Inconvenience Yourself Day

Many of our actions seem to say we think we are more significant than the next person; that our lives and schedules are more important than some else’s. We often inconvenience other people to make our own lives easier and don’t give a thought to the impact of our actions on others.

Inconvenience Yourself Day is an opportunity to focus on inconveniencing ourselves instead of inconveniencing others. It is also a day to recognize and acknowledge those who inconvenience themselves for others. Acknowledgment can be verbal, a note, or some small token of appreciation.

Inconvenience Yourself Day is a time to reinforce business values with employees and customers. It is a way of living that can be used in the workplace. Some suggested ways to incorporate the theme of the holiday into your work day are listed below.

Customers

  • Finish with one customer before moving on to the next
  • Be mindful of the customer you are working with – be sensitive to interruptions by other customers
  • Acknowledge customer communications promptly
  • Respond quickly and professionally
  • Go the extra mile
  • Let your customers know you appreciate their business
  • Be honest in your business dealings
  • Be courteous
  • Don’t ignore customers when the phone rings
  • Limit personal phone usage and personal discussions in front of customers

Employees

  • Show respect
  • Be trustworthy
  • Be consistent
  • Be patient
  • Be fair and consistent in handling of employee issues
  • Be honest
  • Set a good example
  • Say please and thank you
  • Give employees a chance to improve
  • Look for opportunities to minimize environmental impact which make business sense
  • Tell employees when they have done a good job
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle
  • Set up a rewards system based on the concept

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Resource: http://www.inconvenienceyourself.com/

Balancing Instant and Formal Recognition

Now & later: The benefits of balancing instant recognition and formal recognition.

A vast majority of businesses present their key contributors with traditional formal awards at the end of each year. The value of recognizing their best in a special meeting or ceremony is unquestioned.

While their numbers are growing, fewer organizations incorporate consistent instant recognition into their award and motivation programs. The mere fact that this approach to recognition is somewhat informal does not, however, diminish its importance.

The truth is both instant recognition and formal recognition play very different roles in motivating your staff and, consequently, both are key elements of a well-balanced award program.

Catch Them in the Act:
Instant Recognition Creates Positive Energy.

It’s often the minor adjustments, small improvements and extra efforts that lead to the biggest changes. These are the ideas and actions that not only affect your business’ bottom line but also help to solidify your organization’s culture. Given the amount of influence these seemingly insignificant events can have on success, it’s important to make sure they don’t go unnoticed.

By recognizing these special contributions when they occur, you’re not only fostering an environment that offers instant acknowledgment of above-and-beyond thinking but also endorsing the value of initiative and creativity among your entire staff. An awareness that initiative is frequently rewarded throughout the organization creates a positive energy that encourages every member of your team to remain focused on continuous improvements as they perform their day-to-day responsibilities.

Regardless of how you choose to acknowledge these accomplishments, you can be sure that the effect of instant recognition on the recipient far outweighs the financial investment:

Keep it simple and heartfelt. Send a recognition greeting card with a handwritten note of thanks.
Take a lighter approach. A uniquely shaped stressball with an imprinted motivational message lets them know you appreciate their hands-on attitude toward their job.
Give them a chance to display their pride. Recognition pins can be pinned to clothing or partition walls as a constant reminder of their commitment. Affordable miniature acrylic “awards,” like our Mini-Raves, are also becoming increasingly popular.

Make a Big Deal:
Reserve Formal Recognition for Longer-Term Achievements.

At the most basic level, formal awards give you the opportunity to publicly display your appreciation for the outstanding accomplishments of your key performers. While the importance of this function cannot be underestimated, formal awards also operate on several other levels.

By acknowledging significant contributions that have required a more sustained commitment, these awards demonstrate your organization’s commitment to dedication, passion, continuous improvement and an ongoing focus on excellence. In addition, they allow your organization to create role models that other staff members can look to as they strive to make their own important contributions. This aspirational aspect of formal awards serves to bring out the best in the emerging talent within your organization.

With hundreds of unique designs, a variety of materials and a wide range of price options to choose from, you’re sure to find formal awards that meet your needs.

Capture their attention with acrylics. Many exciting new processes and original designs have made acrylic awards an attractive and affordable choice for many organizations. Full color acrylic plaques, a current popular favorite, incorporate beautiful photographic images into the classic plaque format.
Take an artistic approach. Finely detailed sculpted resin awards in eye-catching faux wood, bronze and stone finishes add a refined yet earthy element to your award presentations.
Make a statement. Crystal awards are the ideal choice when it’s time to recognize your most important honorees and achievements. Choose a notable new design that will serve as an impressive focal point on any desk or credenza.

Cultivate an Atmosphere of Acknowledgment.

Building a culture where achievements both large and small are recognized on a regular basis lets every member of your team know their contributions are valued. While affecting cultural change can be daunting, balancing formal awards recognition efforts with a continuous instant recognition program will put you on the path to creating an atmosphere of acknowledgement throughout your organization.

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Teamwork in tough economic times

Get maximum results from every employee with minimal investment.

The effect of extraordinary individual effort on an organization can never be underestimated. Focused and driven employees are essential to success. In a challenging business climate, however, it’s vital to engage every member of your staff and bring out their very best work every day.

That’s where the power of the team comes into play. Led by your top performers, teams allow your brightest stars to shine and to raise the level of expectation and performance in every member of the group.

Build your business by building consensus

The first step in creating an effective team is assuring that every member understands and feels invested in the broader goals of the team, their role in the group and, most importantly, their responsibility for the team’s success.

  • Emphasize your commitment to teamwork by revisiting your organization’s mission statement. Incorporate and highlight the important role every individual plays in the long-term success of their team(s) and in the organization as a whole. Underscore your commitment to company-wide teamwork by distributing framed desktop prints featuring inspiring teamwork-themed images and messages. If your budget allows, customize your prints with your new mission statement for maximum impact.
  • Formalize your focus on teamwork with an interactive all-company meeting where everyone gets re-introduced to, involved with and energized by their individual teams. Search the web or contact a motivational meeting planner for new and exciting activities to engage and strengthen your teams. Pass out themed mugs, pens and notepads to each attendee to keep the significance of the day’s lessons in mind throughout the year.
  • The printed word gives weight and meaning to your message. Stock break rooms, conference rooms and common areas with quick-read business handbooks that reinforce the responsibility of the individual and the importance of shared goals. Many inspiring paperback titles are available for under $10.

Team support ensures no one has an “off day” and every success is acknowledged.

Even your star contributors can have a tough day – a day when things aren’t quite falling into place. By taking responsibility for each other’s success, providing support during challenging times and recognizing special contributions on a regular basis, the team ensures a consistent level of excellence is maintained day in and day out.

  • Develop a buddy system within each department. Assign each person a partner they can turn to when they need a “second opinion,” technical assistance, or backup on a particularly busy day. This team-within-a-team approach helps everyone achieve their individual goals while creating a we’re-all-in-this-together environment.
  • Spread the responsibility for recognition throughout the group. Twice a year, give every member of your organization an affordable instant recognition “award” and ask them to present it to a fellow team member in recognition of above-and-beyond efforts. Recognition pins and gem awards make a big impression at minimal cost.

“There is little success where there is little laughter.”

When everyone is watching the bottom line and results are all-important, don’t forget the value of fun and its positive effect on morale and team building.

  • Encourage groups or departments (or your entire organization) to take a short afternoon break as a team once a week. Let them know it’s okay to put aside the “shop talk,” relax and re-focus. Off-the-clock interactions like these create strong bonds and allow the group to connect as a unit.
  • Following a big success or a tough deadline crunch, deliver a novelty desktop game or puzzle with a motivational spin in every mailbox. You’ll get the whole team talking, energized and ready to take on the next challenge. For serious team bonding, pass out a scrambled motivational Rubik’s Cube® to the leader of each team and give each group one week to solve the puzzle. Offer a special prize for each member of the team(s) that completes the task. A gift card for the nearest coffee shop is an inexpensive and always appreciated choice.

During tight economic times, every organization needs to get the most out of every individual and every dollar spent. Investing your time and a small portion of your budget into strengthening teamwork pays big dividends in the form of increased productivity, efficiency and morale. Tap into the power of the team today!

Have a team-building event or success story you’d like to share?
We’d love to hear about it!

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Ten Unique Time Management Tips

We’re heading full speed through the 1st quarter…and that means it’s time to focus and invigorate everyone on your team for the busy months ahead. And it’s also a great opportunity to organize your team and make sure everyone is managing time wisely.

We’ve put together 10 unique time-management tips. Incorporate these simple steps into your workday and share them with members of your team. You’ll find these easy changes can truly make a difference:

1. Have a plan. Each morning, make yourself a to-do list. As each task is accomplished, cross it off your list. It’s a nice reminder not only of what you need to do, but also of what you’ve already accomplished.

2. Plan for the Unplanned. Don’t fill your entire day up with meetings and tasks. All it can take is one unscheduled phone call or a small emergency to throw off your entire day. Give yourself room every day to answer e-mails, make phone calls and to deal with unexpected tasks.

3. Tackle the Big Stuff First. Our tendency is to put off the big or difficult tasks for later. But studies have shown that most of us are more alert and productive in the morning. And accomplishing the major assignments first will energize your afternoons.

4. Take the 10-Minute Challenge. Is your desk filling up with papers? Put aside 10 minutes every other day—you may even want to set a timer—to go through and file, pass along or trash those piles of papers. A clutter-free desk can add some much needed calm and makes other tasks seem less frenzied.

5. Make big tasks small. Here’s another use for the timer: when you have a large task, break it up into 10- or 15-minute increments of work. Set the timer, and just do that amount of work. You’ll find that, like small amounts of exercise, small amounts of work make any task less intimidating.

6. Learn to negotiate your time. Every project has a deadline, but if you need more time, ask for it. Communicate your needs with the project manager and work with them to get the time you need to complete the tasks at hand.

7. Lend a helping hand. If you have some extra time, share it with a co-worker. Even if it’s just to make copies or get them some coffee, that little helping hand can make all the difference.

8. Respect other’s time. If you have a meeting scheduled for 10 am, be there at 10 am. If you’re meeting is only suppose to last a half hour, do your best to stick to 30 minutes. Don’t abuse other people’s time, and hopefully they’ll respect yours as well.

9.Make work fun. It may seem like there can’t possibly be time for fun, but that’s when you need it most. Take just five minutes a day to free your mind of work and just relax. Take a short walk, learn to juggle, share a joke of the day—you’ll return a little more refreshed.

10. Reward yourself (and others!). Celebrate your accomplishments—big and small. Give yourself a snack break, take a short walk or literally pat yourself on the back. Also make sure you acknowledge other members of your team that work with you to get the job done.

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Strengthen Your Internal Brand

Strengthen your “internal brand” with an integrated motivation program.

Just as marketing and advertising strive to create a deeply ingrained awareness of a company’s brand through a series of integrated initiatives, many human resource departments are recognizing the value this same strategic approach has in the promotion of their core values within their organizations. This “internal branding” method instills the company’s guiding principles in employees from their first day on the job and seeks to reinforce those principles in varied and inspiring ways each and every day in order to leverage the power of the workforce. Curt Coffman, co-author of the best-selling book on management, First, Break All The Rules, stated in a recent interview with The Gallup Organization that the keys to creating a highly engaged workforce are to “set clear expectations, give employees the right materials, focus on the employee, and recognize your best performers.” A well-executed internal branding program addresses all of these elements through the implementation of four distinct initiatives, each of which plays a vital role in the process.

Introduce core values to new employees.

  • Begin establishing your company’s emphasis on its core values from their first day on the job with motivational reinforcements they’ll encounter each and every day. Affordable desktop accessories including mugs, pen caddies, notepads and other items imprinted with your mission or values provide new hires with a basic guideline on which to base their actions and decisions.
  • Exhibit a strong commitment to your values by giving a gift of a framed desktop print with a motivational message or artwork personalized with your logo and mission statement. Options are available for every size work area.

Provide ongoing reminders throughout the workplace.

Surround your employees with visual motivational reminders that reinforce your core value message throughout the workplace.

  • Reception areas: Greet your employees each morning with a personalized banner or framed mission statement print reminding them of the core values they should use to guide their decision-making throughout their day.
  • Conference rooms and hallways: Eye-catching motivational wall art provides constant reinforcement of key messages. Tailor your art selection to each workspace. For example, stress the importance of goals or focus in a conference room, the value of determination or perseverance in offices, work stations and hallways, and the significance of work/life balance or perspective in a cafeteria or lunchroom.
  • Individual workspaces: Taking the opportunity to reiterate your values in each employees’ “personal space” helps to encourage ownership in those values. Framed desktop artwork, personalized desktop accessories and stress relievers are excellent choices.

Use rewards and recognition to further define core values.

Expand your awards program beyond the traditional once-a-year award ceremony with frequent and diverse recognition opportunities. This on-going approach helps to define your core values by publicly recognizing specific performances and behaviors that clearly support them.

  • On-the-spot recognition provides instant affirmation of contributions that exemplify core values. Effective and affordable pins, medallions and keychains help keep core values top-of-mind and create positive energy through an awareness that recognition can come at any time.
  • Progressive award programs have been shown to enhance the performance of both recipients and their co-workers. A monthly award plaque sets the bar for excellence by establishing top performers as standard bearers for the core values. The visibility and frequent regularity of a perpetual award creates an on-going focus on excellence and offers an inclusive opportunity for every employee, even the newest hire, to earn recognition.
  • Year-end awards are powerful tools for establishing your internal brand. When reserved for key contributors in each department who consistently exemplify your core values, they provide a definitive clarification of your values that all employees can follow. An official presentation ceremony underscores the company’s commitment to those values and to those individuals who commit themselves to upholding them. With thousands of customizable award designs available, be sure to choose one that matches your corporate values.

Offer personalized reinforcement.

Management’s direct support of your core values strengthens and personalizes your internal branding initiative.

  • Acknowledge special contributions, holidays or personal milestones with notecards reinforcing core values through both inspirational imagery and messaging. Personalize them with your company logo, name and/or unique corporate message. A handwritten card or note can have a significant impact on the acceptance and internalization of your corporate values.
  • Create a company-exclusive annual award that specifically reinforces your core values while providing personalized recognition of on-going dedication to those values. Presentation of the award by a key executive helps to underscore the importance of both the award and the core values.

Administered individually, each one of these initiatives can have a positive effect in the development of your organization’s core values. Aligning all four of these methods in a strategic promotional approach, however, puts you on the path to creating an intrinsically understood “internal brand” that will guide your employees to higher performance and your company to greater unity and success.

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