I admit it; I had a lot of problems with Sarah Palin the candidate. What I had the most problem with her when she was running for Vice President of this country was her attitude about education and elitism. With her degree from University of Idaho in hand, she routinely criticized an Ivy League education. She extolled the virtues of First Dude as well as her tour through North Idaho College, University of Hawaii at Hilo, and community college in Coeur d’Alene. Pictured next to her fallen dead bloody moose she was supposed to be the “everyman.” Here’s the problem.

Holidays are great but after a long weekend it is hard to get back into the rhythm of doing business. If you planned ahead then you probably have a list of things to tackle. But, in case you did not here are a few things that you might want to consider while you are fresh from a few days off.

Clean Up Electronic Communications

I try to do this before I go back to work after a holiday. But, if you completely unplugged you need to get this done and see what “fires” may need to be put out. Believe it or not, I often find that over a holiday something suddenly becomes a priority to my customer and now it needs attention. I also find lots of newsletters, recurring communications or promotional items that are filling my e-mail box. Now is a good time to unsubscribe and simplify. It makes the important e-mails stand out and not get lost in all the clutter.

Get a Handle on Sneaky Expenditures

It’s easy to go along and not realize that you might be costing your company money. These are dollars that might be better used elsewhere. Examples include the golf outing, etc. that you get hit up to sponsor or the subscriptions that you really don’t need. The phone plan that might have been good last year but now could be renegotiated. Do you have service contracts that you really don’t need? Look at all your recurring charges and make changes.

Do Some People Planning

If you have gotten out of the habit of regular meetings this is a good time get back in the swing. Do you have good plans in place for people to be productive? Should you be thinking about moving people around, getting them trained up in new areas? Should you be delegating things that you have been doing that you really need to stop doing? After a holiday break is a good time to make changes because it’s like getting a new start.

Stop Procrastinating

We all have things we just don’t want to do. You need to have a conversation with a supplier that is not performing. A customer has been making unreasonable demands. An employee is not happy and it is affecting their work. The time right after a break is ideal for dealing with issues. You had a little time off and now you have some perspective. Don’t delay any longer. Whatever it is that you have been avoiding, you need to jump in and fix it. In fact, put a time limit on when the task needs to be done.

Get Your Physical Space Back in Order

Think of it as spring cleaning for the business. One of the reasons employees are not as productive as they could be is the lack of organization in the workplace. Are tools always put away where they can be easily accessed? Does everyone know where to find them? Are files, both printed and electronic, in order? Are supplies kept in a convenient location… is it obvious when they need to be reordered?

I always feel a little better when I have some of these things under control. Then I can tackle the big projects with a clearer mind.

the ceo magazine, leadership,
Martin Kettelhut, PhD, Author, Listen Till You Disappear

True leadership is the ability to bring out the best in people and circumstances. Just giving orders is hardly leadership. You need to be able to hear what’s working and what’s not, in order to lead your company to perform at its best. There are three areas to practice listening for leadership: yourself, others and the world.

the ceo magazine, leadership,
Chip R. Bell, Author, Sprinkles:  Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service

We are in a peculiar business era.  Customers demand personalized, tailor-made delight delivered by highly adaptive front line people.   New products and services released today can be reverse engineered and duplicated by competitors before close of business tomorrow.  Newly acquired skills are obsolete almost overnight.   And, “white water” alteration in structure creates a never-ending “boss de jure” experience for employees.

the ceo magazine, ceo salary,

St. Louis Cardinal Matt Holliday makes $17 Million a year. A hot dog vendor at Busch stadium makes a little above minimum wage, or about $10 an hour. 

A professional baseball player and hot dog vendor both work in the same stadium for the same number of hours addressing the needs of ticket holders. However, it would take the hot dog guy a thousand years to match the one-year salary of a top player, yet no one complains.  In fact, most ardent fans would scoff at a comparison, pointing out that Matt Holliday and those of his ilk have practiced thousands of hours to hone the skills that make them the hometown favorites that can fill a stadium with fans who hope to see evidence of the player’s skills and past performance. If a top ranking player strikes out, throws balls instead of strikes, or generally performs badly, no one docks his pay.

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