Category Archives: July 2017

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Run a future-proof business with strategic planning

Strategic planning is something that every business should do to prepare for their long-term success. By planning out your goals, having the correct processes in place from the beginning, using the right software, and investing in training, you’ll be able to plan and prepare for the future.

How prepare for the future with strategic planning

Here are four tips to help you plan with the future of your business in mind.

Have the correct processes in place

It’s much easier to start with best practices and get them in place right from the beginning. Avoid utilizing patchwork processes that will get the job done, but not efficiently. As you grow, you’ll run into problems if you don’t use processes that synchronize with each other, and make sense to your team. Having to re-train your team later on could create discord and cost time.

Utilize the right software

Use software that will grow with you and support your business no matter how big you want to get, not one you’ll have to transition out of once you hit a certain size. Your software should unite any integrations you use and support your team. Having to switch software later on is costly and time consuming, and will cause confusion and possibly mistakes.

Train your team for different scenarios

This tip ties in with the two above, because it’s important that your team is well-trained in your software and processes. If your team is trained well from the offset, they’ll be well-equipped for different situations and prepared for any issues that could come up. Your team will also know what to expect on the horizon.

Set your goals

Understand what you want to achieve, and make sure you quantify your goals. KPIs, or key performance indicators, will give your team something to strive toward. It will also help you mark your success and monitor how well your business is doing, so that you can look back and evaluate, refine, and improve on your processes.

What are some other ways you can plan strategically for your company’s future? What other considerations do you need to take care of?

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How to use strategic planning to prepare for success

Strategic planning is crucial for organizations on every level…as long as you want to build a sustainable business that does well. Planning and preparing for the future is a best practice, so you can plan out your resources accordingly. Here are a few ways you can use strategic planning in your company.

Keys to strategic planning for success

Understand your business goals

Is your goal for your business eventually to sell it for a profit? Do you want to turn it into a lifestyle business, that allows you to live the way you want while supporting you? Or do you want to grow it into a multi-national corporation? The moves you make should depend on your business goals, and each strategic decision should move you towards that goal.

Know when to hire

As your business grows, you need to understand what your current team’s capacity for work is. Instead of overworking your team and having people quit because they’re getting burnt out, be aware of when it’s time to hire additional team members to take on more work. Check in with your team regularly to evaluate their workload, efficiency, and how well things are getting done (as well as the results).

Know when to introduce new roles

Many businesses start out with few employees who wear many hats. As you grow, you’ll want to review your business hierarchy, teams, and positions to see where a new role is needed.

For example, your project manager might also be your account manager, this person would interface both with internal teams as well as your clients. However, when your team grows enough, it would be wise to separate these two fundamentally different roles. One will be concerned with keeping projects on track and on budget, while the other will be focused on client retention, acquisition, and upsells.

Use the right tools

Finally, it’s crucial that you use the right tools to assist your strategic planning. Whether that means assessments to ensure your new roles fit within your organization, or strategic talent management to ensure sustainable personnel growth, take care during every step of the process to avoid slip-ups.

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How to plan employee growth trajectory

Opportunities for growth in a job are almost equally important as salary to employees, according to a Walters People survey. That means if you want to keep your best employees, you need to provide them with an employee growth trajectory that utilizes their skills and talents, and continues to challenge them.

If you want to attract and retain top talent, you have to invest in employee development. – Chad Halvorson

Luckily, Google’s Re:Work has put together a list of questions to go over with your best performers, in order to help you plan that growth trajectory based on input from your employees and company opportunities.

This guide will help managers have structured career conversations with their team members as they find out what an employee wants from the role, where they are now, and how to bridge that gap.

Get the employee growth trajectory tool here (as a PDF or shared Google Doc).

Below is a list of the questions from the tool, broken down into 4 sections; goals, reality, options, and execution (will). Run through these questions with your team members to get a clear, honest picture about where your team members want to be.

Goal: What do you want? Establish what the team member really wants to achieve with their career.

  • Where do you see yourself in one, five, and ten years?
  • If money or your current skills weren’t an issue, what would be your dream role?
  • What are your interests, values, and motivations?

Reality: What’s happening now? Establish the team member’s understanding of their current role and skills.

  • What are the most rewarding or frustrating aspects of your current role?
  • Do you feel challenged or stretched in your current role? What would make it more challenging? What isn’t challenging you?
  • What feedback have you received from other people on your strengths and weaknesses?

Options: What could you do? Generate multiple options for closing the gap from goal to reality.

  • What can you do right now to further develop skills that would be useful in reaching that goal we talked about earlier?
  • What stretch assignments, big projects, or experiences could you pursue?
  • What networking or mentorship options are there?

Will: What will you do? Identify achievable steps to move from reality to goal.

  • What will you do? By when?
  • What resources would be useful? What skills will help you get there?
  • What advocacy would help? How can I or our team leader provide more support towards your development?

How have you planned employee growth in your company? What questions were most valuable to go over? Share in the comments below.

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How to give insightful manager feedback in your company

Managers are used to giving feedback to better their teams, but the best managers also know how to receive feedback to improve themselves. Your managers need regular feedback as much as their teams to ensure the business runs smoothly.

However, some team members understandably find it difficult to rate their managers. Luckily, Google’s Re:Work provides a research for manager feedback and asks all the important questions your managers need to know.

Find the manager feedback tool here.

This tool will help your managers’ teams give them honest, insightful feedback so that they can analyze their roles better and improve where needed. It asks questions regarding micromanagement, how well a manager gives feedback, prioritization, team consideration, communications, and more.

Questions for manager feedback

Here is a list of the full questions from the survey, which you are welcome to edit and customize for your own team.

  • My manager gives me actionable feedback that helps me improve my performance.
  • My manager does not “micromanage” (i.e., get involved in details that should be handled at other levels).
  • My manager shows consideration for me as a person.
  • The actions of my manager show that he/she values the perspective I bring to the team, even if it is different from his/her own.
  • My manager keeps the team focused on our priority results/deliverables.
  • My manager regularly shares relevant information from his/her manager and senior leaders.
  • My manager has had a meaningful discussion with me about career development in the past six months.
  • My manager communicates clear goals for our team.
  • My manager has the technical expertise required to effectively manage me.
  • I would recommend my manager to others.
  • I am satisfied with my manager’s overall performance as a manager.
  • What would you recommend your manager keep doing?
  • What would you have your manager change?

Have you implemented this at your business? Share the results with us in the comments below!

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Value of Professional Communications

It should go without saying that we must act respectably in all aspects of our professional lives, from the way we interact with colleagues to the way we portray ourselves on social media. Maintaining a respectable tone and presence will avoid damaging connections, offending anyone, and seeming unprofessional.

Tips for professional responses

Move the conversation to a different platform, when needed. If someone reaches out to you on social media, where your responses need to be kept short and sweet, ask to move the conversation to email instead. This will allow you to craft a more personalized, private, professional message.

Learn about who you’re talking to. Knowing about the background of whoever you’re talking to will help you frame where they’re coming from, their POV, and how to best approach them. Learning their motivations will also help you focus on the topics that are most important to them.

Verify and clarify. Make sure whomever you’re speaking to understands you, and if not, clarify to avoid any miscommunication.

Recap in writing. If you have a verbal discussion, always follow-up in an email and summarize what you discussed, action points moving forward, and ask if you missed anything. This will help get everything recorded for future reference, as well as align understanding of a situation.

Keep your tone respectful but authoritative. While you should always be respectful in your professional communications, you don’t always have to be apologetic. Understand how to stand your ground when necessary, and recognize when it’s time to politely contradict someone.

What to do if someone doesn’t respond professionally

Sometimes you end up in a conversation with someone who doesn’t act as professionally as s/he should. If this happens to you and find yourself on the receiving end of insults, assumptions, or general ill-will, here’s what you can try.

If this person is acting poorly due to a misunderstanding, clarify or correct them. For example, if you’re an account manager and a client gets angry because they’ve misunderstood scope, politely bring up the original agreement and clarify.

Explain the situation from your point of view. If you continue to address someone politely and respectably, it’s possible they may change their tone or back away from their anger. Giving them your POV also helps them to empathize.

If you have the option, cease contact. If someone continues to be angry and act poorly, it’s probably that maintaining a relationship isn’t worth the stress or headache. In the event you have the option to simply stop responding, do so. If they become aggressive or antagonistic after that, you can block them (if it’s online) or state that you would prefer to avoid getting into a fight, and then walk away (if it’s in person).

Most importantly, maintain your cool. Avoid swearing at them, getting angry, saying hurtful things, or making unnecessary/rude remarks. In the end, you’re protecting your image as well. How you react to someone who is acting poorly will reflect on you. Even if you share the story with others, try to keep the party involved anonymous to maintain professionalism.

What are your tips on maintaining professional communications?

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3 Hiring Questions to Gauge Culture Fit

Sometimes, interviews are unnecessarily long. To ensure you don’t waste your time (as well as your candidates’) try to narrow down your hiring questions to allow for more discussion versus a bullet list of Q&A. Here are 3 simple hiring questions that will go a long way to helping you gauge culture fit.

Why did you decide to become a [position]?

This cuts to the core of their motivations. Your candidates’ answers to this question will give you insight into what drives them, and whether they will fit in with your high-achieving team. Does your company need someone who is driven by their peers, or a self-starter? Do you want someone who loves their role and learning new skills related to their job, or someone who values stability and monetary rewards?

Learning why a marketer got into marketing, or why a manager got into management can also show you how they’ll interact with their colleagues and position. If someone became a digital marketer because s/he enjoys writing, it indicates high-quality writing skills. If someone applying to a leadership position enjoys that role because s/he values organization and teamwork, it’s a good sign that the candidate will fit in with and optimize a collaborative team.

Why do you want to work with our company?

This question provides insight into what the candidate knows about your brand and company in particular. You want to hire people who want to work with your brand versus simply earning a paycheck. If they’re well-researched and understand your company culture, brand vision, and overall mission, it’s a good sign they’ll do well with your company.

Look for answers that demonstrate why they want to work with [your brand], not just why they want to work.

What’s your ideal work environment?

This is a more general question that will give you insight into how your candidate prefers to work (alone, surrounded by mentors, something else?) and whether they’ll be a good fit with the working environment you can provide. Some things they may mention include working hours, equipment, availability of mentors, company hierarchy, and project management tools. Take note of how many of their “ideals” align with the work environment your teams already thrive on.

These three questions are by no means an exhaustive list of everything you should ask to gauge culture fit. However, they provide a good starting place if you’re in the early hiring stages or only have time to ask a few questions per candidate.

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Public Seminar: Filipino Values Going Global

Join us on July 20, 2017 from 1 to 5 p.m. for a public seminar on Filipino Values Towards the Culture of Service Excellence. Filipino values are endemic to us as individuals, and as a nation. How do these fare in the global environment?

Course Outline

  • Pinoy Ako
  • Where are we now?
  • What is culture?
  • Filipino values towards the culture of service excellence (Filipino Values Going Global)

This workshop costs an investment of P1099.

Register Now

About the Facilitator

Ruby Mañalac is at present working for PROFILES ASIA PACIFIC/PEOPLE DYNAMICS, INC. as Director for the development of a distributor network for GENOS, a new Emotional Intelligence assessment introduced last November. Previously she occupied the position of Director for Operations and Marketing. She has been with Profiles on and off since 1999. She has worked with various other organizations mostly in the field of Sales, Marketing, Communications, and Training holding positions with Arc Docendi (Marketing Communications Strategist), Globaltronics (Corporate Marketing and Sales Director), Manila Standard (Circulation Manager) and Manila Bulletin (Assistant Display Ads Manager/Writer/Section Editor).

Further, she has also held positions in the USA in the field of Sales, Marketing, and Business and People Development such as: Group Manager, Sales and Business Development Supreme Health Systems; Business Development with Exquisite Home Products both in (New York) and (New Jersey, USA).

For both companies, she was multi-awarded in the field of sales and people development and was awarded as the TOP ROOKIE Presidents Award in NY and NJ. She believes in working strategically with alliances and being open to new learnings. She also greatly adheres to the importance of the human factor in any given situation.

She is a graduate of AB Major in Communication Arts in UST, a Certificate holder in Human Resources Planning and Acquisition in the University of Makati under PMAP and recently acquired the GENOS Emotional Intelligence Certification as an EI practitioner. She has also received numerous trainings both here and abroad, specifically, she has been with two training events with Profiles International in Texas as well as a Visionary training event in Memphis under Supreme Health Systems.

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How do you handle international holiday schedules?

Typically a company only has to follow the local holiday schedule, unless their main clients are in another country (such as a BPO). However, in today’s globalizing workforce, teams are usually made up of multiple nationalities representing different religions and beliefs. With so many different cultures represented, setting holiday schedules can get complicated, but here are a few tips on keeping things streamlined.

Publicize the company-wide holiday schedule to all candidates who reach the interview stage of applications. If anyone has a problem with following local holiday schedules, ask them to let you know before accepting the job to see if you can work it out. If an employee who is already working with you has an issue with the holiday schedule, ask them to bring it up at least 2 weeks before the holiday in question. For example, if someone celebrates the American Independence Day on July 4, they should bring it up with HR mid-June to discuss potential leaves.

Include holiday rules in employee contracts. Having an agreement in writing gives you something to refer to when decisions must be made. It also protects your company since you will establish an agreed-upon schedule, whether it’s to observe local holidays and none other, or any international holidays and ignore the local ones. Changes can be made at the administration’s discretion, but any holidays outside of the schedule will not be required.

Keep track of schedules in an accessible online calendar. Your team should have a place to look to for company holidays. Having a reliable calendar online where employees can check holidays and special events will go a long way to helping everyone plan accordingly. It also gives your HR team a place to record any changes in the regular holiday schedule, and will keep everyone updated.

How do you handle your holiday schedules? Does it go by local calendars, international ones, and do you make special accommodations for your team members visiting from other countries?

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