Monthly Archive for June, 2015

History Repeating: How collaboration tools ignite business success

It wasn’t that long ago when people had to be physically in a place to meet another person. Over the last century, we have seen a rise in technology that has impacted the consumer and business behaviour across the human race that has seen us become more informed, more knowledgeable and more efficient. Think about it. In the 18th and 19th centuries where industries were thriving with the industrial revolution and the rise of business, wealth was with the few. As well as language and geographical restrictions that prevented the business growth that businesses desired was a grim reality of the past with stories of merchants that would have to travel to countries to negotiate and collaborate on their working projects. Fast forward to the start of the twenty-first century and we can see that with the developments in technology, we have also created enhanced developments in our communication and collaboration abilities through voice collaboration technology that has impacted our behavioural habits and working practices to drive success in our modern day working lifestyle.

Catching the technology wave early on

In terms of business correspondence, there was the letter that migrated to the email. There was the messenger or the telegraph which is now the phone or even instant messenger. There was the need to visit someone in their physical environment such as an office, where as now, you can be there virtually without even leaving your surroundings. It almost sounds like it is something out of a science fiction movie. But this is the reality that we live in, and it is time for us to seize the opportunities that exist that will not only make us succeed, but will further help us plan, manage, deliver and coordinate our tasks in order for us to fulfill our business objectives. The improvements in technological software and hardware continue to reap benefits for businesses that are early adopters. Improving the operations within the business, saving on expenses and yielding better profits is the dream that business owners are after.

The common challenges with collaborating

Organising a team to collaborate efficiently, effectively and cooperatively is often a massive challenge. This includes aligning everyone’s vision, motivation, task scheduling and delivery of tasks to meet deadlines and project milestones. Although people have been collaborating successfully for hundreds and thousands of years, there’s been a tendency to waste a lot of resources due to the collaboration process that is undertaken. And this has mainly been fuelled by the limitation belief (or realisation) that has been the bottleneck for increasing efficiency and workflow processes. Limitations such as:

  • Geographical location
  • Technology and infrastructure setup
  • Training requirements on processes and collaborations
  • Accessibility to communication channels

While these limitations can and still do exist, they need not be a barrier for businesses choosing to excel their collaboration processes. Businesses committed to improving their process can thrive on the availability of tools across a wide range of platforms. From desktop extensions to smartphone and web applications, businesses can customize a suite of tools that best serves their collaboration purposes.

Businesses can leverage these collaboration tools to create a virtual office. There is no longer a limit to working due to geographical restrictions. Online collaboration tools allow people to access their virtual office to complete their work from any location as long as they have web access to IP and web addresses. The tools range from:

  • Project management collaboration
  • Instant messaging and chat conference
  • Workflow management
  • Task management

These tools also allow productivity in real time. Just as if the person were to be in an office, feedback between collaborators can be achieved instantaneously, allowing for quicker amends and a reduction in project delays. So look into a suite that suits your business and that will improve your organisations collaborative efforts for the better.

What should we expect in terms of success?

Businesses who integrate collaborative technology into their organisation should reap from employee-driven innovation, improved productivity and efficiency. This benefit should transfer into increased revenues, reduced expenses and yield better profits for the business over the long term.

Considering a Change in Career? Here are 3 Tips to Help Your Decision

At some point in your working life, you may want to change careers. If you aren’t enjoying your current job, then chances are you will not be performing at your best either. Moving into another career, one that you like or have an interest in, can help you become more involved in your work and happier in general. Read on to find out the three most important things to help you with your decision.

Education

Photo: Marie's Vogue Blog Under Creative Commons License

Photo: Marie’s Vogue Blog Under Creative Commons License

When you are looking for a career change, a good place to start is by undertaking a new educational or training course. Most industries require some level of qualification, even at their lowest levels. It’s surprisingly easy to find a course that will appeal to you: many colleges, like Evocca College, have a wide range of courses on offer. With that in mind, think about the career you want to enter into and find out how much training you will need to secure your dream position. Maybe you have transferable skills in another, similar career. Further education can often get you ahead in your career, so keep providers like Evocca in mind when the time comes.

 

Consider why you want a change

Your reasons for wanting a career change will directly influence which career you wish to change into. Are you changing because you are unhappy with the job you have, or are you seeking a new challenge? Think over the things you like and dislike about your current job. Creating a “for and against” table is a great way to clearly determine what you are hoping to get out of your career change. It can be as simple as desiring different working hours or as complex as a major change into a new industry requiring new qualifications. You may find yourself going from a nine-to-five office job to working different hours every day in different locations and vice versa.

Take your time

The last thing you want to do is rush into another job just to find yourself in the same position you were in before a few years down the track. Consider what you want to achieve in your life. Where do you want to end up? Will a change in career really help you achieve your goals? At the very least, you need to think about the first steps in heading toward your ideal career. Remember that you don’t have to immediately transition into a new job; test the waters for a while first by doing some study in the area to make sure your desired career really is the right choice for you. A lot of the time, we have a “grass is greener” attitude. It’s important to remember that this isn’t always the case. Make sure you take the time to trial your new career direction before committing.

When choosing a new career, you have a lot to consider. Once you have found the job for you, don’t hesitate to take steps towards securing it.

Recruiting Engaged Employees

Almost all of the research conducted on engagement has so far focused on what leaders can do to engage their employees.

  • But what if it were possible to recruit people who could actually engage themselves?
  • In other words, are there specific characteristics some employees have that make them inherently more engage-able?

The answer, of course, is yes.  And that has just been demonstrated in a new study conducted by psychologists at the University College London.  The researchers assessed over 1,000 adults and they discovered there are seven personality traits that predict whether an employee is more likely to be engaged.  The results are as follows:

  1. Emotional intelligence:  This is the biggest predictor of engagement.  It reflects employees who can control and understand their own emotions as well as those of their colleagues.
  2. Openness to experience:  This is the second-biggest predictor.  That’s because employees brave enough to embrace new opportunities have higher reserves of resilience.
  3. Extraversion:  Extraverted people are less likely to be affected by emotional exhaustion and cynicism, the absence of which ramps up their energy.
  4. Conscientiousness:  Conscientious individuals are predisposed to being engaged because they’re less likely to allow interferences to get in the way of their commitment.
  5. Interpersonal sensitivity:  An interpersonally sensitive team member is one who can maintain sound relationships with colleagues and can communicate in a tactful manner.
  6. Adjustment:  If an employee has the ability to remain calm under pressure, that individual is said to have a high rate of adjustment.  And subsequently greater engagement.
  7. Ambition:  The more competitive someone is – or the more they aspire to progress further in an organisation – the more inclined they’ll be to push themselves into an engaged state.

So what does this mean from a recruitment perspective?

Four things.

  1. Incorporate questions into your interview guide that enable you to ascertain the degree to which a candidate is high on those seven attributes.
  2. Since emotional intelligence is of supreme importance, consider including an EQ questionnaire as part of the recruitment process.
  3. Be mindful you’re not over-emphasising aptitude over attitude in your hiring decisions.  Those seven traits could outshine any technical shortfalls.
  4. Think about providing developmental opportunities to your current employees so they, too, can learn how to adopt those characteristics.

It’s also worth considering whether you, as the leader, are high or low on those attributes.

A good place to start is with emotional intelligence.  Because there are few things more disengaging than an emotionally unintelligent boss.

Original Article Source: James Adonis

Provided By: Mark Mackenzie of Graffiti Eaters.