Sage Strategies Blog Spring Cleaning For Professionals


E-Strategies Week of August 21

The sound of descending chimes. Funky MIDI elevator music. Ughhhhhh-why is my phone ringing? Can’t they just text!?
Like many people, the phone is a tool of last resort. I’d rather text or Slack or email or carrier pigeon. But I’ve noticed that many of the most successful, productive people I’ve met are what you might call “phone-prone.” If you send them a text, they call you instead of texting back. Email them? Get a call back.
Maybe this wasn’t a coincidence. I decided it was time to test my beliefs. But first, I decided to email two “phone-prone” people-Krista Smith, the West Coast editor of Vanity Fair, and Eric Kuhn, a former L.A. talent agent and a cofounder of Layer3 TV-for some advice. Within minutes I got an email back, “Call me.”

Why I Encourage Every Employee to Brand Themselves on Social MediaEmployeeBrand

Maximum exposure is one of the foundations of a good marketing strategy. The more eyes you can put on your content, the better. As the CEO our founder of your company, you’ve already done everything you can to highlight your work and advance the interests of your organization across the web.
Your LinkedIn profile is decked out with as much relevant rich media as you can pack in, and you have links and relevant content all over your Facebook and Twitter. At the bare minimum, your first degree network knows very well what you do and how they can take advantage of the newest “limited time offer.”
But what about your employees? Depending on the size of your company, you could have a small army of individuals available to help you expand your reach to thousands of more people across the web. How can you encourage your employees to represent you well on their own social media profiles, and what are some steps they can take to advance your brand within their social networks?
Here is a list of pro-tips that can help you turn your employees into brand ambassadors on platforms such as FacebookTwitterInstagramQuora, and LinkedIn, without intruding on their own social media experience!


7 Essentials for an Elevator Pitch That Gets People to Listen

There is never any predicting what interaction, whether it’s in a grocery store or at a networking function, will present a new business opportunity. That’s why it’s important to always be prepared to seize the day.
The key that unlocks these opportunities is an elevator pitch that grabs people’s attention and makes them remember you and want to talk with you further.
To craft a pitch that is succinct and compelling keep these seven fundamental factors in mind.


Leadership Takes
Self-Control. Here’s What We Know About It

Philosophers and psychologists have been discussing the importance of self-control for ages. Plato, for example, argued that the human experience is a constant struggle between our desire and rationality, and that self-control is needed to achieve our ideal form. Likewise, Freud suggested that self-control is the essence of a civilized life.
The scientific study of self-control started about 25 years ago in the fields of criminology and psychology. Since then, hundreds of studies have shown the positive effects that come from possessing self-discipline. For instance, people with higher levels of self-control eat healthier, are less likely to engage in substance abuse, perform better at school, and build high-quality friendships. At work, leaders with higher levels of self-control display more effective leadership styles-they are more likely to inspire and intellectually challengetheir followers, instead of being abusive or micromanaging. But what happens when people lack self-control at work?

BoardManagementThe Art of Board Management

Working for a board of directors takes a special knack. An executive director must balance respect for the authority of the board member while being fully responsible for steering the organization in the right direction.
Here are a few tips I’ve learned from working for boards over the last three decades.

E-Strategies Week of June 27

Interview for FIT

If your organization wants to improve the fit of your hires, reduce the cost of bad hires, and have more candidates say “yes” to your offers, then this article is for you. Did you know that one-third of new hires fail within the first six months? According to a survey by Leadership IQ – 82% of managers say that in hindsight, their interview process elicited subtle clues. Clues that they were heading for trouble. But during the job interview, managers were too focused on other issues or too pressed for time. They didn’t know what to look for, or they lacked confidence in their interviewing abilities to heed the warning signs.
Here is a 3-step process to implement an interviewing for fit methodology in your organization:

JobObsoleteYour Job May Soon Be Obsolete

Technology is changing the way everyone works, but it’s hitting some jobs harder than others.
A number of jobs will fall further and further behind the times by the year 2022, according to a new set of endangered job rankings compiled by job site
Drawing on U.S. Department of Labor data, the website has listed the top 10 careers most at risk of becoming obsolete.

Coffee Shop Owner Creates An Honest Sign To Teach Rude Customers A LessonCoffeeClever

Manners are free, and quite honestly, I think manners adds to a person’s character. But sadly, some people missed out on that memo.
There are so many people out there who aren’t familiar with basic manners like please and thank you.
It’s their lack of human decency that really annoys me. There is no need to forget your manners because forgetting them can have a big impact on someone’s day.


Why This Coffee Shop’s ‘Clever’ Sign Isn’t So Clever At All

A coffee shop in Roanoke, Va., put a “clever” sign outside that said:
“Small coffee” – $5
“Small coffee, please” – $3
“Hello, one small coffee please” – $1.75
The sign went viral. News stations reported on it. Redditors rejoiced. Bloggers and tweeters gushed.
“It might be a small gesture, but is it really that hard to remember your manners and the fact that there are actual people behind the counter?” one writer admonished her readers. “You’ll always be rewarded for good behavior, and now in some places, you might even save a little bit of cash.”
An employee wrote the sign because he felt he needed “to solve all the injustices of the world (and) to start charging more for people who didn’t take the time to say hello and connect and realize we’re all people behind the counter.”
Oh, brother.

CustomerServiceGraveyardAn inscribed clay tablet, kept in the British Museum, is widely believed to be the world’s first recorded customer service complaint. Inscribed are the frustrations of a disgruntled customer, demanding a refund for the delivery of the wrong grade of copper. While there is no record of how the complaint was resolved, we can almost be certain it was a long shot away from the customer service methods businesses use today.
From clay tablets to contact centers, there have been countless new developments in the customer service industry. Each new technology promises to outperform the rest and set the new standard in service. In this rapidly evolving landscape, some channels are struggling to remain relevant, while others (like the legendary clay tablet) have long since become obsolete.
The pace of change is unremitting. Even as recently as the dawn of the new millennium, for example, technologies such as video calling and SMS text messaging were hailed as the ‘next big thing’ in the customer service industry. While there have been many successful implementations of these technologies, they are not as widespread as technologists and futurists would have had us believe in the noughties.
Indeed, much of what we formerly believed about the future of customer service has since been proven incorrect. Artificial intelligence has yet to take over, and recent forays with bots have shown that fully automated service is not always the best solution for a quality customer experience.
So, what does the future hold for customer service? And which technologies have businesses laid to rest as customer needs have evolved? In this infographic, we explore the highs and lows of new contact centre innovations, and how customer service technology has advanced since the days of inscribing stern words on to soft clay tablets.

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E-Strategies Week of May 23

LikeMeeting5 Tips for Running Meetings People Willingly Attend

“A meeting is an event where minutes are taken and hours wasted.” – Capt. James T. Kirk, Star Trek
When was the last time you left a meeting feeling inspired and thinking, “That was an awesome meeting!” Or better yet, when was the last time you watched other people in the room leave inspired about the awesome meeting?  Was it yesterday? Last week? Last month? Last year? Maybe it was never.
Sadly, it’s far more likely that you’ve walked out of most meetings thinking, “What a waste of my time.” But I have a secret to share with you — your meetings don’t have to suck.

SMCampaignWorkingIs Your Social Media Marketing Campaign Working?

As you put more time and money into your social media marketing campaign, it may be time for a reassessment. One of the biggest problems companies and their marketing departments are facing is whether their resources are directly generating more sales.
There are some companies that use social media marketing improperly and then complain about its lack of results. What these companies don’t understand is that social media marketing is about engagement and being an active participant with your followers.
Social media platforms are not for companies to blast their own updates and their own content. It is a platform to exchange ideas and nurture relationships. Many brands are still coming to terms with this, which is why 49% of digital marketers say social media marketing is one of their most difficult tasks.
However, even when used properly, reevaluating your social media marketing strategy is always a good idea. These are the steps needed and should be applied quarterly, or at least every six months, to ensure that you’re maximizing your return from social media.


3 Tips to Stop Feeling So Overworked and Overwhelmed

Are you so overextended that you can’t ever seem to catch up? You’re not alone.
Just the other day I was working with a highly competent, high-achieving executive, whose penchant for over scheduling and over committing was running him into the ground. He was the classic multitasking perfectionist, trying to jam 25 hours into a 24-hour day — scheduling meetings unrealistically close to one another, and obsessively packing so many meetings, activities, conversations, and training sessions into a single day that he was constantly running behind schedule.
In some ways, he was living the classic entrepreneurial lifestyle, but he was deeply concerned about his health, well-being, and ability to be a good parent for his children. We spoke for an hour, and I thought I’d share some of the tips we came up with for having a healthier lifestyle.

VoiceSayingFour Ways To Tell What Your Voice Is Saying About You

From stress levels to confidence, our voices communicate as much about us as the words we speak. Here’s how to take a quick vocal audit.

A big multinational company recently sent me a speaking client who “lacked leadership presence.” Looking at her resume, that seemed odd. She was accomplished. She was energetic. She was focused. What was she missing?
When we met, I quickly realized that her voice sounded rather nasally. So I asked her a question: “Do you have a hearing problem?”
“Yes!” she replied. “How did you know?” I suspected that might be the case because her voice had a particular quality to it that I’d heard before in clients with hearing difficulties. Her voice told me something about her that I wouldn’t otherwise have known.
You may not have a hearing problem, but your voice conveys all kinds of information about you to listeners-perhaps more than you realize. It’s true that our voices and speech patterns are fraught terrainespecially for women, who often face gender bias in and outside the workplace based on how others believe they sound. Still, there are a few characteristics of our voices that affect how we’re perceived regardless of gender. Here are four ways to tell what your voice might be revealing about you every time you speak.

4 Ways to Maximize Facebook for Your BusinessFacebookforBusiness

Facebook has changed the game for small businesses ever since its launch 12 years ago. More than 40 million companies now utilize the social network to create pages, invite communities to events, advertise and engage with customers. It is hard to believe that a mere 13 years ago, most entrepreneurs used only the Yellow Pages and print newspapers to spread the word about their businesses.
Are you a new entrepreneur wanting to make the most of your Facebook presence this year? If so, here are four ideas that can help increase your visibility in no time.

Reputation6 Keys to Develop Your Reputation as an Expert

The term “platform” is widely used in the publishing, speaking and business worlds to describe your ability to reach people who want to hear your message. Your platform reflects your brand, positioning, credibility, audience, and the intellectual property you create. Platform lives at the intersection of ideas, influence and income.
Why is platform so important? It comes down to a fundamental truth in the media world: we have an oversupply, and an under-demand, of content. Consider the person you are trying to reach with your message. This person’s attention is spread very thin as a result of life in general, just like you. Never mind that hundreds of thousands of books are published every year; your reader is also being courted by bloggers, television, magazines, YouTube, NetFlix, and on and on.
Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk has appeared on programs ranging from Ellen to NPR to CNN. He’s written a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller and has over one million Twitter followers. He grew his family wine business from $3 million per year to over $45 million in eight short years. Vaynerchuk operates a slew of businesses and even boasts a gaggle of fans that refer to themselves as “Vayniacks.” In short, he’s a walking billboard of what a concentrated platform can do for you.
Where do you begin a task as daunting as becoming a veritable expert like Vaynerchuk?

AnnoyEmployer5 Ways You Annoy Your Employer

First of all know this: you’re valuable. We love you. You’re important to the business. It’s just that, well, sometimes as an employee you can do things that get under our skin. Want some examples? OK, here are five. Yes, some may seem petty. But they’re for real.

E-Strategies Week of May 1, 2017

CrossroadsThe 5 Most Important Questions to Ask Yourself When at a Crossroads

Are you facing a big decision? Are you stuck in a difficult spot?

Answering these 5 questions will lead you to your best outcome.

SmarterQuit Trying To Make Yourself “Smarter” And Do These Three Things Instead

Can you actually improve your brain power through hacks and habits? Sort of, but that still might disappoint you.

5 Worst Offenders That Drive Visitors Away From Your WebsiteDriveVisitors

You jumped on the digital bandwagon and created a website for your business and created a profile on every social platform known to man, yet your business is not attracting more customers. Does this scenario sound familiar? There’s a big chance that it’s not your brand that’s the problem, but the way you present it online. Your website could need a facelift.
“Visitors judge a website within a few seconds, and react based on elements such as the time it takes to load, the visual aspect and the ease of navigation,” says Nay Ayache, my company’s in-house WordPress expert. “An InspireMag article last year set that time limit to ten seconds, so everything has to be perfect.”

SmallBusinessesSmall businesses are the backbone of rural communities

Small scale entrepreneurship is a proven strategy to revitalize rural communities. Owning one’s own business can create genuine opportunity across rural America with the support of a modest public investment.

The importance of entrepreneurship is particularly profound in the most rural areas. Our analysis of economic conditions in the farm and ranch counties of Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas found that nearly 60 percent of job growth in the 1990s came from people creating their own job by starting a small non farm business.

PaperPlannerWhat Happened When I Ditched My Smartphone For A Paper Planner

Would two weeks of writing everything down improve my life? Kind of.
Japan and China may have a reputation for being technologically advanced, but recording appointments and to-dos with pen and paper is long-held tradition in Asia. There is also evidence that it’s gaining popularity with millennials there as sales of paper planners have increased in the last few years. 
Increasingly, the trend is catching on in the West among younger people. As a matter of fact, some adherents to the pen-and-paper planner culture are so fervent in their use that they post videos giving the world a tour of how they organize in their diaries.

Exceptionally LikeableAre You Exceptionally Likable? 9 Reasons People Decide They Like You

More good news: possessing each of these qualities will also make you happier.
No one has enough friends. And if that’s not reason enough to be likable, we tend to do business and build professional and relationships with people we like. We’re instinctively drawn to people who are modest, agreeable, polite, kind… in short, to people who are genuinely likable.
How do people decide whether they like you, especially once they’ve gotten to
know you a little better?
The answer often lies in what likable people don’t do.

ARO Metal Stamping President Erica Wiegel knows that getting involved in professional BestInvestmentgroups could benefit your personal career but your business as well.
ARO Metal Stamping, Inc. in Roselle, Ill., is a turn-key source for metal stampings and assemblies, from prototype through production. President Erica Wiegel knows that getting involved in professional groups could benefit your personal career but your business as well. Wiegel is not in business for personal gain, but to create a new family with her employees. How does Wiegel think that women bring a little extra to the table, especially in her field?

E-Strategies Week of April 10

TrackResultsHow to Successfully Track the Results of Your Mail Campaign

Imagine you just spent $3,000 on a direct mail campaign, the mail pieces are out the door, and you’re finished with the whole process. Now it’s back to business, fulfilling all those orders that are about to flood in. There’s nothing more to do with the mailing, right? Wrong.
Now comes one of the most critical parts of the whole operation. Assessing the results of your campaign so you know:
  • Was it worth it to spend the $3,000 in the first place?
  • Of the two versions of sales pieces you tested, which one did better?
  • Which list of names did better?

How to Skillfully Answer ‘What Is Your Desired Salary?’ in a Job InterviewDesired Salary

Interviewers will do everything in their power to get you to reveal your desired salary, but no number should come out of your mouth.
You should not answer this question. I’ll give you a scenario that is likely to happen.
An interviewer asks about your desired salary, and you say, “I prefer not to answer that question at this point” or something similar.
He then asks you the same question a few times in a few different ways to try to get you to give in and quote a number. That would be a big mistake! You have to do everything in your power to refuse answering this question. The rule of the negotiation game is that the first quoted number has to come from the employer. Never from the candidate.

PodcastWant to Start a Podcast But Don’t Know How? Facebook Live Audio Makes It So Easy Everyone Can Do It

From concerts to crimes, Facebook Live has given everyone the ability to broadcast live events in real-time. For publishers, companies and thought leaders, it’s provided a new platform to reach out to customers and fans.
Several months ago Facebook introduced a new feature, called Facebook Live Audio. It’s still in the early testing phases, but they expect it roll out to everyone in the near future.
In conjunction with my book publisher, HarperCollins, I’ve become one of the early testers of the audio-only broacast. And I think it’s going to open up even more opportunities entrepreneurs, musicians, and want-to-be podcasters.

EmailListHacks3 Ridiculously Easy Hacks to Get People to Sign Up to Your Email List

Have you ever changed the oil in your car?
It’s a pretty basic skill that surprisingly few people actually know how to do. If you do, you’ll most likely have used a funnel before.
The main idea behind a funnel is to cast a wide net that you can pour the viscous liquid into it without spilling it all over the engine block. The oil flows through the wide top end of the funnel and is neatly deposited into the narrow bottom end, filling your engine up so that the car runs smoothly.

CreativeDoing This 1 Activity Could Make You More Creative Every Day for the Rest of the Year

As another winter comes to an end, you might be thinking about
(or procrastinating) sprucing up your home. But you might not want to stop–or start–there. Science has shown that a round of spring cleaning in your office space could help you be more productive, creative, and motivated. Struggling with where to start? Here are three quick tasks you can cross off the list so you can get your office working for you in no time.

E-Strategies Week of March 28

As an entrepreneur, you are constantly trying to find an advantage. A new tool that can make you more productive, a way to save more money, a market trend you can capitalize on…
The list goes on and on, as I am sure you know. What if we told you social media is one of the biggest advantages an entrepreneur can have. Even better, it is free. Regardless of where you are on your entrepreneurial journey, pre-launch to post IPO, social media can literally be the difference in success and becoming just another failed company. You might already be active on social media, but the question is: are you taking advantage of all the benefits?


1 Ways to Keep Ideas From Staying on the Back-Burner Forever

The idea cycle is a great source of both energy and frustration. When an idea pops into your head or blooms from a conversation with a friend or colleague, you get an immediate rush of energy. Related ideas start to flood in and sound something like, “…and, then I could do this, this, and this. That would be awesome.” But your attention gets pulled back into the task at hand, the thing already occupying space on your calendar for the day. So, you write your idea down with a little promise to “get back to you, my dear.” And then… nothing happens. The idea stays on the paper, but we move on to our other, more pressing tasks.
We don’t forget the idea — but we start to feel frustration and regret for not pursuing it, not devoting the time and attention it needs to grow. We regret ever noticing its potential. We’ve loved and lost something that never was.

MusicPlaylistWhy You Should Create A Music Playlist For Your Next Meeting

The secret to making people pay attention in meetings might be to create a soundtrack. Here’s how.

Use This Trick to Get an Amazing MemoryWoman placing sticky notes on board

If you’ve ever watched someone memorize and recite back a string of numbers or a long list of words and thought, “I wish I could do that,” we’ve got good news: You totally can. A simple mnemonic device used by world-class memory athletes can be taught-and mastered-by “normal” people too, according to a new study.
The brain-training trick, known as “method of loci,” involves pairing each item to be memorized with a mental image of a landmark along a familiar route-like your walk to work or to a local store. Researchers say that making these associations, and traveling that route in your mind, can not only help you remember those items better; it can also strengthen memory-related pathways in your brain.

HappyEmployees7 Inexpensive Company Perks That Will Make Your Employees a Lot Happier

Although people need a certain amount of money to meet their basic needs, money does not buy happiness.
I know this from personal experience. After all, one of the private companies I invested in is worth about 50 times more than the check I wrote to buy a stake in it. That’s largely because it was acquired by a public company whose stock has quadrupled in the past five years and that recently popped another 5 percent after reporting record earnings.
None of that money makes me feel any happier. Instead, I feel happiness when others recognize something I did to make their life better. For example, in the past few weeks two students have told me that I taught them a concept that helped them do their jobs more effectively.
Simply put, to make your employees happier, give them experiences that recognize what they do well for other people.
Here are seven ways to do that.

Pressure Doesn’t Have to Turn into StressPressureStress

When I was in my late twenties, I was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Doctors operated and told me to hope for the best. I returned to Japan, where I was working, and tried to forget about it. The tumors returned a year later, this time in my liver. After a long search, the surgeons found a new procedure to remove them, but I knew this was, again, perhaps only a temporary fix. I was a mess for the next six months. The hardest part of my illness was my constant anxiety about it coming back.
Then I met a man who changed my outlook. Dr. Derek Roger had spent 30 years researching why some people in difficult situations become overwhelmed, while others persevere. He taught me everything he’d learned, and as I started applying it, my anxiety subsided, even though my situation didn’t change. In fact, the cancer came back about five years ago and remains relatively stable in my liver. But I no longer worry about it. Derek became my mentor, and over the past 10 years we have trained thousands of leaders to overcome their stress.
The process starts with understanding that stress is caused not by other people or external events, but by your reactions to them. In the workplace, many people blame their high anxiety levels on a boss, job, deadlines, or competing commitments for their time. But peers who face the same challenges do so without stress. Derek and I often meet executives who have high levels of pressure but low levels of stress, and vice versa.


5 Workplace Practices That Are on Their Way Out

Some things, like hair scrunchies and jazzercise, simply run their course and go by the wayside. The same should be true for things in the workplace, but sometimes it can take a little longer for people to realize those practices and trends have reached their end. As we head towards the future of work, more outdated practices will start to be replaced by newer, more innovative thinking and streamlined, employee-friendly processes. A lot of change is coming, but we can start by removing these five outdated work practices from our offices: