Mark Salinas – Insight and Action

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Archive for May, 2008

Work Overload?

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 29, 2008

What does your schedule look like today? Do you have so much on your schedule that you don’t have room for lunch, family time or even a bathroom break? If this seems like crazy pace of your day, believe this: You’re not alone. Business owners often work long hours, take minimal vacation time and work during their time off, according to an article published in International Communications Research.

  • One in five (21 percent) work while eating dinner at least 4-5 times per week;
  • More than a third (37 percent) could not readily remember their last vacation. Of those who did vacation, nearly half admit to working during some portion of it.

Additionally, the pervasiveness of mobile phones and hand-held e-mail devices has only contributed to these long hours at untraditional times.

  • More than two-thirds (68 percent) work on days off, checking e-mail, voicemail or making work-related calls;
  • Two-thirds (66 percent) work after hours and at night;
  • Half (51 percent) work on holidays;
  • And almost half (47 percent) work during what is supposed to be family time.

Generally, surveyed leaders of younger companies and those with fewer employees expressed the most lopsided work-life balance, and the vast majority (92 percent) characterized their workload as about the same or heavier than from a year ago.

Allan Branch on Balancing Work and Familiy

“No one is productive for 80+ hours a week. ”

“Remember that work is your tool to make money, its not your life. Money is only a temporary justification for not being there for the people you love. Time is fleeting, memories are priceless, choose life over work any chance you get. As long as you get your work done.”

Most of us need to work to contribute to the family lifestyle but never lose those precious moments with the family.

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Top 25 Most Desireable Places to Work

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 27, 2008

Where would you like to work? A recent article in Business Week about a study that was conducted at Universum Communications involving 44,064 U.S. undergraduates came up with some interesting conclusions. What were the goals of the individuals? What kind of environment did they want to work in. Making a difference and money seemed to be high on the list for motivation. Google edged out Walt Disney as the most desirable place to work coming out of college. Here are the top 10.

1-

Google

2- Walt Disney

3- Apple

4- State Dept.

5- Peace Corps.

6-

Peace Corps.

7- CIA

8- PricewaterhouseCoopers

9- Microsoft

10-

FBI

To see the rest of the results visit Business Week.

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Winning and Losing

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 22, 2008

“Win some you lose some.” We have all heard this. Obviously winning should be applied with grace and tact, congratulate anybody involved and keep a level head. How about when you lose? Do you handle this well?

Win Some Lose Some

Some great information in an article published in BusinessWeek Bruce Weinstein, PhD

How to Lose with Grace and Dignity

With the above considerations in mind, I propose the following rules for rising to the challenge when you don’t reach a goal:

1. Be Angry, But Not for Too Long. It’s understandable to be upset when you lose, but dwelling on the loss, obsessing over it, or making it the focus of your life is more hurtful than helpful. In an earlier column, I offered five steps for dealing effectively with anger (BusinessWeek.com, 4/8/08), and as difficult as it may be to do so in every upsetting situation, it is in your own interest not to let anger get the best of you.

2. Accept Reality. We often tell ourselves, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Unfortunately, we have less control over our lives than we’d like to believe, and there is nothing we can do to alter this. All the determination in the world cannot make other people do, say, or vote for something if they don’t want to. It should lessen the blow to realize that there is only so much we can do to affect the change we seek.

3. Look for the Lesson. Yes, we learn by winning. (Think about how you surprised yourself the last time you accomplished something you thought would be too difficult to achieve.) But we also learn by losing, if we have the courage to pay attention. In looking honestly at a failed attempt to get a job (BusinessWeek.com, 5/8/08), for example, or develop a romantic relationship, the lesson could be that we need to rethink our approach, or we need to change something about ourselves. The best way to succeed next time, or to learn how to handle defeat better, is to find the lesson from our loss and take it to heart.

4. Cut Yourself Some Slack. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: The ethical responsibilities to be fair and compassionate apply to how we treat ourselves, not just others. Berating yourself for losing isn’t a kind or decent way to treat yourself, and doing so prevents you from getting back into action, which can lead to further losses.

5. Keep on the Sunny Side of Life. How many successful people do you know who are burdened by the weight of their past failures? If you let losing get the best of you, it will be all but impossible to go forward. Allow yourself to feel angry, but accept reality, learn from the experience, don’t be too hard on yourself, and move on. ”

We wan’t to keep ourselves level headed in a winning situation and in a losing situation, grow from your losses.

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Teamwork

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 20, 2008

A big challenge in the world today is to have a strong team with a similar goal for the good of the company. A successful organization needs a strong team to maintain stability growth. “How do we do this?”

Team Work

A few ideas:

Take a day as a group and go work on something together where you can easily see what you’ve accomplished. For example, take your team out to plant trees or bushes at a local charity. Planting works well because it is easy to see how much your team has obviously accomplished . Many of our daily business activities do not show progress or accomplishment in an obvious way. Planting together is also good because it gives people a chance to talk while they plant and get to know each other better outside of work conversations.

Do a ropes course or something similar together. Rope courses are great team building activities. These courses help to build trust in your group and are important team building events. Groups can make use of a ropes-course for meetings, workshops, seminars, business training programs, etc.

Start a company Softball, or Soccer team. Again on the same team trying for the same goal (no pun intended).

There are many ways for a team to grow within an organization but it starts with trust. Get the group outside of the work environment and “make some things happen.”

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Passion

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 16, 2008

In today’s business world we want to always continue to become stronger mentally, learn more skills, understand newer technology etc. Similar to keeping physically fit one must continue to take steps and action to become healthier mentally.

Mentally strong

Goals.

Set a long term goal, maybe “I want to learn a new language.”

A Mid term goal could be…take a class.

Than short term goals. What are some small steps that you can do each day to achieve this…go online and do some reading, maybe talk with someone you know that is fluent in the language?

Passion.

As we all are aware, much boredom can interfere as we continue towards our goal(s), get PASSIONATE! Reward yourself for accomplishing goals, make it fun, satisfying! Set a plan and try to stick with it!

It is ok to stray, just get back on course.

Remember your are the one benefiting from a stronger, more skilled mind

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Email

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 14, 2008

By Mark Salinas

“Have you had an email with an angry tone” hit your inbox?

In todays world it is important that an employee understands how to use email properly and with professional tact. Often I have seen responses to an email with much opinion and negativity attached, this could be easily misconstrued and backfire.

I believe we all have received an email that “got under our skin.” It would be in human nature to tap the heck out of the keyboard with all your frustration and respond angrily…”how could this person dare send me this?”

“STOP!”

Take a deep breath walk away and gather your thoughts. Upon your return you probably have calmed down a bit…hopefully? If not, try this… type a response on a word document, let it all out. When you are done DELETE it. Feel better?

Now type a response to the email and look it over a few times, I avoid inputting too many opinions if any at all. Try to keep the response to the facts. Acknowledge the persons point and look to add possible solutions. Use we and us often as you want to avoid personal attachment. Keep the tone of your response level, avoid caps. and exclamation points.

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“100 Feet”

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 12, 2008

by Mark Salinas

To clearly understand the management role. I think it is important for a manager to specifically understand each individuals role in the project. Also as the manager it is an advantage to be able to watch the progress of a project from a distance. This will allow a manger to look at the whole picture and how one piece affects the other.  If the manager is unsure….ask questions, engineers are the technical experts and should be available to provide technical insight. Again, ask questions the process of elimination tends to lead one down the most productive path. If a specific technical resource is needed, the manager should be able to look at the project from a “100 feet” and connect the dots.

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Social Awareness

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 9, 2008

I read a great post written by Susan Davis at http://www.allbusiness.com it was about “Social Awareness”. Basically it is how well you understand others, identifying their body language, actions, etc. and how this can improve the work atmosphere. “Social Awareness” that I would also call “Mirror Imaging” or NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming). I believe Social Awareness is a learned skill that becomes habit after much trial and effort. The individuals that have acquired this skill naturally are often people that have been involved in a relationship or upbringing in which they were the caretaker. Again I believe that “Social Awareness” is a skill that promotes a better understanding of individuals beyond the words spoken and can lead to a much more positive, productive environment.

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Leader / Manager

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 8, 2008

A leader can be any individual within a specific group or task that is taking charge and “getting things done”. A leader is an individual that can pull a group together or get results individually.

A manager is similiar with the added responsibility of ensuring personnel coordination, time lines are met, morale is positive within the group, overseeing and applying the necessary resource to the project. The overall scope and responsibility lies with the manager. Understanding the employee as an individual, each person tends to have a different catalyst for motivation.
The most important trait is RESPONSIVENESS, far to many times have I seen the lack of response from a co-worker, boss, vendor etc. turn the issue into a speculation game. People will start to come to their own conclusions and this could negatively affect the company. Again Identifying one’s strengths and Responsiveness are important actions to apply.

An article in Business Week says :

“Business leaders are often compared to performing artists. Both are on stage a great deal and are expected to sway audiences. The best leaders and performers often rely on dramatic flair to ensure that what they say is memorable and moves others to action.”

Either way learning and growing should be constant.

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Welcome to my blog!

Posted by Mark Salinas on May 5, 2008

Hello,

I’m Mark Salinas of Minnesota. I’m currently employed in Eden Prairie, MN. I’ve created this blog as a way to share my thoughts on issues and challenges that managers and employees face in the everyday workplace. I, Mark Salinas have been involved in various managerial positions for most of my career and have found that the best way to learn is through everyday experiences. I’ll also share links to other business-related information on the web that I’ve found insightful or helpful. I think open discussion that includes feedback is a positive step towards success.

I also have my Healthy Living Today site that promotes a healthier lifestyle.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you find it useful. Please visit again soon.

Mark Salinas

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