8 Tips From A CEO That Might Just Win You That Promotion

By Quora Answer by Jason M. Lemkin,

irreplaceableYour peers’ feedback, even if just informal and word-of-mouth, is critical to your promotion.

I’d like to provide some insights from my experience as a VP at a leading F500 tech company, and as a reasonably successful startup CEO.

Promotions in the F500 are indeed complicated, but let me focus instead first on the performance review, which is a penultimate step to promotion, and something in my F500 experience that materially impacts your compensation.

And here is my learning. Reviews go into High, Strong, Good, and Needs To Improve basically in all Big Tech companies. Some have SuperHighs, but that’s rare. And in my experiences, even at Adobe, even at a F500 leader with 10,000 employees, there were zero politics in becoming a High. Because it’s so clear who the Highs are.

The only real issues, the politics, is the fact that some groups have too many High candidates (often the outperforming products), and some have too few, which warps the curves a bit. So it’s actually harder to be a High in an outperforming group than an underperforming group.

Having said all that…really, no politics. This was pretty surprising to me.

Now, of course, not every High can get promoted. But even the promotions, while not always the decisions I might make or you might make, were always based on results.

I know some of you will say your experience is different, but I’m going to suggest once you strip away the emotion, and once you see how the sausage is really made, that it’s probably the same in any growing tech company of any scale that has solid, experienced management.

So now, how to get promoted? In both my Big Tech Co. experience and my post- 20-to-50 employees in a strong startup experience, here is what I learned about what it takes to get promoted:

  • Demonstrate successful leadership. This is what everyone is looking for. Everyone. Someone to take and carry the load. As long as you have an experienced boss, they will take notice. Because what we all really need is help – real help getting our initiatives done. If you can get one of my key initiatives done for me — not talked about, not analyzed, not discussed, but done — you are a rock star.
  • Work in a hot or at least warm area of the company. No need to promote anyone in the EOL’d products, though it does happen.
  • Don’t schmooze. Just engage and be positive and respectful. Schmoozing is a turn-off. Instead, as you demonstrate leadership, positively (never negatively) engage with your peers and colleagues outside of your small group. Be critical as needed, but always positive. Naked criticism will get you worse than nowhere; it will get you in the cellar. Your peers’ feedback, even if just informal and word-of-mouth, is critical to your promotion.
  • Don’t sell up. Yes, I know selling up sometimes “works” in big companies, but it doesn’t really get you promoted, and really it’s a sign you are weak. Focus instead on selling down, and selling across. On getting your colleagues to follow your ideas and insights. That’s how you demonstrate true leadership.
  • “Dress” for success. I don’t mean that completely literally (but yes, dress a little better than the rest, it can’t hurt). I mean act and carry yourself like someone that cares. That always goes the extra yard. Never look at the carpet, or yawn. Never be late to a meeting — ever. Always be positive, give constructive feedback, but never destructive feedback. Never be cocky, but be confident in what you know is correct.
  • (Try) to be patient. Even if you do everything right, there can only be so many promotions. It may take another whole year. This isn’t politics per se, but companies of any size have a finite number that they can make. Don’t give it more than one extra year, but assume it will take one more cycle than it should.
  • Ask. Ask your boss how and what it will take to get promoted. If you don’t ask, you probably won’t get. Just be ready to get some tough feedback when you ask, and be ready to grow, change, and learn.
  • Working hard and doing a good job is insufficient. Again, promotion in big companies and tech companies of any scale is about leadership, and in many cases, management. You’ll get well paid if you work hard and do a good job. You just won’t get promoted all that far.

Just my learnings and observations in the BigCo. I’d say all but the second point also apply to startups too.

I know that some companies are much more fracked up than this. But I think and hope that maybe 50% of the well-run ones work just this way.

What are the real reasons some people get promoted and others don’t: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

  • Career Advice: What are the best-kept secrets of successful business people?
  • Organizational Culture: How does Apple keep secrets so well?
  • Promotion: Does the way I dress affect my chances for promotion?

5 Hacks That Will Blow Up Your Brand

By Carey Smith

Every decent company has its own faithful, loyal, and hard core base of customers who embrace the products and services.

Conventional: Find people to like you on Facebook

On the Contrary: Engage people who challenge you in person

bossEvery (decent) company has them, the faithful, the loyal, the hard core base of customers who embrace your products and services. At Big Ass Fans, we call them ‘super fans.’ From our first-to-respond Facebook commenters to the retired engineers who call customer service to offer a point-by-point analysis of each feature of our latest product, our super fans are like family. And, like a real family, they are the first to praise and the first to criticize any new service, product or campaign.

Relationships are an investment, and super fans ask for the most time and resources. Especially in the early days, when manpower is scarce, it’s easy to view people who demand attention as a drain on your energy. But, cutting off a relationship with a customer, even one that’s time-consuming or negative, hurts your brand more than it helps your schedule. No PR-comeback campaign or social strategy will outperform these five simple proactive tips to building brand loyalty.

1) Give Your Company a Personality

Be the company you want to talk to at a party. Be friendly, accessible and genuine. Big Ass Fans is funny and brash because people who work here want to make each other laugh. We crack ourselves up first, then we try to share that with our customers.

But our playfulness is only a fraction of our company personality. The rest of it is hard work, usefulness and trustworthiness. We don’t think about grabbing customer attention–our real goal is to earn respect.

2) Be Good at What You Do

It’s simple, but it’s important: Products that show craftsmanship and quality are increasingly rare.

In a world of expendable goods, people go crazy about cars that don’t break down (Subaru), food that lasts beyond the parking lot (Costco) and experiences that are fun (Disney). The first step to becoming a love–or even a like–brand is being the best in your field. If you aren’t striving to be the best, you won’t.

3) Ask People About Their Lives

Caring about customers doesn’t mean just fixing their problems and checking them off your list. It means listening and then digging deeper.

Our favorite question to ask our do-it-yourselfers, tinkerers and super-fans is “can you send us a picture?” Then, they let us inside their homes, garages, warehouses. In that relationship we learn more than a hundred market research surveys could ever teach us.

4) Make Friends With Haters

As the kids say, haters gonna hate. Most people shy away from criticism, but from your customers, any kind of feedback–even the bad kind–is a signal that they’re invested. When they call in to give you an hour-long lecture on what they want your product to do that it doesn’t do yet, listen. Then invite them in.

When we have a particularly tricky customer, we often ask them to join one of our beta-testing groups. If they care enough to complain, then they are probably the kind of people who will give us the best feedback.

5) Act Small, Think Big

None of these tricks work if you relegate the customer experience to a customer service department. Even though we’ve grown our team from 200 to 700 in the past five years, we try to stay as flat as possible. Open offices and drive-by style conversations get a bad reputation as productivity killers. We ignore those studies because our goal in the office isn’t building widgets, but staying accessible to customers.

A good idea or a crazy picture from customer service spreads through headquarters like wildfire. Most of them aren’t scalable, or practical, but when you put them all together, you get a real time picture of how people use your products (instead of just how they think they’ll use them). That points you in the right direction for big projects like market research and product development. It makes business less risky and more fun when you collapse the distance between the customer and the inner workings of the business.

8 Remarkably Effective Ways to Cope With an Unreasonable Customer

By Minda Zetlin Co-author, ‘The Geek Gap’ @MindaZetlin

What do you do when “just say no” is not an attractive option?

It happens to everyone, and we all dread it. A customer calls and asks-or demands-that you make an impossible deadline, provide a benefit that you just can’t, or cut your price to a level that will jeopardize your business. But the customer is always right-or at least, they always believe that they are. So how do you respond when they make a completely unreasonable request? It’s always awkward when it happens. But there are things you can do to make it easier:

  1. Empathize.

Unless this customer is deliberately screwing with you, he or she believes that the unreasonable request is in fact quite reasonable. This is because customers know less about your business than you do. If they knew more, you might be their customer instead. To turn this situation around, you have to begin by standing in your customer’s shoes for just a moment. Knowing what they know-and not what you know-why does this seem like a reasonable request? Fully understanding where they’re coming from is the necessary first step to solving this problem.

  1. Lift the veil.

Once you understand your customer’s point of view you also need to help them understand yours. One of the best ways to do this is to share inside information. At the ASJA conference in New York City, we serve luncheons that generally consist of a piece of chicken, some vegetables, some rice, a salad, and a dessert. Those lunches cost ASJA in the neighborhood of $100 a serving. It’s a shocking number-if we simply handed out $100 bills, our attendees could each get a much more lavish lunch anywhere else. It only makes sense if you understand the hotel industry and the challenges involved in serving lunch to 500 people in the space of about 45 minutes. I tell people the cost of our lunches as often as I can to help them understand a) why the conference price is what it does, and b) why we don’t serve more meals.

  1. Ask why.

Why does this project need to be completed by next week? Why do they want you to reduce your price? What problem do they have that’s led to this request, and how else might you help them solve it? What kinds of offers are they getting from your competitors and are those offers really the same as what you’re offering?

  1. Explore alternatives.

Once you’ve learned as much as you can about the problem your customer is trying to solve (or the “better” deal your customer has been offered) start looking for solutions that will work for both of you. Can you meet that impossible deadline with part of the project instead of all of it? Can you solve your customer’s cash flow problem with better terms rather than by lowering your price? Can you suggest a similar product or solution that might work better for them? I guarantee you will find new ideas or approaches that you haven’t considered.

  1. Weigh the consequences.

What are the consequences of saying no, and perhaps losing the customer, compared with saying yes? If what they’ve asked is flat-out impossible, and you fail to find an acceptable alternative, then you won’t have a choice. But often it’s more nuanced-you could say yes if you cut your profit margin out completely, or pull an all-nighter, or do something else you don’t like. Every calculation and every situation is different, and there will be a different right answer in every situation. (Here are some tips on how to customer servicesay no without losing a customer.)

  1. 6. Consider a one-time deal.

If you really don’t want to lose the customer, and you can’t find an alternative that is good for both of you, then consider taking the hit-just one time. Tell them you can provide special consideration in view of your history together. Emphasize that this is a one-time-only concession that won’t be repeated and stick to it if they ask again. Otherwise they will never believe that no means no. There are risks to this approach. You may merely be delaying the inevitable if the customer leaves anyway the next time the same situation arises. An even bigger risk is that your other customers may hear about it and ask for similar concessions. But sometimes this is the best among bad choices.

  1. Apologize.

If you just can’t say yes to the unreasonable demand, then make sure to apologize. After all, you are genuinely regretful that you can’t make them happy. And an apology can go a long way toward preserving a relationship. One caveat-if the customer’s request made you angry, take a deep breath, take a walk, play a video game, or do whatever you need to get over that feeling before interacting with the customer. Otherwise, your relationship-building won’t come off as sincere because it won’t be.

  1. Say thank you.

Even if your customer is being unreasonable, even if he or she is leaving for bad reasons, you have a history together. Honor that history and preserve your connection by thanking the customer for all your past business. Besides being a good thing to do, it’s a smart thing to do. Knowing you’re still on good terms may bring that customer running back to you if whatever they’re leaving for doesn’t work out. More:

  • Why Most Businesses Lose Customers (And How to Keep Yours)
  • 6 Smart Ways to Use YouTube to Win Customers
  • How Stories Make Customers Fall in Love

10 Things to Know About Microsoft Windows 10

windows 10By John Brandon @jmbrandonbb

 Windows 10 is now available. Here are ten things you should know about it.

Quick, name some big tech news from this week. If you think it’s how Apple is dominating the smartphone market (again), think twice. Or, maybe…ten times.

That’s right, Microsoft Windows 10 has hit the Internets (intentional misspelling, natch) and that means you should immediately go ahead and download it onto your laptop, right? Well, to help you decide if that is a wise course of action or if it might be smarter to just get a new iPhone app, here are ten things to know that are important for small business owners (or anyone who owns a laptop).

1. It’s a really good operating system

People are raving about it already. Quick and nimble, reliable, easy on the eyes. I’ve been using it for several weeks and just started using a new HP Elite x2 laptop for review purposes that runs Windows 10. Everything is easier to access using the new Start menu, which works like the Start button in Windows 7. Microsoft has learned from many of their past mistakes.

 

2. Careful about that privacy policy

I’ll let the experts wrangle over the privacy issues on this one, but you have to admit the new policy reads a bit funny. Here it is: “We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to protect our customers or enforce the terms governing the use of the services.” Does it mean Microsoft could decide they can share your personal data with a private party? Or with the U.S. government? No one knows…yet.

 

3. Do your drivers work?

It’s a good question to ask, even if Microsoft has been putting a fresh face on the OS for years instead of messing too much with how drivers for your printer, scanners, and other office gear work. I’ve had great success so far, but then again, I mostly use the Web these days. Check with your vendor first to make sure a driver is available.

 

4. You probably won’t be able to go back to Windows 8

I haven’t tried this yet, but in most cases it is extremely hard to go back to a previous OS and have it run exactly the same as it did before. You can certainly downgrade, but your settings and apps might not work quite the same (if at all). I always recommend a fresh install anyway.

 

5. The tile interface still exists

I had high hopes for Windows 10 when I tested the early preview. The whole-screen tile interface is now a half-screen menu that pops up when you click Start. But if you didn’t care for those colored tiles, they do still exist. I’ve grown to strongly dislike the color scheme and still find it confusing. My suggestion is to do a search on Google for Windows 10, then click images and look through all of the pictures that come up showing Windows 10 and see if you like it.

 

6. Get ready for patch city

 There’s no way of knowing how many patches Microsoft might need to make for Windows 10, and we do live in an age when even a large security update might take seconds if you are on a fast Internet connection. However, every previous operating system had some holes and bugs. It’s a good idea to plan your upgrade to make sure you have time to deal with any issues.

 

7. The Edge works

Most early reports on the Microsoft Edge browser are positive, and I actually really like it. It’s lean and trim, running just as slick as Google Chrome in terms of not having any extra pop-ups and clutter within the interface. You don’t feel overwhelmed — it puts the emphasis back on the site you’re visiting. That said, I still use Chrome because I’m living in the Google ecosystem of Google Docs, Google Drive, and Chrome OS (when I use a Chrome laptop). I might use Edge just because I like the name.

 

8. Microsoft is ditching smartphones 

Well, this one depends on who you ask–but all signs point to a future when there is no such thing as a new Microsoft smartphone that syncs perfectly with Windows. It’s not a big deal if you use Android or an iPhone because most of the cloud data we use today is synced easily without needing to use a laptop at all. It’s just that your phone and laptop won’t work the same.

 

9. Microsoft is serious about this one

It’s worth noting that Microsoft has put a ton of effort into this release, especially in terms of making apps that run the same on many different devices — from tablets and laptops to weird desktop computers like the HP Sprout. They’ve done a great job with unification, responding to user requests to make the OS easier to use, and making it all reliable.

 

10. It’s still OK to use a Mac

I keep one handy. There’s something about using a Mac that matches up nicely with the entrepreneurial mindset, that rare breed that is not afraid to go against the norm. if that’s your statement, keep making it. You are not missing out. When I use a Mac, I still fire up the Chrome and still use Google Docs. I love that there are no colored tiles, too.

 

CMCA Recertification

CAMICB sent reminder notices this month to individuals who need to recertify and/or pay their annual service fee by October, 2015. Here are a few helpful links:

A few things to note:

  1. It is the responsibility of each CMCA to provide documentation of their 16 hours of continuing education at the time of recertification. CAMICB does not track your CEs. If you took a class with CAI, please log into their website (caionline.org) to print out a certificate of completion.
  2. Only courses completed between April 1, 2013 and April 1, 2015 present will count as continuing education.
  3. If you have held an active AMS, PCAM, FL CAM, NV CAM or NAHC-RCM for at least a year, this will satisfy your CMCA continuing education requirement.
  4. Credit hours may be earned only for education that meets either of the following criteria: It pertains to community association operations or management and/or it contributes to the professional development of the CMCA.
  5. The CMCA Annual Service Fee is $105.00. Oftentimes this fee is confused with CAI’s individual manager membership. Recently, CAI increased the rate of the individual manager membership from $130.00 to $134.00. While CAMICB maintains an affiliate relationship with CAI, we are an independent credentialing body: separately incorporated, governed by an independent Board of Trustees, and guided in the administration of our program by the standards of our accrediting body, the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. We are not a membership organization; we do not collect membership dues. We assess our credential holders an annual maintenance fee which is used to support the development and delivery of our core exam and the operation of our program in accordance with best practices in professional credentialing.

recertification

Roland Richardson, Certification Assistant, is happy to assist you with the recertification process. Contact Roland at rrichardson@camicb.org with any questions.

Are We More Productive When We Have More Time Off?

By Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman

We were recently working with a company in Amsterdam, and having difficulty getting a summer meeting scheduled because of the number of executives who were on vacation. Experiencing some frustration, we began to wonder how this company actually got its work done. But their VP of HR assured us, “I am confident that because of the rest and break from work that our European executives get more accomplished in their working days than those in the U.S. who burn themselves out.”

This seemed worthy of some research. Because European executives get significantly more vacation time than their U.S. counterparts, we theorized that studying the two groups would essentially give us a control group and a test group. (Of course, this is not perfect as there are other cultural differences between countries, but for our purposes it seemed like a reasonable proxy.)

In a dataset of 2,310 respondents, we looked at data from the 20 countries with the most paid vacation days (247 respondents) and compared them to respondents in the United States (1,151). The 20 countries with the most vacation ranged from Australia, with 28 days allotted, to Sweden and Brazil, with 41 days. By contrast, the United States has no law requiring paid time off, and the average full-time worker with a year of service gets 10 paid vacation days (and only 25% of Americans take their full allotment, according to another survey).

To gauge how different amounts of vacation might affect attitudes toward productivity, we asked respondents to complete an assessment that measured their preference for working at a slow or fast pace. Granted, our sampling for this research was not large. But when we tested the differences between these groups for speed, quantity focus, and impatience we came upon some intriguing results: first, we found that leaders in countries with more paid vacation days actually tend to seem slightly more likely to work at a faster pace, have a higher quantity focus, and feel more impatient.vacastress_intro

We also asked respondents how much they agreed with the statement, “If I were able to move faster, I could become much more effective.” Respondents from countries with more paid vacation days responded more positively to this thought.

Taken together, these results should reassure managers who worry about the possible deleterious effects of longer vacations. In fact, having more vacation time seems to help employees better understand the importance of being impatient for results and getting as much done as possible.

So is our Dutch HR manager right? Is it the “rest and break from work” that causes longer-vacation takers to be more focused getting a lot done, quickly?

While our investigation is not conclusive, signs point to “no.”

We also asked employees if they generally felt “overwhelmed with too much to do” or whether they “had things under control.” Twenty-six percent of those with the most vacation felt overwhelmed, compared with 23% of Americans. This is not a statistically significant difference, but this response does suggest to us that for a few longer vacation-takers, the work may simply pile up on vacation, requiring significant prep before the departure and additional effort to catch up upon return.

It appears from this data that employees in countries that take more vacation do have a strong desire to get a lot done as well as a tendency to move faster. So while our particular study did not find that having more vacation reduced stress, we do see evidence that it results in greater productivity at work all the same. In other words, it’s not that taking a break will refresh your brain and let you get more done; it’s that simply spending less time at your desk forces you to waste less time.

Perhaps instead of telling your head of HR that you need more vacation time for your mental well-being, you can simply tell him or her that having more vacation time will force you to be more efficient.

Jack Zenger is the CEO of Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy. He is a co-author of the October 2011 HBR article Making Yourself Indispensable.Connect with Jack at twitter.com/jhzenger.

Joseph Folkman is the president of Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy. He is a co-author of the October 2011 HBR article “Making Yourself Indispensable. Connect with Joe at twitter.com/joefolkman.

3 Steps to Successful Thinking

By Rhett Power @rhettpower

Who you are. What you have done. What you do. What you will do. Your failures. Your accomplishments. Every one of these things begins with a thought.

Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.”

This popular quote cannot be said any clearer: Who you are. What you have done. What you do. What you will do. Your failures. Your accomplishments. Every one of these things begins with a thought. In fact, every positive, tangible (even intangible) thing that exists in the world is the product of a single thought.

That iPhone you enjoy using? The product of a thought.

A healthy and fit body that was once overweight? It started with a thought.

A just law that was once an unjust law? It began with a thought first.

That successful, million-dollar company that employs thousands? It was in someone’s head before a single cent was generated.

thinkingceoJust as positive achievements begin in our thought life, so does the failure to achieve. You want to lose weight, but you are hesitant to take the first step due to the overwhelming dedication it may take. You want to start that business, but are afraid to take the first step. You failed to get the deal you worked so hard on, and now you are second-guessing if you’re cut out for your industry. These negative, fear-based thoughts are the root cause for quitting in the midst of adversity as well as quitting before even trying.

If everything produced in your life is the result of your thoughts, then it’s important to control your negative thoughts (before they control you). Here are three methods to incorporate into your life right now and take control of negative thoughts holding your back:

1. Identify What Comes Out of Your Mouth – Do you find yourself in situations saying things such as, “That will never happen,” or, “It probably won’t work out.” You will never take the first step toward accomplishment if you shoot yourself in the foot before ever beginning. Negative words are reflective of negative thinking. Everything we say, even the things we utter when no one is around, is indicative of how we feel in our minds. Remove negative words from your speech and replace them with positive statements that line up with your goals.

2. Replace the Root – Once you identify the negative words that you say, go further and identify the negative thoughts that are at the root of those words. Replace words such as should and can’t with will and can. Not only are negative words reflections of your thoughts, but they are also reflections of your emotions. By taking control of negative thoughts and replacing them with positive thoughts that line up with your goals, you are also fine-tuning your emotions and attitudes. The most important attitude to have when setting out to achieve anything is confidence.

3. Focus on Solutions, Not Problems – By identifying the negative things you say, understanding the thoughts at the root of those words, and replacing those with positive thoughts and words, you are taking action, building habits, and reshaping your character. Those habits and that character will sustain you when you challenges seemingly appear out of nowhere. Instead of dwelling on your obstacles, challenges, and hurdles, think about how to solve the problem. Instead of dwelling on a lack of resources, you now possess the ability to focus on what you can accomplish with the resources you have at your disposal right now. Before you know it, you will look up and notice that you have made progress.

Everyone thinks on some level, but how many of us actually think about… well… our thinking? Thoughts are the essence of everything we do or fail to do. They are the roots of words, which produce action, which produce habits, which produce character. When you think about it on that level, our thoughts are the very thing that control us. Take control of your life, your goals, and your success today by taking control of negative thoughts!

Partnership Lets You Test Out a Neighborhood Before Buying a Home

By Jenny Che

Along with its for-sale listings, Realtor.com will include Airbnb properties in the same area, where potential buyers can stay for a few days before making a decision

Before you commit to moving into a new place, why not Airbnb a nearby spot and get a feel for the area?

A partnership between Airbnb and Realtor.com will offer potential buyers the chance to crash at a new pad for a few nights to help them decide whether they want to move into that neighborhood.

When customers visit Realtor.com’s website, they’ll be able to choose the option to “Airbnb before buying.” A list of possible houses, condos, lofts and other properties in the area they’re looking at will then pop up.

Of course, you could have done this on Airbnb on your own. You could also use Airbnb in conjunction with your house-hunt on any other site or in real life. Realtor.com just adds a little more convenience by building this feature right into its search tools.

Here’s what the Airbnb feature might show someone who’s interested in a specific house in, say, San Jose, California:

The companies hope this partnership will enhance customers’ buying experience and ease their move to a new neighborhood or state. “It’s enabling them to try before they buy,” said Ryan O’Hara, CEO of Move, the parent company of Realtor.com. “We’re helping people make better choices on the biggest decision of their lives.”

Realtor.com is facing steep competition from the Zillow Group, formed when real estate website Zillow earlier this year acquired its rival Trulia for $2.5 billion. The latter two sites received 75.4 million unique visitors in March, while Realtor.com had 32.6 million unique visitors.

But Realtor.com has the backing of the News Corp media conglomerate, which bought Move in 2014. It rebranded itself after the acquisition, improving photo features and cross-promoting content from News Corp entities, such as real estate articles from the Wall Street Journal.

“We want to be really innovative and be bigger than them,” O’Hara told The Huffington Post of his competitor. The News Corp acquisition allowed Move to invest and increase traffic to its sites, O’Hara added.

And with the new Airbnb feature, Realtor.com hopes to reach a broader buyer audience that includes millennials. “Airbnb skews younger,” O’Hara said. “Millennials haven’t really stepped in to buy, but we’re seeing signals of it likely to start.”

Airbnb, which transformed the hospitality industry by opening up personal homes to tourists, is valued at $24 billion and hopes to secure a $1 billion funding round by the end of this month. It currently offers around 1.4 million listings across the world.

“We’ll be able to allow potential homeowners the special opportunity to experience those neighborhoods as if they already live there — before making the decision to buy,” Chip Conley, head of Airbnb’s global strategy, said in a statement.

How will this affect community associations?  Sound off in the comments.

Overworked, but Happy

By Suzanne Lucas @realevilhrlady

Are you overworked, yet happy at work? If so, you’re not alone. Staples Advantage, the business-to-business division of Staples, released a new survey today that shows that Americans are both overworked and happy. Confused?

Fifty-three percent of Americans feel overwhelmed at work, but 86 percent are still happy and motivated. Why are those numbers not compatible? It seems that working hard can help towards happiness. Too much free time can make you bored and unmotivated. Have you ever had a job where you had too little to do? It’s incredibly tedious to have to sit at a desk with nothing to do, pretending to be busy. When you’re overworked, you have a lot going on all the time, and you’re constantly engaged.

But don’t take that to mean that overworking your employees can make them happier. Burnout still happens, and too much work can lead to that. Here is what else is going on in the American work force:

Studio shot of young woman working in office covered with adhesive notes

Longer days and constant connection. About 25 percent of employees regularly work into the evening, and 40 percent work on weekends at least once a month. Just under 50 percent eat lunch at their desks.

What does this mean? You’re never away from work. Of course, our current technology allows for that. I carry my work email in my pocket at all time, and so do many of you. I can choose to ignore it, of course, but like most people, I read every email that comes in, whether or not I respond over the weekend.

Thirty-five percent of people feel like they are “always on” because they didn’t have the time to get everything done during the workday. Only 22 percent work into the evening to get on top of things for the next day. But almost everyone agrees that working longer hours is the key to promotion–nearly two-thirds of employees see themselves in a manager role in the next five years. Working hard is the key.

Burnout is driving your employees out. While your employees may be willing to work these long hours and constantly stay in touch, the survey found that burnout is still a huge motivator for finding a new job–40 percent of employees say that burnout leads them to job hunt.

Managers can strongly decrease the amount of employee burnout by adjusting their workloads. Fifty-three percent of respondents said that workload was a big culprit in burnout, followed by personal pressure (41 percent) and time pressure (40 percent). As a manager, you can’t stop people from putting pressure on themselves, but you can control their workload and give reasonable deadlines.

All this pressure doesn’t even benefit the company, as 66 percent say that burning out erodes their productivity. So, everyone may be working hard, but it’s hardly working for the company’s success.

Too much information. About half of respondents said they receive too many emails, with one-third of those saying that this email overload hurts productivity. Twenty percent of employees spend more than two hours a day in meetings. These two things alone can lead to feelings of burnout and being overworked. How can you get things done when you’re constantly bombarded by information–either electronically or in meetings?

Fixing the problem. The Staples survey says that employees believe a “distraction-free environment” would increase productivity by 20 to 30 percent. What’s the biggest distraction? Loud co-workers. This seems like another argument for telecommuting, at least part time. When you’re all alone at home, you can get things done that are impossible in the cubicle farm of the office.

Employees also think that flexibility (35 percent), more breaks (33 percent), and improved technology (28 percent) could help reduce burnout.

If you also want to increase happiness, and not just decrease burnout, the surveyed employees suggest better perks (34 percent) and better office design (12 percent).

Burnout happens, but managers can reduce it by paying attention to what their employees want and need.

Daily Habits of 15 Successful People

By Christina Desmariashabit

While the definition of success may be debatable, most people would agree that the leaders of companies getting good traction have likely garnered some measure of it. Want to know how high achievers get to the top? Here are quotes from 20 founders and CEOs on the daily habits that help them get more out of business and life.

    1. Prioritize a daily to-do list.

I’ve got a running task list called “near-term,” which contains things that I want to get done during the next one to two weeks. Every morning over coffee, I pull from that list to build a task list called “today.” I make a commitment in the morning to clear this and make sure to deliver at the end of each day.

–Sean Duffy, CEO of Omada Health, a digital-therapeutics company that was selected by Fast Company as one of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.”

  1. Remember names.

Not just staff members but also their spouses, kids, and even pets, if appropriate. Obviously I don’t interrogate people for these names, but as they come up in conversation, I try to make a mental note. It helps me to get to know my team…and your team [notices] that you are actually paying attention…. There are several tricks you can do to try to remember someone’s name. I always repeat the name when I hear it and then say it a few times over in my head.

–Jonathan Cogley, CEO and founder of IT security company Thycotic which ranks at the 2,671 on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing companies in 2014, up 760 spots from 2013.

  1. Research people before meeting with them.

Before a meeting, I always do research on whom I’ll be meeting with. Understanding the person’s work history, the school they went to, or even knowing their hometown helps me tailor the way I communicate with them.

–Mike Zivin, cofounder and CEO of Whittl, an online appointment booking platform for neighborhood businesses, which recently raised a $3.3 million series A round with backing from GrubHub co-founder Mike Evans as well as GrubHub’s first VC, Origin Ventures in Chicago.

  1. Schedule family time.

Most small-business owners and entrepreneurs start a business to make a better life for their families. If you get caught in the trap of working 20-hour days, your business may thrive, but at what cost? You may be able to send your kids to a great college, but if they’ve never spent an afternoon with you in 18 years, is it worth it? I’m very conscious of making time for my kids, whether that means working with them (my oldest is interning in the office this summer) or carving time out to go to tournaments and games. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but it’s so important to step back and look at the big picture.

–Ted Devine, CEO of online small- and microbusiness insurance agent Insureon, a company at the 107 spot on last year’s Inc. 5000 list.

  1. Walk while working.

Part of being a successful executive is being able to interact with people at a moment’s notice, which requires a fair amount of stamina. To achieve that, I work at a treadmill desk all day, and end up walking about eight miles each day.

–Douglas Merrill, former CIO of Google and now CEO of ZestFinance, a big-data startup that uses more than 100,000 data points about an individual to figure out if someone with bad credit will pay back a loan.

  1. Avoid all habits.

I think having randomness in my day is critical and keeps my brain active. I see too many people whose habits ultimately stifle them. They won’t try something new because it conflicts with something they’ve always done. When I feel I’m falling into a rut, I try to find a way to change things up. That’s one of the reasons I travel so much. Of course, it gets me in front of clients, which is critical, but as much as anything, always being in new environments keeps my mind sharp and my thoughts flowing.

–Rodney Williams, cofounder and CEO of LISNR, a new communications technology company that sends data over sound waves (such as streaming video) and recently won the Gold Cannes Lion for Innovation in Mobile.

  1. Purge your email inbox.

I get my email inbox to one page by day’s end. My job is to communicate and build relationships with clients, prospects, and employees, and all email is either dealt with, responded to, or filed as complete. It only stays in the inbox if it needs further followup. People need to know they can get response from me, not just the other way around.

–Darin LeGrange, CEO of Aldera, a company that provides health plans (insurers) with the back-office technology that handles billing, claims processing, coverages, and more.

  1. Avoid all carbs before noon.

That’s my peak energy time, and too many carbs throw me off my game. The momentum created in the morning goes a long way into the afternoon. If you don’t start strong, you don’t finish strong.

–David Kalt, founder and CEO of Reverb, a marketplace for musical instruments and gear that has raised about $5 million in funding and expects to do $130 million in transactions this year, up from $40 million last year.

  1. Don’t dive right into work in the morning.

Without fail, I start every morning off with a cup of “proper English tea,” even when traveling in San Francisco, and leisurely check the daily newspaper headlines on my tablet, before diving into email and catching up on the company Chatter feed. Having a slower-paced morning routine helps me work more efficiently as the day goes on.

–Jeremy Roche, CEO of FinancialForce.com, an ERP solutions provider built on the Salesforce1 Platform which equips customer-centric businesses with a unified cloud platform and all the applications necessary to grow both the top and bottom line.

  1. Make small but meaningful personal statements.

After the ritual coffee every morning, I make sure I have a clean pair of crazy socks. No crazy socks, no glory. They anchor my confidence and remind me that different is good. Everyone could use a personal statement.

–Ahmed Albaiti, founder and CEO of Medullan, a digital health innovation company that works with payers, providers, and pharma on patient engagement.

  1. Quantify your life.

There are 8,760 hours in a year, and I know exactly how many of them I have spent working, with family, exercising, or on community activities. For the last 15 years, I have kept a matrix of how I spend each hour in the day in an effort to live a balanced and optimized life. I’ve had nine major surgeries as part of a lifelong battle with Crohn’s disease, so tracking my time and health is essential to helping me maximize every moment. It’s also provided the perspective of both a patient and an executive to my companies.

–Jeff Margolis, chairman and CEO of Welltok, creator of CafWell, the health optimization platform that helps consumers achieve optimal health. Previously, he founded the health IT company TriZetto, and took it from startup, through IPO, to a $1.4 billion leveraged buyout.

  1. Pay attention to people, not devices.

Put the cellphones away. I try to keep them out of sight when I’m around my kids and in all executive meetings.

–Rick Morrison, CEO of Comprehend Systems, which works with big names in the life-sciences industry, such as Boston Scientific, Astellas, and AstraZeneca, modernizing and improving the quality in their clinical process through cloud-based tech.

  1. Wake up early and swallow the frog.

Mark Twain was onto something when he suggested you should tackle your most challenging project first thing in the morning. I wake up at 5 a.m. almost every morning, including weekends. My mornings are a time to tackle thought-intensive tasks, or approach projects with a new perspective. I consider 5 to 8 a.m. my power hours, and try to get through one significant undertaking by 8 a.m. every day.

–Neha Sampat, CEO of digital tech solutions provider Built.io, which powers innovation at the intersection of enterprise mobility and the Internet of Things (IoT) for startups and Fortune 500 companies. Sampat also co-founded KurbKarma, was named a “San Francisco Business Times 40 under 40″ honoree, as well as one of “50 Women in Tech Dominating Silicon Valley” in 2015.

  1. Don’t “find” time for family, make time.

As the CEO of a rapidly growing company, it’s easy to let the job consume you completely, to the detriment of those closest to you: your family. It’s not enough to “find” time to spend with your children, because the job will always find a way to fill every minute. So I make it a priority to spend two hours a day focusing only on my children. It helps me to recharge my batteries, think more creatively, and it also gives me that daily reminder of why I work so hard.

–Ratmir Timashev, CEO of Veeam, a data center backup company founded in 2006 which now employs more than 1,500 employees around the world and brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue, with its sights on reaching $1 billion in revenue in the next five years.

  1. Talk constantly with your team.

Team culture is critical in the American service economy. The only way to make sure that your team is working together at an optimal level is to make sure that you talk both formally and informally with your team.

Got your own habit? Add it to the comment section.