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Before developing and implementing security measures to prevent cyberattacks, you must understand basic concepts associated with cybersecurity and what cyberattacks are. The method(s) of cybersecurity that a company uses should be tailored to fit the needs of the organization.
Cyberspace is the environment where computer transactions take place. This specifically refers to computer-to-computer activity. Although there is no “physical” space that makes up cyberspace, with the stroke of a few keys on a keyboard, one can connect with others around the world.
Examples of items included in cyberspace are:
- Information storage
As previously mentioned, cybersecurity is the implementation of methods to prevent attacks on a company’s information systems. This is done to avoid disruption of the company’s productivity. Not only does cybersecurity include controlling physical access to the system’s hardware, it protects from danger that may come via network access or the injection of code.
Why is Cybersecurity Important?
Cybersecurity is crucial to a business for a myriad of reasons. The two this section will focus on are data security breaches and sabotage. Both can have dire effects on a company and/or its clients.
Data security breaches can compromise secure information such as:
- Names and social security numbers
- Credit card and bank details
- Trade secrets
- Intellectual property
Computer sabotage serves to disable a company’s computers or network to impede the company’s ability to conduct business.
In simple terms, a hacker is an individual or group of individuals who use their knowledge of technology to break into computer systems and networks, using a variety of tools to gain access to and utilize other people’s data for devious reasons.
There are 3 main types of hackers. They are:
Grey hats: These hackers do so “for the fun of it”.
Black hats: These hackers have malevolent reasons for doing so, such as stealing and/or selling data for monetary gain.
White hats: These hackers are employed by companies to hack into systems to find where the company is vulnerable, with the intention of ensuring the safety of the data from hackers with ill intentions.
For more on our Cyber Security course, please visit: https://corporatetrainingmaterials.com/course/Cyber_Security
Managing Personal Finances
The Benefits of Budgeting
When going on a road trip, most people have a map which tells them how to get from point A to point B. The map is important, because it tells you how to get to your desired destination. A well developed budget is just like a map to help you reach your financial goals. You start at point A, and the budget helps you go the distance get to point B.
Having a budget can be very beneficial to get the hardship of debt off of your plate. Debt is money that is owed by one person to another person, or company. Many people these days struggle with the burden of debt. The Pew Charitable Trusts reported in 2015 that 80% of Americans were in debt. The median is almost $68,000 for Americans, talk about stressful! Debt can take many different forms, here are just a few:
- Credit Card
- Medical Bills
- Personal Loans
- Car Loan
- Bank Overdraft Charges
- Student Loan
A well-crafted budget could help you create a savings. In this context savings means money that a person has saved, usually through a financial institution, but not always. Having a savings is critical, and often overlooked. You never know when lightning is going to strike, the car is going to break down, or you suddenly need to have an emergency appendectomy. The boy scouts have a motto, always be prepared. We don’t always know what is coming our way in life, but a little foresight and preparedness can help. Saving a small emergency fund could mean the difference between saving the day, or total disaster. Here are a few different types of events you could save for:
- Car Repairs
- Housing Repairs
- Medical Costs
- Unexpected Unemployment
When a person is weighed down by their financial situation, it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can make it hard to function in life. Feeling the overwhelming pressure can be debilitating for some people. Stress and anxiety can also manifest in the following ways:
- Heart attack
- High Blood pressure
- Gastric Conditions, such as stomach ulcers
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders, weight loss/ or weight gain
Financial stress and anxiety can be curbed by having a properly developed budget in place. A budget can help you manage your monthly spending. Your budget can even help you get out of debt, if that is one of your goals.
Financial strain can affect more than just your physical health; it can affect your relationships also. When you’re stressed out, that always has a way of leaking into your relationships with your spouse, family, and friends. A major cause of divorce in America is related to financial issues. When financial stress is at the forefront of your mind, it can cause you to be distant, and irritable towards your loved ones. Sometimes we have to borrow money from a loved one, which can add even more tension to an already strained relationship. Not only are you trying to get yourself back to level, financially, but having to figure out how to pay your loved one back.
For more on our Managing Personal Finances Course, please visit: https://corporatetrainingmaterials.com/course/Managing_Personal_Finances
What is Servant Leadership?
Servant leadership is a business philosophy that emphasizes the act of the leader, such as a manager or supervisor, focusing on the growth and development of their employees and ensuring their success. In doing so, the leader succeeds when their employees do. In a business team, servant leadership cannot only help employees achieve and grow, but it can also benefit their leaders and the company as a whole.
It is a leader’s responsibility to guide their followers on the right path. But to become a better leader, it’s not enough just to take the wheel and steer – you must also be willing to serve your followers and assist them in their own journey. A servant leader should have a desire to serve their employees, which includes taking the time to identify your employees and how they perform or being beside them as they face challenges. Take the time to assist in their growth and help them work toward achieving their goals. Don’t be afraid to give yourself into their processes and become part of their evolvement.
As a leader, it is a common feeling to absorb the ‘power’ of the position and a have a sense of superiority. A servant leader does not save this power only for themselves because they learn to share it with their team of employees. Employees under a servant leader should feel some of the servant leader’s power and pull, which can make them feel more empowered in their place on the team and in their own abilities. Sharing the power allows employees to feel like their contributions matter and that their input is valued.
Share the power by:
- Asking employee opinions
- Working together on challenges or projects
- Taking a census, when possible
One of the main principles of servant leadership is the act of putting other’s needs ahead of your own. As a leader, we can sometimes think in the ‘ME’ mentality and want to focus on our own agenda and needs. But in servant leadership, the leader must focus on his team of employees first before focusing on themselves. The leader should focus on what the employee needs or wants, how they can achieve this and how it will make them successful in the long run. A leader should strive to develop relationships and even friendships with their employees and deliver feedback when possible. They must be able to set their own ego aside and realize that without their team of employees, no one can be successful.
Once again, as a leader, we can focus on our own goals, responsibilities and even our own challenges. But as a servant leader, the needs of the employee should come first and the main goal should be to help them succeed and grow in the company. A good leader knows that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so everyone benefits when every employee is encouraged, mentored and motivated. Sometimes this may mean you’ll have to share in successes as well as failures, but every goal set and worked together is another stepping stone for the employee and helps them work toward their ultimate target.
Help employees grow by:
- Encourage goals
- Give feedback when possible
- Listen to their questions and requests
- Offer help but don’t complete things for them
For more on our Servant Leadership course, please visit:
What is MLearning?
Mobile learning, or MLearning, is defined as the delivery of learning, education or training on mobile devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops or PDAs. MLearning allows training and support to be taken anywhere, making it flexible and convenient for companies to use. Many businesses are taking advantage of this new technology to educate employees and clients more efficiently.
MLearning is most commonly used for training and education purposes. The majority of training or learning in the workplace occurs on the job. However, it can be costly and time consuming to require employees to attend meetings, conferences or other training sessions away from work. Recently, many businesses have begun to implement MLearning, which allows employees to stay in the workplace to acquire additional training or knowledge. With MLearning, employees can gain new knowledge faster and be more up-to-date on any changes or company additions.
MLearning has also become a helpful tool in training new employees, since it allows for the company to reduce group or individual training sessions and allow the employee to learn on their own terms. Not only does this allow the company to save on training hours, but allows the training manager to evaluate which employees are ready to begin work and which ones may need more help before starting on their own.
The MLearning environment refers to the manner in which information is available for a particular session, such as how it is organized, what information is available and how it can be accessed. The environments in MLearning are different with every use and can be customized to a particular learner’s needs. The environment should be flexible and adjustable among different devices – meaning what can be seen/accessed on a mobile phone should also be accessible on a tablet or laptop computer. If the MLearning environment is not user-friendly or if the information is hard to read or download, the learner won’t be able to gain anything from their session, which cancels the point of training at all.
Tips for MLearning environment:
- Keep information organized
- Ensure all information is easily accessible on all mobile devices
- Always have a contact for technical support
Technology has changed the way we receive information. Computers have replaced reference books when it comes to learning new material, and now mobile devices are changing how we access information that has already been digitized. One of the key aspects of MLearning is using these mobile tools to access new information for education and training purposes. These MLearning tools allow learners to access the information needed from anywhere and at any time. Many of the devices used have become a common household need, such as mobile phones, notebook computers and even MP3 players. With technology on the rise, employees are more than likely to own at least one mobile learning tool they can use for future MLearning.
Common MLearning tools:
- Mobile phone
- MP3 players
- Notebook/laptop computers
- Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
The prospect of MLearning has created a long list of the advantages it can bring to a company. One of the most obvious advantages is the flexibility and convenience of using MLearning and accessing information at any time – anywhere. But MLearning also allows the content to be customized to the learner, and can benefit different types of learners (i.e. visual learners, auditory learners, spatial learners, etc.). Since people take their mobile devices wherever they go, MLearning allows users to make use of their spare time, or ‘dead time’, such as while standing in line at the bank, waiting for the bus or even in between meetings/projects.
- Convenience and flexibility
- Customized learning
- Makes good use of spare time
- Tailored to different learning styles
- Larger access to information
Using Proper Phone Language
Every environment we enter requires a different form of ‘language’. For instance, we wouldn’t enter a team meeting with the same type of language we use in the break room. The same is true for the telephone. Telephone language is different than our everyday language and can take some time to get used to its flow. But with the right tools, it can be easy to adapt in no time.
Please and Thank You
Using good etiquette is a way to show respect and consideration to those we interact with. Some of the basic essentials of proper etiquette are phrases such as “Please” and “Thank you”. When asking the caller for something, such as their name or account number, always follow with “please”. After the customer has given something to you or says something polite, follow with “thank you” to show your appreciation for their help. Using “Please” and “Thank you” when speaking with a customer allows the operator to remain professional while still showing courtesy and respect.
- “May I have your name, please?”
- “Please hold for one moment, Mr. Smith.”
- “Thank you for your time today.”
Do Not Use Slang
Slang is typically defined as a type of language that consists of words and phrases that are regarded as very informal and are used in everyday speech. Common examples include “Yeah”, “Y’all”, “I guess so”, and “ain’t”. Slang is not appropriate to use on the telephone and should not be used, even if we know the caller. Slang language implies inconsideration and disrespect to the caller and can make them feel as though you do not want take your time to help them. It is important to always use professional and courteous language in order to convey to the caller that you are there to help and can get the job done.
Avoid Using the Term “You”
When speaking with someone on the telephone, it can be easy to get lost in speaking with the caller and letting them know what they may need to do on their end. However, it is important for the operator to avoid using the term “you” excessively. When we continuously use the term ‘you’, in reference to the caller, it sends the message that everything is their responsibility and that the person on the other end of the line is not there to help them. If we continuously tell them they have to complete a task before we can help them, the company not only looks unprofessional, but unwilling to do business with them.
Avoid phrases such as:
- “You will need to call back tomorrow.”
- “You have to take your bill to the other office.”
- “I need you to come into the office for that.”
Emphasize What You Can Do, Not What You Can’t
When we are speaking with someone on the phone, for any reason, it can be hard to communicate what the caller wants or needs from the operator. Sometimes the operator is quick to tell the caller that they cannot complete a certain task or that they cannot help them at all – but this type of attitude does not build relationships. Flatly telling someone you cannot do anything for them shuts the door on negotiations and portrays a negative light on the company. Instead, emphasize what you can do for the caller. Offer ‘favors’ or alternate tasks you can do for them to help them get what they need. If you’re genuinely not able to answer their questions or do something for them, it’s alright to let them know that, but offer an alternative action for them, such as finding someone who can help.
- “I can help you with that.”
- “I’ll be happy to transfer you to the department.”
- “I can take a message if you’d like.”
- “I don’t know the answer, but let me find someone that does.”
For more on our Telephone Etiquette course, please visit: https://corporatetrainingmaterials.com/course/Telephone_Etiquette
Establishing Performance Goals
Performance goals require strategic action. To be effective, these goals should not be handed down to employees. It is important to include employees in the goal setting process and encourage them to meet their individual performance goals. This will improve individual and company performance.
A strategic plan determines where employees are, where they want to be, and how they will get there. It should embrace the values of the organization and align with the following company information. The organization must create a strategic plan before creating performance goals.
Company Strategic Plan:
Employee performance goals need to consider the company’s strategic plan. Individual performance goals must be SMART goals that include strategies and actions for employees to take.
Example Goal: Stay informed about innovations in the industry, it can help improve productivity by 10 percent this year.
Examples of Actions:
- Attend training classes
- Meet with a mentor
- Communicate consistently
A job analysis determines what is required to do a specific job. It will help determine which skills and attributes an employee needs to complete a job successfully. A job analysis will help determine who to hire, how to train, and what compensation a job should receive. Job analyses are instrumental in determining performance. Research a position to determine the following information:
- Tools or systems used
- Reporting requirements
- Necessary certification
Performance goals need to be SMART goals. They need to address behavior, competency, and results. Remember to involve employees in their performance goals.
Examples of Goals:
- Behavior: Employees have complained about distance. Communicate with employees in person every week, rather than just sending emails.
- Competency: New equipment is being installed. Perform all the training within three weeks.
- Results: Sales are down. Increase sales by 5 percent this quarter.
Performance is related to motivation. Motivation is the job of every leader. There is not a single method for motivating employees. People have different personal motives, and leaders must meet the needs of individuals.
- Lead by example: Motivate yourself before you can motivate others.
- Meet with individuals: Communicate with employees directly to find out what motivates them.
- Reward employees: Find motivating rewards for individuals.
- Delegate: Do not micromanage employees.
- Inform: Inform people about how they are making a difference in the organization.
- Celebrate: Pay attention to achievements and celebrate with employees.
For more on our Performance Management course, please visit:
Team Building For Managers
Formatting a Team Building Plan
Like any other key initiative, team building needs a plan. Take the time to format a solid team building plan so that you know where you’re going. This helps you keep your team abreast of what’s happening, what they can expect, and what they need to do. Create your team building plan with input from your team, as well as your own research. Create a plan that is manageable and realistic, yet diverse and fun.
Define the Goal
The most important step is to define the goal of your team building plan. Just saying you want to “build a team” isn’t enough. What needs to change or improve on your team? This will help you focus your team building efforts. Also take into account the circumstances of your team. Are you spread out over many office locations? How large is your team? What special considerations are there, such as remote employees or heavy travel schedules?
Some common goals for team building include:
- Improved interpersonal communication
- Improved collaboration
- Higher morale
- Greater camaraderie
- Integration of new team members into an existing team
- Motivating the team
Based on your goal or goals, choose activities that best support what you are trying to achieve. Be sure to evaluate your plan regularly in case your goals change.
In addition to an overall goal for your team building plan, it is key to define a goal for each team building activity and clearly articulate it.
Consult Team Members
Your team members are your best source of information when you plan team building activities. There is no sense in scheduling social gatherings, for example, that no one comes to! Take the time to ask your team what kind of activities they’d like to engage in and what they would like to do. Also ask them what they think could be improved about your team and how you might go about making those improvements occur. Taking time to consult your team shows that you want to create a team building plan that works for them, and that you are invested in what they care about and have to say. Check in with your team often about different activities. Also encourage your team to come to you when they have new ideas for team building activities.
Research and Create Structure
After you’ve consulted your team, research their suggestions. Look at what industry leaders and your colleagues are doing in terms of team building. Spend some time surfing the Internet, which is a wealth of team building ideas, as well as looking at books of team building activities and games. Figure out what types of activities are possible and practical for you to do. This may include creating a budget, contacting outside vendors and consultants, and otherwise examining the logistics of various activities. Then create a structure. Decide in what order you will do activities or what goals you will address first. Determine whether you’ll have monthly, bimonthly, or more/less frequent team building activities. If possible, start putting these on a calendar. Then communicate with your team what this schedule will be like. Let them know what to expect. Having a structure in place helps make it easier to consistently implement your team building activities and plans.
Keep It Fun
Perhaps the most important thing when creating a team building plan is to keep it fun! If team building is a drudgery, your team is not likely to benefit from it. Find ways to keep even meetings and trainings infused with a sense of fun. Balance more task-oriented sessions with fun activities. Have a sense of play. Make note as you research of ideas for infusing team building with levity and fun. This will help ensure that your team gets the greatest benefit from your plan. And don’t be afraid to revise your plan if you start to implement is and realize that no one’s having any fun!
For more on the Team Building For Managers course from Corporate Training Materials, please visit:
Developing New Managers
Managers Learn by Being Managed Well
If you ask a good manager where he or she learned how to manage, the answer is likely to be from a manager who was important to their own career. While courses and trainings on management skills are valuable and should be used, people appear to learn the most about managing by being managed. And while a bad manager can provide valuable lessons in what not to do, people learn more about management by being managed well. Employees who are managed effectively tend to be happier and more productive. As a result, when they enter management, they want to recreate that environment for their own employees or direct reports.
Pair New Managers with Mentors
Mentoring is invaluable when developing new managers, whether they are freshly in the position or on the management track for the future. Identify the top managers in your organization, and encourage them to mentor up and coming managers. When you hire a new manager, or identify an employee with management potential, pair him or her with a manager who has a track record of effectiveness. Encourage employees who aspire to management to seek out mentor relationships with managers they admire as well. Mentoring relationships give employees a chance to see good management “in action” and also to seek feedback from someone they respect. Mentors can help provide development opportunities and can also serve as valuable sounding boards for new managers.
Reward Effective Managers
One of the surest ways to promote and reinforce effective, quality management is to reward effective managers. Recognizing and rewarding those managers who demonstrate the skills and competencies valued by the organization reinforces that good management is itself valued. When employees at all levels see effective managers being recognized and rewarded, they aspire to demonstrate the same traits they see from these individuals. Depending on your company culture, rewards for effective managers may be financial (as in raises), incentives (such as extra vacation time), symbolic (such as plaques or certificates) or a mix of the three. Finding out what motivates individual managers and tailoring the rewards is also an effective strategy. Whatever reward system you choose, take the time to not only reward effective managers but recognize their efforts in a public way.
Emulate Effective Managers
Who was the best manager you ever had? What qualities did he or she demonstrate? Managers who have been managed well often emulate behaviors and practices they’ve learned from past managers, which in turn give their own employees the experience of being managed well. Emulating effective managers whether they are currently inside your organization or not, is another way to model desired behavior and develop new managers. When working with new managers, encourage them to emulate the best traits and practices of managers they’ve had in the past, whether at your organization or another. Encourage new managers or those aspiring to management to reflect on the best bosses, supervisors, or other managers they have ever worked with. Have them list the qualities, behaviors, or practices that made them so memorable and so effective. Encourage employees to emulate these qualities, behaviors, and practices. Also encourage them to look to managers they see as effective in your organization, and identify traits of those individuals they can emulate as well.
Create and Document Best Practices
There are many ways to be an effective manager, and each organization’s culture will influence the type of management it values. Creating and documenting a set of best management practices helps to reinforce the organizational culture and serves as a resource for new managers – and indeed for all managers as they grow and develop in their careers. A best practices document need not be long or exhaustive, and it should be a living document which can change as new practices emerge as effective. Working with employees at multiple levels, identify what management practices and behaviors are consistently identified as effective, engaging, and motivating. Also review organizational policies (such as around hiring and termination) and develop a set of best practices based on these. Adopting a central set of best practices helps to ensure consistency, and also serves as another guidepost for managers as they develop and grow. Make the best practices document readily available.
For more on the Developing New Managers Course from Corporate Training Materials, please visit:
Handling A Difficult Customer
Why Are Some Customers Difficult?
While many of your interactions with customers will be pleasant and positive, you inevitably will have to interact with customers who are difficult in some way. Keep in mind that just as all of your emotions communicate to you so you can assess your situation, this is also the case for the difficult customer. Regardless of why they are angry or upset, their feelings are valid. Understanding the different reasons behind their behavior can help you to resolve their difficulty.
They Have Truly Had a Bad Experience and Want to Vent
Venting swing emotions such as anxiety and anger can be a useful strategy towards slowing down thoughts and reaching a more calm emotional state. When customers want to vent, they want a solution, but what may be more important is that they feel that they are heard, that their concerns are valid. Listening actively with empathy can help customers who need to vent in order to de-escalate their emotional state to a less aroused state.
“Empathy is the faculty to resonate with the feelings of others. When we meet someone who is joyful, we smile. When we witness someone in pain, we suffer in resonance with his or her suffering.”
Want Someone to be Held Accountable
Customers looking for accountability feel anxious and angry. Will anyone resolve their problem? Keep in mind that being accountable is not the same thing as accepting blame. An Adult mode assessment of reality might understand that you personally did not cause their problem, but a Parent mode assessment might perceive everyone at your business as incompetent as evidenced by the customer’s problem. Customers who are looking for accountability may speak in terms of blame and fault. This however is not truly being accountable. To be held accountable is to acknowledge that you can be responsible for where things go from here. When you take responsibility, you are saying that you are able to respond to the situation rather than saying the situation is your fault. Often when you reassure a customer that you are going to help them, and you offer a specific strategy on how you will do so, this helps the customer feel less anxious. By providing specific information, you help customers to de-escalate their anxiety. By showing a willingness to take responsibility you speak to the customer’s Parent mode response, and shift them back into Adult mode.
They Have Truly Had a Bad Experience and Want Resolution
When customers express that they are looking for a resolution, they are operating in the Adult mode. Even if they are angry or expressing frustration, they can quickly de-escalate when they know that you are working towards a resolution. Sometimes conflicts can arise when the resolution is not what the customer wants or expects, including the idea that a complete resolution may take time. In this case, being honest and offering multiple options can help a customer accept the range of resolutions being offered. Remember that the emotion of frustration tells us that something isn’t working. Providing multiple options to a customer can let them know that you are looking for a solution that will work.
They are Generally Unhappy
Customers who are generally unhappy people can be exceptionally difficult. When you ask what is wrong, they can launch into an entire laundry list. Often unhappy people pursue negative rewards in their interactions. Consequently, they may want you to slip into a Child or Parent mode to complement their corresponding Child or Parent mode, because this confirms their negative view of life. Destructive labeling is a common distorted thinking pattern that you’ll find with this type of customer. When dealing with generally unhappy people, you can help them by refocusing their attention on the here and now and the problem at hand. Rather than asking what is wrong, you can ask, how can I help you today, or look for specific steps you can take to resolve a specific issue. Remember that the way to counteract destructive labeling in yourself is to focus on specifics. This focus on a specific and resolvable problem in your impossible-to-please customer can aid in counteracting their destructive labeling. You may find that they continuously resist and try to lure you into a Child or Parent state. If possible, you may have to call a time out to regroup yourself. The most important step in dealing with generally unhappy customers is to remain authentically positive and in the Adult mode. Dealing with this type of customer can be a source of frustration, so be prepared to reframe the problem when you identify this emotion in yourself or your customer.
For more on this course available from Corporate Training Materials, please visit: