Is Gossip Good for Business?

"Gossip Girls" by Art G. via CC BY 2.0

Gossip is a dirty word. It’s condemned by parents, community leaders and business professionals the world over. Yet, here’s an interesting tidbit: it’s essential to our way of life. What?!

“Even today the vast majority of human communication — whether in the form of emails, phone calls or newspaper columns — is gossip. It comes so naturally to us that it seems as if our language evolved for this very purpose.”

In Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Harari, PhD, argues that Homo sapiens (that would be us!) survived and even thrived when other human species failed due to our unique language capabilities, including the ability to gossip.

It’s not as crazy as you may think. When you break it down, gossip is conversation about other people. Who to trust, who has the best fresh vegetables and who is unsavory. As a small business owner, I want to know about a customer of other businesses who doesn’t pay their bills or a potential business partner who doesn’t know what ethical means. That’s knowledge that may save me lost revenue, lost time and serious aggravation down the road.

“The new linguistic skills that modern Sapiens acquired about seventy millennia ago enabled them to gossip for hours on end. Reliable information about who could be trusted meant that small bands could expand into larger bands, and Sapiens could develop tighter and more sophisticated types of cooperation.”

It’s similar to the proverbial ‘water cooler’ in the office. You may not want to get involved in office politics but that decision can derail your career. How often do employees label a manager or supervisor aloof or out of touch when he or she doesn’t have a beat on the pulse of the office? You need to know what’s going on — to some extent — in your coworkers’ and employees’ lives. As a business owner, I would even extend that to business partners and clients. It allows you to understand a situation, show empathy and act appropriately.

Is Gossip Good for Business?

Are you familiar with the gossip theory (in relation to evolution)?

Have you been affected by office politics — positively or negatively?

Is gossip good for business?

p.s. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is a great read for history buffs and business professionals alike. Want an inkling into what makes people tick? You’ll get it here. Both quotes in this post are from this book.

p.p.s. Love this post’s featured image? Learn more about “Gossip Girls” by Art G. here. It’s used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

Cheers,
Jaime

Let’s chat (on gossip, business, a new project or otherwise):
Facebook logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo

6 Valuable Snippets of Career Advice I’d Tell My Younger Self

After reading some of the entries in the popular #IfIWere22 LinkedIn series, I was inspired to think about what I would tell my younger self. Hindsight is 20/20, right? So here I go…

college graduation photo

Yours truly at 22 — ready to take on the world!

6 Snippets of Career Advice I’d Give to My Younger Self

Don’t let yourself be used. Yes, it pays to be a hard worker and to chip in where you can. Some of your best opportunities may come from projects outside of your ‘job description.’ Yet, it’s not helpful to willingly work 70-80 hours a week and become a catch can for the company while others maintain an actual work-life balance. There’s nothing in the Ten Commandments about burning out before you’re 25 and routinely doing other peoples’ jobs for them.

This point also refers to regularly ‘covering’ for co-workers or even your boss while they’re sleeping in, out socializing or living their life. In group environments, you’ll always have people riding others’ coattails. Sometimes, these people promise ‘exposure,’ promotions, even raises. Unfortunately, these are often empty promises.

Start networking now! Your professional network can be a big boost to your career, but it’s up to you to build and maintain it. I’m not just talking about collecting business cards or adding connections on LinkedIn (although that’s a great place to be!). Get to know professionals in your industry, offer your help when appropriate and pick their brain. Remember to give twice as much (of your time, talents, etc.) than you receive.

Speak up. You may be the low man (or woman) on the totem pole, but don’t hesitate to chime in when appropriate. If your boss asks your opinion, speak up. As a newbie to a company or situation, you can offer a fresh perspective that veterans cannot. Besides, the simplest solution is often the best, and others may be over-thinking the project. Your superiors will notice when you routinely offer valuable insight and fresh ideas.

Speak up -- and shine like a star!

Speak up! Your insight and ideas can be just as valuable as someone twice your age.

Learn from every opportunity. You were excited to land an internship at a great company but all you’re doing is picking up coffee, making runs to the mail room and updating endless spreadsheets. First, do whatever tasks you’re assigned to the best of your ability — even making coffee runs. If you can’t handle the routine, why would anyone give you more responsibility? Look for opportunities to improve the situation — save the company money, enhance a report or bring efficiency where you can. If your supervisor doesn’t notice, bring it up (appropriately of course). Then, ask for more. Let your boss know that you’d love to sit in the next brainstorming session or be involved in a conference strategy session, and offer your help — to take notes, order lunch, etc. It may just be that the powers to be have so much going on that they don’t realize you’re being shut out. (This applies to seemingly non-related jobs and experiences as well. You’d be surprised what you can learn from working at Walmart or helping your youth group.)

Try new things! You’re young, so it’s OK if you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life. This is where talking to other professionals, shadowing them and volunteering for opportunities will help. For example, volunteering at an American Diabetes Association walk may show you a love for event planning or participating in student government could spark an interest in public service. The more you experience, the more confident you’ll feel in your chosen career path. Change your mind at your first career stop? No big deal. Keep looking for what you want to do and avenues you can take to get there.

Don’t burn bridges. It may be tempting to walk out of a job on the spot or tell that professor what you really think of his teaching, but it’s probably a bad idea. We’re a mobile society today, so you never know where or when you’ll run into someone again. That professor? He may be a consultant for a company you apply at. Your internship supervisor? It turns out his brother-in-law works in HR at your dream company. It’s amazing how small the world turns out to be. So try to act professional until the end, even if that means graciously leaving an opportunity before you explode.

What’s your advice?

What career advice would you give to your younger self?

Is there a decision you made when you were younger that you love or regret?

What’s the best career advice you’ve received?

p.s. Entering the workforce? Changing careers? CCC can help you with a number of personal branding needs, including resumes, cover letters and social media profiles/usage. Learn more or contact us to discuss your needs today!

Older and wiser,
Jaime

Building your professional network? Connect with CCC!
Facebook logo Google+ logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo YouTube logo

LinkedIn: Are You Connected?

All of your colleagues and fellow business professionals keep telling you to get on LinkedIn, but you’re not looking for a job. So what’s the point, right?

LinkedIn: Are You Connected?

Wrong. LinkedIn is the Rolodex of the 21st century and so much more: an organized way to store your professional contacts, an easy way to follow up with new connections (made on or offline) and an amazing way to connect on business ventures across town and across the world.

How should you stand out on this popular networking site? It depends on your objectives, but the following tips should help you break free from your competition.

Do

  1. Be active. People tend to set up their profile and walk away. You don’t need to post as much as on other social platforms, but it is helpful to share valuable content at least a few times a week.
  2. Set up notifications. Remember that LinkedIn is a great place for new opportunities: business ventures, clients, careers, volunteering. Set up notifications, so you know when someone contacts you and can respond accordingly.
  3. Engage. Don’t just connect with people and forget about them. Cultivate your network! If you come across a resource that would benefit a connection, send it to him. Take some time — even 5 minutes twice a week — scrolling through your feed to like, comment or share on your connections’ posts. This is a helpful way to stay abreast of the latest news and stay top of mind with clients, prospects and business professionals.
  4. Help. Are you knowledgeable about the topic of a group discussion? Chime in! Do you have a solution for someone’s problem? Share! At it’s core, LinkedIn is a forum for business professionals around the world to connect, collaborate and grow.
  5.  Be selective. Some people are obsessed with having the most connections, but it’s really about quality, not quantity. Only send connection requests to people who genuinely interest you: a possible client, new connection at a conference, colleague or possible partner in a business venture, for example.

At it’s core, LinkedIn is a forum for business professionals around the world to connect, collaborate and grow.

Don’t

  1. Spam. Some people use social media like they do email marketing — to spam you with constant sales pitches, special offers and information about them. It’s OK to post this information sometimes, but remember the tried-and-true customer mantra, “What’s in it for me?” Post valuable information for your audience, and don’t feel the need to post constantly. (So please think long and hard before connecting your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.)
  2. Spam. This isn’t just about posting updates; it’s also about sending messages and posting to groups. Don’t spam anywhere. While an effective message to new connections, old contacts or prospects can open doors, blasting people with tired sales pitches, daily specials or repeated requests for ‘favors’ can slam them shut.
  3. Always have your hand out. One of the numerous benefits of social media is the ability to connect with people from all over the world, including leaders in your industry or field. These ‘rock stars’ can be a tremendous asset to growing your network and creating opportunities. However, don’t constantly ask these folks (or anyone for that matter) for favors or hit them with a request right after connecting. They don’t like to be used either.
  4. Stalk. Just hang up the phone with the HR director at a company you’re interviewing at next week? You may want to hold off on sending a connection request. Some people aren’t comfortable connecting with prospective employees in order to avoid showing favoritism. Did you meet with a prospect for coffee? Feel free to send him a connection request with a thank you message, but don’t go overboard. Inundating him with 5 messages over the next 2 days isn’t necessary.

Enjoy these tips to enhance your LinkedIn experience, and let us if you’re able to put them to good use. Keep an eye out for additional posts in this series: LinkedIn: The Essence of a Profile and Are LinkedIn Groups Working For You? (If you have any additional requests for posts on LinkedIn, let us know!)

Connect with us:

Do you agree with the aforementioned tips? What did we miss?

Have you landed a new client, career opportunity or business venture on LinkedIn?

How do you use LinkedIn vs. other social platforms?

p.s. If you’re on the largest professional networking site in the world, connect with CCC. We’ll be happy to answer any questions or offer a few tips.

Cheers,
Jaime

Connect with CCC! We’re social creatures.
Facebook logo Google+ logo Twitter logo Instagram logo Pinterest logo LinkedIn logo YouTube logo

Kindness in the Workplace: A Guide for Your Organization

The evidence is in, and there can be no doubt. Treating employees well and making them happy affects the bottom line. Let’s explore the dynamics, and see just how to achieve a kinder workplace and happier employees.

This “happiness map” is a generic guide to happiness. Nevertheless, it is as relevant in a workplace setting as anywhere else.

This way to happiness >> By Carol Preibis

This way to happiness >>
Happiness Map by Carol Preibis

 

Notice that the starting point is “Mindfulness.” Being mindful promotes compassion (kindness). Mindfulness also leads to “Appreciation” — it teaches us gratitude. Conclusion: To achieve happiness in the workplace, we would do well to:

  •   Apply mindfulness to the workplace.
  •   Foster gratitude across the organization.

 

Mindfulness

Do you live in the moment?

“SAKURAKO – Pick up the phone.”
by MIKI Yoshihito via CCBY2.0

“Mindfulness is a way to live your life as if it really mattered. And that involves being in the present moment with open-hearted presence and kindness toward yourself.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

Evidence suggests practicing mindfulness can help organizations by diminishing stress-related health care costs and increasing productivity. Kelley McCabe Ruff runs eMindful, a Vero Beach company that puts on virtual workshops for businesses. She has been able to quantify the effectiveness of eMindful’s programs, showing that they support behavioral change that leads to physical changes, such as reduced cortisol levels and lower blood pressure. “We actually supply employers a return on investment calculation.”

 

Kelley McCabe Ruff, eMindful CEO and founder, relates eMindful’s focus on reducing employee health care costs and increasing productivity. Live programs are offered via the internet, allowing eMindful to provide the most experienced and expert teachers in Mindfulness as well as other Mind-Body Programs. Presented by eMindful – http://www.eMindful.com

Reflecting before reacting is the first step in practicing mindfulness, and learning it is quite simple. Think of the acronym STOP:

Stop — Stand or Sit
Take a breath
Observe
Present – be in the present moment

Rhonda Magee explains the technique in this video.

Rhonda Magee, JD, is Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of San Francisco. In this talk from the “Practicing Mindfulness & Compassion” conference on March 8, 2013, Magee explores how to apply contemplative practices to our professional lives–and in doing so create more compassionate workplaces.

 

Sharon Salzberg, author of the book Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement and Peace, believes mindfulness can be applied in any career.  “It’s a great tool for coming back to the moment and remembering your intention,” she says. For example, practicing mindfulness at work could be pausing and planning before picking up a phone, or taking a deep breath and focusing on the desired outcome during a contentious meeting.

“Teaching and encouraging mindfulness in the workplace has become a part of corporate efforts to reduce the stresses that can lead to burnout. Increasingly, the practice has gone mainstream, buoyed by the recent endorsements of CEOs, educators, actors, and politicians who link mindfulness to improved psychological and even physical health.” ― Cindy Krischer Goodman, Working with ‘mindfulness’ reduces stress in the workplace

 

Gratitude

Good job!

“Good Job on Sticky Note” by David Castillo Dominici via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“To practice gratitude, we must practice mindfulness. When we are truly present in the moment, we see the beauty all around us. And the more joy we cultivate, the more we can practice our purposeful awareness and acceptance of the present moment. Mindfulness begets gratitude, gratitude begets mindfulness.” — Sarah Rudell Beach, Mindfulness and Gratitude: A Celebration of Thankfulness

Foster an environment of gratitude across your organization. Gratitude in organizations is important—it can boost morale and increase productivity. To learn more about this dynamic, the Greater Good Science Center developed a quiz that measures the level of gratitude in an organization. An analysis of the results concludes: “In order to foster gratitude across an organization, it may help to maximize opportunities for people in low-level positions to make meaningful contributions, and ensure that their contributions are recognized—especially for employees who have been in a low-level position for many years. It may also be wise for organizations with high levels of stress to bring more awareness to how often—and to whom—expressions of gratitude are granted.”

A wonderfully effective way to recognize employee contributions is with an “office gratitude journal.” The Administration and Finance office of the University of California, Berkeley, created an appreciation platform that allows employees to recognize each other’s contributions, which feeds into a “Kudos” webpage that publicly highlights these contributions. A simpler and equally effect implementation of this same idea is a bulletin board known as a “wall of gratitude.” For details on these and other suggestions, see five ways to boost gratitude at work.

 

Kindness

Business Team Discussing Ideas

“Business Team Discussing Ideas” by stockimages via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“This is what I find most magnetic about successful givers: they get to the top without cutting others down, finding ways of expanding the pie that benefit themselves and the people around them. Whereas success is zero-sum in a group of takers, in groups of givers, it may be true that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” ― Adam GrantGive and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success

There are so many ways to bring kindness into work. Here are a few suggestions:

  •   Never, ever play the “blame game.” Rachel Woods, in her article on Tiny Buddha, explains how to stop playing this destructive game.
  •   Develop the skill of giving and receiving criticism. I highly recommend Zen and the Art of Constructive Criticism by Erin Dorney.
  •   Help one another. Mentor. Collaborate.
  •   Be friendly! Smile, give a compliment, speak a few kind words. Bring in a treat to share.
  •   We all understand the importance of work-life balance. A booklet from Acas Publications offers expert advice on work-life balance and flexible working. It includes some real-world problem scenarios, and provides real-world solutions.

 

Employee Engagement

employee engagement = success

Photo credit: betterworks.com

“To win in the marketplace…you must first win in the workplace. I’m obsessed with keeping employee engagement front and center.” — Doug Conant

Employee engagement is crucial to the success of any organization, and it is management’s responsibility to make it happen! Managers, consider these tips:

  •   Give your employees autonomy. Let them know what’s going on, and elicit their ideas for improvement.
  •   Transparency is important to employees. Share long-term visions. Explain how their work fits into the big picture.
  •   Give employees opportunities for growth. Offer them new responsibilities. Give them time to train and learn.
  •   Employees love feedback, so give it often. If you have recommendations for improvement, offer to help them implement them.
  •   Be nice! Let them know that you care about them as people, not just as employees.

 

Books to Instruct and Inspire

Join the Kindness Revolution

It’s inspiring to think about individual pay it forward chains. It’s even more amazing to picture pay it forward webs. Each person in a chain has opportunities to fire off new chains. Most people are in multiple chains. Perhaps a web might look like a Tinker Toy project!

Tinker Toys

“Tinker Toys for Adults” by greenmelinda via CCBY2.0

 “The best part of life is not just surviving, but thriving with passion and compassion and humor and style and generosity and kindness.” — Maya Angelou

The time is right. These ideas are becoming mainstream, and for good reasons. It’s an exciting time for all of humanity. Be mindful, be grateful, be kind. Watch kindness spread from heart to heart and share the joy, especially in the workplace.

This is part two of a two-part series, Kindness in the Workplace, by Carol Preibis of Ahh The Simple Life. If you missed part one last week, please click here. For more on Carol, keep reading. Thanks, Carol!

Carol Preibis

Carol is passionate about food, recipes and cooking.


Carol Preibis and her sister Michele value the Simple Life and want to help you shed the complicated nature of today’s world. They share insights on food, decorating, stress relief and living more simply, while actually enjoying day-in, day-out living. Looking for a scrumptious, healthy recipe? Trying to figure out how to have fun on a budget? Head to Ahh The Simple Life to start feeling better and getting more out of your life.