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Develop Your Skills

131 posts
    James Bowen
James Bowen
CEO, Experiential Simulations

Rich Maltzman, of Boston University, has 40 years of practical experience in project management. Rich advocates that the traditional metrics of project management don't incorporate a lifecycle approach of project management and need to account for the impact of the project beyond its completion. He argues that areas such as risk and the deliverables need to be expanded to incorporate a longer-term view of the job and discusses how the project manager can achieve this enhanced perspective.

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James Bowen, your host, is an author, professor and CEO of Experiential Simulations, a producer of simulations for teaching entrepreneurship and ethics.

 

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How to Handle Success Like a Pro

Posted Aug 30, 2018
    Annie Sullivan
Annie Sullivan
Content Marketing, Wiley

About a year ago, I wrote an article for The Wiley Network, “How to Handle Rejection Like a Pro.” As an aspiring author, I was used to getting rejected—sometimes six times in one day. The rejection letters were not only painful, but also confusing, like the two that came one day apart. One said my fairytale retelling was too dark. The other said it wasn’t dark enough. It seemed near impossible to please anyone in the publishing industry until I finally got the “yes” I’d been waiting for.

 

Annie.jpgThen, while vacationing in Antarctica, I found out I got a literary agent, and I was over the moon!  I finally had a literary agent after searching for a year, but now what?

 

Now, I had to get a publisher. My agent and I spent about six months revising my story and then we waited about six more months to start hearing back from publishers. And the answer was usually “no.”

 

Yet again, I found myself getting rejected. But this time, the rejections hurt worse. There was more at stake. However, I told myself I’d made it through months of rejection before—I could do it again. While my book was out for consideration, I started working on other books.

 

Then, the day finally came. My manuscript, A Touch of Gold, about the cursed daughter of King Midas who has deadly gold powers got an offer from an imprint of HarperCollins called Blink. Eight years after I’d started writing the book, I now had a book deal.

 

I’d gotten the “yes” I needed to make my career dreams complete. But it turns out success comes with challenges all its own. My life became a whirlwind of writing publicity articles, posting about the book on social media, and setting up book signings and conferences all while trying to keep up a 9-to-5 job and a social life. It reminded me of a meme I’d seen in college that listed good grades, enough sleep, and a social life with the caveat that you could only pick two. My problem was I was trying to maintain all three—and I was burning out.

 

Here’s how you can handle success while maintaining a balanced life:

 

1. Prioritize sleep.

You won’t be at your best if you’re exhausted. Take the time you need to recharge so your performance won’t suffer.

 

2. Make detailed to-do lists.

The first thing I lost control over when I got swamped was my memory. What article was due when? What day did I set up that book signing? Had I sent my headshot over to that contact? By making a list and crossing off items as I went, I had a visual reminder of not only what I still needed to do, but what I’d already accomplished. 

 

3. Set boundaries.

You can’t do everything or be everywhere all at once. If you can’t delegate tasks, prioritize them. Figure out the most important ones that must get done and accomplish those. Don’t feel guilty that you can’t do as much as you could before.

 

4. Be gracious.

Whether your success is in your company or on the world stage, be kind and gracious no matter what. Accept praise with humility. Brush off the jealousy of others the same way. Never feed the trolls.

 

5. Extend a helping hand.

There’s no better way to appreciate where you are now than by helping someone else who wants to be where you are. Sharing your knowledge with a mentee, friend, or colleague is a great reminder of how far you’ve come and a way to pay forward your success to help others.

 

Following these five tips will help you handle success in a humble and thoughtful way because you never know if there’s another “no” around the corner—and your determination may just be the inspiration another person needs.


Image Credit: Annie Sullivan

    Tara Trubela
Tara Trubela
Content Marketing, Wiley
MA, Columbia University

 

homeoffice.jpgAs I read Katrina Alcorn’s book, Maxed Out, about her nervous breakdown and subsequent downward spiral into anxiety and depression, I thought, I can relate to her story. And I was sure that many working parents like me could, too.

 

My breaking point came when I was on maternity leave, simultaneously caring for my infant son and attempting to re-wire our rescue dog, Harper, a habitual biter who had to be tethered to me at all times to prevent future attacks.

 

One evening, I set out to go to the pharmacy and got in an accident in our driveway—slamming my car into my husband’s parked vehicle as I backed up. I was beyond exhausted—so tired my bones hurt—stressed out, and constantly on edge watching over an unpredictable dog while caring for two children who were clearly my priorities.

 

Something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be my sanity or my children’s safety, so we decided to return Harper to the shelter. A few months later, we were relieved to learn that she was re-adopted.

 

I could breathe a little easier. 

 

But just when I was getting into the “mother-of-two” groove, my maternity leave was over. I was about to return to the office, which was a little over an hour commute by train each way. Luckily, my parents lived only three minutes down the road at the time, so my mom became our primary caretaker while I was at work.

 

Even with extra help, it was a struggle to get out the door every morning. I had to feed my children, lay out clean outfits, wash bottles, stock up on diapers, wipe breakfast crumbs off the kitchen counter. Most mornings, I left the house with wet hair pulled up in a bun, wrinkled top, and a poor excuse for a bagged lunch that consisted of a banana and yogurt. By appearances, I did not have it all together, and if I was being completely honest, I knew that I couldn’t “have it all” or even juggle pieces of the elusive whole very well.

 

Then my husband got a new job and we moved even further from my office. There’s no public transportation where we live, and my team is based across the country in Indianapolis, so it was the perfect time for me to start working remotely. 

 

Fast on the rise, telecommuting increased 79 percent between 2005 and 2012 and now accounts for 3.2 million American workers. And research tells us that far-flung employees are not only more productive, but they’re happier too.

 

I was instantly grateful for my newfound situation, which allowed me to do the work I loved while still being available for my family. But I also knew that to be good at telecommuting, I had to change a few things about the way I approached the work week. Here’s what I learned:

 

1. Get up and get dressed. I instilled a morning routine that was so simple it became a habit. Now that my children are both in elementary school, I have a cup of coffee alone outside on my deck and then make all the beds in the house. Next, I eat breakfast and journal for about 15 minutes, teasing out any worries from the night before or getting ideas down on paper, setting forth clear and obtainable goals for the day (see point #2).

 

2. Check off three tasks a day. You can’t accomplish everything in eight hours, but you can finish at least three priorities on a given day. First, check your calendar for meetings or appointments so that you can work around them. Then write a short list of what needs to get done, including urgent deadlines, to give yourself a visual outline. It also helps to set aside an hour in the afternoon to answer emails instead of responding to them one by one so your inbox doesn’t become a constant distraction.

 

3. Make human connections. Tools like Skype and Microsoft Teams help me feel instantly connected to my team. Scheduled phone check-ins with direct reports and managers also keep the lines of communication open and help you address concerns before they flare out of control. I even started a virtual book club with a few work colleagues because let’s face it, flying solo can get lonely and talking to other like-minded adults about anything—fiction, current events, home decorating—makes you feel like you’re a part of a community.

 

4. Give yourself a break. Here’s the thing: there will be work-from-home days that are fluid and seamless—the stuff work dreams are made of—as you throw in a load of wash while you wait for a conference call to begin or log off at exactly 5 p.m. to prepare a home-cooked meal. There will also be those days when you need to stop everything and answer a call from the school nurse or type a meeting agenda with a sick child on your lap. Take time throughout your day to have lunch, go for a walk, or call a friend. Mini brain breaks go a long way in ensuring your productivity for the long haul.

 

Flexible work is in demand, inching out the typical, perhaps soon-to-be antiquated, 9-to-5 office setup. According to a Harvard Business Review study, U.S. workers say they would consider taking a lower-paying job with benefits like flexible hours and the option to work from home over a higher salary.  

 

What are your thoughts on the remote working trend? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Image Credit: Free-photos/pixabay

 

How to Mentor Interns to Success

Posted Aug 17, 2018
    Annie Sullivan
Annie Sullivan
Content Marketing, Wiley

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Ten years ago, I was an intern at the company where I work now. I remember my first few days as I tried to figure out what time I should take a lunch break and where the bathroom was because no one let me in on those vital pieces of information. It was my first real job, and I wanted to impress everyone—so I was afraid to ask questions because I thought that would make me look incompetent.

 

Being an intern can be overwhelming and disorienting at first. Unlike moving from one job to another, for many interns, this could be their first foray into a corporate culture, and they may not know the ins and outs of office etiquette. This is where a mentor comes in.

 

Mentoring interns allows them to grow and ask questions in a safe environment. It also provides them with someone outside of their direct manager who can help them find their footing.

 

To give your intern a comfortable start, follow these simple guidelines:

 

  • Meet early.

Introduce yourself to your intern on day one. Even if he’s had a tour of the building, it doesn’t hurt to show him around again, especially where you sit so he can find you. Ask him questions to get to know him as you walk around.

 

This initial meeting is also a great time to cover things like acceptable office attire, upcoming holidays when the office might be closed, and any office social activities.

 

  • Be available.

Don’t just meet your intern once, say you’re here if she needs anything, and then disappear. It’s unlikely she’ll seek you out unless something is terribly wrong. It’s better to check in with her every few days to see if she has questions.

 

  • Know what he’s working on.

If you don’t know what your intern has on his plate, you can’t help him or suggest resources that may be available. Keeping up with his assignments allows you to gauge his workload and get insights into how he’s doing.

 

  • Lead the conversation.

An intern may be too shy or nervous to come right out and say she has a problem, that she’s having trouble meeting a deadline, or that she doesn’t understand a project. Ask leading questions like, “How’s your workload?” or “Were you able to find the information you needed to complete that report?” This gives her an opening to express how she’s really feeling.

 

  • Encourage questions.

Don’t just tell your intern to let you know if he has any questions. Really drive the point home with an anecdotal example if you can. Start with something like, “I remember when I first started here, I couldn’t get the printer unjammed and spent an hour trying to fix it. I wish I’d asked for help.” This reassures him that there are no stupid questions.

 

  • Help her network.

Are you on a committee at work? Why not take your intern to that meeting so she can see how it runs? Are you taking a client to lunch? Take your intern too. Expose her to as many opportunities as you can. Encourage her to interact with colleagues in the hallway too. It also helps to set up brief meetings for your intern with colleagues across functions in the organization so she can meet new people, learn what they do, and understand how you all work together.

 

  • Create camaraderie.

If you have more than one intern in your office, introduce them to each other and/or take them out for a group lunch or coffee. Establishing this network of peers can help interns feel less isolated and bolster their confidence.

 

  • Track his growth.

Assign a special project to your intern and ask him to give a brief presentation on the project to the team at the end of his time at the company. This will help him build up presentation skills, and you may gain a fresh perspective on a company challenge in the process!

 

 

Following these guidelines will help you set your intern up for success so he or she can be a happy, functioning member of your organization right from the start.

 

Image Credit: pexels.com/Tirachard Kumtanom

 

    Laura Goldsberry
Laura Goldsberry
Marketing Manager, Wiley

In our research, we discovered something buyers rate much higher in importance than do sellers. It's the link between core values and actions. When sellers have aligned their values and actions, they will strengthen their credibility, improve the buyer's experience, and find greater sales success. See five classic situations that can trip up sellers and learn how to avoid them.

 

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    James Bowen
James Bowen
CEO, Experiential Simulations

Ufeli Ani is a veteran of the startup world and discusses a risk and evidence-based approach to funding new startups. Securing monetary support can come from a variety of sources--including minimizing spending. Ufeli speaks to how risk and funding are linked along a life cycle during which financial sources can be segmented by the risks inherent at different stages.

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James Bowen, your host, is an author, professor and CEO of Experiential Simulations, a producer of simulations for teaching entrepreneurship and ethics.

 

 

Image: pexels.com

    Laura Goldsberry
Laura Goldsberry
Marketing Manager, Wiley

Buyers want sellers to abandon sales-y behaviors and act like leaders. How do we know?  We asked more than 500 B2B buyers and found that shifts in buyer demands correspond to the evidence-based framework of The Leadership Challenge®. Learn more about the behaviors buyers prefer and discover how you can respond to their needs by demonstrating leadership.

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    Tara Trubela
Tara Trubela
Content Marketing, Wiley
MA, Columbia University

 

Nearly half of HR leaders say employee burnout is the cause of up to 50% of their annual workforce turnover. The reasons for worker fatigue range from poor compensation and an overwhelming workload to negative workplace culture and bad management.

 

Sound familiar? If so, you may need a career reboot.

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Maybe you’ve been doing the same job for so long that you feel like you’ve plateaued—or perhaps you’re so good at what you do (read: bored) that retirement can’t come soon enough. Whatever your current situation may be, there are ways to add life to your job without necessarily having to find a new one.

 

Marcia L. Worthing and Charles A. Buck, authors of Escape the Mid-Career Doldrums, offer four ways to recharge your career.

 

1. Capitalize on your expertise. The (sad) truth is, mid-career employees are more vulnerable to downsizing and layoffs. However, once companies experience a major overhaul, they almost immediately need to outsource work, hire freelancers, or rely on part-time help.

 

Whether you lose your job or are dissatisfied with the one you have, you can always apply your knowledge and skills in a new context. In fact, it’s your experience that will make you stand out as that go-to consultant or favorable outside resource.

 

2. Network like you mean it. Maybe you’re like me and you dread the small-talk of work happy hours and would much rather chat with your circle of colleagues.  Mustering the nerve to meet someone new, like an employee who works (gasp) in another department and could possibly better your career, can feel daunting. Luckily, there are easier ways to network.

 

Stay in touch with your former employer and colleagues by sending them “catch up” emails every few months because you never know when you’ll learn about a new opportunity or exciting side project. Grab lunch or a coffee with a colleague and inspire each other to set obtainable work and life goals. You can also attend trade shows, conferences, and conventions to keep up with industry trends and meet leaders in your field.

 

3. Keep learning. Many mid-career professionals are returning to school to earn continuing education credits or advanced degrees. In fact, colleges and universities accommodate this mid-career market by offering online degrees and certifications that can be obtained while holding down a full-time job.

 

If you don’t want to commit to a hefty course load, you could always attend short workshops or one-day seminars. This is a great way to keep your skill set relevant and meet like-minded people in your field who could help you grow in your current position or transition to a new job.

 

4. Find your purpose. There’s the IT guy who left corporate to join a small start-up. The woman in sales who published a children’s book. Or the receptionist who moonlights as a dog walker. Maybe you’ve already found your passion, but if you haven’t yet, ask yourself: “If I could change anything in this world, what would it be?”

 

The benefits of volunteering include feeling happier and more connected to others as well as an uptick in your self-worth. Volunteering could be the perfect antidote to a mid-career slump. Even if you volunteer just once a month, you may find that a specific cause brings you a true sense of purpose. Some people even turn their joy from volunteering into full-time work.

 

Considering that some of the most influential people didn’t break onto the scene until late in their careers—Julia Child made her first television appearance at age 51 and Charles Darwin was 50 when he published On the Origin of Species—it’s never too late to learn something new, and the middle of your career certainly isn’t the end. Have you experienced a mid-career slump? Share your thoughts on overcoming it in the comments below.

 

Image Credit: Julian Jagtenberg/Getty Images

 

    Annie Sullivan
Annie Sullivan
Content Marketing, Wiley

adults.jpgIt’s a badge of honor to be an intern who goes on to be hired as a fulltime employee because that means you impressed your manager and colleagues enough to grant you a place on the team. Here’s how to go from inexperienced intern to permanent hire:

 

1.   Network any chance you get.

 

Attend happy hour events or other social gatherings that the company might offer. Say hello to everyone you pass in the hallway. Introduce yourself as an intern and ask the other person what his or her role is.

 

At the end of your internship, your team may not have an opening, but another team might. By putting yourself out there, you might just be introducing yourself to your future boss. You also get bonus points if you can remember the names of the people you’ve met and greet them the next time you cross paths.

 

2.   Ask for more work.

 

When you’ve completed the projects on your to-do list, don’t just sit there twiddling your thumbs or scrolling through Instagram. Instead, let your boss know you have some free time and ask if there’s anything else you can help with. Demonstrating good time management and your commitment to getting the job done will get people’s attention.

 

3.   Never miss a deadline.

 

Over deliver if possible—but definitely never miss a deadline. Even one missed deadline could overshadow all the other work you completed on time in your manager’s mind. If you need to, cut your lunch break short or stay later to get the project done.

 

4.    Suggest solutions.

 

Is there something your company is doing that you think could be done in a better, more efficient way? If so, speak up. Or maybe there’s something you know another company does that your company doesn’t.

 

Showing initiative will impress your boss—and the more you know about the company or entrench yourself in future projects, the more likely they are to keep you around. 

 

5.   Dress the part.

 

Don’t underestimate the power of your appearance. Remember the old adage that you should dress for the job you want. Don’t show up dressed for the club you’re going to later that night. Always look presentable and professional so that people will take you seriously.

 

6.   Show your interest.

 

Constantly check the internal job postings. Is there a role that piques your interest? Let your manager know. Showing that you want to work at the company long term will keep your name top of mind—and maybe even give hiring managers the push they need to ask for an extra head to be added to their department.

 

Getting your foot in the door as an intern is an invaluable experience. You’ve got a head start on applying for positions because you’re already familiar with the company’s systems and inner workings. If you capitalize on that knowledge and follow the steps outlined above, you might just find yourself in a fulltime position before you know it.

 

About Annie Sullivan:

 

After interning at Wiley for three consecutive summers and working a brief stint as a temporary employee while getting her master’s degree in creative writing, Annie Sullivan is now Wiley’s in-house copy specialist. She is also the author of the forthcoming young adult book A Touch of Gold (HarperCollins). You can follow her on Twitter (@annsulliva) or on her blog: anniesullivanauthor.wordpress.com.

 

Image Credit: pexels.com/rawpixel.com

 

    Laura Goldsberry
Laura Goldsberry
Marketing Manager, Wiley

We asked more than 500 B2B buyers about what more sellers could do to earn appointments and close  sales. Over one-third of the responses were related to the credibility of the seller. See what buyers in our survey had to say and learn how you can build credibility with buyers and earn more business.

 

Image credti: Milles Studio/Shutterstock

    Christopher Ruel
Christopher Ruel
Community and Social Marketing, Wiley

Are you looking for ways to increase your verbal communication effectiveness and get people to give you their full attention when you speak? You can add power to what you say by using non-verbal communication techniques to reinforce your words. Do you know what "steepling" is, and how it demonstrates confidence and a commanding presence? Or how a simple gesture of placing your hand over your heart expresses sincerity in a meaningful way? Learn about these and other techniques, as well as the psychology behind them in this infographic, 7 Hand Gestures Guaranteed to Get People to Listen to You, brought to you courtesy of Barbara Davis at PoundPlace.

 

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    James Bowen
James Bowen
CEO, Experiential Simulations

Professor Linda Glenn MacDonald of the University of California, Santa Cruz discusses the ethical issues around technology, including the extensive online data gathering happening today. She raises concerns about whether society will shape technology or whether technology will shape society. These problems are indeed complex, but she shares ways that we might approach these challenges along with other ideas to consider.

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James Bowen, is an author, professor and CEO of Experiential Simulations, a producer of simulations for teaching entrepreneurship and ethics.

 

Image credit: pexels.com/Tyler Lastovich

    Christopher Ruel
Christopher Ruel
Community and Social Marketing, Wiley

Without meaning to, and often with the best of intentions, many organizations continually waste precious time and money on processes and activities that don't create value and no longer make sense in today's business environment.  Do you recognize any of these supposed "best practices" in the slide deck below? The new book Detonate: Why - And How - Corporations Must Blow Up Best Practices (and bring a beginner's mind) To Survive. explains how organizations built up bad habits, identifies which ones masquerade as "best practices," and suggests alternatives that can contribute to winning in the marketplace. Learn more about the book here.

 

 

Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Wiley, from Detonate by Geoff Tuff and Steven Goldbach. Copyright © 2018 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved. This book is available wherever books and ebooks are sold.

 

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    Tara Trubela
Tara Trubela
Content Marketing, Wiley
MA, Columbia University

 

 

My son Liam can tinker with his Star Wars Legos for hours—constructing towers, makeshift vehicles, and other-worldly structures only to tear them down and start again, all with the concentration of a true Jedi.

 

As Liam plays, he’s truly in the moment. But according to a Harvard study, we spend 47% of our time thinking about something other than what we are doing.

 

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Gill Hasson, author of Mindfulness, says, “Mind wandering becomes a problem when you are ruing the past, or worrying about the future.” So how can we harness our thoughts—especially at work where it’s easy to get distracted—to be the most efficient and engaged version of ourselves?

 

Mindfulness, or being present without judging your thoughts or feelings, helps you feel grounded and calm when faced with any type of situation. Through mindfulness, you’re more open to new ideas and ways of doing things both in life and in your career.

 

According to Hasson, practicing mindfulness can enhance the following aspects of work:

 

INTERVIEWS

 

Considering that every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes, of which only 4 to 6 applicants are called in for an interview, preparing for the big day is nerve-wracking. What questions will the interviewer ask? What’s the company culture like? Where do I see myself in five years?

 

First, let go of past interviews that may not have gone in your favor and prepare for the one at hand. Research your potential employer’s markets, services, and biggest competitors. Read over your application to anticipate potential questions. Lay out your (wrinkle-free) outfit the night before.

 

During the interview, wait until the interviewer is finished speaking before you answer. Hasson advises, “If you need a minute to think, say so. If you are uncertain what the interviewer is asking, say so.” This thoughtful approach shows that you are confident enough to ask for clarification instead of firing off answers that miss the mark.

 

PRESENTATIONS

 

Fear of public speaking is the most common phobia, second only to the fear of dying. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that 73% of the population suffers from “presentation anxiety.”

 

First, rehearse your presentation in front of a mirror and then for a friend or colleague and ask for honest feedback. A few minutes before, do some simple breathing exercises to center yourself. Once you get started, use PowerPoint™ slides as guides for your audience to make it a more organic interaction (don’t read from or memorize a script).

 

Remember, being mindful is to be “in the moment,” so don’t rush your presentation—speak slowly, pause after main points, and repeat back audience questions to make sure you give adequate answers.

 

MEETINGS

 

Most employees attend 62 meetings each month, and half of them are considered a waste of time. When asked, 92% of workers admit to multi-tasking during a meeting, prompting companies like HubSpot to replace sit-down meetings with 10-minute “stand ups” to keep everyone focused and alert. 

 

A few minutes before a meeting, breathe to clear your mind of your never-ending to-do list. Write down your remaining tasks on a piece of paper and set it aside for later.

 

If the conversation starts to veer off-topic during the meeting, jot down issues to be addressed at another time. Also, pay attention to fellow attendees’ body language. If anyone looks confused, take a second to clarify the main points. If you feel uncertain about something, paraphrase what you’ve heard and ask for confirmation.

 

Most importantly, don’t let meetings drag on and wrap things up with actionable to-do items so that everyone is on the same page and aware of next steps.

 

How do you practice mindfulness at work? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

Image Credit: aitooff//pixabay

 

    Jon Gordon
Jon Gordon
Author, Keynote Speaker & Leadership Expert

Behind every great team is a strong culture; great leadership; and passionate, committed people.


There’s a reason why all great teams have a great culture. It’s because culture is the living and breathing essence of what a team believes, values, and does. Team culture is the written and unwritten rules that say how a team communicates, connects, thinks, works, and acts.


pixabay_pexels-photo-209640.jpegCulture isn’t just one thing. It’s everything. Culture drives expectations and beliefs. Expectations and beliefs drive behav- iors. Behaviors drive habits. And habits create the future.

 

When Apple was just the two Steves (Jobs and Wozniak), they knew the culture they wanted to create. They would be the culture that challenged the status quo. Everything they did, including hiring people, running campaigns, and creating products, was influenced by this culture. Even now, the culture continues to influence everything they do and the way they do it. It’s why Apple is famous for its maxim, “Culture beats strategy.” You have to have the right strategy, of course, but it is your culture that will determine whether your strategy is successful.

Your most important job as a team is to create a culture— and not just any culture. You must create a positive culture that energizes and encourages each other, fosters connected rela- tionships and great teamwork, empowers and enables your team to learn and grow, and provides an opportunity for you to do your best work.

 

Create Your Culture

When I was a sophomore on the Cornell lacrosse team we were ranked ninth in the country. I was the starting face-off mid- fielder and we played a tough game against West Point that went into sudden-death overtime, which means the first team to score wins. I remember standing at the face-off circle in the middle of the field thinking, If I lose this face-off we will likely lose the game. I need to win it.

           
I lost the face-off and, the next thing I knew, my opponent was running down the field along the sideline with the ball. I was so mad that I ran as fast as I could and somehow caught up and hit him really hard and the ball fell out of his stick. I picked it up before he did and, as he pushed me out of bounds, I jumped in the air and threw the ball behind my back to my friend and teammate, John Busse, who caught the ball with one hand and threw it to our other teammate, Joe Lando, who scored the game winner for us.

           
Please know I’m not telling you this to impress you with my athletic ability. It was my one and only great play in college. I’m telling you this because we won so many close games that year. But during my senior year, we lost a lot of close games. We even had a chance to beat Princeton, who won the national championship, in overtime but couldn’t pull it off.

           
Looking back, I can see that the clear difference between my sophomore year and my senior year was our team culture. We had lost the championship culture that had been created. As Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens says, “Your culture is not just your tradition. It’s the people in the locker room who carry it on.” Unfortunately, my fellow teammates and I didn’t create or carry on the culture of our older teammates before us.

           
I wish I had been the leader then that I am now but, unfortunately, I wasn’t. I didn’t know how important culture was to the success of a team. I didn’t know you could lose your culture. I didn’t know that culture and performance could change so quickly. I now know that building a great team begins with creating a great a culture. I know that, as a team, you are always creating your culture. You are creating culture every moment of every day by what you think, say, and do. It doesn’t matter what your culture was like yesterday or last year. What matters is what you are doing to create it today.


Culture is Dynamic Not Static

People often look to leadership when it comes to the culture of an organization and team—and they should. Leaders have a huge influence on the culture. They set the tone and decide what the team values and stands for, but it’s important to note that your culture is brought to life and created by everyone on your team.

           
You and your team members have a huge influence on your culture and the culture you create. It’s not just about what your manager, school principal, boss, coach, or supervisor says and does. It’s also about what you say and do. If you are a part of a negative culture, don’t see yourself as a victim and by- product of it. Instead get together with your team and create a positive culture to replace it.


Culture is not static; it’s dynamic. You can change it by what you say. You can elevate it by what you think. You can improve it by what you share. You can transform it by what you do. You can be a positive team that creates a positive culture right now.


Make Your Bus Great

People often ask me what to do if they are part of an organization with a negative culture but desire to have a positive culture in their department or team. I tell them what I shared in my book, The Energy Bus.

           
You may not be driving the big bus but you can make your own bus great. Create the culture of your team and show the rest of the organization what a positive team looks like.

           
Over the years I’ve had many teams do this and report to me that their team inspired other teams. In some cases, the positive team became the model for the entire organization, and transformed it as a result.

           
Never doubt the impact that a positive team can have on its organization, community, and, ultimately, the world. When you make your bus great, you show what’s possible and help others drive toward greatness.

 

Jon Gordon was once one of us, frustrated with his circumstances, blaming everyone else for his troubles, fearful, negative, miserable and trying to figure it all out. Now, the worldwide bestselling author, keynote speaker and leadership expert is the guy everyone is turning to for major breakthroughs in successful team building and powerful inspiration. In the decade-plus since the publication of his critically acclaimed book and Wall Street Journal bestseller “The Energy Bus (10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work and Team with Positive Energy),” Gordon’s principles are continually being put into practice, making a huge impact in America’s boardrooms, locker rooms, classrooms and beyond.

 

 

Read Jon Gordon’s latest book, The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams Great to learn more about practical tools to help teams overcome negativity and enhance their culture, communication, connection, commitment and performance.

 

Excerpted with permission of the publisher, Wiley, from The Power of a Positive Team by Jon Gordon. Copyright © 2018 by Jon Gordon. All rights reserved. This book is available wherever books and ebooks are sold.

 

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