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Working Remotely? Three Tips to Maintain a High Profile

“When a man is out of sight, it is not too long before he is out of mind.”  Thomas Kempis
shy_hide_behind-computer_350x202Do you work remotely? Or do you want to work remotely, but are concerned that you will miss out on attention, acknowledgement and advancement?
You do not have to be in the office to get ahead. But, you do want to be smart when you work remotely. Here are three tips for you to use to work remotely and keep a high profile.
  1. Over communicate – Don’t let people wonder what you are working on, don’t let people wonder what you are up to and definitely do not let people wonder how to find you. Make sure that your management and all of your team members know exactly what you are up to. You accomplish this by providing them meaningful communications. And because you are not with them physically, you want to provide more communications than you would if you were sitting right next to them. Consider providing some type of brief but meaningful daily update. Set an auto responder on your email when you are out of the office, make sure your voicemail states your normal hours and when you deviate from those hours make sure everyone knows. You never want anyone to wonder for even one split second if you are really working productively or not.
  2. Be seen – Even though you are working remotely make sure people can match your face with your voice and your face with your emails and your texts. You want everyone to really know who you are. You might accomplish this by having times where you are in the office with your colleagues. If you cannot be in the office with your colleagues or in addition to being in the office with your colleagues use videoconferencing. It never hurts to have a team site where you can post pictures too. If you do, make sure your pictures show you at your best. Not necessarily looking like a model, but you want photographs that depict you, as you would like your colleagues to see you. You can also include a small picture or image of yourself on some of your communications. People connect more quickly and easily with faces.
  3. Change Your Method, Not Your Tone – Working remotely means sometimes it is more difficult to find people when you need them. This can be frustrating. Do not let others sense your frustration. Do not change your message so that it becomes threatening or hysterical. Remain calm polite and professional. Change your method of communication. Perhaps you start with email first, then maybe you move on to a text, then perhaps a phone call or a Skype. Be prepared to be flexible and be prepared to be understanding. It could just be that you are forgetting that back at the office there is a big meeting in progress. You might have overlooked a holiday that your coworkers celebrate and you do not. You can always ask people how they would like you to communicate when you really need them and you cannot find them. Ask how you should escalate important communications.
As you can see each of these three steps really involve you strategically leveraging communication so that when you work remotely you are out of sight but never out of mind.
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Be Powerful, Be Wise

“ Use power wisely and kindly because the human spirit is fragile.” Anonymous
UsewordswiselyYou are sitting at your desk and you just completed watching a video. The video was work related, but that is hard to tell right now because the last frame of the video (which is frozen on your screen) shows an animated character. Someone walks by, looks at your screen and then looks at you and says, “Working hard or hardly working?” Your reaction to their words just might be heavily influenced by whom it is. If it is a peer or a friend, you are probably nonchalant in your reply. You might simply laugh, you might ignore them or you might say, “Hey, I was watching a training video, on my lunch because I am not a slacker like YOU.” The exchange is all in good fun. Suppose it is your boss who said to you, “Working hard or hardly working?” If you do not have a casual, joking around type of relationship her words just might come across as harsh. You know that you were watching a training video from a reputable source, provided by your corporate training department and even though it was work related, you watched it during your lunch hour. Will she believe you if you tell her? Will she even hear you as she keeps walking by? How could she think that you are hardly working, doesn’t she appreciate all of your overtime? Most likely you are overreacting. She might actually have been kidding. And you do have responsibility for your own reaction to her words. In turn, she would be wise to remember that when you are the person in charge, your words and your actions take on a different meaning. Whether it is right or wrong or fair or unfair when you are in charge, if you walk by a team member without saying “Good morning” they just might think that you are angry or that you do not respect them. When you joke with someone be mindful that your jokes will be remembered and considered later. When you chastise someone know that you do not need to go overboard, your power and position and authority give your words enough strength. Conversely, a sincere thank you and congratulations for a job well done will also carry some weight. Use your power wisely. Use your power kindly.
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our inspirational quotes and tips to get you through the workweek!
 
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Start with YOUR Corner First

40-inspiring-self-motivational-quotes-wallpapers"There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving... and that's your own self.” - Aldous Huxley World hunger. World peace. Global warming. No access to clean drinking water. No access to education. Discrimination. There are so many causes to choose from. Chances are I have not even listed your favorite cause. I am not trying to stress you out. We have many opportunities to improve our people and our planet. From a less global perspective we have many opportunities to improve our immediate communities and we definitely have team members we would love to improve as well. Whether you seek global or local improvements – or both, there is a common element. That element is YOU. You cannot help with any cause until you become the kind of person who cares about a cause enough to work toward that cause. You start by becoming aware of a need for change, then you become interested in making that change happen and then you find a way to help make that change happen. You become a person who is willing and able to bring about change. People will see this in you. This is true whether you are helping to save the polar bears or helping a team member employ better time management skills. You cannot really help someone until they see you as the kind of person who they would accept help from or until they see you as someone to be admired or imitated. When you improve yourself and others see who you are, then you can make a difference. Well, except the polar bears. The polar bears see you as lunch. Don't be lunch for a polar bear, do become the best version of you possible.
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our inspirational quotes and tips to get you through the workweek!
 
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How to Build a Ship

“If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The above quote is the poetic way of saying what your mom might have told you. I do not know your mother, but maybe she did not speak to you in prose. Perhaps she said it this way, “Actions speak louder than words.” Mom was right.
How wildly impractical. Just inspire people to want to take to the sea and they will build a ship. What about the plans? What kind of ship should they build and when should they finish? This makes no sense. You can’t just get people to want to go to sea and then go away and come back to a ship that will actually float. Or can you? Most of us are not engaged in the building of ships. But we are engaged in the building of teams and the quest to meet project objectives. Think about some of your most rewarding project experiences. Were these projects where you told each and every team member exactly what to do and when and how to do it? Probably not. What would your team members say if you asked them to describe their most rewarding project experiences? It is unlikely that they would emphasize a project where they were micromanaged. You and your team members are likely to recall projects where you met a very difficult goal or where you created something that was truly impactful. Rewarding projects are often those where you and your team know that your work really made a difference. Building houses for the homeless or hospitals in areas where there are no medical services are perfect examples or truly rewarding projects. Some efforts may not present such an obvious impact as houses for the homeless or hospitals for those with no medical services. This does not mean they will not be rewarding projects. The key is to find a vision that inspires the team to take the project to heart. And then to go beyond the heart to the head and plan and define the tasks which bring that vision to life. You might inspire the team by painting a picture of how much easier life will be for your customer once you deliver your project to them. If applicable you might take your team on a tour and show them the challenges your customers currently face. Better yet have some of your team members try to do the same work. This will help build some empathy and they too will want to provide a better solution. Sometimes it is about sharing with the team the work that is coming after this project, with a reminder that this project leads to some very rewarding next steps. Find a vision which teaches your team to long for the sea – whatever that sea really represents for your project. This doesn’t mean your planning isn’t necessary, it means that your planning will be more inspired. This week set a vision for your team,
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our inspirational quotes and tips to get you through the workweek!
 
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Don’t Just Say It, Be It

rwaldoemersonWhat you are stands over you and thunders so, I cannot hear what you say to the contrary. ” - Ralph Waldo Emerson Have you been writing much poetry lately? Maybe not, but I bet you can really make your scope documents and your schedules into works of art. And when challenges arise, I bet you and your team find creative ways to problem solve and deliver an excellent product or service. The above quote is the poetic way of saying what your mom might have told you. I do not know your mother, but maybe she did not speak to you in prose. Perhaps she said it this way, “Actions speak louder than words.” Mom was right. Consider the case of “Jeffrey” the project manager (real name withheld). Jeffrey believed that strong project communication management was what made the difference between a good project experience and a great project experience. He could cite case studies which showcased project failures and how those failures came back to poor project communication management. In fact he often raised these examples during project team meetings. He loved to bring up examples of organizations he believed handled communications with excellence. He held these organizations up to the team as examples to be followed. At first his team was caught up in his enthusiasm for communications. After all one of their most frequent issues was lack of communication from management. After about a month team members noticed a disappointing pattern. Jeffrey’s talk about excellent communications was just that – talk. The team rarely saw him between meetings. He did not share project status with them and he did not tell them what transpired in all of the meetings he attended. He seemed to be consistently behind on emails and phone calls. When team members resorted to texting him with questions or concerns, his standard reply was, “Thank you, I will get back to you.” Most were still waiting for him to get back to them. Now the team was impatient when Jeffrey would share stories of communications wins or failures. In the past team members would ask questions and engage in the conversation about what makes communications extraordinary. They waited for him to wrap up his stories. Many stopped listening. Perhaps it is far to say that they could no longer hear him because the real Jeffrey, the one who did not represent excellence in communication was thundering behind the other Jeffrey. The true Jeffrey drowned out the other Jeffrey with his actions, which made his words impossible to hear. Say who you are and be who you say you are. Cheers!
If you enjoyed this blog posting, then you may enjoy our inspirational quotes and tips to get you through the workweek!
 
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