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Three Ways to Make the 4AM Club Work For You

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Articles | 4AM Club | Three Ways to Make the 4AM Club Work For You“Early to bed, early to rise makes a [wo]man healthy, wealthy and wise.” – Ben Franklin

You’ve heard it said a million times before: the early bird catches the worm, and in the opinion of many highly successful people, the phrase is much more than a cliche. The benefits of an extremely early morning routine have been touted by so many self-made celebrities that the “4 AM Club” has become a part of the public vernacular. Any web search will pull up a dozen articles with contradictory research on the benefits and downsides of the routine, along with firsthand accounts of people “taking the 4 AM challenge.”

These trials are often full of negative impressions: disorientation in the dark hours before dawn; a mid-afternoon slump that belies productivity; and by dinnertime, the inability to form coherent sentences. And then, almost as quickly as it begins, the challenge is over, sworn off forever as an unrealistic, unachievable, and borderline inhumane goal.

Yet 4 AM remains the magic hour for many world changers like Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Tim Cook, and experience has taught me why. In my world, it’s a time of quiet, focus, determination and accomplishment.

My routine is not without naysayers. An 8 PM bedtime with a 4 AM wake-up call has made me the subject of much critique over the years. Many people feel uncomfortable with my choice, claiming that my practices are unhealthy and not sustainable for the long term. Yet I’ve found deep joy in the practice.

As an entrepreneur and the mother of a growing family, high-paced days at my desk and endless days on the road, are only outpaced by high-energy evenings and weekends with my family of five. My favorite use of this early morning time is for my own personal development and self-care so that I can be at the top of my game during the remaining hours of the day. By waking up at 4 AM, I’m able to routinely take time for myself. I work out while listening to audiobooks, I meditate while I stretch, I prepare a healthy breakfast — and most importantly, I tackle my most critical work of the day while enjoying my espresso — all before 7 AM.

If this is something you’ve wanted to try but haven’t yet managed to find success in, here are a few keys I’ve found to making this routine not only possible, but extremely enjoyable as well:

Check your DNA

Have you ever referred to yourself as a “morning person” or “night owl”? We typically use these terms to indicate our preferred time of productivity — but they can signify something much more fundamental to our being. Our tendency to be productive at certain times of the day is often hard-wired in us, an internal clock that’s determined by our DNA. This genetic predisposition is called our chronotype. If you identify as a night owl, then you can stop reading now. This method is not for you and it never will be. In fact, research shows a correlation to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease if you try to force an extra early wake-time when your DNA is telling you otherwise. But if you feel like you do your best work in the morning, or maybe you’re not sure, than the 4 AM club could be for you.

Check your Watch

The key to making this system work, and to sustaining it, has everything to do with getting to bed at the right time each evening, and being consistent about it. Knowing the exact number of sleep hours that support your peak performance is requisite to success — mine is eight. While I can certainly make accommodations when my schedule forces me to get less sleep, more than a few nights of that in any given month effectively compromises all the systems that work together to make me successful in my day-to-day life. Without enough sleep, my motivation to exercise is zapped, my food choices start moving in a downward spiral, and my productivity at work takes a nosedive.

Check your Excuses

If you’re going to take a shot at creating a new early morning routine, you must go into it knowing that this is a no-excuses kind of practice. Follow the 21/90 rule — on average, it takes 21 days (or three full weeks) to form a habit. If the system seems to work for you, another 90 days (about three months) practice is recommended to turn it into a permanent lifestyle change. That said, you can bet your money on the fact that the first few days will be brutal. The first morning your alarm goes off at that other-worldly hour, your instinct will be to hit snooze with your inner voice pleading, “just a few more minutes.” A few more minutes inevitably turns into another hour or two, which is not getting you any closer to seeing if this system really works for you. Try combating this sleep trap by using the Rule of 5 as soon as you hear your alarm go off. When you hear the buzzer, count to five, pop up, and start moving out of bed, no matter how you feel about it in that moment. It’s totally normal to move through the motions of the first part of your morning like a zombie at first, but don’t let that stop you from making a routine of it for a least three weeks. Watch out for that sneaky 10-day slump too — for some people, the excuses come out after we feel like we’ve accomplished something, and we let our guard down.

Above all, know that every person is wired in their own way, and successful habits look different for everyone. Do not try to define yourself by what works for others — instead, let them inspire you to find your own routines that drive you toward your goals.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Articles | 4AM Club | Three Ways to Make the 4AM Club Work For YouJudith Nowlin, Chief Growth Officer with Babyscripts. Judith created iBirth™, a mobile care companion for pregnancy, birth and postpartum, to help healthcare practitioners deliver better health outcomes for women and children in the United States and beyond. The original idea for the app was born out of her prior decade of service in maternity care. The technology platform she and her team built has since impacted nearly 1 million families on their journey toward optimal health and wellness during one of life’s most precious times. iBirth was acquired in June 2018 by Babyscripts, Inc., the leading virtual care platform for obstetrics. You can find her here

Business Politics Practices – Delay Tactics

StrategyDriven Business Politics Practices Article | Business Politics Practices - Delay TacticsDelays are a powerful tool that can be exercised by almost anyone. Such tactics serve to put off undesired (by the person initiating and/or perpetuating the delay) action and, ultimately, prevent action through exhaustion of the resources (time, labor, money, interest/patience) needed to sustain forward progress.


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Working In The Oil Industry: Finding Jobs

Finding a job in the current day and age is a lot more difficult than it ever has been before. Ever since the recession occurred, employment has been on shaky ground. The jobs on offer are scarce, yet there is a huge supply of individuals seeking work. The issue that has arisen is evident. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a job then don’t be disheartened. This blog post deals specifically with finding oil jobs. Nevertheless, some of the tips given can be used for other industries.

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article | Oil Jobs
 
The truth is that whilst there may be fewer oil postings in comparison to say ten years ago, there are still jobs available. First and foremost, you need to know how to locate them properly and then you need to know how to make yourself stand out from all of the other candidates who have applied.

Finding and securing oil jobs

There are lots of different job recruitment websites on there for you to use. You are probably thinking “I’ve already been there and done that”. But, the key is to source out the best database websites for your field specifically.

Don’t go for a general recruitment website – containing everything from jobs in the field of cosmetic surgery to social care. Go for a website that specialises in the field of oil and gas. This is imperative. These websites completely focus in your field of expertise and so they are much more likely to be able to give you the help needed. After all, oil jobs extend a lot further than working on the rigs. You may want to work in sales for a company like owstech.com. This is where a specialist recruitment firm really shows its worth. Furthermore, those looking to recruit people in this field will be much more likely to use a specialist website. They will be sick and tired of posting jobs on websites whereby tons of people respond that do not have the training, experience, or qualifications necessary.

In addition to this, you should be mindful when picking what database website to go with. The site you choose should offer a lot more than merely a list of different jobs available. You should be able to gain all the advice necessary to help you secure the job in question. You can find some tips on this at medium.com. After all, as mentioned in the introduction; it is not just about finding the job it is about securing it as well. In fact, some of the top oil job posting websites have their own blogs whereby they frequently post information regarding how to make yourself stand out from the crowd, the top companies to work for, and so on and so forth. Remember any information you can get your hands on is beneficial. There is no such thing as knowing too much.

If you follow the advice given in this blog, then you are assured to find the best online databases for gas jobs. These websites not only help you to find the job you are looking for, but they help you to secure it as well.

The Big Picture of Business – Each Role Matters. The Value of Support Staff

StrategyDriven Big Picture of Business ArticleEvery person in the company matters to its success. Every job is important, as is filling them with the best people for each job. The art and skill of being great support staff is a cornerstone of business success.

From pop culture, think of the great role models that we grew up watching:

Della Street was the loyal secretary to Perry Mason. She knew what everyone was thinking and was the glue to the cases. She was the model for executive assistants and office managers everywhere.

The CEO is made stronger with a good C-suite team. Ed McMahon was TV’s premier second banana. He worked as assistant, announcer, commercial pitchman and sketch narrator to Johnny Carson throughout their 29-year run on NBC-TV’s “Tonight Show.” They had previously worked together on a game show, “Who Do You Trust” on ABC-TV. Bandleaders on the late-night are vital #3 characters on the show, including Doc Severinsen, Skitch Henderson, Paul Shaffer and The Roots band.

The movie star heroes had buddies to help them navigate the adventures. John Wayne and Roy Rogers had Gabby Hayes. Gene Autry had Pat Buttram.

TV show stars had great support casts. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had Vivian Vance and William Frawley as Ethel & Fred Mertz. This historic teaming became the formula for most other TV sitcoms. Shows like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “30 Rock,” “The Office” and others had expanded ensemble casts.

Some performers made careers as supporting players. Ann B. Davis was Schultzy on “The Bob Cummings Show” and Alice on “The Brady Bunch.”

Back characters on TV shows included restaurant and bar operators, where the stars went top relax. There were friendly, familiar places such as Cheers bar, Arnold’s Drive-In on “Happy Days,” the Krusty Krab on “SpongeBob Square Pants,” Dale’s Diner on “The Roy Rogers Show” and other homey places. In the business world are those staff people who make us feel more like family. Therefore, our loyalty to the company rises, and we are more productive.

Still other back characters bring cohesion to the enterprise. On “Gilligan’s Island,” those glue-adhesive characters were the Professor Roy Hinkley and Mary Ann Summers. Those vital employees in the business world might include the IT guy, the receptionist, the mailroom manager, the ethics adviser and the secretary to the Board of Directors.

Great executives know the value of crediting support figures for the business success. Lt. Columbo was always quoting his wife as basis for testing hypotheses, though the character was never shown. Newspaper publisher Perry White was always upstaged by his employees, notably Clark Kent/Superman. Al Roker does the weather on “The Today Show,” and he is also the motivating segment host as well. Nobody turns letters like Vanna White, making her essential to the legacy of “Wheel of Fortune.”

And then there were those mentors behind the scene who were responsible for lots of creativity. The Beatles had George Martin as their producer. Steven Spielberg had John Williams as music composer for his films.

A host of people make the CEO look good. Further, they transform the company to greater plateaus. Warmly recognize the contributions of executive assistants, trusted advisers, mentors, support staff, hier apparents, adjuncts, vendors and outside stakeholders.

Here are some characteristics of support personnel and rising stars who will make it as professionals and business leaders:

  • Act as though they will one day be management.
  • Think as a manager, not as a worker.
  • Learn and do the things it will take to assume management responsibility.
  • Be mentored by others.
  • Act as a mentor to still others.
  • Don’t expect status overnight.
  • Measure their output and expect to be measured as a profit center to the company.
  • Learn to pace and be in the chosen career for the long-run.
  • Don’t expect that someone else will be the rescuer or enable you to cut corners in the path toward artificial success.
  • Learn from failures, reframing them as opportunities.
  • Learn to expect, predict, understand and relish success.
  • Behave as a gracious winner.
  • Acquire visionary perception.
  • Study and utilize marketing and business development techniques.
  • Contribute to the bottom line, directly and indirectly.
  • Offer value-added service.
  • Never stop paying dues and see this continuum as “continuous quality improvement.”
  • Study and comprehend the subtleties of life.
  • Never stop learning, growing and doing. In short, never stop!

About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

Viral Engagement on a Global Scale

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Employee EngagementAcross the globe, 85% of employees are either not engaged or are disengaged at work, according to Gallop’s State of the Global Workplace report, which estimates approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity.

Companies around the world are not performing as well as they could. They are leaving money on the table. But the problem is not with financial capital — it’s human capital, where too many companies are missing a key component of the growth equation.

In my experience, looking at an additional, little-understood “horizontal” approach can deliver huge returns. Research supports what I have experienced personally. It starts with the understanding that any employee can impact the engagement of every employee in a group.

A foundational study by James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis out of the University of California and Harvard, respectively, demonstrated that cooperation spreads from person to person. Significantly, and to the surprise of many, they found that positive emotions actually spread further — from person to person to person to person — up to three degrees of separation, even among people who are not acquainted.

But it’s the breakthrough work of another researcher who proved that positive emotions spread from person to person in a work environment. Specifically, Yale researcher Sigal Barsade authored the study that linked the spread of positive emotion with improved cooperation, decreased conflict, and increased task performance in the workplace.

When you understand that viral engagement is possible — and that it happens when you shift your focus from top-down to side-to side — you have the power to fill in the missing piece and unleash a whole new paradigm in your organization.

Companies would be well-served to consider these 10 opportunities to create the conditions for viral engagement, with the understanding that engagement is contagious and can start from anyone, anywhere in an organization:

Selection: Do you hire good team players and hold the expectation that every addition to your team can have an immediate impact on the engagement of current employees?

Education: Does your company invest in the soft skills that will enable your employees to be more effective in engaging others?

Communication: Do you reinforce verbal and written communication as equally important in engaging others?

Compensation: Could you pay a small team bonus for improving engagement scores?

Recognition: How could you recognize individuals and teams when new practices are adopted that are generated “bottoms up?”

Promotion: Do team members know that engagement success is part of the path to promotion?

Retention: When people do leave, do you ask about engagement in exit interviews?

Performance management: Is engagement a part of performance management discussions?

Values: Could engagement language be added to define your organization’s values?

Assessment: Do you assess for engagement skill sets?

The good news is, that those at the top of organizations are finally aligned around this most critical issue. In fact, in the annual Conference Board survey reported for the first time last year that culture and engagement was the top priority in every region in the world as ranked by over 1100 participating CEOs.

With increasing focus from the top-down, there is reason for optimism. But there is also a need to listen much more intently to those on the frontlines to better understand what it will take for them to fully engage. An investment in the horizontal approach takes time and energy, but the returns are “off the charts.”


About the Author

StrategyDriven Talent Management Article | Employee Engagement | Rick Miller | Being ChiefRick Miller is an unconventional turnaround specialist, sought-after speaker, servant leader, and expert in driving sustainable growth. For over 30 years, he served as a successful senior executive in roles including President and/or CEO in Fortune 10, Fortune 30, nonprofit, and startup companies, including AT&T Global Services and Lucent Technologies. Throughout his career, he has been recruited from the outside to turn around poor performance in difficult times. His new book, Be Chief: It’s A Choice, Not A Title, helps leaders at all levels achieve their true potential. To learn more, visit BeingChief.com.