Wednesday, March 30, 2011

5 Tips for Fun in the Workplace

  • Once a quarter, set aside a day where all the employees, including the manager and the boss, have to dress up as some fictional or cartoon character, or as anything theme everyone decides on. Award the “best dressed person” with a gift card to a local dining favorite. Such days will lighten up the atmosphere at work and ease out the tension.
  • Put games such as chess, pool table, carom, monopoly, etc. for refreshment. Employees who finish their work early can refresh themselves with such recreational games. Also choose a corner in the office to put some gymnastic equipment. A small workout could do wonders to the mind.
  • In lunch breaks or on specific Fridays, organize a karaoke session. Get a karaoke machine in the office and let the employees go wild. For maximum fun, let the managers and bosses be the contestants and employees the judges so that the higher authorities can get a taste of their own medicine!
  • Once every quarter, the entire office should take a long lunch break to a fancy restaurant and maybe go out for a movie, as well.
  • Create a cartoons and joke board. All employees could collect and share their favorite cartoons and jokes and put it up on the board.
Get all the employees to participate in ways to add fun in the workplace. Let the “fun crew” go wild with creativity, meeting once or twice a month, since there is no limit to ideas in which you can infuse a lot of fun in the office. However, every week or every month, the members of the “fun crew” should change so that there is always a fresh rotation of fun ideas!

Adapted from Careers

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Email Marketing? Five Great Reasons

by Michelle Keegan1, Constant Contact Email Marketing Expert Sign up Here

Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses of all types and sizes. No matter how you define success, you can achieve outstanding results with email marketing while investing only a small amount of time and an even smaller amount of money.

"54% of small businesses surveyed rated e-mail as the top online promotion to drive site visitors and customers to their web sites and storefronts." Source: DMA Interactive

"I think over time we'll see small businesses adopting e-mail marketing because it has the inherent advantages of being 'faster, cheaper and easier' to execute. Coupled with the potential to target more precisely than today's solo or shared mailers, there's a real win for the small business owner." Source: Neal Polachek, senior vice president of The Kelsey Group.

So, Why Email Marketing?

  1. It's Inexpensive
    Email marketing is an affordable way to stretch a tight marketing budget - and whose isn't these days? Unlike direct mail, there is virtually no production, materials or postage expense. Email marketing is 20 times more cost effective than direct mail, and can cost as little as fractions of a penny per email.

    "Previously, we were sending these kinds of mailings through first-class postal mail," said Robin Parker, owner of Studio: Dance, Arts & More. "With several hundred members and prospects, that really adds up quickly. Email marketing is much less expensive than sending out postcards or flyers. We save about $4,000 just in materials and postage."
  2. It's Effective
    Email marketing enables you to proactively communicate with your existing customers and prospects instead of passively waiting for them to return to your Web site or storefront. It is a highly effective way to increase sales, drive site or store traffic and develop loyalty.

    • Increasing sales
      "In response to our first campaign, WatchZone received 100 online orders - all from a segment of 15,000 current customers," said Shavi Mahtani, CEO of, a leading site for fashion and sport watches at discount prices. "The average sale was about $150 per order. We were very happy with that result. Frankly, it exceeded our expectations."
    • Driving traffic
      "The increase in traffic was substantial," said Travis Erickson, controller for, online "Pro Shop" for golf enthusiasts. "We've noticed that even if the recipient isn't interested in, say, our golfing irons promotion, they'll think, 'Wow, that's a great price - I wonder what else they have on sale?'"
    • Building Loyalty
      "We're technically not an e-business," said Robin Parker, owner of Studio: Dance, Arts & More, "but we're using email marketing to capture the names of site visitors so that we can provide them with information, news, and schedules that make their lives easier. That helps us build and retain loyal members. We believe email marketing will increase the lifetime value of our members by encouraging more frequent visits to the studio and strengthening our relationships with our members."
  3. It's Immediate

    Email marketing generates an immediate response. The call to action is clear: "Click here to take advantage of this offer", or "to learn more about this service". Initial campaign response generally occurs within 48 hours of the time the email campaign is sent.

    "Orders pour in within 24 hours after I send my newsletters," said CEO, Au-Co Mai. "In an economy where most companies are suffering, I can't believe that I'm actually thriving and breaking revenue goals every month."

  4. It's Targeted
    You can easily segment your lists using a variety of criteria or interest groups so that your promotions go to the individuals most likely to respond to your offer.

    "Because many of our customers are collectors, they are only interested in hearing about the newest collectible arrivals," said Lars Mohlin, President, House of Ascot, a mail order gift and collectible business. "While others are looking for promotions, the collectors often dislike receiving mail messages offering discounts. We target email campaigns to our subscribers' opt-in interest categories, this has resulted in a 40%-50% jump in revenue."
  5. It's Easy

    There are Web-based email marketing products for small and medium businesses. Most include professional HTML templates, list segmentation and targeting capabilities, as well as, automatic tracking and reporting. So, you are free to concentrate on your unique message.
    "This is definitely something a non-techie can do," said Shavi Mahtani, CEO of "It took us about 45 minutes - start to finish - to build and compose our e-mail. And each campaign since then has taken less time to set up."

    "I don't need a Webmaster or a technical person to handle my newsletters anymore," said Raphael Baekeland, general manager of "My product manager and I can do everything very easily."

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Employee Engagement is a Unique Experience Leading to Motivation

By Richard Hohmann, VP of Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley

Tim Rutledge, Author of “Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty” defines engagement as employees who are attracted to, inspired by, committed to and fascinated by their work”.

The various levels of engagement involve certain ingredients that do make a difference:
• Relationship Building
• Goal-orientation
• Passion, and
• Forward Thinking

Many HR professionals use the following metrics to determine engagement:
• Individual Performance
• Organizational Productivity
• Employee Retention and Turnover
• Customer-orientation and brand loyalty

It has been shown that engagement has both a rational and emotional commitment. The latest statistics have demonstrated that 31% of our workforce is engaged and 17% are disengaged (BlessingWhite – 2011). Over half of the workers exhibit some disengagement. The statistics demonstrate that we are all accountable for our own engagement level but people in a management role must coach and/or mentor their direct reports to a higher level of engagement while managing their own engagement. Executives must not only set the tone for high morale but manage their own engagement plus shoulder the responsibilities of managers and staff.

This new body of work demonstrates a strong correlation between engagement levels and age, role and position, and tenure. It might be time for focus on generational diversity in the workplace. Unfortunately, the survey also shows that the majority of employees today are looking for new opportunities within and outside of their own company. Many companies are projecting that many of their good people will be leaving once the economy turns around. This survey also demonstrates that engaged employees stay for what they give and the disengaged stay for what they get. Doesn’t that say it all!

It is certainly important for HR professionals and the executive officers of the company to focus on activities that close the gap between the decision makers and the staff. We must get everyone on the same page and have management respond instead of react.

Contact us for our Top Ten Solutions for Disengagement
…this is an ideal document to discuss with your executive leadership team. Remember, in previous studies, it has been shown that 96% of engaged employees trust their leaders and only 46% of the disengaged employees trust their leaders. Isn’t it time that your company’s leadership team focus on Motivation – the end result of Engagement.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How To Solve Problems with Success - 7 Steps

When a problem arises, the preliminary steps lead up to a decision about which a possible solution will be implemented. Problem solving may involve a relatively insignificant item, or it may concern a serious issue with the possibility of a major impact on the entire organization. The larger and more important the problem, the more time and detail go into each step of the problem-solving process. For minor problems, several of the steps may be accomplished mentally in only a few seconds.

But the process always includes these steps:
1. Define the problem. Take time to discover the nature of the real problem when something is obviously wrong. Define the problem clearly in terms of one or more organizational or personal goals.
2. List criteria for selecting a solution. Establish guidelines for evaluating possible solutions and making a decision by referring to specific organizational goals and priorities. The criteria might include impact on product quality, cost limits, personnel changes, the leader’s time allotment, and a target date for choosing a solution to be implemented.
3. Collect information. Considering time and expense, identify the particular type of information that must be assembled and set a deadline for collecting it. Asking open-end questions and listening carefully are generally good information-gathering techniques. Ask others how they would solve the problem and why they would take that approach.
4. Develop possible solutions. Examine all of the data collected and record all possible solutions suggested by the data. List as many possible solutions as you or the group can generate by brainstorming. The brainstorming process is most effective when it is completely uninhibited and free from any critical analysis.
5. Analyze possible solutions. Allow time for ideas to “incubate.” Work on other problems and come back to the original one with a new perspective. When you accept traditional assumptions about what can be done, you limit the ability to find creative solutions. Alter assumptions about what can be accomplished, and you open your mind to new possibilities for solving specific problems.
6. Make the decision. When as much information as feasible has been gathered and considered, assume the responsibility for making a decision, or for leading team members to choose the best possible solution.
7. Implement the solution and follow up. Since the process is problem solving rather than decision making alone, a plan for implementation must be developed to carry the job through to completion. Assign responsibility for each action step. Set up a schedule and follow it to make sure the problem is being solved. Make appropriate adjustments along the way to ensure successful problem solving.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Working Together to Achieve Goals

To gain full mastery of your attitudes, your time, and your life, immerses yourself in a total program of personal and organizational goals. Many personal goals involve items money can buy, and your career is the means for earning that money. Other personal goals focus on satisfying such intangible needs as security, ego satisfaction, and self-fulfillment that are inevitably tied to the work environment. When you recognize this relationship both intellectually and emotionally, you realize that productivity leads to the satisfaction of both your personal needs and your professional success.

Reaching business goals requires the cooperation of everyone in the organization. Ideally, everyone plays an appropriate part in choosing business goals, planning for their achievement, and working out the action steps. Few organizations, however, are ideal. Some business goals may be handed down to you with little opportunity for your input. You may find it easy to be wholeheartedly committed to the achievement of these goals, but it is possible that you might find yourself in partial disagreement with a particular goal or plan. At this point, carefully examine your priorities and values to determine exactly how you can contribute to the achievement of the stated goals and how you can grow personally by doing so – even though you might have preferred to see the organization move in another direction. Express your ideas about particular organizational goals and plans to the right person at the right time. Only in the case of a serious clash between your personal values and those of the organization will you find it impossible to contribute appropriately. With careful consideration, you can gain insights into ways to contribute to the productivity and long-term success of the company.

One element to consider in both personal and organizational goal setting is the time investment required. Most organizations develop more ideas for profit and expansion than they have the resources to carry out. Consequently, some criteria must be established for choosing profitable ventures. Traditionally, these decisions are based on projected return on in-vestment of capital. Obviously, though, some projects that promise high financial return require more time on the part of team members than others. In strategic planning, organizations must consider not only the amount of capital required for undertaking a new project and the expected return on investment, but they must also plan realistically for the amount of time required of key people to implement and supervise the project. Some projects that promise a high return on the investment of capital are impractical when the amount of time required by certain team members is considered.

To ensure adequate time to undertake exciting new projects, all members of the organization need to practice time-proven goal-setting principles of effective personal productivity. This is one strategy that always pays big dividends!

How the Goal-Setting Process Works

Goal setting is the most powerful process available to improve your personal productivity. Without planning and goal setting, all the desire that can be aroused in the limitless potential of the human spirit is wasted like the random lightning of a summer storm. It squanders its force in one flash across the heavens and is lost in the void of space without utility, purpose, or direction. It goes unharnessed and unused, its potential power wasted. Ironically, the contrast resulting from its sudden brilliance seems to leave behind an even darker future once the momentary glare fades.

In striking contrast, goal setting – supported by careful planning – provides a sense of direction to keep you focused on the most important activities. Goals serve as a filter to eliminate extraneous demands. Goals bring to life order, meaning, and purpose that sustain interest and motivation over a long period of time. Goals evoke your noblest qualities; they express your desire to achieve, to improve your life, and to be more effective, more productive, and more successful tomorrow than you are today.

Goal setting is the most powerful action you can take to improve your personal productivity. Simply defined, the goal-setting process is the process of:

  • Developing a mission statement for your life.
  • Writing a specific goal(s) that supports your mission.
  • Listing the benefits of achieving the goal.
  • Anticipating possible obstacles and solutions.
  • Writing detailed action steps and deadlines to achieve the goal.
  • Integrating the action steps into your planning system.
  • Determining a method of tracking your progress.
  • Writing affirmations to support your belief in your ability to accomplish the goal.
  • Developing a visual representation that effectively reminds you of your goal.

Although success carries different meanings to different people, there is a definition that fits your dreams as well as those of everyone else:

Success is the progressive realization of
worthwhile, predetermined personal goals.

Success does not come by accident; you cannot buy it, inherit it, or even marry into it. Success depends on following a lifelong practice of goal setting and continuous growth – the process of “progressive realization.” Success also depends on seeking predetermined goals. Although many worthwhile achievements come as side effects of some other activity or purpose, they are, nevertheless, a direct consequence of the pursuit of predetermined goals. The full, ultimate effect of reaching a specific goal is not always clearly visible now, but the important point to recognize is that achievement and increased personal productivity invariably arise as a direct consequence of striving toward predetermined goals.

The sole purpose of the goal-setting process is to guide you on the entire journey from wish to fulfillment. The steps in the process are simple but not simplistic, comprehensive but not complex. Be patient and keep an open mind until the overall pattern of activity begins to unfold. Just remember that you are what you are today because of events that unfolded over time and your choices in response to those events. When you wish to change, to alter attitudes or habits, or to develop new personality traits that will increase your effectiveness, that, too, takes time. Individual pace may vary, but the sequential process of goal setting does not; so follow the plan as outlined. When you internalize the goal-setting process, your goals create a magnetic attraction that draws you toward their achievement.

Innovative Leadership of the Delaware Valley, LLC is a partner of LMI
Leadership Management® Institute*
Reprinted with permission