Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 26th 2017 Contents Know how you'll sell a
decision before you make it
When making a decision that affects many people, it's best
to go with an option that respects and reinforces the norms
and values of your company. Try this mental exercise to test
how your options will be received: Imagine you're making a
presentation and your audience consists of those people who
will be affected by your decision.
Go through each of your options and imagine how you
would justify choosing it. What could you say with genuine
What might be tougher to stand behind? What might ring
hollow or elicit resistance? Which options seem likely to get
your audience smiling? In short, which option seems to be the
right next paragraph in the ongoing story of your organisation
and what it stands for?
(Adapted from "Before You Make a Tough Decision, Imagine
How You'll Have to Sell It," by Joseph L Badaracco.)
Hold your own personal
We need to take responsibility for
building a career that has purpose---now
and well into the future. Start by setting
aside your own personal career day to
think strategically about your career
journey and what matters most to you.
Calculate how many more years, days and hours you expect
to be working, even part time. Most people vastly underes-
timate how long a career lasts. Take inventory of how much
"career fuel"---transportable skills, meaningful experiences
and enduring relationships---you have.
These are skills you can carry with you from job to job, com-
pany to company and industry to industry. Assess whether
your fuel levels are growing, stagnating or declining. Then ask
yourself what you can do in the next year to replenish them.
(Adapted from "Developing a Strategy for a Life of Meaningful
Labor," by Brian Fetherstonhaugh.)
Establish trust before
delegating big decisions
To be able to delegate decisions, you need to do two things:
establish trust and accept failure as a possibility. You can build
trust by interacting one-on-one with your employees, ob-
serving them doing their daily jobs and providing feedback.
That way, when it comes time to delegate a task, you'll better
understand your employees' strengths and weaknesses.
You also have to recognise that failure is a natural part of
Without it, you won't get your team to innovate. If you ac-
cept that failure is a possibility when trying something new,
you'll have a much easier time giving up some of your deci-
sion-making responsibilities to others.
(Adapted from "Superbosses Aren't Afraid to Delegate Their
Biggest Decisions," by Sydney Finkelstein.)
Assign roles before
your next virtual
Leading a virtual meeting is no easy task. You need to plan
carefully to overcome challenges such as awkward silences
and technical glitches. Start by setting clear expectations for
participation. Before the meeting, send out a "code of conduct"
email to give everyone a chance to understand how they can
Assign roles ahead of time, taking into account participants'
usual behaviour during calls. For example, if you have a chatty
colleague who gets easily distracted, give them a task that will
help them stay focused, such as keeping time. Make sure to
let attendees know that you want to hear from each of them
and that you'll cold call people if you want to hear more about
(Adapted from "Running Virtual Meetings" from the 20-Min-
ute Manager Series.)
Enlist your friends and
colleagues to support a big
After careful consideration you've decided to make a big
career move---quit your job, change industries or go back to
school. How do you persuade the people you respect to sup-
port your decision?
1. Consider their motivations. Most people think they're
being helpful by playing devil's advocate, but it may be that
your move has them questioning their own career choices. If
it seems like they're projecting, take their advice with a grain
2. Really listen to their concerns. Those close to you may be
right to express some hesitation over your career change. Assure
them that you're taking their advice and objections seriously.
3. Emphasise that this decision is ultimately yours and that
it's you who has to live with the consequences.
(Adapted from "What to Do When People Don't Support Your
Next Career Move," by Dorie Clark.)
Globalisation goes digital
US$450 billion: Data flows between countries have sky-
rocketed in the last 10 years, as globalisation has become in-
creasingly digital. Today, data flows contribute as much as
US$450 billion a year to global growth.
Spike in spending at the end of life
25%: According to data from health care researchers in the
US, 25% of spending on Medicare, the government-run in-
surance program for older Americans, happens in the last 12
months of a person's life.
The power of superstition
45%: Have you ever noticed that before her first serve, ten-
nis star Serena Williams always bounces the ball five times?
Rituals and superstition are nothing new when it comes to
professional sports, but they're not unique to athletes. Ac-
cording to research, more than 45% of people say that they
perform some sort of ritual before completing a stressful task.
Online sales keeps growing
26%: The online sales giant Amazon.com accounts for about
26 per cent of all online retail purchases in the US, and contin-
ues to grow. Meanwhile, as online sales grew more than 10 per
cent in 2015, sales at department stores dropped 1.7 per cent.
Beyond big data
2.5 quintillion bytes: While doing everything from upload-
ing photos to social media platforms to blogging on websites,
humans produce about 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.
That's 2.5 followed by 18 zeros.
54%: According to a survey of more than 4,000 workers in 75
countries conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2008, 75
per cent of millennial respondents predicted that they would
have between two and five employers in their working lives.
Four years later, 54 per cent of millennials said the same thing.
Ethical challenges in the workplace
41%: According to the results of the most recent National
Business Ethics Survey, conducted in 2013, 41% of American
workers polled said that they saw ethical misconduct at work
within the last 12 months.
Inundated by email
8 hours: According to an examination from Bain & Co of
e-communications at more than 20 global companies, senior
executives get 200 or more emails per day, and the average
supervisor spends about eight hours every week (or about a
full workday) reading, sending or responding to emails.
@2017 Harvard Business School Publishing Corp. Distributed by
the New York Times Syndicate
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BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt JANUARY 26 • 2017
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