your time wisely because no one else will hold you accountable but you.

In order to be successful working from home, I created my own daily habits that allow me to focus on the right work at the right time and take the necessary breaks so that I can incorporate my interests, friends and family into my life. For instance, every morning I wake up, cook breakfast while Amazon Alexa tells me the weather forecast, political news and HBR’s daily tip. Then, I focus on the most critical work first because I’m more productive earlier in the day. I’ll then take a coffee break, workout or go to lunch with one of my contacts. From there, I get right back to work before I make dinner or go to a local networking event. By creating, and committing to, a daily routine it can help you incorporate all aspects of your life that are important to you.

While I felt more isolated working independently over the years, now that I have a team, it has forced me to pick up the phone more, go to the office at least a few times each month and have some constant interactions each day. By feeling more connected to others, and having a support system, it’s had a positive impact on both my work and personal life.

Remote workers don’t have to struggle when it comes to maintaining balance and strong relationships. What they do have to do is put together a plan, establish daily habits and answer the most important question “what matters to me?” Once you decide what you care about, incorporate those activities and people into your daily life.

 

 

Here are some interesting quotes on the findings of the remote working survey:


Quotes

“There is a stigma that remote workers are disconnected from the rest of the team, yet this study proves that they are more sociable and proactively reach out to develop strong relationships. The new technology tools that enable communication and collaboration are actually motivating workers to pick up the phone, seek face time and create lasting bonds. This is the upside of remote work we rarely talk about.”

– Jeanne Meister, Partner, Future Workplace 

 “We predicted that 2016 would be the ‘year of video’, and it’s satisfying to know that people are starting to adopt this way of working. What it also tells us is that more businesses need to be able to offer collaboration tools - to enable that human contact that people crave - or risk losing out to those businesses who are able to offer flexibility and have access to talent and retain talent as a result.”

 – Mary McDowell, CEO, Polycom
 

 

 

March 13, 2017

Exhausted at work? How to survive the change to Daylight Savings Time

 

                                                                  Tired

 

This morning I woke up in the pitch dark. I looked outside wanted to go back to bed. My clock said it was time to wake up but my body did not agree. Ugh... Daylight Savings Time just robbed us of an hour of precious, glorious sleep.

Today, I'm dragging myself around sleep deprived. The worst part is some experts say this groggy jet lacked feeling could last all week.

Yep, that's right...we might be exhausted ALL WEEK.

The worst part is that many people already were exhausted.  Losing an hour of sleep will mean an already tired workforce will be working on even less shut-eye, says Anna Kwok, vice president for Accountemps in Fort Lauderdale, an accounting staffing agency. A study from staffing firm Accountemps found 74% of professionals admitted to already being tired at work, with nearly one-third saying they’re short on sleep very often.

When we're tired at work, we're less focused, more grumpy and stand more of a chance of making stupid mistakes. In the Accountemps survey one really tired respondent admitted to deleting a project that took 1,000 hours to put together. Another admitted to falling asleep in front of the boss during a presentation. So embarrassing!

Some people are lucky enough to work at companies, like Ben & Jerry's, Google and Zappos, that  encourage napping on the job to promote psychological and professional benefits. I bet those nap rooms are going to be busy today!

The rest of us have to find some other way to fight that tired feeling. Here are some ideas:

  • Take occasional breaks. Get away from your desk and walk around the office.
  • Resist cravings for junk food. Instead, keep healthy snacks around to give you stamina
  • Stay hydrated. It is a key factor in staying awake. Try putting ice in your water bottle; the cold water will keep you lively and alert.
  • Work reasonable hours. This is not the week for launching new all-encompassing projects. Staying late while you get adjusted to the time change can lead to mistakes. 
  • Sit up. Slouching can lead to fatigue.
  • Use eyedrops. Splashing a couple drops in your eyes will make you feel more refreshed
  • Tug on your earlobes. Yes, this sounded crazy to me, too, when I heard it. But because of acupoints on your ears, this is a way to get the brain going. Worth a try.

(If you need them, there are more ideas at popsugar.com)

As you reach for another cup of coffee today, be patient with yourself. It may take a few days to get your body clock back on track. In the meantime, I'm going to go to bed earlier tonight and I'm going to try to follow Taylor Swift's advice  and  "shake It off."

 

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Click here for full infographic...

March 01, 2017

Getting Ready to Become a Working Mother

It was 21 years ago when I waddled into the newsroom wondering how much longer I could hold on at work until my daughter was born. I desperately wanted to work until the last possible minute, particularly because I had no idea what my life as a working mother was going to be like. Getting ready to become a working mother is tricky. As they say, no one can fully prepare you for what's ahead. By the second week of March I had given birth and the work life balancing act had begun.

Today, my guest blogger shares her experience and perspective as she prepares to become a new mother while continuing to practice law.  Let me introduce you to Laura E. Eggnatz, an associate with Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann, one of the largest independent full-service litigation and transactional law firms in South Florida. Laura focuses her practice on products liability and mass and toxic torts defense litigation. Connect with Laura at leggnatz@sbwh.law. Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with her on life as a new mom.

 

 

Laura E. Eggnatz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have been an attorney for almost eight years, and now, as I set out to embark on my career as a first-time mother, I am finding that while pregnancy is without a doubt an amazing and brilliant experience, it is also one of the most stressful. As my due date rapidly approaches and my legal career will be put on hold for a few months, one of the biggest stressors is preparing for maternity leave and figuring out how I will balance the most important aspects of my life—a new baby, my role as a new mother, and a legal career—while still out on leave. I am planning to use the preparation skills I have learned, enhanced and utilized as an attorney to juggle this difficult balance. I offer some suggestions to those in a similar position as me:

1. Prepare an exit plan: I am protective of the work I do, and tend to shy away from relying on others. Yet I recognize I will have no choice when I am out of the office for three months. To combat this struggle, I am creating a spreadsheet of all ongoing matters I expect will require coverage and attention while I am out. I also have had conversations with my supervisors and staff about handling my day-to-day responsibilities. Delegation and learning to “let-go” is key. Having some coverage system in place will ensure an easy transition before, during and after my maternity leave.

2. Prepare to stay informed: Most people would encourage a new mother to completely disconnect from work while on maternity leave. That is not something I can do. Although I do not anticipate performing any substantive work, I plan to review my e-mails and stay in touch with my colleagues on a basis that is appropriate and convenient for me. I feel more comfortable with having some contact during leave, rather than being completely out of touch. Even limited communication will be beneficial to a smooth transition back to work.

3. Prepare a return plan: I anticipate experiencing mixed feelings about returning to work when the end of my maternity leave approaches. Here lies the majority of the work-life balance struggle: How can I leave my newborn?  How will I be able to handle a newborn and a career?  How can I be a good mom and a good attorney at the same time? The answers to these questions are unknown to me right now, and may very likely go unanswered. But a flexible plan in returning to work may make all the difference. Before my leave, I will discuss my timeline with my supervisors for returning to work and be upfront about what my work limitations may be once I return, i.e., less travel, doctor’s appointments, working from home when baby is sick. Staying connected and informed throughout my leave is a key aspect of my return plan. For me, this will lessen the overwhelming feeling of getting up to speed after being away and understanding the workload I will have to balance once I return.

4. Prepare for the unexpected: I may sound like I have everything under control—I certainly do not. Part of my preparation for maternity leave is preparing for the unexpected. I am confident that as long as I am prepared and do what I feel comfortable with, the stress in balancing a family and a career during maternity leave will be manageable.

 

 

 

 

February 28, 2017

Tim Tebow Follows His Passion and You Can Too

 

 

Former Florida Gators Quarterback Tim Tebow has lots of fans. He also has lots of haters. 

But Tebow doesn't let the haters get in the way of following his passion. Tebow, who didn't really find the success he wanted in the NFL, has now turned to baseball.

Tebow's detractors say he will never make it as a professional athlete. But Tebow doesn't listen. He continues on.

This morning, Tim Tebow  did an interview on Good Morning America and said the start of his spring training debut at the New York Mets training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida, “feels great.” 

Here's what he told Good Morning America:

“Honestly it’s kind of a dream come true being out here with the Mets organization, a bunch of awesome guys, getting the chance to play a game I love,” Tebow, 29, said on “Good Morning America.” “It was just so fun putting on a uniform yesterday, going to warmups, in the stretch line, getting back into the routine, being part of the team and competing -- it was a blast. I’m having a lot of fun.”

Tebow's passion for following his dreams is admirable. Whether or not he makes it as a professional baseball player, he knows he gave his dream his all. Wow, what a role model for the rest of us who cower from "going for it" because we're afraid what people might say or because we are afraid to fail!

On Good Morning America, Tebow acknowledged that critics are still skeptical of his football-turned-baseball player path, but he said he’s “focusing on the love and not the doubt” that lies ahead.

“Obviously you have people on both sides,” said Tebow. “You’ll have people that are out here supporting that are great, and then you’ll also have people that want to bring you down. For me, this is something that I’m doing for the love of it. The love of the game, the love of pursuing passions, the love of being able to live a dream every single day."

So, what if you were able to live your dream every single day? What if you were able to turn something you love doing into a job that pays? Would you be able to get past the haters and doubters?

If you want more fulfillment from your job, or have a passion you want to follow, here are 5 steps to move you forward:

  1. Start the discovery process (research)
  2. Talk to people who have successfully taken risks
  3. Don't make money your primary consideration (any job can pay off with creativity)
  4. Network to learn who can help you
  5. Make a plan

 

Personally, I'm rooting for Tebow. While the haters hate, he's happier than most of them.

 

 

 

February 20, 2017

The New Ways Working Women Are Defining Success

What is success? 

If you asked a room of 100 people, it's likely each would have a different answer. And, they should.

For most of us, success is living our life with purpose, knowing what are dreams are, and figuring out how to break through the inevitable inner and outer resistance we will hit along our path to achieve them, says Mina Shah, who considers her success speaking on stage and motivating others.

Over the weekend, Mina, and a dozen other speakers at the 2017 Office Depot Foundation Women's Symposium, motivated more than 1,000 women to define success in new ways. 

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There is nothing more energizing than being in a large ballroom, filled with energetic women who want to build awesome businesses, reach bigger heights at the companies they work for, or find new career paths that excite them. When I walked into the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach on Friday for the Office Depot Foundation Women Symposium that' what greeted me.

One of the most important messages Mina offered was not to be hindered by our fears or by naysayers, and stop short of our personal definition of success. "Most people work hard enough to feel the pain, but not enough to get the benefit of the reward," she said. 

A new definition of success...someone who breaks through doubt.

"No matter how accomplished you are or how much personal work you have done, you'll experience occasional doubt...and that doubt could mean the difference between success and failure," said Karen Pfeffer, co-founder of Fire Power Seminars. Pfeffer said success is pushing past doubt, busting through barriers and moving forward with determination, focused on what you want. She entered the male-dominated field of banking and became the first woman president of the Florida Bank Marketing Association. She now has a successful company that puts on empowerment seminars and does breakthrough coaching. 

However, if you think success is only about making money in the for profit business world, think again. Almost any business idea you come up with can be turned into a non profit, and there is a lot of start up capital available for non profits such as grants and foundation money and charitable giving of real estate. Speaker Sherry Watson, CEO of The Power of Purpose, a nonprofit consulting firm, gave an inspirational look into how women are earning good incomes while building nonprofits that better the world. "It's about taking our entrepreneur ways and bringing that forward, bringing solutions." Watson said with a nonprofit you can start a company, and change the world. The steps to building a non profit are on Waston's website: The Power of Purpose. She also suggested www.NonprofitWebclass.com.

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How else are women redefining success?

There are making the right connections, not in the old way, but in a new way.

Kavita Sahai of BIGplans, said early in her career, she saw the power of networking in action when she befriended an administrative assistant, who later persuaded management to give her a job at a private equity firm. "You are one conversation away from achieving your dreams," she said. "Have more conversations."

To achieve the success most of us want, when we have those conversations, we need to be able to fill in the blank: "I'm your go-to girl for ______ " Once we know what we need and what we can offer, success is in our grasp, Kavita said.

                                                   Kavita

Now, if there's a woman who has defined success in an intriguing way, it's Vernice Armour, America's first African American female combat pilot, who calls herself "FlyGirl"

Armour went from beat comp in her city, to a combat pilot who served two tours overseas in Iraq. She now is a motivational speaker, pulling in a six-figure salary through her keynotes, group coaching, seminars and executive retreats. Her big message: Who needs a runway? Take off from where you are."

Often, women wait waiting for the right moment, the right circumstances to make their move. Instead, "just move into action from wherever you are," she advises. "In order to be successful, you gotta get gutsy." When Armour realized she had a voice and something to say, she took a workshop on public speaking, and moved into action. Clearly, she is good at what she does. She had the whole room of women cheering, laughing and interacting. 

 

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One of the most impressive women who has defined success her way, despite obstacles, is Mary Wong, president of the Office Depot Foundation. Mary suffers from health issues, but pushes forward to accomplish amazing things for the foundation, which gives children tools to succeed in school, among other contributions. Wong sent a clear message at this year's Women's Symposium that today's working women are defining success in new ways and she encourages women everywhere to be A Difference Maker (#diffmkrwomen).

 

 

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Honored to be in the company of Mary Wong (and her dog) at the 2017 Office Depot Women's Symposium

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 14, 2017

How to Celebrate and Survive Valentine's Day in the Office

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Florists Paul and Gail Kerbel prepare for Valentine's Day


If there's a day when most workers want to leave the office on time, it's Valentine's Day. My advice: make that clear from the moment you walk in the door. The more you say it, to yourself and out loud, the more it will happen. We all know that if you have plans tonight, and your boss is not understanding, it will lead to resentment. So, start early in the day to prepare for a timely departure and make it clear to your boss - or your customers - that you have that goal.

Now, at the office today, there may be drama. Workplaces, regardless of their size, have their own dynamics. Everything from receiving flowers to professing love for a co-worker to keeping the details of a budding romance a secret makes celebrating the holiday in the workplace potentially awkward.

Some people will get flowers, and want to show them off, and why shouldn't they?

Florist Paul Kerbel of Floral Promotions in Plantation said most men realize sending flowers to their partner at work will score them points: "It’s all about that ‘wow’ and showing every other person in the office that they are dating or married to a gem.” My friend Raquel has given her husband a roadmap. She has provided him details on the type of arrangement she prefers and the time she wants the bouquet to arrive for the optimal response from co-workers (early morning is ideal!). Gotta love a woman who knows what she wants! 

Should you send a man flowers at work? Probably not. Although some men receive orchids or other arrangements at work,  radio personality Ron Castronovo says men most likely will get teased, and feel embarrassed if flowers arrive for them. Instead, he suggests wine with a love note.

With bouquets arriving throughout the day, Valentine’s Day can get awkward for singles in the workplace. Wary of feeding the office rumor mill, singles often hide their gifts or cards that accompany flowers, particularly if they are dating a co-worker. Also, some singles plan to tweak their daily routines on Valentine’s Day to avoid being out to lunch alone with a co-worker of the opposite sex and have it misconstrued as a romantic date.

“There is a lot of judging on Valentine’s Day,”  Nicole Gerber, a single, 31-year-old legal assistant at RAS Boriskin in Boca Raton told me. Sometimes, people just are oblivious to how their behavior affects a co-worker, she says. “It inconsiderate to show off and say ‘look what I got’ when there is someone who is not sharing their holiday with anyone. It’s just not something anyone should do.”

Of course, there is a sneaky alternative to the unfulfilled arrival of flowers, balloons or chocolates: Send them to yourself. You may be surprised to know that about 14 percent of women plan to send flowers to themselves for the holiday, according to a 2016 Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey published by Statistic Brain Research Institute in California. Miami relationship coach Gladys Diaz thinks it's a sign of empowerment. “When you think about it, the longest-lasting relationship in your life is the one with yourself. Why not show yourself love?” Diaz says, adding that no one has to know the sender. “If anyone questions you, the simple answer is, ‘I don’t want to get into it … that’s personal.’”

Showing appreciation for colleagues also is a nice thought on Valentine’s Day, but be careful. Even giving casual gifts to a co-worker can be risky. A Miami banker says a well-intentioned box of chocolates for someone she considered her “work spouse” turned into a conversation about her being “flirty.”

Clearly, tact is required to navigate the emotionally charged holiday at the office without crossing boundaries or making anyone feel uncomfortable. So, face the day cautiously and show your co-workers some love. That's what the day is all about!

 

 
 

 

February 01, 2017

Here's How to Leave Work On Time

 

Leaving

 

One evening at the office, I had packed my laptop, slung my purse over my shoulder and stood up from my chair to head home. At that moment, a co-worker sauntered over to my desk asking for help on a project.  I noticed earlier in the day, she had been chatting away with another co-worker and had wasted about an hour shooting the breeze. Now, she was stuck staying late at the office and if I helped her, I would be, too.

Most of us find it is hard to leave work on time. A quick peek at email before heading out the door can turn into a half-hour delay. And then there are those last minute requests that push us into overtime. Many of us fail to prioritize and find ourselves staying late at the office finishing something we could have done earlier.

Whatever the reason you're leaving late, it’s possible to do a better job getting out of work on time. Here’s how to make it happen:

Ramp up communication. I often have scrambled out the door way past the time I was supposed to stop working. One year, I resolved to leave by 6 p.m., which required starting my day promptly. I talked to my manager about my plan. By doing so, rather than just trying to bolt when no one was looking, I got his buy in. He understood my goals and changed his habits of making late afternoon requests. Managers, customers and co-workers become less likely to drop to-dos on your lap toward the end of the day when you establish a pattern of leaving on time and communicate your schedule.

Understand the consequences. Many times, I have spent double the amount I should on something because I started it when I was tired. Research shows working longer hours doesn’t contribute to higher productivity. In studying a variety of research, the Harvard Business Review found working more than 40 hours a week could make some workers less productive, put them at risk for making mistakes, and create the appearance of poor time-management skills.

Plan your day before arriving at work. I have learned the hard way it’s easy to get distracted by email, social media or talking to co-workers during the day. If you want to leave after eight hours, you need to be efficient within those hours. Rather than go with the flow of the workday, know what you need to get done when you walk in the door. When you plan your workday before you arrive, you should make a psychological commitment to that departure time. Some days may not go as planned. Many will.

Give yourself a 20-minute window for departure. If you wait until 6 p.m. to start packing up, you likely will get delayed by distractions. Once you’ve set your departure time, block out the 20 minutes prior to that time on your calendar to clean up any last daily details.

With some change in habit, you can actually get out the door on time. Of course, you have to believe it is possible -- and resolve to make it happen.

For more, read my Miami Herald column on leaving work on time.

 

December 07, 2016

Getting through rough patches in business

We all go through rough patches at work, whether we are the employee, the manager or the business owner. Some are more easy to navigate than others. I always appreciate when someone successful talks about a rough  patch and how he or she steered through it.

BethRecently big time corporate executive Beth Kaplan came to South Florida to address a women's organization. Instead of giving the typical "I made it to the top" speech, Kaplan spoke about the rough patches she has hit in her career and how she handled them. To me, that's valuable insight!

Kaplan has hit more than one rough patch. First she worked at Rite Aid, where there was a massive accounting scandal. She managed to leave with her reputation in tact.Next she worked at Bath & Body Works as executive Vice President of merchandising where she spent a ton of time ina different city, away from her family. She left when she could no longer handle the work life balancing act.  Next, she worked as president and COO of Rent the Runway in 2013, a New York-based online company, that loans  designer dresses and accessories to women for special occasions. She left that position in October 2015 and today she is a strategic advisor and board member at Rent the Runway.

In an interview with Wharton's Knowledge@Work , Kaplan explained that a key part of steering through rough patches is knowing how to exit a job with grace.

 “It’s amazing to me that people don’t talk about how to leave an organization. They all talk about how to join one, but they don’t talk about having to leave.”  she told  Wharton. She noted that Bath & Body Works had an extensively documented six-month onboarding process, provided in a large binder to new hires, which made no mention of how people should behave when leaving the company.

She talked with her boss, and together they designed a program with which, Kaplan said, she compiled all her insights and learning, and then “left with grace.” 

Kaplan outlined “certain ground rules” about leaving with grace. Be transparent with your manager, she said. “You go to your boss and say, ‘Look, I found this other opportunity, but I really care about this organization and I’m very thankful for everything you have given me.’ By the way, say that even if you don’t mean it.” Ask your manager how you can help make the situation a win-win, and discuss how much time it will take to wrap things up, she added.

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Kaplan recently shared a few stories and lessons learned from her career with 220 of South Florida’s leading women at The Commonwealth Institute’s Leadership Luncheon at Jungle Island she and had lots of wisdoms to impart. Fortunately, Lisa Cawley Ruiz, (pictured to the left)  a content marketing manager at Kaufman Rossin, one of the top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S., captured  those insights. She originally posted them on her firm blog but allowed me to share them with my readers as well.

 


Here are Kaplan’s top four tips for success:
1. Your reputation is your most valuable asset. It is your personal brand, and  follows you wherever you go.
2. Don't underestimate the impact you have on other people. Our behaviors (positively or negatively) affect those around us more than we realize, which is why it’s important to solicit quality feedback frequently.
3. Make a graceful exit.
How you leave a company is just as important as how you enter.
4. Pick the right partner. “We don’t always agree, but he always has my back,” Kaplan says of her husband. “He reminds me of the things that are most important in my life.”


Kaplan acknowledged that women often feel pressure to conform to expectations, and sometimes have to make decisions that may not be popular. If you’ve given a decision careful thought, you should stick by your choices, she said. “Never apologize for something you’ve thoughtfully considered.”

When the decision in question is whether or not to take a job, thoughtful consideration includes conducting due diligence on a company’s culture. As Kaplan learned the hard way through her experience of seeing Rite Aid nearly collapse in a high-profile financial scandal, culture can make or break a company. (The right culture makes steering through rough patches more doable!)


Recent reports have blamed a mean girl culture for numerous departures at Rent the Runway. However, while in South Florida, Kaplan said culture has been one of the top priorities for the leadership team at Rent the Runway.  The online clothing rental startup recently changed its compensation structure, eliminating bonuses and raising salaries in order to underscore its trust in employees, shift employee focus to long-term strategic thinking that can help scale the business, and create a culture of learning that encourages feedback, she said. Giving your team members “unvarnished, truthful and constructive feedback,” is important. And if an employee is no longer a good fit, address it sooner rather than later.

Kaplan's final piece of advice for busy women: Find a way to unplug and recharge. For some, it may be taking a vacation, working on a hobby or spending time with friends. For Kaplan, it’s ballroom dancing.