Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Your Intern Hates You!

Interns can be a great asset to your company. First off, you can find great talent at a decent “break in rate” should they perform well as an intern. Second, the intern and you are involved in a win-win scenario, both gaining something out of the relationship. All this said, there are interns who despise their internships because they are treated more like insignificant help vs. an education person eager to learn.

I have spoken to several students across this country about the value of an internship. Even those new to workforce have shared horror stories about being an intern. All of the common “hate” stories have to do with interns being treated like coffee maids or are gifted jobs outside of their educational experience.

If you want to get the most out of your professional relationship with interns, don’t belittle their ability simply because they are interns. Sending them out for coffee or lunch, worst off – shredding paper, is terrible. These tasks aren’t real world examples of their industry. It is important you utilize their talents and have them shadow on case files or make follow calls, etc.

The worst thing you can do a business professional is waste someone’s internship on non-specific, menial job tasks. Your company doesn’t benefit and neither does the intern. As business owners, it should be our responsibility to promote good ideas, amazing skills, and industry growth. Stunting someone simply because they temporarily hold the “intern” title is selfish and a no-win situation for anyone.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

When People Undermind You!

Have you ever had to deal with a person who smiles to your face and then stabs you in the back when you walk away? This very common personality trait shows up in business settings daily, yet no one ever talks about it. So, on today’s blog, I wanted to discuss how to deal with people who undermine you.

Don’t error on giving someone you barely know the benefit of the doubt. Instead, you need to truly get to know people before you open up to them or delegate responsibility. If you tell a person everything you know, or delegate things right away, when you first meet him or her- they can use this information against you or fail you on purpose. These actions will always fall back on you. So, as simple as it sounds, make sure you truly get to know (Google, run a background check, spend time with, etc.) someone before you delegate important tasks or share crucial information.

Don’t assume why someone is doing something. If what a person does have you questioning him or her, ask them why they are doing it. First, it makes the person stand still. Then, they have to provide you an answer and be accountable for their actions. If they truly didn’t know they were undermining you, the problem will be fixed. If the action was deliberate, regardless of the explanation, he or she will know that you are on to them.

Finally, set boundaries with people and let them know what the resulting actions will be. I often tell employees that my office is a gossip-free office. If I hear of gossip, the entire team is fired. This usually eliminates not only gossip about one another, but undermining of me and direct supervisors.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, July 28, 2014

Email; You Sent What?!

The problem with today’s 24/7 social media culture is our innate need to respond to emails all of the time and no matter what time of the day it is. Thus, it become second nature to ignore double checking response tone and facts. We are so focused on responding right away that we often fail to ensure we are properly responding.

I had to think about the email issue as I started to write today’s blog. You see, I’ve always been big on not responding to emails ASAP and having designated times to check emails. So, if you want to make sure you are sending proper emails then follow my four tips below!

1. Wait at least an hour to respond to any angry or upset email. Don’t respond right away. When you do respond, make sure you save it as a draft before hitting “send” and wait two more hours. Next, read the email out loud before hitting “send” to ensure you are still remaining professional, not overly aggressive, in the email.

2. Never write an email using slang or terms of endearment. First, they are liable statements and second, these types of emails will make you sound unprofessional.

3. Never disclose company secrets in an email or speak poorly of your boss or co-workers in an email. Remember, this sounds obvious but it happens daily. Stay positive or don’t say anything at all via email. It can come back and bite you in the unmentionable!

4. Keep it under 300 words. If your email is going to be longer than 300 words then it is time for a face-to-face coffee meeting (or full blown meeting) with the intended recipient.

Remember, it is easy to send an email and receive an email. However, it is trickier to respond properly to an email without having any regrets or making yourself look foolish.

Until next time,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to be the smartest person in the room.

I often feel like I am the smartest person in the room. I know that I am not, but I read an article on how being confident about your intelligence level and increase it, lol! Seriously though, there are a few tricks available to help you become smarter. I wanted to share them with you on today’s blog. They’re listed below;

1. Write everything down that you learn. Don’t rely on your brain to retain important information. Note taking, even if you text message yourself, is important. Your brain tends to hold onto concepts and points longer if you write them down, so- get the pen or tablet out at your next big meeting.

2. Play board games. Yes, it is very important to play board games. Why? All the strategizing and puzzles actually help your brain expand and think through unpredictable situations. Many studies show playing a board game twice a week can help improve your IQ by a point every year!

3. Surround yourself with smart people. This may sound cliché, but it works. Ever hear that birds of a feather tend to flock to together? Well, it’s true. So, join some social groups that focus on the environment or certain causes that incorporate strategizing, thinking and working together as a team for the greater good.

Some people believe going back to school helps your intelligence. In can, but only if you enjoy the subject matter. Don’t go back to school for the sake of going back to school. Instead, make sure you are engaged with the concept of why you need to go back to school, otherwise- it is a waste of time and money.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Homeland Security; Are You Tough Enough?

It’s not easy being in the homeland security business. While the business landscape can be a daily battlefield, the homeland security industry can really take a mental toll on its workforce. I wanted to address being tough enough for homeland security in today’s blog because true strength comes from the right mental attitude.

If you’re thinking about getting into the homeland security business, keep reading! You will need the following two habits to ensure you are tough enough to succeed within this industry.

First, you can’t waste mental energy relying on luck to distinguish your destiny. In any situation in life, especially with homeland security, you need to act as if you are in charge and there is no such word as “try”, you either do or you don’t. The middle doesn’t exist. If you act as if you are in control, others will respect you and you will have no room to blame bad luck on your failures or successes.

Second, complaining and critizing others isn’t an option. Homeland security requires you to work with a team. If the team succeeds, know it is a team effort. If the team fails, know that it is a team effort. If you spend too much time talking about others or complaining about the tasks at hand- people will start to question if you are mentally frail or out to sabotage others and you will not succeed within the industry. Play nice and be transparent, not critical or a baby about certain tasks!

I hope this information has provided you with a brief oversight on the toughness needed to combat the day-to-day operations within the homeland security field. You may also want to pick up a copy of my book dedicated to homeland security for more in-depth information. Here’s the link:

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Winning in the boardroom.

I wanted to use today’s blog to discuss playing nice in life. I mean all aspects of life, too. You see, in business we have to deal with boardroom meetings, client meetings, interaction with coworkers and employees, in-laws, etc. I’m not going to lie, these interactions can test our patience. If we lose it, we lose in life. It is crucial to know how to win in a group, which means making some unpopular decisions and statements on occasion.

Below, I am going to lay out my top 5 ways to win in the boardroom and in life. These steps will help you navigate your way to success in a group environment. Please don’t think these are tips on being popular, they’re not. In fact, some of the time- they may make you unpopular.

1. Don’t lie. It sounds obvious but it has to be said. The truth will follow you. Not stating something is also a form of lying. If you are always upfront with people, you have nothing to worry about in life.

2. Address conflict immediately. You shouldn’t wait for things to die down. This tactic will always cause the other person to hold onto a grudge versus letting it go. My best advice is to address conflict head on and work for a positive resolution versus hoping it will all “blow over.”

3. Understand there are no perfect people. . A variety of personalities and types can add differing perspectives to help make a team more productive. You will have to work alongside these different personalities. You may not have to like the people you are working with, but respect their differences and how they can better the project because of their distinctions.

4. Ask questions. Don’t assume anything in life. Further, if you think someone understands what you are asking of them, don’t be afraid to have them repeat the instructions back to you with a plan of how he or she is going to attack the tasks. This isn’t for micromanaging purposes. Instead, it helps to ensure the other person understands what you are asking of them without insulting them.

5. Allow yourself to fall down. The world is super competitive right now. Cheating is at its highest level. Don’t cheat, don’t forge, simply try. If you fail, allow yourself to fall down and then get right back up. Try again and make sure you do so by incorporating what you learned from the failed attempt.

Remember, if you are honest and address conflict with others right away- you are already going to win many battles in life. Now, work in understanding that people aren’t perfect, ask more questions then you make suggestions, and also become persistent and the world will be yours for the taking.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, July 21, 2014

How to ruin your reputation in one step.

I want to talk about your reputation. In business, it means everything. Some people, however, go out of their way to save their reputation and single handily ruin it in the same step. How is this possible? Covering up a mistake. Yes, not taking responsibility and fixing the mistake will harm your reputation for a long time in business.

Business guru John Brandon recently wrote, “The more you've done to hide a mistake, the more you will be despised. The alternative? Fess up right away. The sooner you come clean about losing a signed contract or getting into a fight with a competitor, the more time everyone has to deal with the problem and take corrective action. Let the mistake stay hidden and you are setting off a time bomb. When people find out, your reputation will suffer.”

I couldn’t agree with his advice more. Lying or trying to cover up a mistake irritates not only the customer, but those within the office. It takes more time and energy to correct a lie then it does to apologize and fix a mistake. We are all human. Being accountable and making mistakes are part of this process. Embrace it and learn for each experience versus trying to hide from them.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

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