Strategies for Improving Workplace Behavior and Performance

From Leadership Expert Dr. Diane Hamilton

Managing Millennials Requires Understanding Their Values

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Millennials are one of the most misunderstood generations, which has led to frustration in the workplace.  With so many generations working together, it is not unusual that there would be some conflict. The biggest issues have revolved around the clash between Boomers and Millennials.  With varying views on political and leadership issues, as well as differences in the frequency at which they embrace technology, conflict management has become a top concern for many leaders.  Part of learning to manage this unique generation includes understanding and embracing their values. Continue reading “Managing Millennials Requires Understanding Their Values”

The PayPal Mafia: What is a Serial Entrepreneur?

The PayPal Mafia refers to a group of individuals who created multiple companies that created a frenzy of growth in the Silicon Valley.  The entrepreneurs created PayPal before they set out to develop other multiple successful technology-based companies.  These men are serial entrepreneurs or individuals who, “continuously come up with new ideas and starts new businesses. As opposed to a typical entrepreneur, who will often come up with an idea, start the company, and then see it through and play an important role in the day to day functioning of the new company, a serial entrepreneur will often come up with the idea and get things started, but then give responsibility to someone else and move on to a new idea and a new venture.”

To learn more about some of the individuals associated with the PayPal Mafia check out the following members and how their initial success led to other serial successes:

For a more complete list of the PayPal Mafia members and their accomplishments, click here.

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When Employers Utilize Employee Background Checks

 

Employers have no shortage of prospective employees in this economy.  In order to determine the best candidates, it is not uncommon for employers to run background checks.   Employeescreen.com reported that there may be some debate over the impact of these checks:  “it’s argued by employers that conducting criminal background checks assists in ultimately ensuring a safer work environment for everyone, reducing negligent hiring and criminal activity in the workplace. From the EEOC’s perspective the increase in criminal background checks for employment could cause discrimination in the hiring process.”

Background checks are in the news right now due to The Supreme Court Case of Vance v. Ball State University.

According to the EEOC, the following shows the likelihood of a job candidate to receive a background check:

  • 91% of financial jobs (banking, etc.) with fiduciary responsibility
  • 46% of senior executive positions
  • 34% of positions that require accessing confidential information (medical, salary, etc.)
  • 30% of positions where there is access to property
  • 11% of positions where state law requires it (day care, medical practitioner)
  • 9% of positions with security responsibilities (security guards)
  • 8% of positions involving national defense
  • 5% of positions that involve safety (transportation operation)
  • 3% of positions that involve contact with children and elderly

When Michael Eastman, (Executive Director of the Labor Law Policy with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) was asked about when credit checks were performed, he explained, “Different components of applicant background checks occur at different stages in the hiring process. Some employers may check references before an initial interview, some may do so afterward but before creating a final list of candidates. However, as I understand, most employers do not request credit history until the last stage of the hiring process. In other words, employers are not using credit history to compare the credit worthiness of several possible applicants. Instead, they are requesting credit history and potentially other information, on individuals that they are otherwise prepared to hire.”

For more information check out Michael Eastman’s Statement that includes the following issues regarding background checks:

  • Frequency in Use
  • Credit Scores and Information Utilized
  • Dialogue with Applicants
  • Can Credit History Ever be Job Related

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Glass Ceiling Under Magnifying Lens

 

The recent presidential debate brought attention to women in the business world.  The phrase glass ceiling is often used to describe the unofficial barrier to advancement that women may face in the working world.

In the Business Insider article Companies Really Lose Out When They Don’t Promote Women, author Max Nisen explained “Women are still vastly underrepresented at the top of companies. Only 20 percent of private companies have one or more women in the C-suite and only 6.5 percent have a female CEO.”

This information comes from a new study from Dow Jones Venture Source.  The data from this study showed that only “1.3% of privately held companies have a female founder.”  The good news was that “a company’s odds for success (versus unsuccess) increase with more female executives at the VP and director levels.  For start-ups with five or more females, 61% were successful and only 39% failed.” This data brings forth the question of whether companies could benefit from more female executives.

In the article Women Becoming More Successful than Men, it was noted that women are becoming better educated than men. Women are becoming stronger entrepreneurs as well. Forbes recently reported: “As of 2011, it is estimated that there are over 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States. Overall, women-owned firms have done better than their male counterparts over the past 14 years. The number of men-owned firms (which represent 51% of all U.S. firms) grew by only 25% between 1997 and 2011—half the rate of women-owned firms.”

The Washington Post explained that women’s issues helped shape the debate. Both candidates tried to show their support for women in business.

Business News reported that there are cracks in the glass ceiling as women gain boardroom seats. Though few women occupy boardroom seats, “Overall, growth equaled 1 percentage point in the past year among Fortune 1000 companies, but was larger among companies listed between 501 and 1000 by Fortune. Women made up 13.6 percent of board members at those companies, up 1.2 percentage points in the past year.”

The debates may bring more attention to women in the workplace, create more discussion and cause more than just cracks in the ceiling.

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Entrepreneurs: Crowdfunding Options from Fundable

 

Crowdfunding is the latest buzz word in entrepreneurial lending. Fundable is a new company that offers “crowdfunding for startup companies”.  Crowdfunding occurs when people network through the internet to raise money to support other people’s ideas or interests. Fundable’s site allows entrepreneurs to raise capital through crowdfunding activities.  Fundable’s site states, “Startups create a funding profile that provides an overview of their company, their fundraising goals, and the rewards they are willing to provide potential backers. Thereafter, they reach out to their personal networks as well as the broader Fundable community to enlist their support.”

 

Backers may pledge money and/or offer assistance.  Fundable mixes Kickstarter-style and equity-based crowdfunding.  Fundable shares similarities to Kickstarter, in that the process involves all-or-nothing funding.  Goals must be met in order to receive the funds and there is no limit to the amount of money that may be raised. Scribd.com explained that there are differences between Fundable and Kickstarter.  “Fundable will seek to fund for-profit companies, while Kickstarter is all about creative projects, like literature, movies and the like.”

 

With the recent push for Obama’s Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, Fundable may be able to take advantage of the crowdfunding law to solicit funds online from unaccredited investors.  However, Mashable explained, “Crowdfunding legislation is so new that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) hasn’t set rules for it and Fundable needs to be approved by the SEC as a broker/dealer before it can handle investments. In the meantime, the company is focusing on offering rewards-based deals — which makes it look, for the time being, like a less-populated version of Kickstarter.”

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Top Entrepreneurial Topics and Value of SBA

 

Are entrepreneurs made or born?  That is just one of the topics addressed in The Wall Street Journal’s report about Entrepreneurs and the Small Business Administration.  The Small Business Administration is one of the first sources my entrepreneurial students consider when asked where they would obtain funds for their venture. Check out some very interesting debates about six small-business issues:

The article about whether entrepreneurs are made or born is something that is discussed in several of my courses.  The above graphic demonstrates some of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.  This discussion creates an interesting debate considering some very talented entrepreneurs dropped out of school.  However, as noted in this article, there is a lot to be gained from education as well as from real life experience.

For more comprehensive information about how to be a successful entrepreneur, check out:  Top 30 Links for the Successful Entrepreneur.

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Using Personality Assessment to Ace the Job Interview

 

Showing up to a job interview without researching the company’s background, products and future potential is an error many job applicants make.  Even those who have properly researched the company may still make the mistake of not assessing the interviewer’s needs. There are some important tips that job-seekers can utilize to ace the interview even if they are not made aware of who will interview them ahead of time.

Job candidates need to keep in mind that people like to receive information based on their personality preferences.  In an interview situation, that means that the job-seeker needs to assess the interviewer’s personality to look for clues about these preferences.

Based on the following personality types, tailor how information is delivered in the following way:

Interviewer is an Introvert (they prefer to think about what they want to say before they say it):  They may not want a lot of chit chat. Allow them to have time to ask questions and don’t talk over them.

Interviewer is an Extrovert (they tend to say what they are thinking without processing first):  Realize they require information quickly and may talk over you or end sentences for you.  If they ask a question and you need more time, simply say something like, “That is a good question; let me think about that for a moment.”  That will buy you some time to formulate your answer.

Interviewer is Direct (they prefer to get to the point and may be abrasive): Don’t hem and haw around.  Get right to the bottom line information they require.

Interviewer is Structured (they like facts and figures):  If they have charts and graphs around and ask for statistics, give them data.  They like quantifiable answers.

One way to find out more about the person doing the interview is to look around the office for clues.  Try to find things that you have in common with them.  Show an interest in the things they showcase like pictures, plaques, awards, etc.  For more information about acing the interview, read 10 Most Important Steps to Obtain a Dream Job.

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Top 5 Things to Know to be a Successful Entrepreneur

The typical entrepreneurial personality has the drive and ambition for success.  Like anything in life, though, it is always harder to do something the very first time.  This can discourage many new entrepreneurs from taking that initial leap and to start their own business. 

I teach several entrepreneurial courses and have put together some important articles that I recommend to my students.  The following list contains many of these articles and some of the most important things that entrepreneurs should do in order to be successful:

  1. Read Success Stories and Attend Lectures:  An excellent way to be inspired and learn from other entrepreneurs is to read their success stories.  Onlineuniversities.com recently came up with a list of 20 Biographies Every Serious Entrepreneur Should Read.  These books include important success stories from Ben Franklin to Sam Walton.  Another very important article to read is:  50 Excellent Lectures for Small Business Owners.
  2. Learn the Truth About Failure:  Many entrepreneurs are stalled in their pursuit of success due to their fear of failure.  Even some of the most famous entrepreneurs met with failure before success.  To find out more about this, check out:  50 Famous People Who Failed Before Becoming Successful. Also see:  Famous Business Failures: Is it as Gloomy as it Sounds? Also see:  10 Famous Product Failures and the Advertisements That Did Not Sell Them.
  3. Learn the Truth About Finances Required:  Not all entrepreneurs come from wealthy families.  It can be challenging to come up with the funds required to begin a business.  Find out how some very famous entrepreneurs became successful in the article:  Famous Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big With Humble Beginnings.
  4. Learn How Women Have Become Successful Entrepreneurs:  Some very successful entrepreneurs have been women.  Check out:  Most Inspiring Entrepreneurial Women.
  5. Learn How to Network:  One of the best ways to get a product or company known is through social media.  Part of an entrepreneur’s success is through finding their customers and their niche.  Check out:  5 Top Networking Tips for Small Businesses.

Once an entrepreneur has developed a strong idea of the direction they want to take, they need to work on their feasibility study.  Investors will want to see this to be sure that their idea is sound. Another important aspect of creating their new business is deciding on a vision and mission statement.  Check out The Top 10 Mission Statements in 2011. Once an entrepreneur has received enough funds to get their new business off the ground, they may want to consider whether or not to go IPO.  Many companies like Facebook have waited and not gone this traditional route.  Find out Why Companies Are Not Going IPO due to fear of the past dot com crash.

Famous Entrepreneurs Who Hit it Big With Humble Beginnings

 

The movie The Social Network showcased Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to create an enormous business from seemingly nothing.  Not all entrepreneurs have been accepted to Harvard like Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates to hit it big. However, having the intelligence to get there doesn’t hurt.

I grew up next door to a very smart man who worked his way through a state college and started a little company with $5000.  That man was Leonard (Sam) Shoen who created U-Haul by asking gas station owners to let him rent trucks from their lots.  Amerco is now the parent of U-Haul and is a far cry from the corner gas station beginnings.

There are plenty of Leonard Shoen and Sam Walton stories out there.  Accountingdegree.com recently published a list of 10 big businesses that got started in a garage including: 

  1. Apple
  2. Google
  3. Mattel
  4. HP
  5. Amazon
  6. Disney
  7. Microsoft
  8. MagLite
  9. Yankee Candle Company
  10. Harley Davidson

For more detail regarding how each of these companies got started, you can click on each individual company or read the article by clicking here.

To see Steve Jobs’ Commencement Speech at Stanford explaining how he started Apple watch the following video: