Monthly Archives: June 2017

Four productive morning routines

We all know it: the start in the early morning influences the course of the whole working day, positively or negatively. So it’s good that we can “manipulate” our own start.

By Jens Kügler

Of course, we can’t protect us from every bad start. For example, if at eight in the morning an attorney threat of a customer lies on top of the entry-office, the “good intentions” are surely obsolete. But … the fewest days start with such bad news. Most of them are “business as usual”. And you can optimize them, say, mentally.

Listen to your biological clock rather than to the attendance clock.

An American study has recently proved that early risers are more productive—but only in companies with fixed working hours starting early in the morning. Of course, if you can not fall asleep before midnight, you will not be as fit at 6:00 am as someone who goes to bed at 9:00 pm. The best alarm clock for productivity is the internal clock. And whoever starts later will also last longer. Seen in this way, rigid working hours can even inflict damage on a company because they slow down the potential, for example, of late starters. Eventually, everyone needs enough sleep, but not everyone sleeps at the same time.

Make your start of work as easy as possible.

A queasy feeling has, who goes to work in the morning being certain that the first thing he has to do is to make the most important decision of the day. It’s a lot more comfortable to start the day with simple, easy-to-take activities that will cause some first small success feelings like: yes, well done, again accomplished a task! After one, two hours you are in the routine and thereby also more receptive.

Above all, it is important to not start the day unprepared. Many successful managers prepare their mornings already in the evening before. For example, they write down the three most important activities that they want to have completed the following day. They set up their clothes at home and pack their bags. If they want to start their day with a round of training, they even sleep in their sportswear. To wake up in your sports dress motivates you to actually do sports.

Act according to the motto: Design Your Wake-up

It does not have to be the same and endless “I got you babe” radio alarm clock from the movie “Groundhog Day”. However, a morning routine has proved to be successful for many people. Some practice yoga. Others take their quarter-hour of time to read the newspaper. For others, the cozy coffee at the breakfast table is a favorite ritual. All these rituals are little morning aids. They ground us, they lead our thoughts away from work, they help to minimize stress.

Move. Because that also frees your head.

It is not for everyone to get up one hour earlier to go for jogging. To other people, this sporting pleasure helps to start the day, because sports with a certain performance requirement also produces happiness hormones or endorphines. Who can, should go to work by bicycle. I enjoy my half an hour bike ride to work through the fresh morning air. When I arrive at the office, I am fit and 100 per cent awake.

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Fire the three biggest motivation killers

Do I hear a yawn? Someone saying “not again the same old topic …!”? Possibly. After all, the “Do’s and Dont’s” of staff management get repeated everywhere like mantras. Executives learn them in the first lessons of their HR development seminars. But when looking into the practice of many companies it becomes clear: they can not be repeated often enough.

By Jens Kügler

Executive’s team motivation killer number one: Only my opinion counts (because only I have enough knowledge)!

Who likes to have nothing to say? No one. Everyone wants his opinion to be taken seriously, no matter how much professional competence and experience he actually has. Hard to motivate are teams in which everyone feels that the boss only decides. How different is the situation when the boss involves his employees in the decision-making processes and transfers to them a part-share responsibility? Absolutely different. Lone warrior bosses travail. Their teams do not really take part. Team players, however, increase their output. They improve the working atmosphere and make their teams more productive.

Motivation killer number two: Mistakes are forbidden—and punishment must be!

Who makes mistakes deliberately? Nobody—unless he wants to harm the company by purpose, perhaps as a revenge for disregarding his opinion or because of spitefulness and mental resignation. There should rather be a constructive error culture. Trial and error must be possible. Employees should be able to analyze each mistake and learn from it. Any error and the troubleshooting have to be regarded as steps forward. Dear bosses: Look at the developments of epochal products such as Ford T, VW Beetle or the successful European space rocket Ariane: every failure was a further step forward on the road to perfection. Replace the fear of punishment by a culture of learning!

Motivation killer number three: Say thank you? No thanks! Good work is a matter of course!

Who does not feel flattered and honored when the boss says thank you—even for something very little? To thank someone shall not be used inflationary or traitorous. But those who refuse to give their employees any sign of appreciation will not reap good work as a matter of course. A polite, respectful approach is the minimum. And an honestly expressed thank you? It does not cost anything but is worth a fortune, as an author recently wrote. A thank you is a free investment that pays off in motivation and productivity.

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How To Learn From A Supermarket

Over here, career-changers are sometimes regarded as unsuccessful in their former profession. However, in shifting their jobs these people often make dreams come true. Or they simply try out something new after decades on beaten professional paths.

By Jens Kügler

“I can learn from the supermarket”–said Holger Stanislawski recently in an interview on the sports portal Spox. Holger Stanislawski? German soccer fans know: He was the coach of the professional team of FC St. Pauli and well known for his unconventional decisions. He had been defender there for his whole professional player’s lifetime and then led the club as a coach from the third to the first league. Later, he retired from the public for a year—because of burnout, as rumors say. During this time, he did not just relax. Together with a friend who was ex-soccer player, too, he bought a franchise license. Today, he operates a supermarket within a big national franchise network. It’s the largest supermarket of Hamburg with 130 employees and 30 million euros of annual sales.

When changing from a soccer professional to a supermarket owner and manager, Holger Stanislawski faced challenges of which he describes the biggest as “handling a lot of logistics”. This logistical challenge is all about the continuous availability of goods, counting 50,000 articles. He frequently has to talk with suppliers, to listen to customer requests and to constantly question his assortment of goods. Also, he had to learn staff planning. “You work yourself a little bit more into it day by day. It’s really great fun”.

His fans still call him by the nickname, Stani. And a lot of them were amazed by his going away from the soccer coach bank to that totally different kind of business. But whoever knew him closer knew that he often did “strange things.” He now sees himself as master of his own and no longer has to fear a sudden coach-kick-off which is usual in professional soccer when once a team has a few unexpected losses. To be a master of his own … is there any better argument for Stani’s “strange” transition into a completely new “playing field”?

Vocation switchers—according to the German Wikipedia, these “Quereinsteiger” (literally side-entering people) are people who change from a different business or industry to a new field of activity without having gone through the classical training such as apprenticeship or study. If you enter the term “Quereinsteiger” into the German-speaking Google, an endless list of job offers appears. Be it management assistant at a catering company, tester for automotive electronics systems or specialist for trademark law and brand management in a consulting company. A typical career changer is the technical engineer promoting to the board of a stock corporation but responsible for a non-technical department such as HR or business development. Another example is the lawyer who changes to place his legal knowledge at the service of a tertiary sector company. One of my friends did this—becoming attorney for capital law in an investment firm.

As one of the largest domestic cable connection providers, Vodafone Kabel Deutschland is currently looking for what they call “multimedia consultants” on a freelance basis. Applicants shall be people who love sales and the contact to customers—and who want to flexibly determine their time. Last but not least, they should have a certain enthusiasm for technology. The professional knowledge of the broadband cable connections that they offer and sell is given to them in training programs and headquarter’s support.

In countries such as Australia or New Zealand, the acute local skills shortage gets more or less compensated by job shiftees, as Wikipedia says. In short: It is worthwhile to think about what one has always liked to do in his life but not made his profession, and where a solution was always easy to solve: be it in puzzling something out, in teamwork, in planning, in logistics or in enthusiasm for dealing with customers. It is worth taking the step instead of chasing the chance forever. Maybe the most encouraging prominent career changer of our country is the student who left her small East German physics laboratory to enter the great political world stage, Angela Merkel.

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