Why Incentives Help You Achieve Your Goals

When it comes to making goals, we often forget an important aspect: the reward. You can argue that achieving the goal in and of itself is the reward, and in most cases, I’d agree. However, there are some goals where having an additional incentive may encourage you to stick it out longer, than if you were doing it just for the goal achievement itself.

If the goal is going to take time and focused effort to achieve, then setting incremental benchmarks can be useful. The concept is similar to how you create your 90 Day Plan, and in fact compliments your endeavors. Identify your long-term goal, and then figure out what you can do in smaller, bite-sized chunks. Then choose things from your bucket list (i.e. fun things you desire to do/see, but you never seem to have the time to do) that would match the effort it is going to take for you to reach each of the milestones.

For example, getting a promotion at work that you know you should go for soon, but that you are not that motivated to try right now. True the benefit is a pay raise, but if you are holding yourself back, because you are listening to negative tapes in your head telling you that you are not good at test taking, studying, or paperwork, then an outside incentive linked to something you very much want to do or have may help you achieve this goal. And, achieve it sooner, rather than later.

So, in this promotion example, as you identify if you have the pre-requisites and find out what training you will need to take, link a reward to passing the tests or the actual promotion itself. If you’ve always wanted to go scuba diving, spend a day at a spa, or ride a dirt bike, then promise yourself that you will do it once you’ve achieved your goal.

The key is to plan out how long it will take you to achieve your goal. If it is going to take longer than a week or even 3 months, then it is a good idea to celebrate your small victories along the way as well. So, for example, if it is a big step for you to approach your boss and let her or him know you’re interested in more responsibility, then celebrate on a smaller scale after you’ve sat down with your boss—buy a snorkel, get the helmet, or pick out what treatments you want to get done at the spa. Just remember, if the step that you need to take needs external motivation to get you started, then attach a reward to that step.

Pasting visual pictures of what your goal will look, feel, smell, taste, and sound like once you’ve achieved it—right next to the picture of you on the dirt bike or at the spa can help you on the rough days when you don’t feel like going after your goal. When you’re tired of being just outside of your comfort zone, and are happy to slide back into what you had been doing—look and visualize what you have to gain.

And, by all means, when you’ve hit the milestones, don’t forget to cash in on your reward. Celebrate. If you keep plodding on to the finish line without picking up energy boosts, then it may seem a lot further to go than the actual distance you have left to achieve success.

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations

4 Networking Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Daily Muse, Contributor , Forbeswoman, 9/30/11

Whether you’re looking for a job or not, you’ve probably been encouraged to “network, network, network!” more times than you can count. Are all those conferences and

Photo courtesy of Jodi Womack.

events you’re attending leading to new connections or opportunities?

No? You’re not the only one. Many networking newbies have tendencies that actually inhibit building real relationships with their new contacts.

The good news: it’s not that hard to fix. Here’s what you might not even realize you’re doing wrong—and what to do about it.

Mistake #1: Talking about Yourself—All the Time

You’re talented! Eager! Ambitious! You have lots of ideas to share! And you want to make sure that every person you meet at the event knows who you are and what you do!

We get it. And yes, sharing your story with new contacts is important. But sharing your life story is overkill: Nothing can set a person off more than an aspiring professional who takes no interest in anything beside her own ambitions.

The Fix: Take Some Interest.

Stop highlighting your latest accomplishment and start listening instead. Find people with industries or careers of interest to you, and ask them questions: How did they get their start? What do they love about their jobs, and what do they wish they could change? By taking an interest in your contact, you will make her feel valued—and hopefully interested in continuing the relationship. And you’ll likely gain some new insights, too.

Mistake #2: Expecting a Job

You’re looking for a new job, so you hit the circuit of industry events every week, asking every person you meet to help you find your new gig—after all, it’s not what you know, it’s who.

Well, yes. But give people some credit: If you pursue networking opportunities purely for the job prospects, your contacts will figure you out. You will leave them feeling used, and they will be less likely to recommend you for an opportunity.

The Fix: Provide Some Value.

If you’re looking for a job, don’t ask for it—work for it. Do some research into what your contact does both in and out of work and find ways that you can contribute your time or support.

Perhaps you could volunteer your expertise in social media for the big convention she’s heading up, or offer your accounting knowledge for her non-profit. Provide some opportunity for contacts to see you in a working light, and you’ll be that much closer to a good referral.

Mistake #3: Not Saying Thanks

You attended a large event last week and grabbed coffee with one of your new professional contacts afterward. And then—the week got busy, and you didn’t get around to saying thank you. She’ll understand, right?
Maybe. But if you don’t show gratitude, even in the smallest (or largest) event, you risk leaving a negative impression—probably not the desired outcome of your meeting.

The Fix: Just Do It.

Whether you pack notecards in your purse for post-meeting scribbles, set yourself a reminder on Gmail to send off a quick note, or just insert a quick “thanks for taking time to meet with me!” at the final handshake, you must say thank you. Not only will you solidify your reputation as a courteous individual, but you won’t be leaving your contacts with a bad taste in their mouths. Always say thank you, and your good impression will last until your next meeting.

Mistake #4: Forgetting to Follow Up

You meet someone over a networking happy hour and tell her you’ll send her your portfolio. But as the night goes on, she has a few drinks and meets a few dozen more people. You’re sure she’s forgotten all about you, so you decide it’s not even worth emailing her the next day.

Bad idea. Meeting someone is just the first step in networking. In order to forge a lasting relationship (and make sure people don’t forget you), you need to follow up, every single time.

The Fix: Stay Accountable.

If you told a networking contact that you would do something, do it. Even if you’re not sure she remembers you, you can bet that she will be grateful that you took the time out of your day to send her what you had discussed. If you’re worried about forgetting, keep a pen near your business card holder to quickly scribble out what follow-up actions you have for that contact, and review your cards after the event.

Above all, keep in mind that networking isn’t about short-term gain, but about learning, growing, and forming connections. Adopt good social habits, and you’ll see your skills and comfort improve, your opportunities increase, and your relationships grow—for the long haul.

5 Ways to Determine If Your Communication Style is Hurting Your Career

Kathy Caprino, Contributor – Forbes Magazine

Our communication style and approach speak volumes about how we view ourselves and others. It also reveals important clues about our sense of worth, power and ability to lead and manage effectively. Everything we do is communication – we can’t NOT communicate.

Unfortunately, for a large number of professional women, communicating powerfully and authoritatively in the workplace and in their professional endeavors is a deep challenge.

Why do so many women struggle to be confident and authoritative communicators?

There are numerous colliding factors that contribute to women’s communication challenges in the workplace.

First, gender stereotypes abound. For instance, research shows that success and likability in the professional arena are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. This means that the more “successful” or assertive a woman appears, the more she is judged negatively and disliked for it. Being criticized harshly for success consciously and subconsciously impacts how strident, self-assured and successful a woman wishes to appear.

Secondly, as senior leadership remains the bailiwick of men (women make up only 16% of senior corporate leadership in the U.S. today), a more “male” style of communicating remains dominant and is more accepted and understood. Recent research findings have shown that men and women’s communication approaches differ in 10 important ways. Further, men and women are culturally encouraged and trained (from early childhood on) to focus on different outcomes and tasks through their communication (and brain anatomy plays a part as well). These core differences in style and approach affect how women’s communication is received and perceived.
Women can use the above realities as excuses to hold them back, or they can navigate through them, and insist on nothing less than powerful and authoritative communication.

Does your communication approach need modification? Here’s how you can determine if your communication style is hurting your career:

1) People don’t respond well to your words and actions
In a seminar I gave last week at Pepperidge Farm on Fostering Collaboration in Communications and Relationships, we discussed how you can see, immediately, without question, how well you communicate by the outcomes you receive.

When you speak, or present at a meeting or run your staff meetings, what happens? Do your colleagues respond positively? Do they want to follow-up on your initiatives and suggestions, or shoot them down? Do they support you, or criticize your contribution? In the end, do you engender loyalty, support and trust, or do people walk over you or put you down when you communicate?

2) Your point doesn’t get made
Another indicator of your communication effectiveness is if you feel you get your point across, and that your input is considered. When you speak, do others listen well, and get what you’re saying? Does the conversation build on what you’ve offered, or does it veer off immediately to focus on another topic, or another person’s input?

3) You’re not taken seriously
You can’t grow your career and advance to leadership if you’re not taken seriously. Do you communicate in a way that makes people believe that you know what you’re talking about? Have you mastered the necessary information/skills/material you need to be an expert in what you’re sharing? And can you communicate in a way that demonstrates your intellectual and professional abilities? Have you developed the personal clout that will ensure you’ll be listened to, even if you don’t have the necessary data to support you at that moment?

4) There’s backlash from your words
If there’s negative backlash every time you offer a suggestion or initiative to consider, then it’s time to look at how (and why) you’re presenting your ideas. Perhaps you haven’t considered the ramifications or repercussions of your ideas, or are threatening others without knowing it. A powerful communicator knows his/her audience well, and understands the hidden agendas there. S/he knows what to do to neutralize the fear others may have. The effective communicator knows what emotions and thoughts her words will elicit in the mind of the listener.

5) Nothing is remembered from what you’ve shared
Finally, do you feel invisible? Do you contribute at meetings or in conversation but simply get talked over, and no one recalls that you spoke? If so, this is a sign that your internal and external “power” as a contributor and a player isn’t sufficient to hold others’ attention. You can change your power quotient, but first you have to acknowledge the power dynamic at work.
If any of these outcomes describe your experience, it’s important to become accountable for what’s happening and not blame others. After all, if you’re not getting the outcomes you desire, you have to look inward and own your part of it.

How To Succeed In Business By Really Trying

Victor Lipman, Contributor , Forbes Magazine 5/13/12

No sugar coating here. Unless you’re fortunate enough to be born to take over a thriving family business or to get in on the ground floor of the next Facebook, the road to business success is seldom a simple one.

In my experience and observation, success is much less the product of one brilliant idea than of a great deal of hard work, well-executed and sustained over a long period of time.

Even in the best of times, no one will just hand you a position of great value for nothing. If your goal is vice presidency or partner or managing director or the c-suite, or whatever role has captured your imagination, no one can guarantee you’ll attain it. But if hard work is the currency of success, there are things you can do to make that effort work as hard as possible for your up-and-coming career. So with a tip of the cap to one the greatest musicals ever (“How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”), here are five activities that can be worth really trying to put extra time into.

Learn the business – If you work for a sizable organization, and perhaps if you don’t, chances are your business has considerable complexity. Take time to learn not just your particular role (that’s “table stakes”- you have to know it), but also to gain a broader understanding of the business: the competitive environment, the market forces at play, the company’s value proposition, sales model, pricing model, etc. No one’s expecting you to become expert in all these fields, but gaining at least a working understanding of the key macro-level issues is always helpful. Familiarity with these larger issues senior management is grappling with will only enhance your decision-making capabilities in your own role.

Make yourself indispensable – Take time to really understand what your manager needs. Not just what is needed from you in your current role, but what are the troubling problems that keep him or her up at night? Is it help with PowerPoints, an upcoming presentation to a hostile audience, delicate personnel problems, or dealing with regulators… to name just a few of a thousand possibilities. Try to see things through the eyes of others. The more substantive assistance you can provide, the more gaps you can fill, the more valuable you’ll be to an organization.

Provide solutions, not problems – The normal state of senior management is too much to do in too little time. When wrestling with difficult issues in your own area, naturally you can’t always solve all the problems yourself. But it definitely can be worth the extra time to not simply make your problems your manager’s. Instead, present your manager with a carefully thought out range of viable options – ideally including your recommended solution – rather than just posing a vexing, time-consuming problem. This approach demonstrates your critical thinking capabilities, and can be an appreciated time saver for a person with little time to spare.

Be a great collaborator – Good team players are valued. Large complex projects always require people with diverse skills. Attitude matters; effective collaborators often find themselves in demand. Consider taking the time to volunteer for a large project that may be understaffed, even in an area outside your core expertise. This can be a way of broadening your skill set and business knowledge, plus demonstrating your motivation. Management appreciates self starters who ‘play well with others.’

Come early, stay late – The best point I can offer here is a story of my own. While I’m an advocate in theory for as much work-life balance as possible, the fact is, if you want to get ahead, there will be periods in a career where there are no substitutes for grindingly long hours. There was a period in my own career where I was especially motivated by the prospect of advancement and all that went with it, and had great respect for the organization and the work we were doing. Accordingly, I resolved to myself that no one in the 20-person department I worked in (including the SVP who managed the operation) would come in earlier or work later than I would. Did I always achieve that? No. But did my diligence catch the attention of senior management and ultimately help my career? Yes. (The assumption here of course is that you’re not simply sitting around long hours playing video games or writing to your aunt… but doing real work and adding value!)
In the end of course, occupational success is preordained for no one. Many talented people compete for relatively few coveted positions. But you can take certain actions to improve your odds. And if you do, regardless of how things turn out in a particular instance, at the very least you’ll have the benefit of broadening your skills and the satisfaction of knowing you gave your very best effort.

Congruency with Your Work’s Vision Statement

Maybe it is just my personality talking here, but I truly believe the more congruent you are with your actions mirroring your optimistic feelings reflecting your thoughts…the more people want to be around and interact with you. Being congruent is something you learn when you become a counselor. However, I want to share how to test and be congruent with you, because I see it as the balm to help people receive and give unconditional love. It applies to you, because how you think, feel, and act in a job that takes from 25 to 80 hours of your week will be reflected not just in your attitude, but in your health, and how strong your relationships are as well. How being congruent with your work’s vision translates directly to your job is by whether or not you enjoy what you do at work. Do you love your job? Do you hate it? Or, do you just put up with it, but want to be somewhere else? So how do you make your actions speak just as loudly as your work? Read on to find out how to test your congruency level with your work’s vision.

Regardless if you are the business owner or an employee the one thing we all have in common is customer satisfaction. With that being said most company visions reflect serving their customers. And, within the vision, the values of the company are also generally stated. To become congruent with your work’s vision you as an employee should believe in it as well. The more you internalize the vision statement and make it your own, the more congruent you are in doing your job and in interacting with your customers. Even if you make widgets and never see the end product or the customer consuming your wares, it matters. When you take pride in your workmanship and you believe your product or service is fulfilling a need for the consumer, it shows. Just look at social media and how customers “like” the companies that make them feel good.

The way you test your congruency with your work’s vision is by testing and measuring. The length of time you are going to test and measure depends on why you want the result.

Do you want to know by the end of the week? If you want to know sooner rather than later, then test and measure every day for a week.

Or do you want more of a longitudinal glimpse? If so, then do a 1-day measure, either once per week or one time per month, for six months. This will allow for ups and downs in customer volume, moods, etc., to give you a snapshot at how you’re doing.

How? Deconstruct the Vision Statement.

Horizontally, across the top of the page break the vision statement into parts. If it lists different values, then separate these out.
Vertically in the first column list your products (if applicable).
Still in the first column list your services (if applicable).
In the empty boxes where the pieces of the vision statement match up with the products and services column rate yourself. On a scale from 1-10, 1 being awful, 10 being excellent mark how you did that day.
You can also add in employee names, as well as customers down the page to rate yourself in your interactions with them as is applicable to the pieces of the vision statement that you’re testing.

You can do this whenever you need a reality check. Schedule it into your business plan if it is that important to you. If you’re not satisfied with your results, then directly after looking over your scores create a solution. Sit down with pen and paper. Brainstorm and write out how you can go from a 6 to a 7, write what it will take for you to get there. Maybe it’s leaving home life at home when you go to work. Or, maybe it is getting up every hour to dance for 5 minutes, so you don’t feel or sound tired when interacting with customers. Write it down, and commit to this new change for 6 months. Then, test and measure your congruency level with your work’s vision again. Celebrate the wins!

Whenever someone meets you, subconsciously, they are always scanning for congruency in how your nonverbal body language matches your verbal cues. This is why it is so important to believe in and enjoy your work. People pick up on it automatically. If they feel at ease and see your enthusiasm and joy for what you do, then they will want to come back. We all want to feel good, don’t we?

Let’s hear it for testing and measuring!

Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd

Mars Venus Coaching

Corporate Media Relations

Best Questions To Ask In Your Job Interview

Caroline Howard, Forbes Staff

Anyone who’s ever been on a job interview knows the pause: The moment when the interviewer’s q&as come to a stop, she looks you in the eyes and says: “And do you have any questions for me?”

Preparing for that crossroads in the interview is crucial, say recruiters and hiring managers. It’s the time to turn the table. And you don’t want to be caught off-guard with crickets in your head. You’ll appear indifferent, or worse, clueless. Alternately, if you’re buzzing with questions and give the interviewer what feels like the third-degree, it will immediately signal that you are unfocused or too aggressive.

“This is an opportunity to look like a leader and show that you are engaged in the interview,” says Cynthia Shapiro, a career strategist based in Woodland Hills, Cal., and author of What Does Somebody Have To Do To Get A Job Around Here?

“The best questions are really all about them and not about you,” says Louise Garver, an executive coach for the past 23 years from Broad Brook, Conn., and founder of Career Directions, LLC. “They have one thing at their core: How can I contribute value to the team and the company.”

Here, the five most important questions to ask at a job interview–plus a debatable no-no–so that you’ll make the right impression and get the job offer.

1. How would you describe the ideal candidate?
What this question does is enable the hiring supervisor to imagine you actually in the job as he or she is describing the position, says Shapiro. Technically, it is a form of transference. But practically it’s a way to role-play. “I’m so glad you said you need an Excel wiz. In my last position I…” Grab this as an opportunity to describe yourself doing the very things the interviewer outlined by using past experiences and wins.

Continuing this line of questioning–”What are the top three qualities you’re looking for?”–will reveal key information. Take mental or actual notes (it’s OK to have pen and paper handy–it’ll keep your hands busy) in order to shape your responses accordingly for future interviews or later in the conversation.

2. How do you envision this position supporting you?
At face value, this question has nothing to do with the job candidate herself–and the interviewer will certainly appreciate that. You’ve likely already listed all your past job and educational experiences. Instead of more me-me-me talk, it translates to I’m-all-about-you. “What you’re saying to your potential employer without saying it is, ‘I’ll make your life easier,’” says Shapiro. “That alone will put you at the top of the list.”

3. How does this position fit into the company’s long-term plans?
This query will open the door to discussions about the position and overall business strategy. It is perfectly appropriate at this point to ask about the person who is leaving (left or promoted?) or why the position was created, says Garver. You will also want to ask about the specific challenges and goals of the job, and the company’s vision for it in the next six months, year and five years.
If you feel uncomfortable, you can always couch your queries as permission-based statements, as in, “May I ask…,” says Garver.

4. How would you define “success” for this position?
The question drills down into a win looks like to the hiring supervisor and the company, says Shapiro. (Hint: many companies do not have performance evaluation systems in place, so you may catch your interviewer by surprise.)
This question not only reveals the kind of boss you are applying to–is he or she hands-off or a micro-manger?–but will give you insight into the company’s procedures and culture. “You need to put on your Sherlock Holmes hat during a job interview and be a silent observer,” continues Shapiro. “That is the only way you can determine what kind of a boss your interviewer will be and the kind of company you may be working for.”

5. What can I do for you as follow-up?
You want to know how you can grease the process in your favor. What you are saying, though, is “How can I help you.” And the more you find out about who or what group will be making the decision and their timeline, the more influence you have in terms of making the right contacts and sending follow-up information. “What employers are looking for are people who really want to work in the organization and are enthusiastic about affecting the outcome of the interview,” says Garver.

What’s the salary range?

Of course you want to know. But this matter of keen interest, along with other forms of compensation and benefits such as health insurance, child care, vacation, 401(k) and tuition reimbursement, is of some debate.
“This is my career, this is my life, I’d better bring up money,” says Debra Benton of Benton Management Resources of Ft. Collin, Col., a professional speaker and executive coach with 30 years experience working with such companies as Verizon, Campbell’s Soup and the USDA. “One subject you want bring up is money: ‘Money is not my main motivation in this job but what is the range?’ That shows my character. It takes courage and confidence to ask those questions.”

But many other experts advise a don’t-ask-don’t tell policy prior to a job offer in writing. “Never ask about salary and benefits,” says Garver. “Don’t ask any questions related to your needs.”
Why? You don’t have much negotiating power until they decide they want you on board. “Bring salary up too early and they’ll think that’s all you care about,” says Shapiro. So what should you do if THEY bring up salary before the offer? Simply say it would be something you’d consider. “Once they make the offer, it means they want you. Then negotiate. It shows that you’re serious.”

Why Cooperation and Collaboration is Essential in Today’s Workforce

There are many career fields now where men and women are integrated together. And, when you stop to think about it—even if there’s a career field where it’s predominantly one gender or the other, there is gender overlap either when buying products or services from vendors or serving customers. The way to reduce gender conflict is by focusing on strengths. By intentionally becoming aware of how to use both masculine and feminine communication skills you can give not only yourself, but your company as well, the advantage over your competition when it comes to productivity and creativity. Rapport building is a great way to foster cooperation and collaboration within your company and to obtain repeat customers.
As an individual reading this article you are becoming more cognizant of how masculine and feminine communication skills can be used interchangeably, by both sexes, for greater cooperation and collaboration. Becoming aware of the social skills involved, and then mindfully choosing to use both styles of communication will help you be a better communicator at work (and at home!).
Today we’re focusing on how to build rapport, a skill set women often acquire more naturally due to social conditioning and because they tend to communicate, commiserate, show compassion, and connect with others when under duress based on their physiology. In fact, physiologically, women produce their stress-reducing hormone, oxytocin, when they do just that—connect and nurture relationships with others.
When both men and women focus on beefing up their rapport with others, then the entire group (both employees and customers) benefit. Value is placed on what often makes or breaks a company—turning a product or service into profit. This is because the focus is on people enjoying the experience of working to sell or buy the product or service.
Building rapport is a skill that both men and women can benefit from in the workplace. By taking a moment every day to check-in with one another the workplace climate can change from friction and one-upmanship to one that’s more team oriented. This is critical in a workforce that employs both men and women. Put it into context with a young child picking up a toy strewn room. If you’ve picked a room up with a child, you know it is more about picking the toys up together, rather than putting the toys away that makes them feel accepted and like they did something well. When anyone feels like they matter, then typically their performance increases because peer pressure revolves around connection and positive reinforcement.
Women tend to ask others for their input when making decisions, because to them it is important to hear and value what other’s think and feel about the situation. Even in a quick-paced working environment where seconds count, eye contact, nods of the head, can mean the difference between if someone has your back, and if everyone’s on the same page or not.
You build rapport by actively listening to others. Be genuinely interested in someone—whether it’s how potty training is going with their daughter, how they’re coping with a sick parent, or how the work deadline caused them to miss their anniversary—listen with interest. This does not mean a fifteen minute or even a five minute chat every day—it’s a quick check-in as easy as asking, “hey, how is your day?” Stop. Listen to the answer. Respond by rephrasing or repeating back what they said and using empathy. Then, get down to business.
You can also build rapport by observing and responding to nonverbal body cues. Quick check-ins with my Marines as a Marine Corps Officer was invaluable when time was critical. I knew my Marines body language, their moods, and how to motivate each one as individuals. Instead of forcing my will or decisions, I relied on my strength of listening with my ears and reading emotional moods to make decisions that were good not just for the end result, but the people involved as well.
As my yoga teacher challenges us each week with mindfulness homework, let me do the same with you. Your homework is a two-fold challenge. In the next week notice how building rapport benefits the quality of your productivity and creativity. Then challenge your company to do the same. Hire a Mars Venus Coach to go over gender strengths and do DISC profiling with your company for your professional development training, or if there isn’t a Mars Venus Coach in your local area have employees take the online eWorkshop: Mars and Venus in the Workplace. It’s not enough just to read about gender intelligence, you have to put the knowledge into actions by interacting in better ways with others.
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
Corporate Media Relations

Why Promoting From Within Usually Beats Hiring From Outside

Susan Adams, Forbes Staff  4/5/12

This week The Wall Street Journal wrote about an intriguing new study looking at the cost of hiring employees from the outside, versus promoting from within. The study is by Matthew Bidwell, an assistant professor at Wharton who focuses on patterns of work and employment. Bidwell was interested in the 30-year-old trend of workers jumping from one employer to another multiple times in their careers. Bidwell says there’s not much data on the costs of job-hopping. He suspected that employers didn’t realize how much more they were paying to bring in workers from the outside.
Indeed, Bidwell found that not only do external hires get paid more, but for their first two years on the job, they receive significantly lower marks in performance reviews. External hires are also much more likely to get laid off than are those promoted from within. Bidwell scrutinized seven years of employee data, from 2003-2009, from the U.S. investment banking unit of a financial services firm, which included information on 5,300 employees in multiple jobs, from traders and research analysts to support staff. He also examined data from another investment bank and a publishing company.
The external hires made 18% more than the internal promotes in the same jobs. In addition to scoring worse on performance reviews, external hires were 61% more likely to be fired from their new jobs than were those who had been promoted from within the firm. The external hires tended to have more education and experience than the internal hires, but Bidwell says employers don’t appreciate how important it is for workers to know the ropes of an organization. “People don’t hit the ground running on day one,” he says. “We have relationships in organizations that are key to getting work done and a set of structures and routines we need to know.” Knowing where and when to file papers, for instance, or whom to ask about approving a project, can make work much more efficient.
Employers underestimate the time it takes for workers to get up to speed, says Bidwell. After two years, the performance reviews of the external hires caught up to the internal promotes. But sometimes an employee has already moved on, or gotten laid off, before hitting that mark.
Bidwell’s study was recently published in a journal called Administrative Sciences Quarterly. After he finished the study, Bidwell says he did some further analysis, of how people in a particular unit were affected by an external hire. Because everyone had to work to bring the new hire up to speed, the performance of the whole unit declined. The silver lining for workers is that bringing in an employee from the outside also tends to raise the pay for everyone in the unit.
In his paper, Bidwell references the work of Harvard Business School professor Boris Groysberg, who published a well-received book two years ago about what happens to star investment analysts when they switch firms. In Chasing Stars: The Myth of Talent and the Portability of Performance, Groysberg examined the careers of more than a thousand top analysts and found that in most cases, those who change firms suffer an immediate and lasting decline. It turns out that their strengths depend to a large extent on their former firms’ resources, networks and colleagues. There were exceptions, like when the stars moved together with their teams, or they switched to much better firms. Also exceptional women tended to do better after a switch than did men. But most top analysts performed much worse after changing jobs.
Hiring professionals should consider both Groysberg and Bidwell when deciding whether to bring in new blood. It can be tough to resist the allure of a superstar, and it’s challenging for companies to build up a pipeline of employees who are suitable for promotion. The mobile American workplace will likely only become more fluid. But managers should know that there is a cost to bringing in talent from the outside and that it pays to nurture and promote from within.

2nd Way Men & Women Can Reduce Each Other’s Stress

Hopefully you will learn about the changing roles of men and women, and how this has affected our stress levels.

Here is the second way we can help each other reduce stress….

#2- Recognize that men and women are actually hardwired to be different. The way our brains are structured and function is not the same. Acknowledging these hardwired gender differences helps us to identify and release our unrealistic expectations that our partners be more like us and to accept that we are not the same.

At first, these differences may seem to be a hindrance, but once you fully understand the biology, it becomes clear that we complement each other perfectly. In fact, it is as if men and women were made for each other.

Studies confirm there are real differences in the way men and women estimate time, judge speed, do math, orient themselves in space and visualize objects in 3-D. Men tend to excel in these skills. Women have more developed relationship abilities, sensitivity to emotions in others, emotional and aesthetic expression and appreciation, and language skills. Women are adept at performing detailed, planned tasks.

The advances in neuroscientific research have allowed scientists to discover significant anatomical and neuropsychological differences between male and female brains that explain our observable behavioral differences.
• A woman’s brain has a larger corpus callosum, the bundle of nerves that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. This link, which produces cross-talk between the hemispheres, is 25 percent smaller in men. In practical terms, this means men do not connect feelings and thoughts as readily as women do. This stronger connection between different parts of the brain increases a woman’s ability to multitask. When she is listening, she is also thinking, remembering, feeling and planning all at the same time.
• A man’s brain is highly specialized, using a specific part of a single hemisphere to accomplish a task. A woman’s brain is more diffuse, using both hemispheres for many tasks. This neurological difference allows men to focus and to block out distractions for long periods of time. Men tend to do one thing at a time in their brains and in life.
This insight can help a woman not to take it personally when he is at his computer and seems annoyed when she asks him a question. For her, it is a simple task to shift her attention when she is interrupted, but for him it is much more difficult.

In a similar manner, women become annoyed when a man tries to narrow down the focus of her conversation to a single point. He may interrupt her and ask her to get to the point, or ask what she wants him to do when she is still just connecting all the dots of what she is talking about. Quite commonly men will say, “I understand”, but what a woman hears that he wants her to finish talking.

By understanding our differences, we can begin today applying new insights and strategies to support each other in lowering stress levels. The most effective way to do this is to respect our differences-which are anatomical and hardwired in our brains.

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Are You a Skilled Social Actor or a Social Chameleon?

We all engage in impression management – trying to put our best foot forward and “fit in” in social situations. Two psychological constructs address how people “perform” in social situations, and there are subtle, but important, differences.

The first construct is called Self-Monitoring, and it is the ability to read social cues and alter one’s behavior in order to try to “fit in” to a specific social situation. Often the high self-monitor controls his or her behavior in order to impress others or to receive others’ social approval. Low self-monitors, on the other hand, are less concerned with self-presentation and are more likely to express their true attitudes and feelings, regardless of the social circumstances (think about someone who expresses their true political feelings regardless of who they are interacting with, versus the high self-monitor who sizes up the crowd [liberal vs. conservative?] before sharing, or not sharing, political opinions).

The second construct is called Social Control, and is skill in social acting. Persons high on social control are also able to control and manage their impressions, but they are not as highly affected by the social situation. Instead, the high social control individual possesses a social self-confidence and poise that allows him or her to be effective in a wide variety of social situations. Instead of the high self-monitor’s tendency to “blend in,” the person high in Social Control tends to stand out in a positive manner.

Our research has found that individuals who possess a great deal of Social Control, and who are also expressive and outgoing, are more likely to be perceived as potential leaders, and to lead social groups. High self-monitors are also likely to be chosen as leaders because they represent the “prototype” of a group leader (because they fit in).

One problem with the high self-monitor is that in the desire to fit in with the group and gain their approval, the person may become a sort of “social chameleon,” changing attitudes, opinions, and feelings in an effort to fit in and be accepted. From a leadership perspective, this can mean the leader is highly sensitive and responsive to the social climate (and the leader changes views depending on the crowd, and may appear “wishy-washy”). Socially, the extremely high self-monitor fits in, but we never get a sense of who the social chameleon really is or what he or she believes in and stands for.

On the other hand, the person who is extremely high on social control moves confidently forward, and works to bring others along with him or her. The downside of too much social control, however, can be a sort of arrogance born of the supreme self-confidence that the individual possesses. Social control thus needs to be balanced with a sensitivity to others, and consideration of their opinions and feelings.

So, where do you fall on these two dimensions?

Here are some sample items from the Self-Monitoring Scale (agreeing suggests high self-monitoring):

• In different situations and with different people, I often act like very different persons.

• Even if I am not enjoying myself, I often pretend to be having a good time.

• When I am uncertain how to act in a social situation, I look to the behavior of others for cues.

Here are some sample items from the Social Control scale (again, agreeing suggests high social control):

• I can fit in with all types of people, young and old, rich and poor.

• People from different backgrounds seem to feel comfortable around me.

• I can very easily adjust to being in almost any social situation.

Published by Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D.

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References

Riggio, Ronald (1987). The Charisma Quotient. New York: Dodd Mead.

Riggio, Ronald, Riggio, H., Salinas, C., & Cole, E. (2003). The role of social and emotional communication skills in leader emergence and effectiveness. Group Dynamics, 7, 83-103.

Snyder, Mark (1987). Public Appearances/Private Realities: The Psychology of Self-Monitoring. San Francisco: Freeman.

Snyder, Mark & Gangestad, S. (2000). Self-monitoring: Appraisal and reappraisal. Psychological Bulletin, 126(4), 530-555.