Category Archives: Finance

5 Reasons You Need To Work Hard To Get Ahead

So many times, I’ve been asked, “how did you balance your career and kids?” Many young people want to hear that I found the answer to balance and hope I have the formula, but I don’t. Unless you have a fairy godmother who can guarantee early success in the next big thing, then you are going to need to work hard to get ahead, make a great living and have a strong career. In my experience, there are no short cuts and there is no such thing as “balance.”

We live in a competitive, global world, connected 24/7. Understanding the implications of that is half the battle:

1. It’s a competitive world (part 1).

Yes, the person sitting next to you wants your job. Or they want to get promoted ahead of you. You are competing, whether it is visible to you or not, and it has always been this way. The ambitious ones among you know that getting a promotion is very competitive. Unless you are computer scientist (in which case there are more jobs than people), you need to work hard to hold your job and advance, and you need to be better than the person next to you. When opportunity knocks in the form of a new project, or a request from your boss, do not say, “that’s not my job” or “I’m trying to keep balance in my life”–instead, grab it with both hands and show your boss that you are ambitious and that you understand your hard work and smart results will be rewarded.

2. You can lean on your partner.

This one is probably easier for many men reading this than women, since women typically spend twice as much time doing housework every day as men. However, whether you are male or female, learning how to lean on your partner as you push your career ahead is critical because you are going to need time to work. Everyone in the household needs to step up and learn how to cook and clean the kitchen! For many women that means learning to give up control and letting their partner take an equal role in running the household. The good news is that a natural shift of equal responsibility in the home is happening as millennials are twice as likely to have dual income families. This younger generation knows better than their parents do that a happy, functioning, two-income household means sharing the work! Of course, if you are single, you are probably trying to find the time to date, which can be a challenge and interfere with everyday chores.

3. Your business is global.

Unless you are an hourly worker it is likely that your job is increasingly around the clock. This is the side effect of globalization as you bring together teams from around the world to solve problems and meetings happen at 11 p.m., 1 a.m., or 5 a.m. Sometimes this can feel grim, and yet it is actually an opportunity to spend more time with your family. Unlike 20 years ago when I would have to stay in the office to be connected, I can now go home, work out, have dinner with my family and then login to work from my home office.

4. It’s a competitive world (part 2).

Not only are you competing in your global workplace, your company is also competing in a global world. It is very likely your company has competitors in China or India with employees who are driven to improve their economic status in the world and for their families with their time and dedication. To use the old cliche “a rising tide floats all boats”–you want your company to be the rising tide so you and your teammates can grow your careers. Your global competitor is willing to sacrifice balance in their lives to get ahead and so should you.

5. Kids are resilient.

This one was a hard lesson for me to learn and my guilt was the enemy, but I did learn. In my experience, kids do better when they learn to be independent and they are incredibly resilient if they are loved unconditionally. Yes, you want to be at their games so they know you care and so you can share your pride with them, but I don’t think the phenomenon of the helicopter parent is good for kids. They will be stronger and more competitive adults if they have learned independence and they will have a better understanding of what it takes to compete when their turn comes.


Your Organization Should Be Ready for 6 Major Changes This Year

Think of a time when you made a major change in your life: Maybe you got married, bought your first house, moved out of state, or even just got a new pet. You took the time to plan for the new step in your life, and you probably didn’t try to tackle several life changes at once.

Like individuals, organizations experience major changes as well, such as mergers, acquisitions, CEO turnover, and rebranding. These changes usually happen more quickly and more often than any one person can handle, so it is critical that everyone works together to make the process smooth and successful.

With 70 percent of organizational change initiatives ending in failure, most organizations can learn a thing or two about managing change. This blog series explores some key facts and causes of organizational change and how to effectively manage change in your organization.

According to ATD research, 61 percent of organizations experience at least three major changes every year, and 26 percent experience at least six. That’s like getting married, having twins, buying a house, changing careers, getting a new pet, and starting a new diet in a 12-month period. Sound crazy? Maybe—but an ATD and Institute for Corporate Productivity research report on change management, sponsored by NYU Stern, found several key findings about managing change. The report was based on surveys from 765 business and learning professionals across the globe in a variety of industries. Here is what they found.


Rapid Change Is the New Norm

There is no reason to change something in your organization for the sake of change; however, the number of major changes and the speed at which they take place has increased. This means organizations need to be more agile and open-minded to effectively manage new programs. Does your organization’s culture have tools that allow for fast organizational shifts, such as open communication channels?

High-Performing Organizations Have Mastered Change Management

The majority of high-performing organizations report six or more major changes during a year. This suggests that they are able to be nimble and thoughtful throughout the process. They do not become overwhelmed during changes and keep the end goal in mind.
Need More Guidance on Managing Change?

LearnNow: Change Management Organizational change is a cyclical process. Adapting to that change successfully is vital for long-term success. The ATD LearnNow: Change Management event provides a practical model for change management. Rather than pushing complicated change management methods; you will learn tested business approaches (read: best practices) that executives and managers use to help their organizations rapidly change. You’ll find out how to constantly and rapidly adapt yourself, your employees, and your organization’s business models to keep pace with technology and economic events.

Money Is the Root of All Change

In the ATD survey, 51 percent of respondents said that an increase in revenue or sales were two factors that drove organizational change. These were followed by economic changes, cost-saving efforts, and market changes.


With organizational changes directly and indirectly linked to monetary causes, leaders should ask how a change is going to improve organizational standing and will ensure that their goal is reached. Create an objective goal, such as a profitability or market share target, to measure the change’s effectiveness.

Make Sure Everyone Knows Who’s Accountable

According to ATD research, CEOs are often accountable for the end results of a large organizational change. Others responsible include department managers, C-level executives, vice presidents, and HR leaders. It should come as no surprise that change management typically is the responsibility of higher-ranking leaders; however, when CEOs were accountable for change, there was a decrease in the organization’s overall market performance. Make sure you know who is in charge of the outcomes and that it is the right person or people; don’t just automatically assign responsibility to the person at the top of the organization.

The Learning Function Should Stay in the Loop

While the change process itself can be a challenge, don’t overlook the training aspect—for example, workers may need to be trained in new skills, processes, or values following an acquisition. Leaders will better position themselves and their teams if they think about these potential training challenges ahead of time:

  • Has the learning function been involved during the whole planning process, including planning, design, and execution?
  • Is there a strong timeline in place for the learning function?
  • Are you providing the learning department with enough funding for successful training?

The Ultimate Barrier for the Learning Department Is Culture

When it comes to the learning department’s overall ability to effectively deliver training related to changes, 39 percent of survey respondents claimed inefficiencies in training are due to company-wide resistance to change. If you are in an organization resistant to change, you will first need to conquer culture change. Once everyone has a new mindset that welcomes change, not only will changes happen more seamlessly, but those creating training programs supporting the change will have a more captive audience.

Top 10 Mind Hacks To Help You Save More Money

You already know the common strategies for saving money: Automatically set aside a portion of your paycheck, stick to a budget, plan your purchases, and so on. But there are also simple (if surprising) psychology tricks that can help us save even more. Here are ten such mind hacks.

10. Visualize What You’ll Look Like When You’re Older to Save More for Retirement


Many of us aren’t saving enough for retirement, perhaps because we think of it as so far away. Research, however, shows that one really simple way to help us reach our retirement goals is to picture our lives or what we might look like years or decades from now when we’re retired.

9. Create a Sleeve for Your Credit Card with a Picture of Your Financial Goal


Similar to putting a motivational photo on your fridge if you’re dieting or above your desk if you want to be more productive, this trick from the Simple Dollar can remind you of the bigger money goals you have every time you reach for a credit card to pay for a trivial purchase.

8. Chew Mint Gum and Wear Headphones While Shopping


What do gum and headphones have to do with shopping or saving money? It’s all about the ways stores manipulate your senses to trick you into buying more. Chewing mint gum could counteract the ambient scents in stores and make you feel fuller so you don’t buy food impulsively, and wearing headphones could block out the music designed to make you stay in the store longer. By knowing how stores try to seduce you while you’re shopping, you can defend yourself from their tricks.

7. Price Items Based on How Many Hours You’d Need to Work to Pay for It


You know what will really put a damper in unnecessary spending? Thinking about how much that item really costs in terms of hours you’d need to work to pay for it. $90 for a pair of jeans?! That’s more than 12 hours of work at the $7.25 minimum wage. (Even if you’re paid twice that, still more than half a day of work.)

6. Override Your Bad Money Behavior with a New Mantra


Set up rules of thumb—or heuristics—that describe the way you want to treat your money and over time it could become second nature. For example, “I only buy clothes when they’re on sale” versus “I deserve to treat myself whenever I get a windfall.” No, you don’t have to repeat the mantra over and over (maybe just change your password to it temporarily), but if you adopt it, the mantra could trick your brain into overcoming bad money habits.

5. Instead of Trying to Save More Money Now, Commit to Saving More in the Future


It sounds counterintuitive to save more money by not saving more money, but it’s all about the timing. Research suggests that starting a program where you’re steadily increasing the amount you save could be more effective than making an effort to save a lot more now. For example, making a plan to save most of your next raise rather than trying to cut back now. (Of course, you should then stick to that plan.)

4. Change the Way You Use Certain Dollar Denominations


There’s nothing inherently different between a fifty dollar bill and some tens and fives, but psychologically, we might be more reluctant to break the larger bill. You might even be more prone to hold onto $2 bills, since they’re seen as scarce (but really aren’t). And, like the jars of spare coins that get filled daily and turn into a couple of hundred dollars at the end of the year, saving every $5 bill that comes into your possession can turn into significant savings, almost painlessly.

3. Curb Impulsive Spending with a Few Tricks


You can’t always rely on self-control to avoid temptation, which is always around us. You can, however, make it harder for you to push the buy button or swipe the credit card without thinking first. For example, don’t store your credit card information with online stores or autofill data, train yourself to always ask before buying anything if you’d rather have the cash if a stranger offered it to you, stick to the 30-day rule to make sure you really want something, or use a prepaid debit card to force yourself to ponder your limited resources.

2. Make Saving Money Fun


Saving? Fun? That’s where gamification comes in. Tools like SaveUp and SmartyPig turn saving money a kind of challenge where you can watch the your money grow (and reap other rewards). Or you could join a challenge like the 52 Week Money Challenge or similar to push yourself to save more (and even enjoy it).

1. Understand Your Brain’s Biases


Finally, the more you know about how your own brain may be sabotaging your shopping choices, the better you can take back control and overcome your brain’s mushy mental accounting.