Archives for the month of: August, 2015

How do you “get good” at your job?

As a HON sales member, I get my share of windshield time and take advantage of it by listening to some good audible books.

I recently finished Cal Newport’s latest book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work you Love.

The book starts off with the premise that “follow your passion” is not necessarily enough to create long term work you love.

Here’s what I learned in order to develop a fulfilling, meaningful career and be “so good you can’t be ignored”:

  1. Build and master rare and valuable skills.
  2. Deliberately practice your craft.
    • Stretch yourself every day to achieve beyond what you’ve previously accomplished.  As a viola player in my youth, that meant practicing the same musical scale until it became muscle memory.  The diligence it took to get to this point was often strenuous and not necessarily enjoyable.  However, this deliberate practice was necessary to master advanced music playing.  Think of Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid, “WAX ON, WAX OFF”.
  3. Apply deliberate practice and a craftsman mindset as knowledge workers.
    1. You don’t get to call yourself a craftsman without putting in time and focus.  Newport references the 10,000 hour rule, the concept that until you put 10,000 hours (or roughly 5 years) into developing a skill, you have not yet mastered the skill.

I apply these lessons in my career.  Deliberate practice and a craftsman mindset are essential to becoming so good you can’t be ignored.  If you’re in field sales like me, you may find this difficult to implement.  After all, you don’t get to repeat the same sales call every day, as every conversation is a new opportunity.  However, that doesn’t mean you can’t seek incremental improvement. Here is what deliberate practice can look like in sales:

  • What am I going to do on this sales call that helps me improve compared to my last sales call?
  • How am I going to communicate the information more effectively to get the response I want?
  • This time, I’m only going to focus on ‘X’.

Consistently finding ways to improve the day-to-day tasks adds up and will eventually differentiate you from your competitors.  Whether you’re in sales or practicing a different craft, what are some ways you implement deliberate practice in your field?

In honor of all the students going back to school, here are 3 easy reminders to help you continue your adult learning.

  1. Don’t Stop!
  2. Make Time
  3. “Google It”

Don’t Stop!

Don't Stop Learning!

Seems simple- but as we get caught up in the business of our lives, we sometimes forget to take time to sit down and learn something new.  .  Try signing up for a 30 minute webinar, taking a 15 minute online course, or watching a two minute video.  You’re never too busy to take a little ‘you time’ to brush up on old skills or develop new ones. Besides, learning got you this far… so don’t stop!

Make Time

Make Time for Learning!

You should always set aside time to continue your education.   One saying that helps me prioritize my day is, “You always have time for the things you want to have time for.”  It amazes me when people say they don’t have the time to do something, but will find 10-15 minutes to search their news feed.  It doesn’t take long to read a quick article or watch a short tutorial.  Make time, because you always have time for the things you want to have time for…and learning should be on that list.

Google It”

Google It

Ask a teenager how much an elephant weighs fully grown.  They’ll likely pull out their mobile device and have the answer within less time than it takes you to read this quick blog on the importance of learning.  Many still look down on non-traditional learning techniques.  The truth is that mobile devices have changed the way the world sees ‘need to know’ versus ‘nice to know’ information.  Information is already at your fingertips; all you have to do is search for it.  Have a question about a new trend in your field? Search online first and you’ll more than likely find the answer.

Now.. here’s your chance to go learn something.  I, of course, recommend one of the great HON University Webinars. Watch one now! 

Lighting has become a very important part of the workplace, as it influences productivity and employee satisfaction. It is even being considered an important ergonomic feature in office design.  

In light of this trend (pun intended), HON has added many LED lighting choices to its product portfolio over the past few years.  We offer LED and fluorescent under-cabinet lighting, as well as LED desktop lights.

Lighting and Office Design

An initial comparison between LED and fluorescent under-cabinet lighting will reveal a difference in price between the two.  While LED lighting does cost more upfront, the long-term cost savings make these options an easy choice over their fluorescent counterparts.

Here are examples of how LED can be a more cost effective solution long-term:

  • Almost Twice the Lifespan: HON’s LED light bulbs have a 50,000 hour lifespan, as compared to the fluorescent’s 30,000 hour lifespan.
  • Optional Occupancy Sensor: LED lights come with an optional occupancy sensor. The occupancy sensor can lower an energy bill by automatically turning the light off after 30 minutes of inactivity.
  • Energy Efficient: LED lights are more energy efficient, as they generate 6 more lumens per watt than our fluorescent lights*.
  • Dimming Capability: A soft touch panel on the LED light allows users to adjust light output to their own preference. Fluorescent lights can only be turned ON/OFF with no adjustment. Dimming reduces light output, resulting in a reduction of energy consumption.

How have you seen lighting influence your work environment?

*Based on the comparison of a 30”W fluorescent and 31”W LED.

Trade shows can be overwhelming to some, but the key to a successful day lies within the following tips and tricks to ensure the greatest return on the investment.

Trade Shows

1. Plan, Prepare, & Execute

Planning ahead and being organized is crucial to a successful event. I find it helpful to register as soon as possible and then immediately print off all pertinent information, including badges and forms to take with me on my trip. Researching the venue and other unknowns prior to arriving is also helpful.

2. Location, Location, Location

The location of your booth is important if you are looking to create as many touch points as possible. If it’s a new show, ask the event hosts or others who are familiar with the venue which location would be best. To get the most out of the space, take into account restroom location, traffic flow and where your competitors are located.

3. Show Off

Trade shows are the time to show off the capabilities your company has to offer. Be sure to use plenty of signage so guests will know the company you work for and the products being showcased. Also, be sure to take into consideration the specific market and their product needs. Do your homework and know your audience to get the most engagement from potential customers.

4. Team Work Makes the Dream Work

Days can get long during shows, but having a great support system makes for a great day. Be sure customers know which members belong to your team by wearing visible nametags and/or perhaps dressing in a uniform or a similar color or style of shirt.

5. Follow Up

Networking is probably the greatest advantage when you spend the day at a trade show. Having business cards available to offer and exchange is important. I like to write notes on the back of the card after the interaction so I am able to have a follow up conversation once the show is over. I always follow up with the person via email, phone or a social networking site, such as LinkedIn, within a week of the show to engage in further conversation.

What tips can you add to ensure a successful trade show event?

HON Height Adjustable Table

Recently, the HON product team asked me to test out a new Height Adjustable Table (HAT). It can adjust to any height from 23 1/2”-51 ½” (including my worksurface) and allows me the flexibility I need for maximum productivity.

Here are a few reasons why I especially love my new height adjustable workspace:

1. Get a move on. I’m an energetic person and my HAT allows me to work off excess energy. I have a tendency to talk with my hands and move around while on the phone. My worksurface adjusts to give me the space I need when I stand for long, involved phone calls.

2. Collaboration Station. Accommodating visitors is much easier at a standing height vs. sitting. Guests can walk right up to my desk and be at my height.  They can even put their laptop on my desk so we can share information right away – avoiding the challenge of trying to work together from different heights.

3. Change it up. The Height Adjustable Table allows me to be flexible and change up my work style depending on my mood. When I need to get serious, heads-down work done, I can sit and focus. When I need to be cheerful and high energy, standing height works great.

If you currently use a Height Adjustable Table in your workstation, what are some of your favorite features?

HON Height Adjustable Tables

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