Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Main Factors Influencing Our Perception

Perception: It is the process where by people select, organize and interpret sensory stimulations into meaningful information.
Perception lies at the base of every individual behavior. Perception is the process whereby people select, organize, and interpret sensory stimulations into meaningful information.
All of us do not have the same view of the world. We see the things differently. There is noticeable difference in the way people think and react to the world. For example, consider an equilateral triangle and insert or form equilateral triangles inside the large one exactly fitting. How many triangles are there?
A person who rushes through the figure would put the number at nine. Another visualizes as many as ten. An intelligent or close observer notices as many as thirteen triangles.
Research has shown that though individuals may look at the same thing, they may perceive it differently. Let us look at an example from the business world. There is an assistant who regularly takes several days to make an important decision. One manager may interpret that the assistant is slow, disorganized, and afraid of making decisions. Another manager may interpret the same assistant as thoughtful, thorough and deliberate. The first manager evaluates his assistant thoroughly negative, while the second manager appraises the same behavior only positively.
It is surprising that most people do not see the reality. They actually interpret what they see as reality. Most of our actions are primarily based on our perceptions.
Factors Influencing Perception:
The factors that influence perception are of two kinds – internal and external
Among the internal factors the needs and desires of individuals, individual personality, and the experience of people are included.
Needs and Desires>
The needs and desires of people play a vital role in perception. People at different levels of needs and desire perceive the same thing differently. Power seekers are more likely to notice power related stimuli. Socially oriented individuals pay attention to interpersonal stimuli. That is to say expectancy, motives or interest also affect people perception.
Personality is another internal factor that influences the perception of an individual. It need not be mentioned here that optimistic beings perceive the things in favorable terms, whereas pessimistic individual view it in negative terms. Research on the effects of individual personally on perception reveals many facts.
1) Secured individuals tend to perceive others as warm and kind hearted.2) Persons who have faith in their individuality perceive things favorably.3) Elf accepted individuals perceive themselves as liked, wanted and accepted by others.
Experience and knowledge have a constant bearing on perception. Successful experiences enhance and boost the perceptive abilities and lead to accuracy in perception of a person.
External factors:
Also known as exogenous factors, they also influence the perception of a person. Perception is affected by the characteristics of perceived object, an event or a person. These include size, intensity, frequency, status etc.
The bigger the size of the perceived stimulus, the higher is the probability that it will be noticed. Dominance is established by size and it overrides other things and thereby enhances perceptual selection. For example, a full page advertisement may induce more attention than a small advertisement in some corner of the newspaper.
While reading a passage, a person comes across a few lines printed in bold letters. He automatically pays more attention to these lines. Underlined sentences and so the ones in italics are generally more attentively read.
The principle that the higher the intensity of external stimulus, the more likely it will be perceived is not always valid. If intensity is so important, why a whisper by a student in a classroom is effective in getting attention by a teacher? Here, the answer lies in the fact that a whisper often contrasts with the rest of the noisy environment, and so gets noticed. Therefore, the intensity factor has to be considered in the light of the situation i.e. frame of reference.
Repeated external stimulus is more attention gaining than a single one, so states the frequency principle. Repetition is one of the most frequently used techniques in advertising and is the most common way of attracting the people’s attention. Frequency results in making people aware of the stimulus.
The status of the perceived person has also got influence on the perception. High status people can exert influence on perception of an employee than low status people. When introduced to two people of different ranks, we tend to remember the person holding the higher rank than the other one.
Stimuli that contrast with the surrounding environment are more likely to be selected for getting attention. A contrasting effect can be caused by color, or any unusual factor.

Factors Influencing Our Personalities

In the language of the layman, we may describe an attitude as the way we feel about something. This may be feeling towards college, football team, religion, society, parents the boss or the organization. The object may be anything – people, things, ideas, policies and so on. The remarkable feature of attitude is that it varies in direction favorable or unfavorable, and intensity – how strong they are held.
Managers in an organization need to know and understand employees’ attitudes in order to manage effectively. Attitudes influence their performance in organization.
In business organizations employees have attitudes related to the world environment, security or uncertainly prestige of the product or department and plant location etc.
Values represent our beliefs about an ideal conduct, be it positive or negative of any object or situation.
Attitudes are different for values. Values are ideals – positive or negative, not tied to any specific object or situation. Values represent our beliefs about ideal conduct. Whereas attitudes are narrower, they are our feelings, thoughts and behavioral tendencies towards a specific object or situation Attitudes are evaluative statements either favorable or unfavorable concerning objects peoples or events.
Attitudes are our feelings, thoughts and behavioral tendencies towards a specific object or situation. It is the way we feel about something.
Nature of Attitudes:
Attitudes can be characterized by their valance, mutliplexity, centrality, and relation to needs.
Valance: It refers to the magnitude or degree of favorableness or un-favorableness towards the object/event. If a person is relatively indifferent towards an object then his attitude has low valance. On the contrary, if a person is extremely favorable or unfavorable towards an object, then his attitude will have a high valence.
Multiplexity: It refers to the number of elements constituting the attitude. For example, an employee may feel loyal to the organization, but another may feel respectful and dependent towards the organization apart from feeling loyal. Similarly, a student may show interest towards his studies, but another may add hard work, sincerity and seriousness to his interest in studies.
Centrality: One salient characteristics of attitude refers to the importance of attitude object to the individual. The centrally indicates the importance of the object. The attitudes which have high centrality for an individual will be less susceptible to change.
Relation to Needs: Attitudes can also vary in relation to the needs they serve. For example, attitudes of an individual towards pictures may serve only the entertainment needs. On the other hand, attitudes of an individual onwards task may serve needs for security, achievement, recognition and satisfaction.
Formation of Attitudes:
Attitudes are formed based upon the person’s personal experiences family associations, groups and society.
Moreover the attitudes are a mixture of the above determinants:
Experiences: The experience people gain plays an important role in the formation of attitudes. Through job experiences, individuals form attitudes. They develop attitudes about factors such as salary, performance reviews, job design, work group affiliation and supervision. Before a person goes for work in a particular organization, he holds many attitudes about the job which he is expected to do. Previous work experience can account for the individual differences in attitudes such as loyalty commitments and performance.
Family: Individuals develop certain attitudes from their family members – parents, brothers, sisters etc. the family characteristics influence the individual’s early attitude patterns. When the child’s attitudes are studied as a result of the influence of his family, peers and teachers, it is found that there is high correlation between the attitudes of parents and children. This correlation is the lowest when the attitude of the children and their teachers is under consideration.
Association: The group or association to which people belong influences them greatly. The geographic region, religion, educational back ground, race, caste, sex, age, income group – all have their say on our attitudes. The influence of groups on the attitudes of the individual is inversely proportional to the distance of the group form the individual.
Groups (peer group): During adolescence people increasingly rely on their peer groups for approval. We often seek others who share attitudes similar to our own, or else we change our attitudes to match the attitudes of those in the group whose approval is important us.
Society: social class and the religious set up also play a vital role in forming attitudes of an individual. The culture, language and the structure of the society also have their say. At an early age an individual is taught that certain attitudes are acceptable and certain others are not acceptable in the society. For example, the attitudes of the people of the erstwhile Soviet Union towards communism were quite different form those of the people of the western world. In other words, what seems appropriate in an individual culture and society may be totally unacceptable in another culture.
Personality Factors: Personality differences between individuals appear to be very important in formation of attitudes. This particular area has been the subject matter of great interest and it carries a great deal of weight in an organization.

Tips on Career Planning

There are some specific actions which you can take to begin building a positive attitude and a healthy view of yourself:
1) Evaluate and accept: Review your strengths and weaknesses. Congratulate yourself for the things you like and ignore those that you do not.2) Examine your beliefs: Do you have clear cut values and principles that you always live by? If not, you may be too easily swayed by the opinion of others. Make sure your foundation is strong.3) Take appropriate risks: Minimize risk by evaluating the alternatives carefully, but do not be afraid to try something new when the odds of success are in your favor.4) Choose positive influences: Do not spend your time with people who belittle and depress you. Get out of a destructive relationship. If you would like to improve your opinion bout yourself, tell yourself that you can develop a positive opinion and you will. It is all there up in your mind, it does what we tell it to do.5) Demand respect: If you do not like the way others treat you, tell them so. Let your friends, family and co-workers know that you expect them to accord you the same courtesy and consideration that you give to them. Respect is seldom given freely. It must be earned. When others learn that they can no longer push you around, they will stop trying.
Developing a Career Plan:
An individual aspiring a top managerial position should plan his career with the help of Career management helps to achieve a proper balance between the individual needs and the demands of his life. This will benefit both the individual and the enterprise.
Making a Personal SWOT analysis:
The making of a personal Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis, the identification of the strengths and the weaknesses of an individual is the starting point or the base on which a sound career plan is to be built. The personal strategy should be designed to utilize strengths and minimize the weaknesses. In order to take advantage of career opportunities an individual has to concentrate to make hi strengths as his core competencies rather than wasting time and energy on eliminating or overcoming his weaknesses.
Preparation of a Personal Profile: One of the most difficult tasks is gaining insight into oneself, yet this is an essential first step in developing a career plan. An individual should ask himself. Am I an introvert or an extrovert? What are my attitudes toward time, achievement, work, material things and change? Some similar questions and the answers to these and a clarification of values will help in determining the direction of the professional career.
Development of Long Range Personal and Professionals goals: No airplane would take off without a flight plan including a destination. Yet, how learn are individuals about the direction of their lives? People often resist career planning because it involves making decisions. They also resist goal setting because uncertainties in the environment cause concern about making commitments. Furthermore, there is the fear of failing to achieve goals, because the non-achievement of objectives is a blow to one’s ego.
A complete understanding of the factors that inhibit goal setting, one can take steps to increase his/her commitment. First, when the setting of performance goals becomes a part of the appraisal process, identifying career goals is easier. Moreover, one does not set career goals all at once. Rather, goal setting is a continuous process that allows flexibility; professional goals can be revised in the light of changing circumstances. Another factor that reduces resistance to goal setting is the integration of long term aims with the more immediate requirement for action. For example, the aim of becoming a doctor makes it easier to study those subjects that are necessary for the medical degree.
How far in advance should one plan? A plan should include a period of time necessary for the fulfillment of commitments involved in the decision made today. Therefore, the time frame for career planning will differ with the circumstances. For example, if a person wants to become a professor, it is necessary to plan for university studies of 7 to 9 years. On the other hand, if the career goal is to become a clerk, the time span is much shorter. At any rate, the long term aim has to be translated in to short term objectives.

Building Win/Win Situations

Win / Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seek mutual benefit in all human interaction. Win/Win means that the agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying. With a Win / Win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan. Win / Win sees life as a cooperative and not a competitive arena. Most people tend to think in terms of dichotomies:
Strong or weak, win or lose. But that kind of thinking is fundamentally flawed. It is based on power and position rather than on principle. Win / Win is based on the model that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expenses or exclusion of the success of others. Win / Win is a belief in the Third Alternative. It is not your way or my way; it is a better way, a higher way.
If individuals do not come up with a synergistic solution one that was agreeable to both they can go for an even higher expression of Win / Win or no Deal.
No deal basically means that if we cannot find a solution that would benefit both of us, we agree to disagree agreeably – No Deal. No expectations have been created, no performance contracts established.
We do not take on a particular assignment together because it is obvious that our values or our goals are going in opposite direction. The Win / Win or No Deal approach is most realistic at the beginning of a business relationship or enterprise. In a continuing business relationship, No Deal may not be a viable option, which can create serious problems, especially for family business or businesses that are begun initially on the basis of friendship.
In every Win / Win agreement, the following five elements should be made very explicit:
Desired results: To identify what is to be done and when.
Guidelines: To specify the parameters (principles, policies, etc) within which results are to be accomplished.
Resources: To identify the human, financial, technical, or organizational support available to help accomplish the results.
Accountability: To set up the standards of performance and the time of evaluation.
Consequences: To specify – good and bad, natural and logical – What does and will happen as a result of the evaluation. These five elements give Win / Win agreements a life of their own.
Seek First to Understanding, then to be understood.
This habit, seek first to understand then to be understood is the key to effective interpersonal communication.Communication is the most important skill in life. People spent years learning how to read, write and speak, but what about listening? What training or education one has that enables him to listen so that he really understands deeply another human being from that individual’s own frame of reference?
Technique alone cannot help in being effective in the habit of interpersonal communication because technique can be sensed as duplicated and manipulated. We typically seek first to be understood. Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with an intention to reply. They are either speaking or preparing to speak or reading their autobiography into other people’s lives.
To be effective one has to build the skills of emphatic listening (from empathy). Empathic listening is not active listening or reflective listening, which basically involves mimicking what another person says. Empathic listening means listening with an intention to understand to really understand.
Empathic listening gets inside another person’s frame of reference. You look out through it, you see the world the way they see the world, you understand their point of view, you understand how they feel.
Empathic listening is so powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with. Instead of projecting your own autobiography and assuming thoughts, feelings, motives, and interpretation, you are dealing with the reality inside another person’s head and heart. You are listening to understand. You are focused on receiving the deep, communication of another human soul.
The habit, seek first to understand, then to be understood is very critical in reaching win /win solutions. Seeking to understand requires consideration; seeking to be understood takes courage. Win/Win requires a high degree of both.

Avoid the Mistakes You Do Writing a C.V

India’s largest staffing company TeamLease released a study last week on the mistakes candidates make in their CVs. While it’s easy to attribute these mistakes to poor knowledge of English, the reality is that language skills are only part of the problem. A major reason why CVs are riddled with sloppy mistakes is the casual approach and lack of attention to details on the part of a majority of candidates.That is the reason why a similar survey done in the UK showed how job aspirants all over the world are united in their belief that they can get away with blunders in the most important document of their professional life. The survey revealed that a whopping 94 per cent of CVs are headed straight for the rubbish bin as silly mistakes simply put off the employers.TeamLease has given some examples of the common mistakes found in CVs; here are some more from candidates whose parents were British. While one said he was instrumental in ‘ruining’ a large retail chain, there were other gems like ‘I finished ninth in my class of ten’, and ‘As indicted, I have over eight years of experience in preparing accounts’.Apart from committing spelling and grammatical errors, the candidates often give details which are irrelevant to the job applied for and thus end up annoying the employers. A HR manager says CVs for a junior engineer’s job had information like the chest and shoe sizes. One candidate even drew her holiday plans for the next three years and wrote eight pages of her family background with nuggets like how her three year old niece had got admission in one of the top schools etc.Yet another problem is some candidates’ inclination to go over the top in trying to impress employers - they believe that recruitment managers appreciate a touch of creativity in job applicants because sifting through piles of CVs can get boring.But there is often a thin dividing line between being creative and being downright stupid, as the following examples would show: One CV read ‘I am also known as Mr Productivity and Mr Clever’, and another CV was titled ‘Straight from the Profiles in Excellence series’.TeamLease analysed more than 500 CVs in a month and found that over 90 per cent of them had errors such as ‘Father - Death’, and ‘My strength is to reduce the Grape Vine’.These kind of CVs are often funny, but the situation is sad and points to the grim reality of poor resume writing. The situation worsens when candidates commit errors due to sheer oversight and sometimes over confidence.A candidate’s CV is the first piece of information that reaches the potential recruiter and it is always advisable to have one’s bio-data proof read and checked by professionals, or someone who is proficient in English.HR experts say sometimes, even the perfect CVs fail to attract attention because the content is vague. For example, most fail to give quantifiable results. For example, if you are applying for a sales manager’s job, it’s not enough to say ‘I have considerable experience in sales’.Employers will take note only if you say ‘I was responsible for a 15 per cent growth in my company’s sales at a time when the industry growth rate was just 5 per cent’. A good idea would be to make a list of everything you have accomplished in your professional or academic life - something that is indispensable when writing a professional CV.HR experts say that to make sure your achievements are highlighted well, an effective technique is to break up your job descriptions into two parts: Day-to-day duties and achievements, with bullet points.Another survey done by CMC offers some interesting insight into the art of getting through that first sift. The survey found 88 percent of employers prefer seeing a short profile or summary on the first page of a CV; 85 per cent do not want a photograph with a CV, unless specifically asked for; 96 per cent dislike CVs written by professional CV-writing services; and two-thirds of HR specialists believe that a CV should be no more than two pages long.This is because employers, especially the large ones, simply don’t have enough time to go through voluminous documents. In any case, long CVs can make them seem boring and result in important data being buried or lost in such a lengthy document.It makes sense to present your best skills and experience in the first part of your CV. The details regarding education, employment or academic experience should follow. So cut out details like your waistline measurement unless, of course, you are applying for a gym instructor’s job.–

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

دعوة لتدريس الذكاء الإجتماعى فى جميع مراحل التعليم

يتوقع العلماء أنه بحلول العام المقبل سوف تكون السيارات التى نركبها مجهزة بتكنولوجيا متقدمة تفوق كل التكنولوجيا التى استخدمت فى مركبة الفضاء " أبولو 11 " التى حطت على سطح القمر فى 20 يوليو عام 69 تحمل أول رائدى فضاء تجولا على سطح قبل نفاذ الوقود بأقل من 30 ثانية واللذين قضيا مايزيد عن 21 ساعة يتجولان على سطح القمر يصفان مايريان على الهواء مباشرة لبلايين المشاهدين بالقمر الصناعى ويعودان بثمانية عشرة كيلوجراما من صخوره لكى يدرسها العلماء على الأرض .. كما يتوقع العلماء أنه بحلول عام 2013 سوف يكون باستطاعة الوالدين أن يختارا مواصفات البصمة الوراثية DNA لمولودهما.. أقول ذلك بمناسبة ماأراه فى الشارع المصرى من انفلات ومظاهر صارخة على التخلف الحضارى الذى أصابنا بعد أن كانت مصر حتى مطلع القرن الماضى منارة للعلم والثقافة تستند إلى تاريخ ضارب فى القدم أضاء الطريق لمستقبل العالم ومهد للتقدم التكنولوجى المادى الذى أصبح علامة مسجلة لدول العالم الأول والثانى وتركنا فى ذيل قائمة دول العالم الثالث.
يحدث هذا حولنا فى الوقت الذى نستهلك طاقاتنا فى الشارع المصرى فى فوضى عارمة يحكمها قانون الغاب بلا ضابط ولارابط .. سلوك جماعى منفلت وعنيف وصارخ يصل إلى حد القتل العمد لمن يحاول أن يضبط إيقاعه أو يهذبه ناهيك عن فرض القانون أو الإختصام إلى جهات الإختصاص .. السلوك القومى العام للمصريين أصبح يتسم بالأنانية المفرطة ، وبركان من الغضب والسخط من كل شيئ وعلى كل شيئ ينفجر ويرمى بحممه ونيرانه الحارقة فى كل إتجاه فيدمر القيم والأخلاق والسلوك المتحضر الراقى الذى كان يميز شعبا عريقا ذو حضارة مثل شعب مصر.. نوع من "البلطجة القومية" تستخدم أساليبا همجية فى فرض السطوة والهيمنة والتحكم على مقدرات الشارع المصرى بكل تناقضاته .. شارع يسير فيه الناس جزرا منعزلة تفكر فقط فى الحيز الضيق الذى لايسع إلا صاحبه ، يستخدمه برجا للمراقبة ينقض منه على أقرب فرصة متاحة لكسب أرض أو إزاحة منافس أو استعراض عضلات جسمانية أو "التلسين" بلغة دخيلة تنطلق بفيروسات إجتماعية قاتلة تصيب كل من يتعرض لها.
مايحدث حولنا نوع من " الغباء الإجتماعى " يوسع دائرة وضع اليد والعشوائية فى التعامل وفى فرض السطوة وفى القهر الذى لاتمارسه سلطة رسمية وإنما يمارسه الناس ضد بعضهم البعض.. إحساس بعدم الأمان والتمركز حول الذات يجعل صاحبه لايفكر إلا فى نفسه ، ولايعبأ برأى الآخرين فيه ولايعترف بحقوقهم .. افتقدنا ألف باء السلوك الحسن ، والإحساس بالآخرين ، وبروح التعاون والتواد والتراحم ، وتحول الشارع إلى غابة يتصارع سكانها على إثبات الوجود وعلى إنتشار الفوضى .. لذلك نحن بحاجة إلى أن نضمن مقرراتنا الدراسية شيئا عن "الذكاء الإجتماعى" نتدارك به تقصير المنزل فى حسن التربية ، ونحاول أن نعيد تأهيل الطبقة المتعلمة على الأقل فى مصر حتى لاتنجرف على مستنقع التدهور الحادث فى القيم والذى ينعكس على الأنانية والإنغلاق على الذات وسفه القول وفحشه فى معظم الأحيان التى أصبحت سمات غالبة على السلوك المصرى العام هذه الأيام.
وعلى الرغم من أنهم فى الغرب لايعانون من مشاكل السلوك العام المنفلت والإعتداء المتكرر على حقوق الآخرين إلا أنهم يولون مسألة السلوك الجمعى أهمية كبيرة تعتمد على الناس أنفسهم فى الإلتزام بها أكثر مما تعتمد على القوانين فنجد كتبا عديدة تتحدث عن الذكاء العاطفى والإجتماعى ويدرسونهما فى المدارس لرفع درجة الإحساس بالآخرين ويضمنوهما البرامج التدريبية التى تنظمها المؤسسات لموظفيها لنفس الغرض وباعتبارهما من لوازم النجاح فى الحياة وضمانات للسلام الإجتماعى بين فئات الشعب المختلفة .. وتركز تلك البرامج على عنصرين أساسيين فى هذا الشأن هما :
· " التعاطف مع الآخر " أى أن يضع المرء نفسه مكان الآخر وأن يلتمس له العذر وألا يسرع فى الحكم عليه .. وأن يحترم مشاعر الناس ويتفهم حاجاتهم واهتماماتهم وأسباب قلقهم وتوترهم .. مهارة التعاطف تكسب صاحبها قبولا لدى الآخرين وتحييدا لإحساس الرفض والكراهية وتجعل صاحبها أنجح فى كسب الصداقات والإندماج مع الآخرين وتقلل من إحساسه بالغضب والإنفعال فى كثير من احتكاكته بالآخرين فى التعامل اليومى وتحقق " سيولة فى حركة الحياة " دون " اختناقات اجتماعية " لايفيد فيها تعليمات المرور ولا يحمى من تبعاتها " حزام الأمان ".
· المهارات الإجتماعية ، وتتلخص فى تعلم القدرة فى التأثير على الآخرين ، وبناء علاقات اجتماعية صحية وبناءة ، والقدرة على حل الصراعات ‘ وقوة الإقناع ، ومهارات القيادة والنجاح فى تحقيق التعاون والإنسجام فى أى عمل جماعى وسهولة الإندماح فى العمل مع أى فريق عمل حتى لو اختلفت شخصيات وقدرات أعضائه .. تلك المهارات تزيد من وعى وأحساس الناس بأنهم يعيشون ضمن "مجتمع" يتضامن أفراده فى الإلتزام بقواعد أخلاقية وسلوكية تضمن لهم المساواة فى التعامل والأمن والطمأنينة فى حياتهم اليومية والقدرة على التغلب على الصعاب بمساعدة الآخرين .
كنت قد طالبت من قبل بإدخال " علوم الإدارة " ضمن المقررات الدراسية فى مصر حتى يحسن الناس إدارة الموارد المتاحة لهم فى تحقيق طموحاتهم ، وأنادى اليوم بتدريس الأخلاق والسلوك الإجتماعى المتحضر حتى لانضيف إلى تأخرنا الإقتصادى والعلمى تأخرا اجتماعيا يلتهم الروابط الإجتماعية ويلغى العقل من حياتنا فننقلب إلى كائنات تم تطبيع سلوكها على الفوضى وبرمجتها على انعدام المشاعر وموات الضمير وتبلد الأحاسيس .

Seven Reasons To lose A Job / Human Capital / Your Other 8 Hours
How to Become Unemployed in 7 Easy Steps
By Robert Pagliarini Sep 15, 2009 13 Comments
My Yahoo
CNB.Toolbox.toolbars['other-8-hours_573'] = {
'pdf': false,
'share': true,
'print': true,
'embed': false,
'transcript': false,
'title': 'How to Become Unemployed in 7 Easy Steps',
'url': ''
CNB.Interact = new CNB.Toolbar({
cid: 'other-8-hours_573',
rid: '22642250608540445534445546382101',
callback: 'CNB.Interact'

If your job is getting in the way of your life, now is the perfect time to get laid off. First, there’s no stigma attached to not working since so many are unemployed. The unemployment rate is almost 10% and the underemployment rate — adding in those who gave up looking for a job and those who took part-time jobs even though they want full-time work — is close to 20%. You’ll be part of a select, albeit growing, group.
Second, many states offer generous unemployment packages and have extended benefits because of the weak economy. And third, if you’re anything like me, this recession has caused me to relax a little too much. Gone are the days of worry and anxiety. A few bounced checks and calls from creditors may be just what you need to add some spark to your life.
I tend to leave work-related advice to others, but since I see so many people toiling away their days working, I felt it was my mission to give you a few solid tips on how to stop giving up your day just because you need to pay rent and buy food. Carpe diem!
Here’s how to become unemployed in seven easy steps:
1. Be dumb. Even if you’re really smart, you can still nail this step because it has nothing to do with your intelligence and everything to do with your attitude. Make sure you have a the-company’s-going-down-and-I’ll-probably-be-fired mentality so you won’t work as hard and care as much.
2. Don’t learn anything new. You’re a know-it-all already, right? So whatever you do, be sure not to take a computer class or graphic design workshop. Do not earn your degree or get that designation you’ve been putting off. And certainly do not become more valuable to your current employer and more appealing to a new employer by using a few of your other 8 hours to boost your skills.
3. Stick to your job description. If your employer wants you to learn something new, they should pay you more. If they can’t afford it, stick to your job description and don’t spend any time learning how to do more than that. If there are layoffs at your company, fewer people will need to be able to handle more work. Ensure that you are a one-trick pony to almost guarantee you will get laid off so your cubicle neighbor can take over several of your tasks on day one.
4. Say “no” to everything. Boss asks you to head-up a new project. “No sir” is the answer. Boss wants you to pitch in on a new account. “I’d rather not” is the answer. The less engrained you are in the company and the less involved you are in various projects, the easier it will be to get rid of you. Added bonus . . . when things turn in the economy, you won’t get those annoying job offers or promotions.
5. Become invisible. Don’t write memos. Don’t bring your boss creative cost-cutting ideas. Don’t give workshops. Whatever you do, hide as much as possible and never show your face. This is especially true in a larger company. The fewer people who know you and like you the better.
6. Be negative. Don’t even think about being positive. The economy sucks and life is not fair. You shouldn’t have to do three people’s jobs. Make sure you are vocal about all of your problems. Bring your bad attitude to work, so you won’t have a work to go to.
7. Work fewer hours. Tough times are tough, so you deserve to work a little less. Don’t even think about using some of your other 8 hours to get in earlier or to stay a little later. Find out if your boss (or even better, your boss’ boss) is going to be in on the weekend. If so, be sure to brag to them on Monday morning about how you laid around the house all weekend.
There are millions of hardworking folks who sacrificed long hours to their jobs who got laid off. If you follow these seven simple steps, you too will be unemployed in no time!

Choosing an Online MBA Degree

Online MBA programs have existed for more than a decade, but the major publications that rank business schools — BusinessWeek and U.S. News and World Report — have yet to weigh in on the worth of online degrees. “It’s clearly a crying need, but we haven’t been able to figure out how to do it yet,” says Kim Clark, a senior writer with U.S. News and World Report. Much of the data currently used to rank full-time MBA programs doesn’t translate well to online programs, and often schools don’t report the necessary statistics — like the percentage of students who drop out of the program before completing it.
In addition, students tend to pursue online MBAs for a wider variety of reasons than full-time students. To many students, traditional guideposts like reputation matter less than, say, convenience and cost. But in evaluating programs, there are a few questions that any candidate should ask. Here are three to start with, as well as places to look for more information:
Is the School Accredited?
If it is, find out what entity issues the accreditation. The AACSB, the oldest accreditation board for business schools, is the most attractive to corporate recruiters because it has the strictest requirements. For online MBAs, that includes high-caliber curricula taught by the business school’s regular faculty, frequent interaction between students and teachers, and a rigorous admissions process. For example, most AACSB schools require the GMAT. (Of the 68 AACSB schools with online MBA offerings, a handful will waive the test, but only if you already have an advanced degree or eight years of managerial experience.) offers a near-complete list of AACSB-certified online MBA programs. And’s article “Do I Need an AACSB-Accredited Online MBA?” can help clarify whether you need to make this a priority.
The next best option, after the AACSB, is a regional board that the federal government recognizes, like the Higher Learning Commission or the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, which are used by many big Midwestern universities. But beware: Not all accrediting boards are legit. “There is no federal requirement that a school be accredited by an agency approved by the U.S. or a state government,” says Vicky Phillips, CEO of “It’s a very easy scam to perpetrate a fake college.” If you don’t recognize a school’s accrediting agency, look it up at the Department of Education’s accreditation database. You can also search the Diploma Mill Police at, which tracks more than 300 fake online colleges.
What Do Recruiters Think?
Online degrees are not universally admired by hiring managers at top companies (see “What’s an Online MBA Worth?”), but if you’re not aiming for the C-suite, that may not matter to you. If you’ve got your sights set on a mid-level career at a specific company, call the HR department or an executive search firm that works with the company. Ask whether they hire candidates with online MBAs — and, if so, which schools they think most highly of.
We asked executive recruiters at firms such as Stanton Chase International and education experts at, The Princeton Review, and U.S. News and World Report to tell us which online MBAs are standouts. The five names that came up again and again — Indiana University, Thunderbird School of Global Management, University of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania State University, and Arizona State University — all happen to be AACSB-accredited schools that require the GMAT and report completion rates of 80 to 95 percent.
What’s the Value?
One of the biggest perceived advantages of an online degree is affordability — and yet not all of them are bargains. The typical online MBA costs about $20,000; those that are AACSB-accredited average $32,000. Many of the best online programs, however, cost more than their residential counterparts because of the technology and the extra work required of professors. Duke’s Global MBA, a hybrid program, runs about $135,500 because it includes travel to foreign countries.
The important consideration is what you’re getting for the price. Are cheaper degrees worth less? Not necessarily. At the most expensive programs, part of what you’re paying for is the school’s reputation. And in this increasingly democratic, global — and expensive — world, students (or should we say consumers?) are starting to value different criteria. This year, Forbes’ list of best undergraduate programs threw out reputation as a metric and replaced it with criteria like debt load and alumni salaries, upending the traditional school-ranking system. As tuition prices skyrocket, the value of a degree — undergrad or graduate, online or residential — is under serious reconsideration. Unless you plan to leap from B-school directly to a Fortune 500 company or management-consulting firm, where you went to school may not matter as much as what you learned while you were there.

ُEvaluating an Online MBA Degree

You’ve seen the ads in pop-up windows and in the borders around your e-mail inbox: “Earn an MBA online for $7,000, no GMAT required!” If you’ve ever been tempted to apply for an online MBA or hire someone who had one, come-ons like these are enough to squelch the urge on the spot.
But then there are stories like that of Jim LeMere, 39, an insurance-company executive who earned an online MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. The institution (No. 15 in Business Week’s B-school rankings) held him to the same admission and grading standards as its full-time MBA candidates, taught him with the same curriculum and same teachers, yet allowed him to attend class on his schedule. Oh, and he got to keep his job. “I traveled a lot, was relocated to Atlanta, and was eventually moved back to Indiana. Kelley moved with me the entire time,” LeMere says. When he graduated in 2004, a rival firm poached him, promoted him to vice president, and doubled his salary.
In addition to the Kelley School, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business (No. 19 on Business Week’s ranking) now offers an online MBA, and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business (No. 8) offers a hybrid course that combines online and classroom learning. The online MBA neighborhood is gentrifying even at the mass-market end, dominated by for-profit B-schools like University of Phoenix and Kaplan University. In January, Jack Welch lends his name and prestige to the new Jack Welch Management Institute, a $21,600 MBA track that doesn’t require test scores for admission or on-campus attendance.
In short, the lingering image of online business schools as diploma mills is oversimplified, to say the least. True, no virtual MBA can make a recruiter’s heart race the way a Harvard or Wharton sheepskin can, but that’s an exceedingly high hurdle. The real point is this: In the right circumstances, an online MBA can indeed boost your career (and hiring someone bearing one can indeed help your company). It’s all a matter of matching your skills with the right program at the right stage of your career.
Not All Online MBAs Are the Same
In the hierarchy of virtual MBA programs, there is one key caste distinction. On the mass-market end are online-only schools like University of Phoenix — for-profit businesses that admit anyone who can pay the tuition of $20,000 to $30,000. On the elite end are online programs at brick-and-mortar educational institutions, including Duke’s Fuqua and Indiana’s Kelley, which have equally stringent entrance requirements for their online tracks as for their residential ones, including GMAT scores and minimum years of work experience. Their programs cost anywhere from $7,065 (Chadron State College in Nebraska) to $135,500 (Duke’s Fuqua School). Note that online MBAs at brick-and-mortar schools aren’t any cheaper than full-time programs at the same school; in fact many are more expensive because of technology, lodging costs during campus visits, and extra hours required of faculty.
As resume-polishing credentials, the Kaplans and Phoenixes have two crucial drawbacks. The first is their lack of selectivity — with all that implies about the quality of the student body. Recruiters assume that candidates who could ace the GMATs, deliver a straight-A undergraduate transcript, and produce a sheaf of glowing recommendations don’t go to schools that ask for none of these. Add to that the online-only schools’ inability to win accreditation from AACSB International — the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the gold standard of business-school endorsements. These schools consistently come up short on their investment in recruiting and developing faculty, according to John Fernandes, president of AACSB. “They spend a lot less on faculty than a traditional, AACSB-accredited school,” he says. “They’re trying to manage volumes of students, and top programs are about the opposite. They’re about limiting access to a few potentially outstanding students and placing them with outstanding faculty.” (Some for-profit schools are accredited by regional boards, but those agencies are not specific to business programs. For more on accreditation, see “Choosing an Online MBA Program.”)
The online MBA tracks at brand-name business schools are a different story. In order for a school to be AACSB accredited, every business program it offers — including online degrees — must adhere to the board’s standards. To keep their accreditation, these schools must make sure their online curricula mirror that of their brick-and-mortar programs and are taught by the same faculty. Most of the programs also require students to spend a few days on campus every year. Such schools now account for nearly one in three online MBAs awarded, but their market share is growing: The number of AACSB-accredited business schools offering some kind of online MBA track has grown from 19 in 2002 to 68 today.
Why would a respected business school go online? Because that’s where the money is. Corporate middle managers who would rather not leave their jobs to attend a full-time MBA program are a huge, barely tapped market. Kelley launched its online MBA 10 years ago, according to Eric Richards, chair of the school’s online MBA unit. “Since then,” he says, “we’ve grown from 139 students to more than 1,500.” And those 1,500 are a rewarding addition to the student body: They pay roughly $54,000 for their online degrees while Kelley’s 470 residential students pay $51,000 (in state) or $89,000 (out of state) for theirs.
Can You Really Learn This Way?
Some time in 2011, the Stanford Graduate School of Business hopes to complete the construction of its new headquarters, the $350 million Knight Management Center. Bristling with communications technology, the facility is designed to further the school’s mission of collaboration, including more “team-oriented space” and wireless projection technology that will bring business leaders from far-flung locations into the classroom. What’s not included: Plans to integrate any sort of online learning. The same goes for the MBA programs at Harvard, MIT’s Sloan School, and University of Chicago’s Booth School.
The ultra-elite’s resistance to distance learning makes intuitive sense. How can sitting in front of a computer compare, say, to the intense, 90-minute case-study lectures at Harvard Business School, in which students do 80 percent of the talking and well-known business leaders often show up in person to spur conversation? Technology like digital blackboards, Web conferencing, and Skype make collaboration and class participation easier for students in online programs, but the experience is not the same.
Moreover, one of the biggest career benefits of a full-time MBA program isn’t the time spent in the classroom but the personal network you create. Would Sergey Brin and Larry Page have bonded over Skype the way they did in their Stanford dorm room? Would Alex Rigopulos and Eran Egozy have dreamed up Guitar Hero and Rock Band had they been teleconferencing rather than sharing ideas at the MIT Media Lab?
That said, the notion that online study is inferior study is not borne out by the evidence. “There is a growing body of evidence that suggest that the quality of online learning outcomes — how students test — is actually better than that of face-to-face instruction,” says Peter Shea, former head of the online education system for the State University of New York. Shea points to a Department of Education report released in August. Examining a 12-year span of studies completed mostly in college and adult-education programs, the report shows that students in online-learning conditions performed better on tests and earned higher grades than those who received face-to-face instruction.
Kelley’s Richards says that’s because an online environment creates more opportunity to digest the material, and students don’t have to fight to communicate. (In class, the one who raises his hand first gets to answer. Online, everyone gets time to formulate and post an answer.) “Deep learning — if it’s long-term learning — has to be with material you’ve wrestled and grappled with, where you reframe it in your own words,” he says. “There’s a very limited opportunity to do that in [the classroom].” He adds that because online courses are so new, many professors develop them with course consultants, which means they are often more rigorously designed.
John Gallagher, associate dean for executive MBA programs at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, points out that the demographics of online students may also account for some of the difference in outcomes. Like many online students, Duke’s Global MBA candidates tend to be more senior and experienced. “A 40-year-old manager brings a lot more to the table than a 28-year-old,” he says, “so, the nature of the work they do is different.”
Besides, for most of those 40-year-old managers, taking two years off from family and work to hang out on campus simply isn’t an option. If that’s where you are in your life, the real question isn’t whether an online MBA is better than a residential one; it’s whether an online MBA from an accredited program is better than none at all. The answer will depend on circumstances. But whether you would learn anything in getting the MBA should not be an issue.
Can an Online MBA Help You Get Ahead?
Despite the research supporting online education, recruiters and hiring managers still see an online MBA as a second-class credential. In its 2009 Corporate Recruiters Survey, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the nonprofit organization that administers the GMAT, reported that only 9 percent of companies surveyed actively recruit candidates from online MBA programs, as opposed to the 77 percent that pursue full-time MBA grads. Gail Dundas, a spokesperson for Intel Corp., captures the prejudice in an e-mail: “We target hiring from top-tier MBA universities, and online degrees do not tend to be in the top tier.”
Still, how recruiters and hiring managers might view your MBA depends a lot on the job move you’re trying to pull off and how the degree fits into your resume. If a business-school degree is most of what you have to offer as a job candidate, and you need one that tags you as among the best and the brightest, then an online MBA may indeed be the wrong choice. You’re best off seeking a brick-and-mortar institution, preferably one with plenty of ivy on the bricks.
If you’re instead looking to advance in an already-established career, as most online MBA candidates are, a degree from an accredited business school can only help. “An advanced degree from the big-name business schools will always get you into the interview,” admits Barry Shulman, founder of Shulman Associates, an executive search firm in San Francisco that works with GM, MetLife, and Oracle, among others. But, Shulman adds, it won’t by itself get you the job. He doesn’t hesitate to recommend executives with online MBAs for positions, and he points out that hiring managers usually place more emphasis on experience than on the brand of MBA — an equation that benefits the typical online degree holder.
As online MBAs become mainstream, recruiters’ prejudices will erode further. Indeed, Bernard van der Lande, a director at executive search firm Stanton Chase International, goes so far as to say online MBAs in some cases may have an advantage over their full-time competitors, thanks to their pool of international classmates. “You’re sitting in Michigan and you have to work a case study with someone in the Middle East and someone from China — that’s fantastic,” says the Fortune 500 recruiter. “Corporations that do international business want folks who can see the world from a global point of view.”
Should You Ever Consider a Nonaccredited MBA?
By and large, a degree from a for-profit online-only institution won’t do much for your resume. But depending on your job goals, that may not matter.
Heather Fenstermaker, a 27-year-old administrative assistant at an investment firm in Bellingham, Washington, chose Kaplan University’s for-profit MBA program to help her launch her side business, Swell, an eco-friendly clothing store. Kaplan helped her create a business plan, which she needed to obtain funding from her local bank. Today, Swell is eight months old and has seen a steady increase in monthly sales. Fenstermaker recently augmented her brick-and-mortar flagship store with an online store using customer-retention concepts from Kaplan’s online marketing course. “Kaplan helped turn the concept in my mind into a solid business plan,” she says.
The value proposition in outfits like Kaplan and University of Phoenix is to swap prestige for convenience. The average tuition — $20,500 — is less than half that of top brick-and-mortar institutions. You can start at almost any time, since both offer rolling admissions roughly every six weeks. And academic qualifications — or lack thereof — are no barrier to enrollment. “The most frequently asked question on my site is, ‘Where can I get an online degree where I don’t have to take the GMAT?’” says Vicky Phillips, founder of, which ranks online colleges. “The Internet is all about convenience, and folks want their education — fast.”
It’s not clear how much the new Jack Welch Management Institute will lift the image of schools at this end of the market. JWMI’s two-year curriculum, designed for corporate middle managers around the globe, will be modeled after GE’s Management Development Institute at Crotonville, New York, which emphasizes learning as doing. Rather than poring over Harvard case studies, students will work under emeritus professors from Harvard and will be dispatched to companies around the world to help managers solve real problems. Welch, who helped design each course, will deliver a weekly podcast lecture. He has also tapped Noel Tichy, the director of the global leadership program at the University of Michigan, to run the school. The goals, as Tichy describes them, are pretty ambitious. “What Welch and I are focused on,” he says, “is developing leaders who can drive growth and change and figure out what it takes to lead a 21-century organization.”
Still, the turning point for the online MBA’s reputation probably won’t arrive until graduates of the programs start to land prominent leadership roles at the nation’s biggest firms. Until then, the online MBA is likely to remain a good springboard for a mid-career job change or salary boost, but an otherwise underappreciated asset, fighting an image problem with recruiters and ignored even by the organizations that rate schools. Kim Clark, a senior education writer with U.S. News and World Report, says her publication has no plans to rank online MBA programs. It’s an omission that Clark admits might one day seem shortsighted. “It’s certainly, true,” she says, “that the perception of online MBAs might lag the reality.”

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Overcoming Stress in the Workplace

.drawer-trap{margin-top:0;} / Human Capital

How To De-Stress For Every Work Situation
by Gail Belsky Sep 9, 2009 1 Comment
My Yahoo
Download PDF
CNB.Toolbox.toolbars['340562'] = {
'pdf': '',
'share': true,
'print': true,
'embed': false,
'transcript': false,
'title': 'How To De-Stress For Every Work Situation',
'url': ''
CNB.Interact = new CNB.Toolbar({
cid: '340562',
rid: '22642250608540445534445546382101',
callback: 'CNB.Interact'

As you head back to work after the sun-soaked days of summer, chances are that what awaits you there is not filling you with joy and optimism. While job losses have slowed, they still are piling up at an astounding rate, and even the most productive workers are not immune if their entire division is cut. It adds up to a pretty tense environment at work; with the unemployment rate approaching 10 percent, a recent Gallup poll finds that nearly one in three workers are anxious about being pink-slipped.
But when you start living in fear that every lackluster presentation or lukewarm performance review will be your last, anxiety has taken over — and that very fact, rather than any single mishap at work, may put you at risk. High anxiety undermines your performance on many levels: emotional, interpersonal and cognitive.
The first casualty is attention. A 2009 study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council in England found that anxiety reduces your ability to block out distractions. It can also set off a physiological reaction, the so-called fight-or-flight instinct, which is very helpful when a bear is charging you in the forest, but not when the boss is calling you to the conference room. When the boss beckons, you need to be on your game — hard to do when your chest is pounding and you keep forgetting to breathe. The bear presents a clear and imminent danger; your boss probably doesn’t. “It’s like worrying about an exam when you haven’t even taken the course,” says Carol Kauffman, and assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the school’s Coaching and Positive Psychology Initiative.

So how can you keep anxiety from sabotaging your performance? The answer, according to Kauffmann, is simple: Get real or rather, realistic. If you still have a job, don’t act as if you don’t. Says Kauffmann: “I’ll ask my patients, ‘Are you personally in danger? Are your finances at risk? How can you deal with what’s actually on your plate, as opposed to what you see on other people’s plates? How can you find the areas where you can take charge?’ ”
Here, we offer specific steps and expert advice for taking control of work situations that send your blood pressure soaring, and your critical abilities plunging.
Situation #1: You’re not making quota, and your boss is all over you. You’re so panicked you can’t think straight.
Step 1: Breathe. First things first: You need to get your physical agitation under control. Start by doing breathing exercises: Inhale for four seconds, hold the breath for two seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Don’t breathe too deeply, but keep that rhythm going until you feel calm enough to think straight.
Step 2: Distance yourself from the individual. You need to let go of your feelings toward your boss so you can focus on what you need to get done. “If anybody’s going to get in your way right now, don’t let it be you,” says Kauffman. Try to figure out how much of your boss’s anger has to do with your performance versus his or her own set of stresses. Odds are he’s feeling the heat from above, and simply transferring it to you. If you’re angry in addition to being scared, focus on the times your boss has been helpful to you, given you a raise, or otherwise gone to bat for you. By focusing on your boss’s good qualities, it’s easier to put her bad ones out of your mind and get back to work.
Step 3: Take stock. Ask yourself: “What’s the truth here? Are these run-ins fatal, or merely really unpleasant? How bad a job could I be doing if I just closed three major deals?” Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everything that happens and everything you do is terrible just because the guy in the corner office is making you miserable.
Situation #2: You’ve got a huge presentation tomorrow and you’ve hardly slept all week. You’re thinking that if you blow this one, you’re done.
Step 1: Seek the truth. You’re doing what psychologists call catastrophizing —imagining the worst possible outcome even though it’s unlikely. You won’t just blow the presentation, you’ll blow your entire career, and your family will be out on the street, in tatters, begging for spare change.
In situations like this, you need to pull back and gain perspective. Ask yourself: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do I really believe this presentation will decide my fate?” Then try what Kauffman calls “rapid-fire disputing” by coming up with three thoughts that prove your fears wrong. Has anyone in the company been fired because they gave a bad presentation? For that matter, has anyone ever been promoted for giving a great one? Think about other times you’ve worried about blowing it, but everything turned out OK.
Once you’ve gained perspective, set realistic goals for your presentation. “Focus on the things that you can control,” says Julie McCarthy, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Toronto. “Make sure that you have practiced enough, because it will increase your feelings of mastery.”
Step 2: Think backwards. Pull in a positive experience from the past to counter your negative thoughts. What did you do last time that worked? What did you do to get through? Remembering your successes helps to build resilience, according to Kauffman.
Step 3: Turn it off. Go to the gym or for a run, take some Ambien, and get some sleep. You need to address your personal and physical needs in order to perform at work. Do one more hour of preparation — max — and then stop and take care of yourself.
Situation #3: You fear the other shoe might drop at work, so you’re talking to recruiters about other opportunities. But you haven’t been on a job interview in years.
Step 1: Articulate your strengths. Hitting the interview circuit after a long period of employment is like dating after a divorce. You need to build confidence so you don’t stammer and sweat your way through dinner. Before you head out there, identify exactly what you have to offer and the best way to articulate it. “We’re really terrific at analyzing our weaknesses,” says Kauffman. “You need to find the language for what your strengths are.” To help you do this, the University of Pennsylvania offers the Values in Action Survey of Character Strength, which will help you identify your top five selling points. Once you register and fill out the online survey, you’ll get an immediate free assessment via e-mail (if you want a more detailed written report, it will cost you $40). The survey gives you a description of each of your strengths so you will have specific language to use in your interview.
Step 2: Do your homework. Make sure you prepare three or four questions to ask the interviewer. “Asking well-thought questions makes you appear both interested and informed,” says McCarthy. “It also helps to balance the power differential, and provide you with a stronger sense of control.”
Step 3: Put it in writing. Once you’ve identified your strengths, develop two or three direct sentences you can use in your interview that describe what you would do with them on the job. For example: “When you work with me, you’ll find that one of my strong suits is building consensus, and here’s how it will be good for you.” Then think of an actual scenario and explain how you would use your abilities to handle it. Be ready with examples of how you have translated these strengths into on-the-job successes in the past.
Situation #4: There’s going to be another round of layoffs, and you can’t stand the uncertainty.
Step 1: Consider the odds. Before you start tearing your hair out, assess your actual vulnerability. First, how are the pink slips going to be determined? If they’re based on performance and you’ve generally been doing well, you should be less concerned about being laid off. If you haven’t been cutting the mustard, however, you might want to rethink your career choice. “If you are in a job that isn’t well suited to you, and you’re not performing up to the standard, you should begin thinking about alternative options,” says McCarthy. “Perhaps this is your opportunity to re-evaluate your career — and consider the potential for change as a good thing.”
Step 2: Focus on what you can do. Instead of being frustrated by your lack of control of the situation, find the areas where you can be proactive, and actually do something. For example, set some networking goals for yourself, like reaching out to at least one new contact a week, and start to prepare a financial plan for you and your family in case you do get laid off. You might not be in as bad shape as you think.
Step 3: Move slowly. Don’t jump the gun just because you’re nervous. Now’s not the time to fire off resumes and announce your availability. Remember, you still have a job — and if you’re generally happy with it, you should focus on keeping it, not abandoning it.
Step 4: Talk it through. Share your fears, and your possible contingency plans, with people you trust but who aren’t connected to work. (You don’t want to appear vulnerable to your colleagues, or worse yet, your superiors and direct reports.) Talking about possibilities with people you trust turns the negative into a positive.

Overcoming Procrastination

The Spanish have a proverb: Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. Clever reminder to all of us that you may not have time tomorrow to take care of any delayed work.
We all procrastinate, deferring, and our offices floors are still home to piles of papers that needed filing several months ago; We have the bad habit of waiting for them to stop dallying and file themselves. Whatever the task, whatever the excuse, the tips below will help you do today what most people put off to next month:1. Ask yourself, What's the holdup? People procrastinate for many reasons. Some fear failure. Some avoid boring jobs. Others shy away from getting tangled in a complicated mess (i.e., my pile of papers). Knowing the cause of the problem may open your eyes to an obvious solution.
2. Do you need to do it? Simple question, but it's a good one. Sometimes we put something off because it's not important. If you don't really need to do it, free yourself of the mental burden and drop the task from your to-do list.
3. Ask for help. I have an ancient window mechanism that takes the effort of a drawbridge operator to open. Last month, unsurprisingly, it broke. Someone had to fix it, but I was hoping that someone wasn't me. So I put it off.
After weeks of gazing at the window without actually doing anything, I asked a friend to help. It wasn't only because I have the mechanical skills of an uncoordinated squid; I knew it would get me moving.
4. Commit just five minutes. That's it--just 300 seconds. Telling yourself you only have to do something for a sliver of time does two things.
It transforms a big job into a tiny matter: Five minutes? I can do that. And because getting started is the hardest part, once your five minutes is up you'll often drive right on through to the finish.
5. Focus on the end. Thinking about how you'll feel when you've done whatever needs to be done may motivate you to make it happen.
I don't much like to organize, but I love to be organized. This is what I focus on--the feeling of having everything in its place, clean and tidy--when I need to declutter a space. Although my pile of papers proves that I have some work to do.
6. Just do it. Quit stalling. Quit rationalizing. Stand up, walk to the danger zone, and get to work.
Time is Running OutYears ago I arrived at the Grainger School of Business ready to become a marketing guru. Four and a half years later I left wanting, not to help businesses motivate customers, but instead to help people motivate themselves.
After a few more years of studying, I achieved my goal. I discovered a simple system to help people do two things: change anything they want to change and achieve any goal they want to achieve.
It comes down to one skill. I found that people who could do one thing really well succeeded far more often than everyone else. And it's something anyone can learn, but most people don't know about it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

العزف على أوتار المستحيل هربا من التغيير

أكره أن أقرر أن غالبية الناس فى مصر أصابهم نوع من التبلد تجاه أى مشروع إصلاحى يهدف إلى التطوير الذى هو فى جوهره تغيير لوضع راهن ثبت تقصيره فى كثير من الأمور التى لاتحقق طموحات الناس ولاتضمن العدالة فى التعامل معهم .. تصلبت شرايين الوطن فأقعدته عن الحركة وأصبح الدم الذى يصل إلى القلب يكفى بالكاد لكى يقضى الناس حاجاتهم الضرورية ويعتبرون ذلك إنجازا كبيرا يستحق التوقف عنده لالتقاط الأنفاس قبل بدء رحلة جديدة تحقق نفس الحد الأدنى من المطالب الأساسية التى يقف عندها حد الطموح لدى الناس .. الخوف ليس على هذه المرحلة من التيبس الذى يزحف على كيان الوطن ، وإنما فى أن يصل المرض إلى المخ فيصاب الوطن – ممثلا فى مؤسساته – بالعجز الكامل عن ملاحقة التغيير الذى يفرضه التطوير المستمر والمتسارع حولنا لكى يعلى من قدر دول كثيرة حولنا واجهت التغيير بشجاعة بينما نبحث نحن على وظيفة آمنة تدر دخلا ثابتا مهما كان قليلا ، وعمل لايتطلب مجهودا ذهنيا يضطرنا إلى التفكير .. أخاف أن "يتحور" فيروس العجز الذى أصابنا إلى نوع من " تعب المحارب " الذى يبحث عن ظل شجرة يتمدد تحتها بعد أن يلقى سلاحه ثم يستغرق فى حلم طويل يجد فيه حلولا جاهزة لمشاكله دون أن يبذل فيها جهدا حتى ولو بمساعدة من الغير.. هنا يصبح إيجاد الدواء صعبا إن لم يكن مستحيلا.. جوقات العزف على أوتار المستحيل جاهزة فى كل مكان ولها أساليبها التى لاتتغير فى محاولة إجهاض أى محاولة لتغيير الأمر الواقع الذى تأقلم عليه الناس وتأخذ شكل فرق مختلفة ، مثل :
· شهداء التغيير .. وهؤلاء يمثلون بإتقان وأحيانا ببله دور ضحايا التغيير المنتظر ، وأنه يستهدفهم بالدرجة الأولى وأن المؤسسة التى يعملون بها لم تكن لتفكر فى أى تطوير مالم تكن قد بيتت النية على التخلص منهم أو دفعهم دفعا لكى يستقيلوا أو يقبلوا أى أعمال تسند أليهم .. ويحاول هؤلاء بشتى الطرق كسب تأييد غيرهم من غير المنتجين أو الرافضين للتعلم محدودى القدرات الذين يتمسكون بالبقاء بالمؤسسة بأى ثمن لأنهم غير مطلوبين فى سوق العمل ومن ثم لم تم فعلا التخلص منهم فإنهم سوف لايجدون عملا وإن وجدوا فأعمال لايمكن مقارنتها بما هم فيه .
· فريق المتشككين .. ووسيلة هؤلاء فى مقاومة التغيير أنهم يأخذون جزءا من الحقيقة ويبنون عليه هيكلا سلبيا من الأكاذيب التى يصدقونها من كثرة ترديدها .. يدعون أنهم يعرفون وأن "الناس كلها" تقول كذا وكيت ، أو أنهم قد اطلعوا صدفة على تقرير سرى به الحقائق التى لاتعلن على الناس .. ويجمع بين هؤلاء والفئة الأولى الدفاع عن مصالح شخصية خاصة يدافعون عنها باستماته ولتذهب مصلحة المؤسسة وباقى العاملين بها إلى الجحيم .. وقد يستهدف التشكيك شخص المسئول عن قيادة التغيير حتى ينفر منه الناس وتشككوا فى نواياه .
· فريق "كان غيرك أشطر" .. وهم ممن عاصروا تجارب سابقة فاشلة عاشتها المؤسسة فأصبحوا لايثقون فى أى تجارب أخرى تعد نفس الوعود التى سمعوها من قبل .. نوع من "تجميد الزمن" عند نقطة معينة وتعميم لنمط عانوا منه .. وهؤلاء لايكلفون أنفسهم عناء المقارنة بين قدرات من يتولون التغيير ولاخبراتهم السابقة ولا طريقتهم فى إحداث التغيير ولا إمكانية تنفيذ مايعدون به ولا التزامهم بنتائج محددة ولا اعتمادهم على الموارد المتاحة التى هى ضمان لتنفيذ أى خطة تطوير ولا على التزام قيادة المؤسسة بالوقوف وراء جهود التطوير إلى الأحسن فى المؤسسة .. هذا الفريق يفضل أن بمارس خبرات تعلمها من قديم واساليب اعتاد عليها بدلا من المغامرة غير المحسوبة بارتياد مجالات جديدة قد لايقدروا على تحمل أعبائها.
· فريق "يبقى الحال على ماهو عليه" .. وذلك دفاعا عن مكاسب تراكمت على مر السنين ويخشى فقدانها .. وخطورة هؤلاء أنهم يجدون كثيرا من المتعاطفين معهم .. يجمعهم كفريق أنانية مفرطة وإحساس عال جدا بالذات التى قد تنتفخ إلى درجة لم يعد العالم كله يسعها، ومبالغات فجة فى قيمتهم للمؤسسة وما قدموه لها خلال السنوات الماضية .. لديهم إحساس جارف بأنهم قد اصبحوا فوق النقد وأن عملهم لايخضع للتقييم وأن المؤسسة لايمكن أن تستغنى عنهم .. تتوحد شخصياتهم مع شخصية المؤسسة كما لو كانا كيانا واحدا .. المديرين من هؤلاء يحكمون مرءوسيهم بالقهر ولايسمحون لهم بإبداء الآراء ولابالمشاركة فى القرار .. يفرضون مايريدون ولايتوقعون غير الطاعة العمياء التى يقيمون اداء مرءوسيهم على أساسها وليس على أساس كفاءتهم فى العمل.
· وأخيرا ، من أسميهم "فريق الرومان" الذين يخشون ظهور "سبارتاكوس" جديد يقود ثورة العبيد فيثورون على أشكال وأنماط وقوالب قديمة بالية لاتساير الزمن ولاتواكب التقدم ، خاصة لو كان المرءوسين أكثر منهم علما وخبرة .. يفضلون العمل مع "قطط معمضة" بدلا من مرءوسين يعرفون حقوقهم وواجباتهم ويتطلعون على تحسين أحوالهم والتمتع بعوائد أعمالهم وإصرارهم عل العدالة فى المعاملة وإتاحة فرص النمو والتعلم لهم باعتبارهم "شركاء" وليسوا متفرجين .
التغيير فى كل دول العالم المتقدم ضرورة حياه ، وواقع لابد من الإستعداد له والتعايش معه، وعندنا حرب ضروس يضيع فيها الضحايا وينقسم الناس فيها شيعا وأحزابا كل يحمل بيرقا يريد أن يضعه أعلى الجبل بعد أن يقضى على باقى قوات "الأعدقاء" حين يضيع الخط الفاصل بين المتحالفين على الخير والمتحالفين على الشر .. ويضيع مع الضحايا إيقاع التغيير وفرص اللحاق بالتطور حولنا .. ويصعد الناس إلى القمر ويكتشفوا كواكب أخرى يمكن الإنتقال للعيش عليها بينما نتقاتل نحن على شبر أرض نبنى عليه فى النهاية قبرا يحتوينا بعد أن تصيبنا الطعنات فى مقتل .

حين يتهاوى حاجز المستحيل أمام قوة الإرادة

حين يتهاوى حاجز المستحيل أمام قوة الإرادة
أعيش هموم بلدى وأعلم يقينا أن هناك سلبيات تفوق الوصف وأنها تمكنت من "روح" المقاومة لدينا وتكاد تسحقها حتى نستسلم تماما ويصبح شعار " مفيش فايده " هو المحرك والبوصلة التى توجه مسار تفكيرنا ونشاطنا وسلوكنا .. ألتمس العذر للناس ، وأتعاطف مع همومهم وإحباطاتهم، ولكنى أبدا لاأوافق على أننا قد وصلنا إلى نهاية الشوط فى رحلة الإرادة وأننا نؤمن طواعية أننا أصبحنا فى حالة عجز تام ، مسلوبى الإرادة ، نقبل أن نكون ريشة فى مهب الريح أو صفر على الشمال لاقيمة مضافة لأى مجهود نبذله لتغيير الواقع .. بين الحين والحين أنتهز فرصة وقوع حدث كبير هام يدل على معدن هذا الشعب فلاأستطيع أن أقاوم إغراء إبرازه وتحليله والخروج بدروس مستفادة يحدونى دائما الأمل فى أن دائرة الإقتناع بأنه " لسه فيه فايده " سوف تتسع وأن الأمل المفقود الثقة الضائعه بالنفس يمكن أن تسترد عافيتها وقوتها .. تعالوا نأخذ أمثلة من إرادة جبارة تستيقظ فجأة فتصبح جنيا يعود بنا إلى أجواء " ألف ليلة وليل’ ".. جنى خارق القدرات يحمل مصباح علاء الدين الذى يحقق المعجزات تلبية لرغبة سيده :
· قرية "الغرباوى" بمحافظة البحيرة يسكنها ستة آلاف نسمة قرر أهالينا بالقرية أن يتولوا أمرهم بأنفسهم ويعتمدوا على الإمكانات المتاحة لديهم ليجعلوا من قريتهم قرية نموذجية فى كل شيئ .. لم نسمع عن تلك القرية شيئا ، ولم يحظ بنصيب من الإعلام يسلط الضوء على الإنجازات الرائعة التى تحققت .. ولم نعرف أن وفودا من دول أوروبية كثيرة ومن امريكا اللآتينية واليابان قد زارت القرية .. قصة نجاح بدأها مهندس يحمل إسم القرية انبهر بجمال الطبيعة فى كينيا التى عمل بها بعض الوقت وعاد لينقل لأهالى القرية خبرته ويحمسهم لكى تصبح قريتهم نموذجا للنظافة والنظام والريادة فى التنمية .. مشروعات عديدة قام بها الأهالى لكى يتحقق ذلك .. نظافة لشوارع القرية طبقا لجداول التزم بها أهالى القرية وتشجيرللشوارع وتركيب سلال للمهملات على مسافات قريبة ، ومباراة فى إنشاء الحدائق الصغيرة البسيطة أمام كل بيت والنباتات المتسلقة بالشرفات ، وأكياس قمامة يجمع بها المخلفات بطريقة منظمة .. ليس هذا فقط وإنما يستفاد من بيع القمامة لتوليد دخل يستفيد به أبناء القرية فى خطط التطوير والتجميل .. هل يصدق أحد أن أهل القرية يضعون " حفاضات " للحيوانات حتى لاتلوث فضلاتهم شوارع القرية، وأنهم قد ارتضوا لأنفسهم قانونا داخليا يمنع التدخين بالقرية ، وأن تفرض غرامة على من يضبط مدخنا ، أو أن مايعجز الصندوق الإجتماعى عن إدارته بنجاح فيما يختص بالصناعات الصغيرة أصبح أمرا واقعا ملموسا بتلك القرية حيث تتوافر بالجهود الذاتية والمشاركة مشروعات صغيرة تخلق فرص عمل لأبناء القرية مثل زراعة فطر عيش الغراب ، وتربية النحل ، ومشروع إنتاج الأسمدة العضوية.
ولأن النجاح طماع لايقنع بتجربة واحدة فقد امتد تأثير ماحدث بقرية الغرباوية إلى باقى قرى المحافظة فصارت تتنافس فيما بينها لكى تحصل على الجوائز التى رصدت لأحسن قرية صديقة للبيئة ، ونتج عن هذا التنافس مشروعات بيئية تصلح نماذجا يدرس فى جهود التنمية الذاتية.. ألا تستحق تلك القرية وتجربتها فيلما تسجيليا يقوم به تليفزيون الدولة لكى يعرضه فى فترات المشاهدة عالية الكثافة حتى لو ضحى بدخل إعلان واحد من الإعلانات التى لايحمل مضمونها أى قيمة تحض على الإبداع والإبتكاروإحياء قيم التكافل والتضامن التى كانت تميز المجتمع المصرى ؟ أما وقد أصبحت تلك القرية "بيت خبرة " فى التنمية المجتمعية وبناء القدرة الذاتية فلماذا لانستفيد من تجربة قرية أصبحت نموذجا يقاس عليه Benchmark فى تطوير الألف قرية التى تتبناها لجنة السياسات بالحزب الوطنى ، وأن يصدر دليل إرشادى للخطوات التى اتخذت لكى تتغير أحدى قرى مصر من نقطة مهملة على الخريطة يكتفى أهلها بالشكوى من الظلم الواقع عليهم ومن عدم توافر الإمكانات والفقر الذى يطحنهم بأنيابه إلى كيان مضيئ يتحدى الظروف وتتسابق الوفود لكى تتعلم على أيدى ابناءها كيف يكون التخطيط والتنفيذ بإمكانات بسيطة متوافرة وراءها إرادة فولاذية لاتنكسر.
· القصة الثانية لمجموعة من الشباب والشابات ساءهم تداعيات الرسوم الدانماركية وماتلاها من ردود فعل تحولت إلى حرب أساءت للإسلام أكثر مما خدمته .. هؤلاء الشباب فكروا بطريقة مختلفة : لماذا لانستفيد مما حدث فنحادث العالم بلغة يفهمها ونشرح له سماحة الإسلام وأسباب ردود الفعل العنيفة التى تلت الإساءة إلى النبى محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ، ونؤكد على نقاط التلاقى فى الثقافتين العربية والغربية ، وكيف يمكن أن نعيش معا فى سلام على الرغم من إختلاف الثقافتين ؟ .. لم ينتظر الشباب حتى تتوافر الإمكانات ، أو يصروا على السفر لشرح وجهة نظرهم بل شرعوا فورا فى استغلال التقدم التكنولوجى الذى يتيح لهم سرعة التواصل فأنشأوا موقعا على الإنترنت ساهم كل منهم بشيئ يجيده لكى يخرج على أحسن صورة ويتميز بسهولة الإستخدام والجاذبية وثراء المعلومات المرئية والمسموعة باللغة الإنجليزية ، واختاروا شعارا للموقع هو " علم – بتشديد اللازم – بدلا من أن تكره " .Don't Hate, Educate. نجحت الفكرة نجاحا باهرا ، وحظى الموقع بنسبة مشاهدة عالية ، وبدأت الجماعات الراغبة فى التحاور تتواصل مع هؤلاء الشباب وجاء بعضهم إلى مصر لمقابلاتهم ونقل الصورة بأمانة حين يعودون إلى الدنمارك .. واتصلت أكثر من محطة تليفزيونية ورتبت لقاءات مع صاحبة الفكرة التى ظهرت صورتها على غلاف مجلة شهيرة وخصصت صفحات من المجلة لعمل تحقيق صحفى عنها وعن نشأة الفكرة وكيف تطورت ونجحت بالجهود الذاتية ودون ميزانية .. ومرة أخرى حقق مجموعة من الشباب مالم يحققه الدعاة المحترفون الذين سافروا إلى الدنمارك متبعين الطرق التقليدية فى الدعوة متحدثين إلى أعداد محدودة من المهتمين .
أما ماحدث فى الصومال فقد قارنته فى مقال سابق بما حدث فى 73 .. كلاهما حقق معجزة بسلاح الإرادة وبالذكاء الفطرى الذى حبا الله به المصريين يعوضهم به عن كثير مما يحلمون بتحقيقه .. نماذج مضيئة انتصرت فيها الإرادة على السلاح المتطور لكى تسلط الأضواء على مصر تبعث الأمل فى مستقبل أفضل .. فقط لو استرددنا ثقتنا بأنفسنا وأيقنا أن الله سبحانه وتعالى لايتخلى عمن تخلص نيتهم فى العمل الجاد المخلص.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Writing Attention Grabbing C.Vs

Writing your C.V, Concrete examples and tangible results will get you further than vague summaries and abstract language. Not everyone got an A in composition, however, so how about some more explicit instructions for those who struggle to make their primary job search document attention-grabbing? Blog Cube Rules obliges, offering a three step process to turn a flat statement into one that makes the hiring manager want to interview you. Write an action verb – Action verbs are those that show movement, e.g. completed, delivered, provided and managed.
Write a result – Results are statements that use numbers (preferable) or conclusions (like an award). For example, “increased ROI by 3 percent” or “reduced cycle time by one day.”
Write the benefit to the business – The benefit to the business is what importance your work was to the overall goals of the business. These include additional revenue, reduced cost, or increased efficiency.
Sounds simple enough, but as we all know writing always sounds easier than it actually is, so Cube Rules author Scot Herrick elaborates with some a real world example from his days as a hiring manager:
If your resume said “works well on a team,” it was “prove it.” If your resume said “technical manager,” my thought was “prove it.”… If I got too many of those kinds of statements in a resume, I casually tossed it aside and went on to the next possible candidate.
The effect of writing it to show it transforms traditional resumes into a portfolio of important results you’ve delivered to the business. “Worked on the Snow Leopard project” does nothing for you getting an interview. “Managed the $3-million Snow Leopard project and delivered it on time and on budget. Provided the integration of 64-bit computing into the base operating system for Apple, positioning it for all foreseeable future applications.” That gets attention.
Point being, no matter how new your career, the way you present your few jobs can, at least in part, compensate for your limited experience. Herrick’s advice also highlights the need for concrete accomplishments: even if you’re just doing an internship, focus on creating a situation where you can have a tangible, measurable accomplishment to add to your resume at the end of the experience.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dealing With a Difficult Boss

Competent bosses are a rare variety. If you are working with a difficult boss, then you have to learn to cope with your situation.
I’m fed up! Is this what comes to your mind every time you think of office? Does your job leave you lethargic de-motivated, drained, unhappy and frustrated because of a bad boss? Dealing with a poor manager is a challenge faced by many professionals across industries so you are not the only victim. Don’t sympathize with your self, there are ways to deal with things.
Let’s start the list of complaints with a visibly upset P, working with an FMCG firm. He says his boss can’t even draft an e-mail by himself. Very often he and his colleagues do it for him and he conveniently copy-pastes the text and sends it through his e-mail account (on one occasion even a spelling mistake was a part of the mail he sent). This shows clearly, that he doesn’t even care to read the matter.
An associate manager say AM in an IT firm, fumes. He is perpetually doing the disappearing act. AM has to struggle to get in touch with him if suggestions / advice is needed. His gadgets, be it laptop or mobile phone, crash as per his convenience. Due to his absence if AM takes a call his ego is hurt; further to coddle his ego, he will list down 1001 mistakes in the decision of AM or his colleagues.
While some employees complain about having to deal with control freaks, others are struggling with a lack of professionalism punctuality and corporate discipline. Another executive complains the boss refuses to acknowledge their efforts and there is no respect for them as professionals. The boss takes his team for granted and often requests them to help him with his personal work.
Bad managers are part of every organization. While some lack knowledge of the product, others are plain lazy and try to push their responsibilities to their juniors – usually in the pretext of giving them exposure. A bad manager could be a tyrant, a discriminating jerk, sexist, racist, a plain dumb person, or someone who smartly eludes work every time. A manager who is misleading or lies to his team about the company’s targets and turnover just to build false hopes can also be categorized under this head.
It is a common problem. The main reason being the fact that companies have young managers, who lack relevant experience. Today, people are offered managerial positions based on their academics. So they lack knowledge about ground work. For dealing with this you have to first find out whether your manager knows that the team is unhappy. Managers do things in a certain way as they think it is apt. Unless it is communicated to them what the team thinks otherwise, they never know. But telling your boss directly that s/he is detrimental will backfire. This is where the 360 degree evaluation helps. But as many companies don’t have this practice, employers have to use tact.
Speaking up doesn’t always help as some managers are not willing to change. Making a collective effort as a team can be your next move. For instance, if all efforts to make your manager realize his short comings are in vain, how about communicating the problem to the management as a team? But this should be your last resort.
Meanwhile, you could look out for other openings outside your company. But remember, a movement does not necessarily assure you of a good boss.
One common mistake employees make is to assume that their job is the end of the world, and if they are not happy with it, they are doomed. They all tend to forget that it’s after all just a job. If not for this one, there are many opportunities available (of course, barring the recession). It’s only about being optimistic, exploring and finding the new path. So you either love it or simply leave it.

Practical Tips on Interviewing

Interview job candidates is a combination of science and an art. Interviewers do need to go through intensive training on how to conduct effective interviews to select the right person for the right job. Likewise, I noticed from experience that interviewees may lose a job opportunity simpley because they missed good preparation for the interview. Here are some tips that may help both side of the equation:
For Interviewees:
1) Describe the accomplishments you were most proud of in your last job.2) Do you consider yourself more of an independent contributor or a team player?3) What serious problems did you face and how you handle them?4) Describe an incident in which you handled a problem involving personal interaction well. Describe another incident in which you were less effective.5) Where do you see your career in five years?
For Interviewers:
1) Why did you choose your major field of study?2) What courses did you like the best? Least? Why?3) If you worked during school, how did you manage your time?4) Were you satisfied with your college?5) How important were extracurricular activities to your education?6) If you were starting college all over again, what would you do differently?
Activities and Interests
1) What activities are you involved in?2) Would you describe your role in these activities as more of a follower or a leader?
Strengths and Weaknesses
1) Give me three reasons why you are especially qualified for this job.2) What weaknesses have previous employers identified over the years?3) What part of this job would probably give you the most trouble?
Pay attention to personal hygiene and grooming including mustaches and beards should be neatly trimmed and combed. Hands and fingernails should be clean. Perfume and cologne should be used with moderation and should not overpower the interviewer.
Do not smoke, chew gum, or eat during the interview. This can detract substantially from your presentation and overall image.
Be polite, courteous, and friendly to the interviewer’s support staff (i.e. secretary, administrative assistant, assistant). These individuals will frequently relay their impressions of an employment candidate to their supervisor.
When greeting the interviewer, be pleasant, smile, extend firm (but not crushing) handshake, and look him or her in the eye. Do not sit until asked.
Maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Look out for a friendly face in the panel. It will help you to be at ease. Occasionally look away, at appropriate moments, so that your host does not feel challenged to a starting contest.
Be alert to your body language throughout the interview. Be careful not to slouch down in the chair. This may be interpreted negatively by the interviewer (i.e. you are disinterested in what is being said, you are lazy or sloppy, you are not concerned with your personal appearance etc). Conversely, do not sit rigidly or on the edge of the chair. If too rigid, you may project the image of someone who is overly formal, unfriendly, or distant. Likewise, sitting on the edge of the chair may take you appear nervous, anxious, high strung, or overly aggressive. Maintain good posture and a relaxed, but attentive demeanor throughout the interview.
Gesticulate appropriately to make a key point. However, be careful not to over-gesticulate, since this can draw the interviewer’s attention away from what you are saying and can detract substantially from your overall presentation.
Avoid unnecessary fidgeting with your hands or finger, such as tapping your fingers, playing with pencils and paper clips, stroking your beard of hair, pulling your ear, resting your shoulders on the table, rubbing your nose and so on. All of these suggest nervousness and will distract interviewers, thereby causing them to pay less attention to what you are saying.
Be pleasant, friendly, warm, and polite throughout the interview. Remember to smile from time to time. You will want to establish and maintain good personal rapport with the interviewer throughout the discussion. Do not try to pretend to know what you do not know.
Be careful not to dominate the interview discussion. This can cause the interviewer to feel anxious, or even hostile. Be sensitive to the interviewer’s right to control the interview, and do your part to ensure a well balanced two way exchange of information. Do not get into an argument with a hostile person. Thank him if he explains to you something. Do not try to fool or outsmart any person on the panel. Do not be anxious and never plead or beg for the job.
Never volunteer negative information to the interviewer. However, should such information come to light as a result of the interviewer’s questioning, do not dodge the issue. Be factual and honest, but be brief. Try to present this information in as positive a light as possible, but do not over-explain or apologize.–

On Effective Leaders Traits

Trait: Trait is defined as a particular characteristics, quality or tendency of a person.
The dictionary defines trait as a particular characteristics, quality or tendency that someone or something has. An effective leader has certain traits, characteristics or qualities which make him successful. Most leadership studies indicate that no single trait seems to set off the leader from other members of a group. However, it is a combination of many traits that makes a leader effective. Following are some of the traits or attributes listed out by a few famous personalities.
Courage: A leader must have the moral courage at every level and the physical courage at some levels. He must have the courage to take decisions and then to stand by them. People may say that this trait applies only to the leaders in the military or the armed forces. This is not true because in industry or in social organizations, if you do not have the courage to express your views and opinions, you cannot be a good member of that organization, and you cannot be a good leader.
Will Power: A leader to be effective has to have the quality of will power in him. He must have the determination to see and, if need be, force decisions through against the opposition.
Judgment: Judgment can be defined as a tool balancing pros and cons. A person to be effective in his leadership should have the ability to take judgments which are fruitful and aimed at the accomplished of the organizational objectives. Proper analysis of the pros and cons of the judgment have to be done before going ahead with the decision.
Flexibility: When a leader is operating in an environment where everything and everyone is changing, he has to have the ability of changing himself. He cannot hold on to the way he had been doing things in the past. His ways and methods should also change with the changed circumstances and conditions.
Knowledge: Naturally the leader must have knowledge and should keep a step or two ahead, not only of competitors, but also of his followers. Otherwise he has no justification of trying to lead them. Thus, a leader must keep learning. The extent of detail and specification of his knowledge required would depend on the level; in the hierarchy of command that he has reached.
Persuasiveness: The ability to persuade others to one’s own point of view can be the greatest leadership quality. A leader can with this quality make persons under him want to do what he wants them to do.
Empathy: What is needed to put the element of effectiveness in leadership is the need to understand the human beings – an understanding of their needs, emotions, feelings etc.
Decisiveness and initiative: A leader must be decisive. Whatever his style of leadership, it is he who has to take the decision. He must have the initiative,. He must have flexibility in decision making but ultimately he must be decisive and take the initiative where necessary. He must be assertive though not necessarily aggressive.
Creativity: Finally, an important quality of a good leader is creativity. Many writers prefer to use the word vision instead of creativity.The leaders must have the ability to analyze the needs, aspirations etc, of his followers and create a good work situation so that there is an integration of goals and objectives.
Leadership Styles:
The performance of leaders is often measured by the quality and performance of their followers. The quality of performance however is probably attributable to the style of leading.
There are many ways in which we can describe the basic leadership styles. The leader’s attitude towards human beings is the main basis distinction between these styles. These styles can vary according to the leaders’ philosophy and attributes. We can categorize leadership into three styles as:
1) The Autocratic Leadership Style.2) The Democratic or the Participative Leadership Style3) The Laissez faire or Free-rein Leadership Style

Crisis Communication: A Case Study

Crisis communication by a company in trouble can help it contain the damage if handled effectively. The Indian experiences can perhaps provide some pointers to the essentials of the exercise.
India’s corporate history is littered with crisis situations, when companies found themselves unprepared in terms of communication, to face their main audiences. The need for effective crisis communication (the description given to larger moments of un-preparedness in the communication phrase book) is an absolute necessity otherwise the crisis itself can, in terms of its perception blow out of proportion.
Disastrous to the company facing the crisis, the necessity then is to curb the negative fallout through effective and timely communication. Crises could arise out of a number of factors, industrial disasters, hostile takeover bids, founded or unfounded political, social, environmental or financial allegations, are the major ones.
Of the more prominent crises in India had been the Bhopal gas tragedy in 1984, the Irish butter controversy in 1987-88, the Swaraj Paul Escorts imbroglio of the early eighties, the Asia Brown Boveri (ABB) locomotive deal of 1990, and the more recent Enron and the Thapar DuPont Limited (TDL) Nylon 6.6 controversies. How their communication was handled could provide interesting insights into the do’s and don’ts in crisis communication, albeit in a microcosm.
First the salient points of ‘must do’ while communicating in terms of crisis:
Fast, unruffled and mature response: a crisis more often than not has trigger effect. It sends management running-some for cover, pulling skimpy contingency plans around their needs: others retract into a shell; and still others go helter skelter in search of experts such as lawyers, or the crisis gurus. What needs to be done, instead is to layout the issues pertaining into the crisis, translating them into questions most likely to be raised in a hypothetical worst case scenario, and drafting answers to these questions. All this, even before the concerned public / media gets back to you.
Did TDL lay out the issues for its proposed Nylon 6.6 plant at Goa? TDL took the issues at Goa much too lightly. The project had resistance from the locals and environmental groups. The larger issue was of garnering local support. What TDL should have done was to have interacted with the locals, asked them about their concerns, and should have taken a participative approach towards local employment.
It was not to be, and as a result, the project had to be shifted out of Goa to Tamil Nadu. The cost brunt the company faced was around Rs 12 crores in land and the opportunity cost of delayed operations.
The hostile pressure groups / media are, even when their convictions are not colored by any commercial or political interests, might end up harming the company’s interest. What is needed is to quickly identify such elements, and preferable have a face to face communication to put up your side of the picture, all with an air of gentle humble and friendly aggression.
The Irish butter controversy provides an example in good light with this argument. In 1987, 1600 metric tones (MT) of butter was gifted to India by Ireland for reconstitution into milk. 200MT of this butter which was sent to the Greater Bombay Milk Scheme (GBMS) was alleged to be contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear fallout of April 1986. There was resistance to its sale and distribution to the extent of warning to have it destroyed.
The media debate still raged on, alleging fears about the butter’s bitterness, even if after the Bombay High court’s and the Supreme Court’s judgments pronouncing the butter completely safe for human consumption. The judgment was based in tests carried by the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) and the report of the expert committee appointed by the apex court.
Roger Pereira’s who handled the crisis communication exercise for National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and the Government of India. The media was playing up just one side of the picture to the detriment of clients. To abate the media hostility, personnel visits were made to editors and senior correspondents with copies of both judgment and the relevant background information. Moreover, a symposium to clarify issues was organized to which the members of the media were invited.
The negative reports started to decline after that and to cap the issue once and for all a television program. Was the butter bitter? Taking up the pros and cons was aired on the National Network in August 1987 attempting to allay people’s fears. The butter was then reconstituted into milk and sold, with no resistance from co-consumers.–