Use Fed’s Rate Hike as Fuel to Positively Ask for More

12162015 Marriner_S._Eccles_Federal_Reserve_Board_Building

Many people think that the Federal Reserve’s increasing interest rates for the first time since 2006 is a bad thing because it would induce inflation. I, however, think that this is a prime time to be proactive instead of reactive. I think that this is good time to position yourself for a raise. The interest rate hike is eating your paycheck and you will need more money to stay afloat. In addition, this rate increase has come at a wonderful time: the end of the year because you can take everything in your annual review, highlight the good parts and repositioning yourself to ask for a raise next year. There is positive in almost everything. Use this Federal Reserve rate increase to demand more out of yourself and your paycheck.

NPR: http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/12/16/459989461/federal-reserve-announces-hike-in-short-term-interest-rates?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=politics&utm_medium=social&utm_term=nprnews

Pivoting past office politics

12142015 Pivot

 

I have a situation where my office pays for my coworker’s PMP studies. I have to self-finance mine without my employer’s assistance because I am not the ‘Golden boy’. This is a big professional slight because earning this credential propels your career. PMP is accepted across multiple industries. This has stung because it is like my office doesn’t have the same vested interest in my career success as it does my coworker’s. I admit that I am extremely disappointed.

Life isn’t fair. There are favoritism and office politics within any work environment. I have been in this predicament where I have been on the bad side. Here are my three tips on how you deal with it and manage your career effectively.

Take the emotion out of the situation

I know that this extremely hard to do when you spend 40 hours looking at these people. You have to convert this emotional energy into productivity. In my case, I have saved the money to purchase project management study guides. Remember, that you still control your paycheck! Instead of feeling sorry for yourself and buying a tub of ice cream, invest in yourself by saving the money to get the requisite credential to advance your career. You have to manage your money differently because your career is stagnating here.

Use what workplace capital and stick to the bottom line

You will get through this rough patch of corporate betrayal. Align what you want with your company’s objectives to achieve buy-in. I have. I have used my capital to have my employer upload the project management software onto my work computer. I have sold the company that this is a way of improving my productivity. No, you may not be the favorite but money is money; and, increasing work productivity makes money.

Use this opportunity to pivot somewhere else

Go where you’re appreciated not tolerated. Don’t ever tolerate mistreatment from any place especially when you are spending 40 hours a week there. You are a competent professional. Favoritism means that I am being tolerated. I have used my simulation software ‘win’ to pass the PMP exam. I have pivoted to another career opportunity. Immediately I market my PMP/MBA combination into a private sector opportunity.

 

 

Declare then Do!

12132015 Declare then Do

How do you do something different when you don’t know how to get started?

I know that when you see the title declare then do and you think it is the latest psychobabble. Well, it is not. I never serve psychobabble or popular psychology. My sole aim is to write about positive change leadership and management. I have been stuck before. This article is my lesson in how to get unstuck.

A colleague and I were selected for the headquarters’ leadership development program. Upon graduating, I returned to our agency and she served a detail at the headquarters. She detailed there for 3 months and then was offered a promotion at a different agency. I was frustrated because I was processing 70% of my section’s estimates making the same amount of money, whereas, she was promoted doing new and exciting work (for higher pay!). I asked her how she received her promotion. She went into detail telling me that she took a Management Analyst assignment instead of an Economist one while at the headquarters. That was seen as a high-profile assignment. Someone at her new agency inquired about her. That inquiry led to an interview which she aced receiving her promotion. Immediately I looked up the Management Analyst position and saw that project management was closely related. Although I had all of this information, I was stuck. I heard project management as a buzzword, but I knew absolutely nothing about this discipline.

How I Got Unstuck

Always start with the end in mind. You know what you want. Right now you just don’t know how to go about accomplishing what you want. Just writing down the end eliminates paralysis of analysis.

Work backwards from the end

Go step by step backwards all the way until you arrive at the beginning where you are. The middle tends to get murky. Use the end as a definitive point guiding you through the process.

Working in the public sector, there were job descriptions for everything. I researched the Management Analyst job description and saw that I needed 12 credit hours of management. Having an MBA qualified me for this position but I didn’t want to be minimally qualified. I surfed the Internet for cheap project management courses finding a great alternative. Then, I had my employer pay for it.

See which transferable skills can give you the competitive advantage

Don’t just meet the minimum exceed it! This is how you stand out from the rest. Remember, there probably already people who were doing your job. Your future employer doesn’t need a duplicate because that’s a waste of time and money. You must stand out and discovering where you can apply your transferable skills to your new ones.

In my case, I chose to obtain my CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) certification. I already had the transferable skill with my MBA so my CAPM would be my competitive advantage. I took my first project management course in April 2010 earning my CAPM certification in August 2011.

Now it wasn’t a straight and narrow path. I failed my exam the first time. I was stuck again! Immediately I performed an autopsy examining my study habits. I devoted 2 extra hours of study creating my own practice exams shoring up my weak areas. I passed the CAPM exactly 2 weeks later. There was good news: I received my promotion 8 months to the day I passed the CAPM certification exam.

I accomplished all of this because I declared to get unstuck persevering against all odds and you can too!

This Week in Positive Change Management : Manifest Success!

12132015 Manifest Success!

Full Definition of manifest

1:  readily perceived by the senses and especially by the sense of sight

2:  easily understood or recognized by the mind :  obvious

Full Definition of success

1obsolete :  outcomeresult

2a :  degree or measure of succeeding b :  favorable or desired outcome; also :  the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

3:  one that succeeds

 

This week’s in positive change management is to manifest success. Start where you are at right. Ask yourself: how can you make things better personally and professionally? Jot down 1 personal thing and 1 professional thing that you need to accomplish and do them. These two things must be so necessary to change that it is like the air you breathe. These personal and professional changes are mandatory. These are your non-negotiables for change.

Start envisioning yourself in your future space having achieved these two goals. Chart the pathway towards accomplishing personal and professional betterment. Why stay stagnant when you can move forward? What’s your definition of success? Envisioning yourself pursuing them.

You can manifest success. It is attainable. Even if you aren’t sick and tired of being sick and tired, you can always make tomorrow better than today. Here’s to manifesting success this week and beyond!

This Week in Positive Change Management : What You Need to Leave Behind before the New Year

12092015 Out with the Old, In with the New

The New Year is right around the corner and everybody to do better than before. This, of course, means dropping those bad habits and unproductive routines. We cannot sabotage ourselves here in December before the New Year even gets started.

Negative mindset and people

Resolve to let these people them go! Why are you letting people steal your joy? Don’t bring this baggage into the New Year. Dropping these ne’er do wells liberates you to take more time for yourself. You cannot bring the would’ve, should’ve and could’ve in the New Year.

You must also erase the negative mindset. That’s why I have written it now. It takes time to distance yourself from negativity. You cannot just flip a switch on New Year’s Eve and poof be gone! You need to shift your mindset from doubt to doing. It takes time to move past it; but, eradicating negativity is something that you need to leave behind.

Physical and mental clutter

Stress wears you down. Your body and immune system break down. You are way too fabulous to look ancient before your time. Don’t’ mess up your pretty over stress. Remove yourself from stressful situations. If your work environment stresses you out, then hire a resume writer to revise yours. The resume writer is probably offering discount Christmas rates so you’ll get more bang for your buck revamping yours. Right now everyone has Christmas on their brains. You are getting a head start on the job market by putting your brand out there now in December.

Mental clutter obstructs your thought process. You cannot be productive and think clearly. Removing the mental clutter gives your brain new space to think new thoughts. Buy a composition notebook and write down all of your thoughts. No matter how random, jot them down. This is called the brain dump. You are dumping all of your thoughts on a piece of paper that gives your brain more space to generate new ones. Mental clutter slows you down from having better thoughts. Better thoughts = better life.

Incomplete tasks

You cannot go into the New Year with things left undone. It is essential that you complete as many tasks as possible. Finishing them liberates your time for other things when the New Year comes. Currently, I am completing 2 Udemy courses because I want to liberate my time. One of these two classes I stopped taking in January. I was supposed to finish this business analysis course before my February consulting date and it never happened. My gig ended in August and I still hadn’t finished that class. Completing it frees up my time to do something else.  You will see a very big change in energy when you finish something because you won’t have to do it again.

Leaving these three things behind guarantees a more productive end to December and a beginning of the New Year.

Promote your competitive advantage

12012015 Promote Your Competitive Advantage

Developing and promoting your competitive advantage are indispensable towards getting the best job out there. Before I go any further, let me define what competitive advantage is. The definition for competitive advantage is ‘a condition or circumstance that puts a company in a favorable or superior business position‘. Individuals have competitive advantages just like companies.

How to develop your competitive advantage

Doing a SWOT analysis is a way towards finding your competitive advantage SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal. Opportunities and threats are external. Now let’s conduct a SWOT analysis. Write out all of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The goal is to maximize your strengths and opportunities and to minimize your weaknesses and threats. From the SWOT analysis, you will now know what you are good at. Once you know this, the next step is promoting your competitive advantage in the marketplace.

How to promote your competitive advantage

There are three steps towards effectively promoting your competitive advantage. These steps are: research your industry, leverage your transferable skills and avoid myopia. When you research your industry, look at what your competitors are doing. What are the trends that are out there? What pieces of the current trends can you incorporate in your repertoire to increase your marketability? If can find an angle to exploit then go for it because this is your competitive advantage.

The next step is to leverage your transferable skills. You have discovered them from doing the SWOT analysis. These are your strengths. Look to see if some of your transferable skills overlap with the current industry trends. In addition, see if these skills can work in other industries which leads me to the third and final step: don’t be myopic. You can work in more than one field. You can also have more than one competitive advantage. You don’t exclusively only have to have either hard skill or soft skill competitive advantages. In this global marketplace, you will need multiple competitive advantages in order to get hired.

By following these steps, you will increase your competitive advantage marketing capability.

Positivity in the News: Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive

In today’s Harvard Business Review, there is an article about how positive work cultures are more productive than their less positive counterparts. This news should not come as a surprise: nobody produces in a toxic environment.

https://hbr.org/2015/12/proof-that-positive-work-cultures-are-more-productive

Assess, Action and Adapt

11302015 Assess, Action, Adapt

People always look forward to the New Year forgetting that there are still 31 days left. That would be very bad to underestimate the importance of December. Don’t relegate next year to wishful thinking. Have a plan! You must see December as your springboard into soaring higher in the upcoming New Year. Here are my three As (Assess, Action and Adapt) for using December to your full advantage.

Assess

You have to be brutally honest with yourself and your progress or lack thereof. Conduct a full autopsy of this year by doing a full SWOT analysis. Examine your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Ask yourself what has gone right? These are your strengths and opportunities. Then ask yourself what has gone wrong? These are your weaknesses and threats.

Action

Now that you’ve written down your SWOT analysis, you will devote this month towards developing an annual plan for next year. You can drill this plan down into quarters, months or weeks if necessary. Then, you want to take your strengths and opportunities and maximize these for the New Year. Exploit them to the fullest. See how you can magnify your strengths at work and home towards making your life easier. Conversely, you want to minimize your weaknesses and threats. The action plan’s goal is to eliminate what you have done wrong so that you can do more of what’s going right. This annual action plan serves as your baseline for the New Year.

Adapt

Most people think that once you write the plan, it is written in stone and can never be changed. That cannot be any further from the truth! It is okay and actually encouraged to change your plan after January because situations change. Your original plan is your baseline. The purpose of your annual plan is to guide you through the New Year. When things change, you have to adapt.

Don’t waste another year of winging it by hoping that everything goes well for you on the whimsical New Year’s resolutions that you’ve made at midnight. Make your year (and life) easier by incorporating the three As (Assess, Action and Adapt).

 

This Week in Positive Change Management : Keep Working on 2015, Even Though You’re Planning for 2016

11282015 Calendar Photo

                Although 2016 is less than 32 days away, there is still time left to complete this year’s goals. You have time to make an indelible mark this year. Do not get tunnel vision simply because you want to trash this year forgetting that it has happened. There is still a little over one month left to salvage this year by completing some of this year’s goals. All is not hopeless. Dig deep, look at what you can accomplish this year and get it together because if you cannot resolve some of your problems this year, they will most certainly be waiting for you when the New Year’s ball drops welcoming in 2016!