Regina's Blog

Fired, Now What?

by Regina Clark - on Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Fired, Now What?

It was four o’clock on a Friday afternoon in 1994. My boss called me into his office and fired me. It doesn’t really matter why I was fired - corporate Human Resource people like to talk about downsizing, restructuring and reallocating resources. All I knew was that I was fired, devastated, embarrassed and scared. I couldn’t believe that I was actually fired. I was scared because years earlier my husband lost his job and was unemployed for more than a year. Those were the most stressful months of my life; our credit was destroyed, our marriage was stressed, and the bill collectors never stopped calling. Thank God we both had lots of love for each other, college degrees, a healthy baby and a supportive family! I worked as a Training Manager at Macy’s at the time but my salary couldn’t cover our expenses. Eventually my husband decided to join the NYPD. His logic was that he could never be fired and the benefits were good. When you have a baby, insurance coverage is a priority. It’s hard to believe that thirty years have passed since my husband joined the NYPD. We both work to put food on the table, gas in the cars, pay our outrageous New York taxes, and provide for our family. It took us years to reestablish our credit but eventually we did, we worked hard, saved our pennies and bought a house.  

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The Power of We

by Regina Clark - on Tuesday, April 10, 2018
The Power of We

Most employers would love for their employees to behave as if they were part of a high-performance team. A team who shares the same goals, supports each other, resolves conflict in a timely manner and has each other's back. One of the easiest ways to be perceived as a team player instead of an individual contributor is to adjust your language. Instead of saying, I did this and I need that replace the I with we - we need this and we need that to complete the project on time. It’s such a small change that can have a huge impact.When I think of a high performance work team, a NASCAR pit crew comes to mind. Everyone in the pit crew has a specific job to perform using specific tools but no one job is more important than the other. The power of the team is that they function as we instead of me.
 

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Six Sigma Speaking

by Regina Clark - on Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Six Sigma Speaking

  

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Think Like a Champion

by Regina Clark - on Thursday, February 22, 2018
Think Like a Champion

Every night I'm glued to the television watching another Olympic athlete fulfill their dream. Their passion and perseverance are so incredibly motivating especially for our children. Donna Weinbrecht, gold medalist and world champion mogul skier, is in the above photo with a group of children who were lucky enough to spend a day listening to and skiing with Donna. My son is wearing her Gold Medal, she was so wonderful spending time with the young skiers. We have an autographed photo of Donna on our refrigerator, it's a great reminder that anything is possible.
 

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Managing Made Easy

by Regina Clark - on Monday, January 29, 2018
Managing Made Easy

  

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Make the Most of Your Time

by Regina Clark - on Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Make the Most of Your Time

Getting a handle on time management isn’t that complicated once you make up your mind to just do it! There are 24 hours in every day, no more and no less which adds up to 168 hours in every week. Every person has the same amount of time, no more and no less. Every day you wake up and decide how to use your time. Some people are extreme planners, they schedule everything! When to shop, when to exercise, when to eat, when to socialize, and who to spend their time with, they like to know what they are going to do every minute of the day and they get annoyed when others ‘waste’ their time. These people have a hard time with being spontaneous. Other people are at the other extreme, they don’t plan at all, they just let the hours, days and months slip by without noticing what they do with their time. There is no right or wrong way to use your time; after all it’s your time. The challenge arises when you are at work, have certain responsibilities and are expected to accomplish certain tasks. Employers expect you to use your work time (usually 40-50 hours/week) wisely and efficiently. We often hear that today’s workforce is expected to do more with fewer resources. One way to accomplish more with fewer resources is to improve your time management practices. Here are a few tips to get you started. 

Tip 1 Establish goals

Establish both short term and long term goals and objectives for your personal and professional life. You can keep personal goals separate from professional goals or combine them, whatever works best for you. When you develop a goal, make sure that it is a SMART goal. Specific, Measureable, Actionable, Realistic and Time bound.

Tip 2 Identify action items

Establishing goals is a good place to start. When you are sure that your goals are the ones that you want, the next step is to develop action items (things that you will do) to reach your goals. Write down your action items on a daily TO DO list; make sure the list is realistic.

Tip 3 Prioritize your to do list!

This step is critical. There will be items on your list that are high value items and other items that are low value items. By low value, I mean items that are not tied to your goals and objectives. For example, picking up dry cleaning is not a high value item but it might be something that needs to be done. You will also have favorite tasks on your to do list. We tend to do what we like first. Some of the tasks might seem overwhelming so we skip them. Don’t skip them, chunk them!

Tip 4 Chunk big tasks

When a task is enormous, break it down into manageable chunks. When we believe tasks are manageable, we tend to tackle them.For example, if I write Update address book on my to do list, it sounds enormous to me. If I write Update address book (A_C), it becomes more manageable. The next day, I write Update address book (D-G) and so on until the task is complete.

 

Tip 5 Create a weekly time log

It’s hard to improve your time management habits until you become aware of what your time management habits really are. There are 168 hours in a week, every week. Write down how you spend your hours during a normal week. Make sure you account for sleep time, commuting time, exercise time, TV time, family time, eating time, shopping time, face book time, work time, church/worship time, social time, study time and any other ways that you spend your time. If you can’t do this in one day, track your time for a week and write down all that you do. It’s amazing to see how we really spend our time. Some of us spend way too much time in front of the TV and not enough time exercising!

Tip 6 Identify time wasters

Once you have your weekly time log filled in, go through it and identify your time wasters or time robbers. Do you make trips to the grocery store every day? Do you have a lot of wait time in your day? Waiting to see a doctor, waiting in line, waiting for a child’s music lesson to end, waiting at the airport? You can do a lot with wait time when you plan ahead.

Tip 7 Keep one calendar

I learned a long time ago, that one calendar is the way to go. If you work with others, they can check your calendar for conflicts. If you have family responsibilities to coordinate, they need to go on your one calendar. Every working parent will tell you that if the parent/teacher conference isn’t on their “work” calendar, they will probably forget about it until it is a crisis situation. When you get the school calendar at the beginning of the year, put the important dates on your primary calendar. Also include birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other important personal days.

 

Tip 8 Set up a tickler file system

A tickler file is system that allows you to send something to yourself in the future for later action. It is a combination of a reminder system and a method of making documents available at a particular date in the future.

Tip 9 Improve your processes

Edward Deming once said,” If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, then you don’t know what you are doing.” It’s one of my favorite quotes. Everything that you do at work is a process, when you improve a process, you make the process more efficient which ultimately saves you and/or others time! Every process has a beginning and an ending with inputs and outputs. The first step to improving a process is to identify the beginning of the process and then write down or map the process. Once you have a process map, you will be able to take a look at the map and identify places for improvement.If you don’t know anything about process improvement, one of your short term professional goals should be to learn!

Tip 10 Organize your space

You will never be able to improve your time management if your work space/home space is a mess. If you spend ten minutes trying to find a stapler, your work space is a mess! Every tool should have a designated place and every person that uses that tool should know where the tool belongs.

Tip 11 Manage distractions

There are so many things that happen at work on a daily basis that can distract us from getting our work done. Customers, co-workers, bosses and birthday celebrations can all be distractions. I’m not suggesting that you avoid your customers or your bosses but you can manage them. When a co-worker asks if you have a minute, tell them yes but just one minute. When a co-worker walks into your office to chat, walk them to the door as you finish the chat.

Tip 12 Minimize email time

People are inundated with emails. Some of the emails are important and timely, most are not. For starters, unsubscribe to lists that you are on. Do you really want an email from Hilton Honors program every day? Next, commit to checking your email inbox three times a day. In the morning before your day begins, before you go to lunch and at the end of the day. If you stop to check email every hour or every time an email arrives, you will never get uninterrupted time to complete your work.

Tip 13 Become a concise communicator

Communication occurs when two people understand each other. When you are delivering information to another person at work, the best approach is to keep it simple and be gone! Elaborate PowerPoint presentations take too long to make and too long to deliver.

Tip 14 Delegate

Delegation is simple and it will save you time. The first step is to identify a person that you can delegate to, next identify the task, and then teach the person how to complete the task, finally follow up with the person and thank them. There are so many reasons that people don’t delegate. Delegation is a powerful tool that every manager, supervisor and parent should be using!

Tip 15 Throw away junk

Is your office inundated with piles of junk mail and boxes full of old files? Is your computer full of old files that you no longer use or want? If yes, it’s time to get rid of the junk! When you touch a piece of paper or open an email make an immediate decision what to do with the paper or message. If it is junk, discard/delete it immediately.

Tip 16 Take care of yourself

There is no one that cares as much about you as you do! When you take care of yourself, you are able to take care of other responsibilities in your life. Your family and your career are two major responsibilities most of us have. Taking care of you includes saying no at times to requests from others. As you know, there are so many hours in the day and you have to learn to spend your time wisely and the way you want to spend your time, not the way others want you to spend your time

Tip 17 Wake up 30 minutes earlier

When you add 30 minutes of awake time to every day, you gain 210 minutes per week. That’s almost 4 hours to do something with. How about adding exercise or more family time to your day? Try it, you just might like it!

Managing your time takes practice, patience and commitment. Eventually you will get the hang of time management, improve your efficiency, and reach your goals! Best wishes for a fabulous 2018!

 

 

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Managing Stress During the Holidays

by Regina Clark - on Thursday, December 07, 2017
Managing Stress During the Holidays

I just ran into a friend of mine at the supermarket. She seemed stressed. Her cart was overflowing with goodies and she started to tell me about her overbooked schedule and her list of holiday chores to accomplish which included holiday gifts for multiple teachers. My friend, who is one of the most gracious women I know, has four children and a lot going on. On the outside she looks as if she has everything under control; her home is lovely, her children are well mannered, her husband is a nice guy, and she is always willing to help others. On the inside she is really missing her mom who passed away a few years ago. 

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Flirtation or Sexual Harassment?

by Regina Clark - on Friday, December 01, 2017
Flirtation or Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a hot topic but unfortunately not a new topic. Females have been harassed for years. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between friendly behavior and subtle sexual harassment. Other times, it's crystal clear. The first time I experienced inappropriate behavior by a man was when I was a college student and the coach of the men's swim team kissed my neck.We were practicing head hold releases in the shallow end of the pool for a water safety instructor class. I jumped out of that pool so fast and ran to the women's locker room, my whole body was shaking. I had a hard time understanding what had just happened. Unfortunately, I had no idea what sexual harassment was when I was 20-year-old college student. No one had ever discussed the subject with me.

Years later, I taught Sexual Harassment Awareness training to more than 500 corporate employees. When the training ended with the executive team, the CFO walked up to me and told me that every executive could be sued for creating a hostile work environment. He didn't need to tell me, I was very aware that the Senior Executives, who were all male at that time, behaved badly. Some more than others. One of the executives consistently made me uncomfortable. He made comments about my appearance and my clothing and used awful language. His comments were definitely unwelcomed. When I shared with my boss how uncomfortable this man made me feel, her response was, “That’s just the way he is.” I started to keep a record of every inappropriate, unwelcomed thing this executive did when he was with me. I never thought about suing him or the company but looking back, I could have. My bosses’ response was NOT what a boss should say. A better response would have been, “I’ll take care of this, you should never be uncomfortable at work.”

Every employee should know what is considered sexual harassment. Quid pro quo is easy to understand, this for that. If you have sex with me, I will give you a promotion. Creating a hostile work environment is a bit harder to define. Is flirting with someone at work wrong? Is giving a co-worker a compliment or a hug taboo? It depends. Is the behavior welcomed? When the behavior is not welcomed, it could be considered creating a hostile or uncomfortable work environment. Sometimes, co-workers don’t even realize that their behavior is unwelcomed. In the photo above, the man is invading the woman’s personal space. No one wants someone in their personal space unless they are invited.

If you or your employees are having a hard time determining what kind of behavior is inappropriate and/or unwanted, use the following questions as a guide.

Would I want my behavior to be the subject of a column in the company newsletter?

Is there equal power between me and the person that I'm interacting with?

Would I behave the same way if the person I'm in a relationship with were standing next to me?

Would I want someone else to act this way towards a person I'm in a relationship with?

Is there equal initiation and participation between me and the person I'm interacting with?

If you are interested in scheduling Sexual Harassment Awareness training for your staff in 2018, give me a call today at 845-294-7089. Don't wait until you make the news!

 


 

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Dealing with Challenging Situations & Challenging Callers

by Regina Clark - on Thursday, November 16, 2017
Dealing with Challenging Situations & Challenging Callers

  

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Life is Great, Football is Better

by Regina Clark - on Thursday, November 09, 2017
Life is Great, Football is Better

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to deliver The Seven C's of Leadership to a group of employees at NFL Films located in Mount Laurel, NJ. When you walk through the front doors, you are staring directly at a large print that says - Life is Great, Football is Better. Speaking to this group was delightful! First of all, the employees who attended the lunch time program wanted to be there. The program was not mandatory, it was optional. The enthusiasm in the room was contagious. I could tell that from the minute I arrived until I left that the employees loved working for the NFL and they loved football. Many of the employees shared stories with me about Steve Sabol, one of the founders of NFL Films. Steve was portrayed as a man who was larger than life, full of enthusiasm and took care of his employees. Steve was also a visual artist and his art work was displayed throughout the building. When employees love what they do and who they work for, the entire team benefits.  

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