Three C’s To Hiring The Right Person

Have you ever led a team where everyone seems to gel together? You reach success with a highly effective team in both the work they produce and in the attitude of the team. But how do you bring about this type of teamwork?

It starts with hiring the right people. As a leader, one of the hardest jobs is to add high-quality people to your team.

The more homework you do on the front end of the selection process, the better chance you’ll have of finding the right fit, says Ron Edmondson, a church leader and pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky. This homework requires that you look within yourself to see what you need most in another person.

Edmondson suggests the next time you have an open position, to consider these three C’s. Which of these types of people would be most helpful to you at this time in your leadership?

1. Someone Who Complements You. This person can do more of what you do. If you are strategic—they are strategic. If you are a relational leader—they will be more so. It could be there’s just not enough of you to go around, but you need more of what you bring to your organization. Edmondson explains that in his large and growing church, he did this by hiring another executive pastor, so the church now has two leaders—one that is relational and one that is strategic.

2. Someone Who Completes You. What are you missing that you simply can’t bring to the team? It could be a quality you are not wired to provide or you no longer have enough time to provide it. This person can fill in gaps you have in your leadership. And, we all have those gaps. Edmondson gives the example of when his church hired a senior adult pastor who was still in the prime of his career. This role was needed because the church had a large senior population and this person provided this demographic with someone they could trust and feel comfortable with; it filled a gap for the church. So where are the gaps or missing holes on your team? Consider, not the open position, but the talent and personality you need for your team.

3. Someone Who Competes With You. This type of person could be needed as you are looking to transition out as a leader or if your organization is large enough to be investing in the next generation of leaders. This is the person who eventually wants your job. They want to do what you do someday, perhaps even more than the position for which you are hiring them. And, if they are really good, they are going to, at times, appear to be in direct competition for yo

ur job. This type of person will push you to be a better leader, and will also serve as bench strength for your team.

Edmondson sums it up by explaining, “You have to decide what you want or need in the person you are hiring. This is beneficial for you and the person who will come to work with you. And, it can hopefully help you avoid making a mistake in hiring.”

Source: As pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky, a church leader and the planter of two churches, Ron Edmondson is passionate about planting churches, but also helping established churches thrive. His specialty is organizational leadership, so in addition to his role as a pastor, he consults with church and ministry leaders.

Image courtesy of google image search.

Seven Ways To Improve Your Sphere Of Influence

To move things forward and achieve key milestones at work, you often need to be able to influence others—whether it’s colleagues, subordinates, your boss, customers or suppliers. In most cases, influence is power and it’s a critical element for success. Gaining influence can help you better manage a team or get your voice heard in a key meeting.

We’re sharing these key tips for building influence from Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing and social media agency.

1. Build Trust With Your Co-Workers. Only when a co-worker trusts you will he or she be open to your influence. The easiest way to do that is to be open and honest, no matter what. State your opinions, disclose your apprehensions and be transparent.

2. Be Consistent To Show Reliability. Inconsistency is the fastest way to ruin your reputation. On the other hand, if you execute your tasks effectively and on time, day after day, eventually people will come to rely on you. The same is true when you execute a consistent style of leadership, setting consistent expectations with your employees and giving consistent rewards for good work.

3. Be Assertive, Not Aggressive. Being assertive is the only way to get your ideas noticed, especially when you’re competing with others for visibility, such as in a meeting. However, there’s a difference between being assertive and being aggressive. You’ll need to present your thoughts and ideas with a high degree of confidence , but excessive confidence could be mistaken for arrogance, which will compromise your perceived authority. Tread carefully, especially when you’re unfamiliar with your audience or if you’re presenting your thoughts on an area outside of your expertise. Being assertive, so long as you truly believe in what you’re saying, is a way to cultivate a reputation of authority and earn the ability to influence your peers and employees.

4. Be Flexible. Work to demonstrate flexibility while holding firm on your beliefs. Negotiations and compromises are often the best ways to do this. Hold your ground when someone contradicts you, but work with them to find a mutually acceptable solution. When people believe you are flexible, they’ll be more likely to listen to you even if they’re stubborn.

5. Be Personal. A little personality goes a long way, especially when you’re trying to build influence in the workplace. This is especially important when you’re in a higher position, as a boss or a supervisor. If you isolate yourself, or try to build your perceived authority by distancing yourself from others, it might only serve to alienate you. Instead, go out of your way to have personal exchanges with your employees and co-workers. Personal working relationships are important for cultivating a sense of team, and if people see you as another team member, they’ll be more receptive when you present your ideas or opinions.

6. Focus On Actions Rather Than Arguments. Trying to build influence through words is useless. If you’re going to build influence in the workplace, you need to speak through your actions, or at the very least have the actions and history to back up whatever it is you’re saying. Demonstrating your ideas through real examples provides proof of your genuine nature.

7. Listen To Others. Finally, remember that influence is a two-way street. If you want to build relationships with your co-workers and employees, you first have to listen. The more you believe in the people around you and incorporate their ideas into your vision, the more they’ll believe in your ideas and incorporate them into their work habits. Encourage people to speak up, especially if they don’t often voice their opinions. Take time to respect and acknowledge everybody’s opinion, and let people know that you value them.

Try these strategies to improve your scope of influence in the workplace, and your opinions will naturally be heard, acknowledged and respected as a result.

Source: Jayson DeMers is the founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing and social media agency.

Bet On Pets

Roughly 65 percent of households in the U.S. own at least one pet, which equates to more than 81 million homes. The American Pet Products Association is projecting over $69 billion in pet industry expenditures in 2017, with an average annual growth rate over the last 15 years of 5.4 percent. With these strong spending predictions and ample opportunities for innovation, there’s a huge market for products that cater to pet owners.

It is not a coincidence that the demand for pet specialty products is increasing as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement. Many of the Boomer households are “empty nests,” and with their children gone, they are lavishing attention on their pets. Pet spending reaches its peak (at ages 55-64) as consumers focus on their “fur babies,” according to John Gibbons at petbusinessprofessor.com.

Even better news for the industry is that Millennials are embracing the trend. This generation was raised treating their pets as part of the family, so it is natural for them to splurge on luxury pet goods too. Many products and services that would have seemed extravagant to prior generations—doggie day cares, organic foods, high-end grooming services, expensive medical treatments and apparel—are now the norm. And as Millennials earn more disposable income, expect to see them spending more of it on their pets.

As the market for niche products and high-end services for pets expands, so do the opportunities to reach this audience through promotional products. “We’ve been successful selling to veterinarian offices, groomers, pet day care centers and dog treat companies,” says Charles Huang, vice president of sales and marketing for supplier Minya International Corporation (PPAI 112523). “There are also many channels and baking shows on YouTube that specialize in animal treats—and they sell merchandise to their followers. In addition, we’ve worked with animal shelters, rescue groups and breeder organizations for fundraisers.”

Humanization, the modern impulse to treat animals like people, drives the universal appeal of pet-themed products. Even among people who don’t own pets, who can resist heart-melting images of puppies and kittens? “Our ‘Best Friends’ calendars are appropriate for nearly any business serving consumers because pets are such a big part of family life now,” says Jerome Hoxton, president of Tru Art Advertising Calendars (PPAI 113720). “The primary buyers are veterinarians and veterinarian clinics, but other frequent buyer categories are banks, hardware retailers, dentists, tire service retailers, feed stores and auto dealers.”

With research pointing to increased health benefits associated with pet ownership, more and more consumers are following the craze. The U.S. Public Health Service touts pet ownership as beneficial to obesity prevention and helpful for those who are trying to quit smoking. In addition, the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation states, “People are happier and healthier in the presence of animals. Scientifically documented benefits … include decreased blood pressure, reduced anxiety and enhanced feelings of well being.”

———-

Pet Trends to Watch

Natural products
toxin-free materials and organic food

Premium services
spa treatments, mobile grooming, portrait photography, pet sitting

Superior health care
including health insurance

Travel Accessories
so that Spot isn’t left at home

Tech
wearable health trackers, monitors and interactive devices

———-

Have Pet, Will Travel

While on the go, pet owners are increasingly reluctant to put their animals in kennels. Numerous travel and hospitality organizations have responded, with airlines expanding their policies allowing pets on board, and many hotels and restaurants shifting to a more pet-friendly model.

Nowhere is this more apparent than at New York’s JFK Airport, where The ARK, the world’s first animal airport terminal, recently opened. The state-of-the-art center offers veterinary care, microchipping, and custom reports on individual animals. When complete, the terminal will unveil a Paradise 4 Paws pet resort that includes a bone-shaped dog pool and a jungle gym for cats. Although the terminal has only rolled out stage one of three so far, The ARK has raised the bar for travelers expecting quality care for their pets.

Even for less glamorous types of travel, including biking, going for a run or simply running errands, enthusiasm for mobile pet products is high and expected to rise.

For individual products and case studies, please visit our flipbook.

Terry Ramsay is associate editor of PPB.

Japanese firm gives non-smokers extra six days holiday to compensate for cigarette breaks

Company based on 29th floor of Tokyo office block says every break lasts at least 15 minutes.

A Japanese company is granting its non-smoking staff an additional six days of holiday a year to make up for the time off smokers take for cigarette breaks.

Marketing firm Piala Inc introduced the new paid leave allowance in September after non-smokers complained they were working more than their colleagues who smoked.

Hirotaka Matsushima, a spokesman for the company, told The Telegraph: “One of our non-smoking staff put a message in the company suggestion box earlier in the year saying that smoking breaks were causing problems.”

Following the suggestion, the company’s CEO Takao Asuka decided to give non-smoking employees extra time off to compensate, Mr Matsushima added.

The matter has been taken seriously by the Tokyo-based company which is reportedly based on the 29th floor of an office block — making any cigarette break last at least 15 minutes, according to staff.

Mr Asuka hopes the scheme will create an incentive for the company’s staff to quit smoking.

Efforts to reduce the number of smokers and impose tougher anti-smoking regulations have been seen across Japan in recent months.

In July, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike made plans to impose a smoking ban in public places across the Japanese capital ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

But the proposal is likely to encounter strong opposition from pro-smoking politicians, restaurateurs and cigarette manufacturing giant Japan Tobacco, which is one third government-owned and paid the state $700m in dividends in 2015.

The World Health Organisation ranks Japan at the bottom of the list in anti-smoking regulations according to the type of public places entirely smoke-free and around 18 per cent of Japanese are believed to smoke.

Why Daydreaming Is Actually A Good Thing

Do your best ideas come when you’re in the shower? Then why, when it comes to creative masterpieces, do we envision someone in angst—a la Vincent Van Gogh or Ernest Hemingway?

In her blog, Emma Seppälä, science director at Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, suggests that actually a happy state is necessary for creativity.

While doing research for her book, The Happiness Track, she uncovered proof that relaxation actually drives creation.

Seppälä says history shows that many famous inventors have come up with novel ideas while letting their minds wander. In 1881, for example, famed inventor Nikola Tesla fell seriously ill on a trip to Budapest. There, a college friend, Anthony Szigeti, took him on walks to help him recover. As they were watching the sunset on one of these walks, Tesla suddenly had insight about rotating magnetic fields—which would, in turn, lead to the development of the modern day alternating current electrical mechanism.

Even Albert Einstein would get into a relaxed state to address complex problems by playing Mozart for inspiration.

Her point is creativity happens when your mind is unfocused, idle. Daydreaming, and in turn creativity occurs when you can relax and let your mind wander.

She quotes an article in the Annual Review of Psychology, where Jonathan Schooler and psychology professor Jonathan Smallwood found that when people learn a challenging task, they do better if they work first on an easy task that promotes mind-wandering, and then go back to the more difficult one. The idea is to balance linear thinking—which requires intense focus—with creative thinking, which is borne out of idleness. Switching between the two modes seems to be the optimal way to do good, inventive work.

How often do you let your brain go on idle during the day? If you’re like me, the work day is filled with conference calls, meetings, writing and deadlines. I’m not sure my boss would be thrilled with me shutting my door and daydreaming for an hour. And my “downtime” is when I’m going to the grocery store, cooking dinner, taking kids to practices and taking care of responsibilities at home.

So how do we give our minds a break? She suggests these simple changes:

Make a long walk—without your phone—a part of your daily routine. Seppälä quotes a 2014 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology that revealed that people who went on daily walks scored higher on a test that measures creative thinking than people who did not, and that people who went on outdoor walks came up with more novel, imaginative analogies than people who walked on treadmills.

Get out your comfort zone. Instead of intensely focusing exclusively on your field, take up a new skill or class. Take on new experiences by traveling or networking with people outside of your industry or your immediate circle. She says that research shows that diversifying your experiences will broaden your thinking and help you come up with innovative solutions.

Make more time for fun and games. Stuart Brown points out in his book Play that humans are the only mammals who no longer play in adulthood. However, play time is proven to boost happiness which leads to inventiveness.

Alternate between doing focused work and activities that are less intellectually demanding. She refers to Adam Grant, Wharton School management professor and author of Give & Take, who suggests that organizing your day this way can help give your brain some much-needed downtime. It allows room for idea generation.

Try these simple steps to open your mind to the next big idea.

Source: Emma Seppälä is science director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, a lecturer at Yale, and author of The Happiness Track.

Seriously, Don’t Come to Work If You’re Sick

We’ve been off for a bit due to the busy nature of the holidays but today we are back with a vengeance and to talk about something very important to all of you out there.

Nobody wants you and your gross germs.

840x-1There’s nothing more selfish you can do than come to work sick. You may get a gold star for showing your sniffling face at the office and soldiering through the workday to prove your value—but everyone around you just gets sick. You’re an inconsiderate work hazard.

When people bring their infectious illness to work, it spreads—and when sick people don’t have a financial incentive to show up to work, fewer people get sick, according to a new working paper by the nonprofit National Bureau of Economic Research.

The researchers studied U.S. cities with paid sick-leave mandates and, using Google Flu Trends data at the city and state level from 2003 to 2015, looked for changes in flu rates after those mandates went into effect.

The cities that adopted paid sick-leave mandates in that time frame saw flu cases drop by about 5 percent after their laws took effect. For a city of 100,000 people, that comes out to 100 fewer infections per week, the researchers estimate.

“You see people who are at the workplace sneezing and potentially infectious. That’s how diseases spread,” said Nicolas R. Ziebarth, an assistant professor at Cornell University and one of the study’s researchers.

For most of us, staring at a computer through the fog of illness is torture, and does nothing to help us recover. Yet 3 million people, or 2 percent of the U.S. population, bring their ailments to work each week—a phenomenon the researchers dubbed “contagious presenteeism.”

Many do so because of financial pressures; nearly a third of workers have no access to paid sick leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The other two-thirds, who have the luxury of taking a sick day, need to stop making excuses for showing up at work sick.

Almost half of workers say they worry work will pile up if they stay home sick. People who find their jobs engaging also have a hard time staying home, finding work more fun than submitting to the reality of a sick day.

“Some people want to appear tough and signal that they are hard-working,” said Ziebarth.

But those diligent workers aren’t just showing their commitment, they’re also showering their coworkers with germs; the modern open office plan is a breeding ground for contagious illnesses. Worst of all, people tend to come to the office at the beginning of an illness, when they’re at their most contagious but still feeling well enough to get a little work done.

“You have over-the-counter drugs that suppress your symptoms, but they don’t suppress contagiousness,” Ziebarth pointed out.

And diligent workers who absolutely must meet a deadline or finish a life-or-death project should at least self-quarantine. Telecommuting has become an increasingly acceptable way to work, and 60 percent of employers let employees work from home, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual Employee Benefits Survey.

“It’s good to change the culture of how people see each other,” said Ziebarth. “You can signal hard work in a lot of different ways. It’s not the right way to go into the office and spread diseases.”

In fact, we all need to do our part to stigmatize coming to work sick. If a coworker comes in complaining of a tickle in his throat or clammy hands, say: “Go home! Nobody wants you and your gross germs.”

Original Article by

Rebecca Greenfield August 30, 2016, 9:47 AM EDT

Build Unshakable Confidence During Shaky Times

We all know that the world today is not what it was 10 years ago, or even five years ago. Our mobile phones, laptops, tablets and televisions frequently depict images of the political, financial and international upheavals that have an effect on our economy.

With so many stressors and distractions, it can be a challenge to stay confident and maintain a positive attitude as a leader. In a recent article, highly regarded sales coach Joel Garfinkle shared 10 tips for building an unshakable confidence. Here is an excerpt from his article:

1. Know that things will not stay the same. They will change, they will get better. In the meantime, recognize that you can’t change the direction of the wind. But you can change the direction of your sails.

2. See the bigger picture. We’ve had economic and financial crises over the past 80 years. From the 1929 Great Depression, lines at the gas pumps in 1973, Black Monday in 1987, the 2001 dot.com bust and the Great Recession in 2008-2009. With each economic crisis, we haven’t just recovered; we have seen a very positive turnaround. You will get through this.

3. Take action that shows you are in charge. Perhaps the most frustrating part is feeling that your situation is out of control—that you can’t do anything about it. Instead, take action, even if it’s small steps, to show you can make a difference in your own future. This will empower you and build your sense of self-confidence.

4. Cut back on expenses. Make small adjustments to your spending habits and lifestyle. List all your expenses and see what and where you can cut. Instead of looking at budget cutting as a pain, consider it a challenge or opportunity.

5. Bring in extra income. You could get a part-time job or spend a few hours a week doing something extra to bring in more money. Or consider asking for a raise or working more overtime.

6. Limit the amount of news you take in. In one day, you can easily read the paper, watch the internet and then consume the TV news stations. All of this is overkill and will just reinforce the negativity. Limit how much news you take in. This will help you not get overwhelmed and swamped in doubt and fear.

7. Use your savings—it’s a rainy day. You know the adage, “Save for a rainy day.” Guess what? It’s raining! Now is the time to use the money you have put aside. Tapping into this rainy-day fund might take some of the pressure off.

8. Be willing to take on additional responsibilities. As companies downsize, the “survivors” are often asked to pick up the additional work. Understandably, this causes resentment and hard feelings. Instead of complaining, look at this as an opportunity to increase your value to your organization. Then, even if you are laid off, this additional experience and responsibility will make you that much more employable.

9. Surround yourself with positive people. Put an end to the pity parties. As Richard DeVos, the founder of Amway, once said, “Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A word of optimism and hope. And you can do it when things are tough.”

10. Spend more time with the people you love … doing the things you love. Turn off the TV or computer and work on your golf game. Surprise your spouse or partner with breakfast in bed. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or your local humane society. Look for reasons to celebrate the people you love and the friendships you’ve enjoyed over the years (in good times and in bad).

Source: Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of seven books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle and many more. Subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work Newsletter and receive the free e-book, 40 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now! Copyright ©2005-2016 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved.

Work-From-Home Tips To Stay Motivated

I recently began a job where I had the opportunity to work from home. I was hesitant at first, worried about how I was going to connect with my new colleagues, stay focused and engage in my new job. Well, I surprised myself in discovering that I loved working from home. I was focused, got a lot of work done, and even had time to walk my dog every day. We were both happy … until the new teammate came along.

Suddenly, I found myself having to work in an office every day. I was wasting two hours a day commuting, dealing with office politics and yes … the dog was missing her daily walks.

Why the change? It turned out that another co-worker, who also worked remotely, was not successful in that environment. He wasn’t achieving his work goals and needed others around to keep him focused and accountable—so suddenly we were both back in the office.

It takes some important strategies to stay motivated and successfully work at home.Promotional Consultant Today shares these tips from author Alison Buckholtz’s Harvard Business Review article, “How to Work Remotely Without Losing Motivation.”

Use the time you save on commuting to read a good book. Choose a time of day that you would normally be commuting to work to read. Maybe you read the first half-hour before you start your work, or you take a short break mid-afternoon. Pick a book that inspires you. It will give you something to look forward to as well as a short escape from the day’s routine. Plus, it might clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective on your job.

Get out of the house at least once a day. This is a very important rule. You need to step outside at least once a day. When I worked from home, I would leave my house every morning at 7:30 am to grab a coffee. When I came back inside, it signaled the start of my work day.

Whatever you choose—a walk around the block, an errand, exercise—spend the same amount of time on it every day or based on what your schedule dictates. For example, if you have a busy day filled with calls, give yourself at least 10 minutes of non-work related activity.

Don’t make a work-together “date” just because someone else also works remotely. This is the rule that I wish I knew about when I worked remotely. Just because your two neighbors also work from home doesn’t mean you should “keep each other company.” Everyone has different work demands and a different pace at which they achieve their work. Your friendship might be better off if you don’t work together.

Make someone else happy. We all hit a rut in our daily routine. For me, it’s usually at 3 pm. It never fails. If I’m working and don’t have meetings scheduled at that time, I feel the boredom and lack of focus kicking in. I could easily waste an hour just trying to get myself “back in the game.” Buckholtz suggests not to fight it, just re-direct. When you are at the point where you are tempted to start trolling Facebook, instead do something to make someone happy. She said she uses this point in the day to call her grandmother because it makes her grandma happy and it’s productive. So step away for 15 minutes and do something to make someone else in your life happy. Then get back to work.

Repeat “That’s what the money is for!” When you get in a slump, remember that your goal is to get a paycheck. The disadvantage of working from home sometimes is that others don’t see the depths of how hard you are working. You don’t get a chance to toot your own horn. As Buckholz says, “No one will appreciate you, but someone sure will be glad to get your finished work in hand. And you’ll get a paycheck delivered to the same home where you’re still unshowered and wearing pajamas.”

Exercise. Working from home makes it easier to have a regular exercise schedule. Exercise clears your mind and allows you to be more productive. Those endorphins go a long way to solving work problems in a fresh way and create a sense of positivity to get you through the rest of your solitary work day.

When all else fails, remember Maverick. Buckholtz refers to the story of Maverick, a Navy pilot who preferred the terrifying experience of landing his plane on an aircraft carrier at night over having to face his power-hungry boss every day.

While this might be an extreme example, remember you’re the lucky one. You have the freedom, the independence and the trust to work from home. In your sweats. At your pace. Don’t do anything to derail this opportunity. Instead, use the time to achieve work goals and strive for a work-balance that others wish they had.

Source: Alison Buckholtz is a writer and editor living in the Washington, DC area. She is the author of the memoir Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War.

Tips For Vendor Partnerships

You get a last-minute call from a top customer for a 1,000-piece order. Who are you going to call? You will reach out to the vendor you can count on, that’s who!

Vendor management allows you to build a relationship with your suppliers and service providers that will strengthen both businesses. Vendor management is not about negotiating the lowest price possible. Vendor management is constantly working with your vendors to create partnerships that will mutually benefit both companies.

1. Share information and priorities. The most important success factor of vendor management is to share information and priorities with your vendors. Appropriate vendor management practices provide only the necessary information at the right time that will allow a vendor to better service your needs. This may include limited forecast information, new product launches, changes in design and expansion or relocation changes, just to name a few.

2. Balance commitment and competition. One of the goals in vendor management is to gain the commitment of your vendors to assist and support the operations of your business. On the other hand, the vendor is expecting a certain level of commitment from you. This does not mean that you should blindly accept the prices they provide. Always get competitive bids.

3. Allow key vendors to help you strategize. If a vendor supplies a key part or service to your operation, invite that vendor to strategic meetings that involve the product they work with. Remember, you brought in the vendor because they could make the product or service better and/or cheaper than you could. They are the experts in that area and you can tap into that expertise in order to give you a competitive advantage.

4. Build partnerships for the long term. Vendor management seeks long-term relationships over short-term gains and marginal-cost savings. Constantly changing vendors in order to save a penny here or there will cost more money in the long run and will impact quality. Other benefits of a long-term relationship include trust, preferential treatment and access to insider or expert knowledge.

5. Seek to understand your vendor’s business too. Remember, your vendor is in business to make money too. If you are constantly leaning on them to cut costs, either quality will suffer or they will go out of business. Part of vendor management is to contribute knowledge or resources that may help the vendor better serve you. Asking questions of your vendors will help you understand their side of the business and build a better relationship between the two of you.

6. Negotiate for both. Good vendor management dictates that negotiations are completed in good faith. Look for negotiation points that can help both sides accomplish their goals. A strong-arm negotiation tactic will only work for so long before one party walks away from the deal.

Whether you’re a multimillion dollar company or a small business with a few employees, these vendor management tips will create a win-win for both businesses.

Source: Jim Bucki is the director of computing technology at Genesee Community College. He serves on several committees at the college and in the public sector that provide expert insight on efficient operation of organizations. His wide variety of experiences across multiple industries has given him the ability to see where opportunities for improvement lie. Most recently he led a team of representatives to investigate the possibility of outsourcing some of the county’s operations.

How To Lead Innovation

There may be a time when you need to take the lead on innovation in your organization. The distinguishing aspect of leading a special-purpose team is that you’re not in control; you can only influence behavior. You’re tasked with figuring out how to do something new, so what you do in the formative stages will greatly impact the team’s chances of success?

1. Keep team size small, even for big projects. In Silicon Valley, the “pizza rule” has taken hold. If you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, your team is too big. Once a group gets beyond five to seven people, productivity and effectiveness begin to decline. Communication becomes cumbersome. Managing becomes a pain. Players begin to disengage, and introverts withdraw. When it comes to team size, less is more.

2. Pay attention to group chemistry and emotions. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon point to three factors that make a team highly functioning. 1) Members contributed equally to the team’s discussions, rather than letting one or two people dominate; 2) Members were better at reading complex emotional states; and 3) Teams with more women outperform teams with more men. The emotional component—how we feel when we are engaged with a team—truly matters but is all too often never discussed. Pay attention to how the people you’re inviting onto your team relate to others. Always give credit to your team rather than take credit yourself, and practice empathy at all times.

3. Don’t go overboard with diversity. Can too much diversity be a detriment to team chemistry? Researchers at Wharton think so. Too much diversity of “mental models” can be a drag on forward progress, say professors Klein and Lim. If members of a team have a shared, organized understanding and mental representation of knowledge about the nature of the challenge, it can enhance coordination and effectiveness when the task at hand is complex, unpredictable, urgent and novel. The researchers concluded that team members who share common models can save time because they share a common body of knowledge.

4. Establish a group process. A group without a process is like a ship without a rudder. It will have a harder time innovating. Establish team rules at the outset. Address how you’ll treat each other, how you’ll respect each other and articulate how much of time each member is committing to the team. Effective teams establish clear goals and rules at the outset, and hold each other accountable.

5. Pay attention to the 3R’s of innovation: Result, Reputation and Residuals. What motivates people over the long haul is not money, but intrinsic rewards. As the team leader, keep the three R’s in mind: 1) Result: If you hit your target, you’ll have another accomplishment on your track record; 2) Reputation: Your status in the organization rises. Senior management will be delighted. Colleagues will talk you up, praise your contribution, and invite you to join future projects. 3) Residuals: the lasting payout of participating in a successful collaborative team is that you get to see your “product” being used by customers, both internal and external. You know you’ve made a difference, solved a problem or created an opportunity for the organization, your team and most of all yourself.

Source: Robert B. Tucker is a renowned global futurist and innovation keynote speaker with a client list that includes more than 200 of the Fortune 500 companies. President and founder of The Innovation Resource, Tucker is an internationally recognized pioneer in the field of innovation.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson