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The Zero Talent Series: Effort (Going the extra mile)

“Mr. Schwab first came to Mr.Carnegie’s attention when he was working as a labourer in one of the steel master’s plants. Close observation revealed that Mr. Schwab always performed more and better service than that for which he was paid. Moreover, he performed it with a pleasing mental attitude, which made him popular among his fellow workers.

He was promoted from one job to another until at long last in 1901 he was made president of the great United States Steel Corporation at a salary of $75,000 a year”. Who would have thought a labourer will ever earn that much in his entire lifetime. (story by Napoleon Hill)

If Paul J. Meyer’s quote expressed thus, “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort” is anything to go by, then effort is worthy of the number 3 spot on our zero talent list.

To put in effort is to vigorously or determinedly attempt something. An attempt doesn’t require a talent, does it?

“No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him; it is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction”. – Charles Francis Adams

You may not have total control over outcomes and results but you have complete control over the amount and type of effort you put in. Success comes to those who sustain a consistent effort.

If you really want to excel at work and in business, you will have to go the extra mile and deliver beyond expectations. In service delivery, going the extra mile is what distinguishes a great customer experience from an average one.

It is true there are days you won’t feel like going the extra mile but remember that you are not your thoughts or feelings. Feelings come and go. We tend to associate our thoughts with our abilities and we try to identify with them. Consequently, negative thoughts make us feel inadequate.

Finally, going the extra mile builds the confidence of others in one’s veracity. It eliminates procrastination and develops definiteness of purpose.

 

The Zero Talent Series: Work Ethics

“Kobe’s professional trainer was fast asleep. Could you blame him? It was 3:30 am in the morning. All a sudden his phone starts ringing. It’s Kobe. He must be in trouble, or in some kind of emergency. His trainer is freaking out, and nervously picks up the phone.

Kobe says that he’s doing some conditioning work and could use his trainer’s help. The trainer then proceeds to get ready and head over to the gym. He arrives around 4:30 am. What did he see? He saw Kobe by himself practicing. Drenched in sweat, it looked like he just jumped in a pool. It wasn’t even 5am in the morning yet”.

The second leadership characteristic on our zero talent list is work ethic.

Work ethic is a value based on hard work and diligence. A strong work ethic is vital to achieving goals. Work ethics is a set of moral principles which includes: personal integrity, honesty, truthfulness, a sense of responsibility, emphasis on quality, discipline, and teamwork.

Work ethics isn’t just how we feel about our jobs, career or vocation, but also how one does the job or takes responsibility. This involves conduct, attitude, behavior, respect, communication, integrity, accountability and interaction; how one gets along with others.

Essentially, work ethics break down to what one does or would do in a particular situation.

How to build strong work ethics

Work hard

Focus on your work and minimize distractions

Set deadlines and try as much as possible to meet them

Evaluate your work daily

Embrace responsibility

Resist procrastination

Practice self-discipline, you don’t need to be micro managed

Understand how your work speed may vary and take advantage of that

Maintain a good work-life balance

Choose your peers with care

Improve daily by trying new ways.

Conclusively, developing good work ethics can be critical to productivity and success.

The Zero Talent Series

It is factual that some people have a higher propensity for somethings over others. Have you ever wondered  what natural aptitude you possess? You might have even concluded you have none. Everyone has somewhat of talent, though it may be hidden and might take a while to discover. However, that’s a topic for another day.

I came across a meme, ‘10 Things That Require Zero Talent’ a while ago on a social media site and thought I’d share.  It listed powerful skills that will have huge impact on your career and personal life but do not require talent nor training.

If these 10 simple leadership characteristics will be put to use and made a part of our daily lives, we would be more successful, almost overnight.

We will be educating ourselves with a series called ‘The Zero Talent Series’ and first on our list is:

Being on Time.

One of the most reliable ways to earn trust and respect is to be religious about being on time. Honoring our words through action. It really doesn’t matter the nature of your engagement or meeting, just be on time.

Always factor in reasonable travel time and have a definite take off time.

Tom had this problem of getting up late in the morning and was always late for work. His boss was mad at him and threatened to fire him if he didn’t do something about it. So Tom went to his doctor who gave him a pill and told him to take it before he went to bed. Tom slept well and in fact beat the alarm in the morning by almost two hours. He had a leisurely breakfast and drove cheerfully to work.

“Boss”, he said,” The pill actually worked!”

“That’s all fine” said the boss,” But where were you yesterday?

Lesson: Punctuality requires a conscious effort. This increases effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.

 

Top 6 Factors That Affect Home Valuation

When you are looking for a property, new home or starting a home renovation, it is important that you understand the factors influencing the property valuation. To aid your decision-making process, listed below are a few factors that can affect the appreciation or depreciation of a real estate investment or the property valuation.

Location

Everyone has heard the axiom “location, location, location”, and the reason it is such a prevalent cliché is because there is truth behind it. Proximity to employment centers, medical facilities, shops, and schools is a determining factor for many families and young couples when buying a home. Proximity to a wide array of local amenities and good transport links increases the value of your potential property.

Geographical Stability

This is a condition specific to areas of geographical or geological instability. Areas that are prone to the effects of natural phenomena, such as flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes, or volcanic activity, are poor choices when buying property. You would be considering the aspect of your family’s safety, in addition to your loan viability and your insurance costs.

Age and Condition

The age of a property doesn’t automatically reduce its value. However, the condition of a property makes a huge difference. An old but well-maintained property can achieve a valuation that is the same as that of a new build of equivalent specifications; sometimes, even higher.

Keeping your potential property well-maintained will keep its value high. When you take out home loans, you should remember that the property must retain the level of valuation at the beginning of your loan, or a higher level of valuation.

Size and Improvement

The size of a home affects the initial value of the property. Good renovation also helps to increase property value. However, making poor renovation choices will cause your potential house to depreciate in value. For example, increasing the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is a good move to increase the value of your home, whereas removing facilities or reducing the number of bedrooms is not.

You can take loans for doing home improvement. When you are approaching a provider of loans for a home improvement or refinancing package, you should address how much the modifications will increase the value of your potential or existing property. The benefit should be equal to or more than your loan.

Population Movement

In any country, population densities move to areas that are more attractive. This is a slow process and can be difficult to predict or identify. However, you should understand how this phenomenon may affect the value of your potential property.

If the employment hub of a city moves from the center of the town to the outskirts, half of the city will have to travel farther to work, reducing the value of a real estate property in terms of its ‘proximity to employment hub’ factor. The other half of the city in turn receives a boost to their property values for being closer to the employment hub.

Surrounding Area

No one can predict the future, but when you are buying property, you should pay attention to the surrounding area. Homes built in developing areas are subject to the whims of the developers operating in the vicinity. Paying close attention to the developments that are in motion (or those planned) for the areas adjacent to your property will be a key factor in determining the increase or decrease in value of your real estate investment.

These are just some of the main factors that can affect the longevity of a real estate venture and valuation of property.

These are some of the main factors that affects property valuation but there are more.We would like to hear from you about them.

Reference: goodhomeadvisor

 

Need a great idea?

Who doesn’t wish for a great idea? I mean, everyone would love to leave their footprints on the sands of time. We all want to change the world or at least be remembered for some kind of innovation .But the question is, how do you keep the ideas flowing? How do they come to you? Where is the Great Idea?

The ability to create and understand the concept of ideas is considered to be a crucial and defining feature of human beings. The reason for this is not far-fetched, as most of the world’s best inventions and innovations started as a ‘mere’ idea.

Oh did I just say mere? There is no such thing as a mere idea, if Albert Einstein’s quote expressed thus “If at first, the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” is anything to go by.

An idea could be a thought, a plan, or a suggestion about what to do, an opinion or belief, something that you imagine or picture in your mind. One of the ways to conceive an idea is to look for an existing problem and try to create a solution: This is key!

Having said that, an idea could arise in an impulsive manner, even without thinking or serious reflection.

See below some actions points that could also aid a free flow of ideas:

Do your research

Gather information

Think differently

Meditate daily

Improve your observation skills

Maintain an open mind

Talk to smart people

Exercise regularly

Don’t forget to write it down

Ideas indeed rule the world!

 7 Powerful Practices That Can Turn Your Life Towards Success

Every destination must have a route. Success is a journey that requires a process.

See below 7 powerful habits that will put you on the road to success.

An early rise

The early bird catches the worm and early rising is one of the most common among the powerful habits here. It’s great to start your day early and you will always have more time to work when you set the alarm for 7 a.m. rather than getting up at 10 a.m. (or earlier than 7 a.m. if you can).

The morning assures a certain kind of unmatched freshness that re-energizes the mood and makes you better prepared for taking on tasks and challenges ahead- with a positive note.

To-do list and prioritization

It’s a busy life today and you always have to juggle multiple tasks together to achieve your goals. Improper time management or no organization can make you slip out on one or two important tasks that need doing.

Thus, it’s always smarter to maintain a to-do list for everyday so that you are always updated on what to do and when. Moreover, you have to learn the habit of prioritization here. It implies scheduling the tasks in order of emergency so that you never fail on the set deadlines.

Increased learning and networking

The world is evolving at a faster pace and the more you get acquainted with the upgraded trends of your industry, the more dynamic and welcoming presentations will be. Thus, you have to grow the habit of increased learning so that you are always on top of your game.

Gather whatever article, column, journal, book, website, podcast or speeches you can about your trade. Also, talk to the veterans in your industry or workplace to learn about their experiences and the nuances of the trade.

Take calculated risks

If you are not into the habit of traveling beyond your comfort zone, you are hindering yourself from exploring the greater opportunities lying ahead. You have to develop the habit of taking calculated risks so that even if you fail, you always have a Plan B to lessen the impact and another way to move forward.

Exercise

A regular exercise routine keeps your metabolism high, supplying you with increased energy to go on with the assignments lying ahead. It also keeps your memory and cognitive functions active.

In a nutshell, exercise keeps you charged and refreshed to strive forward with dedication, focus and stamina. If you are too busy to attend the gym, you can at least take to a daily jog or brisk run every morning at your local park.

Healthy lifestyle

No matter how much you work, if you are not taking care of your health, you won’t be able to fully explore your talents and potential. Therefore, you have to cultivate a healthy lifestyle, supported by a balanced diet, adequate rest and enough sleep so that you can gather immunity from diseases and develop the needed strength to think fast and work hard.

Meditation

A successful life isn’t possible if you are too depressed or bogged down. You can’t avoid pressure or stress, but what you can do is to prevent them from affecting your drive and happiness. A habit of regular meditation, say for 15 minutes, everyday, would calm your mind and keep you stress-free.

These habits can’t be attained overnight. It might look too strenuous initially — but never give up and keep on trying. Wishing you all the best in your efforts.

Reference – Success Story

Wanna Dress To Impress? Read This

What if I told you there is a huge ROI in wearing nice, smart clothes, especially in the business world, would you believe me? Although the way we dress doesn’t define who we are, it often creates an impression that might be hard to change eventually.

If you would like to create a great impression, you might just want to consider the following:

Understand what’s appropriate in your industry

Everyone draws their lines differently. If your company has a dress code, follow it.

Make sure your clothes fit

It may sound obvious, but many get it wrong. If your clothes are too big or too small, they are not going to look good. Ensuring a proper fit applies to everything you are wearing.

Pay attention to your bag

You don’t want your personal things jutting out of your purse or briefcase. Keep your bag clean on the inside, especially if it doesn’t have a zipper, which allows others to catch a glimpse inside from time to time.

Wear well-kept, polished shoes

Make sure your shoes are polished and in good condition.

Wear rich colours to portray authority

Pay attention to your colour choices. Darker colours usually convey a stronger impression than lighter ones. If you’re giving a presentation, make sure the colour you’re wearing doesn’t blend in with the background behind you.

Avoid neon colours and overly flashy clothes

Both men and women have to be cautious with bright colours. Clothes that are too flashy can be distracting and the visual equivalent of shouting.

 

 

Two sides of a coin: Organizational Culture & Growth

Why is this comparison important?

It is important because one is fundamentally dependent on the other.

The distinctive personality of an organization is referred to as its culture and without the right system of shared values, knowledge, attitudes and beliefs, growth is very unlikely. The quality of work produced is a direct correlation of the prevailing culture.

In order to enhance growth, every organization must develop and maintain a unique culture. This outlines a set of guidelines and boundaries for the actions of the members of the organization.

Organizational culture is a clear driver of competitive advantage.

Who is responsible for Organizational Culture?

Improving on organizational culture is certainly a joint effort. Every employee, at every level, is responsible and expected to champion the cause. Culture is a mutual experience where all have a part to play.

Having said that, every leader also has a role to play in creating, nurturing and maintaining the organizational culture.

What conscious steps can be taken towards a healthy culture?

Innovation

High value should be placed on innovation. Explore new ways of getting things done and don’t get stuck with the norm.

To create an innovative culture, innovation must be seen as a job description. It should be at the core of every business and given a prominent place in procedures, and performance evaluations.

Accountability.

In a strictly accountable system, people are committed to creating the conditions that produce agreed upon results. Accountability accelerates performance and helps to measure work progress. It also gets rid of unproductive behaviors that obstruct the path to success.

More attention to Detail

A vital characteristic of organizational culture is each and everyone’s ability to achieve thoroughness and accuracy when accomplishing a task.

Employees are expected to perform their work with precision. This can also be achieved by several revisions on the task when completed as well as a second opinion.

Result Orientation

Focus must be on results, a very high commitment to delivery. Not only effectively but also efficiently. While process is key, this theory lays more emphasis on the results rather than the process.

It analyzes productivity of employees based on the number of tasks completed in a specified period. Employees are at liberty to utilize personalized processes in an effort to achieve set targets at the organization.

Collaboration

Teamwork improves performance, employee relationship and company culture. This means there should be a sense of unity, enthusiasm for common interests and responsibilities.

Work activities may be organized around teams instead of individuals in order to place a high value on this characteristic of organizational culture.

 

 

Why You Need Property Insurance

Insurance is an arrangement you hope you don’t have to use, but if the need arises, it’s invaluable. No one prays for an accident, but ships capsize, cars crash, buildings catch fire, plans fail, business deals go wrong, houses collapse, and the list goes on. After these mishaps, what’s next?

The concept of insurance dates as far back as 2nd millennia BC, where it entails agreements of mutual aid. If a family’s house gets destroyed by fire, the neighbours are dedicated to help restore it.

Insurance is the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for payment. A form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent uncertain loss. -Wikipedia

When you pay your premium, a relatively small fee to an insurance company today, in exchange for a guarantee from the insurance company that it will bear the burden of a large but uncertain loss in the future. Types of insurance include Life insurance, home insurance, motor insurance, GIT, etc.

Property insurance is traced to the Great Fire of London, which in 1666 devoured more than 13,000 houses. Only then was it clear that property insurance was a matter of urgency rather than commitment.

After September 11, 2001, the insurers of the World Trade Center, including Chubb Corp. and Swiss Reinsurance Co. paid $4.55 billion to rebuild the property. Just imagine the building was not insured, imagine premium payment was skipped in 2001, the year it was hit. These examples clearly confirm the importance of property insurance in a world of uncertainties.

Some Benefits of Property Insurance

  1. Insuring your property restores you back to where you were in case of any disaster.
  2. Covers fire, theft, storm, flood etc.
  3. Timely recovery
  4. Financial protection

Choosing the Right Insurer

  1. Check their track record and be sure they have a good reputation
  2. Satisfactory claim settlement profile
  3. Reliable financials
  4. Easy Access

Safety and Security Tips

  1. Fix smoke detectors and test them once a month
  2. Always switch of electrical appliances after use, before going to bed and when going out
  3. Invest in fire extinguishers
  4. Trim trees close to doors and windows
  5. Service locks, screws, etc. regularly
  6. Fix burglar alarms

Mostly, homeowners insurance is not enforced but is a wise decision, just in case there is a disaster.

Tips on Personal Branding

Personal Branding is the practice of people marketing themselves and their careers as brands

A strong personal brand will have a tremendous impact on both your individual success and that of your company.

Having a great personal brand is awesome and everyone needs one.

The objective is for your personal brand to build your reputation, grow your network in a way that interests others who will seek you out for your knowledge and expertise.

Here are a few Personal Branding Tips:

Know Yourself

By asking yourself the following, you will be able to commit to a niche.

What do you want to be known for? What sets you apart from other established influencers in the same space? How are you going to be memorable?

All the big names in your industry started out by dominating a small space. What can you master that they can’t? What’s your superpower?

Then, after you become the expert of your niche, you can continue to grow by entering an adjacent space.

Invest in Yourself

Develop your skills and explore your creative side. Personal branding isn’t free.

Consider the following:

  • Buy and read a great book
  • Get a Mentor
  • Attend seminars
  • Register for trainings
  • Read success stories

Be remarkable

You will be better off doing something remarkable before building a personal brand. So don’t build a personal brand if it isn’t time. Do something remarkable first!

Hard work is required if you’re serious about being successful. Be innovative and never feel your ideas are stupid. An idea may sound stupid until someone else takes the same idea and runs with it.

 

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