Saturday, December 5, 2020

Three Steps to Navigate your Self-Promotion Career Path Successfully


Some of the most unsettling periods of my professional and personal life came during my early-twenties to mid-thirties when I started a family but wasn’t earning the salary I desired. Although working for the government, during that time, offered stability and upward mobility, as one whose political frame of reference is a weakness, the vertical climb to the salary I desired was long and steep.  Desiring a higher pay, nonetheless, I chose an untraditional career path, instead, frequently jumping from one job to the next that paid a little more. Executing this self-promotion strategy got me closer to my desired salary at a faster pace, but the career pivots were not without great intrapersonal conflict, uncertainties, and risks.

The intrapersonal conflict came from having parents who instilled stability in me as a personal value. Reassessing and challenging that specific value was an internal battle of its own, and I learned a lot about the role of one’s value system in decision making. There were other lessons, too, in dealing with the uncertainties and risks.

Such uncertainties and risks were embedded in not knowing if the next work environment would be a good fit for me, or if I would even survive the subsequent six-month or one-year probational period that came with each new job. I knew, though, for the sake of my family, I had to take charge of navigating my professional and financial well-being. In the process, I learned to few tactical actions to pull off self-promotion and navigate a career path, successfully.

1. It starts within

    • Have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish
    • Resolve any conflicting personal factors influencing your drive to accomplish it
    • Play to your strengths. Have a plan to develop your weaknesses (areas for improvement).
    • Trust your intuition

2. Commit to the process

    • The journey is not about your desires, but a commitment to the effort and consistency needed to have what you desire.
    • Learning is a part of the process and learning comes through humility. 

3. Plan your moves two steps ahead.

    • Moving into a “new job” should position you for the “next new job”. Therefore, knowing the skills, knowledge, and experience that the “next new job” requires is the key to determining your best move from your current position.

Monday, September 28, 2020

The Pressure For Productivity


With more professionals working from home, organizations have yet another cause for concern about productivity. The assurance that employees are putting in the time and effort to do their job has led companies to take some steps to keep tabs on the activities of their workers.

Many companies have strict guidelines for employees to show they are on the job and are being productive. The approaches they use include virtual clocking in and out, monitoring work laptops, tracking mouse and keyboard movements, and monitoring employees’ emails and communications.

In working remotely, employees might feel a greater need, too, to show they are available to their companies, which may lead them to stay online for longer hours than they would if they were working at their physical work location. The pressure to meet productivity expectations, however, can leave less time for personal rejuvenation, and lead to mental fatigue, poor health, and exhaustion.

While effective management is essential, a joint effort between organizations and employees to combat the pressure could result in greater productivity as well as preserve a healthy work-life balance. There are four tips leaders can try.

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Here four tips workers can try.

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Saturday, June 27, 2020

How We Transformed to Digital

It happened so naturally that when a colleague asked about the impact of COVID-19 on my business, I responded, “Hmmm. It was minimally.” In some cases, I easily answered, “It didn’t have an impact.” 

At the time, I didn’t see, feel, or even thought about the impact. 

It took weeks of privately mulling the question, on and off, before realizing just how much God’s directive to transform to digital had lessened the impact on my company. His directive was months before COVID-19 became a major concern in the U.S., and, notedly, even the awareness of God’s role, in initiating the process, was slow coming. 

It was nearing the last quarter of 2019 when a thought occurred to me, out of nowhere or so I thought, to shift my focus and marketing efforts to digital. Until that moment, my husband, who is in charge of sales and marketing, had prioritized his preference for personal selling. And he was good at it. The sale of my books was going well. In fact, prior to releasing my latest novel, Everything She Needs, he had generated a sizeable amount of pre-orders that getting the book in the hands of the readers felt urgent.

The request for our professional development training was increasing as well. Although we have an online platform, he focused on in-person training, primarily. In planning for 2020, he had already booked dates with local organizations and was in talks with prospects from Africa to expand our reach. We had conducted training sessions with entrepreneurs from Gabon, and he was excited about the developing plans with contacts there to expand into the region.

It was amidst the planning that the thought to prioritize a transformation to digital occurred to me. As the link between the company and the public, this meant my husband had to change his marketing strategy. I discussed it with him, made it the theme for 2020, and built a marketing course for us.  

After conducting research, I also invested in new marketing software, digital delivery services, and built an online store to expand the distribution channels for my books, beyond Amazon. I revamped our Learning Management System (LMS) platform for delivery of our courses and training, and developed a marketing plan that prioritized online activities.

From a business perspective, the restructuring was necessary to keep with the growing trend towards “online everything” in the business environment. However, as a small business, the steps were taken in strides. My husband slowly adapted, and we embraced the steep learning curve. By the time COVID-19 was generating major concerns and forcing businesses to go remote, we were ahead of the curve.

Transforming to digital is not a new concept. However, with the impact of COVID-19, now more than ever, small business owners should consider it a necessity for survival.

Benefits of Transforming to Digital
1.     Reach more potential customers
2.      Increase sales
3.      Engage customers
4.      Improve efficiency
5.      Enhance creativity
6.      Improve the speed of delivery
7.      Collect data in real-time
8.      Make informed strategic decisions
9.      Satisfy environmental responsibility
10     Stay competitive

While transforming to digital presents small business owners with more ways to add value to their product offerings, aspiring entrepreneurs, too, can take advantage of digital technologies to seize the opportunities in the altering business landscape. 

Laura P. Jones, PhD

Friday, June 5, 2020

Managing Stress

Three Tips to Combat Stress

By: Laura P. Jones, PhD

There’s something about a social disturbance that can stretch and bend the components of our emotions into a meltdown. 

From the disruption of a pandemic lockdown, job loss, and economic uncertainties to the deprivation of the most basic necessity, air to breathe, the pressure from stresses in life can default us to a state of screaming, silently, in our heads, I can’t breathe

As life at that moment can feel most hopeless, and the triggers of a fixed-mindset persona easily set in to dominate any thoughts of overcoming, there is not a better time to protest, within ourselves, for the right to grab hold of the fading glimmer of hope dissipating in the despair. 

For any reason, the strength to transform our minds amidst life’s disturbances is a right we owe ourselves, and we can develop such strength even in the face of life’s most stressful and even prolong ordeals. 

Here are three tips to do just that.

Identify the Stressors

Stressors can be people, things, events, or experiences that pose a real or perceive threat either physically, emotionally, or psychologically. Pinpointing them is the first step to managing them. 

Eliminate Whatever is Tiring, Unnecessary, and Unimportant

Creating balance in your life is critical. Find the pieces of life that hold worth and importance to you and focus your time and energy on those things. Whenever possible, isolate yourself from people, things, or events that drain your energy and pursue things that bring you joy and contentment.   

Nurture A Positive Attitude

A positive attitude is a choice. It requires finding the good in situations and directing more focus toward it. In troubled times, doing so might seem an impossible task. However, it is not. Some of the simplest things that are overlooked, can be reasons for gratitude. A focus on these things can bring calmness and help in managing your thoughts, emotions, and behavioral responses in a way that enables overcoming the upheavals from the stresses in life.

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