The Talent of Communication

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
~ James Humes

When it comes to communicating, it takes time and patience to practice this unique art form. Every relationship we have and each step we take in our career should require us to make decisions about how we approach specific conversations. Most of us don’t realize how old habits can ruin a conversation. Understand a few reliable practices to effectively communicate with anyone you encounter.

During a conversation with someone you’re trying to engage, it’s important to understand that you should not begin every thought and sentence with “I”.  Listening is often said to be the best communication skill. Eye contact and engagement are the physical positions of strength that should be practiced gaining comfort and familiarity with your audience.

Your choice of words, of course, is also important when communicating with others. Filler words like “um, like and just” can make you sound lazy and uninterested in the conversation. Sometimes we say these words out of habit or nerves, try to add a pause in your conversation to replace the use of these filler words.

Conversational style at company events is very important when trying to advance your career. Plan ahead with your subject matter by thinking about some thought provoking questions you can ask during a one on one conversation. These questions should be interesting, memorable and grab the attention of people around you. Be confident in your questions and get ready for any type of response back.

Solid communication skills can either make or break your reputation within your business or organization. Understand a few steps to make your conversations stronger while advancing your career. Being an engaging and engaged individual will be a benefit to you.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Managing the Hiring Process

“Great things in business are never done by one person.
They’re done by a team of people.”
~ Steve Jobs

As a business owner, looking for a new employee to fit seamlessly into your office culture can be a difficult task. Hiring the wrong person to fill a certain position can take a drastic toll on your company and your team’s morale by wasting time and resources. Understanding the impact of a bad hire can go a long way towards the overall growth of your business.

One of the greatest costs of a poor hire is a lack of productivity while the overall impact may be to cause a team to become dissatisfied and lose interest in doing a good job. Poor performing employees are hard to spot when interviewing potential candidates and it’s important to communicate with current staff to provide feedback about the new hire. Training and retraining employees while utilizing existing staff takes time and energy that your business can’t always afford to dedicate.

While Human Resources has evolved into a science and can be an effective hiring tool, it’s often necessary to also utilize older methods of screening. Often a face to face meeting with the prospective new hire’s peers can help the hiring manager gain a new view of the possibility of a good fit.

Recruiting and training are all part of the cost of a growing business. However managing the hiring process can be a larger expense when not conducted properly. The financial costs of hiring someone inappropriate or without the proper previous experience can be devastating particularly to a small business.

Your business’s reputation can either make or break your business or organization. New hires may be able to add or detract from that reputation. Monitor your company’s brand image on all social media platforms to make sure new hires aren’t making errors that are costing you business.

Hiring new team members is a risk for all business owners. Understand the positive impact of having the right person in the right place and take your time hiring that person.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Over Thinking

“We cannot solve our problems with the same
thinking we used when we created them.”
~ Albert Einstein

Over thinking is something we all do as a way to protect ourselves against making mistakes. This thought pattern can cause us to worry about things that have happened in the past, second-guessing important decisions and cause us to be highly stressed. Rehashing one’s decisions may prevent us from making progress and weaken our resolve long term. Learn how to control your reevaluation habits to become more confident and to accept what has been decided.

Sometimes we tend to recheck our thoughts and decisions without knowing we are doing it. Acknowledging when and how we do this is the first step in realizing these thoughts aren’t productive and won’t lead to positive actions. Re-examining decisions too often restrains you from doing your best.

Over thinking about events that have happened in the past or are going to happen in the future won’t allow you to live in the present. Instead of over thinking something you have made a decision about, train your brain to find solutions to that problem and then put those thoughts to rest. Try keeping a list of solutions or strategies you can use to focus on situations you can control.

Changing what you are physically engaging in can also help alleviate this habit. Exercising on a daily basis, reading a book, or watching a video on a different subject can be a great distraction and allow you to clear your mind.

Just like any other skill, it takes time and dedication to improve. Don’t let over thinking take over your time and energy. Learn how to develop mental discipline to stop over thinking and have a more productive and peaceful thought process.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Receive with Respect

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.”
~ Laurence Sterne

To continually build on business development and personal growth, effective feedback is usually necessary. When we hear negative feedback about a project or decision that we took great pains to complete effectively, the natural reaction is to take it personally and consider it negative criticism. While feedback can be painful to hear, it is often the pathway to corrective action that can be beneficial to moving forward.  It often takes great courage to receive criticism with respect and use it as a tool for betterment.

In many cases, our first instinct when responding to feedback is defensive. Train yourself to consider the true meaning of the comment and your reaction.  Feedback may help you improve yourself while refining skills and learning new methods and practices. Take a step back and truly understand the feedback so you can then analyze and plan your next step.

Personal growth often depends on face-to-face interactions with others even though this can be difficult. Instead of sitting back and allowing negative reviews to affect your progress, ask questions and clarify exactly what is expected and turn feedback into a constructive conversation. This will allow you and others critiquing you to feel more comfortable during this interaction.

Don’t let critical feedback set you back and make you feel hostile toward others. Know how to receive corrective action with respect in your professional setting.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Earn Respect in the Office

 

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”
~ Bryant H. McGill

Earning professional respect from both peers and employees is important for future success and overall personal fulfillment in your career field. Learn to stop the behaviors that might be holding you back from earning the respect you want and deserve in the office.

You might have already suspected that showing up late to the office or arriving late to a scheduled meeting is a big problem when you are trying to earn respect. Forcing a group of people to wait for you to arrive for a meeting will show that you don’t take your job seriously and more importantly, have no respect for their time. If you must be late, communicate with those you are meeting with. It’s easier than ever to take advantage of a call, text or tweet to inform your meeting partners of a necessary delay.

We have all attended a meeting with someone typing on their computer or using their cell phone. One of the most disrespectful behaviors you can exhibit is to focus on technology during a meeting instead of the speaker or the topic of the meeting. This behavior shows you have no interest in the meeting, the subject or the information being presented and sends a clear message of disrespect.

Of course, having loud conversations on the phone in your office or cubical is considered disrespectful to others around you. The office is a place that should be considered an environment with a professional atmosphere in order to make decisions, deadlines and think creatively without disruption.

Remember to reinforce your own positive habits when you’re trying to achieve a goal. Retraining yourself to avoid a few simple behaviors that might be causing you a loss of respect in the office will help build your career.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Change is Hard

“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present
are certain to miss the future.”
~John F. Kennedy

Whether you’re a small startup or a large corporation, it is essential to embrace change in order for a business leader to inspire growth and performance among employees and to increase productivity rates. Change can be the most rewarding development for your business, yet one of the hardest for most of us to grasp. Most people fear change because of concern of loss or discomfort with the unknown. Learn to overcome your unease to open your mind and better yourself and your business.

As a business leader, the best way to navigate change is by sharing your plans with employees, getting them involved in the process while listening to their ideas and concerns. Understand that some of your employees may be looking at the change “what’s in it for them?” Make sure you show the positive aspects that this change will have upon the group, change can also be perceived as excitement instead of worry if promoted that way. This will make people feel more comfortable and on board with the change.

Instead of jumping right into the pool of change, take small steps in creating a bridge between your current situation and the change you want to make. This will serve as a map for your employees to follow to help them transition to the new change, allowing everyone to take the correct and necessary steps to create that change in the most rewarding and effective way to keep balance.

Don’t settle for the way things are, overcome your own fear of change to help your company or organization grow in the world of business. Allow for open conversations and a clear road map to where you want this change to lead your company.

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

New Year, New You

nyny

“Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson

Whether your new year’s resolutions are to lose weight or build better relationships with friends, family or colleagues, most people tend to stray away from those resolutions well into the new year. One of the main reasons we don’t stick to our resolutions is because we are focusing on the wrong way to research those goals, instead of worrying about physical strength, focus on working on your mental strength first. The way we think and process daily interactions with others affects our overall performance in the office. Learn to build your mental strength instead of physical strength this new year.

We have all heard the saying “silence is golden” at one point but in our busy daily routines, silence can be the most beneficial. Letting yourself sit in silence for a few minutes each day relaxes your mind from the constant flow of information and ideas, allowing yourself to reflect on the day and what you could improve on for tomorrow.

Setting future goals for 2017 is essential for starting the new year with a fresh start. We all know what responsibilities we must accomplish each work day, learn to write down weekly goals to give yourself an advantage. Research has shown that we are much more likely to remember and stick to goals that are written down for us to see.

To get the most out of your metal strength each day, teach yourself to look at the good in your life. By recognizing a few good things each day like; a successful career, a healthy family and great friends, you can change the way you think by avoiding negative thoughts.

Simple ideas to grow your mental strength are easy to forget however, take the few steps each day to help yourself with your career. Self-discipline keeps us all in target and ready for the new challenges of a new year. 

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

‘Tis the Season for Holiday Madness

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This time of year, when the calendar rolls over into December life turns stressful for most everyone. With the rush of holiday party planning, present buying and spending time with family and friends, most businesses are trying to keep up with the demand from clients and customers while meeting end of year quotas and vacation time requests from employees. As a business owner, learning to maintain balance while actually enjoying yourself during the holiday madness is indeed an art form.

Before the holiday season kicks in, don’t forget to plan ahead to maximize productivity as much as possible. Think back on what challenges you had last year. What caused last year’s holiday season to become more demanding? What kept your customers happy? Trying to squeeze in as much as possible with only a few weeks till Christmas can take a drastic toll on your company and your health. Schedule and plan ahead before too many interruptions and events happen to get in the way of a productive and happy holiday season for your company.

Staying positive while having fun in the office will keep stress levels low and may actually increase productivity. As an example, Instead of looking at all the 5 o’clock deadlines, turn on the holiday music to boost spirits and morale and get those tasks completed.

With 2016 coming to a close and the holidays right around the corner, learn to manage your time and spirit and stay positive during this season of busy celebrations.

All of us at Vistage join in wishing you a happy Holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year!!!

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

What is Your Biggest Weakness?

Strengths Or Weaknesses Directions On A Metal Signpost

“Every weakness contains within itself a strength.” 
~ Shusaku Endo, Author

Whether you’re interviewing a potential employee or have been interviewed for a position, we have all come across the question “what is your greatest weakness.” Most responses are actually adjusted to show a weakness as a strength for example; “I’m too much of a perfectionist.” Much has been written about how as a job candidate to answer this question including answering with an honest shortcoming that is not essential to success in the position you are applying for. However, we may all gain some insight into our own strengths by examining our weaknesses and learn how to examine our answers to this question.

Identify an actual weakness that you are currently aware of and work on improving the skill.  Allow yourself to identify real weaknesses honestly and the ways and steps you can take to responsibly overcome this shortcoming.  

The real purpose of asking this question of a job candidate is to figure out if a certain weakness will make it hard for a candidate to fit into the culture of your workplace. We all want to add comfort and value while accomplishing the job for your business or organization. Interviews are meant to help filter through the impressions people leave with us and to narrow down the best of the best for consideration.

As an interviewer, it’s crucial to recognize a candidate that’s not insightful enough to clearly identify weaknesses as well as strengths. Working toward a positive outlook and culture in ourselves and hiring for that goal is important both as a leader and to an employee.  

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results

Volunteering as a Corporate Team

volunteer

 

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
~ Winston Churchhill

 

With the holiday season just around the corner, encouraging your employees to take part in a corporate volunteer program can be very beneficial to the office environment, the positive atmosphere among colleagues and to your brand. While donating items or funds to a local charity might be the easier route, helping your company standout in the community while engaging employee interactions has benefits that can add value to the lives of all involved.

Any business or organization can benefit from highlighting a positive reputation in the community’s eye. A well promoted and successful volunteer program allows a company to demonstrate commitment to helping the people in the local community while spreading brand awareness and gaining trust and recognition.

 Larger events like sponsored marathons supporting a well-known cause can even give your company added recognition by being featured on the local news. Always remember to also utilize social media to market your brand through pictures and twitter hashtags.

Working together in the community increases employee interaction by implementing team building exercises outside of the office which can be positive, fun and a fulfilling way to help others. For larger businesses and organizations with employees in different departments, corporate volunteering programs help to foster new relationship while learning each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

Find out more about our Vistage Florida team as we volunteer at Feeding Northeast Florida during the month of November!

Kelly D. Scott
Chairman/CEO
Vistage Florida
better leaders ● decisions ● results