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  • Success Habits: Brilliant Rituals High Performers Follow

    10/23/17 10:00 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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    Tired of “dime a dozen” time-management tips?

    Looking for fresh ways to consistently perform at a higher level?

    Maybe all you need to do is adopt a few new habits.

    Regardless of their profession, experience or level of seniority, all successful people have one thing in common: they practice habits which match their focus and energy level to the importance of the task at hand. What rituals do they follow to maximize their performance?

    Let’s take a look:

    The Morning Ritual

    Even high performers have mornings where they feel tired and uninspired. But, by practicing a deliberate morning routine, they take control of several factors that maximize energy and focus – and set themselves up for a great day. Here are a few tweaks you should consider making to your morning ritual to supercharge your performance:

    • Hydrate with lemon water – it’s nutrient-packed and provides a natural physical and mental energy spike in the a.m.
    • Get moving – even 10 minutes of exercise releases key neurotransmitters linked to better brain functioning.
    • Eat protein – so your muscles and brain have the fuel they need to perform.
    • Spend time with loved ones – to sustain a positive mood throughout the day.
    • Skip the screen time – so you focus on accomplishing your morning routine.

    The Distraction-Minimization Ritual

    Your ability to think clearly and learn can vary by as much as 30 percent over the course of a day. And studies of geniuses show that most are at their sharpest early in the day (2.5 to 4 hours after waking).

    The takeaway? Plan time each day to do high-priority, focus work during your peak mental periods – and ruthlessly eliminate distractions (bye-bye, calls, emails, social feed notifications and visitors) during those times to ensure you accomplish your highest priorities.

    The Check-In Ritual

    Throughout the day, high performers ask themselves important questions to keep their efforts focused – and their productivity high. Here are a few questions all successful people ask themselves:

    • Am I waking up early enough, to take advantage of precious morning hours? If not, set your alarm for 15 or 30 minutes earlier to include some of the morning habits above (and yes, this means you’ll need to go to bed a bit earlier, too).
    • Have I accomplished my top priority for the day? If not, revise your schedule – and vow to plan better for tomorrow.
    • How am I feeling? If your energy or focus is dipping, take a break, grab a snack or switch to a different activity.
    • What difficult things should I be doing more of? If you’re avoiding unpleasant tasks or simply don’t have the time, consider delegating or outsourcing B- and C-level tasks – so you have time to “eat more frogs.”

    The End-of-Day Ritual

    High performers realize that every great morning starts with careful planning. Here are a few success habits you can practice at the end of the workday to set yourself up for a productive start to the following morning:

    • Vet urgent communications. Review incoming messages across channels, addressing what you must and deferring what you can.
    • Reflect. Consider what, when and why things went right (or wrong) during the day. Learn what you can, and apply those lessons to make tomorrow even better.
    • Plan your next work day. Leave your office with a clear idea of what you need to accomplish the following day. Lay out your top three or four priorities, and resolve to tackle your most challenging or unpleasant task first. When possible, schedule high-priority, high-focus work during your peak mental acuity period.

    Want to be more successful?

    Turn a critical eye to the way you spend your day – and resolve to adopt at least one of these new habits.

    Exact Staff is here to support your success.

    Serving organizations across the nation, Exact Staff provides a wide range of talented people – and a full complement of staffing solutions – to make you more efficient and successful. Whether you need to fast-track a project, delegate non-core tasks or free up more time for your high-priority work, we have you covered. Just give us a call!

People Make These Two Snap Judgments When They Meet You

10/18/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Career Advice | Leave a Comment
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How long do you have to make a first impression?

  • One day
  • One hour
  • One minute

It’s a trick question. The real answer? You have only a few seconds!

Here’s why:

When we meet new people, research shows that our brains quickly latch onto assumptions based on the recognizable patterns in their appearance and behavior. These assumptions create an “anchor” for every evaluation they make thereafter. And once that anchor is “dropped,” it’s hard to dislodge. It influences their thought process, limiting their willingness and ability to change their opinion after a first impression is made.

Dropping anchor: two key snap judgments.

This article by Travis Bradberry reviews two of the snap decisions that influence where people drop anchor when the meet you. Specifically, other make judgments that answer two essential questions:

  1. Can I trust you?
  2. Can I respect your capabilities?

According to research cited in this article, up to 90% of a first impression is based on these two traits.

Make snap decisions work in your favor.

Whether you are meeting new reports, new clients, prospects or partners for the first time, you only have a fraction of a second to create a lasting impression of who you are. How can you leverage the science behind first impressions – and make it work in your favor as a leader?

  • Smile (the right way). A wide grin can convey naiveté (which isn’t ideal for leaders), while a subtle, warm smile can convey friendliness and even intelligence.
  • Let the person you’re meeting speak first. “Striking first” in a conversation may show dominance, but it won’t help you build trust. Let the other person take the initial lead, and then follow up with relevant questions to demonstrate your intelligence and attention to the conversation.
  • Shake on it. A firm (not crushing) handshake instills confidence and demonstrates trustworthiness.
  • Get sufficient sleep. Droopy eyelids and a “tired” look make you appear less intelligent than you are. If you know you have a big meeting or event, get plenty of sleep the night before.
  • Watch your tone of voice. Depending upon its pitch and volume, your voice can instill anything from trust to dominance and even attractiveness, according to research.
  • Put your phone down. Checking your phone conveys disinterest, and it sets any meeting off on the wrong foot. When you’re about to be introduced, put your phone in your pocket and leave it there.
  • Be authentic. Trying too hard (e.g., being overly enthusiastic or business-like) can make you appear disingenuous. When you meet someone new, stay “in the moment” and be authentic with your words and actions.

First impressions count.

Whether you need professionals for a discrete assignment, for a long-term project, or to grow your core team, Exact Staff refers stand-out professionals, every time. With offices nationwide, and a full complement of staffing and placement services, we can connect you with high performers who exceed your expectations from day one.

What can we do for you?

Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.

Great Leadership Starts with Listening Skills

10/11/17 9:15 AM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Employers | Leave a Comment
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As a leader, what happens when you develop better listening skills?

  • Your employees become more motivated, engaged and productive.
  • You retain more information and make fewer mistakes.
  • You foster mutual trust with your team.
  • You develop 6-pack abs.

Okay; maybe not that last answer – but you get where today’s post is going, right?

Strong listening skills are an essential component of great leadership. It takes more than a functioning set of ears, however, to develop those skills. Crunches and a low-fat diet won’t help, either.

What does work? “Exercising” these behaviors, each day:

Put Away that Shiny Rectangle

Phubbing,” or phone-snubbing, is the practice of checking your phone in a social situation instead of giving the speaker your full attention. If you’re phubbing your employees, you’re sending a clear message that you’re not interested in them or what they have to say – which results in diminished trust, lower levels of job satisfaction and damaged work relationships.

Unless you’re managing a crisis, put away your smartphone when engaging with your employees.

Be Fully Present

Banishing your phone is a good start. Once it’s put away, make a conscious effort to be in the moment when someone is speaking to you, focusing your eyes and ears on them. Ask questions, and encourage them to elaborate on their ideas. Give them a safe space in which to share their views and concerns. When you engage yourself fully in a conversation, employees will instantly realize that you’re paying attention – and truly attempting to understand what’s important to them.

Practice Active Listening

Tend to finish your employees’ sentences? Formulate your responses while the speaker is still talking? Developing better active listening skills will make you a more patient and empathetic listener. Here are a few simple habits to practice:

  • Don’t interrupt. It’s more than rude; it’s antithetical to effective listening. You simply cannot speak and understand someone else’s message at the same time.
  • Resist the urge to plan how you’ll respond while the other person is speaking. Devote your full attention to comprehension.
  • Monitor the speaker’s words, tone of voice and body language (you’ll get important information from all three sources).
  • Pay attention to what the speaker doesn’t say as much as what they do say (read between the lines).
  • Make friendly, not intimidating, contact.
  • Summarize and repeat what the other person has said, to make sure you understand them fully.
  • Clarify or probe for more information, when necessary.
  • Respond only once you’re sure you grasp what the speaker has communicated.

Related posts:

3 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills

3 Important Things Great Leaders Do Every Day

What to Do if a Conversation Becomes Loud and Aggressive

Choose a Staffing Partner that Truly Listens to You

At Exact Staff, we know that developing effective staffing solutions requires an in-depth understanding of your needs. We’ll listen, ask the right questions, and then create a solution that offers the workforce flexibility, support and access to talent your team needs.

What Can We Do for You?

Contact a staffing expert at your local Exact Staff office today.

A Fun Way to Be More Successful, Backed by Research

10/4/17 1:02 PM | By :Exact Staff | Categories : Job Seekers | Leave a Comment
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You could be chosen for a high-profile project.

You could land a promotion.

You could find a better job.

…and then you’d be happy, right?

Not necessarily, according to research by Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage. While living, researching and lecturing at Harvard University, Achor spent over a decade studying the link between happiness and success. What he found from profiling thousands of Fortune 500 executives boils down to this one simple – and pretty profound – truth:

Success doesn’t bring happiness; happiness brings success.

In other words, if you want to be more successful, work on being happier. It’s easy to say, but tough to put into practice. So, if you need a little help with the process, here are a few of the tactics Achor recommends:

Stop equating future success with happiness.

Many people think that if they’re more successful (i.e., if they just get a raise, just land a promotion, just find a better job) they’ll be happier. Research, however, doesn’t support that notion – so neither should you.

Think of happiness as a work ethic.

Just as you must be disciplined with physical exercise to improve your body, you must be disciplined about your mindset to be happier. Integrate these proven “happiness habits” to build a work ethic that supports success:

  • Be grateful. Each day, write down three new things you’re thankful for.
  • Write down positive experiences. Spend just two minutes daily journaling a single, uplifting experience. This simple task helps you find more meaning in your work over time.
  • Exercise. Every day! Even 10 minutes can train your brain that your actions make a difference.
  • Meditate for two minutes. Press the pause button and just focus on your breathing to combat stress and – you guessed it – boost your happiness.
  • Start each work day by sending a positive email. Sharing good news and praising others creates a cycle of positivity that improves connections and feelings of support.

Looking for more habits that promote happiness? Read our earlier post, Happy People Have These Habits.

View problems as challenges – not threats.

When changes in your department, company, industry occur; when the economic or political climate shifts; when unexpected bottlenecks, glitches or competitors crop up, the way you perceive them greatly impacts your ability to handle them. By framing problems constructively (i.e., as challenges and opportunities), you can increase your effectiveness in meeting them.

Want to build a happier (and ultimately more successful) organization?

Exact Staff’s experts can refer talented, experienced people with the personality traits and soft skills to help you build a more positive workplace. Whether your needs are short- or long-term, temporary or direct, our national employment agency can build the solution you need.



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