Time Management for Professionals

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As I teach working adults at the university level, the biggest complaint is the lack of time to fulfill academic requirements.  Of course, many working professionals must juggle their jobs, family obligations, and other priorities. It’s very difficult to be successful with these priorities. However, being successful is possible. 

Everyone can benefit from good time management.  Let’s examine professionals in the retail business. Professionals who interact with customers must be good stewards of their time.  Yet, most people have so much trouble with time management due to conflicting priorities in their lives in a busy society.

For salespeople, life can be pretty demanding; attempting to connect with customers often means taking away from one’s personal life. Understanding how to navigate one’s time is essential in managing our priorities. 

Salespeople are no exception. Mark Johnston and Greg Marshall, authors of Relationship Selling, maintain that the ability to manage time and territory is essential for salespersons for three reasons: (a) increase productivity, (b) improve customer relationships, and (c) enhance personal confidence.  Therefore, good time management assists salespeople and other business professionals in mapping out their priority obligations. 

Successful people distinguish the trivial from the important.  This reality is true in sales, as well as other industries. In my technical field, I see many people operating in crisis mode because they are engulfed in trivial matters. Working only on trivial matters is unproductive when an individual is ignoring the important things. Time management speaks to what is really important to you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XUmPKxDXfg

Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits for Highly Effective People, argued that highly successful people know how to manage their time (aka ‘Put first things first’).  He notes, “Effective management is all about putting first things first. While leadership decides what the ‘first things’ are, it is management that puts them first, day by day, moment by moment.

Management is the discipline carrying it out. The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.”  Therefore, distinguishing the important from the trivial is part of good time management.

Developing effective time management skills is not a simple or short process. When a salesperson is young and single, he or she has different priorities. The individual may be willing to make huge concessions, such as long hours, to move ahead or make additional income.

Yet, the individual may transition into a different stage, where he is married and has children.  This reality can shift his priorities. Some people balance this strategically. Therefore, different life stages can impact an individual’s time management. 

Discuss your professional experience on this topic. 

© 2014 by Daryl D. Green

Visibility for Professionals

Questons

In our society, which makes many determinations about a person’s character from his or her actions, high visibility is important to position oneself to success.

Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller, authors of Marketing Management, argue the importance of branding for individuals as well as for products to help them stand out among the crowd: “For branding strategies to be successful and brand value to be created, consumers must be convinced there are meaningful differences among branding in the product or service category.”[1]  Therefore, professionals need to distinguish themselves from their competitors.

Sadly, most workers are invisible to their management.  Some employees believe that if they work hard and are loyal to their organizations, they will be promoted and rewarded accordingly.  However, these individuals often see less qualified and less talented people get promoted ahead of them.

Renowned Pastor Richard S. Brown Jr. underlines this misunderstanding of this current culture:  “Everyone wants to be outstanding but no one wants to stand out.”  Today’s organizations promote individuals who know how to shine.  From a marketing perspective, these individuals understand how to use visibility to promote their personal brand.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3fMQ1SWDU4

In the book, High Visibility: The Making and Marketing of Professionals into Celebrities,  Irvin Rein, Philip Kotler, and Martin Stoller examined the  role that celebrities play in society and the fact the everyone is involved in either producing or consuming celebrities.[2]  Yet, when you discuss this reality openly to others, most managers and executives would argue that it is the individual technical performance or merit of their work that gets them ahead.

However, most folks will not take advice from a ‘no named’ or unfamiliar expert, given the choices between an unrecognized and a celebrity expert.  Therefore, high visibility can open doors to opportunity.

Rein, Kotler, and Stoller note:  “Today for the visibility-conscious professional, fame is the ultimate accomplishment.  Well-knownness has evolved into celebrity, and in today’s society, that means power and money – not just to its possessor, but also to businesses, institutions, political parties, causes, entrepreneurs, and charities.” [3]

For the savvy professional, gaining visibility goes to understanding what’s important to his or her organization or targeted institution.  This task requires doing the necessary research to determine the organization’s priorities and goals.  Furthermore, this matter requires understanding the personal characteristics of the key decision makers and looking for opportunities for high visibility.  The rewards of high visibility can be great.

Rein, Kotler, and Stoller further explain: “Our society is generally quite willing to pay this ‘celebrity premium,’ to reward those who take the risks to become the highly visible people we so love to revere or revile.” Of course, high visibility normally requires a great amount of sacrifice on an individual’s part.  Often, it can mean taking a job that no one wants because odds of success are slim.

As in many stories highlighted in the magazine tabloids about celebrities, relationships can also be a casualty of high visibility.  As society searches for more heroes and fulfilled fantasies, celebrities and fame will forever be a part of our society.  Consequently, high visibility will afford opportunists with more fortune than the Average Joe.  Therefore, working professionals need to understand how high visibility can be used in order to provide them with advantages that are more competitive.   

Please discuss the visibility for professionals based on your own work experience.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

 


[1] Marketing Management by Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller

[2] High Visibility: The Making and Marketing of Professionals into Celebrities by Irvin Rein, Philip Kotler, and Martin Stoller

[3] High Visibility: The Making and Marketing of Professionals into Celebrities by Irvin Rein, Philip Kotler, and Martin Stoller

The World of Elance.com

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Elance.com is a freelance website that allows customers to solicit work from a variety of outsourcing services, which include programmers, designers, office support, translators, marketers, researchers, and many other disciplines. In marketing, the marketing mix consists of product/services, placement, price, and promotions.

Elance.com allows a business to post a job opening and invites freelance workers who believe they have the requisite skills for the job to make a bid. The company charges a $10 fee to each business to post a job, and also takes a small portion of what gets paid to contractors. Below is an analysis of Elance.com’s marketing mix:

Service – Elance.com allows businesses to post a job opening to freelancers at potential savings.

Placement – All transactions occur on the website.

Price – The company charges a $10 fee to each business to post a job and also take a small portion of what gets paid to contractors. It is considered low-to-medium cost.

Promotions – Much of the effort appears to be publicity and ‘Word of Mouth’ promotions.

The following questions would be asked as a marketing professional (suggested answers are also provided) when analyzing Elance.com:

Elance.com aims at two clients, employer and freelancer.  Clearly, you must know your customers. Paul Peter and James Donnelly, authors of Marketing Management, argue that successful businesses understand customer needs.

With that said, potential employers see a website that attracts over 500,000 talented freelancers.  For the freelancer, there is an opportunity to bid on 48,000 jobs, worth $480K.  It is recommended that the website be more tailored for employers and freelancers, since they have different needs. This could be done with distinct website buttons.

For potential employers, Elance.com provides ratings and tested freelancers whose profiles and ratings can be evaluated.  For freelancers, it is real-time feedback.  When Elance.com gets repeat business or new business, this is also a good indication of superior services.

 

Through the rating process and feedback, Elance.com can obtain feedback.  Likewise, freelancers get paid and get feedback.  Michael Solomon, author of Consumer Behavior, suggests that consumer response is the ultimate test of whether a marketing strategy will succeed. Therefore, Elance.com is the top freelance website that has to support a variety of consumers.

Please discuss Elance’s marketing strategy from your own professional experience.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

Living A Leader’s Life

 

swing-dancersDuring our last Caribbean cruise together, my wife Estraletta and I made it a nightly routine to eat a formal dinner together with new friends, enjoy a nightly session of Latin dancing in a new cultural setting, and end the night in a variety of dancing venues, from contemporary to the classic waltz.

I must admit what captured my attention on the dance floor was watching senior citizens who were African-Americans dance the swing with so much precision and accuracy.   I was amazed to see an elderly man who was riding in a mobile cart, stumble on to the dance floor with some assistance, grab a senior citizen woman and swing her around the dance floor til there was no end.

With his knack of swing dancing, he found himself the bell of the ball. Women were lined up to dance with him until he was exhausted.  When we returned home, we attended another social event where seniors were swinging on the dance floor.

The swing dance was not a dance choice for my generation of break dancers.  In fact, my older sister was a Baby Boomer and her generation appeared to reject swing dancing of that generation.  Therefore, I found myself intrigued and ignorant about the contributions of African-Americans  on swing dancing in American history.

In September, I will be sponsoring a swing dance through the Academy Ballroom in Knoxville in order to celebrate the art of swing and honor the contributions of African Americans in this art form. The event,” Dr. Green Presents ‘Swing at the Savoy’: a dance class series reflecting the music and dance of Harlem in the 1920s.”

 

 

The class will start on September 6th, at 6pm.  Dancing can be life changing. Paul Bottomer, author of Let’s Dance, explains the power of dancing:  “Whatever your musical taste or individual preferences, the huge variety of dance ensure that there is something to suit you. You do not need to be a good dancer to enjoy the dancing, the music, the mood, the atmosphere and, of course, the social life.”[1]

Of course, many folks will not embrace anything different.  This reaction is fine.  However, some individuals make it a habit to criticize others in the process.  Criticism can be noted as ‘the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.’

Critics come in all shape and sizes.  If you are a weak individual, you will find yourself needing to maneuver through the opinions of critics.  Different people have distinctive “locus of control” which refers to how people perceive life events.

Individuals with an external locus of control feel that things are outside of their control and can be easily manipulated by outside events. Individuals with an internal locus of control feel in control of their own fate.

Dr. Richard Draft, author of Management, notes, “People with an internal locus of control are easier to motivate because they believe the rewards are the result of their behavior.”[2]

He further explains that people with an external locus of control are harder to motivate, less involved in their jobs, and more likely to blame others.  Living life based on the opinions of others can lead individuals toward a mediocre existence. Can you afford to live a mediocre life?

Since my wife and I have started ballroom dancing, I have gained a great deal of confidence, creative brain power, and a healthier lifestyle (about 2-3 hours of dancing a week).  Perhaps, it’s interesting that guys who cannot dance are the ones who are most prone to ridicule and mock others who can.

Fortunately, good leaders understand how to inspire followers to exemplary performance even in the face of stiff criticism.  Therefore, doing things like swing dancing sets you apart as a leader guided by his or her own internal locus of control.

Discuss the concept of leading with an internal locus of control.

© 2013 by Daryl D. Green

 

Harlem Swing Class Final


[1]Let’s Dance  by Paul Bottomer

 

[2] Management by Richard Daft