clearing your mind

Clearing Your Mind So You Can Do A Better Job

Before engaging in any type of project, you need to be mentally and physically prepared. Thinking strategically is nearly impossible if you are not in the right frame of mind. This is why clearing your mind is so important to your well being and productivity.

A leading source of distraction is the act of attempting to remember all of your daily tasks and commitments, which can lead to cognitive overload. By writing down or calendaring your tasks, you can free-up space in your mind, allowing you to focus more clearly on “what you are doing” and not “what are you supposed to be doing.”  This critical thinking technique is referred to as the Mind Sweep in David Allen’s Getting Things Done System.    Below, we have some more useful tips to help you do your best work and feel better, too.

Clearing Your Mind With Stress Busters

Tension and stress disrupt clear thinking. They limit focus, create tight muscles, cause headaches, and upset digestion. To bust stress in simple ways:

  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Do stretches at your desk or even the photo copier.
  • Drive different routes to work to break up the routine.
  • Rotate your wrists and ankles several times a day to reduce tension and promote circulation.
  • Smile, even when you don’t have a reason…it works!

 Be Active!

Being active includes exercise, though not entirely. Give yourself credit for the many ways you are active, including these and others.

  • Using the stairs multiple times per day at home or work.
  • Yard and house work.
  • Dancing, regardless of who is watching.

Use Food to Clear Your Mind

Food can boost or break your focus. Read the following and see what you think!

  • Limit dense carbs that slow digestion.
  • Caffeine boosts focus—too much will cause jitters.
  • A piece of fruit or cup of juice adds focus.
  • Eat a daily dose of nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate to boost focus.

 After you have mastered clearing your mind, check out these tips about how to Become More Successful at Work.

Consulting for Your Finance and Accounting Career

Many seasoned Finance and Accounting professionals are taking the consulting route because they desire exposure to diverse industries, short-term projects and flexible schedules that can provide them with better work-life balance.  

Consulting is good for your career because you will:

Stay on Top of Your Game

The minute you start consulting, you are seen as the expert in the room. Finance and accounting teams will look to you for up-to-date information about:

  • Trends in their business sectors.
  • Financial system management. 
  • Changes in current laws and regulations at federal, state, and local levels that affect their business.

Become Informed about Real World Concerns

Working with various companies that serve a range of clientele and communities, informs your consulting role.

  • Your knowledge of financial effects is broadened.
  • Real world challenges and solutions from large and small businesses carry over to your work with others.

 Build Your Network

You will meet businesses and individuals who learn about your consulting skills.

  • Your growing network will include other consultants with diverse experiences. Promote opportunities to learn from each other.
  • Reach out to other financial consultants within a sector or community to expand your knowledge and contacts.

Increase Vision and Innovation

Consulting promotes innovation. Take these steps to assure that’s true for you!

  • Watch as your knowledge and perspective expand and deepen.
  • Reflect on the dominant challenges that clients confront.

Consulting can be a rewarding path and Finance and Accounting Consultants are becoming more attractive to companies that need quality financial talent on an interim basis.  With that in mind, now is the perfect time to consider making the move. 

If you have the right combination of skills, education and experience to meet the high standards of today’s employers, take a look at our current consulting opportunities by clicking here. At DLC we hire consultants with experience in Fortune 1000 companies and are Big 4 CPAs and/or MBAs from the Top 25 Business Schools. We look forward to talking to you.

team

Strategies for Building a High Performing Team

Building a high-performing team is complex. It requires patience, learning, training,  trial and error, and encouragement. This blog consolidates a wealth of information that supports your pursuit of excellence.  Laying out a clear vision of the team’s goal, and inspiring its members to achieve it, is fundamental to the team’s success.

Characteristics of a High-Performing Team

A team’s excellence stands out to others and to its members.

  • Each member of the team is solidly committed to its purpose, each other, and its customers.
  • Talents are complementary, with each member’s unique skills adding to group strength.
  • High performance expectations are made of each team member.
  • The team keeps each other accountable for their responsibilities.
  • Members share mutual trust.
  • They routinely exchange information and ideas.
  • The team genuinely enjoys its work.

Use These Strategies to Build Performance

You can use lessons from high-performing teams to select strategies that boost a team’s function.

  • Adopt a coaching style of leadership that encourages innovation as it supports each member’s unique skills and contributions.
  • The leader should run interference to assure that external influences do not impede the team’s work.
  • Select highly motivated, talented team members—doing so increases performance.
  • Offer incentives to encourage individual and group performance. These can include monetary and skill development options as external motivators.
  • Encourage morale and internal motivation by supporting innovation, risk-taking, and open sharing of vison and ideas.
  • Use open communication to manage conflict.
  • Engage the team in shared decision-making to foster communication and cooperation.
  • Take time outs to assess progress without judgment.
  • Have the team identify ways to celebrate success.

Team Development Indicators

Watch for these indicators of your team’s increasing performance.

  • Team members resolve conflicts independently.
  • Individuals cheer each other on and readily share talents and information.
  • Group performance meetings are interactive.
  • Your leadership role shifts as the group leads itself.

Click here to learn about our high-performing team leaders.

reduce costs

How to Reduce Costs Without Hurting Morale

You realize the need to reduce costs. Now you must consider where, when, and the effects of the cuts on your business. You don’t want to reduce costs at the expense of employee loyalty. Knowing that employee and customer confidence and loyalty go hand-in-hand, adds another dimension to your dilemma. 

The Bottom Line: Reduce Costs Without Losing Quality

Your goal is to reduce costs to improve your bottom line.

  • Take time to review the factors that add the most value to your business quality. Prioritize these, moving those with the highest quality yield to a “wait-and-see” column.
  • Engage employees in the expense review process.
    • Requesting employee participation helps morale and adds potentially useful ideas.
    • Those working directly with tasks know how to streamline processes, and therefore costs.
    • Employees who work with customers know the factors that add the most value to your services/products.

Employee Associated Expense Reductions

Audit staff related expenses, from space and travel, to salary and benefits. Keep an open mind as you find methods to creatively save money and morale.

  • Explore flex time and telecommuting.
  • Reduce meeting/conference/travel expenses by meeting online and purchasing downloads of conference materials.
  • Review benefits packages to determine if you are receiving the most cost-effective benefits.
  • Determine if any benefit contracts can be renegotiated for fiscal conservation.
  • Work with employees to identify perks they can do without in favor of preferred options.

Reduce Invisible Consumables

Electricity and technology are necessary, yet each offers opportunity for cost reductions without limiting quality. Employees can help you identify cost-saving ideas.

  • Save on energy.
    • Equipment that is turned off still costs money because of a draw on phantom energy. Plugging devices into accessible power strips helps reduce energy expenses.
    • Conduct an energy audit to determine if air and heating systems are current and well maintained.
    • Consider energy-efficient lighting.
  • Look at connectivity costs. Are you getting full advantage of your tech dollars?
    • Are you using technology that is not giving a good return on investment?
    • Negotiate a package that may upgrade quality as it reduces costs.
  • Review credit card fees for hidden losses.

For more employee morale advice check out Management Tricks to Make You More Likable

Great Leaders

Qualities that Make Great Leaders

Opinions vary about the traits of great leaders. However, a common thread seems to be that, those who focus on being an effective leader, are likely to become better leaders; perhaps even great.

The Leader is There for the Business

This quality is all-encompassing! It involves being available for customers, employees, vendors, stakeholders, and the community-at-large.

The leader:

  • Takes extra steps to keep the lines of communication open on the behalf of the business.
  • Consistently develops and updates business strategies.
  • Recognizes their colleagues’ efforts and triumphs.

Live with Leadership

Our history’s greatest leaders have all  had the habit of carrying their leadership with them, day in and out. They use words, tone of voice, a smile, or an encouraging gesture to show appreciation for others’ work and abilities.

They balance the serious side of the workplace with positivity and enthusiasm.

A leader shows trust by supporting others with the tasks at hand. No micro-managing or off-putting comments. Just guidance, encouragement, and reflection when something is amiss.

Great Leaders Continually Assess Themselves

They check in with others and their internal radars to decide next steps for becoming more effective. Some read about other’s, learning to adopt the practices of people they admire. Others journal to ferret out negativity.

  • Changing one’s behaviors is noticed by others.
    • They proudly take steps to advance their abilities.
  • A leader who seeks feedback garners respect and trust.

Communication is Key

Good Communication is key to building and strengthening relationships and businesses. Great leaders continually:

  • Listen, observe, reflect, and ask questions.
  • Keep their emotions in check.
  • Acknowledge mistakes and know how to apologize.
  • Avoid making hasty decisions and jumping to conclusions.
  • Gather input from others to make sound decisions.
  • Express gratitude.
  • Encourage others to pursue their own growth.

To learn about our great leaders at DLC, click here

Thank you note

Post Interview Thank You Note Tips

Your big interview is over. Now is the time to follow-up with a well-crafted post-interview thank you note.   You will not get the job simply because you sent a thank note, but you will be remembered for not sending one.  If the decision comes down to you and one other candidate, you want to be the one who wrote a thoughtfully composed thank you note with substance.

Creating a template ahead of time helps with the interview preparation, including the points to focus on as follow up.  It’s okay to use a thank you note template when writing your note. However,  be sure to customize it enough so that doesn’t look like one. In your email, reference something unique to your conversation with the interviewer.

First, a Few E-mail Reminders

Follow this set of reminders to assure your message is timely and appropriate.

  • Send within 24 hours following the interview.
  • Send from the same email address included on your resume. Use one with a professional tone.
  • Avoid sending from your phone as formatting may change.

General Thank You Note Guidelines

Your e-mail is most likely to be opened and read if:

  • The subject line includes the words “Thank you” with the job title and interview date.

An email with “no subject” line can appear unprofessional and careless. When you create your subject line, it should be specific and not overly creative.

  • Prepare your e-mail in business formal language.
    • Use professional terms, such as those associated with the position you seek.
  • Be clear and concise.
    • This gives the impression that you have thought about the interview and can express yourself efficiently.
    • Vary sentence length. Best to keep each one under 20 words.
    • Break content into short paragraphs of 2 to 3 sentences each.
  • Be sure to individualize thank you e-mails for each interviewer you met.

Thank You Note E-mail Format

  • Paragraph 1: Begin your note with a “thank you” for the time that they extended to speak with you, followed by a compliment about the interview process, a key takeaway about the position that excites you, and how this solidifies your confidence in your ability to be successful in the position.

This will let the recruiter know that you paid attention and reassure them of your compatibility.

  • Paragraph 2: Refer back to the interview discussion, focusing on the experiences/skills you bring to the position. Succinctly state your unique qualifications and readiness to contribute to the position and company.
  • Paragraph 3: Briefly state your enthusiasm for joining the company, and your availability for a follow up call or e-mail.
  • The last line states your understanding of when you will receive an interview follow up.
  • “Best regards” or “Sincerely” is suitable for the closing.  Below your signature, make sure to include your full contact information and any professional links, such as your LinkedIn profile or other online portfolio.   Your personal Facebook, Instagram or Twitter should not be included unless you are asked for them.

For more interview tips check out, Words to Use in an Interview

job interview

Lookout for These During a Job Interview

Recruiting the right employees is vital for business success. Focusing on what to watch and listen for during a job interview is one step toward employing the best candidates for your business.

The Candidate Spent Time Learning About the Job

Look for signs that a candidate has spent time learning about your business.

  • Do responses and questions demonstrate preparation?
  • Listen for responses that indicate awareness about your clientele and/or products.
  • Note if a prospective employee is able to link values and goals with your business and the job.
  • Do they ask informed questions, such as those related to the position’s procedures?

Pay Attention to Job Interview Style

You are well aware that interaction style affects work relationships, morale, and productivity. Interviews offer time to observe candidates’ actions, language use, job interest, and confidence.

  • Did the candidate arrive on time and interact well with staff?
  • Observe overall communication, including eye contact, tone of voice, and posture. Do they interrupt or make lengthy yet limited responses?
  • Watch for signs of insecurity or lack of preparation.
  • Is the candidate confident and humble, or smug and overly assured?
  • How do you rate the person’s ability to interact with others?

You Get the Information You Need

The interview is a time for learning about the candidate beyond the resume. You want to gain as much information as possible about the person’s experience, skills, and potential.

  • Discussion about work history aligns with the resume.
  • The candidate describes successes, challenges, and goals.
  • The questions you posed were clearly answered.
  • Are they able to link skills, abilities, and goals with the job at hand?
  • Does the candidate have reasonable expectations related to advancement potential, benefits, and opportunities?

The Candidate was Able to Follow Your Lead

You want the interview to begin and end as expected. Candidates who follow an interviewer’s lead show adaptability.

  • Was the candidate able to adjust, such as being questioned by another interviewer?
  • Make note if they comfortably participated in the interview’s closing.
  • Set aside a few moments to write down the immediate impressions you had of this candidate.

To learn about who we hire, click here

motivate employees

2 Ways to Motivate Employees

There are two methods to motivate employees. One is extrinsic from external sources. The other is intrinsic from internal sources. Capitalizing on the benefits of each type of motivator stimulates drive and overall achievement. Review these motivating actions, noting those you already do!

The Engaged Leader

Employees look to you for direction, guidance and encouragement.

  • Give clear, concise directions.
    • This applies to organizational direction as well as details.
    • Check in with your employees to identify any needed clarity.
  • Individualize employee and work group guidance.
    • This assures that the business mission and procedures are accurately implemented.
    • Conduct course correction when a team or individual needs coaching to meet expectations.
  • Give individual attention to build trust, foster loyalty, and encourage performance.
    • By being “present,” your employees will feel connected with you.
    • Acknowledge individuals personally to help them relate to you and your business.
    • Listen to their concerns and ideas to foster engagement.
    • Express sincere gratitude and compliments to boost morale.
    • Work side-by-side with employees to demonstrate interest in their tasks and responsibilities.

Offering Opportunities Will Motivate Employees

Offer your employees opportunities that are meaningful while adding business value.

  • Hire from within to:
    • Motivate employees by rewarding and encouraging excellence.
    • Build internal capacity as employees grow with the business.
    • Decrease employee concerns of being overlooked in favor of outside talent.
  • Invest in skill development by:
    • Offering incentives for taking courses that align with business goals.
    • Providing on the job training that improves work outcomes.
    • Garnering interest in projects that build on and expand existing skills.

Environment Matters

A positive office atmosphere can encourage engagement and motivation.

  • Consider an office redesign that:
    • Includes good lighting.
    • Improves health, as with standing/sitting stations, ergonomically designed furniture, etc.
    • Incorporates comfortable small group meeting/break areas.
  • Relationships:
    • Encourage an atmosphere of transparency with an open exchange of ideas.
    • Build on common work and life interests to promote group cohesion.

For more tips to help you motivate employees, check out Management Tricks To Make You More Likable

successful

Become More Successful at Work

Don’t Be Shy in Meetings

Always be prepared with something constructive to say in every meeting. This can be done even if you don’t have something about the topic to contribute.  You can advocate a co-worker’s point-of-view or ask a meaningful question as well.  As long as you are contributing in a constructive manner, you will be more successful and remembered for your efforts.

Dress Like You Are Already Successful

While we are told we shouldn’t make snap judgments when meeting new people, do not assume that people will follow that rule.

Studies have shown that people make a judgment based on their first impression of you within the first few seconds.  This means you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression and establish yourself as a professional person during a meeting, networking event or a job interview.

Make Allies Both High and Low

Be as attentive to everyone, from the mailroom clerk to the CEO. Because you’re nothing without the entire team of employees on your side.  There is also a chance the mailroom clerk may be your boss’s niece or nephew.

Focus on the Results, Not Just the Tasks

Having a results-oriented mindset means that you focus on the “why” of a project, instead of just the mundane tasks of getting it done.  “Why” does this project exist and what is the desired result?  This shift from focusing on just the “how” of the project can be motivating and help you to finish the project more efficiently and eagerly.

Be Open to Feedback

When you feel like you have done a successful job, receiving feedback that suggests that there is room for improvement can be difficult. Learn out how to take it constructively without taking it personally. Commit to taking it as a learning experience.

And when you have done all those things, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  Let your manager know that you would like to  move up the ladder and ask what steps are needed to make you successful at your goal.

When you are ready to make your next steps towards success click here for a list of our available career opportunities.

management tricks likable

Management Tricks to Make You More Likable

The way an employee feels about management not only impacts whether or not they stay with a company long-term, but it can also influence morale and day-to-day productivity. If you want the most out of your employees, then it’s time you start investing in that relationship. Check out the following management tricks:

Adapt Your Management Style

Not every employee responds well to a particular managerial style. It’s important to get to know the employees and how they work best. Just as you would ask your employees to perform specific tasks, you should also listen to what they ask of you, too.

Be Transparent

The “because I said so” approach to managing is a dead tactic. Instead, try to be as open and honest as you can about why you implement certain policies or why changes are being made. Employees respect a manager when they can understand their thought process more clearly.

Resist Micro Managing

When a boss gets in the habit of constantly interfering with their employee’s process, then you inadvertently create a child/parent relationship. Resist the urge to micromanage and simply delegate tasks and wait for results. Focus on handling issues as they arise instead of looking for ways to avoid them. It’s not effective, and it tells your employees that you don’t trust or respect them.

Have an Open-Door Policy

Employees respond best to managers that want to hear from them. An open-door policy lets employees know that they can come to you if there’s an issue without having to worry about the red tape. Listening to your employees’ concerns can go a long way in helping you develop better procedures moving forward. All in all, it could help you identify weak points and adjust your processes accordingly.

Overview

A manager’s attitude can undoubtedly impact the workplace. If you want your employees to respect and genuinely like you, then you must ensure that you are displaying strong leadership and quality communication skills. Ultimately, this will influence whether or not your company succeeds.

Every manager should read these Employee Perks to Boost Retention