The Healthy WorkplaceCountless workers express a desire to lose weight, reduce stress, and increase their productivity, but their jobs hinder their efforts. In fact, most work environments foster unhealthy habits. They take only reactive, not proactive, roles when it comes to the health of their employees. In The Healthy Workplace, researcher and workplace wellness expert Leigh Stringer presents strategies to help organizations create healthy environments that actually improve employees’ well-being. Drawing on history, current research, and real-world examples, Stringer challenges business leaders to make creating a culture of wellness not just a perk but an imperative.

Today’s work is becoming more and more sedentary, putting workers at risk for poor health. To improve both productivity and return on investment (ROI), employers must take the health of their workers seriously. Neglecting to do so means passing up a competitive advantage–and failing to nurture workers’ creative potential. Business leaders can create healthy workplaces by:

  • Supporting individual preferences as well as innovation districts for group work, thereby allowing for employees to reach a state of flow.
  • Encouraging movement and exercise to counteract fatigue and produce energy.
  • Reducing employees’ stress and improving their focus by emphasizing mindfulness and introducing stress management programs.
  • Encouraging healthy sleep habits by implementing consistent work schedules, providing natural lighting, setting aside napping or wellness rooms, and modeling good habits like “unplugging” from work at the end of the day.
  • Designing healthy work environments with ergonomic furniture, proper air quality, and a connection with nature.
  • Creating healthy workplace cultures by offering incentives, instituting a “buddy” system, gamifying healthy habits, and providing classes and coaching.
  • Formulating business cases for workplace health, which includes a wellness plan, a charter, and an expected ROI.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

20 Minute Manager Leading Virtual TeamsThe Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation title 20 Minute Manager: Leading Virtual Teams aims to help managers of remote groups succeed from afar. Virtual teams can present a unique set of challenges, including maintaining accountability from a distance and depending on technological means of communication, but these challenges can be overcome. Leaders of virtual teams can achieve success by ensuring that their teams have the right mix of skills and abilities for remote work, the right technological tools are in place, goals and processes are clearly defined and understood, and their employees remain engaged and accountable.

Leaders of virtual teams can overcome the unique challenges of remote workforces by employing six basic strategies:

1. Ensuring that their teams contain the right mix of skills and abilities. Team members must be able to communicate and collaborate effectively, be open to the use of technology, and possess the skills that are needed for success.

2. Assessing and fulfilling their teams’ technological needs. The success of virtual teams depends largely on the technology that they are given. Virtual team leaders must assess and implement the right tools to enable communication and the creation and sharing of content.

3. Clarifying goals, processes, and norms. Leaders of virtual teams must define common expectations, goals, processes, and norms to align the priorities of their teams.

4. Regulating the messages and communication channels that enable effective collaboration. Leaders must find ways to effectively share information through the appropriate channels. They must find the right balance of communication to avoid overburdening team members with information and undercommunicating their visions and objectives.

5. Keeping team members motivated, engaged, and accountable. Virtual team leaders must build rapport and trust among their teams and mobilize the social bonds that keep people engaged in and motivated about their work. They must also hold people to their commitments to prevent missed deadlines, poor results, and interpersonal conflicts.

6. Resolving conflict from afar. Leaders must manage conflict before it damages work relationships and creates toxic work environments. This can be achieved by practicing active listening, mediating, and encouraging transparency.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

Young MoneyIn recent years, the financial industry has undergone a transformation. Changes, such as tighter regulations, have resulted in smaller financial payouts for young financiers, but many of the most talented and ambitious students continue to be drawn to careers in finance. In Young Money, Kevin Roose seeks to understand what attracts people to Wall Street, which people find the most success, and what the future of Wall Street holds in light of these changes. To achieve this, Roose shadowed eight college graduates as they embarked on careers as analysts at some of Wall Street’s top firms. He documented their journeys as they faced challenges, doubts, and questions about the value, morality, and fit of their work to their strengths. Ultimately, Roose discovered what it takes to succeed on Wall Street and the sacrifices that must be made to gain the long-term power and prestige that these types of firms offer.

Each year, Wall Street firms attract many of the most talented graduates from top-tier universities. While some individuals succeed and pursue long-term careers on Wall Street, many choose other paths for the following reasons:

  • The workload is too burdensome. Many analysts complain of spending too much time in the office. First-year analysts are typically required to work long nights and weekends, often totaling more than 100 hours each week.
  • The workload is too challenging. Some underperforming analysts are not asked to return to their programs for a second or third year because they make too many mistakes or fail to meet expectations.
  • The managers may make the workplace miserable. Many of the managers referenced in Young Money were demanding, volatile, and demeaning. Their tempers caused many of the analysts to dislike their work environments, and in some cases, adopt negative personalities of their own.
  • The work does not align with some analysts’ skill sets. Many college graduates set aside their ambitions for the promise of high salaries and the opportunity to put prestigious institutions on their résumés. They often do this without understanding or possessing the skills that are required to succeed as an analyst in these roles.
  • Other ventures seem more exciting and fulfilling. Many technology companies and startups attempt to woo first-year analysts away from Wall Street with the promise of more excitement and autonomy and a better work-life balance.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

High-Profit ProspectingIn High-Profit Prospecting, Mark Hunter provides strategies for generating high-profit prospects and turning them into valuable customers. The book discusses the role of prospecting in today’s ever-changing world and provides advice for three different prospecting methods: Internet, email, and cold calls. Hunter dismantles common myths that keep salespeople from prospecting, offers an overall strategic prospecting plan, gives practical guidance for day-to-day prospecting, and outlines steps for landing leads who will ultimately turn into customers.

The author believes that:

  • The most important factor in prospecting success is the prospect’s confidence and trust in the salesperson.
  • Salespeople use common myths as excuses to not prospect.
  • A motivated attitude is as important as any prospecting method.
  • Prospecting success occurs when salespeople follow well-planned strategies every day.
  • Prospecting should be split evenly with the rest of salespeople’s work duties.
  • High-profit prospecting separates suspects from prospects and finds good leads at the top of the sales funnel. In these situations, the buyers are typically strategic minded rather than tactical minded.
  • Instead of focusing on one prospecting method, salespeople should use them all equally.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

For the WinGames have always been a part of society, and smart companies are tapping into this inherent desire to have fun. Video games generate billions of dollars each year, but gamification, or adapting the elements of gaming, can also be used to engage customers and motivate employees. However, the answer is not as simple as merely setting up a company’s website to function as a gaming platform. In For the Win, Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter show companies how to combine gaming techniques with business strategies to develop a more successful organization.

Game thinking, or addressing issues as a game designer would, is increasing in the business world. Leaders who wish to incorporate this type of thinking in their companies should consider the following advice:

  • Get into the game. Organizations can engage customers and motivate employees by utilizing gaming techniques.
  • Learn to think like a game designer. By understanding what makes a game fun or enjoyable, companies can design a system that people would want to use.
  • Understand the rules of motivation. There are two types of motivation — intrinsic (or internal) and extrinsic — that provide rewards or punishments.
  • Use the game elements. Points, badges, and leaderboards are popular features of the gamification process that help both players and the organization keep score, monitor progress, and provide and assess feedback.
  • Employ the six steps to gamification. To use gaming effectively, professionals need to (1) define business objectives, (2) delineate target behaviors, (3) describe players, (4) devise activity cycles, (5) deploy the appropriate tools, and (6) remember to make it fun.
  • Identify and avoid epic fails. Organizations must be aware of legal problems, ethical issues, and the dangers of using pointsification when creating and implementing the gaming system.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

7 Secrets of PersuasionMost people make decisions so quickly that they may not even know they are making them; therefore, logic seldom has anything to do with the process. Psychological and scientific studies have proven that the brain’s nonconscious, automatic system is responsible for quickly generating impressions that lead to making choices. In 7 Secrets of Persuasion, James C. Crimmins, PhD explains how people can appeal to the brain’s automatic system to impact the decisions of their family members, work associates, friends, or customers.

People can successfully persuade others by:

  • Getting to know the lizard–the nonconscious mental system that makes most decisions without people’s knowledge.
  • Discovering the triggers that quickly engage the lizard.
  • Learning how to speak to the brain’s emotional side.
  • Attempting to change people’s behaviors rather than their attitudes.
  • Giving people what they want–not changing what they want.
  • Unearthing the reasons people respond in certain ways.
  • Focusing on how people feel (or want to feel).
  • Creating an expectation that a desired experience will be superior.
  • Engaging listeners using images and spokespeople with whom they wish to identify.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

The Social Project ManagerIn The Social Project Manager, project management consultant Peter Taylor examines the shift from traditional, top-down project management toward a new socially oriented paradigm that encourages the free exchange of ideas at all levels. In keeping with the theme of being social and collaborative, Taylor invites industry experts to share their perspectives and offers his comments in response. Because projects are about people, not processes, and technology has changed the way people communicate in their everyday lives, social project management is set to become the new standard. As project managers’ responsibilities continue to grow, macromanaging by harnessing the abilities and contributions of their teams will become increasingly vital to delivering projects on time and on budget.

The author believes that:

  • People already use advanced tools, apps, and software to share and access information in their personal lives. By leveraging these emerging habits in the professional arena, managers can benefit their projects, teams, and organizations.
  • Projects are social by nature; therefore, any project can benefit from increased communication and collaboration. Centralized control and governance are still necessary, but the project’s scale and complexity will determine how much is appropriate.
  • Newer project management models integrate decentralized control, bottom-up planning and execution, global access to real-time information, and open communication to foster team empowerment, individual buy-in, and ownership of responsibility.
  • The structure of a suitably governed project plan combined with the richness of online social tools and techniques offer the ideal balance between traditional, authoritative project management and newer, more collaborative models.
  • Success requires choosing the right tool for the needs of the project or enterprise, orienting and educating team members on how to use it properly, and creating a culture where communication and collaboration are effective rather than distracting.
  • Globally distributed teams, increased market competition, and increased internal expectations will inevitably make social project management increasingly more vital. The more socially mature an organization is, the better positioned it will be for the future.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com