Growing positivity in the workplace

This week, we’re talking about negativity in the work place… Actually, let’s look at it from a different angle… We’re talking about positivity in the workplace, and how to keep negativity from creeping in.

The first step - make a conscious decision with your team to not allow negativity to sabotage your hard work.

Workplace gossip, snide remarks under your breath about others’ work, or ugly text messages during meetings, can all sabotage workplace morale, so decide collectively to avoid it.

I’m inspired by the author Jon Gordon, who uses the term “energy vampires” to talk about people who bring negativity with them wherever they go.

If you have one on your team, have a conversation privately with them, and find out what you can do to help make their work experience more positive.

Many times, you’ll find its things outside of work that are making them that way, and just taking time to understand what’s wrong can help make them a more positive team member.

You can also institute the “no complaining rule” — that is, don’t just complain for the sake of complaining… Come with one or two possible solutions to the problem before you even bring it up.

Complaining helps keep you focused on the problem, and not the solution.

And finally, don’t be afraid of conflict. If there’s no disagreement on your team, you’re not trying hard enough!

Innovate, don’t be afraid to break things, and don’t be afraid to have difficult conversations around your teams’ choices… But make sure the disagreements are constructive. That’s the only way forward.

To leave you with a quote from Gordon’s books - Being positive wont guarantee you’ll succeed, but being negative will guarantee that you wont.

So go out there, and be the positive force for your team!

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Be prepared for the next disaster

2018 has brought us record-breaking temperatures, massive wildfires, dangerous hurricanes and everything in between.

So how do you make sure your family is prepared when disaster strikes?

It’s all about covering your basic needs — food, water, shelter, power, first aid and communications.

Depending on the kind of disaster, fresh food and drinkable water may be scarce, so it’s important to keep a small stash in your house.

Don’t go crazy building a bunker - unless that’s your thing - but do keep a couple jugs of bottled water, and some non-perishable foods around.

Tuna cans last for years, and things like peanut butter crackers and jerky are high-calorie foods that’ll last a long time, and fill you up.

Next up, shelter.

If a disaster is bad enough that you’re worried about your house blowing away, you probably shouldn’t be there to see it happen, but in smaller disasters you may need to cover a hole in your roof, or board up a broken window.

Keep supplies like a tarp, some duct tape, and some plywood around for emergencies.

You may also lose power too, so it’s a good idea to have enough flashlights for everybody in the family, batteries to power them, and even a small generator.

Be careful though — one major cause of death after disasters is carbon monoxide poisoning from people who bring generators indoors, and die from inhaling the exhaust fumes. So keep generators outside.

First aid is important too… In a major disaster, 911 service might not be readily available, so keep enough stuff around to treat cuts and scrapes, some antibiotic ointment, a few gauze pads for bleeding, and some tylenol or advil for minor injuries.

Also make sure you have enough of your prescription medications around in case pharmacies are closed for a few days.

Finally, communications.

Cell towers may be down, so know where to find a landline phone — maybe at a neighbors house if you don’t have one. Sometimes, even if you can’t call out, you can get short text messages to friends and family to let them know you’re safe, and get an emergency weather radio, so you can hear what’s going on.

Stay safe!

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Time to create a winning team!

This week, we’re talking about creating a winning team - either at work, at home, at your place of worship, or even on your company kickball team.

One of my favorite authors, Jon Gordon, says almost all of the winning teams he’s dealt with over the years - from sports teams to management teams - have two things in common: A shared vision and a greater purpose.

Let’s start with shared vision. What does that really mean? It means understanding, collectively, where your team is heading.

If the goal is to launch a product, understanding what you’re going to launch, how you’re going to launch it, and what steps you are going to take to get to that goal.

If your team doesn’t share a common vision, you’ll often find a collection of people with good intentions, but no clear path towards working as a team to get the job done.

Next, a greater purpose. This is about understanding not just when or how you’re bringing this product to market, but why. Maybe it’s to make your customers’ lives easier, safer or more efficient.

Maybe it’s to make the world a better place, and solve a major issue.

Whatever the case, make sure your team understands the ultimate goal, and works together to reach it. If the only goal is to get rich and famous, chances are that team or that product is going to fail.

But if you keep your customer and what they need in mind, rather than what you want or need, your chances of success are much greater.

As Jon Gordon says, "when you know your why and you know the way, you won't let obstacles get in the way. You will keep moving forward toward the shared vision you have, and your greater purpose will fuel you on the journey."

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The Best Apps for Travellers

This week, we’re talking travel tech… specifically, the best apps for your trip.

I spend more than half of the year on the road, as many of you know, so I’m always using my phone to help keep up.

First, use your calendar app more effectively. You already use it to keep track of meetings, so why not use it to put in details of your flight, rental car, hotel reservation, and even dinner plans.

Most confirmation emails even come with a helpful calendar attachment, which will add your trip info to your phone’s calendar automatically once you click it.

If packing stresses you out, check out PackPoint. You can put in the details of your travel, click on some of the activities you’ll be doing while you’re there, and the app will generate a packing list for you. Going to the gym? It accounts for that. Is it going to snow? It knows that too, and adjusts accordingly.

You can add or delete certain items you don’t like, and it’ll remember your preferences for the next trip. Even better, it’s free.

If weather is on your list of concerns, look no further than the Weather Channel App.

It’s free, and using your phone’s GPS, it’ll automatically give you updated local weather.

What’s the big deal, they all do that, right? True, but The Weather Channel’s app will send you alerts with an exact time you can expect rain or snow to start - even if you didn’t know it was coming.

This one has saved me from getting rained on many times.

Finally, if you’re driving your way around for work trips, check out iExit. This free app will tell you which restaurants, hotels, gas stations and attractions you’ll find at every highway exit, so no more guessing.

Sure, those blue signs are helpful, but they can’t give you gas prices at the local gas stations, and they probably wont give you restaurant reviews either, but iExit will.

If you have a favorite chain restaurant, it’ll even alert you when you’re getting close to one of their stores…

Helloooo In-N-Out Burger!

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