What Not to Say to a Stressed-Out Colleague

stressed-out-collegueNo clichés, and no platitudes. We want to help when we see someone stressed out. When someone is wound up, they don’t want to hear about how you felt or triumphed in a tough situation because they are in the middle of it now.

Be helpful by saying “You can handle this,” and offer an example of when a time when they did bounce back. Ask them, “What would help?” If they say “nothing” or “I don’t know”, sit quietly for 15 seconds (the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” in your head.) The goal isn’t to cure someone’s stress, but to decrease it in the moment.

Adapted from the Harvard Business Review “Management Tip of the Day“ newsletter
Source: “What Not to Say to a Stressed-Out Colleague”, by Holly Weeks

Avoid 4 Freelancing Mistakes

Making the leap from being a WordPress developer in your spare time or for a boss to going freelance is daunting but exciting. If you’re like me, when you go freelance your focus will be on the work and not on the business side of things. But thinking like that could be a big mistake.

The big mistages are:

  1. Mistake #1: Undercharging
    1. Solution – Work out your rate following this simple process
  2. Mistake #2: No Contract
    1. Don’t work without it because you need to know and agree on what will be done, payment schedule (I suggest weekly invoicing and payment), and what happens if something go wrong
  3. Mistake #3: No Project Brief
    1. Summary of project timelines, details of exactly what will be done, each parties responsibilties, criteria for success, and who does what after project completed
  4. Mistake #4: No Deposit
    1. Some client may push back but stand firm as this is how you work, it is an industry practice, and is part of the contract they signed

Great stuff and you can read all of it at the link below.

Source: 4 Freelancing Mistakes That Are Costing You Cash (and How to Avoid Them) – WPMU DEV by Rachel McCollin

Ten Strategies To Change Behaviour

Most of us want to change a behaviour in ourselves or people in our sphere of influence.  We have all talked about change and often do not take enough action to make it real.  Morten T. Hansen’s article in the Harvard Business Review list 10 approaches that work according to his research.

1. Embrace the power of one. One company I worked with posted 8 values and 12 competencies they wanted employees to practice. The result: Nothing changed. When you have 20 priorities, you have none. Research on multi-tasking reveals that we’re not good at it. Focus on one behavior to change at a time. Sequence the change of more than one behavior.

2. Make it sticky.

3. Paint a vivid picture. When celebrity chef Jamie Oliver wanted to change the eating habits of kids at a U.S. school, he got their attention with a single, disgusting image: A truckload of pure animal fat (see photo).

Jamie Oliver, fat - HBR

When Oliver taught an obese kid to cook, he showed how cooking can be “cool” — walking with head up, shoulders back, and a swagger while preparing food. This gave the boy a positive image he could relate to. As Herminia Ibarra outlines in her book Working Identity, imagining new selves can be a powerful force for change. Use stories, metaphors, pictures, and physical objects to paint an ugly image of “where we are now” and a better vision of a glorious new state. This taps into people’s emotions, a forceful lever for (or against) change.

4. Activate peer pressure.

5. Mobilize the crowd.

6. Tweak the situation.

7. Subtract, not just add.

8. Dare to link to carrots and sticks (and follow through). 

9. Teach and coach well.

10. Hire and fire based on behaviors.

Read the full article “Ten Ways to Get People to Change -” by  Morten T. Hansen in the Harvard Business Review.

ChangeThis.com – A Website For Ideas

This site has the download of Seth Godin’s book “The Bootstrapper’s Bible” which I saw a story about on “Your Business” on MSNBC. This site, ChangeThis.com has some thought provoking e-books and some are free.  It is

Another free book is called “The Secret to Self-Discipline” by Rory Vaden.  See what he says about the difference between cows and buffalos.  The book is short, direct, and actionable.  Take a look and tell me what you think.

Cure THe (Self-Inflicted) Chaos First by Karen MartinIn Karen Martin’s book,”Cure the (Self-Inflicted) Chaos First“, she does a great job explaining the “fundamental behaviours that are vital for outstanding performance in any endeavour – clarity, focus, discipline, and engagement.”  This is a warm-up for her book “The Outstanding Organization.”  Really easy to read, it makes sense, and is actionable.

Here are the recent popular, what they call “manifestos”, on the site:

5   Rework

ChangeThis.com – We’re on a mission to spread important ideas and change minds.

“The Bootstrapper’s Bible” on Your Business

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I was watching “Your Business” on MSNC and Seth Godin was talking about his book “The Bootstrapper’s Bible.”  He is a bestselling author of books about marketing.  I agree with his explanation that starting up is more than a stage: it is a state of mind that he calls bootstrapping.

In prototype your product or service and do it at a low enough cost so if it doesn’t work, it did cost you much.  Trying stuff, taking intelligent risks are your advantages because you are small.  Check out the video.  Watch the video of “The Bootstrapper’s Bible” : Managing :: American Express OPEN Forum on MSNBC.  Read other unique ideas at C