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How to Survive Your Office Holiday Party

9networking-tips_pmstudentheader

It’s that time again, peace on earth and good will to all.  Or at least it would be if you were not worried about those darned office parties.  What are they anyway?  Are they work or are they parties?  Here are some tips to help you navigate the maze of professional pitfalls that lurk behind that innocent invitation to celebrate with your co-workers.

Keep these tips in mind and emerge with your reputation clearer and stronger that ever before.

9networking-tips_pmstudent2

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Resilient, the word for the day is Resilient

Bend do not break and move forward.

Bend do not break and move forward.

The team had just suffered a crushing blow. They had been competing for a specific contract for months. They wrote an amazing response to the RFP (request for proposal) and made it into the top five and then into the top two. When their potential new customers asked them to build a prototype, they rose to the challenge and provided a high-quality prototype and held an exceptional demonstration session. And yet, they lost the contract.

The reason they were given was that the other team came up with some additional requirements that were not requested in the initial RFP.

The competing team provided an upgraded version of the prototype.

As Mary Carol gathered the team around to discuss the loss, strong feelings began to surface. Some team members were angry and felt that the process had been unfair. Others were mad at themselves and others for not expanding the requirements. One person started to say, “I told you so.” Mary Carol let them vent. Eventually they realized that she was just sitting there watching them. The team fell silent and stared at her expectantly. They did not know if she was angry, if she would chastise them, they waited.

Finally she spoke. “I have an assignment for all of you and it is due in two hours.” The quality control lead interrupted her by saying, “I know, you want us to come back with our lessons learned, our what we could have done to prevent this.” “There will be time for that later.” Mary Carol replied. “What I want you to do right now is go back to your desks and by yourselves consider what it means to be resilient. Meet me back here in two hours with your thoughts on resiliency.”

Two hours later the team came back together. While one or two were still puzzled by this unconventional assignment. Most of them embraced it, many of them bringing quotes to help them express their understanding of resilience. Like the assignment, some of these quotes were unconventional:

“Sometimes Grace comes in the form of a punch in the face.” Mary Elder

And

“Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.” Muhammad Ali

Other quotes were more traditional:

A good half of the art of living is resilience.”  Alain de Botton

And

Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit .“ Bernard Williams

“It’s not the winning that teaches you how to be resilient. It’s the setback. It’s the loss.” Beth Brook

And

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill

      The lead, initially so quick to assume they would be working on their lessons learned was one of the first to see the point of this assignment. The point was to transition them away from a place of loss and upset and to begin to move forward with a sense of strength and ability. It was also Mary Carol’s way of letting them know that she was not angry with them, she did not think they had done a poor job, they were just bested by the competition. Now it was time for them to move forward.

Wishing you resiliency whenever it is needed.

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A Team Divided

“When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
― Winston S. Churchill

Tug of War

After much research and brainstorming, Joe’s team had come up with two solutions to solve a problem that had plagued them all for more than a few weeks. One of their highest priority customers had discovered a glitch in their software. The good news was that it was not impacting any other customer. The bad news was that for some reason it was causing problems for this customer on a daily basis. In fact they had taken to completing some of their work manually. Joe’s organization was paying for two temporary workers to perform this manual processing. The customer certainly appreciated this assistance and the recognition of their inconvenience, but was anxious for a permanent solution to be implemented.

And now the team had devised two possible solutions. Each solution was equally likely to be successful, neither solution would disrupt current processing and both took about the same amount of time and effort. Despite the similarities between the solutions, there was enough of a difference in how they approached the problem that team members did not agree on which was best.

As Joe listened to his team discuss the merits of both approaches, he realized that they were going to need help making a decision. He knew both approaches were good, he knew all of the team was qualified to weigh in and he knew he did not need to make the decision. Based on this information Joe stepped in and told the team that they would vote. And if a clear majority emerged, that approach would be the solution that they would use. The team agreed.

Joe then asked the team to take a thirty-minute break. During this time he considered how to move forward after the vote. He did not want to move forward with an ‘us versus them’ mentality. With that thought in mind he made up a simple voting ballot. Instead of attaching the name of the person who came up with each solution, he labeled them ‘Solution A’ and ‘Solution B’. Each had enough of a description so that everyone would know where he or she was placing his or her vote. He knew that he could easily collect and tabulate the votes. Despite this he purposefully planned a team coffee break for after the vote. He found some fun and short video clips to show during the break.

Joe also gave careful consideration to the solution implementation team. And once he saw that solution A had received the most votes, he made a risky move. He decided to place the person who was the biggest fan of solution B in charge of the solution implementation team. He then carefully populated the team with a mix of approximately half people who favored solution A and half people who favored solution B. Their first assignment was to create an implementation strategy and to present it to the rest of the team. EVERY person on the solution implementation team was required to present a piece of the strategy.

Why was Joe putting so much effort into the decision-making process and the outcome of that process? He had a high-performing team. This was a team who worked well together and met challenging goals. A team who could argue, and then break into laughter. This time the team felt a bit more passionate about the issue at hand. The divide seemed a bit deeper than during any of their previous disagreements. Joe knew the importance of rebuilding the team after such a disagreement. He knew that if he wanted them to retain their strength that he needed them to see each other as partners and not as rivals, the sooner the better. Joe wanted his team to be free of strife so that they could continue to support one another and meet the challenges that were surely coming their way.

 

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Defeat is Optional YOU Decide

Defeat is only an option if you accept it.

Defeat is only an option if you accept it.

Life is full of challenges. If nothing in life is ever challenging for you, be concerned. Be concerned that you are either not really participating in life or that you are not really acknowledging the challenges that come your way. You are going to face personal and professional challenges.

  • You will lose people you love
  • You will lose a job
  • You will be turned down for a promotion
  • You will have arguments with friends and co-workers
  • You or someone you love will face health issues

Life is full of celebrations too! Many of these celebrations are possible because of the way in which you face the challenges. You celebrate someone you lost by remembering why you loved them, you celebrate a job loss by embracing the adventure of what comes next, you celebrate the loss of a promotion by moving on toward a new goal. You see the point. Every challenge brings about the potential for celebration. You make it to the celebration when you choose not to accept defeat.

Do not confuse a challenge with defeat. When life hands you something difficult to deal with, this is not defeat. If you let the challenge stop you from moving forward that is defeat. If you accept the challenge and adapt your plans and your mindset and the way in which you live your life – that is success. And that calls for a celebration!

Remember, “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated by it is optional.” – Roger Crawford

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Competitive Kindness? Absolutely.

Kindness and compassion, compassion and kindness. Yes, you can bring them to the workplace. And for those of you who like a good competition, check this out:

xocial (soh-shuhl) is giving cause-driven and otherwise kindness-oriented individuals and socially responsible businesses the ability to not only gauge how nice they are, but also the opportunity to participate in simple ‘positive social change challenges’  (even super simple ones like these ) against family, friends, teammates, colleagues, other companies/organizations/clubs and even perfect strangers) that actually calculate a person or company’s favorable social impact.  Finally a way to QUANTIFY nice-ness in order to spur more! Social responsibility has never been more fun and contagious.

 Gamifying Goodness: New ‘Social Impact Scoring System’ Spurs a Movement of Competitive      Kindness 

How nice are you? The xocial online community is calculating and curating “competitive kindness” to help mere mortals out-nice each other, and make the world a better place

Are you using your superpowers for good? One optimistic online community called xocial (pronounced soh-shuhl) is now giving cause-conscious and otherwise kindhearted individuals and companies the ability to do good, see good, feel good and measure good. Not only does xocial connect people, businesses and organizations to causes they care about and inspire them to take action amid friendly competition, the xocial platform also actually measures the impact of their efforts to make the world a better place. For this, participants continually build their XO score, representing their social impact. “Your XO score is a representation of your overall positive social impact,” says CEO Colin Duetta. “You build your score by completing challenges and engaging with others in the xocial community. It’s a credit score for your soul.

Duetta goes on to explain that the XO score methodology provides a benchmark that helps spur the spirit of competition—the favorable kind where everyone ultimately wins. The numerical measurements allow users to compete with each other to see who can do the most good. The XO score also puts the phenomenon of social media to more productive use. Instead of measuring popularity, xocial measures an individual’s or organization’s positive social impact. “We want technology to make people better parents, friends, coworkers, bosses and citizens, and also help enable businesses to promote the greater good,” says Duetta.

“We want the competitive kindness movement to inspire the next generation of social responsibility,” Duetta continued. “xocial’s goal is to channel the universal human drive to ‘compete’ into actions that benefit the causes an individual cares about.” He further explains that, while traditional philanthropy focuses on financial giving or attending singular or one-off events, the xocial platform engages both first-time and lifestyle do-gooders in supporting social causes regardless of their level of skill, special interest or financial donation.

The bottom line? xocial allows anyone to become a superhero (cape not required). Simple campaigns can be built online for free, and anyone can create one: moms, dads, grandparents, kids, companies, charities, schools, teachers, hospitals, offices and neighborhood groups — there are no limitations on who can organize a campaign or join one already underway.

Just search for a cause you care about, click to join and compete in challenges to earn points. It’s up to each campaign organizer whether they want to offer prizes or special recognition for top-scoring participants. But, when the competition is about compassion, all participants are winners, right?

Individuals can revel in the knowledge they are making a real difference; families can be brought closer together; teamwork can be improved; businesses can establish a new hub of corporate social responsibility and amplify existing efforts; employers can create a more positive workplace culture; charities can increase fundraising, create more buzz and attract, engage and retain the next generation of do-gooders; and teachers can instill real-world character-building lessons using technology to help others…not just for “selfies.” Thanks to xocial, good vs. good is a better equation that benefits us all.

Click here for 15 easy and wonderful

ways to practice competitive kindness

Encourage kindness in your teams. You can make your deadline and make a difference.

 

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