Why Inspiration Alone Is Not Enough To Be An Inspiring Leader

When employees aren’t just engaged, but inspired, that’s when organisations see real breakthroughs. Inspired employees are themselves far more productive and, in turn, inspire those around them to strive for greater heights.

Our research shows that while anyone can become an inspiring leader (they’re made, not born), in most companies, there are far too few of them. In employer surveys that we conducted with the Economist Intelligence Unit, we found that less than half of respondents said they agree or strongly agree that their leaders were inspiring or were unlocking motivation in employees. Even fewer felt that their leaders fostered engagement or commitment and modelled the culture and values of the corporation.

To understand what makes a leader inspirational, Bain & Company launched a new research programme, starting with a survey of 2 000 people. What we found surprised us. It turns out that inspiration alone is not enough. Just as leaders who deliver only performance may do so at a cost that the organisation is unwilling to bear, those who focus only on inspiration may find that they motivate the troops but are undermined by mediocre outcomes. Instead, inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions — and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.

Here are some of our additional findings about how leaders both inspire, and get, great performance.

You only need one truly ‘inspiring’ attribute

We asked survey recipients what inspired them about their colleagues. This gave us a list of 33 traits that help leaders in four areas: Developing inner resources, connecting with others, setting the tone and leading the team:

  • Stress tolerance, self-regard and optimism help leaders develop inner resources
  • Vitality, humility and empathy help leaders connect
  • Openness, unselfishness and responsibility help set the tone
  • Vision, focus, servanthood and sponsorship help them lead.

We found that people who inspire are incredibly diverse, which underscores the need to find inspirational leaders that are right for motivating your organisation — there is no universal archetype. A corollary of this finding is that anyone can become an inspirational leader by focusing on his or her strengths.

Although we found that many different attributes help leaders inspire people, we also found that you need only one of them to double your chances of being an inspirational leader. Specifically, ranking in the top 10% in your peer group on just one attribute nearly doubles your chance of being seen as inspirational. However, there is one trait that our respondents indicated matters more than any other: Centeredness. This is a state of mindfulness that enables leaders to remain calm under stress, empathise, listen deeply and remain present.

Your key strength has to match how your organisation creates value

Effective leadership isn’t generic. To achieve great performance, companies need a leadership profile that reflects their unique context, strategy, business model and culture — the company’s unique behavioural signature. To win in the market, every company must emphasise the specific capabilities that make it better than the competition.

We found that the same is true of leaders: They must be spiky, not well-rounded, and those ‘spikes’ must be relevant to the way that the company creates value. For example, an organisation that makes its money out-marketing the competition isn’t likely to be inspired by a leader whose best talent is cost management. Spiky leaders achieve great performance by obsessing about the specific capabilities that underpin their company’s competitive advantage. They make sure those capabilities get an outsized, unfair share of resources and provide the key players the freedom they need to continue to excel.

You have to behave differently if you want your employees to do so

Even with a clear idea of your company’s winning behavioural signature, leaders need to develop new ways of operating. We found that leaders who both inspire people and generate results find ways to constructively disrupt established behaviours to help employees break out of culture-weakening routines.

Inspirational leaders recognise the need to pick their moments carefully to reinforce a performance culture in a way that can also be inspiring. These are real moments of leadership and truth. Two of our favourite, classic examples include:

  • When Howard Schultz returned to Starbucks as CEO after a nearly eight-year hiatus, he realised that Starbucks’ unique customer-focused coffee experience was now in the back seat. In the front seat were automation and diversification, both implemented in pursuit of throughput and growth. Schultz took swift action to change the company’s direction; he even shut down 7 100 US stores for three hours on 26 February 2008 to retrain the baristas in the art of making espresso. In this highly symbolic move, he left no doubt about his intentions — and about what he thought it would take to make Starbucks great again.
  • When Alan Mulally came to Ford in 2006 to help turn around the business, he took bold actions to change the way the company operated. In one highly visible moment, he applauded Mark Fields (who would eventually become his successor) for admitting to a failure in an executive meeting. That was pretty much unheard of at Ford and it set the tone for the open and honest communications required for a new culture at the company.

While these are only single actions by leaders who are famous for producing both performance and inspiration, they provide a window into what inspirational leadership looks like.

Drawing insight from Eastern philosophy, one of our clients once said, “If you want to change the way of being, you have to change the way of doing.” This struck us as profound in the moment and even more profound over time — and the sentiment matches what we learnt in our research. Leaders can only change by doing things differently. The more often they behave in a new way, the sooner they become a new type of leader, an inspirational leader. We know that individual inspiration is the gateway to employee discretionary energy, and that, in turn, is critical to making the most of your scarcest resource — your human capital.

Leaders driving economic value

To win in the market, every company must emphasise the specific capabilities that make it better than the competition.

We found that the same is true of leaders: They must be spiky, not well-rounded, and those ‘spikes’ must be relevant to the way that the company creates value.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

5 Fierce Ways To Become The Ultimate Entrepreneur

For some, the ultimate entrepreneur might be someone like Elon Musk — working non-stop, rich beyond measure, but with no balance in life.

For others it might simply be someone who has built a business that will sustain them; an entrepreneur who is successful but also prioritises other aspects of their life. Take a second. Think about it. What does it mean to you?

In my view the ultimate entrepreneur is focused, has copious amounts of positive energy, a supportive network, is mentally tough, has their priorities in order and has a steadfast idea towards which they are working.

Here are five ways to go about building yourself into the ultimate entrepreneur (or at least my version of one).

1. Seed your day with energy enhancers

Your energy is your secret weapon. You should protect and enhance it at all costs. When I talk about energy I am referring to both physical and mental energy. There is an esoteric component to this as well, but we will leave that discussion for another day.

How can you enhance your physical energy? The simplest way is to get enough sleep, drink enough water, and clean up your diet. It really is as simple as that. Just get the basics right.

How can you enhance your mental energy? Remove friends and influences that drain you and replace them with a network of people who support you and can appreciate the level at which you are playing. I also suggest to my clients that they carry small symbols with them that can remind them of the goals they are working towards and other things that are important to them.

2. Train for mental toughness

Mental toughness is the ability to pursue your goals with a positive attitude amidst the challenges and chaos of life. The most important thing I want you to know about mental toughness is that it is trained. This means that you must put in the effort and time to develop a stronger mentality.

The two important skills to train are:

  1. Self-awareness. In other words, becoming aware of the moment that you start latching on to negativity or succumbing to images of a future that might never come to pass.
  2. Creating a strong counter visualisation. This visualisation ideally contains emotionally-charged images of the big goal that you are working towards, the person that you are becoming, and the things that matter to you.

Mental toughness does not ignore the problem. It simply allows you to keep moving forward while you figure things out.

3. Create a support network

It’s a great feeling when you finally find people who get it. They get what you are trying to build and the pressures and challenges you face. I’d love to tell you that such people are all around you, but the truth is that they aren’t. You must go looking for them. At events, on social media, at business forums, really wherever entrepreneurs congregate.

As with most things you need to realise the importance of time in building such a network. So, start sooner than later. One day you will wake up and realise that the people you once admired are now peers and form part of your network. It’s a great feeling. But start now.

3. Zoom out

You are not your business. This is important and difficult for entrepreneurs to hear. Business is such a personal thing. Especially in the early days when you literally are your business. At some point however, you need to realise that you cannot let your business consume your life. It’s one component of your life, not its entirety.

So, make sure that you are looking after and making time for your health, your relationships, your energy levels, your creativity, and your hobbies.

4. Is it all about the money?

This ties in to the previous point but also to a greater purpose. I get why money is such an important metric early on. We need it to survive, and to that end, focusing on creating more money in your business is a great goal. However, money always seems like an important thing to chase, until we have enough but are still found wanting for something more.

I think there is purpose in you just being alive, but I also believe that we create purpose with our intentions and actions. You might not currently know what a crafted purpose looks like, and that’s okay. I would encourage you to consider what your life (and business) looks like in the bigger context of serving others.

The ultimate entrepreneur is an ideal that you must create for yourself. Don’t copy the greats. Build your own version 2.0 and make it damn good.

By 

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

Wasted Employee Time Adds Up: Here’s How To Fix It

Employees want to be productive, but sometimes the allure of time-wasting activities is just too tempting. When that happens, it’s up to leaders to keep everyone on track.

According to research from Salary.com, 89 percent of employees waste at least some time at work every day. Thirty-one percent waste about 30 minutes, but the top 10 percent waste three or more hours each day. That extrapolates to more than 15 hours per week of wasted productivity, shedding light on the immense costs associated with poor time management.

The people who waste more than half their workdays on non-work activities are far beyond the help of time management training. Their employers don’t have enough work for them, or these employees need to find new roles.

This guide is for everyone else. While occasional breaks are great for the mind, excessive time waste leads to lost productivity, lower morale and decreased employee retention. Even employees who would otherwise be high performers can get caught in time-wasting traps, so leaders need to step in before things get out of hand.

To avoid low productivity and improve employee time management, follow these tips.

1. Set specific productivity goals

Employees – even the best self-starters – need objectives to work toward. Leaders who don’t set specific goals invite their workers to waste time. Whether it’s a sales quota or the creation of a new marketing campaign, give employees something concrete to achieve.

Don’t micromanage, but do provide consistent feedback to let employees know when they’re on the right track – and when they aren’t. People who don’t feel like they have the support of their managers are more likely to feel stressed than they are to feel motivated.

Give workers the tools they need, and make yourself available for questions and feedback; then, step back and let employees work toward the goals you helped them set.

2. Schedule tasks in chunks

The same type of work should take about the same amount of time to complete. Help employees create timelines for different types of projects so they know how quickly things should move across their desks.

Say your marketing team creates a lot of case studies to show potential clients. Help the team develop a schedule that follows projects from client interview to content development to graphic design. Determine how long each step in the process takes, then assign a deadline to each part of the larger task.

When employees understand how long projects take and how long it takes to complete each piece, they don’t have to scramble at the last minute. This steady stream of effort prevents workers from falling into a cycle of working overtime to compensate for earlier procrastination.

3. Show employees how their work affects the whole

Employees who waste time typically do so because they don’t see the point in working faster. To them, the company and their co-workers do just fine, no matter how well they do their job.

In this case, the issue isn’t about time management – it’s about employee engagement. Keep employees in the loop about what the company is accomplishing, and tie their work to those achievements. Recognise the contributions of outstanding employees and departments. Constantly communicate the mission of the company and how employees help further that mission.

Financial bonuses for a job well done are nice, but people respond even more positively to personal praise. Write handwritten thank-you notes to employees who go above and beyond. Include employees on customer communications when they solve a problem or provide great service. The more employees see the effects of their work in action, the more motivated they become to work hard.

This is especially true when it comes to teams working together. Some employees struggle to see the connection between their work and the company’s objectives, but when they see how their productivity (or lack thereof) affects their co-workers, they feel more motivated to help their team thrive.

Employee time management has a cumulative effect. Engaged employees who get things done inspire others to follow suit. Those who have little to do (and those who don’t do what they should) bring others down. Use this advice to develop an office filled with productive, time-conscious teammates.

By

This article was originally posted on Entrepreneur.com.

4 Mistakes You’re Making That Can Jeopardise Your Reputation

We take our careers very seriously. We pour a great deal of energy into cultivating relationships and growing a network of professionals we either work with or hope to. We spend countless hours combing through our online resumes and LinkedIn profiles, carefully ensuring they convey the utmost professionalism. We want to be taken seriously and be considered credible and influential at work. We look the part, practice our presentations, fine-tune our communication skills and polish our presence online and in person.

But, what happens when we are off the clock? How is our behaviour when we are at a restaurant with friends, on vacation with family or simply out of the office? How many times have we run a personal errand and bumped into someone unexpectedly?

Our reputation is built on us – both in and out of the office, in person and online. Professionals often forget that credibility is built on consistency; we can only be consistent in our behaviour when we are mindful every day and in every circumstance. Professionals too often become lazy when the spotlight is turned off. We don’t realise that people are watching. Employees, customers, prospects and peers are everywhere.

Here are four common mistakes professionals make, which call their reputation into question:

1. Social media socialises the real you

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more – these online social media platforms create a way for us to communicate with those we are connected to. We fail to realise that our reach doesn’t stop there. These mediums also communicate to the entire world who we are. Just because we sit behind a screen doesn’t mean we aren’t seen.

A 2017 study found that 70 percent of employers use social media to review potential candidates. This number has increased 11 percent in the past 10 years, proving now more than ever that professionals who wish to manage their reputation must be mindful of what they post.

Political commentary, strong opinions, excessive personal information and activities may cast our reputation in a negative light. Even when we have the best intentions, posts and comments can be easily misconstrued. If there is any doubt, don’t post it. Posts should be informative, educational or inspiring. If they fail to convey a message kindly, refrain from sharing them altogether.

2. Personal time is just professional time off the clock

We all deserve to let our hair down when we step out of the office. We must remember, however, someone is always watching and that we must protect our professional reputation. Behavior that causes others to question our authenticity can jeopardize our professional reputation. For instance, loud and rowdy behavior with friends during happy hour doesn’t convey professionalism but may leave others wondering who we are.

Credibility is built on consistency. When your behaviour is consistent in and out of the office, people will trust that is the real you. We’ve all heard the old saying, “It’s a small world.” It feels even smaller the moment we are anything but our best self and we run into someone we wish to impress. Be mindful and know that everyone is everywhere.

3. You’re in the spotlight even when you’re not on stage

Communication begins before you step on stage. Others determine who you are based on collective experiences and interactions with you when you aren’t in the spotlight. How you communicate in the office and in casual conversations is what will shape your reputation, not the moments you step on stage. How you behave and interact with peers determines your level of influence and the trust they have in you as a professional.

Did you know 92 percent of people act upon the recommendation of others – even if they don’t know them? People talk, and others listen. How you treat your employees is how they will treat your customers. If you fail to communicate with consistency, those you influence will fail to do so, too. Be clear and concise in all communications – whether it’s a high-stakes meeting or a casual hallway conversation. Focus on your body language and be an active, intentional listener. When you make others a priority, they will do the same for you and those who matter most to your success.

4. It’s not a brand management campaign; it’s a way of life

Our modern-day world doesn’t allow us to compartmentalise our lives. In today’s age of online observation, our reputations are broadcast for the world to see, which directly affects our bottom line. Consider some highly regarded corporate names. It’s likely their reputations are well managed. They are consistent in their messaging and delivery. They walk their talk throughout all aspects of their brand: from online profiles to customer-facing employees. Now consider companies that have struggled with their reputation. They have likely suffered from inconsistencies in their customer experience, marketing campaign, executive behaviour and employee interactions.

Individual professional reputations are no different than major corporations. In fact, they are one of the most significant concerns major companies face. In a survey of executives, 87 percent said the risk to their reputation was a higher priority to their bottom line, more so than any other strategic danger their company faced.

Fact is, professionals cannot manage their reputation through a one-time branding campaign. We must develop it through consistent behaviours that create trust in those who know and observe us. We can’t just say something is important; our actions must reflect it. We can’t tell employees to invest time and energy in customers but then fail to do the same for them. Reputations aren’t built on a “do what I say, not as I do” mentality. Consistency is key to credibility.

This article was originally posted on Entrepreneur.com.

AHDORA MBELU-DANIA: PASSION IS GREAT, BUT PURPOSE IS BETTER

Ahdora Mbelu-Dania is currently a Director at Trellis Group (@trellisgroupco). Trellis group is a group of companies in the brand development and experiential marketing space that has worked on several projects across various industries, with brands such as Microsoft, Google, Sterling Bank, Union Bank, Lagos State Government, Nokia, Diageo, Absolut.

Ahdora has a passion for innovation and a belief in the power of creativity to achieve extraordinary business results. She moved to Nigeria in 2008 and found that there were so many young Nigerians in the creative sector that were unable to harness their creativity and build sustainable brand/business structures – Trellis group bridges this gap.

In 2017, Adaora was mentioned in Entrepreneur Magazine’s “11 Africans that are changing the business landscape in Africa.”

She was also nominated in the “Entrepreneur Of The Year” and “Prize For Media Enterprise” Categories of the Future Awards Africa. She has been featured among Nigeria’s Under 40 CEO’s, and Top 30 Under 30.

Ahdora talks about finding passion, purpose, and creativity.

 How did your family background and rich cultural heritage prepare you for the success you experience today?

My family background provided a diversity of thought. My parents are from different racial and cultural backgrounds, and this provided an opportunity for me to understand diversity very early in life.

Hence, I keep a very open mind, and this allows me to forge relationships with people without bias for their backgrounds.

You seem to value creative thinking above traditional practice, has this always worked for you?

I actually value both creative thinking and traditional practice. I think both ideologies have their place in my life’s journey. The important thing is that I know how and when to apply either one to produce positive results.

Many people view creativity as rebellion and going against the norm. But I believe that everyone is born with some level of creativity, and thus there’s nothing to really rebel against.

We just need to harness this creativity to solve problems and produce great work. I try to stay away from the tag of “Creative” vs “Non-creative”.

At the very core, what is your company – Trellis all about?

As the name implies, Trellis is about providing a structure/framework that supports people to get their greatest work out to the world.

Trellis Group was created from the need to solve and bring light to the existing challenges faced in the African creative sector. We are a creative consultancy made up of a group of companies in the sectors of Brand development (Gr8an), Experiential Marketing (A2Creative) Talent Management, and Community Development (Socially Africa).

You definitely fit the idea of a superwoman. Do you face challenges as a creative strategist?

Being superwoman definitely comes with various challenges – even the superheroes in the movies have to fight people, and even their own emotional struggles.

I have my fair share of challenges, especially as I not only work on the client side but also manage operations.

I am continuously dealing with solving people’s problems, and that sometimes means fully immersing myself in understanding the problem first, before I try to solve.

How do you identify ideas that are competent and sustainable and those that are not?

There two things I usually consider when I’m presented with an idea. Does it solve an existing problem And can it progress without the creator? I think the best ideas are the ones that can grow without the person who developed the idea.

The world has got this entrepreneurship game all wrong. From my perspective, it isn’t about founders, as much as it is about solutions.

It isn’t about who did it, but rather that it was done. This is why as much as I respect investor pitches and all that good stuff, I also know that Purpose will always trump what everyone else thinks.

What do you look out for in ideas/projects that come to your agency for actualization?

With the projects we work on, we choose our clients as much as they choose us. Many times we focus on the people behind the projects.

We have been through the start-up phase where we’ve worked with people and projects that we didn’t necessarily have a heart for because it was profitable. However, we are now at a stage where we measure value very differently.

These days, we choose peace of mind over financial gain. I know it’s a bold statement to make, but it’s factual. I’m not as concerned about quantity, as I am about quality. Hence, a lot of our business is either return business or by referral.

How have you been able to juggle your demanding career and your role as a mother altogether?

I am still learning to juggle it all. I don’t have a perfect response to this question, especially because I really don’t believe strongly in “work-life” balance. At least, I don’t believe that it must be 50/50, and thus I don’t put pressure on myself or feel that I am falling short in my responsibilities.

I take each day at a time, and give as much as I possibly can, per time, with the understanding that to whom much is given, much is expected.

I mean, my family and friends believe that I am an amazing mother, and I know I am. However, I have read mommy blogs that just make me look like child’s play. But I have learned to abandon comparison, and just enjoy my mommy moments – they are mine.

Your dress style is fiercely distinct and bold. How come you decided to stick with the classy suit and tie look?

This wasn’t a conscious decision.  My father was a banker, and he wore a suit every day throughout my childhood.

He’s a very stylish man, and I remember him having socks that match every one of his ties. I think it seeped into my subconscious.

It’s really just comfortable for me. I wear a suit (no tie) or Kaftan for professional outings. However, on my dress down days (which are very often now), you’ll find me in a T-shirt, Jeans, and a Hat.

We know Ahdora as a woman with many hobbies, one of which is horse riding. We’d love to hear all about it?

The Lagos city grind is intense, and horse riding is my way of tuning out from the hustle and bustle to relax my mind. For the few hours that I’m on a horse, I do not check on my phone or emails. It allows me to breathe, and while I’m riding, I often get clarity on some ideas or projects.

It is also a way of spending time with my Husband – we both get on our horses and ride off.

What do you say to young creative people who want to turn their passion into reality?

Passion is great, but the purpose is better. There’s a misconception that Purpose is about our “Why” alone. But the purpose isn’t just about “Why are we doing this”.

It is also about “Who will benefit”. When you understand that this journey is really about the solution, you’ll express yourself more confidently.

Be open to collaboration – if you don’t care about who gets the credit, you are more likely to do many amazing things. Finally, be Patient – Time is a great storyteller.

How have you been able to deal with multiple business ventures including your social projects in Socially Africa?

Socially Africa is a full embodiment of who I am. In fact, I run the for-profit side of my business, as a way to fund Socially Africa.

In the past 2 years, we have accomplished so much with the organization, with initiatives and projects funded primarily by Trellis, with support from friends and family donations.

With all the platforms that I deal with, there is an underlying philosophy that runs through them. So, as much as it sometimes seems as though I am doing too much, it’s actually one big circle with a thread of purpose running through it.

Recently you launched your first single, tell us about your singing career.

I don’t know if I can call it a singing career. I’ve always written poetry, and been a fan of conscious music – I’m intrigued at how the lyrics and intensity of a song can consciously influence people.

On a spiritual side, I’ve always likened myself to Joseph the Dreamer, as we share similar qualities and journeys.

Last year, I started reading closely about David’s transition from Shepherd boy to King, and how he wrote love songs to God through what we now know as the Psalms.

It’s very powerful. I ran away from music for a long time because I was worried about what my clients would think, and how people would perceive Lumina (The Rapper) versus Adaora (The Creative Industrialist).

Self-awareness is a beautiful thing  I’m now high up on Maslows Heirarchy of needs. I’ve hit Self Actualization, so I’m out here swag surfing as a “Rapper-preneur”. (I should copyright this tag).

Purpose is something you emphasize on. How did you discover your purpose?

I have always been interested in helping people become the best versions of themselves, and get their greatest work out to the world. I was always told that people were using me as a stepping stone and then abandoning ship once they were elevated.

At some point, it bothered me and it was very frustrating until I realized that it was a gift. Many people are searching for purpose, without realizing that it’s staring them in the face, but they’re too afraid to accept what it is. They think it’s too glaring, and they want it to be tough to find.

My purpose is simple, I am a Bright Light, and I shine on other people. Simple.

Your hair looks moisturized and beautiful always! What’s the secret?

The secret is…. wait for it… Water! I get this question a lot, but really I think my hair texture is as a result of my mixed heritage. I don’t have any regimen or specific preference for products.

However, I am sure that my hair would grow better if I considered product – I just don’t know how, and yes, I’ve watched YouTube tutorials.

By FAVOUR ONUKOGU

Source: She Leads Africa

Why helping employees save helps employers too

This year’s 10th July Savings Month is putting the spotlight on how employers can play a vital role in assisting cash-strapped consumers to save.

This is in an attempt to find alternative solutions to the country’s poor savings rate.

July Savings Month is a campaign led by the South African Savings Institute , supported by Absa and the Industrial Development Corporation.

SASI Savings Ambassador and businesswoman Azania Mosaka says it’s important for companies to realise that helping employees can benefit the organisation too.

“Broader societal problems affect a firm’s performance and employees don’t leave worries about debt at the door.

“Talking about savings has never been more important. The picture looks negative but there are alternatives, innovative alternatives, that can have an impact,” Mosaka says.

According to Absa Wellness executive Dr Lesego Rametsi, a 2017 PwC report found that 30% of employees are distracted due to financial stress, while 46% of employees spend three hours a day thinking about or addressing financial issues. This has a major impact on productivity and the bottom line.

Wealth coach Samke Mhlongo emphasises that the drivers behind financial distress need to be addressed in “honest conversations”.

SASI CEO and financial advisor Gerald Mwandiambira says employers can more actively facilitate or automate the savings process for those with an income. Saving must run parallel to servicing your financial debt.

No legal obligation – but it helps

There is no legal obligation on employers to offer a retirement savings plan to employees, or to make a financial contribution to their workers’ retirement funds, but many feel a moral obligation to offer some support at least, says Hilan Berger, head of institutional business at 10X Investments.

The impact of financial stress on worker productivity is significant, says Berger. Many employers say high levels of absenteeism among their staff cost them a fortune, and that stress-related illness is one of the most frequent reasons for staff to be away from work.

“Even if employees are not away from the workplace many are less productive because they are focused on sorting out financial difficulties while they should be working, or distracted by them,” he says.

In his view, educating staff about savings is a great start, and facilitating saving in some way is a huge boost to workers. It has a positive ripple effect beyond the families affected.

Berger explains that it is not about how much one earns, but rather about how much one saves.

“More specifically, it is about how long one saves for; the return on the investment of one’s savings; and how much of one’s savings are lost to fees,” he adds.

“Socio-economics is a huge factor. So many people in South Africa are not in formal employment, or simply do not earn enough to be able to save for retirement.”

Berger says employers can do a few simple things to help their staff develop a savings programme:

Providing information and education

Speak to a company that provides retirement and investment products and they will share information with your staff about how to get their retirement savings off the ground.

Basic information about the range of savings products is also helpful. These might include retirement funds and retirement annuities. Also giving tax savings tips can be a huge factor in getting people into the right mindset.

Establishing a company retirement fund

This is another initiative that an employer can consider.

“If you’re a small or new business or struggling with revenue for another reason, it does not have to involve a financial commitment from the business,” says Berger.

“It’s great when the business is able to make a contribution to the retirement fund, but just establishing the fund with a suitable provider is a big step in the right direction.

“Once you have created the fund and offered it to your workers as an investment opportunity for them, there is much bigger chance they will start saving than if they have to do something on their own.”

Fees

Once an employer has decided to put in place a retirement fund, it’s “absolutely critical”, he says, that they investigate which provider to engage with and choose carefully.

“Most retirement fund providers trumpet the returns they achieve, but do not talk about the fees they charge. You could have, for example, growth of 10% for a year but if the fees charged are 3% you won’t benefit from a return of 10%,” says Berger.

“The employer should be asking about the return after fees in order to make a properly informed decision about which service provider to select. After all, you wouldn’t want to recommend a fund to your employees where they lost a large part of their savings to high fees.”

In the case of an existing retirement fund, employers should also keep tabs on charges. Most benefit statements from retirement funds are not particularly easy to read especially when it comes to the amount lost to fees. Berger says HR Managers should insist on a proper breakdown of the fees levied.

Source: Fin 24

(Infographic) The Early Failures Of The Most Successful Billionaires

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. You’ve heard the phrase all your life, but how often did it actually inspire you to actually, well, try again? If you’re going to be a success, you’re going to meet with rejection or a significant loss a dozen times over before you “make it.” The one thing that major successes in business (not to mention politics, entertainment, and most other endeavours), have in common is the ability to pick themselves up after a failure and take what they’ve learned from it to their next venture.

Success is never a straight line from one to ten. It’s a roller coaster of small victories followed by defeats that seem twice as big. In the world of sports, the list of undefeated champions is very short. For every iPhone there’s a Newton. For every Star Wars, there’s both a Howard the Duck and a Star Wars Holiday Special.

Overcoming obstacles and reframing failure as just one step along the path to success is crucial to continued success in today’s business world. Failure is part of the experience of trying something new, and sometimes it won’t work out as well as you’d hoped, but the experience teaches you something that will be invaluable later on. That may sound pat or trite, but that’s the lesson you’ll hear from nearly every public figure you admire.

You’ve probably heard that Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.” But here’s something you don’t hear nearly as much: As many accolades as “The Great One” has made, in his best year (1983) his shot percentage was 26.7. Think about that. The biggest name in hockey missed three out of every four shots he took in the best year of his career, and in five years he missed nine out of ten.

Failure Is a Necessary Journey

Here’s a similar statistic: Gordon Ramsay, a man best known for turning around failing restaurants, has owned 42 restaurants in his career—and 16 of them have closed. And who can forget that Halle Berry won awards for being both the best and worst actress in the same year?

Failure is part of the journey, and you are in great company if you fail at something you were sure was going to change the world. So, by all means, take your shot. And if you hit the mark 25% of the time, you can consider yourself a huge success.

To help inspire readers who are frustrated, or worse, too anxious about the possibility of failing to try to chase their dreams, here is a list by GetVoIP that highlights some of the greatest success stories, and how it wouldn’t be possible without their greatest failure.

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

How To Accomplish More In 4 Days Than Most People Do In 4 Weeks

We all know that it takes hard work to achieve our goals. And in the world of business and entrepreneurship, we often hear how we must be willing to sacrifice weeks, months, even years of slaving away to suceed.

But what if we’re all just doing it wrong? What if there was a way to accomplish a huge to-do list in less than half the time it would normally take? Barring the discovery of a time machine or a wormhole, you might say this is impossible. But with a little practice and self-control, it’s possible to get to the finish line before most people even start the race.

1. Use the 80/20 rule

The Pareto principle is a universal truth that can help us recognise where to focus our efforts to be most productive. The basic rule of thumb works like this: 80 percent of results will come from just 20 percent of the action. In other words, roughly 20 percent of your customers will account for 80 percent of your total profits. Likewise, about 20 percent of your daily tasks account for your most important and time-consuming projects. The remaining 80 percent of daily tasks are relatively low-level functions and less important undertakings.

Having a laser-like focus on those top 20 percent of tasks is the most valuable use of your time. Once those tasks are complete, you can work on the bottom 80 percent, or delegate those tasks to others. Keep yourself on track by always asking yourself: “Is this one of my top 20 percent most important activities, or is this a bottom 80 percent task?”

The same goes with other areas of your business. Focus on strengthening your relationship with the 20 percent of people who are your money makers: Those who are consistently working hard for you or are your top clientele.

2. Break big tasks into manageable chunks

Procrastination often hits us when we’re feeling overwhelmed. We avoid starting a huge project because it feels daunting and we can’t imagine how we’ll tackle it. So stop trying to take on monster-sized jobs.

Break tasks into manageable pieces so you’re just taking on one small task at a time. Make sure your to-do list is broken into tasks that can be accomplished relatively quickly – a half hour or less. Then start using a stopwatch to kick your focus into high gear.

Set a timer for 20 minutes and tell yourself you must stay totally focused until it goes off. You’ll be shocked by how much you can accomplish! And once you’ve finished the allotted time, you may be motivated to keep going – how much more can you do in another 20 minutes?

3. Outsource tasks to focus on your talents

Most of us are really good at a handful of things, and are average or OK at everything else. The best use of your time is to focus on the areas where you’re strongest. If you can hand the other tasks off to someone else, you’ll have more time to focus on the tasks you’re best at. You can do this by outsourcing jobs that you don’t excel in.

Outsourcing might mean hiring someone or using a form of automation technology. Tasks that may be easy to outsource include web developer, content writer, graphic designer or a general virtual assistant, who can ease the burden of many daily tasks such as setting appointments or returning emails.

4. Understand your natural rhythms

What time of the day do you have the most energy? When are you most creative? In order to be efficient and make the most of your productivity, you have to know how to manage your energy. You have to understand your body’s natural timetable. Is there a time of day when you always feel in a slump or a time when you feel raring to go? Prioritise important tasks to those times when you know your mind is alert.

In order for this to work, you must have established routines. This will help you create a pattern so you can observe your natural rhythms. When you know you’re at your best, focus on detail-oriented and difficult tasks. And remember to give yourself breaks to keep your energy level high throughout the day.

5. Cut out distractions

Your ability to focus is key to your productivity and getting more done in a short amount of time. Researchers have found that it takes a typical office worker 25 minutes to return to the original task after an interruption. Work interruptions also decrease accuracy by 20 percent.

By eliminating distractions, you’re giving yourself back all that wasted time. Try scheduling chunks of uninterrupted time that allow you to dive into a project. And as much as possible, avoid leaving things half done. If you start something, finish it! Each day, set goals you want to accomplish and then make it happen.

Your smartphone is one of the biggest distractions. The average person can’t leave their phone alone for six minutes, and most of us check it up to 150 times per day! So if you need to be hyper-focused on something, work on one screen at a time. Turn off your smartphone notifications or try putting your phone away for periods of time.

6. Focus on one thing at a time

We used to think multitasking could help us accomplish more, but we now know that the human brain wasn’t designed to focus on more than one thing at once. However, most of us find ourselves toggling between web pages, email, text messages and the task at hand, and then we wonder why we never seem to get anything done. It’s time to start monotasking.

Monotasking, also known as single-tasking, is about focusing on one thing at a time so we get more done. It requires you to break your multitasking habits. Because we live in a highly connected world, that’s not always easy or even possible for every task. But monotasking allows you to get into deep work, where you can really focus on a demanding task.

Try setting aside two to four hours daily when you can focus on one thing without interruption. It may take a while to develop this skill, but eventually you’ll be able to engage both sides of your brain to make incredible breakthroughs that have an impact on your business.

7. Capture stray thoughts

It can be annoying when a tantalising thought enters your brain when you’re in the middle of doing something else. “I need to remember to this!” you tell yourself. And then you try to set the thought aside, while simultaneously trying to remember it.

As you may have learned from experience, trying to remember a thought while you’re involved in a task often fails. However, if you write it down you can truly let it go, knowing you can reexamine it later. You close the loop. If you rely on memory, you’re either wasting energy trying to remember it, or you forget it completely and lose the value of that idea. Either way, it’s a waste.

Make sure you capture these random thoughts and ideas, either in a notebook or in an app that you always have handy. This can be part of a massive, ongoing brain dump that you can refer back to and will ensure that you don’t lose that lightning bolt of genius, or forget that you need to pick your suit up from the cleaner. Just be sure to review your notes on a regular basis!

8. Sleep, eat and breathe

It’s nearly impossible to be hyper-productive if you’re feeling exhausted, hungry or overwhelmed. It’s important that we continue to engage in self-care, even when we’re slammed at work or are feeling overwhelmed with projects. You’re not a machine – you need rest, food and a clear mind to perform well. That means ditching junk food and fast food, and nourishing your body with healthy meals and snacks. It means getting a solid eight hours of sleep at night, exercising during the day and carving out time for mental breaks.

Taking even a few minutes out of your day to focus on your breathing or to meditate can help you clear your mind. Another option is to go for a quick power walk or take the stairs rather than the elevator in your office building. These activities will help reinvigorate you so you can focus. Think of it as a reboot for your brain.

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This article was originally posted on Entrepreneur.com.

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