Traci's 2020 Business Tips

Updated: Apr 3

When possible, start each day with several minutes of quiet reflection. Think about what you want and need to accomplish. Consciously decide what type of energy you will bring to the day. Negative energy drains motivation and is a morale buster. Positive energy yields positive results. You have the power to determine whether you will have a good and productive day or a bad day with few to no successes. (Posted December 13, 2020)

Your employees matter. When profits are down, they matter. When customers complain, they matter. When mistakes are made, they matter. As a leader, always be compassionate and respectful. Be thankful that your employees are present, working, and contributing to the organization. Never forget that all day, every day, employees matter. (Posted December 6, 2020)

Options for career development and growth can come from many sources. You can gain valuable knowledge and perspectives from mentors. You can enroll in a class or complete formal training. You can also read books, listen to podcasts, or even check out YouTube! With as many available possibilities, do not let opportunities pass you by. (Posted November 29, 2020)

This week I’d like to express my gratitude to all of our clients we have had the pleasure to work with since the inception of G2 Diversified Services. I value each relationship that developed through our work together. I truly appreciate the trust that you bestowed when you invited us into your “business home. Further, I am grateful for the positive reception to my weekly business tips. As we head into our fifth year, we will do our best to continue to provide the services and tools organizations need to “improve business effectiveness.” (Posted November 22, 2020)

Perfection is usually impossible and very much overrated. Instead of wasting time on the unattainable, focus your efforts on making progress. Whether taking giant leaps or baby steps, routinely assess and appreciate your forward momentum. (Posted November 15, 2020)

As we head toward the holiday season, self-discipline can be very challenging. Overeating, overindulging on social media, and not focusing enough on work can be tempting. However, eventually, those bad habits begin to have negative consequences. Make every effort to maintain a healthy and productive lifestyle while enjoying the holiday season and beyond. (Posted November 8, 2020)

Though your career may not be all that you dreamed it would be, be thankful for the lifestyle and opportunities that it affords you. On those days that you want to call it quits, remember that no job is perfect. You can use your power to make changes for the better or sulk, complain, and stew in your misery. Choose wisely! (Posted November 1, 2020)

When work and home life priorities collide, don’t panic! Remember, there is only one you and only so much you can accomplish. If you spread yourself too thin, nothing will be done well. Categorize each significant task, determine its level of priority, figure out what can be delegated or eliminated, and then re-engage. Complete the same steps as each new task comes your way. Having a workable plan for getting things done, instead of operating in chaos, is likely to decrease your stress and increase productivity. (Posted October 25, 2020)

Rather than wasting time rationalizing bad behavior, take action! Even if you are extremely uncomfortable, find the strength to do the right thing. Complacency in the face of wrongdoing signals acceptance and grants license for the behavior to continue. (Posted October 18, 2020)

Make a difference by choosing to help others succeed in the workforce. If you have a mentor who provides consistent, high-quality support and guidance, take the time to express your gratitude. Also, pay it forward by freely sharing your knowledge and experience with others to help support their professional growth. (Posted October 11, 2020)

Organizational decisions made in isolation can be detrimental to achieving desired outcomes. If your staff frequently question how or why decisions were made, you may need to consider a more inclusive style of communication. Staff are more likely to buy-in and commit to decisions when they have a voice in how they are made. (Posted October 4, 2020)

Don’t say yes if you really mean no. If you don’t have the time to dedicate yourself to a task, speak up. Being truthful strengthens your credibility and puts you in a position to have a rational discussion of what’s possible and what’s not. (Posted September 27, 2020)

Words matter. Commitments matter. Actions matter. Alignment between the three is critical if you want to be viewed as a fair and capable leader. If there is misalignment, don’t be surprised when your employees begin to question your integrity, or worse, follow your lead. (Posted September 20, 2020)

When was the last time you cleaned and organized your workspace? If office clutter causes you to waste time shuffling from pile to pile instead of getting work done, schedule 2-3 hours, and complete a thorough cleaning and reorganization of your space. Watch how your productivity and mood improve when you begin working in your new environment. (Posted September 13, 2020)

Your employees are not your children. Therefore, "because I said so" is not a reasonable response when someone questions a decision or asks for more information. Ensure that you fully understand your request and its potential impacts and then be prepared to clarify your expectations. (Posted September 6, 2020)

At the start of each week, map out tasks that you must accomplish. Use your calendar, planner, or other organizing tools to block out dedicated time to complete each task. Unless there is an emergency, stick to your schedule. By week’s end, you’ll be ready to enjoy some downtime because you will have earned it! (Posted August 30, 2020)

Rethinking a decision and readjusting when needed is a powerful leadership practice. Don’t compound mistakes by digging in your heals and failing to acknowledge your error. You will be trusted and respected more if you admit you are wrong and work to get back on the right track. (Posted August 23, 2020)

Do you find yourself going through the motions of your day with no passion for what you accomplish? If you’re content to do just enough to get by, shake things up! If you have outgrown your current position, look for more challenging opportunities. If your job is still right for you, recommit, and find ways to go beyond “good enough.” (Posted August 16, 2020)

Where would you be if someone had not given you a chance to shine? Don’t forget what it was like to be enthusiastic, wanting to excel, and fervently hoping that someone would recognize what you had to offer. Take a chance, and mentor potential! (Posted August 9, 2020)

Some challenges may be difficult to overcome. However, keep in mind that solutions to problems don’t have to be masterpieces of complexity. Often, simple and straightforward reasoning can help you work through the most frustrating obstacles. (Posted August 2, 2020)

There should be no shame in taking a timeout to rethink and regroup. If something is not working, trying the same thing one more time is a waste of time and energy. The best use of your resources is to accept what’s not working and figure out what can be done differently to achieve the desired results. (Posted July 26, 2020)

If you can’t or won’t trust the people you work with, change needs to occur. Figure out if your concerns are legitimate or if you need to let go of assumptions or old resentments. If the issue is with you, figure out how to reconcile your negative, and perhaps inaccurate, perceptions of others with the reality of their actions. If the problems indeed are with others, and there is no chance for improvement, you may need to seek other employment opportunities. (Posted July 19, 2020)

When decision-making, you don't have to choose between your gut, your head, or your heart. It would be best if you relied on each of them. Listen to your instincts, view the pros and cons of decisions logically, and ensure that you don't compromise on your ethical standards. (Posted July 12, 2020)

When trying to start or finish a project, do your thoughts race in 100 different directions, leaving you wondering when, how, and where to start? If so, give yourself a brief timeout. Find a trusted confidant to share your ideas or capture your thoughts on a piece of paper or the computer. Moving ideas from the internal environment (your brain) to an external environment can help you gain clarity on how best to proceed. (Posted July 5, 2020)

Don’t let pride stand in the way of personal and professional growth. Pay attention to how you respond when your beliefs are challenged. Do you shut down and tune out, or do you open yourself up to new possibilities? Imagine how much you could gain by being open to new information, fresh ideas, and different ways of doing things. (Posted June 28, 2020)

There is never a wrong time to do the right thing. If you have concerns about past actions, take time to pause and reflect in order to figure out where you went wrong. Don't be afraid or ashamed to offer a sincere apology and to make amends. Seek to expand your knowledge, and then strive to ensure that your future actions are grounded firmly on the side of right. (Posted June 21, 2020)

Difficult conversations are…well, difficult. Don’t shy away from discussions because you are uncomfortable. Start by clarifying the issues or topic(s) of discussion, establish ground rules on how to handle conflict that may naturally arise, and then listen to understand and not to reply. While these steps may not make discussions any easier, they may make them more productive. (Posted June 14, 2020)

Instead of a Business Tip for the week of June 7, 2020, I want to share some personal thoughts. As a black woman who has been in positions of "power" for over 20 years, I have felt the sting and gut-punch of racism, personally and professionally. Growing up, the messages that I received, due to the color of my skin, were that I was stupid, I would never amount to anything, and I was worthless. My husband has been judged and asked to change because he made people uncomfortable because he is a big and loud black man. My daughter was urinated on and called the N-word at her daycare center by another child when she was only three years old. Before he understood why he was treated differently than his peers, my son was judged and able to instill fear in others simply because he was black and often taller than others in his age-group. While I could fill volumes with more personal examples, I want to shift to the professional side. "Improving business effectiveness" is my business tagline. What everyone should understand is that people are the business. If there are people in your organization with no voice or leaders who are tone-deaf to the struggles of black and other people of color, the business might see a profit, but it is NOT effective. Many times, when I look around the room or across the table, no one looks like me. I have often been underestimated, and there have been many failed attempts to talk down to me because a person of my color surely couldn't bring much value to the conversation. I have been called a little black troublemaker (by a supervisor) to my face, and I'm sure many other negative names behind my back. G2 Diversified Services was founded because my husband and I believed that I had something to offer that could help others learn from my professional experiences, both positive and negative. I have counseled, mentored, and coached individuals who made mistakes but were ready for positive change. I have worked with people to improve their communication skills. I have provided training on diversity and inclusion. I have helped groups of people to become effective teams. I have worked with businesses to find solutions to problems that they thought were insurmountable. I have done these things and more because I genuinely believe that I and others always have room for growth and improvement. If I can be a small part of helping others to do better, I am doing the job that is meant for me. As I struggle with the racial injustice that other people of color and I continue to suffer, my brain cries out for a solution. What's stopping us from developing and implementing a focused and sustained strategic work plan, so that we can begin to take steps to tear down institutional racism and build up equality. Why can't we, as a people, have a mission, vision, and values solely focused on equality for all? Why can't we let everyone have a voice—those who want peace and those who are extremely angry? Why can't we have focused efforts in every state, aligned around a common goal? Much like businesses that develop strategic plans to guide their long-term decision making, let's figure out how we work together to tackle this problem, that in some way, touches us all. While I get discouraged sometimes and think that we will never make progress, I can't and won't give up! Just like I fight for businesses to be successful, I will fight for justice and equality for all. (Posted June 7, 2020)

Don’t fall prey to the false narrative that time and patience will solve all problems. As leaders, your silence in the face of misconduct makes you more culpable because you have the power to bring change. If you see wrongdoing and do not do something or bring it to the attention of someone who can, you are perpetuating the issue. If you see something, say something. Otherwise, problems will never get resolved. (Posted May 31, 2020)

While sunny days and summer activities may be calling to you and tempting you to take shortcuts to finish work-related tasks, especially those you don’t like, don’t do it! Have the patience and discipline to do things right the first time. Fulfill your employment duties and responsibilities and then spend your time and energy doing leisurely activities you enjoy. (Posted May 24, 2020)

Wishful thinking is not an effective strategy for job advancement. If you want to climb the career ladder, you must do the work. Conduct a realistic check of your knowledge, skills, and abilities; develop and implement a plan to fill in the gaps; and then actively pursue opportunities for upward mobility. (Posted May 17, 2020)

Work hard, and play hard while you take the time to enjoy the short days of spring and summer. Let the sunshine inspire and motivate you to give your all and do your best! (Posted May 10, 2020)

Ever wonder who’s responsible for keeping you focused and on track during the workday? You are! Don’t depend on others to motivate you. Use strategies like positive self-talk and weekly, daily, or even hourly to-do lists to ensure you get the job done in a timely and acceptable manner. (Posted May 3, 2020)

Surround yourself with positive people, starting with yourself. Give yourself permission to celebrate big and small victories, which might include finishing a project or simply getting out of bed and showing up. Take pride in what you accomplished, even if you think you could or should have done more or better. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions! (Posted April 26, 2020)

The right time to offer assistance is not after you watched someone struggle and fail. Shaming employees or relying on, "I told you so" is not helpful. Instead, take note of how your employees are doing. When you notice an employee is struggling to be productive or to sustain productivity, work with them to identify, understand, and address the problem. (Posted April 19, 2020)

Rarely do plans go exactly the way you want or envision. Instead of being angry and frustrated, take the time to see what you can learn from the experience. Don’t be so rigid with your expectations that you hold on to the negatives and disregard the positives. (Posted April 12, 2020)

Don't allow the uncertainty of the future to stop you in your tracks. It's perfectly normal to want to know when things will get back to the way they used to be or to grieve the loss of work-related routines that created structure within your workday and camaraderie with your peers. Learn to identify and appropriately share feelings of fear, anger, and frustration, but don't get stuck in the negative. Instead, focus on the positive aspects of your work that you can control, such as learning how to use new technology to effectively communicate with your coworkers or refining work processes to help improve your effectiveness. (Posted April 5, 2020) Don't let the new reality of social distancing give you an excuse to set aside your professional development goals. Everyday strive to learn something new! At the beginning of the day, identify (and put in writing) your goal for the day. It can be as simple or complex as you desire. Keep it visible throughout the day, so you have a constant reminder of what you want to achieve. At the end of each day, assess your progress toward meeting your goal. Either congratulate yourself on a job well done or commit to doing better the next day. (Posted March 29, 2020)

When someone asks how we are doing, “I’m fine” tends to be an automatic response. Instead of being on autopilot, take time to assess how you are really doing. It’s ok to say you don’t understand, you need help or that you are completely overwhelmed. Sharing your actual status can be the first step in getting the support and resources you need. (Posted March 22, 2020)

During challenging times, understanding and compassion can go a long way. Make time to check-in with your employees, both those you see at the office and those who may be working offsite. Find ways to uplift and assist each other through the trying times, and then make it the standard for your interactions going forward. (Posted March 15, 2020)

Is your employee handbook keeping up with the ever-changing landscapes of employment and labor laws? Federal and state legislation often change in response to societal changes such as the legalization of marijuana in some states or to new rulings from the National Labor Relations Board, e.g., employers’ ability to require employee confidentiality during the course of an investigation. Ideally, you should update your handbook as legislation changes. If that’s not doable, review and revise it minimally on an annual basis. (Posted March 8, 2020)

Having a plan only in your head may be the equivalent of having no plan at all. If you fail to plan or to communicate your plan, don’t become angry if your employees can’t or won’t deliver your expected outcomes with little to no notice. Make time to develop cohesive and comprehensive plans with input and feedback from your employees. Implement, assess, and refine them as needed to achieve desired outcomes. (Posted March 1, 2020)

Different communication styles and preferences (in-person, phone, email, messaging, etc.) are common in the workplace. Don't get so locked into communicating your preferred way that you lose valuable opportunities to connect with others. Mix it up and learn to appreciate how much you can gain from stepping outside your comfort zone! (Posted February 23, 2020)

Are you standing in the way of your own success? Do you fill your brain with negative thoughts that sabotage your ability to accomplish tasks or tackle new challenges? Always keep in mind that the voice in your head can help you to soar or can cause you to crash and burn. If negative self-talk is a problem for you, immediately take steps to stop it in its tracks! Commit to rerouting to more positive, can-do thoughts. (Posted February 16, 2020)

Use your words and actions to set appropriate professional boundaries. Be clear about what is acceptable and what isn’t. If you believe someone’s behavior crosses the line, let them know immediately. Be clear and direct and get a commitment from them that their actions will cease and not be repeated. If problems persist, do not hesitate to move your concerns up the chain of command. (Posted February 9, 2020)

When the sun shines, it tends to have a positive impact on our outlook and mood. Strive to be the sunlight in your organization! When your employees or your leadership team see you coming, they should not only welcome but look forward to the interaction. If you notice them consistently looking for ways to avoid contact with you, your “light” might not be shining as brightly as it should. Don’t wait for darkness to fall before you make some improvements. (Posted February 2, 2020)

Living your best life should mean having a healthy balance between your work life and your home life. It's doubtful that anyone will ever consistently achieve a 50-50 split. In whatever role you are functioning, strive to be present. When at work, stay focused on the tasks at hand. When with family, enjoy and stay engaged in the moment. Minimally on a weekly basis, do a self-check and adjust as needed. (Posted January 26, 2020)

As leaders, sometimes sacrifice is necessary. You may have to sacrifice your pride and admit to mistakes. Sacrifice might come in the form of time, e.g., delay what you planned to do to assist one of your employees. Your sacrifice could also be giving up your daily (and delicious) coffee drink so that you can invest in your professional development. Whatever sacrifices you ultimately make, ensure that they align with your goal of being the best leader you can be. (Posted January 19, 2020)

Make each day the best day ever for you and your employees! As a leader, how you approach the day determines how your employees cope with challenges and setbacks. Starting the day with a "can-do" and "we're in this together" attitude results in employees who are not afraid to make mistakes, and in fact, use those mistakes as opportunities for growth. On the other hand, if you start the day by complaining and being resentful of the work ahead, your employees will follow suit. (Posted January 12, 2020)

Don't be afraid to start the new project, go for the promotion, finish your degree, etc. Let the new year bring new opportunities for personal reflection and growth. Don't waste time beating yourself up about what you did not accomplish in the past. Instead, start each day with a positive attitude and a realistic plan of what you will accomplish. Next focus on the steps you need to take to make progress. Finally, jump in and make it happen! (Posted January 5, 2020)


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