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19 activities super successful people do over long weekends

With the long weekend approaching, it is interesting to look at how super successful people spend their free time. Do they totally unplug from work or do they use this as a time to pursue more projects? Or, do they just have six-hour brunches?Here are the long weekend activities of several successful people.

1. They dress differently

Fashion mogul Tory Burch has a weekend wardrobe. “I dress differently in the country than in the city. I wear tennis whites or our lightweight button-down camp shirts with espadrilles,” she told Travel & Leisure.  “And I’m more drawn to color—my closet in the Hamptons is very colorful.”

2. They update their social media

The weekend can be a great time to share what you are up to on social media. Fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, as well as Burch and Lauren Conrad, love to post photos to Instagram on the weekends. While others like Ryan Seacrest, Nina Garcia, and Martha Stewart all love a good Pinterest post.

3. They go to brunch

Super successful people love a good brunch. Martha Stewart is known to throw some great ones.

4. They play with their kids

Twitter cofounder Biz Stone said in the new book My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, “I’ve been playing with my son upon waking up since he was born. My routine has changed very little since he came along.”

Jessica Alba, the CEO and Founder of The Honest Company, also devotes her weekend to her three children and husband.

5. They take thinking breaks

Business magnate Elon Musk wrote in a Tweet recently, “Need to have long uninterrupted times to think. Can’t be creative otherwise.”

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson also agrees with this school of thought. “Open your calendar and schedule time just to dream.”

6. They work out

Working out is a big part of most successful people’s weekend routines. The benefits of exercise when you have a stressful job have been reported on obsessively. In addition to helping with stress relief and giving you more energy, exercise boosts your cognitive functioning and improves your memory. Burch and Vogue editor Anna Wintour play tennis, Vanguard chairman Bill McNabb aims to fit in a midday workout three or four times a week.” Katherine Power, the CEO of Clique Media, says “Every Saturday, I do Cardio Barre in the valley with my childhood friend and Sunday is my day of rest.”

7. They totally go off the grid

Though some people love to be on social media all weekend, others totally check out. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg turns off her email on weekday nights and for parts of the weekend also. MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow likes to go to her cabin in Massachusetts, which has no television.

8. They prep their meals for the next week

Sundays are a great time to prep your meals for the whole next week (especially work salads!) Cameron Diaz is known to cook up a storm on Sunday to prep for her week. “In my house, on Sundays, you can usually find me in the kitchen getting my food ready for the week,” Diaz writes in her book, The Body Book. “I tell my friends that I can’t meet for lunch; I tell my nieces and nephews that if they want to hang out, it will have to be at my house. I make sure not to have any meetings or calls scheduled during that time, because that time is SO IMPORTANT for me.”

9. They go on strategy walks

Some combine exercise with brainstorming like Dia&Co CEO Nadia Boujarwah. She told Business Insider that she and her cofounder, “Almost every weekend we go on a long walk, most often down the West Side highway, and spend a couple hours outside, thinking about bigger-picture questions. Some of the more creative thinking happens then.”

10. They do yoga

Yoga differs from normal exercise a bit because of the meditation component. Stanton Kawer, CEO and chairman of Blue Chip Marketing Worldwide, explained in his article for Forbes that, “Yoga helps make me a more effective CEO by reorienting my outlook on life–my buoyancy of spirit. I spend 90 minutes in a studio feeling like a 10-year-old boy. How could I not have fun? I am doing the real work of building muscles and increasing my agility, but with poses with Sanskrit names like Surya Namaskar or equally fun English names like Warrior. I begin in tadasana, or mountain pose, as I set my intention, and I end up in savasana, or corpse pose, allowing my mind and body to clear out from a period of extreme labor.”

Skinnygirl CEO Bethenny Frankel, a devoted yogi, said in an interview with SELF, “Yoga makes me feel really good and it makes me calm. Yoga absolutely helps with my overall happiness. Anything soothing that is going to make you feel more peaceful is beneficial in all aspects.”

11. They indulge in food

Bravo executive and TV personality Andy Cohen works out a lot but he also loves to indulge.  Some of his favorite cheats include Reese’s peanut butter cups, chocolate chip cookies, and dark chocolate. He also likes an omelet on the weekend.

Ben Anderson, the cofounder and CEO of Amino Apps, also likes to try new restaurants.

12. They get to know their users or customers

Anderson told Business Insider, “Sometimes I’ll chat with our users. That’s kind of a hobby of mine, to get to know them better and really understand who they are so I can build a better product for them.”

13. They practice their hobbies

Warren Buffett can be found playing his ukulele on the weekend and Meryl Streep enjoys knitting.

14. They get spiritual

Ryan Williams, the CEO of Cadre, regularly attends church on Sundays. “It’s something that’s pretty meaningful to me, spirituality. It’s nice to be able to disconnect from the professional side of things and put things into perspective.”

15. They work

Author Gretchen Rubin saves certain tasks for the weekend. “One hour working on non-recurrent, non-urgent tasks — the kinds of little jobs that drag me down, but never get done,” she says. “I’ve found that something that can be done at any time is often done at no time, so I use ‘Power Hour’ to order a new office chair, fix my shredder, make a photo album from my last year of photos, etc.”

16. They read

Rubin also makes time for books.  “I have something called ‘Study Time,’ when I spend an hour doing ‘study’ reading. That means reading a book that’s not for work, but something that I just want to read.”

17. They get up super early

Many super successful people like Apple CEO Tim Cook and Ellevest CEO Sallie Krawcheck do not sleep in, even on the weekends. Melody McCloskey, founder and CEO of StyleSeat, trained herself to be a morning routine and now rises at 5:45 AM most days. “Of course it wasn’t easy at first,” she told CNBC. “It was torture getting up that early; I was never naturally a morning person. But now it’s become routine, and I wake up pretty early on weekends too.”

18. They help others

Social media expert and influencer Natalie Zfat says, “Like most of us, my weekdays are largely focused on work (and by proxy, myself). How can I entice new clientsHow can finish my to-do list? How can accomplish more/achieve moreTo offset the extreme focus on myself and my business, I strive to spend my weekends helping others – whether professionally (carving out an hour to help a friend fix their resume) or personally (checking out apartments with my friend who’s about to break up with her boyfriend). I sort of become a Jewish mom on the weekends, and I’m ok with that.

19. Reflect on the week

Bill Gates looks at the weekend as a time to reflect. “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

By Meredith Lepore for www.theladders.com.

9 worst mistakes you can ever make at work

No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, there are certain behaviors that instantly change the way people see you and forever cast you in a negative light.
We’ve all heard of (or seen firsthand) people doing some pretty crazy things at work. Truth is, you don’t have to throw a chair through a window or quit in the middle of a presentation to cause irreparable damage to your career. There are so many things that can kill the careers of good, hard-working people. Honest mistakes often carry hard-hitting consequences.

“You can’t make the same mistake twice, the second time, it’s not a mistake, it’s a choice.” – Anonymous

There doesn’t have to be a single, sickening moment when you realize that you just shoved your foot firmly in your mouth, either. Little things can add up over time and undermine your career just as much as (or more than) one huge lapse in judgment.

Self-awareness is a critical skill in the workplace. It’s the foundation of emotional intelligence, a skill set that TalentSmart research shows is responsible for 58% of your job performance. If you remain self-aware, these mistakes are all things that you can control before they creep up on you and damage your career.

Over-promising and under-delivering

It’s tempting to promise the moon to your colleagues and your clients, especially when you’re honest and hardworking and believe that you can do it. The problem is that there’s no point in creating additional pressure that can make you look bad. If you promise to do something ridiculously fast and you miss the deadline by a little bit, you’ll likely think that you did a good job because you still delivered quickly. But the moment you promise something to someone, they expect nothing less. You end up looking terrible when you fall short, which is a shame, because you could have done the same quality work in the same amount of time with great results if you’d just set up realistic expectations from the beginning. This is one of those situations where perception matters more than reality. Don’t deliberately undershoot your goals; just be realistic about the results you can deliver so that you’re certain to create expectations that you will blow out of the water.

Having an emotional hijacking

My company provides 360° feedback and executive coaching, and we come across far too many instances of people throwing things, screaming, making people cry, and other telltale signs of an emotional hijacking. An emotional hijacking demonstrates low emotional intelligence, and it’s an easy way to get fired. As soon as you show that level of instability, people will question whether or not you’re trustworthy and capable of keeping it together when it counts.

Exploding at anyone, regardless of how much they might “deserve it,” turns a huge amount of negative attention your way. You’ll be labeled as unstable, unapproachable, and intimidating. Controlling your emotions keeps you in the driver’s seat. When you are able to control your emotions around someone who wrongs you, they end up looking bad instead of you.

Sucking up to your boss

Some people suck up to their boss and call it managing up, but that isn’t the case at all. Sucking up has nothing to do with a real relationship built on respect; it is sneaky and underhanded. Suck-ups try to get ahead by stroking the boss’s ego instead of earning his or her favor. That doesn’t go over well with colleagues who are trying to make it on merit. Yes, you want to bolster your relationship with your boss, but not by undermining your colleagues. That’s the key distinction here. For a boss-employee relationship to work, it has to be based on authenticity. There’s no substitute for merit.

Eating smelly food

Unless you happen to work on a ship, your colleagues are going to mind if you make the entire place smell like day-old fish. The general rule of thumb when it comes to food at work is, anything with an odor that might waft beyond the kitchen door should be left at home. It might seem like a minor thing, but smelly food is inconsiderate and distracting—and so easily avoidable. When something that creates discomfort for other people is so easily avoided, it tends to build resentment quickly. Your pungent lunch tells everyone that you just don’t care about them, even when you do.

Backstabbing

The name says it all. Stabbing your colleagues in the back, intentionally or otherwise, is a huge source of strife in the workplace. One of the most frequent forms of backstabbing is going over someone’s head to solve a problem. People typically do this in an attempt to avoid conflict, but they end up creating even more conflict as soon as the victim feels the blade. Anytime you make someone look bad in the eyes of their colleagues, it feels like a stab in the back, regardless of your intentions.

Negativity

Sometimes when you’re feeling negative and down, your mood can leak out and affect other people, even if you don’t intend it to. You were hired to make your boss’s and your team’s jobs easier, not harder. People who spread negativity through their department and complain about the work or other people complicate things for everyone else. If people always have to tiptoe around you so as not to dislodge that massive chip on your shoulder, they are unlikely to be willing to do it for very long.

Gossiping

People make themselves look terrible when they get carried away with gossiping about other people. Wallowing in talk of other people’s misdeeds or misfortunes may end up hurting their feelings if the gossip finds its way to them, but gossiping will make you look negative and spiteful every time, guaranteed.

Bragging

When someone hits a home run and starts gloating as they run the bases, it’s safe to assume that they haven’t hit very many home runs. On the other hand, if they hit a home run and simply run the bases, it conveys a business-as-usual mentality, which is far more intimidating to the other team. Accomplishing great things without bragging about them demonstrates the same strong mentality—it shows people that succeeding isn’t unusual to you.

Announcing that you hate your job

The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.

Bringing it all together

These behaviors may sound extreme and highly inconsiderate, but they have a tendency to sneak up on you. A gentle reminder is a great way to avoid them completely.

Travis Bradberry is the co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart. This article first appeared on LinkedIn.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on why work-life balance is ‘a debilitating phrase’

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently shared why he doesn’t like the term “work-life balance,” why companies should strive for consumers’ trust and his career transition from investment banking to entrepreneurship, among other topics, during an interview in Berlin. Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer, interviewed the mogul, who also received the Axel Springer Award 2018 at the event.
You can watch the full interview below, but here are some of the points that stood out from the chat.

On why he thinks “work-life balance” is a “debilitating phrase”

“This work-life harmony thing is what I try to teach young employees and actually senior executives at Amazon too. But especially the people coming in. I get asked about work-life balance all the time. And my view is, that’s a debilitating phrase because it implies there’s a strict trade-off. And the reality is, if I am happy at home, I come into the office with tremendous energy. And if I am happy at work, I come home with tremendous energy.



“It actually is a circle; it’s not a balance. And I think that is worth everybody paying attention to it. You never want to be that guy — and we all have a coworker who’s that person — who as soon as they come into a meeting they drain all the energy out of the room. You can just feel the energy go whoosh! You don’t want to be that guy. You want to come into the office and give everyone a kick in their step.”

On the implications of how companies manage “data security and privacy”

“I think with customers one of the reasons we have been able to extend into new business areas and pursue new product categories. Going way back, we just sold books, and then we started selling music and DVDs and electronics and toys and so on, and then we extended into electronic reading with Kindle. The reason customers have been receptive in large part to our new initiatives is because we have worked hard to earn their trust with them.

“Earning trust with customers is a valuable business asset. And if you mistreat their data, they will know, they will figure it out. Customers are very smart. You should never underestimate customers.”

On why he switched from investment banking to entrepreneurship

“I think I always wanted to do it, even since I was a kid. I had the idea. I was one of those people who every time I looked at something it looks like it could be improved — there’s something wrong with it. So I’d go through, like, how could this restaurant be better? So I’ve always had that kind of idea.

“I think the great thing about humans, in general, is we’re always improving things. And so if entrepreneurs and inventors follow their curiosity and they follow their passions, and they figure something out and they figure out how to make it. And they’re never satisfied. You need to harness that. In my view, you need to harness that energy primarily on your customers instead of on your competitors.”

By Jane Burnett for www.theladders.com

Understanding the Important Distinction Between Community Association Managers and Property Managers

By John Ganoe, CAE, CAMICB Executive Director

A common mistake in state legislatures considering community association manager licensing – and among the general public – is to lump community association managers and property managers into the same bucket. While both are very important roles, they are distinctly different professions with functions, skill sets and responsibilities specific to each.

A community association manager can manage every type of community: condominium associations, homeowner associations, resort communities and commercial tenant associations.  A community association manager works directly with prcommunity-property-managementoperty owners and homeowners.

Property managers oversee individual rental units or a group of rental units, such as an apartment complex. They’re responsible for managing the entire property while community association managers are responsible for common areas – not individually owned properties.

“From a legislative standpoint, this incorrect categorization occurs because state legislators misunderstand the nature of community association management,” said Matthew Green, Director, State Affairs for the Community Associations Institute (CAI).  “They believe that community association management skills are identical to those of a property manager without recognizing the vastly different responsibilities of these two positions.”

This misunderstanding of the two professions often bleeds into more general conversations occurring in this space. Compounding this is the reality that there’s a slight overlap in a couple of the duties performed. For example, both property managers and community association managers supervise certain maintenance activities, such as swimming pool upkeep and trash removal. But it’s important to understand that community association managers oversee and direct all aspects of running the business operation. This means, they authorize payment for association services; develop budgets and present association financial reports to Board members; direct the enforcement of restrictive covenants; perform site inspections; solicit, evaluate and assist in insurance purchases; and, even supervise the design and delivery of association recreational programs.

Property managers are responsible for managing the actual property and therefore handle the physical assets of the unit at the owner’s request. Property managers generally oversee rental units and leases. Their responsibilities might include finding or evicting tenants, collecting rent and responding to tenant complaints or specific requests. If a property manager is responsible for a vacation or second home, he or she may arrange for services such as house sitting or local sub-contracting necessary to maintain that property.  Alternatively, an owner may opt to delegate specific tasks to a property manager and choose to handle other duties directly.

Stephanie Durner, CMCA, AMS, who is the Director of Community Management at River Landing, a private gated golf course community in Wallace, NC, views the distinction this way,

“While property managers are generally charged with overseeing physical structures that are used by people who are not the owners of the property, association managers represent the property owners themselves and are involved in just about every aspect of the overall community. For instance, if a garage door is broken at a rental house, the tenant would call a property manager or owner/landlord. But if there’s a pothole that needs repair or if a neighbor’s dog is running loose through the neighborhood, that’s a task for the community association manager who both maintains the common areas and upholds the governing rules. To me, community association management is a more holistic approach that contributes to the overall quality of life for all the owners in a community.”

Green emphasized, “While some job responsibilities are similar, community association managers have additional functions. It’s critical that community association management be recognized as distinct from property management, because association management requires a wider variety of knowledge and skills.”

“Because of this, the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) offers and maintains the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential, the only international certification program designed exclusively for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives,” added Sara Duginske, MS, CAMICB’s Director of Credentialing Services. “Earning the CMCA credential means an individual has taken and passed the rigorous CMCA examination, proving they have a solid understanding of the business operations involved in being a community association manager.”

For community association managers, the bottom line is they understand and are experienced and knowledgeable in the many facets of running a business operation, assuring they provide the best possible service to the associations for which they are responsible.

CAMICB was established in 1995 to develop and administer the CMCA program. CAMICB insists on high ethical standards for community association managers because it not only strengthens the CMCA program, but protects consumers and associations that hire community association managers.

Reconsider These Leadership Mantras

BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Holding on to traditional management mantras may be stopping your organization from moving forward.

Are conventional leadership mantras holding you back from innovating? Sometimes best practices and forward thinking don’t go hand in hand.

An article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review shares several typical management mantras that need some rethinking. Take this one, for example: “We need to define the problem we are trying to solve.” The author, Polina Makievsky, argues that an innovative thinker should focus not on the problem but on the positive goal she wants to achieve.

“To conduct a productive idea-generation process and motivate employees, it’s important to define an aspirational North Star for every innovation effort,” writes Makievsky. “In human-centered design, this is called a ‘positive goal statement,’ and it articulates the person or group you seek to influence and the behavior you want to see occur.”

The need for a “big idea” is another common management mantra, but Makievsky says small ideas can deliver big results: “Instead of trying to eat the whale in one swallow, organizations should tackle smaller, incremental challenges.”

By for Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives.

Rethinking Six Management Mantras for Better Innovation

But what does it take to build innovation capacity, and how can nonprofit leaders set the right conditions for innovation to flourish? During a series of two-day innovation summits last fall, the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities brought together more than 300 people to participate in a condensed human-centered design process we developed in partnership with Greater Good Studio, a design firm committed to working with social sector changemakers. The goal was to use human-centered design to examine longstanding challenges and new opportunities through a different lens. We aimed to build our “innovation muscles” so that we could begin to tackle old challenges in new ways.

In the process, we realized that the creative problem-solving methods we were applying were breaking some of the typical management mantras that have dominated our organizations’ cultures. We came to understand that if we’re serious about moving from lip service to action on innovation, we need to rethink six management mantras:

Management Mantra #1: Our CEO [and/or any other members of the C-suite] is the visionary and responsible for innovation.

Innovator’s Mantra: All of our staff are visionaries and responsible for innovation.

Charging only the CEO or executive team with innovation creates unrealistic pressure on one or a few individuals to continually drive the organization forward, as compared to a culture where every staff member feels a sense of responsibility and permission to solve problems and create better solutions at whatever level and in whatever role they operate. Because the culture assumes everyone has insights and expertise that can contribute to solutions, all employees become owners.

In addition, considerable evidence suggests that innovation is most likely to occur and originate with the people who are closest to the work, and closest to the consumer or end user. When organizations seek to invite people who have firsthand and direct knowledge of the systems they seek to improve, the problems they desire to fix, or the new solutions they want to offer communities, they will find the best solutions—and likely faster than if they limit this work to a select few leaders.

Organizations should create formal channels for employees at all levels to identify challenges and opportunities, and develop recommendations and ideas to observed problems, customer needs, and other challenges. They should also give staff opportunities to pick solutions, test them out, and report back results, and create incentives for employees to contribute solutions to business problems.

Management Mantra #2: We just need to get our brightest staff in the room to solve this problem.

Innovator’s Mantra: If you want the most successful solution, keep your end user (or key stakeholder) at the center of everything you do.

While most nonprofits intend to deliver the best services, programs, and results for communities, their approach is too often driven by staff beliefs, mental models, and ideas of what people need and how people behave. While it is natural to look at the world through one’s own perspective, it is problematic because organizations are likely to develop a solution that works for their staff and organization versus the end user.

One of the core principles of human-centered design is to develop empathy for the end user. In addition to typical surveys, nonprofits should get close to and observe the people for whom they are innovating to understand their hopes, their challenges, their motivations, and their actual behaviors. In short, they need to become anthropologists, and walk alongside children and families as they navigate their programs, services, and systems. Centering innovation around families and communities will make solutions more viable, valued, and sustainable.

In addition to quality and satisfaction surveys, organizations need to ask staff, community residents, and funders about their biggest challenges and, if possible, observe people as they engage with services to identify inefficiencies or potentially harmful steps.

Management Mantra #3: We need to define the problem we are trying to solve.

Innovator’s Mantra: We need to define the positive goal we seek to achieve.

Identifying problems is important, but it shouldn’t be the final step before identifying solutions. To conduct a productive idea generation process and motivate employees, it’s important to define an aspirational North Star for every innovation effort. In human-centered design, this is called a “positive goal statement,” and it articulates the person or group you seek to influence and the behavior you want to see occur.

This is important for a few reasons. First, an organization that defines the specific behavior change it wants to see doesn’t have to guess about what success will look like. And second, by defining the desired future state, it can look for examples where these behaviors are already occurring. When studying a problem, organizations can become fixated and overwhelmed by what’s not working, but when they define the desired solution, they can seek out and study the examples where things are working and seek to understand the contributing factors that make this positively deviant behavior occur.

For every “innovation” or problem-solving initiative, organizations should create a positive goal statement that clearly articulates who it seeks to impact and what behavior change it seeks to achieve.

Management Mantra #4: We need a really big idea! Go big or go home!

Innovator’s Mantra: We need a sound solution to a routine problem! Go small for big results!

People often think innovation has to be a big, new, wild, exciting idea. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. A frequent comment made by participants at the summits was, “But these ideas aren’t really big ideas. They seem like things we should just be doing.” Well, if it’s something “we should just be doing, and we haven’t,” let’s start there.

Innovation is rarely a magical “eureka” moment; rather, it’s often an iterative process of solving problems—sometimes very small ones. Instead of trying to eat the whale in one swallow, organizations should tackle smaller, incremental challenges. Practicing problem solving on a small scale is valuable because it builds the skills and confidence for the times when organizations need to tackle the bigger, more complex challenges. It teaches us to break complex challenges into manageable pieces. The other benefit of taking on small problems is that it reduces the risks of failure.

Organizations should incentivize and encourage micro-innovation. They should invite staff to take on specific, manageable problems and reward all solutions (even if they are not successful). They should help staff break down large, systemic challenges into smaller components to tackle individually.

Management Mantra #5: Let’s start innovating, but we are looking for practical solutions. Because we’re a nonprofit, we can’t afford to entertain ideas that are too “out of the box.”

Innovator’s Mantra: Let’s start exploring the weird, wild, and wrong ways to do things. There’s plenty of time to get practical.

It’s very hard to generate unique solutions when the ideation process focuses on practicality. But when organizations invite people to explore weird, wrong, or unorthodox ideas, there’s a good chance they will generate unique solutions that can, over time, be made practical.

In human-centered design, ideation is catalyzed by “how might we” questions that invite people to consider possibilities for approaching challenges in novel ways. Conventional questions (How might we apply self-care principles in the workplace?) lead to more-conventional ideas; alternatively, improbable or abnormal questions (How might we make work feel more like going to a high-end spa?) lead to more-original ideas.

Inviting people to consider what work would be like if the organization did the exact opposite of what’s expected is the fastest path to uncovering desired “out-of-the-box” ideas.

Organizations should generate a set of common rules that govern the issue it is trying to tackle (for example, staff works nine to five at their desks, Monday through Friday, and hate Mondays) and then break those rules, inviting staff to brainstorm “how might we” questions to match the rule-breaking scenarios (How might we make Monday’s as fun as Fridays?).

Management Mantra #6: We don’t have time to waste; let’s figure out the best idea and start executing.

Innovator’s Mantra: We don’t have time to waste; let’s figure out the fastest way to test our ideas and fail fast, fail cheap.

Perhaps because resources are limited in the nonprofit sector or because the stakes are very high, organizations tend to rush to identify and implement a single “right” solution. This is problematic because rushing to find a singular, practical solution causes them to short circuit a very important process—first generating many solutions. In innovation processes, there is a rule that quantity breeds quality. Generating a big funnel of ideas before narrowing down to a singular idea has multiple advantages:

  • It fosters a culture that makes it OK for everyone to contribute ideas, and reduces fear and stigma associated with sharing “bad ideas.”
  • It normalizes the act of idea generation and displaces a common tendency for staff to automatically accept the ideas of the CEO, board member, or top donor as the best. (Maybe they are the best ideas, but it’d be better to determine that by picking from a lineup of multiple ideas.)
  • It reduces the tendency to fall in love with an idea out of fear that if the idea isn’t successful, there is no fallback option to explore.

Innovators don’t rush into large scale implementation without first subjecting their ideas to multiple iterations of testing to uncover potential pitfalls. If an idea doesn’t work during testing, it isn’t at the cost of a major commitment or outlay of resources. And if the idea has legs, testing and repeated cycles of feedback will only make the idea better, stronger, and more likely to succeed.

Instead of settling on one idea, organizations should select, say, the top three and invite staff teams to test each one. They should challenge them to figure out the cheapest and fastest ways to get user feedback, and uncover the concept’s benefits or death threats, and celebrate the process of testing and learning all new information.

Innovation doesn’t have be fancy or gimmicky, but it sometimes requires that we cast off deeply held notions of how to lead people and organizations, and adopt new norms and behaviors.

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Polina Makievsky (@pmakievsky) is senior vice president of knowledge, leadership, and innovation at Alliance for Strong Families and Communities (@alliancenews).

 

3 Ways to Be Kinder to Yourself on a Daily Basis

Salary requirements: Expressing your minimum salary requirement

Research the going rate for your target job now so you’re prepared to answer salary requirement questions during the interview.

Q: When asked about my salary requirements, I never know what to say. If I say a low figure, they have no reason to offer more money. If I give a figure that’s too high, they may disregard me as a candidate. What’s the right response? – Deb H.

A: The first rule of salary negotiation is to avoid discussing numbers until the company has extended an offer. This is when you have the most power to negotiate. But as any job seeker will tell you, this is no simple feat. Recruiters typically try to pull this information out of you as early as the initial phone screen, if they didn’t already request your salary requirements as part of the application process.

Here are a couple phrases you can use (courtesy of Jack Chapman, author of the book How to Make $1000 a Minute ) to deflect questions about your salary requirements:

  • “I’m sure we can come to a good salary agreement if I’m the right person for the job, so let’s first agree on whether I am.”
  • “I have some idea of the market, but for a moment let’s start with your range. What do you have budgeted for the position?”

You can try to deflect the questions upfront once, maybe twice, but if the recruiter is insistent, you’ll need to be prepared with some figures.

First things first, do your research. Use Ladders’ Job Market Guide and Companies pages to discover the going rate for your targeted job with respect to your relevant years of experience and educational background, as well as the industry and geographic location of the jobs you’re targeting.

You can start by looking up how your current role compares to the market rate, and then also change some of the variables to match those of the companies you’re applying to. If the roles you are targeting are in different industries or locations, or the size of the company is very different, this could have an impact on what salary you can expect to make.

Once you’ve done the research, come up with three numbers:

  • What’s the ideal dollar amount you want (and still have the recruiter take you seriously)?
  • What dollar amount (given the going rate) is reasonable and would still make you happy?
  • What is the lowest dollar amount you’d accept?

These three numbers make up the compensation range that is in alignment with the going rate for your targeted role, and that would make you happy. If you’re forced to state your salary requirements upfront, use the researched number you found to be the fair market value (the same goes for an online application that demands a numeric response).

Again, the most important thing you can do is delay the compensation conversation as long as humanly possible so you have time to build a rapport with your interviewers; monetize what you can do, and how you can personally affect the bottom line at the company; and move them from what Chapman describes as the “budget” state of mind (How much is this person going to cost us?) to the “judge it” mindset (We need this person! She’d be such a great asset to the company – how can we get her to join us?).

By Amanda Augustine for www.theladders.com

What to Do When You’re Feeling Left Behind

Change may be the only constant in business—but that doesn’t make it any easier to embrace.

Question: I’m not a change agent. But everything is changing around me. How do I reinvent myself and my skill set without seeming like my old skill set is irrelevant? – Unchanged Agent

Dear Unchanged Agent:

You’re not alone in feeling like you’re scrambling to keep up. The digital revolution, artificial intelligence and other types of innovation are changing the way we work at an unprecedented pace—and most of us must learn new skills on the fly. Even for people who want to add to their professional toolkit, as you do, all of this learning can sometimes feel like a sprint that never ends.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to get comfortable with reinventing your skillset and stay relevant:

Get out of your own head. Many of us have built our professional identity around being competent in certain skills. Learning new skills can make us feel incompetent, until we master them. Many of us fear that we’ll look foolish in front of our colleagues if we can’t perfect new skills quickly enough.

That’s normal. Most of the people around you have to learn new skills, too, so they’re probably more focused on their own progress than yours. If you feel so self-conscious that it’s keeping you from doing the work that’s necessary to pick up new skills, set aside some time in the evenings or on weekends to work on it in privacy. It doesn’t matter where you learn things. What counts is that you actually do it.

View it as an investment in yourself. With many careers—or parts of them—subject to automation, you may wonder how all of the work you’re doing to help your employer run things more efficiently will impact your job.

The thing is, you can’t stop change at your company or in your industry. By embracing technology and devoting any time you’ve freed up through automation to high-value activities like finding ways to bring in more revenue or cutting costs, you’ll give yourself job security.

In the meantime, view what you’re learning as an investment in yourself and your career. Next time you ask for a raise or look for a job, the new skills you’ve picked up could be a great talking point!

Prioritize. It can be overwhelming to try to learn two or three new skills at the same time. Choose one new skill to master at a time and block some time in your calendar every week to moving ahead with it.

  • Get clear on what skill matters most. If you don’t already know what new skill you should learn first, tell your supervisor you want to keep your skills current and ask which one would be most valuable to your department.
  • Tap workplace benefits. Your employer may be willing to pay for classes or training, so it doesn’t hurt to ask HR if there are any programs you might sign up for.
  • Make the most of online resources. If your employer won’t pay for your training, find an economical way to do so yourself. There are many great online courses today from providers like Lynda.com and edX that will help you get up to speed quickly, so check out their offerings. Ask around among your professional network for recommendations, too. Your colleagues are probably being asked to learn similar things.
  • Budget time. Set aside one hour a week to sharpen your skills. For many people, choosing the slowest day of the week is a good way to ensure they stick with it. One hour may not seem like a lot, but by the end of a year, you’ll have logged a good 50 hours of training, assuming you take a two-week vacation.

It’s all about embracing lifelong learning. Once you get into the groove, you may be surprised at how much you enjoy it—and how it helps your career.

– Browser, Protech Associates. Published in Associations Now, a publication of the American Society for Association Executives.