Goal Setting and Achievement

Actionable, defined goals provide the framework for success. Writing goals down and committing to a time frame dramatically increases the odds of achieving them. As individuals go about setting goals, they should address each of the following eight categories to help ensure life balance:

1. Career goals: It is important to avoid career complacency.

2. Education and personal development goals: New skills and continued education improve performance.

3. Family goals: A secure and balanced family life is usually the best and strongest support system.

4. Financial goals: Even just a small amount of planning and discipline can ease financial concerns.

5. Physical health and fitness goals: Good health leads to greater energy and happiness.

6. Social, hobby, and extra-curricular goals: These offer balance as well as the chance for increased socialization, which is always important in sales.

7. Spiritual goals: Spirituality is a personal commitment to greater meaning in life.

8. Community: Giving back to one’s community contributes to a successful and significant life; a person should always make the time and find the resources to give.

The next step in goal setting is to evaluate and rate each category in terms of current state and desired state. Based on this process, an individual can then develop tactical plans for improvement (including a defined time frame) within each category.

Even with goals firmly in place, habits are what drive day-to-day behavior. The following three steps will help eliminate bad habits that can undermine goal achievement and develop good habits that will support success. Individuals should write down the:

  1. Habit to be changed.
  2. New habit that will replace the old habit, the expected results from the change, and a detailed tactical approach for developing the new habit.
  3. Date to begin the change and end date for internalizing the new habit.

Managing Yourself and Your Market

Good time management is foundational to effective selling. Most successful salespeople have the ability to get more done in a specific amount of time than do others. Good time management is a skill anyone can learn and improve upon.

Preparation is vital to good time management. Sales professionals who want to improve their preparation abilities should:

*Establish a time and place for planning activities.

*Invest time and effort in prospecting.

*Carefully plan each day.

*Include call counts in daily plans, including specifics on who to call upon.

*Extend plans to cover weeks, months, and years.

*Carefully consider the appropriate mode of contact for each prospect and client.

Most importantly, individuals should avoid distractions and stay focused on the present.

Like time management, creativity and imagination are also part of self-management. Thinking big, avoiding complacency and a self-limiting attitude, and looking for opportunities to offer innovative solutions are behaviors that set high-performing salespeople apart from the crowd.

Strong communication skills are essential to successful selling. The critical aspects of communication that directly impact the sales function are quality, timeliness, frequency, and medium.

Managing the market is essentially about attracting and retaining customers. U.S. Learning’s Market Share Model identifies four market aspects that affect a sales professional’s market share:

  1. Market expansion.
  2. Market contraction.
  3. Front door (acquiring customers).
  4. Back door (losing customers).

Of the four, acquiring customers and losing customers are the two aspects over which salespeople have control. Understanding and communicating value, performing stellar service, staying informed, and keeping in close touch with customers are ways to attract and keep prospects, and thereby increase market share.

How to Build a Loyal Following

It is much more costly to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one. Also, loyal customers often bring new customers into the business. Improving customer loyalty should be every salesperson’s goal. Creating value for customers is the key to increasing loyalty.

The Loyalty Ladder is a six-step framework for customer loyalty, with sales contacts represented as:

  1. Suspects (potential customers).
  2. Prospects (likely customers).
  3. Customers (people who have bought from the company).
  4. Clients (repeat customers).
  5. Advocates (clients who also champion the company).
  6. Confidants (clients with whom the company and salesperson have developed a special, mutual relationship).

The goal is to move people from the bottom to the top portion of the ladder. Customer-centric, relationship-focused selling achieves this.

Kids These Days


In 2014, there were over 77 million Millennials between 22 and 34 years of age. The number of Boomers is roughly the same. Each of these generations outnumbers the Gen Xers by about 68 percent. The large size of Generation Y suggests it is likely to have as significant an impact on the culture, and in particular on the workforce, as the Boomers did.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, a number of myths about Generation Y have emerged. The six most prevalent are:

  1. Millennials feel a sense of entitlement.
  2. Millennials expect to be rewarded, and even promoted, just for showing up.
  3. Millennials do not work hard.
  4. Millennials do not complete their work and will not take initiative.
  5. Millennials are casual and disrespectful.
  6. Millennials are not willing to do their part and pay their dues, and they want freedom, flexibility, and work-life balance as soon as they begin their careers.

To be able to work with and manage Millennials, Boomers and Gen Xers must discover the truths behind the myths. Additionally, Millennials must do their part to understand why their older coworkers are frustrated.

Generation Y is the first “digitally native” generation. Its members have grown up with technology touching almost every part of their lives. This technology has fostered a sense of immediate gratification. Technology has also contributed to a different concept of time and place for Millennials. They can connect with anyone at any time, and access any information they want when they want it.

Millennials are also the most educated generation in the workplace today. Caraher blames grade inflation by colleges and universities for a part of the problem concerning Millennials’ work ethic. Secondary education has labeled most Millennial graduates as above average and allowed for negotiation with grades and feedback. Such practices have not helped others’ reservations regarding this generation’s ability to get work done. Parental over-involvement also hinders Millennials’ job satisfaction and tenacity.

Given that Millennials will constitute nearly half of the workforce by 2020, companies need to understand, appreciate, and effectively work with them without changing their standards of performance.

Succeeding at Job Interviews


The following characteristics and behaviors are likely to appeal to an interviewer:

*Being well-rounded, interesting, and curious about the world.

*Caring about more than just the specific job and showing interest in the entire business.

*Sharing a passion for something.

*Demonstrating a willingness to admit to mistakes and embracing them as learning opportunities.

*Having opinions on current affairs.

*Showing initiative.

Interviews provide individuals with opportunities to bring their experiences, qualifications, personalities, and unique skills to life. For the company, the interview is an opportunity to assess a candidate’s fit with company culture.

The techniques below can help ensure a successful experience before, during, and after the interview.

Before the Interview

Interviews are like class assignments–they require research. Candidates should spend time learning as much as possible about the company and the specifics of the job. The goal is to be able to have an intelligent and informed conversation about the company. They should practice these conversations with fellow students to get comfortable.

Candidates can learn about the interviewers from online sources like LinkedIn and Google. This research provides common ground and topics for conversation. They can anticipate questions that will be asked and develop responses in advance. Candidates should also come prepared to speak very specifically about their three top strengths, with reinforcing examples.

It is important to bring questions to the interview as well. This is another opportunity to show thought and interest in the company. Candidates should just be sure their questions have not already been answered elsewhere.

During the Interview

First impressions are very important. Candidates must dress professionally, be on time, behave politely, and use body language that reflects calm confidence. When invited to share information about themselves, candidates should present that information clearly and concisely, without rambling on. They should avoid the tendency to talk too much and too fast. In an interview situation less is always more.

Sometimes candidates will make mistakes when answering questions. In this scenario, they should keep calm and ask for the opportunity to restate an answer. Sometimes candidates will simply not have answers to certain questions. They should be honest and admit they do not have a good answer.

Candidates should ask questions that show interest in the company, not an interest in themselves, including questions that extend beyond the company to the industry and global affairs.

After the Interview

Candidates should always follow up with personal notes thanking interviewers for the opportunity to meet.



In the business world, individuals must attempt to understand their unique gifts and contributions and use that understanding to effect change in their organizations. This process requires self-reflection and having the determination to follow one’s “passion, imagination, and vision.”

Study–Finish What You Start

For many, the path to success begins with formal education. Lessons learned in that process can be applied to the business environment as well. Succeeding in college requires:

*Doing due diligence and carefully selecting the right school and program.

*Properly finishing what is started. Even if a class or program is dropped, it should be dropped in accordance with established procedures.

*Trusting one’s instincts about continued education (i.e., graduate school versus joining the workforce).

*Learning to love the concept of studying (education does not stop at the school doors).

The following practices will help make the most of the formal education experience as preparation for a successful career:

*Tailor curriculum to the business sector one seeks to join.

*Create a written plan for managing both school and non-school commitments.

*Develop and maintain a good study environment.

*Know and use one’s best learning style (i.e., auditory, visual, kinesthetic).

*Ask questions and build relationships.

*Gain experience and volunteer.

*Celebrate successes.

Networking for Novices

Networking is a business fundamental, and it is all about showing an interest in others. Networking can occur both in-person and online. The college campus offers abundant opportunities for networking. It is as easy as striking up a conversation with the person in the next seat in a lecture hall. Lastly, networking is mutual; it is not about getting something but about helping one another.

Students can build their networking skills by:

*Leveraging friends and family as resources for new contacts.

*Tapping online resources like LinkedIn to identify potential new connections.

*Spending time meeting people at face-to-face events like conferences, workshops, and social activities.

*Not being deterred by nerves; feeling nervous about meeting new people is natural.

*Creating personal business cards.

*Being real; authenticity should be at the core of everyone’s behavior.

*Remembering that networking is not an opportunity to brag; it is an opportunity to listen and share.

Get LinkedIn

A great networking first step is to create a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has become a highly regarded professional networking platform that regularly adds value for professionals, not only in terms of making connections that can further their career goals, but also in terms of idea and opinion sharing.

Some ways to make the most of the LinkedIn experience include:

*Posting a professional-looking photo.

*Creating a strong headline and summary statement (look at other profiles for examples).

*Maximizing experience, including volunteer and extra-curricular activities.

*Including education and related activities.

*Asking for endorsements from others (and endorsing them in return).

*Highlighting achievements, honors, and awards, but only if they apply to career goals.

*Getting recommendations from teachers, employers, and fellow students.

*Joining LinkedIn groups, companies, and influencers.

Creating a Résumé That Gets Read

A résumé is much more than a list of skills and achievements; it is a view into an individual’s personality. Revealing personality in a simple, meaningful, and engaging way is what will make an individual’s résumé stand out from the crowd. Some tips for creating a standout résumé include:

*Avoiding clichés.

*Proofreading carefully.

*Including a well-crafted cover letter that is job-specific, showcases personal achievements, matches key job requirements to personal qualities, and illustrates potential contributions.

*Listing all contact information.

*Syncing online profiles with the résumé; and keeping them professional.




The best communicators are first and foremost keen listeners and keen observers. Speakers engage their audiences by listening to and observing audience members, then tailoring their communications to appeal and engage those members. These principles apply to the work environment as well. New employees’ first order of business will be to observe, learn, and test their communication skills, all while paying attention to the responses they receive. This is how individuals build rapport and respect.

A common mistake new graduates entering the business world make is to “over share” their knowledge. This can be off-putting to colleagues. Ultimately, the workplace is more about people than it is about information. Success comes from improving relationship-building and people skills.

The First Day of a New Job

The first day on a new job can be nerve-wracking. Common expectations are that the initial weeks and months will be a learning experience. Much like in the interview process, new employees should seek to make good impressions, listen more than they talk, be respectful, and focus on learning.

Tips for making good first impressions include:

*Dressing in alignment with others in the office.

*Being punctual, always.

*Being observant, polite, and helpful.

*Showing confidence.

*Being friendly while respecting boundaries.

*Thinking things over before asking questions, then asking good questions.

*Absorbing as much learning as possible.

*Syncing online profiles (like LinkedIn) to reflect the new position.

Establishing a Rapport with Your Colleagues

Though individuals can choose their friends, they cannot choose their colleagues. Successful people find ways to develop rapport with everyone in the office, whether they like them or not. Good communication is critical. A respectful, open-minded, and nonjudgmental approach helps ensure good relationships.

Ways to develop good rapport with colleagues include:

*Initiating get-together events like lunches and celebrations.

*Showing respect for others by being punctual, honoring deadlines, offering help, and embracing diversity.

*Keeping a light attitude.

*Seeking out commonalities with others.

*Being conscious of body language.

*Focusing on others, not on oneself.

*Recognizing others’ achievements.

*Building honest relationships.

*Staying out of office politics.

Remembering and Using People’s Names

Remembering someone’s name makes a great impression, but many people have a hard time doing so. This is a weakness that must be corrected, and it can be overcome with practice. Individuals can try these methods to improve their ability to remember names when introduced:

*Listen very carefully with a focused effort to remember.

*Ask again immediately.

*Probe for more information about the name to facilitate memory.

*Create a mental picture to go with the name.

*Get the person’s business card.

Teamwork and Poor Performance

Teamwork can be difficult when personalities clash or someone is not carrying his or her weight. However, the sign of a good leader is to be able get along with everyone, set aside differences, and help the team meet objectives.

When a team is dysfunctional, a leader can get it back on track by:

*Having an open dialog to probe for the underlying reasons for the dysfunction.

*Being a positive influence.

*Making sure to listen to others respectfully, and then acting from knowledge gained.

*Being inclusive of team members who are being left out.

*Seeking out more information if there are knowledge gaps.

*Creating socializing opportunities for the team to avoid “all work and no play.”

Getting People to Say “Yes”

The ability to influence others is an ongoing leadership challenge. Some people are naturally better at it than others. However, like other leadership skills, it can be developed. The more an individual’s opinions, predictions, and actions garner positive results, the more trusted he or she becomes as an influencer. Timing, positioning, confidence, and authenticity all play a part.

Successfully influencing others requires:

*Being respectful, particularly to authority.

*Knowing one’s audience.

*Demonstrating confidence.

*Tuning in to others and then addressing their concerns.

*Communicating well.

*Doing the research.

*Providing reinforcing examples.


SMARTER Concept for Winning


Best of the leaders test their expectations with the concept S.M.A.R.T.E.R. measurements to ensure clarity and explained well below but would highlight with a real example of Chandamita Brother who is a true leader and influenced her by giving her direction & thought to become Trainer in Corporate world and today Chandamita is certified trainer in PRISM Philosophy  & delivering successfully in corporate. How leaders use SMARTER concept :


How Brother of Chandamita used SMARTER concept and inspired her to complete TTT course with PRISM & how  she turned out to be a  great trainer.

• Specific: A detailed vision of the actions and deadlines that are required for the project must be provided.
• Measurable: The project completion point must be specific and measurable.
• Attainable: The goal must be realistically attainable by the team with its current resources.
• Results oriented: The requested task must move the company toward a desired objective.
• Trackable: There should be measurable milestones along the way to ensure progress is being made.
• Ethical: The requested tasks must align with personal and company values.
• Recorded: There should be someone aside from the requestor who knows about the effort and is available to answer questions.
After a manager presents expectations that have passed the S.M.A.R.T.E.R. test, he or she still must ask employees to reflect back what is being asked of them. This helps to ensure that the leader’s vision is being accurately communicated to staff.

Power, Manipulation, and Warfare


Machiavelli wrote three major political works that advised leaders on the primary disciplines he believed mattered most. The Prince was a guidebook for becoming a powerful dictator, and many of its lessons focused on gaining and retaining power. Machiavelli’s second work, The Discourses, explored his preferred form of government, a Republic where power was to be divided among the many rather than the few. The Art of War explored the qualities of a great general and included detailed descriptions of early military maneuvers.

In author /his (Tina Nunno) works, Machiavelli observed that many leaders do not know how to be entirely good or entirely bad, so they choose a middle course of action. CIOs must practice a variety of extreme tactics if they are to gain the skills they need to become strong wolf CIOs and prevent negative situations from getting out of control.

Wolf CIOs are at full strength when they have gained the essence of all six of the other animals in the extreme animal ecosystem–the lamb, the dove, and the dolphin–those that practice light-side leadership tactics–and the lion, the snake, and the shark–those that practice dark-side leadership tactics. As a blend of light and dark–best described as grey–the wolf is at the center of this “hub-and-spoke” model. The animals are also binary pairs, with the lamb and the lion representing power, the dove and the snake representing manipulation, and the dolphin and the shark representing warfare. Leaders must master these three disciplines in order to strengthen their inner wolves.


Recognize Power and Increase It Exponentially

Power is the ability to make something happen–and it is something that is expected of all leaders. Leaders must embrace power unapologetically and recognize that wielding it is both an opportunity and a threat. CIOs that use a lamb power approach are often driven by the desire to be liked. They are typically reluctant to say “no” in order to please others; they use positive incentives to motivate team members; and they often fail to develop conflict-management skills. CIOs with a lion approach, on the other hand, actively gather positional and coercive power. They are typically confident and charismatic and are viewed as good at execution but not at inspiring others. CIOs with this style often rise to power in aggressive and competitive cultures where they can hold their own with other “predators.” A wolf is neither a lamb nor a lion–it is both.

Prioritize With Force and Finesse

Most CIOs deal with a greater demand for IT than they can deliver, and many take the lamb power approach to prioritization. They hope to please others and avoid conflicts by saying “yes” to as many projects as possible and then end up with more projects than they can handle. Over time, their colleagues view their inability to say “no” not as a sign of willingness to help but as a sign of weakness. Lion CIOs engage their various teams in decision making and maintain their power. Wolf CIOs find a way to combine light and dark tactics and combine force and finesse to benefit their enterprises.

Exude Power by Growling, Rather Than Roaring

People are easily influenced by what things seem to be. Humble lamb CIOs often take little to no proactive action to ensure that their enterprises know they are making things happen, and the only time colleagues hear anything about IT is when things have gone wrong. It is the CIO’s job to tell the story and advocate for and manage the organization’s reputation. Lion CIOs want to be perceived as strong, so they tend to “roar” about successes but are reluctant to divulge their weaknesses. Since everything always appears to be great, few colleagues volunteer assistance. Wolf CIOs build their reputations and power by proactively communicating about their accomplishments and asking for help to deal with real issues. They actively hunt down those who say negative things about IT and work to set the record straight. They protect their reputations by growling and not being soft targets.

Make Sure No One Is Always in Control

No one likes being controlled or told what to do, but people without boundaries tend to behave irresponsibly. This is especially true when it comes to technology. Senior executives often pursue new technologies as though they are in pursuit of new toys.

CIOs must distinguish between information gathering and asking permission. Gathering a reasonable amount of input when needed is wise, but allowing others to make decisions democratically when not required can lead to a loss of power. Lion CIOs allow their stakeholders minimal input and are sometimes too comfortable with control. Wolf CIOs calculate the risk of deliberately not doing what they are told, which allows them to usurp power from the masses without their knowledge.

Follow the Money but Don’t Let It Fool You

Money is power, and the ability to move money and strategically invest it is fundamental to the CIO’s ability to create change, but money does not always ensure strength and safety. While having control of large sums of money can make CIOs powerful, it can also make them vulnerable to attack when those funds are coveted for alternate uses. Competition for money can quickly turn an enterprise’s light culture to a dark one.

Recognize Stronger Wolves and Know When to Be a Lamb

Even the most powerful CIOs do not win all the time, and the strongest leaders often have the most difficulty dealing with losses. Great wolf CIOs maintain their focus on the good of the enterprise and their colleagues in order to minimize collateral damage–sometimes at great personal or professional expense. A partial win is better than no win at all, and sometimes the goal is to successfully choose between bad and worse. Wolf CIOs need to be manipulative, but they must not be perceived as such. Rather, the most skilled manipulators are viewed as helpful, empathetic, and charismatic leaders.


Employ Manipulation or Risk Being Manipulated

CIOs must learn to recognize manipulation and take appropriate countermeasures to prevent it. Applying light-side techniques when handling others is often referred to as influence, whereas applying dark-side techniques moves people into manipulation territory. Manipulation is more appropriate and effective than influence and honesty when colleagues are deceitful, irrational, or more powerful. Wolf CIOs must strive to use manipulation altruistically rather than for personal gain.

Treat Colleagues as Friends, but Assume They Are Enemies

While trusting others too easily can be dangerous, so is rushing to judgment. CIOs must use their analytical abilities to assess new stakeholders to determine if they are worthy of trust or an investment of resources. Respectfully questioning colleagues can yield information about their trustworthiness. To find others’ hidden agendas, wolf CIOs go to the source, exercise pragmatic optimism, and hope for the best but plan for the worst.

Treat Information as a Weapon, and Don’t Load the Gun Aimed at You

Information is a powerful weapon that CIOs can use as protection against untrustworthy individuals, but weapons can be turned against those who wield them. The more information CIOs bring forward, the more likely they are to be micromanaged.

To CIOs, transparency often means sharing tremendous detail and volumes of data that other executives would not think to share. Sharing too much information conveys a lack of confidence and credibility. Snake CIOs might share massive piles of data with executives, but intentionally bury key information in order to avoid being micromanaged. Wolf CIOs share what is required, but not one data point more.

Recognize That the Hero Is Often the Arsonist, So Don’t Feed the Fire

CIOs typically find themselves faced with urgent requests that are delivered with powerful emotion. Urgency is a tool used in emotional blackmail, and how CIOs deal with it can determine if they are masters or targets of manipulation.

Many CIOs enjoy responding to urgent requests; they get a rush as they strap on their “hero capes” and save the day. Manipulative stakeholders often fan the flames of urgency and refer to their CIOs as friends or allies, but when their requests are fulfilled, the CIOs are simply thought of as service providers. Wolf CIOs break this cycle to create healthier behaviors and outcomes, and they give their stakeholders what they really need rather than what they are asking for.

Ruthlessly Keep Others from Wasting IT’s Time

Machiavelli believed that it was appropriate for leaders to break their promises when others broke theirs first; however, today most CIOs are vehemently against this. Dove CIOs compensate for poor project partners by applying strong resources, while snake CIOs penalize their partners by providing prompt service but assigning the weakest project teams available. Wolf CIOs believe it is crucial to be as clear as possible about what their partners need to do at the outset of the project, and then hold them accountable.

Combine the Wolf’s Power with Manipulation

Power and manipulation are most effective when used together skillfully. CIOs often find themselves in hostile situations that require them to go on the offensive in quick and efficient ways. By applying manipulation techniques, CIOs can prevent or delay all-out warfare.

Effective wolf CIOs make sure that manipulators cannot hide or find protection among their herds. In total warfare, they scale up the impact of power and manipulation across multiple targets simultaneously and take control of a large territory. This is how wolf CIOs come into their full strength and realize their true potential.


Master Multilateral Wars of Expansion

The difference between power, manipulation, and warfare is scale. Wolf CIOs apply both light-side and dark-side tactics, even in warfare. As leaders, they inspire loyalty and make others want to follow them while simultaneously instilling discipline in their troops and fear in their enemies.

Dolphin CIOs create followers by making experiences more enjoyable; they enjoy being with and leading people, and they prefer peace to warfare. They demonstrate genuine care and empathy toward staff members and colleagues. Meanwhile, shark CIOs achieve results at any cost to themselves or others. They have excellent fighting skills and aggressively drive results. Wolf CIOs must become both dolphins and sharks during warfare. They must be highly disciplined, mastering a blend of the dolphin’s social and information analysis skills and the shark’s fighting skills.

Engage Lieutenants

No matter how much power or manipulation skills CIOs acquire, their reach and range are limited if they act as independent entities and cannot execute to scale. Members of teams that are so large that they lack attention and clear direction from their leaders often turn to one another in a negative fashion.

Dolphin CIOs avoid creating teams that are too large to control, while shark CIOs avoid scaling up fear and paralyzing followers. While shark-like aggression is sometimes useful in getting teams to move quickly, when used in the extreme it only increases paralysis. Wolf CIOs create strong, highly coordinated and disciplined wolf packs, or teams of highly engaged individuals who work closely together as a unit. Developing disciplined wolf packs that can maintain ranks and secrecy in warfare is not easy, but it is possible when wolf CIOs demonstrate clarity, discipline, and missions worth following.

Create Strong Alliances

Strong partnerships and alliances are critical to a CIO’s success. Machiavelli identified three ways to form strong alliances:

  1. Form a partnership of equals in which everyone is treated the same.
  2. Create a federation with a strong central authority that governs multiple states.
  3. Execute a mandate and take over an entire enterprise by force.

Dolphin CIOs create alliances of equals, while sharks favor the all-or-nothing power play. Wolves, on the other hand, use multilateral strategies and make the most of each crisis that occurs.

Fight on Multiple Fronts

The three critical battlefronts for CIOs are top-line growth, bottom-line savings, and risk mitigation. CIOs must be cautious not to fight on too many fronts at once. By taking on too many battles, they become weak in all areas. Dolphin CIOs let themselves get boxed in and limit their opportunities for growth, while shark CIOs are suspicious and fight on the fronts their colleagues avoid. Adventurous wolf CIOs expand their battlefronts and territories into the grey areas, well outside of IT, by taking advantage of opportunities that others ignore.

Create Weapons of Mass Destruction

According to Machiavelli, the best strategy is the one that is perceived to be so high risk or destructive that it is hard to imagine anyone implementing it. Successful wolf CIOs build their strengths and skills, and plan their campaigns carefully. Sometimes the most powerful weapon is the patience to let an enemy self-destruct. In extreme cases, wolf CIOs recognize that the best way to win the war is to allow their enemies to lose it.


Put One Paw in Front of the Other

CIOs can wield their power for good or for bad, but they must know how to defend themselves and wage offensive wars to grow their businesses. Wolf CIOs always use light-side tactics when they are effective, but resort to dark-side tactics when necessary to ensure favorable outcomes.



Achieving personal goals comes from fully applying oneself in every situation. This is what earns the trust and respect of others that will catapult an individual to a position of greater responsibility. A positive work ethic gets results and is contagious. If expectations are not being met, an individual should ask the right questions, find the answers, and make the necessary changes. If expectations are being met, an individual should push to exceed them. Individuals should never become complacent.

Getting Organized and Getting Things Done

As an individual’s success at achieving goals grows, so do his or her responsibilities. Good organization and time-management skills become increasingly important. While each person might have a different process for staying on track, every individual must develop one. Planning ahead, setting priorities, and communicating well should be part of this process.

Being organized includes:

*Creating a regular, daily routine.

*Establishing a reminder system (for meetings, deadlines, etc.).

*Making allowances for the unexpected (flexibility is key).

*Breaking projects into manageable “chunks.”

*Eliminating distractions.

Spotting an Opportunity and Standing Out

Opportunities to excel are not always obvious. Networking and taking on “out of scope” tasks (with a manager’s permission) can yield hidden gems of opportunities that otherwise might not have surfaced. When presented with an opportunity, individuals should not let fear of failure stand in their way. They should fearlessly grab hold of opportunities as they come along–it will be noticed.

Some ways to bring about more opportunities include:

*Networking across the business.

*Earning a reputation as a “go to” person.

*Being analytical and always asking “why.”

*Speaking up and sharing thoughts, ideas, and initiatives.

*Leveraging chance encounters and talking to strangers.

*Taking novel approaches.

Sucking It Up

No matter how good a job might look from the outside, sometimes it turns out to be not as good from the inside, but that is no reason to quit. A willing and learning attitude that transcends difficult relationships and unrewarding tasks can result in great returns in the future. If nothing else, “sucking it up” builds character.

Below are some ways to view a bad situation differently:

*Be introspective and recognize the opportunity to learn.

*Be decisive and take action–get things done.

*Set out to win over challenging people.

*Keep emotions in check and always present a professional and positive countenance.

Pushing Back and Saying “No”

Often, new employees who are eager to please are taken advantage of and end up taking on too much. Learning to say “no” is an important part of being a productive employee. However, saying “no” is contextual. The method will vary depending on whom the request is coming from.

*Requests from peers. Clearly but politely communicate current priorities, deadlines, and commitments. This conveys that a “no” is not personal, but is tied to organizational goals.

*Requests from senior employees. These requests can trump one’s current projects. The individual should make sure he or she has a clear understanding of the request’s requirements and impacts on current projects, and then vet the request through his or her first line manager. If the request is from an individual’s manager and competes with other responsibilities, it is time to sit down and review priorities with that manager.

*The request seems inappropriate. Early on, it can be difficult to have the expertise or authority to know what is an appropriate or inappropriate request. This knowledge comes with experience. It is fine to ask questions and respectfully offer alternatives. However, a managerial edict (in the absence of an ethical or legal transgression) should be followed.

Ways to make saying “no” more productive include:

*Recognizing that the act of saying “no” is hard.

*Earning the right to say it by having built a good reputation as a hard worker.

*Understanding exactly what the request requires.

*Looking for alternative solutions to help solve the problem.

*Enlisting others to help in meeting the request.

*Communicating the reasons for saying “no” clearly and respectfully.

*Not becoming confrontational.

*Turning down the request in person.

Working Out When to Leave

The time to leave a job is when the opportunities to learn, develop, and make unique contributions end. It is very important not to leave prematurely or for reasons one has control over, such as difficult relationships or mastery of the position.

Individuals sometimes stay in jobs when they should move on because they feel comfortable in their roles, they are earning a lot of money, or they simply like their coworkers. While these are attractive features, in the absence of ongoing challenge, growth, and development, they can actually hold individuals back from progressing in their careers.

Before deciding to leave a job, employees should make sure to:

*Clearly identify what the undesirable aspects of the job are to determine if there is opportunity for change.

*Evaluate whether or not there are continued opportunities to learn and grow.

*Determine if there is only one overwhelming negative issue and, if so, take steps to resolve it before leaving.

*Seek counsel from a trusted friend or family member to get perspective.

*View the situation within the larger picture of life.

*Consider how the circumstances would be interpreted in a résumé or interview.

If at all possible, employees should resolve the situation and leave on a “high note.”

Problem Solving Approach



A methodical approach to problem solving is the best approach. Effective problem solving comprises seven steps:

  1. Define the problem clearly, and in writing. Writing something down incorporates many senses, embedding it into the brain more deeply. Putting the problem in writing not only clarifies the issue, it immediately brings more brainpower toward its solution.
  2. Read, research, and gather information. Data gathering is extremely important. The more information that is available, the more likely it is that a solution will emerge.
  3. Do not reinvent the wheel. Many problems are similar to other problems or have actually been solved previously. Consult experts and do the research to avoid duplication of effort.
  4. Let the subconscious work.After spending time on a problem, shifting attention away from it can inspire a new idea or solution.
  5. Use sleep. The brain continues to work during sleep, processing, analyzing, and categorizing information. Thinking about the problem right before bedtime can reveal a solution in the morning.
  6. Write it down. Breakthrough ideas can happen anytime. It is important to record ideas and insights — whether on paper or electronically — for future evaluation.
  7. Take action. Hesitation can make the difference between a good idea being implemented or wasted. Act on a solution as soon as it is selected.


Information without practical application is of little use. However, most people hold on to a lot of knowledge. Individuals can use the following techniques to stimulate their minds and make the most of the knowledge they have acquired by putting it to good use in solving problems:

*The quick list method: Take 30 seconds to quickly write down three important life goals, assign a grade to each one in terms of current level of satisfaction and fulfillment, and then select the one with the lowest grade to work on.

*The brutal questions: Ask, “What are today’s three most pressing problems,” then commit to focusing efforts on those areas.

*The 20/80 rule: This principle states that the source of 80 percent of problems is internal. Therefore, identify which problems are internally based, then focus attention on internal factors to solve them.

*Identify favorite excuses: Articulate the excuses for any particular problem to better target a solution. The excuses provide an opportunity for focus.

*Practice idealization: Creating a clear vision for the future and then taking deliberate steps toward achieving that vision is the path to success. Keep the vision in sight.

*The magic question: Imagine success without the option of failure and create a step-by-step plan to achieve that success. Even small steps make a difference.


All people have “three minds.” Each is different from the other and each plays an important role in creative thinking.

*The conscious mind: The conscious mind thinks both quickly (reacting to immediate situations) and slowly (giving careful, deliberate thought to information as it is presented). While fast thinking is necessary for decision making in a crisis (such as a medical emergency), slow thinking is important for more in-depth problem solving. Writing things down can help the brain transition from fast to slow thinking.

*The subconscious mind: The subconscious mind stores huge amounts of information and helps the brain make sense of the world. Instinct comes from the subconscious mind and can help tip the balance in decision making. The subconscious mind is also the storehouse for positive thoughts.

*The superconscious mind: The superconscious mind represents a deeper level of the subconscious mind. This is where insight, intuition, and breakthrough thinking dwell.

The best thinking happens when people learn to use all three of their minds, taking time to gather and absorb information, process it in a thoughtful way, then relegate it to the subconscious, trusting that the superconscious will help reveal a solution.


People’s thinking styles impact their levels of creativity. While every person’s thinking style is molded through experience, each individual also has the power to alter the direction of his or her thinking toward more creative thinking.

Mechanical thinking, which is narrow, rigid, and inflexible, lies at one end of the thinking style spectrum, while adaptive thinking, which is flexible and open, lies at the other. The goal is to move from mechanical thinking to adaptive thinking. By deliberately suspending judgment, asking probing questions, and working toward an optimistic and positive attitude, individuals can become more adaptive, and thus more creative, thinkers.


People tend to think in a linear fashion, with one thought logically following another. However, to think creatively, people need to learn to thinklaterally — to consider totally different and unusual solutions from what is typical or logical.

Lateral thinking can be developed by:

*Reversing keywords: Word play (like labeling a problem as an opportunity) can change a person’s mind-set.

*Restating the dominant idea: It is helpful to consider an issue from a different context or a different perspective. This is similar to the concept of “standing in someone else’s shoes.”

*Focusing on the customer: Too often companies are focused on product development rather than customer development. Knowing and identifying with customers, then developing solutions from their perspectives, is a more lateral approach. Businesses should focus on how they can develop (in other words, improve) their customers’ lives.

*Fantasizing: People can visualize a world in which all obstacles to achieving their goals are gone, then imagine how those goals would be achieved. Solutions are often leveraged from those imaginings.


The mind is an incredible information processor, taking in information from all five senses. The mind processes information for creative thinking through three main methods:

  1. Visual (seeing).
  2. Auditory (hearing).
  3. Kinesthetic (doing and “feeling”).

Each person’s thinking and learning style is dominated by one of these three methods. Even though one will naturally dominate, to boost creating thinking it is good practice to pay attention to and use all three — especially when sharing information with others. People should know their own dominant methods, and leverage those in self-learning, as well as adapt teaching and information sharing to others’ dominant methods and styles.


One of the goals in problem solving is to keep emotions out of the process so as to arrive at the best solution. Below is an expansion on the step-by-step process to problem solving that helps ensure objectivity and the best results:

  1. Assume a logical solution. Maintain a sense of calm and the belief that every problem can be solved logically.
  2. Use positive language. Reframing a problem in positive terms (i.e., as an opportunity) encourages creative thinking.
  3. Define it clearly. Getting clarity on the situation ensures that efforts are targeted in the right direction.
  4. Diagnose the situation. It is important to know if the issue is a one-time situation or something more systemic that requires broader change.
  5. Expand the possibilities. Look for all possible resolutions to make sure nothing is missed. A thorough investigation is an objective investigation.
  6. Make a decision. Typically a solution will emerge if the previous steps have been performed properly.
  7. Assign responsibility for action. Without accountability, the best solution can go by the wayside.
  8. Set deadlines. Establishing a time frame for execution ensures the solution is more than simply a topic for conversation.
  9. Take action. Solutions without action are wishful thinking.




Part of the reason that many businesses struggle with talent measurement is because they do not know what measurement methods and tools are at their disposal.  Considering the following eight measurement methods:

1. Tools for sifting candidates. Sifting tools are a common component of many firms’ hiring processes. Typically, sifting tools are used in the early stages of the hiring process as they allow a business to narrow down a large pool of applicants. These tools can be preprogrammed algorithms or scoring systems that select the best résumés from the pile.

2. Interviews. Research shows that well-conducted interviews lead to accurate hiring judgments. While interviews do not measure a person’s competencies, they are shown to successfully gauge their social skills and experience. For interviews to be effective, businesses must ensure that they have structure. The biggest problem with interviews is that they are subject to interviewers’ biases.

3. Psychometric tests. Psychometric tests are questionnaire-based tests that evaluate factors like intelligence, personality, and integrity. When crafted well, these tests have been proven to be quick, cheap, and accurate. The most common problem with psychometric tests is that many do not have enough research to back up their accuracy.

4. Assessment centers. Traditionally, assessment centers are composed of multiple assessors who observe a group of participants over a series of exercises and tests while rating their competences. They offer a rigorous process that involves multiple perspectives. The limitations of assessment centers include the decline in their validity and the travel costs of sending candidates.

5. Situational judgment tests. Also known as “low-fidelity simulations,” situational judgment tests (SJTs) present people with realistic work scenarios before asking questions about them. SJTs can test people’s behavioral tendencies or their knowledge. Although they are easy to run, SJTs need to be well designed to deliver good levels of validity.

6. Individual psychological assessment. There is a lack of evidence to prove the benefits of individual psychological assessments. However, many organizations like to use this talent measurement process to determine if mid-level to senior executives are ready for promotions. It is an excellent way to evaluate an individual’s “fit.”

7. 360-degree feedback. This measurement method evaluates a person by asking a range of their colleagues to answer questions about them. The questions are designed to measure people’s competencies or their performance levels. The feedback received from the people questioned is generally regarded as fair and valid. However, the method usually fails to distinguish high performers from poor performers and is inefficient in that many participants interpret their ratings of a person as how much they like them.

8. Work sample tests, simulations, and games. Along with simulations and games, work sample tests have been found to be fair and capable of predicting performance. It is best to use this method in the recruitment process, particularly for skilled or semiskilled roles. The main limitation to this method is that if the design of the work sample is poor it is rendered ineffective.