Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 16th 2015 Contents BG12 COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt APRIL 2015 • WEEK THREE
Take charge of your new
role after a promotion
Moving up the ladder in an organisation
usually means greater rewards, more respon-
sibilities and higher stakes. But transitioning
into a bigger role can be challenging. Typ-
ically, the more senior the role, the less
structured the onboarding process, which
can feel disorienting. The key is to take
responsibility for it yourself. This doesn t
mean you can t ask for help or accept sup-
port. But you should be prepared to get up
to speed as independently as possible. Start
by answering these questions:
• What do I need to do in the first week?
The first 30 days? The first quarter?
• Who do I need to meet, and what s the
best way to connect with them?
• What don t I know and what will I be
expected to know?
• If I find myself struggling, how will I
ask for help or guidance?
(Adapted from "A Checklist for Someone
About to Take on a Tougher Job" by Ed
Small steps can put work
goals within reach
Setting work goals is easy. Accomplishing
them is another matter. If you want your
resolutions to stick, you need to:
• Commit publicly: Write down your
goals, and share them with your manager,
peers, direct reports, friends and family.
• Create a plan of action: Think step-by-
step tactics. If your goal is, for example, to
develop a more trusting relationship with
your direct reports, take them to lunch indi-
vidually and start engaging with them on
a more personal level.
• Recruit support: Colleagues, mentors,
your significant other or a professional coach
can be both your cheering squad and sound-
• Set milestones: As time goes by, it
becomes more difficult to stay motivated.
You need regular signals that reinforce what
you re working toward, such as a reminder
on your phone or a recurring "meeting" on
your calendar for thinking about what your
goals mean to you and your career.
(Adapted from "Make Your Work Reso-
lutions Stick" by Rebecca Knight.)
conversations less daunting
Difficult conversations are inevitable. but
if you manage them properly, you can keep
your relationships intact. First, don t think
of the conversation as difficult - you ll only
feel nervous and upset. Instead, frame it in
a positive, less binary way.
You re not giving negative feedback; you re
having a constructive conversation about
development. It can help to jot down key
points beforehand, but don t write a script.
Try to see the other person s point of view.
Ask yourself: What is the problem? And
what does the other person think is the
problem? If you aren t sure, acknowledge
that you don t know and ask. Then deliver
the tough news in a courageous, honest and
fair way. Just don t play victim.
The worst thing you can do is to ask for
sympathy by saying things like "I feel so
bad about saying this" or "This is really
hard for me to do."
(Adapted from "How to Handle Difficult
Conversations at Work" by Rebecca Knight.)
Keep checking in on your
Emotional intelligence can be strengthened
over time with commitment and discipline.
But those who most need to develop it often
realize that too late. So here are some telltale
signs that you need to work on your emo-
• You get impatient and frustrated when
you think that others don t get to the point
• You re surprised when others are sen-
sitive to your comments or jokes, and you
think they re overreacting.
• You think being liked at work is over-
• You weigh in early with your opinions
and stand behind them no matter what.
• You hold others to the same high expec-
tations you hold for yourself.
• You find others are to blame for most
of the issues on your team.
• You find it annoying when others expect
you to know how they feel.
(Adapted from "Signs That You Lack Emo-
tional Intelligence" by Muriel Maignan
Make a small change to
disconnect from work
We know that working excessive hours
leads to exhaustion and impaired judgment.
Yet it s still so hard for many of us to dis-
connect. Make it easier by thinking small.
Rather than trying to modify all of your
work habits, find one thing you can change
about your behavior and start there. For
example, try leaving your smartphone in
another room when you get home at night
so you won t be tempted to check your work
e-mail. Or spend a few minutes learning
how to programme the emails you send in
the evening to arrive first thing in the morn-
ing; that way you re not sucked into a back
and forth with colleagues at all hours. Or
find a new, enjoyable activity to fill your
time. Take up biking, join a sports league
or sign up for baking lessons.
(Adapted from "Working Too Hard Makes
Leading More Difficult" by Ron Friedman.)
How much of
entrepreneurism is inherited?
20%more likely to become entrepre-
neurs: Adopted children whose bi-
ological parents included an
entrepreneur are 20 per cent more likely than the gen-
eral population to become entrepreneurs themselves,
but the effect of post-birth factors is more than twice
as great: A child whose adopted parents include an en-
trepreneur is 45 per cent more likely than the rest of
the population to eventually start his own business, ac-
cording to a study of Swedish adoption records by
Matthew J Lindquist of Stockholm University and two
colleagues. The findings suggest that entrepreneurial
parents function as role models for their children.
(Source: Journal of Labor Economics)
When is one dollar worth
more than two?
68%more likely to complete a task: In
an experiment, participants were
68 per cent more likely to com-
plete a task if their reward was uncertain; if they stood
to receive either US$1 or US$2, based on a coin flip
than if the reward was simply US$2, says a team led
by Luxi Shen of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
This and other studies suggest that the excitement of
a reward's uncertainty can sometimes motivate people
to invest more time and effort in a task. Marketers
take heed: As long as consumers focus mainly on the
fun and don't focus too much on the amount, framing a
discount as uncertain can make shopping seem like a
game and generate consumer excitement, the re-
searchers say. (Source: Journal of Consumer Re-
The value of pessimism in sales
Two-thirds of high-performing sales professionals:
Although the vast majority of salespeople describe
themselves as optimists, a survey shows that nearly
two-thirds of high-performing sales professionals ex-
hibit pessimistic personality tendencies, Steve W. Mar-
tin of the University of Southern California writes on
HBR.org. Inward pessimism may drive these high per-
formers to question the viability of the deal and the
buyer's credibility, pushing them to ask tougher qualify-
ing questions and seek meetings with senior-level deci-
sion-makers who ultimately decide which vendor will
be selected, Martin says. (Source: HBR.org)
The dismal odds of finding a
winning strategy overseas
Average ROA of minus 1%: It's a given today
that big companies need to look for global
opportunities. Yet one-third of the top 10 per
cent of companies among 20,000 studied by Christian
Stadler of Warwick Business School conduct almost no
international business. That's because few companies
have the management capabilities to succeed over-
seas, Stadler writes on HBR.org. Companies that ex-
panded domestically had an average return on assets
of one per cent after five years and 2.4 per cent after
10, with 53 per cent exceeding 3 per cent; but those
selling abroad had an average ROA of minus one per
cent as long as five years later. It takes 10 years to
reach a modest one per cent, and only 40 per cent of
companies turn in more than 3 per cent. (Source:
Thoughts of the eternal shape our
attitudes toward risk
13%more likely to say yes: Although past
studies show that religious partici-
pation is associated with decreases
in risky behaviours, thoughts of God appear to increase
people's willingness to take risks, says a team led by
Daniella Kupor of Stanford. In one study, people who
had been reminded of God were 13 per cent more likely
to say yes to looking at an "extremely bright colour"
that might damage their eyes in exchange for a small
bonus payment. The effect appears to be based on the
belief that God will protect against negative outcomes,
the researchers say. (Source: Psychological Sci-
TIPS & TALKING POINTS
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