Is Privacy Management Even Possible?
Thomas Frey in his latest blog ( http://bit.ly/2yFqvos ) states that distraction management is one the 12 personal skills you will need in the future to be successful. Really? How did something like distraction management get to be such a big issue?
In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone. This was the first “smart” phone capable of carrying applications other than just phone calls and voice mail. At the time, it didn’t seem like such a big deal. Now it seems to have grown into a many-headed, uncontrollable monster.
Smartphones now deliver text messages, email, twitter feeds, Instagram messages, video streams, and instant news updates. Phone calls and voice mail now are a minor part of the service.
Turns out we are paying more attention to our smartphones and other electronic devices than is good for us. Frey, in his blog post says, “The average smartphone user checks their phone over 220 times a day.” In addition, “The average Millennial exchanges 67 texts a day. It takes 90 minutes to respond to email, most will respond to a text in less than 90 seconds.”
Here’s another quote from Frey, “An average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes a day perusing these networks.”
What this all adds up to is a state of constant interruption throughout our day. And…when we are constantly interrupted, our productivity declines. Drastically!
Well…maybe not. It turns out multitasking is actually bad for you. I wrote a blog on this some time back ( http://bit.ly/2iSvhoj ). In it, I cited studies showing multitasking decreases your productivity by around 40%. This means it takes much longer for you to complete each individual task.
Further, studies show multitasking increases stress and increases the chances you will make a mistake. Added to that, it turns out once you’re interrupted it will take about 25 minutes to return to your original task. http://nyti.ms/2AbTdu6 Talk about ways to waste your day.
Slow down. I know this sounds counter-intuitive. But, if you slow down and concentrate on one task at time, you will actually complete the task faster with fewer mistakes. Doing this will also increase your productivity because you will complete more tasks in a day,
Couple this with planning your day to control distractions. Here’s a good list to start with:
These time-consuming distractions will only get worse in the coming months and years. If you want to increase your productivity and decrease your stress levels, you have to start now to take control of your day and your workflow.
Here is the challenge. The human brain does not think logically. It makes most of its decisions on emotion and/or preconceived ideas. Having made a decision, people then go back and justify it with logic. What’s worse is once a person has made a decision they will defend it to the death, no matter how wrong it turns out to be.
In the first blog post in this series ( http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ), I listed the 10 critical skills you will need to succeed in the upheaval taking shape now in the worldwide job market. Today I want to discuss Skill #4, People Management.
People management has always been an important skill to possess. In the coming chaos in the job market, it will become even more vital. As robots and software technology continue to replace people in the work force, human judgement becomes more and more critical.
As a Freelancer, you will be involved in complex projects. These projects will employ teams of highly skilled and intelligent people. These teams may consist of company employees and/or other Freelancers. And…the one thing you will all be required to bring to the table is human judgment. It’s the one thing robots and software cannot do.
If there was one word I could use to sum up good people management it’s engagement.
Did you know according to Gallup research, 51% of the American workforce is not engaged? This means they are indifferent to their job or don’t like their work. ( http://bit.ly/2wVIZik ). So, the first task of any manager is to get his team engaged.
The hypothetical situation here is you are Freelancer managing a team of Freelancers completing a project for a company. Here is how I would do it.
Freelancers build teams. Let your team members know if they do a good job, you’ll be sure to ask them back on the next gig you get. People love working for a well-functioning team.
Freelancers need to know they are getting paid well. Remember companies can save up to 30% of labor costs (payroll taxes, fringe benefits, etc.) by hiring Freelancers. What kind of revenue will this completed project generate for the company? Set your prices accordingly. The better the pay, the higher the talent you’ll be able to attract.
Online of course. Google “People Management Training” and take your pick. Training resources range from free to thousands of dollars depending on what you choose.
Then there are books. Always my favorite starting point. One of the best is Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
Another excellent book is “Bringing out the Best in People” by Aubrey Daniels.
See links below to order these fine books. (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon affiliate.)
The main point here is to start now. Assess your leadership skills and figure out what you need to improve. The People Management skill is ranked #4 for a reason. If you need improvement in this area, the sooner you start, the better.
In my original post in this series ( http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ), I listed the 10 skills critical to your success as a Freelancer in the growing upheaval of the worldwide job market. Today I’m going to discuss Skill #5 Coordinating With Others.
First and foremost, it is the #5 critical skill employers will be looking for in Freelancers as technology continues to eliminate jobs in the coming years. When you think about it, coordinating with others is one of those things that appears to be self-evident. Yet, when I began to research this as a single subject for this blog, I found…almost nothing.
This is weird, I thought. I must be doing something wrong. So I went back and changed the search criteria in every way I could think of and came up with…almost nothing. No books. No courses. No forums. Nothing.
Yet this skill is listed in almost all the lists of critical skills needed for the future. Who am I to argue with the World Economic Forum?
Then it dawned on me. This skill is not so much a stand-alone skill. It really is one of the qualities of great leadership. And, the Freelancers of the future need to be great leaders. They need to bring together companies, clients, departments, and other freelancers to make projects succeed.
At the same time, leaders need to be followers as well. If you’re not the lead, you need to be willing to subordinate your interests to the team and the project. For, it is the project’s success that is paramount.
When you coordinate with others you will need to:
Do all of these sound familiar? They should. They are all elements of great leadership. The good news is you can learn to be a great leader. Like most skills, it takes time and practice. There’s an old saying that great leaders are born, not made. The real truth is some leaders are born, but most are made.
Lots of places. For starters, if you google “Where can I learn about leadership” you’ll get about 700,000 results. One intriguing site is Learn to be a Leader ( http://bit.ly/2x8AD8q ). Here you can find a long list of sub-categories to search through.
Then there’s always books. (You just knew I’d have a book, right?) One excellent book I found was Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box. This is a fascinating book that uses a fictional story to focus on a basic, but very important, tenet of leadership that is rarely discussed. Master this one skill, and you’re a long way down the road to great leadership. There is a link below if you’d like to order this book. (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate.)
In my original blog in this series (http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm), I said there were 10 skills critical to your future success in the coming turbulent job market. Today I want to discuss skill # 7, judgment and decision-making.
Futurist Thomas Frey estimates 2 Billion (that’s Billion with a capital B) jobs will be lost by 2030 worldwide. (http://bit.ly/2w4whhN) Those jobs will be lost to robots and software technology. There will also be lots of new jobs created. But…the new jobs will require a skill robots and software don’t have. Human judgment and making the decisions arising out of those judgments.
Your job as a future Freelancer will be to make those judgments and decisions for your clients. And…this will be one of the most sought after skills.
You could be called upon to decide:
As you can see, the possibilities are almost endless.
Judgment is the ability to evaluate a situation as objectively as possible. Typically this will involve:
Decision-Making is: Choosing a solution and implementing it.
Sounds simple, right?
Ah, if it were only that easy.
There are a few other elements involved, such as:
“Wait a minute!” I hear you say. “If I’m a Freelancer, why do I have to be a leader?”
Any one who has ever been in the military will tell you; leaders exist at every level. From the smallest unit of 3 people, to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, someone is always in charge.
As a Freelancer, you will be responsible for integrating and coordinating many things. That means you will be leading. You should be confident in your ability to do research, implement it, and manage conflict amongst others. You need to be a keen observer, able to spot difficulties early before they grow into a crisis. This requires an action orientation and an assumption of risk.
The distressing part of this whole thing is that research shows most people make decisions based on emotion. Then they try to justify that decision with logic.
It will be up to you to show your clients a better way.
Lots of places. As always, there are books. One of the best I have found is by Noel Tichy and Warren Bennis titled Judgment, How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls. This book deals mainly with senior leadership in large organizations. It is still a good tutorial for developing the skills needed for good judgment. Plus, there’s a nifty handbook included at the end. There is a link below if you would like to buy this book. (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate)
There are also lots of courses available. Just Google “Decision-Making Courses” and a ton of choices will come up.
Finally, there’s plain old everyday practice. We all make decisions. Lots of them, every single day. Some turn out well, others not so much. Analyze the good ones. What did you do right? Learn from the bad ones. What could you have done better or differently?
The important thing is to start now. The better you are, the more prepared you will be when that Freelancing opportunity appears.
In my original post in this series (http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ), I listed the 10 critical skills you will need to prepare yourself to succeed in the coming upheaval in the job market. Today I want to discuss number 8 on the list, Service Orientation.
Service Orientation may be the most difficult of the skills to describe. Yet in many ways, it is the most important of the 10 skills even though it’s number 8 on the list. As a Freelancer, you don’t just want clients that are satisfied; you want clients that are loyal. What’s the difference? Loyal customers call you first. Before they talk to anyone else.
Service orientation is a customer first approach. It’s a mindset. This isn’t a skill to be practiced; it’s a lifestyle to be lived.
Think about Nordstrom’s. They became famous because their gift wrapping department would wrap gifts purchased at other stores. Or, Disney, whose “cast members” sole function is to make sure their “guests” enjoy themselves.
I spent 20 years training Mortgage Loan Officers how to build a business based on personal referrals from Realtors, builders, and previous clients. Service orientation was the most important quality determining their success.
First on the list is a high degree of empathy. Put yourself in the client’s shoes. You need good listening skills. Find out not only what the client wants, but why they want it. Have patience. Be sure you hear them out.
Be interested in your clients as people. Find out as much as you can about them. Why do they love their industry? How did they come to be involved in your project? Where do they go from here? My experience is most people love to talk about themselves, especially if they are passionate about their work.
Practice exceptional follow through and follow up. As a Freelancer, you may be acting as a go-between for two or more clients. Make sure all are not just satisfied, but pleased with the outcome. Make follow up calls a week, a month, a quarter, and even a year after completion. It’s a good way to get feedback on your project in order to improve your performance the next time. It’s also a great opportunity to ask for more business.
My father was a commercial builder. He made constant follow up calls to clients with finished jobs. If something was wrong with one of his projects, he didn’t care how long ago the job had been completed. He’d fix it. No charge. Guess why his clients called him back again and again?
People like to do business with you when you can make it easy for them. Here’s a hint. Don’t make it easy, make it effortless. When I was in mortgage banking, our Loan Officers would get a referral from a Realtor. They’d interview the applicants, and if they were qualified, the deal closed in 10 business days. Do you think Realtors liked sending us business?
That’s actually a hard question to answer. When you search online you will find a lot of sites that are IT oriented.
The best sources appear to be books. Jeffrey Gitomer has a great book titled Customer Satisfaction is Worthless. Customer Loyalty is Priceless. In it, Jeffrey has a lot of simple, direct strategies to build customer loyalty. I have included a link below if you’d like to purchase this book. (Full disclosure, I am an Amazon Affiliate).
Then there’s practice. You can start now. We are all involved in situations every day where we can strive to make sure those we come in contact with are pleased with the results. As I said before, this isn’t a skill it’s a lifestyle. Start today to put the other person first. You’ll be stunned at the results.
In my recent blog on the great opportunities for Freelancers arising out of the rising chaos in the world job market (http://bit.ly/2v8mXJm ), I promised a thorough discussion of the 10 skills crucial to your success you’ll need to develop in the next few years. The countdown is on. Here is skill #10, Cognitive Flexibility
Cognitive Flexibility is a term used by psychologists to describe the ability to shift quickly from one concept to another. The easiest way to describe it is to think of switching channels on your TV. Suppose you have a tennis match on one channel and a college football game on another. As you switch back and forth, your mind must quickly adjust to a different set of rules, play, and circumstances. People who are not cognitively flexible find this difficult. It takes them a few minutes or longer before they can engage in the events happening on the new channel.
Millions of jobs are going to disappear in the next few years. But, there will also be lots of new jobs created. The problem is those jobs haven’t been invented yet. What types of jobs are these? Data analysts who can help decipher the huge amount of data generated by the internet of things. Specialized sales reps who can explain new products and services to customers and clients. Managers and consultants who can help steer companies through this process.
If you are a Freelancer filling one of these functions, you will need cognitive flexibility. You may be working for more than one company. Company A may be playing tennis. Company B, playing football.
Even if you’re working for one company, Department A could be playing soccer, while Department B…well, you see where this is going.
There are several things you can do to improve cognitive flexibility
Keep going with these activities until you feel you can easily switch topics without losing a beat. It’s easier than you think and can be a lot of fun.
Here is your challenge: The rise of technology is already eliminating jobs at an ever increasing pace. As this trend accelerates, workers will be displaced in two directions. Those who are unprepared will be pushed out into lower paying jobs. Those who start now developing the 10 critical skills essential to Freelancing will find themselves positioned to succeed in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. And…at much higher compensation.
Which one are you?
In my previous posts on Social Styles, I have stressed the importance of understanding these styles. Your ability to communicate with these different styles of people will make a huge difference in the profits at your bottom line.
Today, I want to discuss the last of the 4 Social Styles, the Amiable.
Amiable are, well…amiable. They are very people and question oriented. They are easy to get along with. They are friendly listeners who enjoy personal contact. They place a high priority on getting along with others.
Amiable have soft, pleasant voices. Their speech is slow. They have open and eager facial expressions.
They take time to establish relationships. They believe progress comes from people working together. They like to make progress at a slow, steady pace.
Their natural tendencies are coaching and counseling.
Their motivators are seeking approval, being included as part of a group or team, and having a positive impact on others.
Amiables have much in common with Analyticals and Expressives, but are diametrically opposed to Drivers.
Remember that Amiables are ask directed. This means you will need to ask a lot of questions. You have to be patient. Amiables want to build relationships first. They may not seem concerned with the time spent or deadlines.
Here are some other things you can expect:
The good news here is Amiables are easy to approach. They are very open and friendly.
Here are several ways to approach an Amiable:
The main take away from this brief outline of the 4 social styles is the need for you to learn to be flexible. Remember Stephen Covey. “First seek to understand, then be understood.” Seek to understand the way your prospect communicates with the world. You will then open the door to show your prospect how you can fulfill his needs.
What I have presented in these posts has been the barest of outlines of these Social Styles. To learn much, much more, I strongly urge you to click on the link below to buy Larry Wilson’s terrific book.
(Full disclosure. I am a Powell’s Affiliate)