Ten Reasons Being a Mature Worker Has Advantages

When I first began my business career, I rarely thought about what it might be like for me and where I would be working when I was 40 or older. I was so focused on what was directly in front of me, it was difficult to think too far ahead.

I knew I wanted to advance, but I did not have a vision for exactly what that meant. In speaking with many of today’s twenty- and thirty-somethings, I realized they have a better sense of having plotted out where they are headed.  Of course, this is not always the case.

In the last 20 years, society has put enormous pressure on younger people to know from an early age what they want to be doing in their careers. This is incredibly unfair and unrealistic. The decade immediately following college should be a time to explore various career options, travel, and obtain a better sense of your skill set as well as what you like and do not like to do.

By the time you reach your 30s, you have generally settled into an industry which you may or may not be satisfied with. You have also, by this time, hopefully have had an opportunity to work with people who are a variety of ages.

Unfortunately, if you are in the technology industry, you will not see too many people past the age of 50. Over 50, most are either a “C” level executive, or on the software development, testing, and customer support side of the business. Perhaps in non-technology industries you will have an opportunity to work with more mature colleagues. There is much to learn from them.

What most people do not realize is how valuable employees with years of experience are, or how to fully tap into their potential. Our society has done a decent job of on-boarding new and younger employees.  Where society has failed is knowing how best to leverage the talent of the workforce over 50.  Or 60.  Or 70.

Last week, I had an opportunity to witness an incredible team effort.  The average age of the people working together was around 70.  All of them were women. They worked for well over a month making homemade holiday gifts to be sold at a community fair. The proceeds were being donated to both the local school system, as well as the village church and community hall where the event was to take place.

When I walked in on the morning of the holiday event, where all of the incredible handmade items were on display, I felt as if I had been transported to a different and magical world. The sheer beauty of the handmade items was stunning. They were a testament to a team of people working together who had donated their skills and time.

Could a group of people who were younger have accomplished the same thing this group of women in their 70s, 80s and 90s did? Sure! Age should not be a limitation in either the workplace or in life if someone is determined to participate.

However, due to age discrimination, and this happens to younger people, too, many of our more mature workers are forced out of the work place. This is such a shame.

Here are ten reasons for why older workers rock, along with the benefits of being a more mature worker.

 

  1. Understanding what has been done in the past can be incredibly helpful in directing what the priorities should be. Mature employees have experience with knowing what has worked, and what has not. Knowing what not to focus on because it will waste time is an enormously valuable skill.

 

  1. Time is our most precious commodity. Due to experience, most mature workers have become exceptionally good at managing their time, and know how to maximize accomplishing goals with a more disciplined approach.

 

  1. Mature workers, in general, tend to be dependable, and have built up a work ethic which is both commendable, and the type of mindset and behavior that is great modeling for younger generations.

 

  1. Having experienced a number of failures already in their life, as people mature, they can be much less afraid of making mistakes and taking risks, contrary to other thinking.

 

  1. Communication skills generally improve over time, and because of this, mature workers do a better job of being able to articulate information relating to the work they are doing, the challenges they are experiencing, or interacting with customers who can sometimes be difficult to deal with.

 

  1. Focusing on tasks or on developing a longer-range strategy becomes much easier to accomplish as you mature. You tend to take more of a longer-term perspective when taking strategy into account, and this is very valuable.

 

  1. Knowing how to handle more interactions with both people and situations is something gained from being exposed to a variety of scenarios over one’s career.

 

  1. Having the ability to be retrospective on most matters can be quite beneficial in terms of getting beyond challenging matters sooner.

 

  1. Patience is generally a skill developed over time. Having the ability to be patient and not too quick to react, can help a company to remain on course and make small adjustments versus reactive decisions that typically do not serve companies well in the long term.

 

  1. Although there is a perception people only have high energy when they are younger, mature employees might in fact have more energy. Less of their focus is on concerns such as social pressure, college loans, raising young children, have passed.

Points to ponder:

  • Has your perspective on what it means to be a mature worker changed?
  • Are you willing and/or able to reduce ageism in the work place?
  • Are you ready to hire mature workers at your company?
  • Will you add them to your team, making it more balanced?

The best performing teams I have seen, are the ones that are generationally balanced. Is yours?

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Advocate for yourself. You’re worth it.

If everyone could afford to have their own public relations and branding company working for them, imagine how much fun you could have with this? Since this is not realistic for the majority of people, the next best or potentially the best person to develop your image and brand is you. Yes, you, although you may be initially challenged with how to do this, it is possible to do.

Whether you want to develop your own brand is something you have to decide to do, but essentially everyone should be doing this. Why? Because if you have a LinkedIn account or are active on any social media platforms, you are already in the process of developing your brand. However, are you giving your brand the kind of attention it deserves, and is the type of effort you are putting in worth it? It should be, otherwise why would you bother to invest your time in the process?

As we all know, no two people are exactly the same, and everyone has their own talents and different types of experiences which add value to who they are personally and professionally. Some people may have taken a more prescriptive approach to charting out their paths, and others may have taken a less formal approach to developing their personal or professional journeys. Either approach is fine, and what makes the difference in terms of your satisfaction with either path is how you go about advocating for yourself along the way.

I have written about the importance of developing your own value proposition,  and this is the foundation you will build upon to advocate for yourself in just about any scenario. It is possible to have two value propositions, and one would be for your personal life, and the other your professional one. However, it is fine to have one which is a blend of the two, especially since some people do not separate their personal and professional lives. For those that have a strict delineation between the two, then crafting two value propositions will make sense.

As a refresher, think of your value proposition as your “elevator pitch” to tell and promote yourself to others. Give some thought about how you are coming across to your audience from both a verbal and strategic perspective. Are you coming across in a way which elicits a response of “so what”, or a response which has the recipient asking more questions about you? The latter is obviously preferred, so here are some tips on how you can craft the elevator pitch to do the best possible job of advocating for yourself.

  • Write down (3-5) things you enjoy doing professionally, and are good at.
  • Come up with 2-3 examples of what makes you exceptional at the things you enjoy doing personally or professionally.
  • Ask your friends and trusted colleagues to tell you what they perceive are your best skills personally or professionally.
  • Write down and practice giving your “advocate/elevator pitch”. Yes, really do this and refine it as you are crafting and stating it to others.
  • If you are not being asked questions after reciting your advocate pitch, go back and re-craft it and try it again. It may take 2-3 iterations to get this right, and it will likely need to be modified over time as you add more skills to yourself advocacy list.

Still not convinced you need to advocate for yourself? Think again, as how do you think the people who you hear about or admire professionally or personally got to where they are today? Yes, this is a rhetorical question, but it boils down to being a strong advocate for themselves. The bottom line is you are worth it, so get out there and start advocating for yourself. I’ll be looking for you to do so.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Is Your Company’s Sales Buying Process Painful for Prospects?

I was thinking about the process of buying something, and how sometimes it seems effortless, such as when I am purchasing an item via Amazon, while other times it feels like I am stuck in a bad dream and having to agonize over the entire process – which is similar to the process of buying a car. Does the process of what the buying experience is like at your company get discussed and tested from time to time? Do you know how prospects and customers would rate your buying process?  Are you delighting them during their experience, or are you making them run straight to your competitor?

There are a variety of different types of buying processes, and sometimes people are involved in the process during the sale, and sometimes the process is completely devoid of any human interaction. In either situation, there are ways to improve the experience the prospective buyer is having, but have you thought about what these are, and if so or not, have you applied ways to make your buying process better? In other words, would people who have purchased items from your company recommend your company to do business with because the sales process was seamless? Or, was the sales process experience something which might make them not recommend dealing with your company? You should definitively know the answer to this.

Some larger companies use what is referred to as a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to evaluate a series of how people interact with their company, and how they would rate the interactions. In most cases, unless a company is receiving a score higher than 8 out of 10, there is definite room for improvement. The NPS evaluation process is generally a survey which is sent to a random set of customers on a quarterly basis, but is can also be sent to the same group of customers during the course of the year during less frequent intervals. My recommendation is to send it out to a random group each quarter to increase your feedback pool.

For companies who have less than 50 employees, sending out a simple survey with less than ten questions to help determine how customers would rate your sales process is recommended. The survey can be sent out via a “free” survey tool such as Survey Monkey, but there are plenty of other ones to consider using too. Your email solution provider might offer a survey tool option, so look into this as it will make the administration of the survey easier.

Since you will want to know what the ‘temperature’ of the respondent is, I do not recommend sending out an anonymous survey. To increase your survey responses, you can also tell the survey takers that one of the takers will be randomly selected to receive a gift card with an intriguing and generous value amount (e.g., Amazon, coffee or gas). This helps to increase the chances of people responding to your survey. You also want to put a time limit on when they need to respond by to increase their sense of urgency of completing the survey.

When developing your sales process survey questions, remember to include your sales, marketing and customer support teams. If there are other groups involved in your buying process, include them too, as you want to have a variety of questions answered relating to your buying process.

Another approach to take when determining how ‘smooth out’ your buying process is, is to go through and test the process either with employees involved in the buying process, or someone outside of the teams who do not interact with your process. The ideal approach is to have a neutral party test your buying process on a regular basis to see what the experience is like. Sometimes buying processes are set-up without regard to what the true user experience will be like, and this is an enormous missed opportunity to delight your prospect as they are purchasing from your company. Small things in the buying process can be included to make the experience more pleasant and human, especially if the purchase is solely on-line.

Going back to my example of how Amazon makes it so easy to purchase items from them, think about how they streamline the entire process from the moment you pick your item, to when you are checking out and have purchased it. Granted some on-line buying processes can be much more complex than an Amazon sale, but the point is to make sure you are not overlooking the part of the sale that prospects and customers could either dread, or be pleasantly surprised and delighted with the experience.

Do you know if your buying process is negatively or positively impacting your future sales or company’s reputation? You should, and I strongly advise you to test this out.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. We also offer numerous workshops which can be customized to meet your team or company’s needs.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Busy, but not productive?

Anyone who knows me knows I do not enjoy wasting time, and I’ll admit that relaxing can be a challenge for me, and that I actually will schedule time to relax. This works for me, but certainly isn’t going to be a strategy that will work for everyone. I wouldn’t expect it to, but I do expect that if someone wants to be more productive versus being only busy, then you are in the majority of people I talk to.

In our society today, saying you’re busy is what others expect to hear you say. Seldom do you hear someone tell you they don’t have much going on, or that they are never busy. Busy is one of those words which is a way of politely expressing you have a great deal going on in your life, but that does not require you to explain what this means. This statement applies to both work and life, and you would almost never say at work that you are not busy. If you said this, it could be quite detrimental to your current employment.

So, when someone says they are busy at work, they typically will justify and explain how and why they are busy. They may not go into details about what constitutes making them busy, but essentially when they express this, it generally means their time is consumed by doing a number of things related to their job. However, if you are a manager and someone tells you they are busy, your job is to ask questions to see what the person working for you means by this expression, since there are multiple interpretations of this word.

If you are wondering how to determine if someone is busy versus being productive, here are some questions you can ask them to find out which one they are.

  1. Do you feel good about the list of priorities you are working on?
  2. How are the timelines on the projects you are focusing on progressing today/this week/month?
  3. Are your projects and the completion of them positively impacting others?
  4. Is the work you are doing and accomplishing being communicated to others well?
  5. Do you have a good sense the work you are doing is well focused, or does it need to be redefined to increase the productivity of the work?
  6. On a scale of 1-5, (5 being the highest level) are you feeling overwhelmed, or well supported to get your work done?
  7. With your workload, are you feeling that you need more resources to accomplish your work, or that you have the right amount of support?
  8. Do you ever feel like you are “spinning your wheels” on the work you are performing? If they answer ‘yes’ to this question, or do not give you a convincing response and tell you ‘no’, chances are they may be falling into the only keeping busy category.

Keeping busy for the sake of either not being bored or unchallenged is fine for some people. However, if you are running a business, then it’s not so fine. Having employees or teams who are only appearing to be busy, yet who are not actually productive can be the beginning to a serious engagement and management challenge. Taking on this challenge is not easy, and often requires an external perspective to help identify and determine where to start with fixing and then addressing the situation.

Knowing your team or company has a productivity issue should be addressed as soon as possible, as it should be obvious the situation will not improve upon by itself if it is ignored. The good news is that productivity can quickly come back. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking you or others are too busy to address this matter.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Are you approachable?

If you do not consider yourself to be approachable, do you consider this to be an asset or liability? For me personally, I consider it to be an asset, but appreciably not everyone thinks the same way I do. Some people would consider being highly approachable as a distraction, or something they do not have time for. Looking at this from the inverse, if you are the type who is highly approachable as a person, you potentially have more positive opportunities to consider pursuing based on more people interacting with you.

What makes someone approachable? Is it their body or actual verbal language? Are they more outgoing and upbeat than those who are not considered approachable? Do you think they have always been an approachable person, or is this a trait they have been working on? Can someone learn to be more approachable if they want to be so? I think they can, and here are some ways you can work towards adopting a more approachable persona, providing you want to do this.

  • Sincerely engage with everyone you interact with. Go beyond the cursory hello and onto one or two more sentences of engagement.
  • Ask people how they are doing, and truly listen to their response. If they are having a bad day, or give you a neutral response, tell them you hope their day continues to improve from this point on. Sometimes a small dose of positivity can go a long way.
  • Think about who you know that you would consider to be an approachable person. Do you have traits in common with them? Which ones don’t you have in common? How could you work on developing the ones you do not have in common? Hint: You might not need all of these traits to become more approachable.
  • Pay attention to your body language. Do people often ask if you are mad or upset about something? You might not realize that you appear to be coming across this way, when in fact you are not.
  • Do you consider yourself to be overly critical of yourself and others? If you are, this is an area you can work on decreasing your level of criticality, which will help towards making you more approachable. No one enjoys interacting with someone who they believe is going to only give them criticism, even it is considered constructive.
  • Give out compliments, or start to give them out more liberally. It doesn’t cost you anything to do this, and as long as they are sincere and within the acceptable boundaries of what is politically and socially correct, this will serve you well.

If you are in a leadership role, or considering going into one, increasing your approachability rating will be something you want to strive to do. Leaders who are approachable gain the benefit of having more engaged and happier employees, less attrition in their organization and a better pulse on what is really happening in their organization. Having access to information about the realities of your business is invaluable information, and you need to be an approachable person to earn having access to this difficult to come by feedback.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want different, or better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.