Archive for the ‘Business-related’ Category

“If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,  if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever”
Jeremiah 7:5-7 (NIV)

Yesterday, our group head sent message to all our email subscribers about the look of our newly changed signage in the head office; the response of the employees was positive- many of whom expressed appreciation and even congratulated the team behind the work. 

Our company for the past few years went the ups and downs of the stiff competition in the banking industry; the turn over of the new management this year faces overwhelming expectation from the clients, shareholders, and employees. Everyone is hoping for a better leadership style, new innovation, better products and more quality service.

“A change of sign is a sign of change”, this has been the outcry of the new management since the last three months when they conceptualized for the rebranding; hence, a change in the signage is one step in fulfilling more improvements coming in the next few months.

Today’s Scripture teaches us that there is reward in sincere changes that we do. But take note that it’s about positive change, too. If we ponder Jeremiah 7:5-7, it is specific about changing our ways and actions without compromising our good relationship with people around us particularly the strangers, orphans, and widows; also, when we keep peace, and do not worship idols we will receive life as well as salvation.

 “Only change doesn’t change” quote to some is a cliche; but whatever change we want to have either in career or life in general, recognizing that change is part of growth, then we will be able to appreciate more to change- for the better.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for all changes that happen in my everyday life- for new people I meet and for new challenges, thank you.

Today, I surrender to You all my worries, doubts and fear; let all Your will be done. All these I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

During hard times, we will expect rise in different types of fraud and crime incidences inside or outside business establishments. To guide readers how to be knowledgeable of these to be extra careful, vigilant and to take immediate remedial action in case of any encounter, below are some tips.

 1. Cash-trapping works by the Ruler Gang

The Ruler Gang uses a device that looks like a ruler to trap cash in ATMs. A member of the group will install a “false ATM presenter” or a fabricated ruler device into the cash shutter of the ATM. A customer who will withdraw amount to said ATM will not notice the device and when he tries to get the money withdrawn, he will have a hard time since the cash will be trapped inside. When the disappointed customer leaves the ATM to ask for assistance, a member of the Ruler Gang will thereafter remove the device including the cash still glued on it.

 2. Salisi Gang

A customer who is about to withdraw the cash dispensed by the ATM will be distracted by a member of the Salisi Gang by dropping several loose coins and bills. The distractor will ask the help of the customer to pick up dropped items. Once the cardholder is busy assisting, another member of the gang will immediately get the cash waiting at the cash out shutter and leave immediately.

Another version of this is, one member of the gang will replace the ATM card being used by the withdrawer in a matter of split seconds. Someone who is “shoulder surfing” or looking over the shoulder of the cardholder to see the PIN, will tell the said PIN number to another member who stole the original card and both will withdraw the remaining balance before the card is reported lost or stolen by the cardholder.

3. Forced Withdrawal and Hold Ups

This is when the cardholder is coerced to make ATM transactions against his or her will.

4. Fake PIN Pad Overlay

This is a fabricated device that looks exactly the machine’s keypad, it is placed beside it to capture the PIN of the cardholder.

5. Card skimmers

Card skimmers use a card reader that can capture the data in the magnetic strip of the card. This is usually used in credit cards but cardholders must still be aware that is can also be used for ATM cards.

SECURITY REMINDERS BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER ATM TRANSACTIONS

Prepare your card. Do not look for it while you are in a public place. Before approaching the ATM, have your card ready to avoid exposure to other people of your valuable items especially inside your bag.

1.   Observe your surrounding. Stay alert. Once you enter the ATM room, lock it for your safety. Follow your intuition. You can leave the room anytime once you feel unsafe inside.

2.   Cover with your hand the ATM keypad while you were entering your PIN and amount.

3.   Report immediately if the ATM does not work. Cancel your transaction and call the attention of the nearest stand by guard for assistance.

4.   Avoid asking the help of the strangers especially suspicious looking individuals.

5.   Be on guard for look-outs or followers after you have done your transaction. If there is any, go to the nearest police station and report the incidence.

6.   Report to the security department of the bank any experienced ATM fraud or crime. This will help them develop or improve existing security programs.

 The best crime prevention starts with awareness and staying vigilant at all times.

In office, we meet diverse people; whether we like it or not, most of the times we have to deal them with grace- even the difficult ones. Back Stabbers. Know-it-all. Moaners. Procrastinators. Bullies. Negative. Quiet Ones. These are the common types of difficult people we encounter everyday. To maintain professionalism and uphold etiquette, we give you some helpful advice that you may consider when confronted by any of these people.

 1. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Acceptance is the key word. They come in the office as they are so do not expect that because they have met you they will change the way you want them to become. If there are differences, recognise that each is unique on its own. In case of conflict, avoid thinking of fighting back too soon; give them the benefit of the doubt, instead. For example, as a boss,  you can do this by first listening on the story and understanding main points. Don’t put the blame easily. Remember your job is to mentor and not to judge. A good leader helps fixes the breakdown and not to fix the blame for the breakdown. With this in mind, conflict resolution comes with ease.

2. If you think you are right, assert but stay courteous.

How many relationships have been destroyed because both parties are thinking they were correct? Mostly, it is the battle of the egos that is the root cause of conflict. Everyone can avoid this by maintaining respect while asserting reasons. In the end, what will it bring you if you were indeed correct? Pride? No matter who is right is often not an issue; how to settle it without compromising healthy relationship is.

3. Show them genuine kindness but set boundaries.

They say, “Gentleness and self control, against these things there is no law.” If we show people kindness, compassion, gentleness, humility and patience, who would argue with that? The emphasis is on genuine kindness because people may easily recognise if it was fake. Setting boundaries is also important because others often take for granted this trait. The character of a wise person is to distinguish not only what’s, why’s and how’s but also when’s  and where’s of thinking, saying and doing things.

4. Spot the source of the conflict then try to resolve it in advance before it’s too late.   

In this tip, we will notice that the emphasis is on the source of the conflict and not on the product. This is because knowing it will result in many lessons we can derive from including avoiding the setback before damage could be done. For example, if the source of the conflict between two different people is topic about religion or politics, then avoid the conversation about these. Choose the light issues, instead. A funny joke or a leisure trip to Boracay or anything you both can relate to can be alternative subjects. Spotting the source from the very beginning can eliminate negative vibes in the end.

5. Choose the right words to say in a proper timing.

Again, a wise person knows what to say and when not to say it. If we choose the right words in a proper timing, we can avoid the worst scenario we can ever deal with. Do not compromise yourself; you are what you’ve got. So, the next time you have to deal with difficult people, breathe. Inhale. Exhale. This will relax your mind and allow you to be reasonable. In the end, you would not want to carry the burden of the consequences of not choosing the rights words during the right time, would you?

6. Don’t take criticisms personal; learn from it, instead.

The difference between the professionals from the non-pros is the attitude. If something not good about you is noticed and is criticised, consider their opinion. If you think they were fair and reasonable enough then improve. Avoid being defensive. Remember that it is OK to fail because it is the pathway to success. The most successful people in the world are those who have failed the most, so never be afraid of it. Professionals are risk takers, they don’t take criticisms personally and they learn from mistakes and failures for the better.

7. Stay calm in the eye of a storm.

Another character of a professional is patience. Sometimes, negative people want to trigger response from you immediately. When you react without thinking ahead of time, you will be giving them what they want. During the storm when thunder and lightning are most prevalent, you would want to go in the centre of it, instead so that you may experience peace. It is the same as in any conflict. You do not want to stoop on their level, do you? So, stay calm. You have the option to uphold the Miranda right in the first place, that is- To remain silent (when in doubt) since everything you say can be used against you.

8. Show humility by accepting your faults if you are wrong; then be accountable.

Try saying this magical words and you will be surprised how effective it is in resolving conflict.

“You’re right. It is my fault and here is what I will do about it.”

Or even if you are convinced that you are correct, the mere act of humility is great and people will appreciate it, no matter how rude or cruel they are.

9. Take the courage to confront the person when they become too offensive; learn when to step back as a defense strategy.

This is the last option when you try to apply the passive and giving-them-the-benefit-of-the-doubt strategy and these fail. Sometimes, difficult people need to be confronted with because they cannot measure what you can do and cannot do unless they see any actions from you. To confront does not mean you have to declare war. It is just to send them the message that you feel offended by their actions (or inactions) and you want justice to prevail. But sometimes, if you think you cannot handle anymore dealing with them, it is better to stop the fight and quit. You want to detox all that are causing you stress, choosing to get them away from you or you from them could be the best possible solution.

10. Internalise that conflict could be a blessing in disguise.

Bo Sanchez, a writer and a Roman Catholic preacher, writes about how to deal with difficult people in a Christian way. Whatever religion or ideology we have, recognising the special gifts that difficult people give us or teach us will somehow lighten the hurts and brighten up our day. These gifts are the following:

1. Gift of learning to love unconditionally. We can easily love nice people; and learning to love the unlovable  is a great trait. If we feel compassion towards difficult people and we recognise that they too, have needs to be understood and loved, then this world will be a better place to live in,

2. Gift of learning to protect yourself and say, “No” to abuse. Again, setting boundaries from right or wrong is the lesson here. When you think they were biased, unfair and unreasonable, then it is about time to protect your own face.

3. Gift of learning your weaknesses. Once you learn your weaknesses then you will develop your strengths; learn threats and see opportunities.

4. Gift of being closer to Divine Providence. During dire needs is the time we most cling to our God for His intervention. And during the times when our faith is tested, our endurance has a chance to grow and develop our strong character, keeping us ready for anything.

How many careers, relationships and future job opportunities have been destroyed by office politics? Numbers are in question but the sad news is, this is present in every company whether small, medium or large enterprises, government or privately owned. We do not want to be a victim of politicking, so below are some tips on how to handle the situation that is inevitable such as this:

1.      Choose appropriately.

In everything, we must remember that we have a choice- the right words to say, right actions to push through, right message we want to deliver, right impressions we want to leave with the people around us and right timing, are decisions we usually have to make. So before we decide on anything, choose appropriately and always think the consequences.

2.      Avoid self-fulfilling prophesy.

This is a theory saying any positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events or people that may affect a person’s behaviour toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled. An employer who, for example expects the employees to be disloyal will likely to treat them in a way that will elicit the very response he or she expects (Source: http://www.businessdictionary.com).

If a superior thinks that a person is incompetent and told him about it, possibility is, he will think that the statement is true because his boss said so. Sad to say, this negative vibe is mostly present in office politics. We usually “gossip” about the weaknesses of other person we are not in good terms with. This practice must be stopped. Judging other people in a very limited scale is often scary and detrimental. We do not want to climb up the ladder of success having people stepped down, do we? Or do we want to be judged also by some other persons? To stop politicking is to stop finding faults of others and comparing ourselves to them. Most important, stopping the negative expectations in people within the four corners of the room.

3.      Be sincere in relationship-building efforts.

Not just because we want to establish our own “circle of friends” does not mean we have to compromise sincerity in relationship-building efforts. Yes, we may choose our chums and comrades but that is not an excuse to us meeting and befriending other individuals. Creating our own allied in the office does not mean we have to grumble people dissimilar with us. They say, office politics is a number’s game: the more connections, the better. Stop this mind set. Remember, we are in the office to do our job, so perform. Make friends instead of foes. Show sincerity in dealing with people.

4.      Stay positive.

Accept that flak is a normal part of life since we cannot please everybody. Never waste your time worrying over issues such as what other people are thinking or saying or doing against you. Relax. Let go all of the opposing views and don’t mind them if you think you are not in a defensive side. Breathe. Live your life as if no one really cares but be mindful that you stay on the right track.

5.      Take a stand.

Others advise to stay neutral when left to decide which side they have to choose. This is unhealthy; prefer taking stand, instead since we cannot serve two masters at one time. Life is two sided: it is white or black, left or right, good or evil. But choosing our side does not mean we have to always tell it in public. We can keep it a secret especially if we feel it is safer or it will resolve a conflict. Important is, we took a stand. To act is another issue.

6.      In case of conflict, remember the “good-nature” of people.

People may say or do bad things to us; that is something out of our control. The saying from Gandhi that says, “hate the sin, love the sinner”, seems difficult to do. In situations when we have to fight back, cursing and hitting below the belt are sometimes the best strategies to use. But again, avoid these things as possible. In case of conflict, we must remember the “good-nature” of people despite their flaws. If it appears that relationships will be seriously and permanently marred; re-evaluate and re-think. We don’t want to lose people about something that are usually irrelevant.

7.      Don’t forget your ethics.

Respect is the key word. We can be assertive but courteous and professional. When heat rise up, don’t add up coal and increase the flame. We may distance ourselves by going out of the room or not talking to the person at the moment we are very angry. Again, this is hard to do but practice helps. Remember, we spent years in mastering our courses so never allow a few show of disrespect to ruin everything we invested our time and effort in the past.

8.      Forgive and move on.

Humans err so we must forgive. But forgiving does not mean we have to forget. We should not forget because we need to learn from the experience. Only in this way we will prevent the mistake from re-occurring. Move on and let go of the hurts. Let the dead bury its own dead. Stop worrying over the things we can’t control. Life must continue, anyway.

 

Workplace politics is a fact of life but playing the game does not have to be dirty. Promote our talents, grow our personalities, and reach our goals but never at the expense of others. Remember the golden rule: Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.

1. Set goals.

Professionals are often faced with hitting targets and meeting deadlines. Accompli-shing these tasks will be difficult if the person lack the skill of time management. To be able to achieve loads of work in a very limited span of time, any professional must have a “task list” and use “calendar method” to monitor his use of time. We can write in a piece of paper our To Do’s list (or use application from phone, laptop or ipad). We may also use an alarm to remind us that by any specific time we should have accomplished specific task. 

2. Set priorities.

Yes, we have 24 hours a day but for sure, this is insufficient to accomplish everything we need to do. By setting our priorities according to importance and urgency, we will be able to know which task we will focus to.

The Eisenhower Method follows certain hierarchy that is the following:

 2.1. Important and urgent

2.2. Important but not so urgent

2.3. Not important and urgent

2.4. Not important but not so urgent

Also, following the Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Family and finances; work and chores; pastimes and socialising; and social obligations) will also guide us to set our priorities in life.

3. Organise.

There is wisdom in the saying, “Orderliness is next to godliness. Order is prerequisite of beauty, justice and success. Being organised makes things easier. Try to work in a cluttered desk and we will find it difficult to make our job done well.

4. Learn to say, “No”.

According to Tony Blair, “The art of leadership is saying, No. Not saying Yes. Since it is easier to say Yes most at the time.”

Choose commitment wisely. Avoid to over commit. Learning to say, “No” on things that are not important and not urgent will not only save our time but also allow us to do other valuable things, thus, produces more positive results.

5. Allocate task.

One of the qualities of good leaders is to be able to inspire people to work for them. We cannot be jack of all trades. We have specific talents, gifts, skills and experiences. To be able to produce quality output, distribute task to people who are more capable of giving out better results. Not only we are unloading ourselves of work but also we are teaching people to be dependable and contribute for the betterment of the project, thus, uplifting their moral to excel in other future tasks.

6. Avoid procrastination.

The biggest killer of time is procrastination. If we have something to do, do it now and not later. If we allow time to pass doing nothing we will end up doing everything.

7. Focus. Avoid interruptions, if possible.

Your colleague wants to show you her newly bought gadget but you have to finish writing your paper. Tell this person you have a deadline today. Only after finishing the task should you see the gadget and spend more time with her. Interruptions every now and then will eat your ample time so it is really necessary to prioritise and focus on things that matters most.

8. Give time to thyself: reward after every accomplished task.

It is refreshing to unwind and relax after successfully completed every task. It will not only recharge energy for the next project but also will give time for one selves. Remember, we don’t just manage time for our work, family and other people. Learning to understand self will teach us to mature. To reward self means to provide satisfaction by indulgence in rest, food, social life, etc. So next time, we may shop for a new dress, delight in a yoghurt drink or leave for vacation after a week of long and stressful days of work.

Technology-driven communication facilities demand the observance of proper etiquette in much the same way as face-to-face conversation for one to be effective in building relationship and creating business opportunities particularly through online communication such as emails. This is appropriately called Netiquette.

Here are some useful tips on how to handle emails properly.

1. Check your e-mail policy.

Company policies usually include do’s and don’ts in communicating through email. Professionalism is best manifested in the consistent observance of simple day-to-day email communication rules.

2. Maintain brevity and keep your message to the point.

Some spend too much of their time composing and polishing their lengthy emails. Long messages should be avoided. Be brief and readable by deleting words that add nothing to your message.

3. Observe high business correspondence standards.

Always be careful with the following: grammar spelling, punctuation, proper jargon and abbreviation. Use text font that is easy to read and looks professional. Never use all uppercase and all lowercase. Do not use fancy fonts (or emoticons) that will turn away your readers from your message (e.g. using red fonts, colored background, smileys). Make sure you use plain descriptive words in indicating your subject.

4. Show courtesy at all times.

Always end your emails with “Thank you”, or any courteous closing remarks. Be careful in choosing your language all the time. Avoid using offensive comments, untruthful statements that would provoke online fights. Never be rude. Do not write anything that you might regret later on.

5. Use the courtesy and blind copies (cc and bcc) sparingly.

Use bcc when sending to a large distribution list so recipients won’t see others’ email addresses; some people want to keep their address private. Copy only people who are directly involved in your message and send group email only if it is useful to every recipient.

Use the reply-to-all button sparingly. Think twice who should be your recipients. Before you CC anyone, rethink if they should be included in the mailing list. Some people gets annoyed when they receive a message containing “Me, too!” So, the next time you push the send button, be very careful. 

6. Use a signature that bears your contact information.

This is important particularly if the recipient would want to communicate with you through other means like phone call, for example. To make sure that people know who you are, put at the end of your email your name, position title, unit, and telephone number.

7. Use greetings appropriate to the level of your addressee.

Your relationship with the e-mail recipient will determine the greetings or language appropriate to your addressee. Communicate as if your email will reflect your business image.

8. Respond promptly.

Responding quickly is the most courteous thing you can do. Never let recipients wonder if you have ever received their emails. By not responding promptly, you will gain impression that you do not care about their inquiry or concern. Do not allow to be outperformed by your competitors especially if the emails come from clients. Often, your quick response in answering emails reflects the quality of service you provide.

9. You are what you write.

Some people appreciate less humour and jokes, so, be careful in using them. Never flame recipients of abusive emails. Do not over use capital letters and exclamation points. Avoid writing emails that will haunt you in the future. Always practice kindness, courtesy and patience. Remember, you are what you write so do it wisely and appropriately.

10. Do not spam, send chain letters and attach large attachments (without permission of the recipient).

You may be removed from the mailing list if you continuously send spam and chain letters. Viruses may get passed on easily through these. Never send irrelevant messages since people might get annoyed easily. If you are going to send any attachment (especially if the file is too large), it is courteous to ask the recipient’s permission first. Do not assume that the receiver has the software needed to open your sent files.

So there you go! Being aware of the do’s and don’ts of handling emails will assist you to do your job well. Have a great day ahead!

SOURCES:

http://ciberprensa.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/netiquette3.JPG

http://www.netmanners.com/email-etiquette/category/email-etiquette-101/page/2/

www.dynamoo.com/technical/etiquette.htm

http://www.businessmailetiquette.com/business-e-mail-etiquette-basics/

Without integrity in the business world, one will end up unsuccessful. So, it is necessary that aside from the competencies one possesses, integrity must be maintained.  

 Below are tips on how to strengthen this character and achieve the results you want for your career.

 1. Be honest

One will never gain integrity if he is dishonest. This is the basic qualification to earn respect and trust from other people. To be honest is to take courage to speak the truth and do what is right. In case there is a scenario when you have to tell people what they do not want to hear but is necessary for you to tell or take action, earning the overwhelming respect and admiration from others is definitely a sure thing. We need not to please everybody but doing always what is right will gratify some people and astonish the rest (Mark Twain).

2. Be consistent

Make sure that people can rely on you. When you favor for something and said no for another, be consistent. Don’t make or change your decisions abruptly. People want to feel secure that you have come up to a decision you think over many times.

3. Be fair

Never discriminate. Do not judge people by your first impression. Treat everyone as you want them to treat you. Remember, all men and women are created equal.

4. Be accountable

Since no one is perfect, admitting that you have made unintentional errors reflects maturity. Taking action and dealing on how to fix the slip ups without putting the blame to others is a mirror of a responsible person with integrity.

5. Be kind

Always show compassion to other people. Remember, people do not care about what you know unless they know that you care for them.