March 2021
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The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business
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A Perspective Exercise in Three's

 

A Perspective Exercise in Three's

We all go through periods where the glass is half empty. We can’t see the good and positive for all the bad and negative. It feels like the scales have tipped and the glass is almost full of bad stuff, which is squeezing every drop of good out onto the floor. Here are a few simple exercises that will allow you to right the ship, shift your perspective in a more positive direction and get a better handle on reality.

  1. First thing in the morning DO NOT reach for your phone to check your social media and news feeds. Avoid bringing yourself up to date with all the horrors going on in the world. And ignore all those inane Facebook memes, for a few hours at least. Do not let outside influences direct your perspective for the day from the minute you wake up, or your psyche may already be screwed.
  2. Over your first coffee, or tea of the day list three things that are positive about your business.
  3. Reflect on why you started your business, what your vision was at that time, and what it is now. Write at least three things down. It doesn’t have to be formal, the back of the cereal box will do!
  4. Note down three things that your company does that makes life better for your employees, your customers, or your community.
  5. List three things that you are most grateful for right now. At least one of them should relate to your business.
  6. List three things that are currently stressing you out and note down a positive action that you can take to minimize that stress. Consider things like delegating responsibility, taking action immediately rather than procrastinating, re-evaluating the importance of the stressor, seeking advice, or whatever else will change your current perspective.
  7. Make a list of no more than three people in your business or social network that may be having a tough time and reach out to them. Listen to their challenges and offer help, guidance, coaching, mentorship, or whatever else you can do to ease their burden. There are always people worse off than ourselves. This will put your own challenges into perspective.
  8. Call three people you trust and ask them if you can get their perspective on the challenges you currently face in your business. Try to call people who you know are positive people; don’t call “negative nellies” that’s not the perspective you need.
  9. Post three sentences on any social media site you frequent, or write a blog post, about your experiences carrying out the perspective exercise. Share the positive!
  10. Pat yourself on the back three times for turning your mood around and getting a better perspective on your business and your life.

Often our perspective is out of line with reality and we need an external source to jolt us back into the real world. The thing with problems is they always appear far larger than they really are; once dealt with we often look at them (in the rear view mirror) with a new perspective and realize they were never as insurmountable, or problematic, as we first thought.

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A Perspective Exercise in Three's

 

Hiring in 2021 - A Changing Environment

It’s easy to live immersed in doom and gloom, but the reality is that things will change for the better; they already are, it’s just hard for many of us to see it just yet. You need to prepare yourself for the comeback and not be surprised by it, nor taken off guard by your competitors.

According to monster.com, the company is seeing consistent growth in the overall number of job postings. It predicts that this year will see a comeback in several industries including manufacturing, technology, warehousing and distribution, and call centres. Current buzzwords and phrases in hiring include diversity, equity, inclusion, work from home (WFH), upskilling (due to current skill shortages and fast-moving technological change), health and safety, and the gig economy.

Monster advises that companies looking to hire later in the year, would be wise to spend time now making contact with staffing agencies to put them in a stronger situation when the time comes to start hiring again.

The business world is changing and it’s changing at warp speed. Flexibility and adaptation are going to be the watchwords for any HR strategy. COVID increased the rate of change but make no mistake, the world was already experiencing an explosive technological revolution before the virus took hold. All the pandemic did was increase the rate of adoption and acceptance of certain technological advancements, especially relating to the way we all purchase stuff and attend meetings.

Here’s a brief run-down of things you might want to consider when thinking about making your next hire, or taking on your next sub-contractor.

  • Remote Working or Working from Home (WFH) is here to stay so you need to factor that into your 2021 HR strategy – of course, this depends on your industry and the type of work. People have discovered that they like working from home. If you can’t offer a complete WFH opportunity, flexibility needs to be part of the job description – yours not theirs!
  • More people are going to become gig workers, selling their skills to the highest bidder and spreading their employment risk across a number of “employers.” Gig workers are looking for good hourly rates, flexibility, and an equitable employment arrangement.
  • Your corporate culture is going to become increasingly important to potential employees.
  • You will be required (by society, your employees, and your customers) to broaden your net when hiring to include just about anyone. It’s called diversity. Gender, ethnicity, colour, physical disability, formal education, criminal history are all in the new employee melting pot.
  • Amazon, Google, Microsoft and many other major companies are spending a fortune on upskilling. Why? Because technology is changing fast and displacing workers who need new skills to match the new work. You may not be a Microsoft, but the same rules apply; your employees (new and old) are going to need help keeping up with the pace of change. According to Forbes magazine, Amazon has committed $700 million to re-skilling and up-skilling to ensure its workforce is current with new technology.
  • Focus on hiring people for the jobs you need them to do tomorrow, not today.
  • Think about cross-industry hiring. Look for people in other industries that have cross-over skills.
  • Health, safety, and security have become a vital component of the expectations people have of their employer. We will be in the COVID haze for much, if not all, of 2021, so workplace safety will be at the forefront of all potential employees’ minds.

According to StatsCan, 58,000 business closed their doors in 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business suggest the final figure could be as high as 200,000. Frighteningly sad figures, but for those businesses who manage to survive there may well be more business available, and a wider choice of employees. Once we see widespread vaccinations happening across Canada, things are going to improve for most companies. Hiring the cream of the crop for your business is a good goal to set for your company today, not tomorrow.

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A Perspective Exercise in Three's

 

Coach's Corner - Five Crucial Steps for Setting Expectations

Have you ever experienced a situation where one of your employees has been assigned a task or project and you have been disappointed with the end result? Or maybe you are frustrated that employees are not consistently adhering to guidelines or rules that have been laid out?

It may not be entirely their fault. It may be that your expectations were not as clear to them as you thought. Whether expectations are specific to a project or more general to the overall organization, it is imperative they are clear and that your staff fully understand them.

Here are 5 steps to help you set expectations that will help you get the results you anticipated.

  • Make expectations both clear and attainable. You will minimize confusion by writing your expectations down in a clear and concise way. Ask yourself. What are my expectations? Is there any room for misunderstanding them? If the expectations are for a specific project or task, what is the timeline for completion?
  • Outline why the expectations are important to you and the organization. Describe the expectations and detail why they are important to you and the overall organization or department.
  • Discuss the challenges or obstacles employees might face in meeting expectations. Engaging your staff in a discussion on the expectations and any challenges they or you might face, is an important step in gaining commitment. Ask them what challenges or obstacles they see that might prevent them completing the project. This will engage them and help ensure everyone understands what is involved.
  • Ensure there is agreement and commitment to the expectation. Once you have presented your expectations, it is incumbent on you to ensure that not only are the expectations clear but your staff genuinely accept and agree with them. A good strategy is to get them to state back to you what is expected of them. It may also be an idea to keep a written record.
  • Schedule check-ins during the process. Experienced employees may not need frequent, or any, check-ins. With newer or less experienced employees, a more detailed check-in schedule is crucial. Checking-in should not be about micromanaging the person or project, it is about ensuring things are moving in the expected direction. It also allows you and your staff to discuss any unforeseen problems and challenges that may have arisen, which could impact the success for the project.

If your expectations are not clear, you are setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment. Taking the time to provide and communicate clear expectations is an important part of your leadership role.

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching

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CFDC of North & Central Hastings and South Algonquin
PO Box 517 (26 Chemaushgon Rd), Bancroft, ON, K0L 1C0
Toll Free: 1-800-465-4119 | Phone: 613-332-5564 | Fax: 613-332-5628
mlrutledge@community-futures.ca
www.community-futures.ca

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